Instagram has helped hundreds of people create a fulfilling income in the past few years. One Instagram Personality/Social Media influencer, Tonya Tran, began her Instagram journey while being in the military. Over the past few years, she has created a community of over 101,000 followers and over 1,600,000 million engagements and impressions on social media. Curious about how she was able to do this, we asked her some questions about how she was able to accumulate her community and, in essence, how it has helped her grow a business in music and entertainment.

“There are three main things that have helped me grow my Instagram and business: 1. Connecting with the right companies, 2. Creating educational and useful content, and 3. Starting to monetize.”

We discussed these three in depth, and here’s what we learned.

1Connecting With the Right Companies

Tonya mentioned that, for her, working and associating herself with the right companies helped her following grow because they will tag and repost you, and they usually already have a large following. She said, “This helped me a ton! I used to work for a radio station and their shout-outs really really helped me out. I would get a quick shout-out from them without having to pay for anything, and would wake up to a few hundred or thousand followers. You want to make sure the post is something that people want to follow – something educational – and that’s how my following grew.”

So, what can you do? Try to see who can possibly be a great client for you, and reach out to them. For example, in the music industry, a great way to grow is to message someone who you know can use beats that you make, and offer them some of your work at no cost. Collaborate with them so that they can tag you in their posts and press when it releases, and it can help you grow your credibility and following in return! Another thing that Tonya does that has worked for her is to co-sign or partner with quality people on events, and other business endeavors. This is a great way to grow and network with successful people at the same time.

2Creating Educational and Useful Content That Is Authentic and Genuine

Followers like living in your shoes through social media, and you want to give them that experience. Tonya uses her story and images to tell a story and allow others to live it with her. It’s like almost being Tonya for a day or even for a lifetime! She also makes sure that she’s helping people learn about how she was able to do it so that her followers can take something educational back with them. This is an important part of keeping her followers interested.

3. Start to Monetize

You can have events, in-person meetings, create a website and market online through educational content, and do so many other things to start making money. It really depends on what you want – Tonya says, “I value brand partnerships in the same way I would value my own company. I push out content on any kind of media platform after a sure-shot agreement. ‘Sure-shot’ meaning that I know that this product or company has a chance to succeed. My credibility has been based off my relationships with others. I help companies win. It’s easier to succeed with others, and when I tell you that literally all of my success is because I work with others and build genuine relationships, I mean it. I like to make business simple and uncomplicated.”

So, what can you do? When someone comments on your posts that are more educational saying that it helped them, send them a message and connect with them. See what they struggle with or what their needs are, and see if you can offer some help through your business services or products. You can even start selling your expertise on Instagram! Tonya has recently been working on creating a platform where she can teach her expertise on the music industry, her experiences, the do’s and don’ts, and a bunch of tips and recommendations. Anybody can do this with their own expertise! You just need to make sure you build your brand well, and the above two tips can help you get there.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Luis Garcia is a social influencer, content creator, entrepreneur, and Afghanistan combat veteran. Luis created a global Social media network that grew over 200M followers and founded a digital agency that launches social campaigns for Fortune 500 companies.