Here's how monetizing Instagram currently works:
As a partner with these platforms (you must be a part of the network already), you can search for and create a list of the products that are in the pic, then migrate the info over via the app which transitions to your Instagram feed, automatically dropping in the info on how to shop the look.
In learning more about this process and experimenting with it, I appreciate the effort being made to turn Instagram into a revenue stream, but thought I'd share the challenged that I've encountered along the way:
1) All of Your Items Need to Be New
For me, this was the biggest challenge with finding for items to link to that I was wearing in my personal style posts. Of course I could link to product in other kinds of photos, but it seems that personal style works well with this concept. My personal style can involve a mix of vintage, off-retailer finds (like from T.J.Maxx or Marshalls), and new items, and in this kind of scenario I'd want to identify all items in my look, not just one or two as if feels like a waste of time for the follower.
I don't want to encourage constant fashion consumption, but if I can only link to the new items to appear with my Instagram post, then over time it may alter what I wear when I take and post these photos, which seems kind of nuts.
2) Your Network Works with the Brands You Wear & Retailers You Shop
Even if everything you have on is brand spanking new, there's a chance that you may not be able to find that particular product within the platform that you use to add into your assortment of products.
Even worse, the program that you use may not have that brand or retailer as an affiliate in its program, so there's no way you can add the item in. I don't know about you, but as much as I appreciate the effort for someone to find a “similar item” when the original one doesn't exist, I don't want that replacement – I want the original! know some bloggers who employ the strategy of featuring companies on the blog that are affiliates in their network, which could be echoed in this scenario with monetizing an Instagram post as well.
3) It Takes a While To Create a Post
Call me old school, but I feel most at peace (and productive) when I have a BIG monitor in front of me. I just hate my hunched over posture and the added time it takes me to type on my phone, since the post can't be created on the computer and then exported to Instagram. The time it takes to edit a pic and search for the items can take some time, so I've tried to pre-search for the items on my computer in order to prevent slowly typing in the product name on my phone.
4) Do Followers Want to Leave Instagram?
Trying to think about this from the perspective of someone who likes to scroll, and scroll, and scroll in my feed, sometimes I just don't like to ever leave Instagram, even with the possibility of checking out a product that I like. If it's something I really, really want, and having an email deposited with a link to buy it may occasionally deter me away.
5) Do People Really Click and Buy, or Just Explore?
When it comes to the world wide web, as soon as something starts to become a pain in the butt, aka there are too many steps involved, people drop out. This can pertain to creating a monetized Instagram post, and of course, for followers to get to the part of actually buying something.
From the follower's perspective they must: sign up, like your post, get the email, open the email, find the product in it, click on it, and go through the check out process. Too much?
Or are people getting to the point of looking at the products in the email and then turning away? I don't have stats on shopping and social media, but I get the impression that based on the newness of incorporating shopping into Instagram, it can't be that high…
Have you tried the current way to monetize Instagram? Have you “liked” and eventually bought anything on a post?
I use LiketoKnow.IT for my gifts guides. I think you need to find the perfect balance of your own content and promotion. I know I am turned off by one stead instagram commercial.
In the end, I love that their is another tool to help bloggers share the their finds.
Monetizing your Instagram feed may work for some, but I just don’t see it as a viable option for me. My IG friends don’t want to click away, let alone buy something, they loaded up the app for a reason- to look at their friends’ photos and/or post their own. If they want to know what I’m wearing, they’ll ask, or at least check my blog [on which I post affiliate links]. My personal opinion may change over time, but for now, I’ll stick with “no thanks”. All the other social networks are littered with user ads, I hate to see IG heading that way too…. People are so concerned about money, they’ve become blind to the concept of providing value. And the former rarely happens without the latter.
Good point, I think your perspective goes for my ig followers too.
I haven’t heard about LiketoKnow.it but I am going to sign up and give it a spin! I post a lot of fashion related instagram content so its worth a try, but I totally agree, its very time consuming to post this type of content on Instagram. I am currently signed up with Stylemoi.com which pays with clothing vouchers, I am pretty happy with them so far
I think I, just as another Instagram user, am part of the problem, because I find myself liking photos tagged with LITKIT, checking my email on my phone immediately to figure out who the retailer is, but then either purchasing in stores or later on my physical computer, and in that case, I wouldn’t be going through the blogger’s rstyle link. I imagine this is what a lot of my followers are doing as well, and why I’ve made significantly more money using rstyle links on my actual blog, rather than through LITTKIT on Instagram.
I think saying that these programs take you away from Instagram is a misnomer. You can like and keep scrolling without being bounced away from Instagram (unless you HAVE to know this instant what that girl was wearing). It is really no different than signing up for a bloggers email list and having their posts sent to you. I do find it frustrating to use because it always takes longer to find the items I want to link even if I have previously favourited them in rewardstyle. Which is why I don’t link up many of my posts. Also I don’t wear only new/recent season items every day. Still I like that there is an option out there better than tagging you photos to share what the image is all about.
While I don’t do many fashion related posts, I did sign up for LiketoKnow.it and I do use it. I haven’t bought anything online, but I have found things at stores I can actually go to and try on. I know that doesn’t help the blogger by not shopping through their post, I just hate online shopping in general. I like that it sends it right to my email and I can check it later, so I can keep scrolling through instagram.
Angela, you bring up a key point, many people want to try on the item before they buy. I follow and like many fashion bloggers on IG that are not the same size and height as me. When I see an item on them I do not immediately envision how it would look on my frame. If I try the item in the store I am going to buy it in the store and sadly, cut out the blogger commission.
I know other bloggers who use these services (mostly LikeToKnow.it since they’re all RewardStyle’rs) but seeing as both are only offered on iPhone devices and I’m a devout Android user, I haven’t been able to try them on my own content. I will say from a follower perspective, it gets a little frustrating when you can’t just tap on a photo to see the tagged brands as bloggers are trying to hide the links in their blog posts or get them to sign up for liketoknow.it. If I want to buy something, I absolutely will buy through affiliate links (as I use them in my content also) but sometimes I just want quick info out of curiosity without having to get the emailed link to buy.
That is such a super good point – I should have addressed it in the post- thanks for pointing that out. It is iphone-limiting, for sure!
A lot of bloggers I follow on Instagram use the LikeToKnow.It thing and I have unfollowed people who ONLY use that. I would rather just double-tap otherwise I might as well just search online myself. As a reader, I find it annoying, but that’s just me.
I have it but can’t really tell you if anyone clicks on it or signs up. They like the posts with the items but not sure if they have gone far enough to sign up on the other platform and purchase.
I personal don’ like using the social networks as advertising platforms, neither will I use Instagram, so monetizing my Instagram posts is out of the question for me
I use instagram quite often (multiple times hourly, actually) and I have noticed that more fashion bloggers are trying to monetize the volume they receive on Instagram. Though I do not have a blog myself, I do have a pretty active Instagram account and following and was interested in monetizing my posts if it did not mean shoving content blatantly down my followers feeds. I do not see how this would work to benefit the blogger (or their IG account) if it requires the individual looking to leave Instagram and head to another website. Currently, like others, I browse mindlessly and enjoy rapid liking and commenting. If I see something that catches my eye I will see what the designer is and if they have an IG account and go from there. Typically after being introduced to a designer or item, I purchase it on my own at a later point.
I don’t like LiketoKnowIt. I don’t have a problem with affiliate links that earn a blogger money if all you have to do is click, but I think most people are extremely tired of having to sign up for a million different programs to function on the internet (I know I am!)
If your blog is your job, I think it’s kind of wrong to put “work” on your readers/customers. LiketoKnowIt is a deterrent for me, kind of like having to sign up with multiple different programs just to comment on blogs – it’s easier to say “meh, I don’t feel like commenting after all” than signing up for yet another service.
Also, I really dislike if someone asks “Where did you get X?” in the comments and the Instagramer just says “Like to know it!” They took the time to respond, but are still giving readers the runaround. I understand that could cut into profits, and to each their own, but it’s not my cup of tea.
Really good points – it’s interesting to see how this evolves and if steps will eventually be able to become cut out, since it can be a pain for readers to do.
I think that there are a LOT of things to work through and smooth out before this becomes a truly profitable platform. People like convenience and as it stands both options require too much effort from the reader.
XoXo One Stiletto At A Time
I agree with the above comments and the article in general. I tried signing up through Liketoknow.it but it’s such a waste of energy. The thing that concerns me most is the inability to find certain new items in networks just because they aren’t represented with the affiliates. It’s so frustrating, I don’t want to limit my shopping habits and inevitably, it will happen if you put a main focus on monetization.
Glad to hear you are in agreement, and I totally have felt the frustration of searching for products and brands through affiliates!
I have LikeToKnowIt and I find most useful as a platform to check out new clothes but I never actually click away or purchase directly from my phone. I just enjoy getting the weekly email with all the things I was interested in and see the price/brand etc
Creepers & Cupcakes
I haven’t signed up for LikeToKnowIt to use on my IG feed (my blog is totally new), but as someone who follows many other fashion bloggers on IG, it just seems like another “thing” crowding my feed when I look at IG. Personally, I still prefer to go to the blogger’s site and shop what I like from there.
Thanks for posting an article about this. I keep seeing it referred to all over Instagram and I’m glad to see everyone’s insight.
I use reward style and sharesale programms on my blog. I am very satisfied how things are going. I finally started to earn nice amount of money and can quit my job.
So then liketoknowit appeared , for me as a blogger , it was another way of earning money. But I agree with readers that it is very irritating to sign up and check e-mails. So still links from my blog are most productive to me
How do you become part of these networks? I’m a new fashion blogger, and would like to feature some of my looks through these services. thanks!
I’m not a fan of Liketoknow.it, because the bloggers who use it start to get really lazy on Instagram with it. Before, bloggers would show some personality in their photo captions… but now it is one lazy sentence with a Liketoknow.it link.
With Shopstyle.it, you should be able to create a list on your computer that is retrievable on the app on your phone. I have no idea whether it’s the same with Liketoknow.it. Liketoknow.it is evidently quite exclusive, as I’ve been blogging for several months and have around 1,000 IG followers but have not been accepted. I’ve only made any money using Shopsense affiliate links on my blog. None of my Shopsense revenue comes from IG at all. I don’t think it’s had the same success on IG as Liketoknow.it has. It may be because of the perception of exclusivity with Rewardstyle or their relationship with the top earning/followed bloggers. If anyone has any insight about getting accepted to Rewardstyle/Liketoknow.it I would very much appreciate it.
Whether it be full-time or part-time, most Bloggers aren’t on a payroll. Keeping that in mind, with all their efforts to show us their personal street styles and having a peek into their lives, it all comes along with benefits to us viewers as well as themselves, naturally. Liketoknow.it at first seemed to me to be a bit bothersome, however just like we do for many other sites, all it takes is creating a password to ‘like’ and then receive the product info to our mail, without having to distract us from our scrolling around instagram. My thought is whether this link takes away from the bloggers’ website views, where normally we are directed to their link in order to find out who the product designers are and where we can make a purchase.
I have been in two minds about Liketoknow.it. All i know is it really bugs me when my inbox gets notified from them. I never click the links and as a fashion blogger myself perhaps it is something i should look at, but i don’t want to ruin the user experience for my followers on Instagram.