This article explores how to make money on Instagram.
In this post, I've covered the following:
- 13 strategies you can use to generate money on Instagram.
- How to grow your Instagram following — and why this is important if you want to make money on the platform.
- How much money you can make on Instagram.
- How many Instagram followers do you need to generate a reasonable income, and more.
So, if you've ever wanted to learn how to use your Instagram account to make money, this is the article you need to read.
Let's dive right in.
Instagram by the Numbers
To understand Instagram's earning potential, we need to analyze how the platform compares to other social media platforms.
Check out the stats below:
- Instagram has over 2 billion active users. That's a huge market right there.
- 90% of Instagram users follow at least one brand.
- 1 in 2 people have used Instagram to discover new brands, products, or services.
- 44% of people use Instagram to shop weekly.
- Instagram's advertising reach has outpaced Facebook
- Over 500 million people browse Instagram daily, making the platform home to one of the most engaged audiences.
These figures point to one thing; you can use Instagram to make money. But first, you need to grow your Instagram account. Put differently; you must have an audience to sell to on Instagram.
This brings us to our next point.
How to Grow Your Instagram Following
You don't need millions of followers to make money on Instagram. However, you need a reasonable crowd behind you to draw your target audience's attention.
Below are five strategies you can use to grow your follower count.
1. Leverage Reels
Reels are a prime estate for you to be discovered by new followers. The trick is to keep your Reels unique to trigger a trend drive.
Unique Reels have a higher chance of going viral, getting you in front of new people. You can, for instance, identify trends on TikTok and put your spin on them.
2. Cross-Promote Your Content
Posting similar content across various social media platforms can help put your work in front of more people.
The more the number of people who see your content, the higher the likelihood of your Instagram followers growing. Cross-content promotion is also effective at increasing brand awareness.
3. Curate Your Profile Grid
Most people won't follow you for your previous posts but for the promise of what you'll post in the future. Potential followers want to know what they're getting before following you.
So, ensure you have a consistent feed and posting schedule to entice people to follow you. Think of your Instagram feed as your billboard's brand.
The feed is your potential follower's first touchpoint with your brand and should communicate what you're all about.
4. Optimize Your Instagram Account
Optimizing your account is one of the essential steps to growing your follower count. So, ensure your account has a compelling bio, a profile image, and image captions.
While that's a no-brainer, your Instagram bio and image are the building blocks of your brand identity.
5. Partner with Brand Advocates
When growing your following on Instagram, you must know your audience's value. The more the number of followers you get organically, the more buyers and interested prospects you'll attract.
Try to sponsor user-generated content to get your brands in your customer's feeds. You can also run Instagram contests to expose your brand to a larger audience.
In addition, consider partnering with accounts with a larger following in your industry.
You can, for instance, work with notable influencers in your industry and request them to share your content with their audience.
Other ways to grow your Instagram account include:
- Uploading content potential followers would be interested in.
- Be a conversation starter. For instance, share eye-catching visuals with well-thought-out captions to stir a conversation.
- Find hashtags that convert and post them in your feed.
How to Make Money on Instagram?
Now that you know how to grow your followers, let's look at how to make money on Instagram using the 13 strategies outlined below.
1. Become an Influencer
You must have heard of Instagram influencers, right?
Becoming an Instagram influencer is arguably one of the easiest ways to make money on the platform.
But it isn't viable for people with few followers; now you understand why I started by showing you how to grow your Instagram followers, right?
Contrary to what most people think, you don't need a huge following to become an influencer on Instagram. Still, you'll require at least a few thousand followers and a reasonably high engagement rate.
You'll also need to craft a solid influencer marketing strategy. As you share your content, you'll organically build your influence, and relevant brands are likely to come knocking.
Here's how to make money as an Instagram influencer:
- Look for a partner brand
- Create a sponsored Instagram post. It could be a video or photo
- Include a branded hashtag, link, and mention to promote a partner brand
- Share the sponsored post with your audience
- The post generates engagement and increases the partner brand's awareness
- The brand pays you
Pro Tip: You should create sponsored posts for the sole purpose of making money. You need to believe in the brand you're promoting.
Also, use sponsored posts sparingly. Uploading too many sponsored posts can deter your audience and dent your trust.
Let's say you've built your following by visiting eating joints and writing food reviews. You don't want to partner with a weight loss brand as it'll create conflict.
Below are two examples of influencers who've done this perfectly well.
Adam is a New-York based fashion and lifestyle influencer. With 125K+ followers, he doesn't have the largest audience on the platform.
However, Adam uploads sponsored posts often.
Check out one of his posts below promoting Seiko watches.
You don't have to be a fashion and lifestyle investor. Amanda is a health, diet, and nutrition influencer who partners with brands like Juice Press and Costo through sponsored content.
Like Adam, she doesn't have the largest following around. Still, she can draw hundreds of likes, generating a decent level of engagement.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is more or less like sponsored posts.
However, with affiliate marketing, you make money when your audience buys a product or service you're promoting instead of getting paid for your posts.
As an affiliate, you'll promote products or services using affiliate links. The brand whose products you're promoting uses the URL to track how many people click on it and buy items. You'll then earn a commission for the sales generated via the link.
You can place the link on your bio to make it easy for people to find.
It is essential to note that Instagram doesn't approve clickable links outside your bio. Promo codes are another option for affiliates because you can add them to your Instagram Stories and posts.
That way, prospects only need to enter the promo code at the checkout.
How much money you can make on Instagram depends on the affiliate offer you're promoting. Check out my list of 37 high-paying affiliate programs you can promote on Instagram.
3. Sell Products
You can earn money on Instagram by selling digital and physical products.
All you need to do is start an Instagram shop and integrate your eCommerce store with your profile.
An Instagram shop lets you promote products directly to your target audience through the Explore tab, Stories, posts, and the Shop tab on your profile.
Instagram Shopping allows your prospects to check your merchandise in the app and process it to your eCommerce store.
Here's an example.
Let's say you sell clothes and want to promote your outfit. You can upload a photo of a model wearing your outfit.
You can tag up to 5 products and promote your outfit in videos and Instagram Stories.
Doug the Pug is a perfect example of an Instagram page that's doing this perfectly.
The page documents Doug's life and brings along the followers. Doug the Pug has an impressive 3.7 million followers. With such a high number of followers, you can be sure that the page is driving tons of traffic to Doug's store.
4. Become a Brand Ambassador
A brand ambassador represents a brand online.
For starters, an ambassador is different from an influencer.
An influencer is a person with a huge social media following who negotiates one-off sponsorship with brands.
A brand ambassador, on the other hand, is a person who partners with the same brand over a long period.
Because Instagram is the #1 social media channel for influencer marketing, it is an excellent platform for finding brand ambassador programs.
Lucrative ambassador programs pay handsomely. As a brand ambassador, you'll work as a contractor, offering your services within a set framework.
Examples of brand ambassador programs include
Most brand ambassador programs involve contractual agreements. While having a big following on social media is a plus, most brands prefer working with micro-influencers in specific industries to celebrities.
Micro-influencers tend to have a more engaged audience and can therefore reach the target audience better.
5. Sell Visual Content
Instagram is a place of visual content and a photo-sharing app, making it an ideal platform for selling original, high-quality photos.
Visuals can include selfies, paintings, animations, videos, illustrations, etc.
For instance, if you're a good photographer, you can sell your pictures and stock images on platforms like Foap Community and 500px.
You can include creative captions, customized watermarks, hashtags, and product tags to attract the right buyers.
And if you're not a professional photographer, you can use tools like PhotoShop or use a free online photo editor to create stunning photos that you can sell on various marketplaces. Or, you can use software like Synthesia to create high-quality videos to sell on Instagram.
Further, if you broadcast live on Instagram, you can use Badges to make money. Badges allow your followers to show their support.
Think of the "support" as tips your audience can give when broadcasting Instagram live videos. Your audience can buy Badges during live broadcasts, choosing from three levels of hearts at different price points.
6. Offer Social Media Marketing Services
With over 2 billion users, Instagram is one giant marketplace.
It's not surprising that most brands want to leverage the platform to promote their products and services.
Still, many brands need help understanding the art of selling physical products on Instagram. You can cash in on this opportunity and make good money while at it.
Your job will involve helping brands use various marketing channels to reach their Instagram audience.
Other duties may include:
- Working with small business owners to create engaging posts
- Developing a social media marketing strategy for your clients
- Analyzing your client's Instagram marketing strategy and making recommendations for improvements
- Researching social media trends and informing your clients of changes that are relevant to their overall marketing efforts
- Setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for social media campaigns like a target for share and likes impressions, etc.
Brands are actively looking for competent social media managers, so if you're an expert in this field, you can make money on Instagram by dispensing your knowledge.
7. Advertise Your Brand
Your business doesn't have to be directly tied to Instagram to make money.
Many forward-thinking entrepreneurs create an Instagram business account and leverage their following to generate sales through a separate entity.
And the beauty of it is that it doesn't matter which type of business you're operating. Instagram is an excellent platform to get the word out and create awareness.
Instagram posts are powerful if you have a physical product to show your audience. The platform also works well for service-based business-like travel agencies.
As stated, the more followers you have, the more the number of people who'll see your Instagram posts.
But how can you increase the reach of your Instagram account? One way is to use relevant hashtags in your industry or niche.
That way, you can connect to other Instagram users with similar interests. You can also use geotags to target followers in particular areas.
Further, you can work with Instagram accounts with similar followers. The idea is to help put your Instagram account in front of a new audience to help promote it.
In addition, ensure you post videos and images of stellar quality to help your account stand out and, by extension, attract new followers.
8. Use Instagram to Drive Traffic to Your Website
If you own an online store or a website, Instagram can be a powerful growth tool.
You can use the platform to create awareness about your personal brand. You can, for instance, upload beautiful pictures to develop a unique identity.
Also, you create captivating videos and Instagram stories to entice your followers to learn more about your business.
You'll then place a clickable link to your eCommerce store, blog, or website in your Instagram bio. Offers and discounts make your followers click through to your online store.
In addition, you can use tools like Tailwind Smart Bio to create a link to your blog or website for your Instagram photos.
Pro Tip: Ensure your website's content is relevant to your Instagram followers. You want visitors to take the desired action once they land on your store or website from Instagram.
The dropshipping business model allows you to become the midpoint between sellers or manufacturers and buyers.
So, after you find products on marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba, you can promote them on Instagram for potential buyers.
You need to create a business account for dropshipping on Instagram.
Then, add calls to action, related hashtags, and promotion stories to attract prospects for your merchandise.
You can also convert your personal account into a business profile.
Notebook Therapy is a good example of an Instagram account making money through dropshipping.
As you can see from the screenshot above, this account has built its entire Instagram feed around their notebooks.
10. Promote Special Offers
The online community is a sucker for good deals. And Instagram users love to buy items. As I mentioned, 44% of Instagrammers say they buy something on the platform weekly.
You can make money on Instagram by showcasing all the good things about your business or brand. This Instagram marketing strategy works best when you're having a sale.
Creating an Instagram post with your sale, discount, or promo code allows you to advertise your offer to your followers while making the info easily shareable.
A perfect example is this post by @smashtess, a clothing brand. The post has many comments, with the brand's followers tagging their friends.
Promoting special offers is an effective way to make money on Instagram, allowing followers to share your posts organically.
11. Write Captions and Get Paid
Many brands understand the power of leveraging social media channels for growth.
And with the unprecedented Instagram growth, more brands are taking up Instagram marketing to scale businesses.
According to a 2017 study, over 90% of small businesses have a social media marketing budget.
As brands lean toward using Instagram and other social media platforms as growth tools, they're actively looking for content creators.
Most businesses outsource content creation services to reduce social media marketing costs.
So, if you're a creative writer or a social media marketing specialist, you can make money on Instagram by helping these businesses write high-quality, engaging posts.
You can find clients on popular platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.
Create a compelling profile and a cover letter showcasing your skills to attract clients.
And with the many businesses trying to stand out on Instagram, you should be fine with landing a client if you're good at what you do.
12. Set up an Instagram Chatbot
A chatbot offers a seamless way to provide stellar customer service. Chatbots also make it easy to generate sales through direct messages.
You can integrate a chatbot directly into your Instagram shop, online store, blog, or website to answer questions from your followers.
If the question is too complex for the chatbot, then it is routed to your customer care team for answers.
So, how can a chatbot help you make money on Instagram?
A chatbot can recommend merchandise in your Instagram shop or store directly to your audience within the chat. The ripple effect is a faster and more streamlined buying process.
For instance, if you sell skin foundation, a chatbot chat can offer your customers several options if they inquire about what's in stock.
This allows the customer to add the items to their cart without leaving the platform.
13. Become an Instagram Coach or Consultant
Joining an affiliate program or selling products through an online store are great ways of making money on Instagram.
However, if you have massive, super-engaged followers, why not earn money by teaching others how to grow their social media accounts and make money?
People want to know how to make money on Instagram — that's why I am writing this post in the first place.
So, if you know how a sponsored post works, how to leverage influence marketing, or how the Instagram game goes and have done so yourself, you can seize the opportunity to make money.
You can specialize in one craft, like Instagram ads, or how to run a dropship business model on Instagram. That way, you can target a specific group of Instagram users.
A perfect example is Foundr.
The company has a massive audience of over 3.5 million followers. Because this is their area of expertise, Nathan Chan, Foundr's creator, has an Instagram marketing expertise course called Instagram Domination.
How Many Followers Do You REALLY Need to Make Money on Instagram?
As I mentioned earlier, followers are essential for you to make money on Instagram. But how many do you need?
Here's the thing,
Your number of followers isn't the only thing that counts when making money on Instagram.
Below are three factors that can affect your Instagram earnings, even if you have a big following.
High engagement levels indicate that your followers listen to you or agree with your recommendation.
So, if you want to get into influencer marketing, for instance, you can charge a higher rate with only 1,000 highly engaged followers than a person with 10,000 followers with a low engagement rate.
High engagement shows your followers interact with your content which is key to making money on Instagram.
Some niches are more profitable than others on Instagram. Niches like luxury, lifestyle, finance, business, travel, fitness, health, fashion, and beauty can generate more money than most niches on Instagram.
You also make more money selling your own products as long as you target the right crowd.
Therefore, venture into a niche with many followers to allow you to land sponsored posts or an influencer marketing deal easily.
Your Overall Reputation
Some Instagram influencers are famous on the platform and in their industries. They include subject matter experts, athletes, scientists, etc.
These people have created a reputable personal brand both online and offline.
While having many Instagram followers is good, that's not the only thing you need to make money on Instagram.
Your reputation also significantly affects your ability to earn money on this video-sharing platform.
So, before you create an Instagram profile and hope to generate some income down the line, ensure you have a good reputation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Much Money Can You Make on Instagram?
Sponsored posts are one of the lucrative ways of making money on Instagram.
The industry grades influencers based on how many followers they have and sets the price of publishing a sponsored post as follows:
- Low level influencer: $10 per 1,000 followers
- Micro influencer: $100 per 1,000 followers
- Macro influencer: $1,000 per 1,000 followers
You can also set your own rate based on the abovementioned factors.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest-paid Instagrammer, taking home $2,397,000 per post.
How Many Views Do You Need to Make Money on Instagram?
It's easier to earn money by joining an affiliate program and sharing links on Instagram stories because the platform now allows all accounts to access link stickers.
However, Instagram also allows some influencers to earn based on their Instagram Stories views. Programs like "Bonuses" for Reels require a minimum of 1,000 views on Reels to get paid.
"Badges," a tipping tool for IG Live, requires that you have at least 10,000 followers. Still, some of these features aren't available in certain countries. Plus, you must be over 18 years and open a business account.
The Bottom Line
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms. And it's still rolling out new and engaging features.
That said, it is worth learning how to make money on Instagram, especially because the platform is easy to use and navigate.
While the strategies highlighted in this post aren't the only ones, there are some of the easiest to implement.
So, pick one that best suits you and go with it.
While at it, remember to create highly engaging content, choose a good niche, and maintain a clean reputation.