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

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

We live in a world of technology, where social media has become a basic part of human life, and with the latest gadgets and devices, one can easily access the web at little or 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, and so also the number of people profiting from them. 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.

Instagram has grown to become a groundbreaking avenue for e-commerce. We have hijacked Instagram and changed it just like we have changed Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on. Those that “get it” are the ones that are profiting.

For the purpose of how to make money on Instagram, it all starts with understanding how huge of a domain it has become:

how many users does instagram have 2019


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! 70.7% of businesses in the United States use Instagram. A lot people are already profiting from using Instagram, and for some it is actually considered a career! As 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!

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 Instagram 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.

Without further talk, here are various ways how to make money on Instagram and to convert those 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 Instagram profile and attract followers to your account. While this is not a direct way of monetizing your account, 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 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 on Instagram. 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 other ways in which you can monetize your Instagram account.

Before that: You want to get your Instagram account verified

Influencer Marketing on Instagram

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.

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 dfirect paid social because of the many benefits of Instagram advertising.

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 are being paid to top influencers for each sponsored post that they publish on Instagram.

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 come contacting 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 Heartbeat, Shoutcart, TapInfluence, iFluenze, and the list goes on and on.

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.

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 links or promo codes are direct links to the product purchase. 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.

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 programs that are offered by online merchants which you could sign up for. You can explore various online communities to find affiliate programs that suit you. A few of these communities include: ClickBank, rewardStyle and Business Conglomerate Amazon’s Affiliate Program to mention a few.

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.

If photography is your cause for Instagram, there are various channels to sell your pictures and stock photos. Marketplaces like Twenty20, 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 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!

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 accounts with followers and are looking to make good cash.

There are online platforms available where you might be able to sell your Instagram account, the popular ones including Fame Swap and Viral Accounts. 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!

Drive Instagram Traffic to Your Website

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 visitors to your website.

If captivated by your content, your 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 the conversion 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.

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 Link My Photos to create a website link for each of your photos on Instagram (use coupon code nealschaffer to get half off any premium plan for 3 months!).

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.

Sell a Product on Instagram

You can use your Instagram profile to sell products, whether a physical or digital product, or an online service. If you have created good awareness about the product and you have a good reach, all you need to do is to promote your business and sit back as you watch people purchase your goods.

Instagram has provided a very cost effective and convenient way of buying and selling, and it is not very difficult to utilize this factor. Build a good name for your brand, and when you’ve gotten to a certain trust level, people might even recommend your products to others.

There are several entrepreneurs who started out their businesses with Instagram and a lot of them are reaping great profits and sitting comfortably on a steady cash flow.

Dropshipping to Instagram Users

The concept of dropshipping is that a business owner can own a store without actually needing a physical store. Yes, 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 has the same basics 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.

There are various e-commerce platforms where it is possible to launch a dropshipping store, most of them coming with a free plan. The very popular ones including Shopify and Oberlo. 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 not 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 Instagram and if given the proper effort and commitment, can help you profit from Instagram.

Instagram has created a world of possibilities for e-commerce, and a vast majority of entrepreneurs have ventured into this channel. 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.

Learn from successful online entrepreneurs, and be patient, it will surely take time before you start making money. So go out there and start building 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!

For more tips and tricks on how to make money on Instagram, check out this great infographic from Infographic Journal.

Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

For more tips and tricks on how to make money on Instagram, check out this great infographic!

How to make money on Instagram? Let me count the ways! Check out my advice on these 9 specific ways in which you can monetize your Instagram presence.

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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. Thanks for sharing with this topics.

  2. Ryan K Biddulph
    Ryan K Biddulph

    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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