Q&A: How to Monetize Instagram

When I graduated, I never thought I'd be doing business anywhere near the creative field, and I certainly never thought social media would be one of the most valuable tools in my own business. Thankfully it is, and it's one of the platforms that I use on a daily basis! There's no textbook on how to best use social media, but that just means there are no standards or limitations. You get to learn by doing, by failing, or by asking. 

A reader did just that and emailed to let me know her Instagram is growing and that brands are starting to reach out for collaborations. Sure, she was happy about being gifted products, but she wanted insight on how to convert those emails into an actual brand partnership. My lightbulbs started going off. I'm fortunate to get asked for my advice so I thought it would be helpful to share it here since so many of us are utilizing Instagram to build businesses.

Q&A: "I've noticed you've done brand collaborations. Could you shed some light on how I should charge or if there's a scale you use to monetize Instagram?"

Because we've been following each other for several years, I was already familiar with this reader's Instagram. Her beautiful photography and consistently authentic aesthetic was sure to garner a huge following in no time. After analyzing her profile, what I noticed was her reader engagement. For one picture, she was receiving close to 1,000 likes and 50 comments from her 5,000 followers. It's no wonder brands were eager to work with her. Here's how I replied:

I'm so glad you're gaining some much-deserved traction and brand interest! You've got a solid following and notable reader engagement. I personally didn't start charging for Instagram posts until I reached 10,000 followers. While there's no standard around this I just thought it was worth a business's investment, whether they were a small company or large. Since you do have significant reader engagement rate, I'd definitely include your average comments and likes per posts. I've also started to analyze how many followers my shout-outs convert into new followers for a brand. For instance, after my Follow Friyay for you I noticed about 300 new followers. So, if you have any additional metrics like that for the previous brands you've worked with, that'll definitely help.

I don't have a scale though that could be useful, but in my reply, I included a sample reply email I've sent to companies that I felt were a good brand fit for Upperlyne & Co.

Hi _____________,
Thank you for introducing me to your company! I'd love to brainstorm ways to work together. I'm currently open to Instagram collaborations as well as blog posts. My personal Instagram account is on track to reaching 10,000 followers by October 2014. This is generally where most of my brand partnerships have most impact. My rate for one styled and plugged (tagged with description) is $_____. We can also discuss more fun ideas for blog posts which will have different rates depending on the breath of the campaign. 

I hope this helps you as you continue to build your personal brands into businesses! And, please share your strategies. I'd love to repost it for everyone to read. xo, Juley

Food: Sausage, Sweet Potato, Sage Frittata

It's Fat Tuesday here in New Orleans, which means we're all nearing the end of the Mardi Gras debauchery and cleaning house. This year is off to a running start with new clients and projects, but one thing I'm dead set on is not letting this blog fall to the wayside. The  busier I get, the more I realize how important it is to grow a team that will continue to bring valuable content here on Upperlyne & Co.

With that said, I couldn't be more thrilled to welcome Leigh Ann Chatagnier of the blog My Diary of Us as our newest food contributor. Leigh Ann is a burgeoning new talent with a knack for developing mouthwatering recipes. One would think she's been in the food business for quite some time, given her impeccable food styling and photography! She's in the middle of a life-changing move to Houston from Baton Rouge and will be sharing her prorcess and tasty recipes with us twice a month. Say Hi to Leigh Ann and check out her first post below! — juley

We are in the middle of planning our big move to Houston in a couple of months and are trying to find a house, which has become quite the task!   With that on top of everything else going on in our lives, finding the time to cook a healthy and delicious meal can sometimes seem like a chore.  When life gets a little crazy, sometimes our diets tend to do the same thing.  That’s why it’s so important to always have a few recipes in your back pocket that are good for you, will keep your energy levels up, that you can prepare in advance, and can eat on for a couple of days.

My Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Sage Frittata is one of my favorite go-to recipes to whip up quickly and to make life a lot easier for an upcoming hectic week.  This recipe is so versatile and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!  Serve it with a side of roasted potatoes, a green salad, or some buttered toast and you have yourself a meal that your whole family can enjoy and feel good about eating.

The flavor combinations are killer and having a recipe like this prepared saves me and my hubby from having to grab something not so healthy on the go.  Give this recipe a try and set your week up for success!

Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Sage Frittata


8 Eggs
 1 Tbsp. Milk
1 Lb. of Spicy Sausage (whatever you have on hand, I used deer sausage)
2 Tbsp. of Sage, Chopped Fine
1 Sweet Potato, Diced Small
1 Onion, Chopped
2 Handfuls of Arugula (you could also use spinach or kale)
1 Cup of White Cheddar Cheese, Grated
 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
 1 Tsp. Kosher Salt, plus another sprinkle
1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In an iron skillet or any oven proof skillet, brown your sausage and then remove from heat.
3. Add your oil, onions, and potato to the pan with the sage and salt.  Cook for about five-ten minutes until potatoes start to become tender. 
In the meantime, beat your eggs and milk with salt and pepper until well combined and frothy.
4. Once potatoes are tenderish (yes it's a word), add your sausage back to the pan and your arugula and stir until wilted.
5. Add your eggs to the pan and stir to combine and put into the oven for about 30-40 minutes until eggs are cooked through and edges are golden.
6. Let cool for about 10 minutes and serve.


Leigh Ann Chatagnier
Food Contributor
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