SNAP CASHY

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Seen through the filter of Instagram, life is a beautiful thing: bright white toothy smiles; sepia-tinted relationships; mouth-watering meals; and snowflakes drifting from the sky in perfect formation.

Of course, these images are a slightly distorted version of life, but it’s a perspective that we’ve clearly bought into – over 200 million people worldwide now use the app, sharing up to 60 million pictures a day.

Like most, I’m quite content sharing a picture of the latest addition to my shoe collection, or a post-workout green juice, but for some users, Instagram is generating more than just likes and comments.

Enter the new generation of professional Instagrammers. Like us, these savvy sharers began using the app for fun, but they’re now cashing in on six-figure salaries and jetting across the globe, snapping pictures and sharing them with their faithful followers. As they do so, the number of users following their accounts has shot through the roof – often hitting the hundreds of thousands.

Statistics reveal that 90 per cent of app users are under 35; more than half of them use it daily; 1,000 comments are posted every second; and 1.6 billion likes are given every day. That’s why global brands and organisations – from fashion labels to charities – are turning to the most popular users in pursuit of a wider audience that’s easily influenced by trends and crazes, while paying an attractive price for their sharing services.

One particular Instagrammer, 25-year-old, New Yorker, Liz Eswein, has over a million followers and demands $1 (64p) per like for each picture she posts on behalf of a brand. In addition to this, she charges a separate fee based on the number of images she takes. Recent sponsored photos have attracted more than 23,000 likes each in just a few days – kerching!

So, as companies such as Amazon and Michael Kors, are realising that one snap on an Instagram account with over 100,000 followers can reach more people than any costly ad campaign could, how can you get your ‘share’ of the action?

Well, the answer lies in the number of organic followers you have. If you’re a normal girl (or guy) hoping to start charging companies to host an image on your account, you need to have fellow users hanging on your every photo.

All you can do is follow the golden rules of social (relevant, engaging, timely content delivering in a searchable and shareable manner) and hope that someone – well, hundreds of thousands of someones – find it interesting!