This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

How people make money on Instagram

As an old marketing guy, I'm always wondering why people go to a lot of trouble doing stuff. Yes, my mind always goes to thinking about what's in it for them, especially money? And of course a lot of people just do stuff because they love doing it, they post pics on Instagram just because they enjoy it, they aren't doing it for the money. They're doing it for the fun of it.

And actually, that's the majority of people who use Instagram. They do it for fun, no other reason. That's why the app was invented, and why people like it so much. It's fun! There you go. That should be enough for you.

If it's not, and you're interested in making money, you have a couple of choices: 1) You can be dirty and sneaky and underhanded and scam people (which I prefer not to), or 2) You can accept help and be honest about it. I prefer the second option, and I see people doing that.

A friend of mine was telling me about people that he follows on Instagram who decided a few years ago to simply get in their van and drive around, looking at the country. I don't know who they are, but I understand it's one of those one of those old "hippie" Volkswagen vans, and these people apparently have a wonderful and positive spirit about life in general. And they attracted a large audience, including the Volkswagen company, who recently gave them some much-needed repair parts for their VW bus. As far as I know, aside from a gracious thank you to the company, these people have just kept on doing what they're doing. I like that. Whether you see this as "making money on Instagram" or not, it's at least not losing as much money as they would have had to, paying for the repair parts themselves.

Of course, there's the next level up, which is much more like the type of sponsorship that you see done commercially. When I was a kid, the TV shows used to thank their sponsors, and say, "Brought to you by Kelloggs" or whatever. These sponsors underwrote a lot of the costs of these programs, and expected that their product would be mentioned on the air, and that included commercials. Over the years the sponsorship of TV and radio shows has faded away, and nowadays you mostly just see commercials. And yes, people will a large enough following on Instagram are approached by sponsors who expect more than just a casual "thank you", and you'll see ads inserted in the feeds of certain Instagramers. And I'm also OK with that. This isn't a "kickback" or "payola", this is how things like radio, and television, have been paid for, and programs delivered for free. The next time you turn on your radio in your car, think about what makes it free - commercials, which are sponsorship.

Speaking for myself, I don't want sponsorship, but I do accept help. I have a Patreon page, which people can go to if they choose to if they like what I'm doing, and would like to see more. But my "business model" will be more like the people driving around the country in their van, my goal is to just keep on truckin', and no more than that.

If you're curious about my Patreon page, it's for my hobby which I call "history adventuring", and it's here:

How to create successful YouTube videos - focus on content

I was enjoying a delicious meal with a good friend of mine yesterday who creates videos, and he started telling me about his latest project. I found myself becoming impatient with learning about the content, and my little "marketing brain" immediately drifted over to why he was doing it. That is, what the marketing angle was? In internet-speak, how it was to be monetized?

But that's not what creative people do. And it's as basic as anything you do as a creative person, you should jst be focusing on the content. That is, what you're doing, not what you're selling. I'll give you an example.

Let's say that I started dancing in the street (not that I could, or would!). If I concerned myself with the audience, I would get distracted, and my attention would be taken away from my fancy footwork, so it would be best for me to concentrate on what I'm doing. If I was good enough, I would attract an audience. It may only be a couple of stray dogs, but if I was good at what I was doing, my audience would grow. At a certain point the sidewalk would be crowded with people watching, and some might even throw coins. Then if I was really good, and the audience was big enough, I would be approached by a company that might want to sponsor me, and have me wear their dancing shoes, or have me wear their logo to advertise their company. And that, in simple terms, is how monetizing on YouTube works.

Yes, I know that was a silly example, but I hope you see what I mean. If you're going to create YouTube videos, just focus on what you do well. It doesn't matter what it is, it could be dancing, or singing, or how-to videos. If you try to second-guess what a potential audience might like, you're going to be distracted from what you should be doing, which is creating content.

So make that video, upload it, and watch to see if you attract an audience. You can tell your friends on social media to go watch it. Some people will do that out of courtesy, some people will be curious. It doesn't matter how people get there, as long as they do.

So don't overthink your content. As a creative person, do what you love. If you love talking about wine, talk about wine! I won't listen to it, but I'm sure that there's an audience out there. Who knows? Maybe you're about to create a series of videos that will someday be series on Netflix! My point is, don't worry about the audience, if you build it, they will come.