You’re probably already aware of Instagram’s gargantuan user base but to put a number to it, about 1.3 billion people use Instagram. That’s almost the size of China, the most populated nation in the world.
In addition to being one of the largest social media platforms in the world, Instagram is a great channel to make money. You can leverage the platform’s massive numbers and be earning an income faster than you think.
So, let’s get into how you can make money on Instagram.
3 Things to Keep in Mind
Before you begin your journey there are a few things you should keep in mind, especially with a platform as enormous as this.
Quality is the Priority
To say quality over quantity has become a bit of a cliché but that doesn’t make it any less true. The quality of your content will ultimately determine your success on the platform. Considering how simple it is to post content on Instagram, it can be tempting to quickly churn out content without giving it too much thought. But that will just as quickly ruin your chances of making any money. As soon as your audience notices poor-quality posts, you lose them.
The More Followers the Better
The larger your audience, the more you can potentially earn. You want to have at least a few thousand followers to seriously pursue Instagram as a means to make money. Do not worry if you don’t, focus your efforts on building your audience. Even if you do have a decent following always look for opportunities to find more. Post regularly, use other platforms to your advantage, and engage with your followers.
Engage With Your Audience
The key to making money is building trust with your customers. On a social media platform like Instagram, there are several avenues at your disposal to engage with your audience from comments to streams. This is also the best way to build your follower numbers if you’re not quite where you want to be. Instagram is social media after all, so it’s important to be social.
8 Ways How To Make Money on Instagram in 2021
The great thing about Instagram as a platform to earn is that there isn’t just one way to make money. There are several. The way you choose depends entirely on your area of expertise, your followers, and the nature of your content. So, let’s dive into how you can make money on Instagram.
1. Sponsored Posts
You’ve probably come across more than a few sponsored posts on Instagram and it’s easily one of the best ways to earn as an Instagram influencer. If you’ve got follower numbers well into the thousands and great engagement with your audience, running sponsored posts might be exactly what you’re looking for.
So, how does it work? When you make a sponsorship deal with a brand, you create content that promotes their products or services in your posts on Instagram. Include branded hashtags, or links, share them with your audience and you’re paid. That seems simple enough. But let’s take a step back.
To make money with sponsored posts, your audience needs to engage and enjoy your content. Simply posting blatant advertisements that force brands on your followers is a poor strategy. The most important rule here is to be authentic. The brands you sponsor must be brands you believe in and trust. If the brands you sponsor don’t align with your content your followers are unlikely to engage with your posts.
For example, if your Instagram content is generally focused on vegan lifestyles and you make a sponsorship deal with an all-meat fast-food restaurant your credibility is potentially ruined forever.
The best strategy is to create content that expresses who you really are. Showcasing your passions and your interests is the priority and if you can genuinely do that there’s a great chance relevant brands will approach you for sponsorship deals. When you post sponsored content your it’s vital that you’re genuinely enthusiastic about the brands you promote.
You can also directly approach brands for sponsorship deals. Look for the brands that you connect with and that will seamlessly blend with your content and connect with them. You can do this through emails that describe who you are and the influence you have or through an influencer marketing platform.
There are thousands of influencers who use sponsored posts to earn a great income and with the right priorities and approach, you can get started as well.
2. Become an Affiliate
Affiliate marketing also involves the promotion of products or services. So, in many ways, it’s a lot like running sponsored posts. As an affiliate, you promote a brand’s product or service and every time a customer makes a purchase through your links you earn a commission.
The only limitation with the platform here is you can only place a clickable link in your Instagram profile bio. This means, as an affiliate your audience needs to click your bio link and make a purchase for you to earn. It’s a bit of an inconvenience but there are several successful Instagram affiliate marketers who have overcome this challenge.
It again comes down to the quality of your posts. Choose brands that you connect with and that are within your niche and produce high-quality content to promote them. If your audience finds your content engaging, the products you promote interesting they will be more than willing to head over to a bio link.
Affiliate programs often include promo codes you can include in your content. This is much easier to place within your posts and could be a more effective affiliate marketing strategy on the platform.
However, once you exceed 10,000 followers you can insert clickable links in your Instagram stories which instantly boosts your potential as an affiliate marketer. Instagram stories are a powerful feature to drive your affiliate sales. To put it in perspective, about 500 million people use Instagram stories every day.
Look for the best affiliate programs for you and find the brands that fit with your content. Remember, being enthusiastic and genuine about what you promote is important. Whether it’s fashion or food, your audience needs to love your content before they consider purchasing anything you promote.
3. Become a Brand Ambassador
Take your sponsorship deal to the next level by becoming a brand ambassador. This is a long-term relationship with a brand as you regularly promote their products or services. This is a much greater commitment than sponsorship deals and even affiliate marketing so ensure you do all the research necessary before you become an ambassador.
Do you trust the brand? Does it align with your content? Will your audience find your promotions interesting on a regular basis? Make sure you are also clear and comfortable with the terms of the deal. As an added perk brand ambassadors often receive free products from the brands they promote to review. This could further open opportunities for your content in the form of live stream reviews or demonstrations for example.
4. Sell Your Products with Instagram Shopping
If you have an online store for a product or service, Instagram is a great platform to boost your sales. In fact, 81% of Instagram users use the platform to research products and services. Integrating your online store with Instagram Shopping is ideal particularly if your niche is fashion, beauty, food, or photography.
Instagram Shopping gives you a range of fantastic features that makes promoting your products a breeze. The major features Instagram Shopping includes are:
- Your shop: This gives you a place where your audience can browse the catalogue of products you sell. It’s simple, clean, and organized.
- Collections:This allows you to further customize your shop. Enhance your shop by including themes or categories such as gifts, trends and more.
- Product details:This page provides all the information on your product your customers will need within Instagram
- Checkout:Your customers do not need to go to your website to make a purchase they can checkout their orders on Instagram.
- Products Tags: You can tag products from your store directly in your posts with this feature.
With these features, Instagram Shopping has become an increasingly popular choice for audiences with 130 million users tapping on shopping posts each month. Create posts that include your products and Instagram allows you to tag up to five products per post.
You can even use your non-promotional posts to boost your brand and get your audience to know you. This will help you develop that trust you need with your potential customers making them more likely to consider purchasing your products.
5. Earn With Your Content
Instagram also makes it possible to monetize your content directly on the platform. There are a few ways you can go about this.
Just like the ads you see on YouTube, IGTV Ads appear with your IGTV content on the platform. These ads appear before, during, or after IGTV videos and can be a great way to make money.
Creating IGTV Ads is simple, first, you need to set up a business account after which you’ll need to pick your ad objectives. These include Traffic, Brand Awareness, Engagement, Reach, or Video Views. Fill in a few more details and you can get to work building your 15-second ad.
Creating ads, however, comes with a bit of a risk and that’s simply the fact that most people find them annoying. So, to be successful here you need to create something fresh and entertaining. Your ad needs to be fun and fresh. If it’s been done before, don’t do it again.
But do not forget why you’re making the ad in the first place–to promote your brand. You have 15 seconds, so make sure you use it in the best way you can. Get to the point as swiftly as you can and keep your audience engaged. A high-quality and well-planned ad will always get the best responses so ensure that is your focus.
6. Instagram Badges
If you create live content for your followers, Instagram’s live badges feature can help your audience show their support and help you earn. When your viewers watch your live content, they can purchase badges that range from $0.99 to $4.99. As badges are purchased you can see the users that are sending them as well as your total earnings.
Setting up Badges is easy, head over to your profile and find the “Professional Dashboard”, there you should see the option “Grow your business” and then “Badges”. Once you’ve enabled badges you will be asked to confirm the process and you can get started. Let your viewers know that you’ve got Badges enabled and start earning.
7. Share Your Knowledge
If you’re an influencer with a significant following you’ve probably done a lot of hard work to get there. Why not share your experiences with others and earn in the process? Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most popular mediums for marketing, so people are always looking for ways to grow and widen their reach on the platform.If you’ve cracked the formula, your skills and experience is in demand.
One of the ways you can share your knowledge and earn is by creating an online course describing your experiences and tools for success. This could be exactly what people in your niche are looking for.
What’s more, you don’t need any remarkable qualifications to prove your credibility. If you’ve got great follower numbers, that’s all your audience needs to see to believe you have the skills to boost their Instagram performance. And to bring it all full circle, you can promote your online course on Instagram and earn revenue through that as well.
8. Use Instagram to Promote Other Content
Do you have a YouTube channel or a blog? Instagram is the perfect platform to get your name and brand out there to get more views on your content. Use the platform to regularly post updates on your content and widen your reach.
If you create video content, Instagram is a great space to post teasers and video updates that can direct your audience to your YouTube channel. Sure, this is definitely a more indirect way of earning money on Instagram but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s effective. Sharing the video content you create for YouTube can often be a tedious process with little success. However, leveraging the popularity and size of your Instagram following could be the boost you need.
Instagram also gives you an opportunity to engage with your YouTube audience through posts and videos. This way you can also earn an income on Instagram through Badges or sponsored posts for example.
Tips To Be Successful on Instagram
Find Your Area of Expertise
Finding your niche is crucial and Instagram is the place to really narrow your interests. There are thousands of niches that already exist on the platform, it’s important to find one that you genuinely understand and one that has a good target audience. You must be an expert in your niche. Don’t pick an area just because it has been successful for others. Creating content for a niche you don’t connect with is unfulfilling and unlikely to earn you much.
As of 2021 some of the most popular areas on Instagram include health, fitness, beauty, lifestyle, business, pets, travel, parenting, crafts among others. But the more specific the better. Crafts might be the area you focus on, but you can get even more specific. For example, DIY crafts from recycled materials.
Whatever you choose, make sure you have an audience and ensure you can consistently create high-quality content.
Stick with The Trends
In addition to finding your niche and learning everything you can about it, it’s also important to stay updated. Follow the news and the trends in your area and pay attention to what interests your audience as trends change.
Engage in communities within your niche whether it’s on Reddit, Facebook, or YouTube. Watching the trends allows you to alter and adjust your content to the changing interests of your followers.
Whether it’s a sponsorship deal with a brand or affiliate marketing, being authentic in your promotions is important. You need to love what you’re doing and passionately support the brands you choose to support.
Your posts shouldn’t be obvious advertisements with exaggerated praise and absurd claims but instead, be honest expressions of yourself. Naturally blending the products, you promote with your content is the best way to intrigue your audience.
Regardless of which approach you take to make money on Instagram, being consistent is extremely important for your success. Prepare a schedule and post regularly. At the same time do not drown your followers in posts. Find the right balance so your audience always looks forward to your content.
Audiences always trust creators who are honest about everything they do. Always play by the rules and stick to Instagram’s regulations and terms. If your posts and content include advertisements and promotions let your audience know. Hiding the fact could damage your reputation on Instagram and lead to fines. Audiences in fact are more likely to trust your content if you make it clear that it contains promotions. And trust is the most important aspect of your relationship with your audience.
Take the Initiative
Opportunities on this platform won’t always find their way to you. Often you need to take that extra step to find avenues to expand and grow. Reach out to sponsors you wish to promote and be willing to negotiate deals. Ask questions and try to learn from others. Being proactive and confident establishes you as a credible content creator who can be trusted even if you don’t have huge follower numbers.
Monitor and Track Your Success
Keep a record of your progress. This is the best way to understand if you’re headed in the direction you want. Track your earnings and look for trends that could help you improve your content. Look for the posts that receive the most engagement and compare them with the content that receives the least. Accordingly, alter your strategy and optimize your content. This is also a great way to keep track of your improvements and will help you set realistic goals for the future.
Observe Your Competitors
Sometimes the best place to learn is from the competition. Observe other influencers in your niche and learn from their success. What kind of content do they produce? Do they produce videos? How often do they live stream? How often do they post? Which brands do they choose to promote? As long as you do not plagiarize, your competition can greatly help you boost your performance.
Use Other Platforms to Your Advantage
In the same way that you can use Instagram to promote your content on other platforms, you can use other platforms to promote your Instagram content. If you’re confident that your greatest earning potential lies within Instagram, it’s a great idea to use all the tools at your disposal to grow your audience there.
Start a YouTube channel or a blog to reach an even larger audience. Find ways to engage them on multiple platforms. This additionally opens up more avenues to earn for example through AdSense or affiliate marketing.
Find a balance
Your posts should not become a flood of advertisements and promotions. This is especially relevant if you’ve made a sponsorship deal. For every promotional post that you create also create non-promotional ones. Find a balance that lets your audience know that you’re not on the platform just for the money but also to engage and contribute to the community.
Sure, it’s tempting to include as many promotions as you can, but your followers are much more likely to appreciate a balance. Sprinkling promotions rather than making them obvious and jarring improves your chances of seeing purchases.
FAQs on How to Make Money on Instagram
How many followers do I need to start making money on Instagram?
It’s a good idea to have at least 1000 followers before you consider making money on Instagram. However, regardless of the number of followers you have, your success depends on how you connect with your audience.
If you have thousands of followers but little to zero engagement with them, you’re not going to be very successful. In the same way, if you have only just above 1000 followers but you regularly engage with them you can still be very successful on the platform.
Whether it’s 1000, 10,000, or 1 million followers, making money depends on the effort you put into your content and your engagement with your audience.
How much money can I make on Instagram?
This can vary but several influencers out there earn in the millions for each sponsored post. That might be an ambitious target if you’re just starting out but with the right sponsorship deals and good engagement from your audience you can make hundreds to thousands per post. The more you grow and the more you improve your engagement the more you will earn. It might take you a while to see the numbers you’re expecting but stick to your strategy, remain consistent and the rewards of your efforts will follow.
How do I increase my Instagram followers?
Reaching a wider audience is the easiest way to improve your earning potential. The more you engage with your existing audience the better your chances are of growing.
There are a few things you can do however to help you get more attention.
– Plan your strategy by understanding your target audience and crafting content tailored for them.
– Make sure your bio and profile are well planned and organized
– Make sure you’re consistent in your designs and style of posts. This keeps your content professional.
– Add relevant hashtags to your posts.
– If you’re willing to invest, use Instagram advertising to gain more followers
How do you calculate engagement?
Engagement is a word thrown around a lot in the context of Instagram, but is there a way to roughly put a number to it? There certainly is. Calculate your engagement rate for each post by adding the number of likes and comments. Then divide that sum by the number of followers you have and multiply the resulting figure by 100 to arrive at your engagement rate for a particular post.
How do I get sponsored on Instagram?
Before you approach sponsors you should build your audience and brand. Sometimes, your high-quality content could attract sponsors before you reach out. However, in many cases, influencers need to pitch for sponsorship deals. When you do this, you get directly in touch with the sponsors of your choice and describe your potential as a promoter.
Which approach should I take to make money on Instagram?
This really depends on your niche and your audience. If your niche is fitness for example and you’re experienced with workout routines, you might consider live streaming workout sessions and earn through badges. You may also choose sponsorship deals with health food brands or workout equipment and create posts to include those promotions.
Choose the approach that your audience will engage with the most. Understanding your audience and understanding every aspect of your niche will ultimately determine your decision.
Instagram is one of the world’s most popular apps with 503 million downloads in 2020 alone. Instagram isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, if anything it’s growing bigger and bigger. So, using this massive potential audience to earn is a fantastic idea. Whether you find a sponsorship deal or sell your products using Instagram shopping, the platform is an ocean of opportunities that could become a reliable source of income.
It might take a while to build the following you need but if you’re committed to the journey and eager to produce high-quality content for your audience your experience will be nothing but profitable.