instagram-money“A low day is like £500” says Ross Dickerson, a muscle-bound fitness entrepreneur and avid Instagramer.

Ross is not alone, and perhaps it’s not news, that more and more Instagramers are scrambling to make a fast buck from a picture of their abs. And the barriers to entry are dropping as advertisers see value in the Instagramers with all ranges of followers, from big to small.

Dickerson is on the larger end of the scale with over 1.3 million Instagram followers, which he attributes to constant, unrelenting posting of flexing selfies. His huge following translates into big money, too, with Dickerson’s income coming from two sources: advertising and selling his own fitness plans.

“Every time I post, I’m trying to make as much money as possible from that post. I’m trying to get as many people from Instagram to my website. That’s the aim of the game every time.

“I simply earn money from a website [with diet and fitness plans]. It’s simple, fast but big money: ‘a low day is like £500 worth [of plans] a day.’

 On top of his “low day”, Dickerson advertises products. He can command $300 for a two hour time slot, after which he deletes the post. The longer the picture stays up, the more it costs. Despite the selfie bravado, he’s refreshingly upfront – and humble – about all of this. “It’s ridiculous money, I know people who work their asses off for weeks for that’, he tells me.
Zanna Van Dijk is one of Instagram’s success stories.
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Dickerson’s Instagram account is a business. It’s not a behind the scenes insight into the life of a muscular man, and it’s not an earnest collage of what he’s desperate to share with the world. It’s a cash generator. Despite this, he’s reluctant to “sell out” as he describes it.

“I could be earning so much more money if I wanted to. All I’d have to do is sell out. I’ve been offered silly money to post things on my Instagram like teeth whiteners. But I always say no. I could be making an extra 5 grand a month, but I’d look like a sellout.”

Another Instagramer I spoke to, Zanna Van Dijk, has similarly gained huge success from her fitness profile. She too revels in big sponsorship deals with the likes of Adidas . Microsoft MSFT +0.67% and Tommy Hilfiger.

“It started for me with companies approaching me. They would email me -I left my email on my profile- and they would just email and ask to collaborate. In the beginning it was free products in exchange for posts, but then as you get bigger and get more followers, it turns into collaborations and working on projects.”

Dickerson and Van Dijk, whilst operating on a more professional level, are not alone. Thousands of Instagramers are trying to ‘crack’ the platform and hit the fitness highs of success stories like Jen Selter. On the less glamorous side, armies of wannabes post and chase advertising deals, with varying results.

Recently, a friend’s wife, with fewer than 500 followers, was approached by a ‘healthy’ drinks company asking her to pose with said beverage for a free crate of drinks. I suspect this is not uncommon. Instagram isn’t the sole platform that these advertisers operate on, it’s common across all social channels. Indeed, many of these pictures that are used on Instagram are then re-posted to Twitter TWTR +7.25% andFacebook FB -0.48%.

Ross Dickerson on Instagram

There are clear and strict rules about posting adverts on social media, which, in effect state that they have to be labelled as such. The Federal Trade Commission, which regulates advertising in media in the US,updated its guidelines last year to reflect the growing number of native adverts on social media.

In the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority has a similar remit to the FTC. Their position is clear too.

“If you write about how much you like something you bought on your own and you’re not being rewarded, you don’t have to worry. However, if you’re doing it as part of a sponsored campaign or you’re being compensated – for example, getting a discount on a future purchase or being entered into a sweepstakes for a significant prize – then a disclosure is appropriate.”

Van Dijk follows the law, her adverts are marked with the appropriate hashtags. But many don’t, including Dickerson.

Last March retailer Lord & Taylor design fell afoul of FTC rules by organising a social media campaign by paying 50 popular Instagram influencers to wear a Lord & Taylor dress with the hashtag “OOTD” (outfit of the day). The bloggers were paid to wear the dress, the captions were vetted by Lord & Taylor, which stipulated that “@lordandtaylor” was tagged.

Nowhere was it made clear that these were adverts with the typical #ad or #sponsored labels. By most metrics the campaign was a success, the dress quickly sold out. However the FTC saw it differently and came down on Lord & Taylor hard, which resulted in a settlement and admission from Lord & Taylor that it  had fallen afoul of FTC rules.

Source: www.forbes.com

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“A low day is like £500” says Ross Dickerson, a muscle-bound fitness entrepreneur and avid Instagramer. Ross is not alone, and perhaps it’s not news, that more and more Instagramers are scrambling to make a fast buck from a picture of their abs. And the barriers to entry are dropping...