Do you just post pictures day after day on Instagram, or do you have a large number of followers? Do you want to know how to make money on Instagram?
Well, after reading this article you will have already learned the secret formula used to make six figures or more from your Instagram account.
What was merely a photo-sharing app initially has become one of the top social media platforms in less than seven years. With 600 million monthly active users and 400 million daily active users, Instagram ranks higher than Tumblr, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn. And I highly doubt that it will be slowing down anytime soon.
Well, now is the perfect time to cash in on its growing popularity.
If you’re prepared to put in the time and commitment, you can easily find yourself in a position where you can start making serious money from your Instagram account.
If by now you’re wondering how many followers you need to make it happen, the answer is “not as many as you think”.
The answer depends on factors that range from:
- What niche you’re in and how easily you can directly tie it to a product category (fashion, food, beauty, and fitness are popular niches, based on top hashtags)
- How engaged your followers are (100K fake followers won’t amount to much).
- Which revenue channels you explore.
Naturally, the more engaged followers you have, the better. While top Instagrammers make thousands per post on the photo sharing platform, even those with a smaller but engaged following of 1000 have the potential to profit.
This article will guide you through the main ways to make an income through Instagram.
Ok, then let’s begin.
How to Make Money on Instagram –
#1 Sell Your Photos
Instagram is a photo-sharing app at its core. And photos are assets that can be licensed, printed, and sold in a variety of ways. Then why not use Instagram for it sole purpose… to showcase your photography?
If you’re a professional (or amateur but keen!) photographer, Instagram is a great way to advertise and sell your shots to either individuals or agencies. Add a watermark to your snaps and use the captions to list all selling details in a concise manner.
As always, make sure that you have an active presence so that the right type of accounts are following you. Use appropriate hashtags to pull people towards your shots and get a conversation going with influential photography agencies.
There are also a few sites that you can use to actually put your Instagram photos for sale, including:
#2 Affiliate Marketing
This is a good place to start when you are first figuring out how to make money with Instagram. Affiliate marketing is basically when you promote a product and get paid per sale. Businesses with affiliate programs will give you a commission for every sale you drive through your custom link.
With Instagram, you post attractive images highlighting their products and drive sales through your affiliate URL (this should be provided by your affiliate).
You can put your affiliate URL on your captions or on your bio. You can either use bitly.com to shorten and customize your affiliate link or you can hook up your blog and Instagram profile so that when people purchase through your link, you get a sale.
There are quite a few companies you can work with here. Here are some:
- Sharesale: Find companies you want to work with, sign up for their affiliate program, get approved then start promoting. In some programs, it’s easier to get approved if you have a blog or website.
- Ebates: Refer people that love deals & discounts, then get a commission.
- Stylinity: great for fashion bloggers. When people shop using your link, you’ll get a commission.
#3 Apply to be a Brand Ambassador
If you have, say, a million Instagram followers, brands will come to you. You can then charge tens of thousands of dollars for a single branded picture. But while you’re still building up your following you can do the equivalent of an unpaid internship. That means you can feature a particular brand on your Instagram account and tag or mention that brand.
If all goes well, you’ll get the brand’s attention and that attention will lead to a paid partnership. If you already have loyalty to a certain brand, it’s worth a try. However, there’s no guarantee that the strategy will pay off. You can tag the brand that made the purse that’s featured in your flat-lay, but the brand isn’t obligated to reach out to you.
To initiate a more formal brand ambassador relationship, you can also apply to be a brand ambassador online. Many brands now have their own application processes.
#4 Promote Your Own Products
Product promotion is huge on Instagram because of its visual nature. If you are a retailer with your own product lines this is common sense. But it works for any business from hospitality to digital downloads. Again, don’t forget the hashtags. Be careful to vary your approach. Your homemade jewelry is probably beautiful, but your followers want to be surprised by your content. Instagrammers who know how to make money tend to use varied approaches. Show the raw materials, or tell a story about the crafting process behind your product. Have fun with it.
#5 Create Sponsored Posts (Find Sponsors!)
Instagram users with engaged followings can earn extra money by creating original sponsored content for brands. In a nutshell, a piece of sponsored content on Instagram is a photo or video that highlights a product or a brand. These posts are accompanied by captions that may include branded hashtags, @mentions, or links.
Brands don’t typically require a formal brand ambassadorship for creators of sponsored content, but it’s common to for them to tap certain influencers for content time and time again. However, it’s important that any brands or products you promote are a good fit for your own personal image on Instagram.
The idea is to show off brands that you can personally get behind and to show your followers how that brand fits into your lifestyle.
- TapInfluence is a great tool for Instagram creators who are looking for opportunities for sponsored content, and it takes the guesswork out of the process of aligning with brands. You create a profile that describes you and the nature of your content, and brands who are interested in working with you will invite you to programs.
- Ifluenz is another easy tool as you can browse matching available campaigns created by a variety of brands and directly promote the ones you prefer.
#6 Join a Sponsored Post Program
This one is a bit like the affiliate program except that it isn’t up to you to generate the traffic. The program will figure out how to make money, and you just post the content. Just download an app like Takumi and you can start sharing sponsored posts. The only catch here is that you have to have at least 1,000 followers. That may not be possible if you’ve just starting using the platform, but if you stick with a strategy you’ll be there in no time.
#7 Affiliate marketing through Instagram shoutouts
It involves using Instagram shoutouts, which are defined as “a screenshot of another user’s profile page uploaded to your account to show support and give exposure to the other user. Shoutouts can increase a user’s followers and provide advertising to small businesses and websites.”
Here’s how you can take advantage of this tactic.
First, you need to have an affiliate product to promote.
Some popular affiliate networks where you can find products include:
Once you’ve found a suitable product, go to Shoutcart.com.
This is a marketplace where you can find quality influencers who have large followings and “buy shoutouts” from them.
It’s an incredibly effective way to get the word out on an affiliate product in a short period of time without having to do a lot of heavy lifting.
#8 Sell Your Account
Had enough of Instagram? Ready to move on?
Having success simply demands that you use the right resources in conjunction with one another.
Whether it’s selling your photos, sponsored posts, paying for mass exposure via shoutouts, or selling from your own online store, there are a ton of options for users with different-sized follower counts.
And with a massive audience that’s only going to get bigger, Instagram should continue to be a great money making platform for years to come.
Can you think of any other ways to monetize with Instagram? What are your most lucrative tips?
Comment and share.