There’s never been a better time to make money on Instagram.
If you’re still not sure about this, maybe seeing how Instagram influencers make hundreds and even thousands per post will help motivate you. Sprout Social’s research also shows that because Instagram has the highest engagement rates, many established brands are actively looking to collaborate with Instagram users and paying them really good money for it.
There’s no doubt that Instagram is powerful. It has grown to over 1 billion users in just 8 years!
This photo-sharing platform has managed to cement itself as one of the defining social media channels of our times.
And the best part about it is that you don’t need to have mega-celebrity status to take advantage of the opportunities on Instagram. Sure, being Kylie Jenner and making over 1 million dollars per post sounds great, but we’ve seen plenty of influencers with just a few thousand followers also make a decent income. The best part is that it costs nothing or very minimal financial investment to get started.
How do they do it? What are their strategies?
In this post, you’ll find out how some of your favorite Instagram influencers are managing to make money on the platform. We’ll highlight the top 11 strategies and give you details on how to make money on Instagram.
Here are our top 11 ways to make money on Instagram. Let’s dive right in.
1. Publish Sponsored Posts
This is one of the most popular ways to make money on Instagram. If you’re a huge fan of the platform, then you’ve probably come across #sponsored or #ad before.
But how does it all work?
Well, firstly, you need to be an influencer. This word is thrown around so much these days. It can be difficult to understand what it actually means. In a nutshell, influencers are people who have built a following online by posting relevant content for their audiences. Their audiences also respect their views and opinions on certain topics.
Good influencers establish themselves as authority figures in certain industries, and the more valuable content they share with their audience, the more trust they earn from them. As you already know, whether it’s in your personal or professional life, trust is something that takes time to earn, and brands know this. So, they partner up with influencers who have a good connection with their audiences, and whose content connects with their brands, and sponsor their posts.
A sponsored post is when an Influencer creates content around a specific product from a brand. Since honesty and transparency are important, especially online, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that influencers should indicate that the post is sponsored, which is why we often see the #ad on sponsored posts.
For you to make good money from sponsored posts on Instagram, you need to have a decent following. Research has shown that influencers with over 1 million followers earn thousands of dollars per post. If you’re a micro-influencer, that’s okay too. Your 20,000 or even 10,000 followers are still valuable to brands.
What’s important to brands is to ensure that your audience engages with your content, which includes liking, commenting, and sharing the content.
A great example of an Influencer who’s managed to make good money from Instagram is Anthony Carboni. He owns over 30 Instagram accounts and earns around $20,000 to $25,000 per month from the platform. But if you’re just getting started, you can aim to make $0.25 – $0.50 for every “like” and $1.00 for every comment on a sponsored post.
2. Become a Brand Ambassador
A brand ambassador is “someone who promotes a brand and its products to their network with the objective of increasing brand awareness and helping drive sales.”
So, how exactly does it differ from sponsored posts?
The main difference is that brand ambassadors regularly speak about a product, while sponsored posts can be a once-off deal. The opportunity to work long-term with an influencer and have them often talk positively about their products to their followers is understandably, very appealing to brands.
Because of this, many brands are looking for brand ambassadors, and they’re also willing to pay good money for it. Studies have shown that the standard salary of a brand ambassador is in the range of $40-50,000 per year.
When looking to become a brand ambassador, we believe that the key is to choose a brand in your niche and a brand that aligns with your brand. For instance, if you regularly post workout videos, it makes sense to align yourself with a fitness brand. Of course, human beings are multi-faceted, and we can be more than one thing. However, it’s important to remember that your audience is paying close attention to the content you upload. It will be challenging to build a loyal following if you’re talking about the importance of eating organic food one week and then aligning yourself with a fast-food brand the next.
3. Promote Affiliate Links
Affiliate links have become a popular way to make money on Instagram, and getting started is also simple.
Firstly, you need to identify a brand with an affiliate program that you’re interested in working with.
Secondly, you register for their affiliate program. After registering, you become an affiliate partner and get your unique, trackable link or promo code.
Thirdly, you promote the product in your Instagram account and include the link or promo code when doing so. If any of your followers follow the link and purchase, you earn a commission from the sale.
Teami Blends is a popular detox tea brand with an affiliate program. Although they’ve worked with many celebrities, like the Kardashian-Jenner sisters, they also work with micro-influencers from all over the world.
For instance, Dr. Raga is a General Surgery resident in Dubai. She is also a YouTuber and Instagrammer and recently joined their program.
It’s not enough just to include the affiliate links. As shown from the image above, it’s also important to talk a bit about the product, why you love it, and some of its benefits.
The money you earn on an affiliate program is based on commission. If this is the route you’d like to follow to make money on Instagram, make sure that whatever brand you choose has an excellent reputation and is relevant for your audience so that you have a better chance of making those sales.
There are so many companies and brands that have affiliate programs where you can easily sign up. You can also look into RewardStyle, ClickBank, and Amazon Associates, which also offer affiliate programs.
4. Sell Physical Products
Making money on Instagram is not all about promoting other brands. If you’re a creator or entrepreneur and want to grow your brand and promote your products, you can also sell your physical products through your Instagram business account.
One account that’s doing a great job of this is Moon Magic. They sell gemstone jewelry and regularly showcase their products on their Instagram account.
The best part about this option is that you don’t have to worry about posting messages from other brands or remembering to include the right promo code. You can just focus on your brand and products and promote them to your audience.
A great strategy you can use when selling physical products on Instagram (and online in general) is to sell products with a print-on-demand service. So, if you’re selling t-shirts, coffee mugs, pillows, or any other physical product, these will only get printed and shipped once the order comes through.
One of the great tools you can use to sell products via Instagram is Square Online.
This platforms automatically transforms posts from your Instagram feed into an ecommerce store. The setup is super simple and can be broken down into 3 simple steps:
- Connect Square to your Instagram account
- Tag items in your Instagram posts you want to sell
- Click “Publish” and launch your own shoppabe page
While Instagram is great for gathering your fanbase in one place, it’s tough to sell products online from Instagram alone. Therefore creating a separate website might be a great idea and it seems that the new offering from Square makes the whole process super quick and simple.
Initially you can get started with Square Online for free. That way your only cost will be transaction fees once someone actually makes the purchase. Once you’re seeing that your Instagram business is growing, you can upgrade to a paid plan that allows you to build a website with your own custom domain.
If you’re looking for more advanced shopping tools, you can consider choosing an ecommerce platform or website builder to launch a fully scalable ecommerce store and then use Instagram as one of your key marketing channels.
5. Sell Digital Products
This one shouldn’t come as a surprise because, if you can sell physical products on your Instagram account, then you can also sell digital products.
What kind of products are we talking about here?
Instagram has become such a powerful selling machine. Do you have an eBook you recently finished writing? An online course? Are you a graphic designer with great design templates? You can sell these products and so much more on Instagram.
The business account has helpful features such as the shop button, in-app check-out, and product tags to make it easy for your customers to purchase your products.
Although it’s much more affordable to advertise your products and sell on Instagram, it can be challenging to drive sales.
Big brands will often have their online stores on platforms like Shopify and then use Instagram to promote their products. This strategy works well because, as highlighted earlier, Instagram has a lot of users.
To effectively promote your products to your market on Instagram, you can:
- Perform hashtag research and ensure that you always include relevant hashtags in your post.
- Partner up with other influencers to help spread the word about your products.
- If the budget allows, run Instagram ads.
6. Create Visual Content for Sale
Did you know that Instagram users upload over 100 million photos and videos per day? So, creating visual content to sell on the platform makes sense. What type of visual content?
Well, the more authentic, the better.
You see, there are a lot of brands that are uploading their professional images on the platform. However, simply uploading their professional photos, with the perfect lighting and composition, isn’t going to help them stand out from the crowd. To get the attention of consumers who are constantly bombarded with images the whole day, they need to provide them with UGC (user-generated content).
UGC is “any content – text, videos, images, reviews, etc. – created by people, rather than brands.”
This type of content is effective because it tends to be more authentic.
A great example of UGC is the Starbucks #RedCupContest. Every December, the famous coffee company encourages customers to take photos of their coffees for a prize.
This can apply to different industries as well, including the travel industry, where you can be rewarded by staying at a certain chain of hotels for free, and beauty industries, where you can get their latest launch delivered to your doorstep. It’s difficult to gauge how much you can specifically make from this option because the reward can come in the form of cash, a gift card, or loyalty points.
7. Printing Photos
Printing photos is also a creative way of how to make money on Instagram. In this digital age, people will often upload pictures they take onto their social media accounts. These photos are usually saved on a memory card or in the cloud for convenience. But how often do they browse through some of these pics? We live very busy lives, and if you’re like most people, it’s difficult to find the time to go back in time and review some of these treasured moments.
This is what makes printing photos and creating photo books a great way to make money on Instagram.
Chatbooks is a brand that does this so well. Customers reach out to them, and they turn their Instagram posts into photo books.
These are usually great gifts for wedding anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or any other special occasion. Prices also vary, depending on what customers order. However, many companies charge around $10 – $15 per book, excluding shipping costs.
To get started with this, have a look at some of the upcoming holidays. Advertise your services before the holiday, and you’ll have many orders in your DMs.
8. Provide Social Media Marketing Services
At the beginning of this post, we mentioned how powerful Instagram is. One of our favorite things about Instagram (and social media in general) is that you don’t need to have a huge marketing budget to promote your brand. Social media has provided the opportunity for startups and small businesses, which usually have limited money and resources, the platform to connect with their target markets and see exponential growth.
However, as powerful as many businesses know it is, around 49% of companies don’t have a social media marketing strategy. Sure, they might have a few accounts on different social platforms, but they don’t have a clear plan in place on how to use social media to drive awareness and sales.
If you know your way around social media marketing, this provides a great opportunity for you since you’ll be providing a service that businesses value.
You can expect to earn anything around $16 per hour to $75 per hour, depending on your expertise and experience.
To get started with this option, you’ll first need to know how Instagram marketing works. This includes understanding important tactics like how often to post and the right way to use hashtags.
Once you have a good understanding of Instagram marketing, you can then start building a strong portfolio and marketing yourself to your target market. If you’re a newbie, you can reach out to local businesses and NGOs and help them with their Instagram accounts. You can then provide case studies of how you helped these businesses grow through your services.
Your services as a social media marketer can typically involve content creation, account setup, account administration or management, and account promotion.
9. Write Captions for Businesses
Do you have a way with words?
Are you able to hook readers with just a few characters?
If so, you can make money on Instagram by writing captions for businesses.
We’ve already discussed the importance of social media, in particular – Instagram, for every 21st-century business. Because of the value of this platform, many companies, both big and small, will turn to social media marketing to help generate awareness and sales. These businesses will often post smart, witty, or memorable captions every time they upload photos.
Now, for a big brand or corporation, getting a team of professionals to handle this is usually not a financial concern. Most turn to their in-house content staff.
But for startup and small businesses that already have a lack of time and resources, this presents a challenge. Instead of hiring full-time staff for their social media marketing, it is much more affordable to get contractors or freelancers to help them with their social media accounts, in particular, the writing of creative and memorable captions for their posts.
If you’re creative and enjoy the challenge of creating engaging captions, this could be a great way to make money from Instagram.
To attract your ideal clients, you need to know how to optimize not only your posts with hashtags but also your profile.
For instance, in Victoria’s profile, she makes sure that any visitors know that she’s a Digital Marketing Strategist who can help you get clients and sell online.
10. Create Instagram Stories Masks and Photo Filters
The launch of Instagram Stories back in 2016 has to be one of the defining moments of the platform. Sure, it wasn’t original (we won’t forget about the fact that this was copied from Snapchat). Nonetheless, this content format has undoubtedly been engaging and exciting for users.
Studies have shown that 500 million Instagram users either create their own or watch Instagram Stories daily!
So, what makes this content format so compelling that hundreds of millions of people feel like they need to tune in every day to watch or create it?
It’s the simple fact that Instagram Stories are only available for a limited time. So, whenever celebrities or influencers post an Instagram story, their audiences are instantly hooked and engaged as they don’t want to miss out on the content that won’t be there forever.
This has created an opportunity for users to create Instagram Stories masks and filters. While the big brands will most often turn to their in-house creative team, smaller brands are more into collaborating with creatives who can create fun and exciting Instagram masks and filters.
Brenda Cardenas is an Instagram Filters Creator who showcases some of her work on her Instagram account.
If you’re wondering just how much you can make from this, well, it depends on how creative your filters are and how effectively you manage to sell your services. For example, Carmen Kroll, a German Influencer, has managed to get over 3 billion views of her filters and she’s now collaborating with other influencers and charging €6.99 for each filter, which, at the time of writing this article, works out to $7.62.
11. Find Freelance Clients Via Instagram
Gone are the days where Instagram is just for posting your Outfit Of The Day or cute little puppy. Sure, you can still do that. However, if you’re a creative looking for networking opportunities, this is the perfect place to help scale your business.
Whether you’re a photographer, an author, or a makeup artist, you can easily set up your account and use this platform as your online portfolio.
The key to getting started is optimizing your account. Tell your visitors that you’re a freelancer and specify what you do.
You can also easily reach out to brands or companies that you’re interested in working with by simply just sending them a DM.
How to Make Money on Instagram FAQ
How many followers do you need to make money on Instagram?
If you routinely look at some of your favorite celebrities or influencer Instagram accounts, you can quickly assume that you need to have millions of followers to be able to make money on Instagram.
That’s not the case. You see, whether brands work with macro or micro-influencers, what’s important to them is your relationship with your followers, and how engaged with your content they are.
Remember that ultimately, brands want an ROI on their Instagram marketing efforts. They want sign-ups or sales. So, whether you have 1,000 or millions of followers, focus on creating authentic content and building a community of engaged followers. This will help make you very appealing for brands to work with you.
How do I get Instagram followers fast?
There are numerous tactics that you can use to help build your following. Some of the most popular options are:
1. Write a strategic profile and bio
2. Strategize on creating relevant and engaging content for your target market
3. Consistently create good, quality content
4. Be consistent with your branding – content, voice, colors, etc.
5. Promote your Instagram content on your other social media accounts.
6. Post content regularly.
7. Network with influencers in your niche and make a cameo on their accounts to reach more relevant followers.
8. Join other Instagram communities (relevant to your niche) and actively participate in discussions in these communities. This will help to get you noticed by relevant people.
9. Add up to 30 relevant hashtags per post. You can use a hashtag to help you find the most relevant hashtags for your niche.
10. Make things fun – run giveaways, contests, or promo codes to make users interested in following you.
11. Buy Instagram followers through Instagram advertising
How do I manage my Instagram?
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that managing our social media accounts can be a full-time job.
To help you get organized, some apps in the market can help you automate the whole process. Some of our favorites are Buffer and Tailwind, which help you plan and schedule your posting to make it a seamless process. If you have the budget, you can also reach out to social media managers who will handle your entire account for you for a certain fee.
Take Full Advantage Of Instagram
Instagram is more than just a social media platform for users to connect with their friends and favorite influencers. When used correctly, it can also be a powerful sales tool and a way to make money. The fantastic engagement rate that the platform offers is one of the most drawing factors for brands. So take advantage of these opportunities. Choose any of the tactics mentioned above and run with it!
Have you tried to make money on Instagram? What has been your most successful tactic? Share with us in the comments below!