With an estimated 1.41 billion users, Instagram is among the most commonly used social media platforms in the world right now. In today’s digital world, wherever there are people online, there’s potential for earning money.
So, you’ve got professional-level pictures with the right captions. Better still, you use Instagram’s new features, such as IGTV and Reels, like a pro.
How do you monetize Instagram? How do you make money with your online presence? In this guide, we’ll discuss different methods of Instagram monetization and explore the prerequisites for earning money through social media.
Things You Need to Make Money on Instagram
Before you become the next big thing on Instagram and quit your job to be your own boss, you need a few things.
Have a Community of Fans/Followers
The phrase “strength is in numbers” couldn’t be any truer for Instagram monetization. The more followers you have, the more you’re likely to earn, especially if you want to take the ecommerce route.
However, that does not mean you buy your followers. Instead, it’s best to have organic followers since these people follow you out of choice rather than compulsion.
Thus, if you were to promote or sell something to them, they’re more likely to be interested in buying or engaging with it.
Instagram is not just another social media platform. It has its own set of rules that work differently than others.You need to put some effort into understanding how Instagram works for your account to grow organically. For that, you must understand how Instagram’s algorithms work.
The key interactions the algorithms use to define feed ranking include:
- Time spent on a post
- Taps on profile
By creating content that encourages people to engage, you can build a community of organic followers.
Create Unique Content
With thousands of Instagram influencers and creators making content regularly, it can be hard for a new face to get recognized. You must create unique content and build a brand for yourself.
Creating high-quality content will help in increasing your reach and engagement. The Instagram algorithms tend to show high-quality and engaging content on the users’ Explore page.
For instance, if you want to appear on the Reels tab, Instagram recommends creating inspiring, experimental and entertaining Reels. Do not post low-quality or blurry Reels as the algorithms recognize them as content recycled from other social media apps.
Such Reels are deprioritized, and thus, they’re less likely to appear in the users’ Reels tab or Explore page. Besides creating high-quality content, you can also increase your chances of being discovered by using appropriate hashtags.
Using the right hashtags improves your post’s discoverability, which plays a key role in audience growth. In fact, certain hashtag groups have thousands of members who look for content similar to yours and are likely to follow you.
Choose a Niche of Expertise
A niche is a topic you’re passionate about or something in which you have expertise. It’s best to stay within the niche rather than expand, as it’ll help in increasing your audience engagement.
For instance, if you are a technology enthusiast, create content on technology-related topics, such as mobiles, laptops, or gadgets. Instagram recommends using generic hashtags for broad categories and topic-specific hashtags for more narrow topics.
For instance, a travel enthusiast’s Instagram account can be categorized as Travel & Events or Adventure & Sports. The former category has general hashtags such as #traveladdict, while the latter has specific tags such as #trekking.
#TravelAddict is flooded with content from all over the world. The user would have to sort through thousands of posts to find something relevant to their interest, while #trekking has a limited number of posts, and it’s more likely users will find your account.
If you’re unsure which niche or topic you should focus on, start by writing down your interests, and how you can create the best content about those interests.
You can also carve a personal brand for yourself based on who you are and what you do. For instance, if you’ve recently had a child, people may ask you pregnancy or childcare-related questions in Direct Messages (DMs) and the comments section.
If you believe you can give good advice on the subject, create Instagram posts about relevant topics. In this way, you can create a place for yourself in the parenting niche. Similarly, if people always compliment your outfits and ask you for styling tips, you might want to consider making lifestyle and fashion content.
Some of the most profitable niches on Instagram are lifestyle, parenting, traveling, fashion, beauty, music, health and fitness and business.
7 Ways To Monetize Instagram
Once you have a substantial target audience and a niche of expertise, it’s time to take active steps toward monetizing your Instagram account. Here are seven ways:.
Create an Instagram Shop
An Instagram Shop allows you to integrate your product catalog into your Instagram profile. You can then promote your own products through stories, posts and even in the Explore page.
When you add a product to your Instagram post, it shows a shopping bag icon on the image. When users click on that icon, they can see the price of the product. They can also go to your website to purchase that product through the icon.
Instagram lets you tag up to five items in every image. If you upload an image carousel of ten photos, you can add 20 items to it. Likewise, you can share products from your Shop on Instagram stories. The viewers will see the product sticker with “see details” on it.
When they click on the shopping bag icon, it will take them to a page where they can purchase the product.
The main benefit of using an online store for Instagram monetization is the convenience it provides to the users.
Nowadays, there’s a lot of competition online, especially in the retail space. On top of that, consumers are accustomed to convenience. They don’t want to leave your social media page and go to the website to look for the product they liked on your page.
The solution? Bring your ecommerce business to them.
Instagram has introduced a new checkout feature that lets customers select a product, choose their desired size or color, and proceed to payment.
They can do all this without leaving Instagram.
Moreover, when customers place their first order, Instagram asks if they would like to save their personal information and “auto-fill” the form for future purchases. .
How To Create an Instagram Shop
Creating an Instagram online store is easy. Besides physical products, you can also sell digital products, such as books and PDFs.
You just have to follow these steps:
- Check Your Eligibility: Your business should sell an eligible product and be in a supported market. Plus, you must be in compliance with Instagram’s commerce policies and merchant agreement. For example, you still need a website with its own domain name listing your products, in order to activate purchases within the Instagram app.
- Create a Business Account: Shop features are only available for Business accounts. Create a business account and add relevant information about your brand, such as website link, address, phone number, etc.
- Connect to Facebook: You need to connect your Instagram business account to a Facebook Page. You don’t necessarily need a Facebook Page Shop. Connecting to a Facebook Page will suffice.
- Upload Products: Now, add products to your Instagram Shop. Your product catalog should list your own products along with descriptions. You can DIY the process by using the Catalog Manager in Facebook Business Manager. Or, you can import items to your Instagram catalog from a partner platform, such as Shopify and OpenCart.
- Submit Account for Review: Finally, submit your account for review. It may take a few days for Instagram to review your account. If you’ve provided all the information and are in compliance with the platform’s requirements, there shouldn’t be a problem. Otherwise, you will be notified to provide additional information to prove you own the website domain.
- Allow Shopping Features: After Instagram approves your account, go to the menu icon in your business profile. In settings, select Shopping and choose the product catalog you want to connect with your account. Once you click “Done,” the product catalog will be available for you to share on your Instagram stories or posts.
Make Money with Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing refers to a business rewarding a partner for driving website sales. It is a collaborative marketing strategy where brands and marketers promote others’ products or services.
Marketers share images of other people’s products on their feeds and stories, and direct their audience to a link with the brand’s affiliate promo codes. If customers buy anything from that link, marketers earn a commission from the purchase.
Here’s an example.
Rent the Runway is an online brand that rents clothes to customers for special occasions or one-time wear. From gowns and suits to rare apparel, Rent the Runway gives people a cost-effective option for clothing they may otherwise only wear once..
The brand partners with Instagram influencers and micro-influencers to generate content for its Instagram page.
Here’s how you can earn from such affiliate programs.
Suppose you’re a college student or have a substantial audience in the lifestyle or fashion niche. You can reach out to the brand and apply to become an affiliate partner. The brand will give you an affiliate link or code that you can share with your followers for making purchases.
How do you make money? There are two ways.
Cost per acquisition is a model that pays an affiliate marketer only when a customer buys something. As an example, let’s say Rent the Runway gives you a 3% profit on every sale.When someone rents a clothing item using your link or code, you get 3% of what they’ve spent.
The second method is pay per click. With this model, you earn a small amount every time someone clicks on your link and goes to the Rent the Runway website.
Depending on your niche, you can find relevant brands for partnerships. The more sales or website visits you attract to a brand, the more money you make.
Launch a Video Streaming Service
When people ask how to monetize Instagram, launching a video streaming service is the most unexpected answer they get. But it’s undeniably one of the most lucrative ways to make money using your Instagram profile.
You can offer a subscription-based video streaming service to your followers. Let’s say you already get a lot of views on your Instagram Stories and Reels s.
Why not monetize them?
With a subscription-based video streaming service, you can offer a collection of videos that people can watch for a fixed amount per month or year.
On top of this, you can also offer exclusive content to your paid subscribers. For instance, let’s say you’re a makeup artist and love creating makeup tutorials on Instagram. You can share short Reels of new and interesting looks with your subscribers every week.
Then, create a website and offer full breakdowns of each look for a subscription fee to subscribers only.
BFUNK is a good example of a brand that does this.
On Instagram, they feature snippets of choreographed dances and dance moves. The snippets hook users, who can learn more at the BFUNK website, which offers a subscription plan with step-by-step breakdowns of every dance.
You can take a leaf out of BFUNK’s book and offer subscription-based videos to your followers. For instance, you can teach niche-related knowledge to your followers, such as makeup tutorials, interior decor and more.
Become an Influencer and Make Money with Sponsored Posts
Instagram influencers are people who have created a following on Instagram, and their posts are viewed by thousands or even millions of followers. Influencers use paid promotions on their individual accounts to target specific demographics in order to expand their reach and promote products or businesses.
Many influencers will accept free products in exchange for promotion on social media channels like Instagram. In addition to getting free products, Instagram influencers also make money by doing sponsored posts.
According to Business Insider, influencers with more than a million followers can charge up to $1,000 for every sponsored Story on Instagram. Meanwhile, micro-influencers start from $100 per Story and increase from there.
Some influencers also have certain formulas on which they base their rates. For instance, they may charge $100 per 10,000 followers.
How much can you earn?
It all depends on the number of followers you have and the extent of engagement you get. If you work with high-paying brands, you’re likely to earn more. For instance, JaLisa Vaughn-Jefferson, an influencer with more than 275,000 Instagram followers and 49,000 YouTube subscribers, earned $800,000 in brand deals just halfway into 2021.
Here are some tips to become a successful Instagram influencer:
- Identify Your Niche: The more focused you are on a certain niche, the more likely you are to grow an organic community that engages with your content. Suppose you choose fashion. Now, select a few content pillars or sub-topics. These could be makeup, casual wear, or fashion trend alerts.
- Use All Features: Instagram now has Stories, osts, Reels and IGTV. Make sure you use all these features because Instagram’s algorithms focus on engagement through each medium. Test which of the features gets you the most engagement and focus on that.
- Be Consistent: Consistency is extremely important as it builds up a loyal community that’s willing to follow you from the start. Post at least twice a day and keep your followers engaged with interesting content. You don’t necessarily have to post something on your feed. Upload stories and post polls to engage people.
- Make Captions Meaningful: A cute picture and a quote no longer excite followers. The State of Influencer Marketing 2020 report showed that the average caption length has almost doubled since 2016. People expect to read a meaningful caption now rather than just an emoji for a caption.
Many people think they need to have hundreds of thousands of followers to be called influencers. That’s far from true. How many impressions do you get for each post? How many comments and likes do you get on average? These things will determine how much money you earn as an influencer on Instagram. The concept of micro- and macro-influencers is becoming increasingly common in the online space.
A micro-influencer is someone with a following of 10,000 to 50,000. These influencers are often preferred by brands since they have a more engaged following. Most consumers aren’t huge fans of celebrity endorsements anymore and prefer unbiased recommendations from relatable people online.Micro-influencers create more targeted content, which means they allow brands to reach a specific segment of their target audience.
Macro-influencers, on the other hand, will usually have more followers than micro-influencers, thus attracting more partner brands. Influencers between 50-75K followers on Instagram are posting the most sponsored content out of any other tier. And The sponsored content percentage begins to drop once an influencer’s following exceeds 200K.
So, whether you’re a micro-influencer or a macro-influencer, brands will be willing to pay you more depending on your insights.
Make Money with Instagram Live Badges and Ads
Instagram recently released badges. It’s another method of Instagram monetization that creators can use to earn money when they go Live.
People who view your Live videos can buy a badge that stands out in the comments. With this badge, they unlock extra features, such as a special heart in front of their comment or a place in your list of badge holders.
Viewers can access badges, depending on the number of hearts they buy. It costs $0.99 to buy one heart, $1.99 to buy two, and $4.99 to buy three.
When you go Live, you’ll see which of your followers has bought the badges as the number of hearts they’ve purchased will appear in front of their comments. You can then give them a shoutout, fulfill any of their requests, or do something special as a means of thanking them.
This feature is currently only available in the U.S. Creators in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, Australia, Turkey, Brazil and Mexico can get access to badges on an invitation-only basis. If you’re in one of these countries, go to Settings in your Instagram account. Check the badges section in the Creator tab to determine your invitation status.
Additionally, you have to comply with the platform’s Partner Monetization Policies to turn on badges for your Instagram profile.
Create Your Online Course
If you have extensive expertise in a field, you can monetize Instagram. Suppose you’re a professional video editor. You can post snippets of your work on Instagram and tell people if they want to learn the technique behind this edit, they should take your online course.
Online courses are a great way to make money, especially if you have active users and create Instagram content based on the contents of your course.
Use your Instagram profile to “tease” the content you offer in your course. For instance, if you offer a photo editing course, you can post images on your feed of the final result. Likewise, you can upload a time-lapse Reel of the whole process.
Giving your audience a glimpse of what they can accomplish with the contents of the course will motivate them to purchase your course.
Some benefits of creating an online course include:
- Higher Chance of Expansion: Once you’ve created a course, you can sell it again and again. If your course is successful now, you can always come back to it in a few months or years and sell it as a new package.
- Passive Income: You can earn passive income from your course. When you put a product on a platform like Udemy or Skillshare, you can earn from those sales even when you’re sleeping or on vacation.
- No Geographic Barriers: When you use a monetization method like affiliate programs or badges, it’s restricted by geographical limitations. For example, badges are only available in the U.S. On the other hand, courses are not restricted by geography. You can sell your course to your followers in every corner of the world.
- No Extra Costs: Creating a course only requires your knowledge and expertise. You can create presentations and videos using free tools. The overall cost of creating a course is much lower than some other Instagram monetization methods, such as creating a Shop.
Do Online Consulting/Coaching
Depending on your niche, you can offer consulting services in different topics, such as freelancing, stock trading, graphic design, video editing and more.
Before you get started, make sure you conduct proper research on your active users. A CX Network study showed that 63% of consumers believe they’re being marketed things they don’t need.
Why market something to more than half your followers when they don’t even want it?
Instead, use Stories to hold polls and ask your Instagram followers if they’d like coaching or consulting services. You can also ask the price range they’d be most comfortable with and the medium they prefer. Knowing your audience will help you offer your services to them in the best way possible.
If you want detailed answers, you can post a question sticker and give your Instagram followers an opportunity to share their views or opinions with you.
Deloitte does a great job of advertising its reports through Instagram. The global consulting firm posts IGTV videos with interviews of people whose insights they use to create reports. Apart from that, the firm also posts meaningful captions explaining what you can expect to find in its reports.
As a new content creator, you obviously won’t have the same level of exposure as Deloitte. But you can use similar tools, including Stories and Reels, to make money through consulting.
Suppose you’ve started a few of your own businesses, and your audience knows you as someone knowledgeable on the subject. You can offer Skype or Zoom consultations and charge by the hour.
At the same time, you can create a course and sell it to your followers. When you combine different ways to make money from Instagram, you can earn more.
FAQs on How to Make Money on Instagram
Here are some frequently asked questions about Instagram monetization.
Can You Make Money on Instagram?
Yes, you can make money on Instagram by creating high-quality content to increase your reach. Once you have a substantial audience, you can use social media marketing to either sell your own physical products or promote the products of other businesses as affiliate marketers.
If you have a personal brand based on a certain niche, you can also sell digital products, such as videos and online courses. Some other ways to make money on Instagram include becoming an influencer and earning through IGTV ads and Live Badges.
How Much Money Can You Make on Instagram?
The amount of money you make on Instagram depends on the number of followers you have. As a rule of thumb, more followers mean more money. For instance, if you’re an Instagram influencer who shares brands’ promo codes with their followers and earns through per click or per acquisition, you can earn up to $200 for every post if you have less than 100,000 followers. Influencers with a higher reach and promising insights can charge more for each post. For instance, a micro-influencer with a following of 13,000 reportedly earns $300 from sponsored Reels. Likewise, you can also earn through badges. The more badges your followers buy when you’re Live, the more money you make. If you have a top-notch marketing strategy, you can earn enough to make Instagram your sole source of income.
How Many Followers Do You Need to Make Money on Instagram?
According to CNBC, you need at least 5,000 followers and 308 sponsored posts per year to make $100,000. Influencers with a million followers can make up to $250,000 and even more from brand sponsorship posts. Meanwhile, Neil Patel, the famous digital marketing specialist, says you can make money on Instagram with just 1,000 followers if they’re highly engaged with your content, and your Instagram content marketing game is on point.
Among other social media platforms, Instagram has emerged as a lucrative space for content creators to make money, mainly due to the platform’s new features, such as Reels and IGTV ads.
To start making money, you must have a niche about which you’re passionate or skilled, a significantly sized audience, and a solid social media marketing or content marketing strategy.
As discussed in this guide, there are many ways to make money through Instagram. Besides influencer marketing, you can also join affiliate programs, sell your online courses, earn through Live badges, offer consultation services,and run an online store on the platform.
The key to success is having a strong content marketing strategy. If you have engaging content and use Instagram’s features, such as hashtags and Live streams, you’re likely to build a large audience that engages with your content.
The bigger your audience is, the more likely you are to get sponsorship opportunities and partnerships from brands. Having said that, it’s important to keep up with the dynamic social media marketing strategies so that your content is always aligned with Instagram’s algorithms.