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There is a lot of buzz around Instagram lately and rightfully so. Instagram is growing daily in numbers and becoming an extremely popular social media network. With it’s popularity there is a lot of bloggers teaching people how to promote online using Instagram.
Bloggers are tapping into the Instagram market by teaching you how you can make money using Instagram. This is all well and good except I’m finding it disturbing that there are key pieces of information being left out. I don’t know if it’s lack of knowledge or if it’s intentional but you need to be aware of it if you are going to attempt to do what they are teaching.
How to make the money.
The plan is this. You start off by creating an instagram account with a niche. Pick any niche. Home, Animals, Pets, Cars, Food, ect. You create your profile briefly explaining what your account is for and ask people to send in pictures that follow your niche.
You then start posting pictures to the account, the more attractive the better. When posting you add hashtags that have a high number of posts connected to them. As you begin your hashtag there is a number next to it letting you know how many posts have used that hashtag.
As you grow in followers, people will direct message you with their own pictures in hope to get featured and boost their own follower count. When you build your follower numbers up to over 1,000 you can start approaching small businesses and companies and asking them for money or products by featuring them to your followers. The more followers you have, the more money you can ask for.
Great. This can absolutely work. Simple, no fuss and you can make at least some money from using a social media network you already use. Is it going to pay your bills, I can’t tell you that. I do imagine you can bring in some money via instagram in this way. However, you have to do it legally.
Check out my post Low Down Dirty Truths About Starting A Blog.
How to avoid losing everything you made.
Here in the US and even in the UK, there are regulations regarding protection for consumers. Any person receiving payment, product, discounts, or service in exchange for promotion must disclose the payment. This means if you get a product, money, discount, or service to promote on your Instagram the first thing you need to do is disclose that it is a paid advertisement.
This doesn’t just apply for Instagram. This applies to blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or any social media platform. In order to protect consumers they need to know that your opinion of a certain product could be swayed due to your relationship with the company. Violation of this regulation could lead to law enforcement actions resulting in the forfeiture of all money received from the violations.
What I’ve researched and in webinars I have attended not a single one mentions this regulation. Now I don’t know if these bloggers don’t understand how this still applies even though it’s on Instagram. I don’t know if they purposely left it out and I don’t want to accuse as such. I do find it disturbing that so many people have not made their audience aware of this regulation.
Check out my post 6 Tips to Up Your Social Media Game.
Still want to Promote?
Awesome! You absolutely should get into promoting products and services on social media and within your blog. Anything that can help to expand your income within your niche is a good idea. There is a way to do this while staying within the FTC’s Endorsement Guidelines.
First thing to understand. If you bought the product you can promote the product all you want without worrying about following any of these guidelines. If you are receiving anything from a company to promote a product you must reveal that the promotion is a paid advertisement.
Every blog should have a disclaimer page, but a disclaimer page is not enough. If you are getting paid via affiliate links, products, services or cold hard cash you have to inform your readers about this. The FTC does not give hard guidelines to the wording they just say the reader needs to be informed where the reader can see it and be aware of it.
At the beginning of the post you can say something to the effect of, “This post contains a paid promotion (affiliate program, ect.).” There is no guideline saying you cannot ensure your audience that the product you are promoting or any product you promote is because you believe in the product, company, or service.
Check out my post The Best Automation Tool For New Bloggers.
There are a few other guidelines to follow as well. You cannot make wild claims about a product. For instance, do NOT claim a drink cured glaucoma. If you can’t prove the product can do something you cannot make a claim it does.
Also, be honest. If a product is not for you, if you personally don’t love the product either don’t promote it or give it an honest review. You cannot get into trouble reviewing a product as long as you are honest about it.
The bottom line is simply this. Be transparent. Be honest. Making money promoting products can become at least a decent side income. Subscribe for emails with exclusive content. Follow me on Pinterest and pin this to your blogging boards.