Instagram has created a subscription model so that Instagram Creators can monetize their content. Followers can subscribe to your account for a monthly fee, and you can create exclusive content to share with your subscriber community.
As a craft entrepreneur you’re wearing a lot of hats: innovator, creator, marketer, accountant, distributor, teacher, and more. As part of these responsibilities, you’re likely spending time developing strategy and content for social media platforms, so you can share your expertise and products with your customers.
For the most part, that content creation can lead to increased sales, but it doesn’t generate income in and of itself. But that is changing. In the last few years, Facebook and Instagram built programs to allow content creators to monetize their own content, and reap rewards for this time consuming process.
Let’s look at the ins and outs of Instagram’s new subscription feature and how your craft business can use this service as a new revenue source.
What is an Instagram Subscription?
Instagram has created a subscription model so that Instagram Creators (that’s you!) can monetize their content. Followers can subscribe to your account for a monthly fee, and you can create exclusive content (Lives, Stories, Badges, Reels, Group Chats, and more) to share with your subscriber community. If you’ve joined a Patreon or any other subscription community before, this is very similar, but all on Instagram’s existing platform.
How can I use an Instagram Subscription?
An Instagram Subscription can enable you to build a closer relationship with your most engaged followers, and add another monthly revenue stream to your existing business. Not only can you reward your subscribers with bonus content and access, you can also enjoy the benefits of getting real time feedback from your most loyal fan base. Learn who engages with your content the most, ask questions to find out what your audience truly values, and allow this data to guide you as you continue to develop products and services.
Not sure what features to offer in your subscription? Here are a few ideas:
- Offer one-on-one instruction or small classes just for subscribers. If you teach classes, work on your own schedule from anywhere, and share your tutorials with subscribers – get rewarded for content you’re already creating!
- Everyone LOVES behind the scenes content. You don’t need to give away your “secret sauce,” but sharing everything from a day in your life, to packing up orders, to taking your raw materials and turning them into your amazing product make for great exclusive content for your most dedicated followers. Everyone wants to see a little bit of the magic you make happen!
- Heading somewhere special (your favorite quilt show, your first scrapbooking convention, a much-loved yarn festival)? Take your subscribers with you! Giving them a front-row, VIP pass (what you’re seeing, who you’re meeting, what you’re doing, and more) is a great way to keep your most loyal fans in the know. Bonus: give them sneak peeks at things they might not otherwise see!
- Reward your subscribers with exclusive merchandise, early access to new releases or special coupon codes as thanks for their support. Not only will they enjoy the perks, they’ll be more likely to keep purchasing from you!
- Want to share more about your creative process? Or how your followers can use your products to make their lives easier or solve a problem they’re facing? Host a Q&A session and learn what they really want to know the most about! Bonus: you may find out where you could clarify and improve your marketing efforts to appeal to more customers.
- Host a crafter’s hangout or a craft-along – get together with your fans and hang out together while crafting. They’ll love the VIP access, and you’ll get a chance to get inspired by what all your fans are making!
- Want to know what your customers want? ASK them! Hold a feedback session asking them for input on what they’d like to see more of or where they could still use help. What are their biggest frustrations? What do they dream of doing? Can you help?
- Let your most dedicated fan base help drive what you create with collaborative content! Let them name your next colorway, help select fabrics for your next quilt, or choose what video tutorial you create next. The possibilities are endless.
Have we convinced you yet? Here’s how you get started.
How do I enable subscriptions on my Instagram account?
To see if you’re eligible for Instagram subscriptions, go to your Professional Dashboard. If you meet the eligibility criteria (see the Instagram FAQ for more details), you’ll see an option for “Set up Subscriptions” on your account. You’ll be able to set your monthly subscription price and a “Subscribe” button will be added to your profile page. See the example below from Lauren, also known as @motherofpurl1 on Instagram, a Fiber Artist, Knitwear Designer and Indie Dyer.
Fiber Artist, Knitwear Designer and Indie Dyer Lauren, aka @motherofpurl1 offers an Instagram subscription for added content.
One note: you can change your subscription price at any time but, at least right now, subscribers will always pay the price at time of signup. So if you raise your prices, newer subscribers will pay the higher rate, but previous subscribers will continue at their original price.
Now it’s time to create exclusive content for your subscribers. Remember: you can offer exclusive Lives, Posts, Reels, Stories, Badges, Broadcasts, Group Chats and more. Here’s a handy primer from Instagram on how to do each.
To find out if anyone you currently follow has a subscription available, head to your profile page on the Instagram app on your phone. Click “Following” and you’ll see an option showing who offers subscriptions. If you’re curious who’s using Instagram subscriptions already, we found a few accounts that look interesting!
- Lavanya Patricella – Artist, Knitting Pattern Designer, Gardener and Photographer
- Wing and a Prayer Farm – Shepherdess, Yarn Farmer, Alchemist, Artist, Natural Dyer, Author and Baker
- Mimi N. Macrame – Fiber Artist, Educator
- Art You Hungry – Nneka Jones, Activist Artist
- My Pretty Brown Doll – Yolonda Jordan, Black Crochet Doll Designs and Crafty Influencer
- Terry Runyan – Visual Artist and Creative Encourager
We hope we’ve answered your questions about Instagram subscriptions and made a compelling case why you might want to add it to your portfolio. If you have additional questions or want to learn more, check out these videos from creators themselves telling you why and how they use Instagram subscriptions.
Laura Cameron for Stitchcraft Marketing