For many users, Instagram is just an app for sharing photos of events or following celebrities. However, one should keep in mind that it is also a commercial platform, and you can make money online using Instagram. Commercial companies, NGOs, and e-commerce store owners or drop-shipping providers are all making money on Instagram. Many companies may be interested in the opportunity to reach even small groups of followers. And so, if a brand wants to reach your followers, you can make money on Instagram.
How do Instagram users make money? How to make money on Instagram? What makes Instagram different from other online social media websites? The methods of making money online depend on the material you share on Instagram, on whom you want to reach, and how much time you can devote to your work. One source of income does not have to replace another, so you can mix and match the approaches as you see fit.
How to get paid on Instagram?
There are many ways to earn money online.
Even though people want to monetize their Instagram profiles in many different ways, there are five basic ways on how to make money on Instagram:
1. Become an influencer
Popular influencers often receive bonuses and freebies from various brands in exchange for promoting their products. If you've built a loyal fan base that values your opinion and trusts you, brands will also be more likely to use you for advertising. Big brands can pay up to tens of thousands of dollars per post—but budding influencers can get rewards, too! If you want to know how to get paid on Instagram, the best answer is “to promote quality products”.
Smaller companies, for example, may donate clothes and cosmetics to you in exchange for you giving yourself to be photographed using them. It's also worth keeping in mind all sorts of niches and different hobbies when you want to make money on Instagram. For example, if you promote Mongolian cuisine, maybe a few companies will donate ingredients to you, if there aren't many traditional Central Asian influencers in your area.
If you want to become an influencer, you don't just have to be photogenic and charismatic—you have to know your audience to understand how to get paid on Instagram. First and foremost, know what they want to see and what they value. What values do you represent? What do you give your audience that no one else gives them? The Instagram Insights service for business clients can also help you.
In the case of powerful influencers, brands can reach out to you on their own. However, you yourself can ask the brand to sponsor your posts! There are platforms like Dovetale and Grapevine that allow brands and influencers to pair up. Also, remember to be authentic—mark sponsored content, otherwise fans will quickly turn on you!
2. Join an affiliate program to make money online
Many people make money on Instagram through affiliate programs. How to make money on social media using this kind of partnership? Well, it’s usually just a matter of selling someone else's merchandise: you will receive a commission on each sale. In most cases, you get followers to use a unique promo code or link in an Instagram bio. Since Instagram doesn't allow links in posts, you can create promo codes to make money online in different ways.
The difference between an influencer and an affiliate is that an affiliate works to sell the main brand in exchange for a commission. On the other hand, the main goal of an influencer is to make people aware of something, like the goods of a promoter brand. Affiliates make money through a tracked link or promo code, which allows the main seller to know exactly which sales are coming from your posts.
Be sure to say in each post that people can buy the product through the link in your bio. To avoid sounding like an intrusive advertisement, insert good photos, add some humor — you need to make the viewer interested in the goods you’re advertising.
3. Open a store on Instagram Shopping
Over the past few years, Instagram has added many new features that make it easier for people to buy products featured in videos and photos on the platform. For many people, the answer to the question “How to make money on Instagram” is “through Instagram Shopping”.
Your store on Instagram is like your storefront. There, you can present your brand’s values and make money online by selling your products. Instagram makes it way easy for shoppers to browse your collections and buy them. To set up Shopping on Instagram, you need a business or creator account.
You can create product description pages in your shop, just like in your online store. Here you can put all the important product information, such as prices and descriptions. What's more, you can tag your products on influencer photos—if a famous person wears your dress, their fans can go to your store with one click!
Another great solution is live broadcasting—influencers can let you tag your products in a live broadcast, and their fans can buy them with one click. You can also add product tags to your ads, letting your offers reach even more people. It might require some investment, but it’s still one of the best ways on how to earn money on social media.
You can use checkout on Instagram to send people to your site to complete a purchase, or let them buy your products directly through the app. What's more, setting up a store on Instagram is free. Only if someone buys through your checkout on Instagram, you will have to pay a commission.
4. Sell your photos on Instagram
Instagram is all about sharing photos, so a good photographer can actually become popular quickly. How to make money on Instagram as a photographer? Well, you can use your photos in many different ways. If it's photography that drew you to Instagram, you can post your photos on stock photo platforms like Adobe Stock or Shutterstock, where brands and publishers can license them—and advertise your profile using Instagram.
You can also sell your art. Add an interesting caption to each post and tell people to click a link in your bio leading to your gallery on ArtStation or DeviantArt. If they are encouraged by your art, they may, for example, hire you to create commissioned drawings. This is another popular way for Instagram users to make money.
But you can also sell prints and other physical products with your photos. Services like Printful and Teelaunch allow you to put your photos on posters, phone cases, pillows and more. They take care of orders and customer service, so all you have to worry about is sales. You can also sell posters, photos, paintings—and print them yourself or store your prints at your home.
5. Offer physical objects for sale
Using Instagram, you can sell anything you make yourself or buy from other people. You can run a traditional business, but you can also make things yourself—such as through Etsy. In traditional e-commerce you usually have to have inventory on hand, which means, inventory costs, storage, or energy expenses. On the other hand, it offers stability and predictability.
Dropshipping, however, is a viable alternative - you can learn more about it using our blog posts. When you make a sale, your supplier will ship your products from their warehouse straight to your customer's door. You don't have to worry about where to store, pack or ship your goods, because your job is just to arrange the sale. With drop-shipping, you can try out different niche products to see which ones sell well and learn how to make money on Instagram more effectively.
If you don't want to run a business, you can always sell your old clothes and accessories. Many influencers make money by reselling the clothes they showed off in photos. Show off your clothes and other items in an interesting way and take pictures of them. Provide as much information as possible in the caption, describe the brand, size, condition, and age of each item. You can also sell books, furniture in this way…. anything you presented on your photos! If you use a store like Etsy or eBay, you can include a link to it in your Instagram Bio.
How to start making money on Instagram?
If you're still wondering how many followers you need to start making money on Instagram, you're actually asking yourself the wrong question. Some money can be made even by people who have a few hundred followers.
It all depends on what your niche is and how easy it is to link directly to the products you want to sell.
Fashion, food, beauty, and fitness are popular niches—but that means there are many competitors. As a result, people who, for example, run a profile about drawing with pastels can get freebie paints and paper, and thus benefit even if they have few followers.
The most popular Instagram users earn thousands of dollars per post, but even those who have a small but active number of 1,000 followers could start learning how to make money on Instagram.
There are many ways to make money online. Check out our tips on how to make money on social media like YouTube or Facebook. After all, people who follow you on Instagram are likely to follow you on other channels as well! Don't limit yourself to just one social site!