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What is the Instagram subscriptions feature and how could it benefit course creators?

The creator economy is estimated to be valued at 100 billion and growing with niches thriving on multiple platforms. As social media rushes to keep up with the surge of creators and knowledge entrepreneurs, sites like Instagram are developing more ways for course creators to get paid for their work. Instagram subscriptions is a recent feature that Instagram rolled out. If you're looking for a way to receive a recurring income from your creations, this is worth looking into.

Predictable income is a feat for online course business owners and every content creator's dream. So, in this article, we’ll explore the Instagram subscriptions feature and what it could mean for course creators.

What is the Instagram subscriptions feature?

Instagram subscriptions are a new feature that allows creators to add exclusive content to their profiles. Anything from aesthetic photos to private chats to behind-the-scenes footage can be Instagram subscription content. It’s entirely up to the creator to decide what content will suit their platform best.

Instagram subscriptions are intended to help creators connect more personally with their audience while allowing them to receive recurring income from the curated content.

Originally introduced on Facebook, Meta noted the success of the subscription features with the initial release and decided to add it to Instagram as well. This business model is a part of Meta’s one billion dollar investment into creators and will remain fee-free for users until 2023.

This means that the feature is highly lucrative for Instagram users with professional accounts. In order to be eligible to use Instagram subscriptions, you must be registered with a business account instead of a personal profile.

The key features of Instagram subscriptions focus on creators' ability to push out subscriber-only content. Content includes:

  • Subscriber lives
  • Subscriber badges
  • Subscriber reels
  • Subscriber stories
  • Subscriber posts
  • Subscriber group chats

As it is still a relatively new feature, it’s only available to a small group of creators on the platform and only in the United States.

Similar to how creators receive a subscriber badge to show their status, your follower who pays for an Instagram subscription will receive a badge on their comments and message requests as well. This way, you’ll recognize who is investing in your content.

How Instagram subscriptions work

Subscription prices range from 0.99 to 99.99 US dollars and your profile will have a purple badge to show your audience that they can support you. Once you set the price, the subscribe button will be available on your page for your audience. They will then be able to make an in-app purchase to access your exclusive content.

How to set up subscriptions on Instagram

Before you can set up Instagram subscriptions, you must meet the Partner Monetization Policies and remain in line with Instagram Community Standards and Content Monetization Policies. Some key aspects include:

  • Residing in an eligible country;
  • Complying with community guidelines;
  • Sharing accurate information;
  • Monetizing authentic engagement;
  • Complying with payment terms;
  • Developing an established presence.

Eligible accounts will have the Subscriptions option appear in their professional dashboard. From there, you will also be able to access your earnings and the engagement rates of your audience.

Read more: Using Instagram to boost your online business

How could Instagram subscriptions benefit course creators?

Instagram subscriptions allow course creators to monetize smaller form factors of their content. It could be used as a platform for a video mini-course, or as a way to distribute a daily newsletter to connect with your audience.

Platforms like Instagram are increasing the ways that people can monetize their content and, in the process, lowering the entry requirements to do so. Instagram subscriptions (as they add more content venues) could make the perfect platform to give a live demonstration of online course content and media.

Subscriptions as a tool for growing your online course audience

If your online course is already available on a learning platform, Instagram subscriptions could be used to create top-of-funnel content to help attract new audiences. The Instagram algorithm favors consistent creators and will promote your content on the platform alongside your marketing strategy.

Think of Instagram subscriptions as a potential low-investment lead magnet so people can try out your services. Deciding on the length of your course will be key in this process. If you’re a coach, you could create quick inspirational videos to inspire your audience. If you’re a photography course creator, you could create slideshows of your popular work and share the details about its creation.

The opportunities with Instagram subscriptions are virtually endless when you commit to producing quality content. The content you promote with Instagram subscription features could be optimized with upsells for your premium and full-length courses.

Using subscriptions as an opportunity to create a community

Growing your audience is only one aspect of supporting your online course business. Support happens inside the community.

Until recently, subscription services have largely been content based. Instagram subscriptions is experimenting with changing that. By offering a group chat feature, Instagram aims to open the door for more personal connections to be built inside communities.

The benefits of a tight-knit learner community to support your creations are twofold:

  • A strong connection between creators and followers builds trust, which can lead to sales conversion;
  • A strong connection between creators and followers may inspire you to keep creating, which allows you to continue to build your business.

Connection is a cycle. One that both creates opportunity and opens doors to opportunities that were already there. As you invest in your community, your community invests in you.

Will Instagram subscriptions work for your online business?

The Instagram subscriptions feature is a great option for course creators who favor the subscription business model. It creates the opportunity for immediate recurring income, even if in small quantities. Predictable income is an asset for course creators, especially those just starting out.

As you think about using the Instagram subscriptions feature, ask yourself:

  • Does my content work well with the subscription model?
  • What’s the most efficient way to repurpose content and make it work on Instagram?
  • Do my subscribers engage with my content consistently enough to value a subscription model?
  • Is a monthly revenue model a better way to support my online course business goals?

Paying attention to how your current audience interacts with your content is key to deciding if the Instagram subscriptions feature will work for you. If you’re a newer course creator and growing your audience, it could be a great way to promote your creations for a lower initial cost. If you’ve already established a thriving Instagram account, the subscriptions feature will likely work for you.

Read more: How to use Instagram Reels to promote your e-learning business

Instagram subscriptions for course creators

If you’re actively using Instagram to promote your online course business, Instagram subscriptions could benefit you greatly. It provides a way to establish predictable income and an opportunity to nurture your community of followers with exclusive content. Instagram subscription content could benefit your business if used for growth marketing tactics like lead magnets and repurposing content. Would you try Instagram subscriptions for your online course business?