You look at and scroll through awesome pictures on Instagram everyday. You’ve heard the stories, about people being paid to travel, getting sponsored by awesome brands, and you want in. You want to learn how to make money on Instagram, but figure it takes too much time, it’s too hard, and it’ll never happen.
It worked for them, but it can’t possibly work for you, right?
Want to know something crazy?
It turns out that as long as you have a strategy and know what methods to use, making money on Instagram is EASY and FUN.
All you need to do is use these methods while staying consistent with your posting schedule, and you can make money from home or from wherever you’d like with your IG account. You can literally start from nothing and be on your way to making THOUSANDS of dollars for posting a single picture on your account!
In this article, we’re going to show you why now is the perfect time to get in on the Instagram game, how fast it’s growing, and some success stories of other people who started from zero and are now making their livings from their IG accounts. We’ll then tell you about the 4 methods (and a bonus one) we recommend for income generation using the app. Finally, we’ll give you some helpful tools and tactics to get people to fall in love with your account.
By the end of this article, you’ll have everything you need for how to make money on Instagram.
Success Stories from Instagram - Anyone Can Do It!
Maybe you wonder if you need to be some crazy fitness model or have tons of traffic already to earn a living from Instagram? Do you need to be celebrity to be successful on Instagram?
Absolutely not. Here are 3 success stories of influencers who started from nothing:
Natasha St. Michael – Health Coach
Natasha and her Instagram account, @theclearskinessentials, teach women how to get clear skin through proper nutrition, routines, and self-care. Starting with a small following, she learned some great tools and grew to over 14,000 followers in under 4 months. She then kept growing and now estimates that she gets 1,000 new followers every week.
Natasha isn’t a famous celebrity. But now, she sells her own line of products through her account and makes money selling them as well as with coaching and e-books. If she can do it, then you can too!
Jack Moriss and Lauren Bullen – Full Time Travelers
Jack and Lauren are a couple showing you what’s possible when you continuously work on your account. In the process of learning how to make money on Instagram, their incomes have grown to six-figures and they command as much as $9,000 per sponsored post from their account.
Pei Ketron – Teacher turned Full-Time Social Media Consultant
Pei started posting on Instagram in October 2010, almost right after the app was launched. She used to work as a full-time teacher and do wedding photography on the side. But, as she started to post on Instagram, companies started contacting her with influencer work and she learned how to make cash with the app while working from home. Today, she has nearly 800,000 followers.
These 3 accounts are just some of the MANY examples of those who are using their income from Instagram to live. They weren’t famous, born into Instagram riches, or had anything special to start…
So, what did they do?
They just used the tools at their disposal and learned how to make money on Instagram (though you can check out our report to find out who has the most Instagram followers if you’re curious to know who’s at the top).
How to Make Money on Instagram
What’s the bottom line?
In general when it comes to earning money and how much you can make, your results will be dictated based on: your experience, how many followers you have, and your confidence level.
While everyone will be in a different position or starting point, there are 4 main ways we recommend looking into when learning how to make money on Instagram.
You might be using just one of, or all 4 of these ideas at the same time to make money with Instagram – it’s up to you!
With that said, are you ready to get started on your journey to Instagram riches?
Here are the details for each method:
The 4 Methods of Making Money on Instagram
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways of how to make money on Instagram.
In simple terms, affiliate marketing is where you’re paid a commission when someone from your account clicks a link of another company, and purchases one of their products. You usually receive a commission when someone purchases the company’s product, or even just for when they click on the link.
Affiliate marketing is so easy because all you need to do is showcase the product with a “story” review, video, or post with a small paragraph about it, and then link to it in your Instagram bio. You might also have your own website where you can lead people to learn more about that specific product.
Remember that when you recommended something, you are associating your name and reputation with it, so always recommend products you’ve used, trust, and like.
Affiliate marketing is a large topic we’ve covered and you can read more in detail about it in the IncomeNinjas Guide to Affiliate Marketing.
You can also browse the following affiliate directories to find products that offer affiliate programs which will help you monetize your Instagram account:
Sell your photos
You put lots of time and effort into getting the scene, lighting, and captions right…so why not turn that effort you’ve already spent into more money when it comes to your IG account?
There are many sites online that will let you host your photos and sell them.
Here are some sites to check out:
Sponsored posts are another way of how to make money on Instagram, and by 2019, it’s projected that there will be 32.3 billion sponsored Instagram posts paid for by brands. You can get in on the action and use this to get paid!
What are sponsored posts? Well, you grow your following, support some sort of message or specialize in something like health, men’s/women’s needs, cats, or whatever else you’re into. If a sponsor likes what you’re doing, they’ll ask you to give them a shout out!
They’ll pay you not only for just talking about them, but they usually combine this with an affiliate link so you’ll get paid when any of your visitors buys from the sponsor!
How do people make money on instagram? Well, some people think that getting sponsored and making money is just about having millions of followers but that’s not true. Sponsors aren’t stupid, they know you can just buy “fake followers” to pump up your numbers.
What they’re looking for are true, engaged, and trusting followers. A sponsor would rather have 1,000 people ready to buy what an influencer recommends, versus 2 million accounts that don’t mean anything. It’s all about trust and engagement.
How Much Can You Charge?
In looking at how to monetize an Instagram account, you might be wondering how much money you should charge per sponsored post.
Unless you’re extremely experienced on Instagram and a large influencer, it might be determined by the brand itself. It might change if you post a picture, video, story, and the length of time if it’s a video or story. We found that in a survey of around 5,000 influencers, around 42% said they charged $200 to $400 per post.
This should give you an idea of what brands are willing to pay, and what number you can negotiate with.
How to Find Sponsors
The simplest way to find sponsors when you are looking at making money on Instagram is to build a list of companies or brands you like, and write an email describing who you are, why you like them, and how you promoting them can help their business.
Here are some email outreach templates you can look over and use.
The other way is to list yourself and your account on an influencer marketplace, where brands can “shop” around and find accounts they’d like to sponsor or reach out to.
Here are some we recommend checking out while learning how to make money on Instagram:
How to Prevent Being Called a Sell Out (Or Why You Shouldn’t Use TOO Many Sponsored Posts)
While it can be tempting to have every post be a sponsored post, you need to balance it out. Remember: your audience joined you originally for pure content and because they liked YOU, not because they wanted to see ads all of the time.
We recommend you consider adding a #sponsored hashtag to indicate sponsored posts. If you’re a bit worried to use sponsored posts at all, we don’t want you to stress out! In one report, about 69% of influencers said that being transparent about sponsorships didn’t affect how consumers perceived their recommendation. In the example below, you can see that the Instagrammer put the #sponsored tag first showing who supplied him with his outfit:
Instagram now also has a “Paid partnership with” tag that identifies sponsored posts. Some brands even require that you use this. You can read more about the tag here.
You should always start with fewer sponsored posts as opposed to more. Try out an amount (say 1 per week), and you can even create a live poll with your “Story” feature to ask your audience if they’re OK with the amount you’re using and if they like the recommendations.
Always err on the side of LESS sponsored posts though as opposed to using too many and you’ll know how to make money off instagram.
Create your own products
Creating your own products is a great way to turn your Instagram account into a money generator. It can be incredibly fun, as well as rewarding!
Your products can be:
like t-shirts and mugs with your channel logo, a board game you design, or more
e-books and online courses
like coaching and consultations
Let’s break each one of these down:
Many Instagrammers start with paid services as they are the easiest to get into. You basically pick skills you have, and work as a freelance consultant for someone setting your own rates for your skills! If you’d like to learn more about that, check out our guide on how to start freelancing.
If you’re looking to know how to make money on Instagram, after paid services, you should definitely think of creating something like an e-book about your favorite topic and sell it on your website using an online cart program.
Online products are some of our favorites because once you set up your website and online cart, the “store” is always open, and you can get paid for your knowledge while you sleep! The returns on your investment can be HUGE!
To get started, we recommend you sign up for and use SendOwl as your online cart program to sell online products.
You can then move into getting into physical products with services like Shopify , which help you set up an online store.
Physical products can be challenging because you have to worry about the quality of your products as they’re made by factories. Services like Printful and Teelaunch can do all the work for you when it comes to turning images you want into t-shirts and mugs, and also using recommended factories.
If you go down this route, we recommend you always get a sample of the products before you let your audience buy them: Nothing would be worse than putting your name on products that are of bad quality!
Looking for a reliable and good dropshipping service? Spocket allows you to choose the best products to sell from thousands of dropshipping suppliers all over the world.
Why You Should Look into Making Money on Instagram
Now we’ve covered some success stories, different methods of making money…but you still might not be convinced. Check this out:
What does that mean for you? 1 billion chances a month to make a lot of money. It’s also forecasted that the Instagram influencer market will be worth 2.38 billion dollars by 2019, and time spent on Instagram increases 80 percent every year.
Unlike using something like paid surveys where the potential money you can make is pretty low, the sky is basically the limit when it comes to learning how to make money on Instagram. It all depends on how much work you put in, and how many different methods you use with the platform.
We’re telling you these facts about making money on Instagram just so you know that the platform is growing FAST, and so are the chances to make money.
How Many Followers Do You Need to Make Money?
Now you might be reading this getting excited but then you think, “Well this is all nice, but can you make money on Instagram? This doesn’t apply to me. I don’t have that many followers… How am I supposed to make money like the celebrities that have MILLIONS of them?”
Here’s the deal:
It’s true that you might not be starting at “rockstar” status, but you actually don’t need as many followers as you think to make money from your Instagram account. More than that, but how many followers you need depends on what you’re selling, your audience, your niche (category you’re in), and so on.
What’s more important to focus on, whether you have 0 or 1 million followers, is ENGAGEMENT: As we mention in our article on getting more followers on Instagram, even if you have 2 million followers, it means nothing if they don’t actively check out what you’re talking about or if they don’t trust you. If they don’t trust you, they’ll NEVER buy anything from you..
It’s WAY better to have just 1000 loyal followers who really connect with, trust, and love you. These loyal people will buy what you put out and recommend. You can either:
Just think of it like this:
If you make really short articles and publish them in a nice format as an e-book your audience loves for sale at $2 each, that’s $2,000 an article for 1000 loyal followers. You might be able to write one every month, which would be an extra $24,000 a year.
What could you do with an extra $24,000 in your pocket?
Now imagine you wrote an article each week. $104,000 per year. Or what happens if you’re creating higher priced courses at $200 each? I think you understand what we’re saying :).
We recommend you read the article 1000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly for more on this. Focus on creating great quality content and having loyal fans, and the money will come to you. If you want to move faster, you can boost your progress by reading our guide on how to buy (legitimate and safe) likes.
Bonus: 8 Helpful Tips for Making Money on Instagram
Here are some final tips for learning how to make money on Instagram that will help you no matter what methods you pick:
Study Instagram for business
If you really want to make money with your Instagram, you should treat your account like a business that makes money.
Did you know that you can actually create a specific account for a business on Instagram and you get tons of extra tools to help you find out who’s looking at your page? We’ve got an article dedicated to Instagram for business ready for you so you can learn everything you need to know.
Include a call-to-action (CTA) and good offer in your bio
Your bio is a place where you should have a CTA sending your audience to an offer where they can get something great for free or cheap from you. Many people use this as a place for how to start building an email list of their audience so they can market to them later.
You should also use emojis to direct the reader’s eye directly to your CTA so that they are more likely to see it and take action. For an example of what we mean, check out this bio from the magazine, Foundr:
Stick to recommended caption lengths and hashtag numbers
According to Sprout Social, the ideal length of Instagram captions is between 138 to 150 characters. They also report that the optimal number of hashtags is between 5 to 10, even though 20+ is possible but not recommended.
If you start using a lot of hashtags, Instagram may “shadow ban” your posts, which is where you’ll stop showing up in searches for specific hashtags. That will obviously decrease your chances of making money with your Instagram account.
Use popular filters to make your photos get TONS of likes and shares
Learn how to create a great profile
You might be the most popular person in the world, but if you don’t have a great message, theme, or profile picked out, you’re not going to be successful when it comes to learning how to make money on Instagram.
Fortunately, we created a step-by-step guide of how to build a great Instagram profile that not only makes money, but lets your profile stay true to who you are
Get active on other platforms
While we don’t recommend spreading your attention too thin, once you’ve got your Instagram rolling, consider moving on to other platforms.
You might want to look at: streaming, making videos, creating your own website, and more.
The two other platforms we recommend the most after learning how to make money on Instagram are YouTube, and having your own blog when it comes to making money online. You can read more about getting started with them with these guides:
Build a strong and loyal following
As we mentioned before, having millions of followers means nothing if they aren’t loyal, or don’t pay attention to you. It’s better to build a strong following of dedicated fans that love to hear from you when you’re following through the process of how to make money on Instagram.
But, how do you build this following?
Well, we’re guessing you try to have great relationships with our friends and family, right? And how do you do that? By spending time with them, talking about what’s going on in each other’s lives, and listening to them!
Instagram is the EXACT same. It’s a social media app, which means you should treat it like you’re building social connections with your followers.
Of course your connections won’t be the same as with your family, but the point is to think of them like your friends in how you interact with them!
Post often and at the right times
In their analysis of over 100,000 Instagram posts (over a period of 3 months), Tailwind found that a higher frequency was synonymous with higher engagement:
This makes sense: you can’t build a relationship with someone if you only talk once a year. The more you connect, the deeper the relationship.
The secret of how to make money on Instagram is to make sure you post often, but obviously, don’t sacrifice the quality. According to CoSchedule, it’s recommended to post 1 to 2 times per day, so your followers wouldn’t feel overwhelmed and so that you’ll have time to make high quality posts.
Finally in another study by Sprout Social, they analyzed when the best time to post was:
You can see that the best days to post are Monday and Thursday, at 5PM and 2AM respectively. There’s no need to sit at your computer waiting for these times though. We’ve discussed a list of the best Instagram tools to help you out with things like this.
Learning how to make money on Instagram is easy and you can get started today. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques until you find what works for you and remember to have fun while you do it!