How to Make Money on Instagram? Here's 9 Different Ideas to Chew On

How to Make Money on Instagram? Here’s 9 Different Ideas to Chew On

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We live in a world of technology, where social media has become a basic part of human life. With the latest gadgets and devices, one can easily access the web at little to no cost wherever we are in the world. In the 20th century, people didn’t have the sort of exposure to the Internet as we do today and social media simply didn’t exist. However, in the modern era of today, these social media platforms have grown incredibly, with a large number of people joining in.

So also has the number of people profiting from them grown by leaps and bounds.

How to make money on Instagram is a topic I literally could not have blogged about until the past few years because of this historical background. After all, even five years ago, it would have been unheard of to own or operate an Instagram shop.  

Instagram has grown to become a groundbreaking avenue for e-commerce. We have co-opted the site and changed it, just like we have changed Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on. Those that “get it” are the ones who are profiting, whether they offer digital goods through their Instagram shop, or provide physical products.

To learn how to make money with this popular social media platform, you must begin by understanding how huge a domain it has become and how the platform captures the interest and attention of its users, from Instagram stories to standard posts and IGTV posts.

The breadth of Instagram

Instagram enjoys a staggering amount of users, sitting comfortably with more than 1 billion monthly users, including large business conglomerates, small and medium business owners, startup entrepreneurs, celebrities, high school or college students, parents, sportsmen–there’s no end to it! more than 75% of businesses in the United States use Instagram, even if they don’t have a dedicated Instagram shop. A lot of people are already profiting from using the popular social media site, and for some it is actually considered a career! It is the 2nd largest social network after Facebook (if we don’t include YouTube and Chinese social media), so forget about the other social networks and let’s focus on Instagram shops and accounts!

So, how does one go about making money on Instagram?

The truth is, if you’re really prepared to invest time and effort, making profit from your account can come easier than you think, and the good news is that you don’t need a gazillion followers. It really depends on your niche, how engaged your followers are, and what channels you choose to dive into. Unlike many other social media platforms, Instagram focuses primarily on the aesthetics of your brand and services, so making money often means having a good eye for appearances. Make sure your Instagram shop or business has plenty of attractive, well-lit, and detailed images! 

Without further ado, here are various ways to make money and to convert your pictures into profit.

Grow Your Instagram Account

First things first: If you want to learn how to make money on Instagram, you first need to learn how to promote your profile and attract followers to your account. While this is not a direct way of monetizing your account, the way an Instagram shop would be, it will surely give you a boost and contribute to your profit in the long run. This is because most brands will like to work with active and engaging accounts who have a good reach of followers and can market their products satisfactorily, and the number of followers you have has a direct relationship with successful Instagram marketing

Thus, the more followers you have, the more people see your posts and user-generated content, giving you a higher chance of converting those views into sales for your brand or for any company that you work on behalf of.

So, how to make money on Instagram is first by starting to grow your account, and as I said earlier, you don’t need a million followers to get started, whether you have a few hundred or a few thousand followers, it will all depend on you.

How to grow your Instagram account?

  • Complete your bio with the appropriate details
  • Post high quality images frequently
  • Use many relevant hashtags on posts
  • Host giveaways
  • Interact with your followers and targeted audience by liking posts and leaving comments.

The final point is critical to expanding your audience. Engaging with original posts can get users to check out your page and possibly turn them into potential customers. Give this a go and be patient as you watch the numbers grow over time.

Let’s move on to the specific nine ways in which you can monetize your account.

1. Become a Social Media Influencer on Instagram and Sell Sponsored Posts and Shoutouts

Become a Social Media Influencer on Instagram and Sell Sponsored Posts and Shoutouts

Being an influencer means being able to ‘influence’ your audience and sway their opinion on trends and products due to your status and the trust you created with your online presence and user-generated content. User-generated content can mean creating posts, but can also mean using other social media accounts to link to, or even having an email list you utilize to spread the word about brands and products you love–with links back to Insta accounts, of course. 

As an influencer, you can offer to collaborate with companies to promote their products or services. Most brands like to work with influencers in order to advertise their product by means of sponsored posts in lieu of direct paid social because of the many benefits of Instagram advertising. Many influencers will combine Insta posts with other types of marketing efforts to increase their revenue, which often includes an email list, Pinterest account, and ongoing content via other social media platforms, from TikTok to Patreon. 

A sponsored post is a post or story which showcases a product, service or brand, which is followed by branded hashtags for the product in view, URLs and captions. Influencers make money from sharing these sponsored posts. In a recent survey of 5,000 influencers, around 42% said they charged $200 to $400 per post. Lots of money is being paid to top influencers for each sponsored post that they publish on their accounts–accounts that are often targeted based on their follower account. 

Therefore, choose a niche that suits your lifestyle and fits your personal image, have a targeted audience and create original content. Most sponsors don’t require any sort of ambassadorship for influencers and if you have a good number of followers, some may even contact you. If you’re having a hard time finding sponsors, there are several online communities which you can join to make it easier to find sponsors, including Shoutcart, TapInfluence, iFluenze, and the list goes on and on. These affiliate networks can help jump-start your efforts to become an influencer, and can take some of the guesswork out of the process.

2. Do Affiliate Marketing on Instagram

Do Affiliate Marketing on Instagram

This is somewhat close to Influencer marketing but unlike influencers, affiliates are more committed to the brand, that is they focus on making sales and not just advertisement or spreading word about the brand, with a commission involved for each sale. You earn a commission whenever you sell a product as an affiliate. This is one of the more popular business models used by people on the site, as it allows people to have an ongoing relationship with a brand or company, and may provide more consistent revenue. 

As an affiliate, you will be provided with a unique URL, which is what the affiliate program will use to track how many people who click your unique link end up purchasing from the site, and therefore how you get your commission. These affiliate links or promo codes are direct links to the product purchase. Affiliate links can be used in a weekly email list, a monthly email list, or just as a link in your bio on your profile, to help your follower count find affiliate links quickly and easily.

The fact that Instagram doesn’t approve clickable links anywhere outside your bio is a thumbs down for affiliate marketing, leaving the promo codes as the best option for affiliates, because they can easily be added into your posts and Instagram Stories (check here for some of the best Instagram Stories examples to emulate!). This way, potential customers only need enter your promo code at checkout to give you your commission, with the customer also gaining a discount on the product. Codes can also be included in email lists or other efforts to connect with your audience outside of the platform itself. 

You should consider using a URL Shortener to customize your unique link promoting your specific affiliate offer and make it more customer friendly, because they can look really bulky and lengthy.
There are several affiliate marketing networks that are offered by online merchants which you could sign up for. You can explore various online affiliate marketing networks to find affiliate programs that suit you. A few of these communities include: ClickBank and Business Conglomerate Amazon’s Affiliate Program to mention a few.

3. Sell Your Photos on Instagram

Sell Your Photos on Instagram

The major focus of Instagram is visual content; therefore, quality and original photos will attract a lot of buyers. These include simple art illustrations, videos and animations, paintings, pictures, selfies and any other form of visual content. From the business profile of a real estate agent trying to sell homes to the business profile of a marketing manager looking to sell their services, everyone needs good looking photos to find success. 

If photography is your cause for Instagram, there are various channels to sell your pictures and stock photos. Marketplaces like 500px or Foap Community are all avenues where it is possible to market your stock images and pictures on Instagram. These pictures will then be licensed (be sure to read their terms and conditions!).

So, if you love photography, this is a great way to sell your work and make money through Instagram. Post your pictures with incisive captions, product tags, and hashtags, add customized watermarks to your pictures, and list the details of the photo so as to capture potential buyers. Explore the marketplace to find out what works best for you.

Even if you are not a pro photographer, if you can learn how to edit instagram photos like a professional, you might be surprised as to how marketable your work might become!

4. Sell Your Instagram Account

Sell Your Instagram Account

Many people are in the business of trading verified Instagram accounts for money, probably because they’ve had enough of Instagram and they need a break, or they have multiple business profiles with thousands of followers (or even hundreds of thousands of followers) and are looking to make good cash.

There are online platforms available such as Fame Swap where you might be able to sell your Instagram account. The rates differ for the platforms and you can explore to find the best price and sell your account for a good sum. Think twice about this one, you never know when you’ll need your Instagram back. I am also not a lawyer, but I assume that this would also be a violation of your user agreement with Instagram, so tread carefully and do this at your own risk!

5. Drive Instagram Traffic to Your Website to Gain Business There

Drive Instagram Traffic to Your Website to Gain Business There

If you own a business and you have a website for the business, Instagram can be a very potent tool to promote that business. Create awareness about your business, post beautiful pictures that can give your business a unique identity, and use that to attract as many as hundreds of thousands of visitors to your website.

If captivated by your social accounts’ content, your target audience will like to know more about your business, hook up your website or blog on your bio, and this will get your visitors to visit your website, creating more awareness for your product and ultimately increasing your conversion rate over time.

Discounts and offers are also a great way to get ahead, because marketing your services through exclusive offers not only increases the conversion, but it can also increase your follower count and grow your page as they get to find offers that are unavailable elsewhere, thereby leading to the overall growth of your business. Advertising revenue can come in from multiple directions, and effective influencers, business owners, and brand managers alike recognize the value of using all of the tools in their arsenal to improve their reach and subsequent revenue. 

Always ensure to include your website link, this is crucial if you want to get that traffic and make those sales! While shoppable posts are not available to everyone yet, use tools like Tailwind’s Smart Bio to create a website link for each of your photos on Instagram.

6. Promote Your Business on Instagram

Promote Your Business on Instagram

Many business owners have harnessed the full power of Instagram to promote their business tremendously, and without having to spend much. No matter the kind of business you operate, Instagram can be used to promote it and get more engagement for your business. It’s all just part of the equation of how to make money on Instagram. 

People are driven by impulse and by what they see, and since Instagram is based on visual content, capturing your audience and potential customers become easier with this innovative tool.

The rate at which your business will grow will depend greatly on the quality of content that you upload. The key to this is bringing out the awesomeness out of your product is through the photos, videos and content. You could sign up for a business account and pay for Instagram sponsored ads, or even create a collaborative relationships with influencers in order to get more awareness and engagement for your business.

This will contribute to the overall growth of your brand and give your business a good and solid reputation. If you can achieve this, making those sales will require less effort.

7. Launch an Instagram Shop to Sell Your Products

Launch an Instagram Shop to Sell Your Products

If you already have a product or service that you have developed, you can utilize a professional account to display, discuss, and feature your products. Launching your own business account can be promoted by linking it to your existing personal account, and by utilizing influencers to spread news about your brand. Whether you have a physical item that you have to manually ship, or you are offering a digital product, it is easier than ever to have an Instagram shop, and by using influencers both large and small, you can grow a solid following, improve your business account’s engagement rates, and create an Instagram shop that continues to grow and expand. 

When launching an Instagram shop, do not expect or only consider large-scale influencers as legitimate partners in promoting your products. Nano- and micro – influencers–people with a solid following of several hundreds to several thousands of followers–can be just as helpful as influencers with millions of followers, provided that they have a trustworthy, consistent relationship with their followers. To effectively utilize the brand-influencer relationship, from micro influencers to influencers with truly enormous followings, make sure your products are visible on your site, and that information about your products or services are easy to understand and easy to find.

8. Dropship to Instagram Users

Dropship to Instagram Users

The concept of dropshipping is that a business owner can own a store without actually needing a physical store. It may seem ironic, but this model is revolutionizing the modern market. You only need a supplier who will directly deliver your products from their warehouse to your customers, thus eliminating the need to hold costly inventory of products.

This process requires the same basic techniques as selling a product, but in this case, you do not need to store any goods or product, making it very convenient for business owners and entrepreneurs who do not own large homes, warehouses, or other storage spaces.

There are various e-commerce platforms, the most popular being Shopify, where it is possible to launch a dropshipping store, most of them coming with a free plan. You need to find a business niche and test the product market to see what sells better. This is a very inexpensive means of owning a business, as you don’t need a huge amount of money to start selling. If you’re looking for ideas, check out this dropshipping platform from China.

There are a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs who are making a decent living from dropshipping, a true product of today’s environment of connected technology.

The dropshipping business model is an avant-garde means of e-commerce which can easily work with social media sites and if given the proper effort and commitment, can help you profit from your Insta account or Instagram shop.

Further Reading: 15 Ways How to Make Money on Shopify in 2024

9. Sell Instagram Marketing Services

Sell Instagram Marketing Services

Selling through an Instagram shop can mean venturing into a lot of different industries and taking on countless new ventures, but one of the best and simplest ways to improve your engagement rates, build a solid following, and monetize your account is to offer marketing courses, services, or mentorships as part of building your brand. Even if you do not have a truly enormous following or years of experience on the platform, many an Instagram shop will benefit from selling services that teach others how to most effectively market their own accounts, whether they are trying to build their own Instagram shop or they are hoping to build a personal brand and develop a business as an influencer. 

Selling this type of service is also helpful because many people are not sure where to start. If you’ve been using the Insta platform for even a few months with some consistent marketing success, you can combine your own efforts to grow with an additional money-making platform. You can create an email course, in which you write down all of your best tips and tricks, send out private Instagram stories to those who have purchased your services, or even sell physical products, like small workbooks detailing your tips and tricks. 

If you’ve read this far, you might already be pretty good at Insta marketing. There are a lot of businesses that aren’t that can use your help!

Instagram has created a world of possibilities for e-commerce, and a vast majority of entrepreneurs have ventured into marketing channels like Insta, Facebook, and Pinterest. How to make money on Instagram will depend on the strategies and techniques you employ, and the good thing about making money on Instagram is that one channel does not necessarily cancel out the other. You could be invested in several different means, using several different social media channels to get the word out about your products and detail the kinds of products you are offering to your followers.

Learn from successful online entrepreneurs, from Instagram shop owners, to small business owners to real estate professionals, and be patient! It will take time before you start making money. So go out there and start building your online presence and, consequently, your empire! 

Stop asking how to make money on Instagram and start making it!

Any other ways in which you’ve made money on Instagram? Feel free to share them below in the comments!

Hero photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

How To Make Money On Instagram FAQs

Do Instagram users get paid?

Not all Instagram users get paid on the platform, however, if you commit to establishing a branded content for your followers, it is possible and there are several ways doing how you can get paid on Instagram such as doing affiliate marketing and Instagram marketing.

How many followers do you need to make money on Instagram?

You actually don’t need a large following to make money on Instagram! The key to successful Instagram marketing is creating a strategy and high-quality content relative to your niche. In addition, you need to post frequently to keep your audience engaged. Doing these will help you grow your reach and build trust with your followers.

How do you start making money on Instagram?

If you are looking to start making money on Instagram, you need to create a strategy on how you will be able to create quality content, keep your target audience engaged, and continuously promote your account. The main idea is to reach out to a bigger target audience as possible to get more potential customers. Check out these 10 tips we have on how to grow your Instagram followers for more details.

Can I make money on Instagram with 1000 followers?

Yes! Even with just a thousand followers, you can still monetize your Instagram account as long as you have a good engagement with them. Imagine if you actively engage with your 1000 followers and turn a good percentage of them into potential customers, it will surely boost your business’ sales.

Who is the highest paid Instagrammer?

According to the latest Instagram Rich List, the highest-paid Instagram influencer is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, one of the most bankable celebrities in the United State. His reported cost per Instagram post is $1,015,000. The actor has a massive follower count of 230 million. Dwayne is followed by the beauty mogul, Kylie Jenner, the second-highest-paid Instagram influencer with $986,000 per post.

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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  1. Super advice here Neal! I am really diving into Instagram over the past 2 months. I love it. So much potential and my travel photos are fun to share.

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