If you’ve ever scrolled through your Instagram feed and thought, “I could be making money from this,” you’re not alone. Instagram offers real opportunities to earn, whether you’re aiming for a little extra pocket money or a full-fledged business.
In this article, we’ll share eight practical tips for how to make money on Instagram. Implement them, and you can join the ranks of those who have successfully turned their Instagram activity into a revenue stream.
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8 ways to make money on Instagram
Ready to earn money from Instagram? The methods that may suit you best will depend on your unique style of Instagram content, target audience, and dedication.
The great thing here is that implementing one method doesn’t close the door on others.
Here are eight ways to kickstart your Instagram monetization:
1. Create sponsored posts for brands
You can use your Instagram profile to promote all kinds of products from different brands.
Brands typically work with Instagram influencers who have an active and loyal following. To get your profile noticed, you must grow your following and consistently create posts that engage your audience.
Keep in mind that it takes a long time and a lot of hard work and talent to get to this point. Achieving “influencer” status is certainly possible, but it’s important to manage your expectations should you choose this path.
As an Instagram influencer, it’s extremely important for you to know your audience. You need to understand who these people are—their interests, values, needs, and wants. This way, you know which brands would best fit them.
If you have an Instagram business account, you can analyze your audience stats through the Instagram Insights feature.
As you’re building your profile, try to collaborate with brands that align with your personality and values. Reach out to them directly (through Instagram or their websites) and try to negotiate a deal. You can also list yourself on an influencer marketplace to increase your chances of being found by a big brand.
Pro Tip: Be careful not to lose the trust of your existing audience in the process of making money from sponsored posts. Consider using a clear hashtag like #sponsored or #ad to indicate sponsored posts.
2. Become an affiliate
Another way to make money from Instagram is to sell other people’s products for a commission. Many Instagrammers make money this way. You can explore different affiliate programs and sign up for one that aligns with your interests and audience.
The difference between an influencer and an affiliate is that an affiliate works toward making sales for the partnering brand in exchange for a commission. In contrast, the influencer primarily aims to raise brand awareness. (If you’re solely interested in exposure, consider exploring these brand awareness tips for gaining traction.)
It’s important to create engaging posts to promote the products without coming across as pushy. Since you can only have one link in your Instagram bio, you might want to connect a landing page to your affiliate link. You can quickly set this up using a link-in-bio tool like Linkpop. In each post, make it clear that people can purchase the product via the link in your bio, and craft a fun Instagram caption to make the message less promotional.
While it may initially seem challenging, affiliate marketing has significant potential for growth. You can expand your presence by including a website and/or other marketing or social media channels.
Check out our list of eye-catching Instagram post ideas from successful brands for you to take inspiration from.
3. Become a virtual assistant for an influencer
If you’d rather work behind-the-scenes, consider becoming an assistant to an Instagram influencer.
Many influencers need help with tasks like filtering sponsorship requests, running ads, and identifying fake followers. You can offer your services as a virtual assistant (VA), charging an hourly rate
As a VA for an Instagram influencer, you’ll manage a range of tasks including DMs, post scheduling, and comment replies. The influencer may also ask for content ideas to help grow their personal brand.
So if you’ve always wanted to hone your Instagram marketing skills without being the center of attention, this is a great place to start.
4. Sell Instagram caption services
Many small business owners use Instagram to promote their goods and services, but only a few of them have the resources or expertise to write good Instagram captions. If you’re good at coming up with creative Instagram captions, you can offer Instagram marketing services to these companies. Just remember, they’ll judge you by your ability to write engaging short-form copy.
To get the attention of business owners, write and put up some captions on your own account. Then include the ones that generate the most engagement in your portfolio. Chances are, if a business is going to hire you to craft its Instagram copy, it is going to want to see your work. So make sure you have some examples to show.
How much should you charge for Instagram captions? Whatever price you feel you are worth. It could be $600 for 10 captions, or $1,000 for 20 captions. The important thing is to charge for your expertise rather than your time or your content.
5. Sell photos and other virtual products
Instagram is all about the visuals. That’s why beautiful products and photos will get more sales.
You can sell poster photos, paintings, drawings, animations, videos, and other virtual products. On each post, include an interesting caption and refer readers to visit the link in your bio.
If your pictures are high-quality, there’s a chance that you can get paid for them. Once you snap some great shots, use the best photo editing apps to get the most out of the photos that you take. Try to be original, creative, and fun when you’re taking pictures. Interesting photos will get way more attention than boring ones.
You can use Instagram to promote your photography portfolio using relevant Instagram hashtags.
6. Create and sell merch
You can sell merchandise that you either craft yourself or purchase from suppliers. This approach typically requires keeping some inventory on hand, meaning you’ll need startup capital to buy your goods.
You’ll also need storage space for your products, whether it’s a spare room at home or a rented storage unit. This is particularly important if you intend to save costs by purchasing products in bulk. You’ll need a place to store everything until the items are ordered and shipped to customers.
The good news is that you can enable Instagram Shopping features to sell products directly through the platform (more on this later). Simply tag your products in Instagram photos to direct followers to your product pages, enabling quick and easy purchases.
7. Sell dropshipped products
Dropshipping allows you to run a store without holding any inventory.
After a sale, your supplier ships the products directly from their warehouse to the customer’s doorstep. No need to worry about storage, packaging, or shipping. It’s all taken care of.
This model is similar to our previous idea of earning money by selling products on Instagram. The only difference is that you won’t need to store any inventory. Dropshipping allows you to experiment with niche products that could sell well, all without needing startup capital.
8. Earn live badges
Live badges offer another earning method on Instagram. Modeled after similar features on Twitch and TikTok, live badges function as tips during your broadcasts.
During a live session, viewers can buy a badge. This purchase appears in the comments and unlocks additional features, such as a special heart icon or a spot on your badge list.
- One heart: 99¢
- Two hearts: $1.99
- Three hearts: $4.99
By adding in-stream video ads and live badges to your social media marketing strategy, you open up new avenues for revenue.
How many Instagram followers do you need to make money?
Wondering how many followers it takes to see some cash flow? The answer may surprise you—you need fewer than expected.
However, your financial success is dependent on several factors, including:
- Your chosen niche and its direct relationship to marketable goods (Categories like fashion, beauty, and food often garner more attention due to popular hashtags.)
- Your follower engagement (An audience of 100,000 with no genuine engagement contributes little to revenue.)
- Your selected revenue streams (The path to your Instagram fortune may include sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, or even your own product line.)
Although top Instagrammers earn thousands of dollars per month, you can start making money with as few as 1,000 engaged followers. Need to build that following? We’ve got some tips below.
6 tips for building a following on Instagram
- Optimize your Instagram profile. Make sure to choose a username that’s less than 30 characters and includes a searchable keyword. This enables other users to find your profile easily. Use this same username across all your social media platforms for consistency.
- Participate in conversations related to your niche. Check out other accounts using the same hashtags. Follow them and get involved in the conversations. You’ll earn new followers this way.
- Use compelling Instagram captions. An Instagram caption is what you type underneath your Instagram posts to give your followers a little more juice and appeal. The best Instagram captions help your followers feel invited to join the conversation and like your posts.
- Run and promote contests. Run a contest with a photo that invites contestants and shows the prizes. Be sure to make a special hashtag for the contest too. Decide how the winners will be chosen and post the rules clearly. Be creative with the contest so contestants have an opportunity to earn some money from Instagram too, if possible.
- Create and promote Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories are key to audience building on the platform. Use features like geotags and selfie stickers. Add animated text and color overlays. Face filters, similar to Snapchat’s, can also boost engagement.
- Post regularly. The key to Instagram success is being consistent and making sure your posts all maintain your own special style. This way, your followers can recognize your posts and know they’re coming from your brand. You can also use third-party social media software applications like Hootsuite to schedule your Instagram posts.
Additional things to consider
Using apps, following a do’s and don’ts list, using awesome filters, and applying promotional tactics are key to business success. But you still need to be aware of new trends and rules, which are necessary to make money on Instagram.
Let’s look at a few.
1) Master Instagram for business
There are two types of Instagram accounts: personal and business. You can use this step-by-step instructional video to set up a business account. Shopify also provides an in-depth tutorial for selling on Instagram.
2) Activate Instagram shopping
Instagram Shopping lets you integrate your product catalog with your Instagram profile. This lets you promote your products directly to Instagram users through posts and Stories, in the Explore tab, and in a special Shop tab on your profile.
Our team made the ultimate guide to setting up an Instagram Shop. Check it out if you’d like some pointers to understand how you can make money from an Instagram Shop.
3) Learn Instagram do’s and don’ts
Instagram has detailed rules on how you should post, the types of images or videos to post, and how many times per day you can post.
It also limits the number of hashtags to include, so you can’t just spam your Instagram account with more than 30 hashtags that aren’t related to the content of the post.
Following these rules will improve your chances of earning money from Instagram. According to CoSchedule, it’s recommended to post one to two times a day so your followers wouldn’t feel overwhelmed. This will also give you time to make unique and eye-catching posts. The best time to post would be before launch at 11 a.m on Wednesdays and Fridays.
According to Sprout Social, the ideal length of Instagram captions is between 138 to 150 characters. For ad captions, stick with 125 characters. The optimal number of hashtags is between five to 10; it’s possible to use 20 or more, but it’s not recommended.
Instagram may “shadow ban” your posts if they contain more than 20 hashtags. “Shadow banning” means your posts stop showing up in searches for specific hashtags.
4) Leverage Instagram eccommerce apps
Instagram comes with limited shoppability, which requires some ingenuity to make it work for business. However, the ecommerce shopping feature can be seamlessly integrated with apps specifically designed for a Shopify store.
Try out some apps so you’ll be able to see for yourself which ones let you publish products, along with their pricing and specifications on separate pages.
This way, shoppers feel like they’re still on your Instagram pages while they’re actually already on the ecommerce-ready shopping app pages.
I recommend using Shopify because it has loads of apps that can be integrated with Instagram. You can try many of the apps for free, so there’s no risk if they don’t work out for you.
5) Apply Instagram filters
Canva did a study on the US’s favorite Instagram filters. Based on rank, they are Clarendon, Gingham, Juno, and Lark. And the world’s favorite filters are Clarendon, Juno, Valencia, Gingham, and Lark.
Most popular filters for nature
Most popular filters for fashion
Most popular filters for food
Most popular filters for selfies
Use tools like Picodash to see which photos work. You want to do the kinds of things that successful accounts do, but still create your own unique content and personality. Motivate yourself to learn more each day so you can earn money from Instagram.
6) Create posts inspired by viral stories
Instagram success stories
You can learn from others’ experiences through case studies and success stories like those below.
Foster a specific niche lifestyle and start selling products that you’re passionate about. It can be a passion, hobby, or anything you want to share with others. Just do what you do best.
With apps that connect social media platforms with your ecommerce site, the seamlessness is even better. Shopify comes with Instagram Business Account integration, which makes the whole process of using Instagram for business even simpler.
Let’s look at some brands that integrate Instagram marketing with their ecommerce store.
BeardBrand started its business with only $30 and a committed vendor. How it earns money from Instagram is unique and super cool.
BeardBrand has a strong Instagram presence, with more than 260,000 followers, which helps big time in selling its beard-related products.
Justin Wong, the founder of Aesthentials, is passionate about cute Harajuku-style fashion. His popular Instagram account is his main marketing channel.
Note that each Instagram post is meticulously edited to fit a specific mood and vibe. Justin makes $12,000 per month on Instagram selling various products with the dropshipping business model.
While there are several vendors, the products aren’t purchased by the store owner until they’re purchased by customers.
How much money can people make on Instagram?
It depends on what you sell and what business strategies and marketing tactics you use. If you’ve just started, you’ll probably only make a little. But as your Instagram following grows and you get better at marketing, you’re likely to see your numbers increase.
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Your journey to Instagram profitability starts now
You started out capturing simple moments: a picture of your meal, a snapshot with your pet, a post that made someone laugh. Now, you have the opportunity to turn that into a legitimate income on Instagram.
Follow the tips above to monetize your account, and be sure to experiment, as certain strategies may work better for you than others.
Want to learn more?