We’ve all seen huge influencers on Instagram showing off their new bags, watches, and cars they’ve bought with income from working with brands, but is that the only way to make money on Instagram? Fortunately, no, it’s not. There are actually a ton of different ways you can use Instagram – you just have to think outside the box!
So, if you’re wondering, “How to make money on Instagram?” We’re here to share with you 11 ways you can make money on Instagram. Ready? Let’s jump in.
Note: the more followers you have, the more money you can make – and they can’t all be bots, either. We’ve used most of the techniques listed below to make money, but we have an account with over 1,000,000 active followers. The more engaged followers you have, the more money you can make, though some of these techniques can work even with a new account.
How to make money on Instagram
1. Sell Ads
This is one of the ways those big social media influencers make money on Instagram and is best for those who already have an engaged following, ideally a couple of thousand followers at least, to start. Once you have an engaged audience with a common interest, you can sell ads in which you promote something for a company. Nowadays, most influencers put a #ad somewhere visible, so you should be able to spot them. In our worst month, we’ve made $2K, in our best $11K, so there’s definitely good money to be made once you’ve got the following to justify this kind of price tag.
I wrote more about my own experience selling ads in this article: How I Make Money With My 1M-Follower Instagram Account
2. Affiliate Link Quotes from Books
Okay, so let’s be real for a second – we’ve made a total of *drum roll*… $0.50 from this technique this far. I know – we’re not exactly rolling in it. But, this is still a technique worth sharing because it can, does, and will make money. Generating cash in this way is possible, but not without dedication and hard work. It’s advised that if you do choose to get into this practice as a way of making money, you should also establish other avenues alongside this one.
3. Flip Pages
Ever heard of flipping houses or flipping businesses? Well, you can do that with Instagram pages, too. In real estate terms, flipping a house is the practice of buying a cheap house, adding value, and reselling it quickly. In Instagram terms, this is the practice of growing an Instagram page and selling it. 18-year-old Youtuber Vlad Biaheza told Marketwatch that he’s bought a lot of Instagram accounts, but held on to one he bought for $300. “I bought it when it had 40,000 followers. The page ended up growing to 863,000 followers within a year and is now worth around $10,000,” he said. “Although I received offers for it, I am choosing not to sell it since I am making a lot more on it through selling products on it.”
We actually did this for our own Instagram account – we bought it at 545,000 followers, and have since grown it to over 1,000,000. We bought it from a guy who was selling ads on it for a lump sum, and we now profit off it ourselves.
4. Sell Your Photos
If you’re passionate about photography and that’s why you got into Instagram in the first place, this is for you. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so why not see your photos as assets that can earn you money? You can list your photographs on markets like Twenty20 and 500px where people go to buy photos, and publishers search for high-quality photos to license. Use your Instagram account to share your upcoming collections and use relevant hashtags to advertise your photos.
5. Become an Influencer
This will take a ton of time, thought, research and effort, but is becoming an increasingly popular way of earning money. When you start out, the money you make from sharing your content with brands will be minimal, especially if you have fewer than 10,000 followers. When an influencer receives offers to partner with companies, they may just receive free products or “gifts” to begin with, and in return, they will be asked to film “un-boxing” videos, which feature them opening a package sent to them by the brand, and talking about how much they love them.
Once the influencer’s following has expanded, more long term partnerships with companies are likely to be established. Sponsored posts are the primary source of income for a lot of Instagram influencers, and those running theme pages can make a lot of money by selling products and shoutouts to various brands. This can be a good one for you if you’re already developing a personal brand.
Also, consider the fact that becoming an influencer doesn’t necessarily mean you are becoming some sort of Instagram model. I know people that teach stock investing or talk about books on Instagram.
6. Be an Affiliate
Affiliate marketing is where you promote someone else’s product, and when your followers purchase through your affiliate link, you see a kickback of the sale. Not only is this a great way to work with products you love, but you can make money for as long as your post and the link exists. It can take time to generate the amount of traffic needed to result in substantial income, but once you’ve formed a strong relationship with your audience you can see great returns.
I’ve seen affiliates in the form of subscriptions for platforms and software used and links to books like the one we described in step 2.
7. Sell eBooks
If you’ve got enough content that you think would be useful or interesting, it may be worth combining it all together and selling it as an eBook. For example, if you’re a blogger, you could combine all the blogs into one big eBook. Or if you have a speciality or are an expert in a certain niche market, writing about your experience or giving advice could be consolidated into an eBook which could be sold to boost revenue. It’s also worth noting the importance of knowing your audience – there’s no point in trying to sell a product that’s designed for 50-80 year-olds if your audience is mainly under the age of twenty!
This is something we plan to do in the future and is a great way to create some passive income and generate sales through Instagram if you’ve been building up a backlog of helpful (or simply entertaining) content for some time.
Via Amazon KDP it’s pretty easy to create your own eBook. It even gives you the option to send a paperback version out via a print on demand service they integrated.
8. Sell Merchandise
Already developed a brand or following? It’s time to consider selling merch. This can be particularly lucrative if you already have a brand established for yourself, for example, if you’re a musician, artist or other creative, merch sales can be a great source of income in between gigs and exhibitions. Establishing one’s brand and aesthetic can take a bit of time and effort, so this part might take a little research if you’re just getting started. If you’re already at a point where you know where your brand sits in the market, this should be relatively simple: all you have to do is maintain that aesthetic that ties in cohesively with your brand (including any existing logos, catchphrases, memes, and colour schemes).
You don’t even have to buy a large inventory of clothes these days. Businesses like Teespring make it pretty easy to get started with a large catalogue that’s being printed and shipped on demand.
9. Take Your In-Person Service Online
If you’ve got skills that are in-demand in the physical world, it might be the case that your skills will also be popular in the virtual world too. People like yoga teachers or dance instructors are reaching new audiences and are able to make more money from virtual classes. The same goes for academic teachers and lecturers – the way we learn and work on skills has changed a lot recently and it’s definitely time to monetize that fact. If you’re unsure whether your skills are marketable, start off by posting little nuggets of information or advice, and if it gains traction, you can think about offering paid packages, tutorials or sessions to your readers. For example, if you’re a yoga instructor you can charge one amount for the live class, where students are also on camera so you can correct their form and another lower price for the replay (or upload it to YouTube and make money from ad revenue). Promote it all via your Instagram account and drive traffic to your site.
Did you know that 46% of users make a purchasing decision after seeing it on Instagram? That’s a pretty high number – even if you take into account that only a small segment of Instagram users was surveyed. If e-commerce is more your thing, and you’d prefer to promote your own products, Instagram is the perfect venue to get them seen and bought.
11. Build a community
The most recent trend I witnessed is the development of communities. If you are earning your followers trust you can start converting them to a platform behind a paywall like Patreon or Substack.
The approach is pretty straightforward, bring all your provided value together into one platform. You could name it curation. I’ve seen people posting quality content on their Social Media channels, selling eBooks and workshops that give more structure to all their free content and finally selling subscriptions to communities where it is possible to get their personal guidance. A big plus is that in those communities more like-minded people contribute making it even more valuable.
How to earn money on Instagram; You have to put in the effort.
The underlying necessity that all of these options to make money on Instagram have in common is that they require dedication, hustle, and an awareness of your audience. As long as you use your imagination and listen to the people you want to do business with, it’s definitely possible to be successful in earning money from Instagram – you just have to stop scrolling and take action.