There’s no doubting the lucrative nature of Instagram influencing. Especially with the new Instagram live badges.
Savvy marketers, organizations, and celebrities have been monetizing the visually inclined social media platform with plenty of success.
With online influencing, Instagram is like a powerful, heavyweight boxer.
Through hashtags, geotagging, and generally vast audiences, it packs one heck of a marketing punch.
Don’t fret though, you don’t have to worry about getting hit in the face—unless it’s with genius advertising campaigns.
People in today’s landscape respond as well to direct advertising as children do to being told to eat their vegetables.
Neither the Michelin Man nor the Dos Equis guy has the same impact they once did on our purchasing decisions.
Instead, most of us trust the individuals we choose to follow.
Yes, I know our parents love to complain about how much time we spend in front of a computer or mobile screen.
But they’re usually saying it during a Facetime conversation after making a purchase on Amazon.
Instagram leans into its role as a marketing platform.
Because failing to do so would be like saying “no” to free money. Or like not taking advantage of affiliate marketing.
Thus, the platform wants to give every influencer the tools to maximize their reach, revenue, and overall success.
It’s like performance-enhancing drugs without the big veiny muscles.
One of these tools is called Instagram Live Badges.
So, let’s throw on our reading snorkels and take a deep dive into this subject:
What are the new Instagram live badges?
Essentially, Instagram Live Badges are “tips” that can be doled out during live streams to the influencer putting forth the content.
However, this is really just the “tip” (pun fully intended) of the proverbial iceberg concerning what this handy tool/feature can do for businesses, content creators, and influencers.
This monetization concept has taken its cue from Twitch and TikTok, which both offer similar functions.
It’s like how Led Zeppelin stole all their songs from blues artists from the 1920s—they still made the music their own…kind of.
With a 70% increase in Live stream views between February and March this year, Instagram started salivating like a child seeing a briefcase filled with candy.
It’s now possible for an influencer’s audience, whether they’re new viewers or loyal followers, to purchase a badge during an Instagram Live video stream.
The badge will stand out in the comments (as seen above) while unlocking other exciting features. These include being placed on a badge-holder list and earning a special heart.
The reason something like the badge-holder list can pay tremendous dividends is that creators can shoutout these people during Live Streams.
That will allow audiences to feel “part of the show,” so to speak.
With these little perks, followers can show their appreciation to creators while enjoying that unique sense of “VIP” and exclusivity.
Sure, it’s not the same as sipping Hennessy at a rock-and-roll after-party.
However, it establishes a vibe that makes audiences feel involved with a broader community.
Really, these brand-new badges just began rolling out in June, and are available to select businesses and creators.
Any influencer would be wise to jump in on the ground floor.
After the rollout phase, it’s expected for the badges to expand throughout the US, Brazil, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Spain, and Mexico.
A helpful boost for businesses and creators during COVID-19
Part of the reason these badges have come into play is due to the mass COVID-related shutdowns preventing many individuals from earning revenue in more traditional ways.
Because of this change in what everyone perceives as “normal,” it’s necessary to adapt to the post-COVID world.
Under that same line of thinking, I wonder if Instagram is thinking about marketing their own hand sanitizer.
Furthermore, audiences are more appreciative of streamed content right now.
We’re all discouraged from going outside our homes to obtain services, buy products, or enjoy entertainment.
There needs to be something to fill those voids – that doesn’t also require a hazmat suit.
Given the state of the world, Live viewers have been more generous than ever with likes, comments, and donations.
Instagram has noticed this trend – thus, the badge initiative was born.
It’s a stream of revenue that will likely continue as buildings re-open.
After all, it’s not like people will be hysterically filling the streets, consequences be damned.
They’ll still be hesitant and more than willing to stay home.
Making money with Instagram badges
Now that these badges are slowly but surely being rolled out, they can be obtained at these three separate levels:
- One heart for $0.99
- Two hearts for $1.99
- Three hearts for $4.99
Viewers, based on the number of available hearts, can make purchases.
During the beginning stages of this rollout, it’s expected that creators will get 100% of the revenue they earn from sold badges.
With this tool comes a chance for creators to earn money with every single Instagram Live stream they host.
Of course, it is worth pointing out that this feature won’t be available without the use of Instagram Live streams.
If you haven’t been putting forth this kind of content?
Then it’s time to channel your inner Jimmy Fallon, Lucille Ball, or Ru Paul and find a way to work it in front of the camera.
How to install the Instagram live badges on your profile
Currently, Instagram is being a bit picky and choosey about who gets these badges.
This lack of availability is because the initiative is still in the testing and rollout phase, with promises for expansion in the following months.
Anyone who wishes to be part of the testing phase and start earning revenue in this capacity must click here.
Clicking through will bring you to a form that you must fill out for early access.
You merely have to enter your Instagram handle and your related email account. Keep in mind there’s no guarantee that your application will be accepted at this point.
Anyone chosen to be eligible for using the badge will have it made available to them in their account.
Don’t fret if it doesn’t work out.
I know you want your chance to bring in some of the badge-related bread.
But patience is a virtue.
4 tips to get more live badge purchases
Like any marketing collateral or revenue stream, using the right techniques is integral to reaping the full benefits.
Merely installing the badge or filling out a form and leaving everything up to the fates isn’t enough.
Fortunately, I feel perfectly at home when discussing marketing tactics and driving sales. And I have four suggestions that’ll help you with selling these badges:
Tip #1: Engage with those who’ve already purchased live badges
I’ve already pointed out how, when someone purchases a badge, they appear on a list for creators to see, offering a chance to give shoutouts.
Undoubtedly, that’s one way to incentivize the purchase of Live Badges.
Still, such a method can’t stand alone as the only form of engagement with Instagram audiences.
Don’t get me wrong, shouting out badge-buyers is a tremendous start.
But Instagram offers so many other opportunities to reach out to followers.
For instance, there are DMs, wherein creators can send a personalized, well-branded thank you to those who buy badges.
Furthermore, there’s a chance to tag these individuals in stories and Instagram posts.
Why do this if these people have already bought badges?
There’s something called the Pareto principle, which (quite accurately) suggests that businesses receive 80% of their revenue from 20% of their base.
It’s a creator’s most loyal followers who will continue to show their appreciation and seek out the perks that come with it.
Taking the time to engage with these people shows that their purchase and loyalty is appreciated, acting as positive reinforcement for repeat (and profitable) behavior.
Otherwise, eventually, those loyal followers will feel like a mere droplet of water, when they really want to flood you with their love and admiration.
Tip #2: Persistence pays off
First of all, I wish to dispel one notion:
Persistence isn’t the same as being pushy or invasive.
When I proclaim the importance of persistence, I’m not telling creators to harass unsuspecting people in their DMs until they’re willing to purchase badges.
Frankly, that’s just annoying.
And if you did something similar in person, you might get arrested.
Instead, the persistence I’m suggesting is more to do with an influencer’s overall marketing message.
During Instagram Live streams, creators must continually remind audiences of these badges, making it known how helpful it can be.
Writing little reminders about Live Streams with badge functionality will go a long way in stories and posts.
At the crux of this persistence is keeping these badges top-of-mind for audiences.
It wouldn’t be wise for influencers to be too forceful or show a sense of entitlement, expecting people to buy badges.
As opposed to this “pushy” approach, it’s more about performing sales and marketing due diligence – which translates to covering all communication bases.
And remember the old mantra: if at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. Be ready to tweak, pivot, and make adjustments to any original badge-selling strategies.
Tip #3: Open up and connect with your audience
Part of the reason that social media audiences tend to gravitate towards influencers is how different they are from traditional brands.
With the Nikes, McDonalds, and Apples of the world, audiences are presented with over-produced and over-sanitized images they couldn’t possibly relate to.
Conversely, Instagram influencers remove the squeaky-clean veneer and give off the sense of being a “real person.”
Audiences want to support this kind of person because it’s someone they can go have a coffee (or drink 5 bottles of wine) with.
Meaning an influencer’s content should come across as authentic and true to themselves.
Failing to execute in this way will only serve to alienate audiences.
Here’s some advice: look at how Mark Zuckerberg conducts himself on screen.
Then try to do the exact opposite.
In all seriousness, this suggestion doesn’t imply that influencers should go into every video with an off-the-cuff, ad-hoc approach.
When looking to sell badges, there must be a firm strategy in place.
For instance, after COVID-19, everybody’s vulnerable and reeling.
Content creators and influencers can show that they’re affected by these real-life scenarios, much like their audiences.
This will further establish a broader community and help connect on a deeper level with followers.
Tip #4: Restructuring Instagram live content
The way some influencers execute their Instagram Live streams might be tremendous for generating views and obtaining specific kinds of engagement.
Namely, they might receive lots of comments, shares, and likes.
However, it might not be conducive to pulling in revenue from badges.
Therefore, upon installing these badges, it might be necessary for influencers and businesses to analyze their live streams’ monetizing capabilities.
It might be time to move away from the old familiar ways of doing things, embracing some of the techniques that have been discussed above.
Conclusion: Embracing what’s to come
Initially, as Instagram works out the kinks of the rollout of these badges, it will be interesting to see the results they bring to influencers.
The sky should be the limit, but highly destructive comets and acid rain also come from the sky.
Any influencer or creator who’s unable to install the badges yet should keep their ear to the ground to find out the latest updates.
I’ll circle back to my Led Zeppelin example: it’s not about stealing an idea, but instead seeing what works and making it your own when the time comes.
Why reinvent the wheel (unless your wheel is made of chocolate cake, then I say go ahead)?
So, during this time, when it might take longer to install these badges, investigate TikTok and Twitch to see what those influencers do to earn tips.
Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to building a brand-new revenue stream.
I hope this article has proven helpful for anyone reading it, and that we’re all excited for what Instagram Live Badges can do for our businesses and brands.