Why Some Instagram Accounts Make Millions And Others Don’t


Right now, the best social network in the world is a place called Instagram. The engagement is extremely high even for lower end accounts versus Facebook, monetization channels are plenty and tons of ways to present content exist. Yet doing this, I talk to people who are making $10,000 a month, $1,000 a month and people who make $0.00 a month. Why? Why do pages with the same engagement and same followings do in some cases so well and others so poorly?


Starting this, I’m gonna say I talked to an expert and his name is Sean Kelly who everyone can find on Instagram @SeanMikeKelly and he owns both @JerseyChamps & @Jerseys which are two growing prime accounts. He started this business a couple years ago just doing custom jerseys for individuals and groups. It ended up becoming a huge success. Where big companies were spending countless dollars on SEO, he went were they just weren’t going and that was Instagram. Starting with not a single follower and limited cash, he did the deals, got the sponsored post and now has a hit.


Every single day I talk to someone who has a following of over a million people on Instagram and it’s maybe a 5% type thing where people come close to what Sean has. Most people are stuck being happy making $1,000 a week, but he’s moved to the point he’s big enough to literally give 1,000 jerseys away a week for free.


But why? What about this business is so great, but other larger pages aren’t?


From talking to Sean, I picked up four really basic points.


Point One: The Business Came First


When talking to most people, they started accounts like me. Built something for the fun of building it and found a hit almost by accident. This was a business made first and a following made second.


Keeping this in mind, not every account has to on day one have a company in their heads of what they want to be. However, it could be better to be clear in marketing where something is visibly for sale or going to be for sale. This way people begin to no longer have the association with that account and completely free content. This is a powerful method where people remember the brand is end of day a business and not a tv show.


Point Two: Gave Stuff Away


This one is a powerful thing, because in marketing a great way to move a crowd is “free”. Offering people stuff where they become a first time user and pay little to nothing is the investment needed so in the future they do pay. For @JerseyChamps, they are visible in every single week giving a thousand or more jerseys to people for free as long as they’ll cover the shipping cost. It is them spending a little bit of money to get people engaged and build the brand.


For other accounts, it doesn’t need to be that capital intensive, because other accounts they can partner with existing businesses and build those deals early on. My company just began a partnership where we will now manage the account @Muscles in trying to grow that to be a premiere page for weight lifting and fitness advice. After speaking to Sean, I am 100% going to try and establish a deal early on with a protein provider or a tank top brand to give away free products to people who engage with that account.


This is how accounts can move a follower to an engaged user to someone who they’ll now have the email of. It’s a powerful thing and everyone can do it.


Point Three: Content Balancing With Products


This was another strategy with Sean that visibly works. A lot of Instagram accounts are no products, but just content. A lot of businesses are all products and no content. Sean? He keeps a balanced flow where he has the photos of basketball players and it does engage people, but they are always wearing jerseys and it does combine brand with viral content well.


Other people on Instagram go the opposite route. They are models doing hot photos of themselves wearing next to nothing and the next day, they are posting photos of them wearing a watch. They are food accounts promoting garbage apps not related to food. @JerseyChamps? It’s viral content where it does relate enough to the brand that no one is upset when a sales post happens.


Point Four: No Cheap Shots


This is the biggest point of all and that’s Sean never really making a cheap shot with his brand. A lot of accounts get very sloppy with content such as scam giveaways, junk products or just memes people don’t like. Everything Sean has done holds in one word and that’s “consistent”. It’s better to be a brand releasing content which can be ranked as a 7 out of 10 every single day over being a business where one day the content is a 10 and next day is a 3. Sean’s business holds that value and solid content.


Concluding Thoughts


In talking to Sean with @JerseyChamps and @Jerseys, I didn’t really go in viewing it as an interview, but viewed it as a chance to learn on my own end. I saw a lot of very clear approaches where Instagram wasn’t just a tool for cat memes and thong shots. This was a business with a clear goal, an existing competition and it became a success just from those small better touches on social media. It moved if where it does compete with major companies and for that, I think everyone should give @SeanMikeKelly a follow on Instagram and see what his next strategy is.


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