You probably know of Meeta Vengapally as the CEO and founder of Garnysh, a Silicon Valley-based fitness and technology company that uses real-time tracking and analytics to support fitness goals. What you probably didn’t know was that Meeta is also basically the queen of Instagram.
As if founding a startup weren’t enough, Meeta has managed to turn her Insta- gram talents into a second business, becoming one of the top influencers on the social media platform. We’re going to explore the ways in which Meeta has tak- en a fun hobby to the a whole other level, and how you, as well, can turn your photos into a side profession.
Making Bank on the IG
Essentially, how does one make money on Instagram? By being supported by brand names. Meeta has managed to work with thousands of brands and has turned her Instagram page into something of a billboard, highlighting the brands that she’s sponsored by, showcasing products that she loves, and trying out new things that her followers might be interested in.
For Meeta, all of this began as a kind of side hustle; something to complement her efforts to kickstart Badazz Bod, her fitness-tracking app. From those humble beginnings, Meeta has reviewed over half a million dollars-worth of products.
When I asked Meeta just how much money she herself has taken home from all of this, she refused to comment. So from that you can pretty much guess that, yes, Meeta Vengapally is making bank.
Just a Side Job?
Now, keep in mind that while this Instagram empire was being built, Meeta was seriously busy. Testing and perfecting a new fitness app is not for the faint of heart. A huge wall was hit during the process when, through v1 testing, her team discovered that adding nutrition tracking to the app was counterproductive, and the entire outlook of her product had to change. Returning to the drawing board, Badazz Bod, currently being tested across the globe, is now proving to be
one of the most exciting fitness apps on the horizon. Although responses to the app have been great, Meeta is still hard at work with tweaking and improve- ments. And through it all, the Instagram Queen still reigns.
We’re going to talk a bit about monetizing social media here, but trust me, it isn’t easy to do. There are people with millions of followers who still don’t make a lot of money from Insta, but Meeta with her humble 144K still seriously rakes in the cash. Although Meeta gets countless requests from agencies (hundreds regu- larly), she still finds it impossible to keep up with all the demand. “I’ve a small team in place that deals just with all this and handles all logistics, and then it’s a matter of the photoshoot, taking pics and approving it . . . ”
So Many Products, So Little Time
To be specific, Meeta isn’t trying out pet products or car parts. Meeta Vengapal- ly is a wildly successful model as well as businesswoman, and because of her beautiful pictures, most of the requests come in the form of fitness, lifestyle, and fashion products, as well as requests from companies that own apps and tech products. All of this attention isn’t just due to a pretty face and flattering pic- tures; Meeta’s opinion and input are highly valued on social media, and that’s why these companies want to have their products in her photos, as well as her honest opinion about the quality of these products.
Can you do this at home? Sure, if you have a photographer and makeup and hair artists as Mrs. Vengapally does. It’s a collaborate effort between her and her team. If you’re planning on starting your own Instagram empire, you must keep in mind that there’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into it and it will re- quire the expertise of others.
Packages Keep Arriving
What is so amazing about Meeta’s case is that she is one of the most sponsored persons on Instagram and many would argue that, although we don’t have the numbers, she’s more sponsored than many celebrities. How is this possible, do you ask? It’s a bit of a mystery, but many would argue it comes down to person- ality, drive, and being the purveyor of good taste.
In terms of the Insta success, Meeta is not slowing down or backing down any time soon. Special occasion? Presents come in the mail. Birthdays? There’s go- ing to be packages at the door. Mother’s Day? More items to review. This may all seem like fun and games to the outside eye, but every time Meeta accepts a new sponsor or brand, it means a great deal of work on her end. Meeta also has two children, and she accepts items to review for them, as well. All of this comes down to dedication; photographing the items, giving them an honest review, and all in a polished, professional way that these companies crave.
And polished is the word here, because if you take a look at Meeta’s posts you can see just how high-class they really are. #MeetaMoment gives you a glimpse of how she was able to turn a social media platform into a viable profession in and of itself.
It’s All About the Monetizing
You’re probably asking yourself, for someone who has an impressive but still comparatively modest following on Instagram, how does Meeta manage to ob- tain so much success? The truth is that whether you have 1K or 100K followers on Insta, you can still make some cash. Similar to bloggers and YouTubers, any- one can have an influence on their social media platform that has a far-reaching effect, gaining companies’ attention.
If you’re interested in exploring this avenue, you need to do what Meeta has ac- complished so expertly, and that’s to find out what niche you fall into. For Mee- ta, it’s health, beauty, motherhood, and entrepreneurism. This can be highlighted in the hashtags that she uses. Not only do you need to find your niche, but you also need to have followers that are highly engaged in your platform. For Meeta, this means responding to comments from active followers on a consistent basis.
Birth of the Influencer
Did you know that top Instagrammers can make thousands of dollars per post? This is possible once you become what’s called an “influencer.” This word is thrown around a lot these days, and basically it means someone that has built an online reputation, as Meeta has, by sharing and doing amazing things online. An influencer is a trendsetter, a trusted expert, and a valued online personality.
In today’s modern world, major brands actually can’t compete with influencers. A Cover Girl ad with a popular celebrity is not as powerful as it used to be thanks to social media. When major brands, or even smaller brands, partner with influencers, they create a larger net that reaches the online community in a way that traditional advertising cannot. This is also a wonderful way for brands to get the word out about new products.
But Meeta is a remarkable example of how it’s not so much the size of your In- stagram following as it is the level of engagement that you have with your audi- ence, and how much they trust and value your opinion. Although it seems like Meeta began this whole journey as a kind of side job, it was actually the genius behind her success. With other methods of income, Meeta had the freedom to really define her niche and be selective about the products that she chose. This level of specificity and authenticity resonated with her followers, and this was reflected in the kinds of companies that reached out to her.
Passion is Required
So, you may be asking yourself now how you can reach out to brands and get your Insta nation started. The truth of the matter, as it is with most things in life, is that you don’t reach out to brands; they reach out to you.
While speaking to Meeta, it was apparent that not only was this a business, it was also a passion for her, and that’s key. Because her passion shows through, it resonates with her followers and also the companies that reach out to her. Her photos are glamorous, fun, and endearing. They’re also personal, and spending a few minutes on Meeta’s page gives you a very clear idea of who she is as a woman, mother, and CEO. Time and care are put into each photo, and so you can see with this level of attention how it is that Meeta Vengapally is the reign- ing queen of Instagram.