How To Build A Business On Instagram: Advice From The Million-Plus-Followers Club

We’re in the midst of a social-media revolution with billions of people flocking to apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. It’s no wonder that these platforms hold so much allure to newcomers. Clearly, tapping into the sheer power and reach of a platform like Instagram and others can help to skyrocket the sales of any business through a highly-targeted approach to millions of followers.
However, we also know that building an Instagram account and getting millions of people to follow you is no simple feat. Similar to other social-media platforms, it takes an enormous amount of passion, effort and marketing know-how. It’s a convoluted, arduous and highly-complex undertaking, filled with numerous challenges and pitfalls along the way.

Still, this doesn’t seem to dissuade those who are drawn into the potential for virtually limitless, free organic traffic, the kind that can result from having millions upon millions of followers. And, as someone who’s immersed in the field of online marketing, I can tell you firsthand just how fascinating this is.

Similar to ranking at the top of Google’s Search Engine Results Pages, where millions of potential eyes are drawn to your content, Instagram offers a virtual pot-of-gold. It can only be described purely as a Utopia that exists somewhere out there in the ether of all interconnected things that provides a near-direct path to success in just about any field.

In a recent post where I covered 10 of the top influencers on Instagram, it really got me thinking about how these individuals achieved such huge success on this platform. What I also came to realize is that many of the top accounts that possess millions of followers have leveraged those followings for immense economic benefits.

Some of the individuals at the top have launched multi-million dollar businesses with next to no money out of pocket. Simply by having millions of followers, they already had a built-in audience. That, of course, is the beauty of building up a content channel. As long as you create a business that’s in sync with that channel, the possibilities are endless.

Building A Business On Instagram

Anyone can build a business on Instagram. But without a sizable following, not many people are going to find out about that business. What I wanted to investigate was just how you build up a following that large. I’m talking one-million-plus followers, the kind of numbers that make advertisers salivate.

So I went directly to the source. I asked those who had already achieved a large margin of success doing this, to uncover just how they did it. In the end, I zeroed in on three particular Instagramers who were able to achieve this very type of wild-eyed success, the kind that’s so tantalizing and exhilarating that they’ve resulted in countless copycat accounts just trying to emulate and mimic their successes.

However, this wasn’t an overnight scenario for any of these individuals. It didn’t happen quickly whatsoever. It took time. For the three people that I spoke to, it took them all between 2 to 3 years to build up accounts that exceeded 1 million followers. I would say that a large part of their success had to do with persistence, and in the constant repetition of really good habits that define any successful entrepreneur.

So how did they do it, exactly?

Surely, you’ve asked yourself this question before, especially if you’re a business owner. I’m certain you’ve envisioned leveraging this powerful platform, but have either been unsure of how to do it, or questioned whether you’ve had the ability to see things through. It isn’t easy, but clearly, to the victors go the spoils.

However, what’s worked in the past might not work in the future. Instagram is changing things up, shuffling up its algorithm. That might affect strategies going forward. Similar to how Google has shifted and amended its algorithms over the years, surely this won’t be Instagram’s first departure from the traditional chronological display algorithm that the app was founded upon.

Still, there are some fundamentals that will hold true now and into the future. Those same fundamentals hold true in Google’s search engine algorithms, whether we’re talking years ago or today. If you can abide by the fundamental principles, you can replicate what’s been done in the past by some of the most successful individuals.

Whether we’re talking about Google, Instagram, or any other highly competitive platform where the potential for free organic traffic is nearly limitless, they all hold hold lucrative riches for the select few who can uncover their secrets. While Google and SEO might be another story, on the Instagram platform, I found three individuals here that I feel personify success, wielding immense power and know-how in their ability to leverage this platform for enormous economic gains.

#1 — This Is A Man’s World — @thisisamans.world — 2 Million Followers

Puia Shamsossadati is the founder of This Is A Man’s World, an account devoted to inspiring and motivating people to achieve their dreams through highly-curated photos and videos. With over 2 million followers, this account is one of the most popular inspirational accounts out there. But how did he do it?

Shamsossadati lives in Sweden but hails from Iran. His family left his home country during the Iran-Iraq war, at the age of 14. His parents, who both had good-paying jobs back in Iran, were unable to find something that would provide an equivalent income. They lacked the language or skills necessary in Sweden, but they were happy to be out of their beloved, yet war-torn country.

Bucking the desires of his family to become a doctor and fill a traditional role in Sweden, Shamsossadati instead followed his passion for design and engineering, ultimately developing a background in industrial design. Obsessing over programs like Photoshop and 3D CAD, Shamsossadati seemed to perfectly prime himself for the Instagram platform.

But you might be asking yourself, “Why the dot in the name thisisamans.world?” The answer will actually surprise you. Shamsossadati had originally started the account under “thisisamansworld,” without the dot, but after reaching over 100,000 followers, Instagram pulled the account.

It seems that the account had unknowingly violated some Instagram terms and conditions while posting pictures of women. For a week or two, Shamsossadati was extremely disheartened. He had poured an enormous amount of work and effort into the account, but was left with nothing when it was pulled.

After the depression subsided, determination took its place. He reached out to other accounts on the platform that he had already developed a relationship with such as, The Billionaire’s Club and Dan Blizerian, who helped him get a large majority of his followers back.

Golden Concepts Phones

But the most interesting part of Shamsossadati’s journey, and something that not many others know about him, is that he is the founder of Golden Concepts, a high-end, luxury customizer of iPhones. Dipped into lustrous 24k gold, and offered with options that include custom engraving and diamond-encrusting, Golden Concepts carved (quite literally) a niche for itself in a market that largely didn’t exist in the past.

The most mind-bending part of this is that he launched this business after only about one week of research. Like other successful individuals, he decided and acted quickly, but with the advantage of growing the business through his already-established network of millions of followers.

As an industrial designer, he even went as far as designing the packaging and boxing that truly makes receiving and unwrapping one of his phones a luxury experience in-and-of itself. Today, Golden Concepts phones start at $4,995. However,Shamsossadati tells me that phones go up in price from there. The most expensive phone he’s sold was a $25,000 diamond-encrusted phone made for a Russian businessman who he says wants to remain anonymous.

That’s just a glimpse of the type of clientele he has. Everyone from celebrities to the Saudi Royal Family have contacted him for phones. So the question then remains is, how did he do it? How did he manage to build up such a large following on Instagram, and to subsequently launch a multi-million-dollar business with next to zero dollars spent on advertising and marketing?

The answer is quite simple. He tells me that he merely followed his passion for design. In the beginning, he never really imagined how much Instagram could transform his life. Simply put, he was doing it out of his love for photography and design, and just wanted to share inspiring and motivating pictures with others.

It took him 3 years to reach 2 million followers, and in that time he’s connected with some of the most important people in the world and received access to a world of opulence and luxury unbeknownst to him before. What he found that worked the best was when other people with similar profiles gave him a shout-out. That’s how his numbers climbed the fastest.

In the beginning, he did comment on other popular feeds, but only for a short time. His feed picked up steam due to the high-quality content in the form of pictures and inspirational thoughts and ideas that would help people achieve their dreams. While it sounds simple, it’s far from it. He’s spent thousands of hours curating his content, editing photos and networking with people. It didn’t happen overnight.

#2 — Luxury World Traveler — @luxuryworldtraveler – 2.2 Million Followers

In a recent article, I chronicled Gil Antolin, the founder of Luxury World Traveler. His account, which has reached a staggering 2.2 million followers, is one of the most sought-after and talked-about accounts in the luxury travel segment on Instagram.

The best part? Antolin has built an entire business and content channel on the one thing that he’s loved to do the most in his life — travel. Within a brief three-year period, he has managed to amass this enormous following while also launching Luxwt, a sister content channel to help handle some of the influx of advertising requests he’s been receiving.

Antolin tells me that he has about 40 Luxwt prime members that travel to destinations, all-expenses paid by upscale hotels and villa companies, with the promise to produce content that would be solely owned by Antolin’s Luxury World Traveler, while helping to promote the places in question on his feed. These prime members promise to produce a certain amount of content and share it on Instagram in exchange for the privilege of traveling and staying for free.

However, all things begin considered, I wondered how Antolin built such a large network on Instagram, and subsequently launched Luxwt in the process. What he tells me surprised me. Similar to Alex Jimenez, the founder of The Yacht Guy, another really popular travel profile that hasn’t quite hit the million-follower mark, it was a long-time coming.

Antolin spent a considerable amount of his time and resources searching for high-quality, high-definition photos of places he longed to visit. When he found out about the Maldives and its shimmering turquoise waters and white-sugary-sanded beaches replete with exotic palm groves, he was hooked.

Antolin spent hours on Sunday evenings and every opportunity he could get searching for the best travel photos he could source in order to post them throughout the upcoming week. He spent his time connecting with photographers and hotels for permission to use the photos, and in turn, built up a fairly-significant network in the process.

In the beginning, he wasn’t focused on doing this for business purposes. All Antolin wanted to do was share the best travel photos he could find. But when he started building some momentum and thousands upon thousands of people started following his account, that’s when he thought he might really have something here.

What started out as a passion project, turned into something that went far beyond his wildest dreams. Today, he tells me, he spends weeks and months at a time on the road, traveling and staying for free at the best destinations in the world, in the best hotels and suites that money can buy. He gets to travel in private jets, superyachts, ride around in exotic cars, and meet the who’s who in the world wherever he might be.

In the process, Antolin has not only created a business that could potentially be sold for millions of dollars, but he’s also amassed terabytes of exquisite photos and vides of the world’s best destinations for use in an upcoming project. However, it all started with his desire to spread value in the form of stunning photos and information about the world’s most highly-sought-after destinations.

#3 — Millionaire Mentor – @millionaire_mentor – 1.7 Million Followers

Jason Stone, the founder of Millionaire Mentor, is as confident as is he passionate about the work he’s doing. Millionaire Mentor, his Instagram account, was primarily born out of his desire and necessity to inspire others to reach for their dreams, a common theme amongst some of the most successful Instagramers.

But Stone is no newcomer to success. In fact, his other business, Treadstone Performance Engineering, was already a multi-million dollar company before he had ever even heard about Instagram, a business he built over the years through blood, sweat and tears. It was only 15 years ago today that he told me he would go to the junkyard just to strip cars to sell their parts on eBay.

Yet, it’s his Instagram business with Millionaire Mentor that’s proven to be one of his most profitable endeavors yet. Stone informs me that he has built up an income stream that reaches over $100,000 per month through his account. The most impressive part about this is that a large majority of this is passive income, something that doesn’t require him to manufacture and sell a product.

Passive income, something that I believe wholeheartedly in and have designed my life around, is quite possibly the best and most alluring type of income because it doesn’t take much added effort to make that income continue to come pouring in. Your income isn’t tied to your time, in another words. You don’t have to put in 40 hours of work a week or go to an office. It’s automatic.

In the beginning, it had never even crossed Stone’s mind that he would be able to generate an income this large through social media. In fact, most people simply don’t realize the potential for profits that await by having a highly-targeted group of millions of followers similar to Stone and other individuals who’ve successfully capitalized off this social media platform. To Stone, all he wanted to do in the beginning was to spread some value to others and teach them that if he could do it, they could do it as well.

This is certainly a hallmark of successful Instagramers. They all had the original intent of doing something that they were passionate about, in an effort to help inspire or motivate others. That’s how Shamsossadati, Antolin and Stone pulled it off. While the efforts weren’t easy, it’s quite clear to see that they’ve been well worth it.

Aside from his income-generating activities on Instagram through the power of email marketing and affiliate marketing, Stone and others are paid hefty fees just to advertise companies on their feeds. And why not? With millions of eager followers, it’s akin to running a commercial on prime-time television.

Steps to Success on Instagram

After speaking to these individuals and others, I’ve boiled this down to several key steps for success that it takes to build a business on Instagram by first building up a popular content channel. Emulate these steps, and be sure to be persistent over years of arduous effort, and you too might be able to replicate some of the success that these individuals have experienced.

Come up with a solid profile name that’s highly-targeted to a particular audience.

Seek out the highest quality curated content that people will obsess over, and focus on adding as much value as you possibly can to the world.

Network with the most popular Instagramers in your niche to get them to give you a shout out.

Comment on other photos and engage in conversations with other people, building up relationships slowly but surely over time.

Create and launch a business that’s directly in-line with your content and profile’s audience.

Send free products to the most popular Instagramers in the hopes that they will share your product with their wide audiences.

Never give up, no matter how long it takes.

While the list might sound basic, it’s nothing even remotely close to that. But, for those who are willing to put in the work, building a successful business on Instagram is possible by leveraging millions of followers as long as it’s done the right way. If you’re not genuine or sincere, people will see right through you. Add value, connect and spread positivity. That’s the quickest pathway to success.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertadams/2016/05/15/how-to-build-a-business-on-instagram-advice-from-the-million-plus-followers-club/#2d19867a60e6

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