There’s no hiding it; Instagram is one of my favorite social media channels. Not only is it a great way to share your life with friends and family and promote your business, but it’s also an awesome way to make a lot of money.
Best of all, you don’t need a big following, and there are several ways to earn an income. This article discusses how to make money on Instagram using seven of my favorite strategies:
- Get paid for sponsored posts.
- Promote affiliate links.
- Start an Instagram shop.
- Make money from your content.
- Become an Instagram coach.
- Advertise your brand.
- Teaching your audience.
Ready? Let’s get to it.
Why Should You Learn How to Make Money on Instagram?
Instagram remains one of the most popular social media apps, and despite rivals like TikTok, it’s standing strong.
In fact, in the fourth quarter of 2021, Instagram app installs beat its former all-time high by ten percent. The platform’s active user numbers are equally impressive. Instagram can now boast 500 million active daily users. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
If the sustained growth of Instagram wasn’t enough to convince you that it’s a great platform to make money on, maybe the comments of Mark Zuckerberg can convince you. At the company’s first Creator Week in June 2021, he said of Instagram: “Our goal is to be the best platform for creators like you to make a living,”
For many Instagram influencers, that’s exactly what’s happening.
There’s more good news for potential influencers. You don’t need to be a mega-celebrity to make money on Instagram. Plenty of micro-influencers with followers in the thousands make a decent income through the seven strategies I detail in this article.OK A CALL
What You Need to Make Money on Instagram
There are three things you need to make money on Instagram: reach, influence, and engaged followers.
Reach and Influence
The only reason businesses pay money to Instagram users is the exposure to the audiences they receive in return. For it to be worth their time, these brands are only interested in influencers with large audiences. The bigger the audience, the more money they can make.
If you only have a few hundred Instagram followers to begin with then your potential audience size is low. With such a small sample space, your content doesn’t get seen by lots of people, let alone drive sales to your or a brand’s products.
To get started, you definitely need at least a few thousand followers to make money.
Sure, more followers boosts your ego. Mathematically, it increases your probability of appearing in more Instagram feeds. However, a large follower count doesn’t necessarily mean high engagement, and shadowbanning on Instagram can leave you with little to no reach.
The problem is, if everyone is cold to your posts, they probably aren’t likely to buy anything you promote.
If you rarely get people commenting, liking, sharing, and following you on your Instagram account, then it doesn’t matter how big your following is: your chances of making money are slim.
On the other hand, even if you only have 1,000 followers and they’re actively engaging with your posts, the potential to make money is there. It means brands want to invest in you because of the profitable actions you can drive through your account.
How to Make Money on Instagram: Seven Methods
Okay, so now you know why I think Instagram is a great platform to make money on, and with its vast audience, you might be asking yourself, can you make money on Instagram?
Below I detail seven methods explaining how to monetize your Instagram account and get some money rolling in.
1. Become an Influencer and Earn From Advertising Products
Who hasn’t heard of Instagram influencers? Using influencers is perhaps one of the easiest ways to position yourself well and start making money from the social media giant.
Again, it isn’t viable for people with a few hundred followers. As I stressed earlier, you need a minimum following of about 3,000 followers and a high engagement rate.
To start building followers, all you have to do is post pictures of your interests. Ideally, these images show your personality, helping you establish a glamorous personal brand. If you’re interested, I have a whole blog showing you how I build followers on Instagram.
Sure, you can follow a planned marketing strategy, but Instagram followers love it when you’re true to your authentic self. As you share pictures and build your influence organically, relevant brands are likely to come knocking, rather than the other way round.
Once you satisfy these criteria, here’s a simplistic version of how to make money on Instagram;
- you create a sponsored Instagram post, say a photo or video
- you include a branded hashtag, mention, or link to promote a brand
- you share it with your audience
- The brands pays you
Just one warning going into this, though: don’t pursue sponsored posts simply to make money without believing in the brand you’re promoting.
Furthermore, too many sponsored posts can deter your audience and lead to a loss of trust in your brand. For example, if you’ve built a following based on visiting fast-food restaurants and writing greasy food reviews—suddenly partnering with a weight-loss brand is a major conflict.
Simple enough to remember, right?
Let’s look at a few people who do this well in real life.
Adam Gonon is a fashion and lifestyle influencer from New York. With over 115,000 followers, he certainly doesn’t have the biggest audience in the world, but that doesn’t stop him from creating sponsored content every few days.
You don’t have to promote fashion or other lifestyle products to get paid for sponsored posts, either.
Amanda Holtzer is a health, diet, and nutrition influencer who works with brands like Costco and Juice Press to create sponsored content.
Her audience isn’t huge, but Holtzer is still successful, attracting hundreds of likes and decent engagement.
2. Promote Affiliate Offers
Affiliate marketing is similar to sponsored posts. The difference is that you only get paid if people buy the product or service you’re promoting, rather than receive payment for your post. Instead, you earn a commission if people purchase the product or service you’re promoting.
There are positives and negatives to both approaches, and your success often depends on your audience.
While sponsored posts deliver you a guaranteed income, you could make a lot more by promoting the right affiliate offer; Weigh up the pros and cons of both methods before deciding which works for you, or just experiment over time.
However, if you opt for Instagram affiliate marketing, don’t go thinking it’s easy.
It’s much harder than running ads on your website. Not only do you require a launch audience, but Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links anywhere except your bio. The only way to promote an offer and ensure you receive the affiliate income you’re due is by using promo codes. It is easy to add these to your post or story since they are trackable. Of course, you still need your followers to visit the affiliate website on their own.
3. Start an Instagram Shop
An Instagram Shop lets you integrate your e-commerce store with your Instagram profile. This is the only way you can promote your products directly to Instagram followers through your posts, Stories, the Explore tab, and the Shop tab on your profile.
Once, there were large amounts of friction for e-commerce store owners wanting to sell through Instagram, but not anymore. Instagram Shopping completely removes friction, letting customers easily check out products in the app and then head to your store at the click of a button.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say you’re a clothing store and you want to promote an outfit. Simply upload a picture of your model wearing your outfit, and Instagram lets you tag up to five products per post (you can tag up to 20 products per carousel.) You can also promote products in stories and videos.
I would like to show you one specific Instagram page that’s completely killing it.
It’s called Doug the Pug. As the name implies, it’s all about the life of one of the Internet’s coolest and cuddliest pugs, Doug.
This page chronicles Doug’s life and takes followers along on his adventures. Currently, Doug the Pug has 3.7 million followers. Doug has his own book entitled Doug the Pug: King of Pop Culture (which is pretty impressive considering that he can’t actually write.) He even does appearances all around the country.
In other words, Doug’s owner has created a massive brand.
Guess what? The popularity they generate centers around their Instagram page. With 3.7 million followers, you can bet that they’re driving plenty of high-quality traffic to the store and consequently getting paid handsomely for it.
This is a brilliant example of how to make money from Instagram by building a brand from scratch. Doug the Pug is a template you could use to launch your own brand and sell from your online store.
Just use your creativity and come up with an interesting angle that excites people and makes them eager to invest in your brand.
Although you need to dedicate a significant amount of time with this method, it can pay dividends once you establish a large and loyal audience, and it gives you multiple ways to monetize your brand later on.
4. Make Money From Your Content
Just like YouTube, you can monetize your content directly on Instagram. Try one of the three below options.
Still wondering how to make money on Instagram? Videos could be your answer.
In recent years, Instagram has made steps toward simplifying its videos. For users, that means an end to IGTV ads and a move to Instagram videos.
Instagram videos merge feed videos and IGTV. Business profile users can access them via a tab on their account profiles, and you can upload videos in the usual way.
This feature offers many benefits, including:
- people and location tracking
The changes also mean video previews are 60 seconds long unless the video qualifies for ads, then the 15-second preview limit remains. Eligible creators can then make money on Instagram through Instagram In-stream ads, which replace IGTV ads.
There are a ton of ideas for creating Instagram videos. Here are a couple of ideas:
- Use videos on Instagram for marketing purposes to showcase your products or services. For instance, you could give a quick tour of your office or warehouse, demonstrate a product, or feature a customer testimonial.
- Another way to make money with Instagram videos is by creating content for other brands. If you’re a talented videographer or creator, why not consider creating engaging and original content for their social media platforms, including Instagram?
If you broadcast live on Instagram, Badges are a fantastic way for your followers to show their support. Think of them as tips your audience can give you when you broadcast. Your viewers can buy a badge during a broadcast, selecting from three levels of hearts that each have a different price point (one for $0.99, two for $1.99, or 3 for $4.99.)
Badges have gone down well with creators. Fitness influencer @charleeatkins said: “Badges in Instagram couldn’t have come at a better time for fitness creators like me. It’s an easy way to channel the love we already see in our Live feeds so we can continue building and creating for our fans.”
Patreon and SubStack
You don’t have to rely on Instagram’s in-platform features to pay your bills. Third-party sites like Patreon and Substack are another awesome way to make money from your content. In both cases, you want to give away a ton of free value on Instagram before encouraging your audience to follow you on one of these two platforms for exclusive content.
5. Become an Instagram Coach or Consultant
If you’re killing it on Instagram and have a massive, engaged following, why not make money by teaching others to do the same?
People want to know how to make money on Instagram—it’s why I’m writing this article, after all. If you know how to do it, and have done so yourself, you can make a lot of money.
Take a look at Foundr as an example.
Right now, Foundr has a massive audience of 3.6 million on Instagram. Naturally, since it’s their strong suit, Foundr creator Nathan Chan now sells his Instagram marketing expertise in an online course called Instagram Domination for a whopping price of $1,997.
Given that businesses that are passionate about Instagram marketing follow them, Foundr has a great pool of potential qualified buyers in their audience with them on Instagram. Many of these prospects are likely to pay for their coaching.
The best bit? Anyone can do this if they have a big enough following.
It doesn’t matter if you are a travel blogger, a food blogger, or a marketing consultant — becoming a coach can be highly profitable if you are active in your niche.
6. Indirectly Make Money by Advertising Your Brand
You don’t need a business that’s directly tied to Instagram to generate sales.
Thousands of canny entrepreneurs leverage their Instagram following to make money through a separate business. It really doesn’t matter what kind of business you operate; Instagram is an amazing way to get the word out and generate traffic and sales for your brand.
Instagram is particularly powerful if you have a physical product that you can show people using, or if you’re a service-based business like a travel agent, that can work incredibly well.
The more followers you have, the more people will see your posts and consider using your business in the future.
That said, how do you expand the reach of your Instagram account?
One way is to use hashtags related to your niche or industry. This helps connect with other users interested in the same topics. You can also use geotags to target followers in specific areas.
Working with Instagram accounts that have a similar following to your own is another option; exposing your account to a new audience can help promote the other account too.
Lastly, make sure you upload high-quality images and videos. It makes your account stand out and encourages people to follow you.
7. Teach Your Audience and Get Paid
Promoting other people’s products via affiliate links or selling physical products through an online store are both fantastic options to make money on Instagram. However, what if I revealed there’s a way to earn more money than affiliate marketing without having to handle physical inventory?
Well, there is, and it’s called selling info products.
Info products aren’t popular with everyone, but you don’t need to sell dating advice, weird diets, or low-quality products to make money on Instagram.
If your Instagram account teaches your audience how to do something—whether that’s learning a foreign language, practicing yoga, or woodworking—you can create a premium info product that you can sell for upwards of $100.
There are hundreds of Instagrammers doing this right now. One example is PixArch Studio, which teaches Instagram users advanced graphics courses.
The course helps students develop skills like:
- 3D object creation
- Camera and render set up
- Interior/exterior creation
To promote the course, the creators do a great job of using hashtags and sharing students’ creations on its profile. They also include product demos and explain why you should choose them.
Even though the profile has only got 23k followers, just hours after they posted it, the course attracted almost 2,000 likes.
I suspect it’s partly due to having a defined niche, keen followers, and the use of hashtags. However, the course offers something people benefit from, too.
For example, you can sign up and learn a new skill, perhaps create a side hustle, or further develop your existing business.
To put it another way, the course is valuable, offering something people can learn and grow from.
If you’re thinking of creating a course, think about how you can do the same.
It’s never easy to make money online, but making money on Instagram is easier than a lot of other methods. Instagram has a ready audience of millions, so you’re not building a following from scratch, you can tap into Instagram’s traffic.
The best way to make money on Instagram depends on you and your following. Getting paid for sponsored posts, starting an Instagram shop, becoming an influencer, and affiliate marketing are some of the most popular methods.
The amount Instagram influencers can make varies greatly depending on a number of factors, including their following size, engagement rate, and niche.
The most successful influencers can make $1 million plus, while the average is $2.970.
It’s a simple equation: The more followers you have on Instagram, the more likely you’re to make money. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make some income, even with relatively few followers.
While there is no golden rule, three influencers interviewed by Business Insider said they started making money on Instagram with less than 3,000 followers.
Methods included sponsored posts and affiliate links.
Instagram has been one of the most popular social media platforms for some time, and it’s continuing to launch new and engaging features. In other words, it’s well worth investing your time to learn how to make money on Instagram.
If you can build an audience and establish trust, there are loads of ways to make money on Instagram. With so many potential business opportunities, anyone can learn how to monetize their Instagram account.
Yes, even you.
Which tactic are you going to use to make money on Instagram?
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