Getting paid for Instagram posts: How easy is it?

Lexi Harvey asks the social media starlets posting their freebies

What do you use Instagram for? To boast about your latest Topshop haul? To show off how much fun you had last night (before you were sick down your dress, obvs)? To share what you had for lunch, or how cute your dog is?

If you answered yes to the above, then you’re most likely one of the normies who use Instagram to document the best bits of their lives, and share them with three or four hundred followers. It’s a bit of harmless fun, and sometimes you might get a bit jealous of that girl’s new Louboutins (we all know daddy paid for them), or how much that guy who always gets the girls has been working out, but at the end of the day, it’s just another social media site, right? Wrong.

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Out there amongst you normies, with your badly-framed pics of half-eaten burgers and your grainy pre-night out snapshots, lurk the Instagram elite. These are the girls (and boys) who, using nothing but their wit, cunning, and peachy bums, have carefully cultivated thousands up thousands of followers.

With an endless stream of flawless selfies, they have become the people that you envy most – and that you probably sit behind in your lectures without even realising. They have turned a simple hobby into their own personal brand and boy, are they profiting. Ancient legend says that once someone reaches a decent level of followers, people will start to send them things – freebies, clothes, even money. Who wouldn’t want that?

I used to be like you, a normal student with a healthy appetite for Instagram likes. But then I went viral. I shot from 600 to 10k Instagram followers in less than a week, and got a taste of the good life. In among all the drama, a friend told me that once you get to 10k brands will start to pay you for promo. So with a hunger for more followers and passion for selfies, I decided to try out this new-found fame and see what I could get.

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(Still not a model)

After two solid hours of commenting and emailing and negotiating with various brands and businesses, I finally scored a deal. I spoke to a lovely lady who runs an online clothes shop that I’ve been a fan of for a while now, and she promised to send me over a free dress in return for a some promo.

It wasn’t too hard to get a quick profit from my profile, but I get the feeling that I’ve only just scratched the surface. Meet the girls who are doing it right.

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Free dress just for some Insta poses — result

Georgia Bayliss, 20, Manchester

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Georgia is Manchester-based model with an impressive arsenal of 55.3k Instagram followers, as well as over 6,000 Twitter followers. She started receiving freebies once she reached 10k followers and put her email address in her bio, and now her poses mean she rarely has to buy her own clothes.

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Although she used to promote every product she received, she can now afford to be picky. “I loved the thought of being sent loads, but as I work two jobs it’s hard for me to promote everything now, as I hardly have any spare time.”

Georgia is often paid in return for her promotions by PayPal or bank transfer, but refuses to reveal just how much she receives for fear of it affecting her contracts. She’s also allowed to keep all of the clothes and products that she is sent.

She says: “My favourite gift was eyelashes from Eylure. They sent me like 30 pairs which I know every girl would love. I also got sent an expensive watch, that was amazing.”

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When asked how she felt about her online success, Georgia said: “It’s amazing. I feel very lucky, although some people hate on you for it, so there’s good and bad.

“But I can’t complain for getting paid to post. Social media is so influential these days so it’s good to be a part of it.”

Georgia Foulkes-Hartley, 20, Manchester

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Boasting just under 8k followers, Law student Georgia first started to receive items in February, when she had only 2.5k.

She says “A Manchester based clothes company liked my Instagram and sent me a few items. I got tagged on their page and hundreds of people then followed me. [The gifts] depend on the company. Some will pay you a fee and some will gift you with any clothes you want from that company.”

There are a lot of benefits from having a large Instagram following, Georgia says: “I think all the things I get sent are great. In the summer I didn’t pay for one item of my holiday wardrobe.

“There’s also a bit of a darker side where people, strangers can send you DM’s or comments that are really negative and mean.”

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For Georgia it’s all about striking the balance between her online life, as a blogger, and living in the real world, where she studies Law at Manchester.

She says: “Being a blogger or making money on Instagram is not my main priority. I’m working hard at my Law degree and that’s where my attention is. What I want everyone to realise is it should all just be fun. Sending hate to girls on Instagram just because they have a discount code for a brand is just silly.”

Amelia Rushmore-Perrin, 19, London

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Student, journalist and Miss Great Britain competitor Amelia, has just over 7k followers, and says that while she has never been paid to promote on her Instagram, she has “been offered products to review and take photos with, some of which I’ve taken and some I haven’t.”

She has also been offered shoots and jobs by companies who have seen her Instagram.

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Amelia admits to having seen the negatives of this side of Instagram, too, saying “It really showed me how fake the world of Instagram promoting is when a very popular health supplement company tried to get me to promote them.

“I told them I never go to the gym and don’t eat healthily so it wouldn’t be right for me and they still tried to get me to do it.”

Despite this, she still enjoys what she does, and doesn’t take it too seriously. Amelia said: “Instagram will be dead in a few years and I wouldn’t want to look back like ‘wow so glad I stuck to my integrity and missed out on thousands of pounds for an app that no one uses anymore’.”

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