These days, you can access the web and social media from anywhere in the world for very little to no cost. It’s no wonder then that people now spend so much of their time on social media, chatting, sharing, shopping…
Social media presents the perfect way to earn online in today’s modern era and it seems a shame to not leverage this opportunity by making the most of the time spent online. After all, what’s better than getting paid to be on social media – something that you would have done for free, anyway?
You can choose any site that you like, but in my opinion, Instagram is a great place to start.
Since its inception, Instagram has grown to become one of the largest social media sites in the world. Currently, the platform has over 2 billion users worldwide.
Regardless of the industry you’re in, you are sure to find an audience there, which makes the social site a groundbreaking avenue for eCommerce and a great opportunity for anyone who is looking to make money online.
But, in order to succeed, you need to be strategic about how you go about it, so read the rest of this guide on how to make money on Instagram to get started.
Can You Really Make Money on Instagram?
Making money on Instagram certainly is possible, but it’s not easy. You need to have a well-defined plan and work that plan if you want to join the ranks of those who are making real money on the platform.
So, how do you make money on Instagram? The good news for those willing to put in the hard work is that you can create a consistent income on Instagram in a number of ways, such as:
- Promoting affiliate links
- Getting paid for sponsored posts
- Starting an Instagram Shop to sell digital or physical products
- Becoming an Instagram coach
- Advertising your brand
- Making money from your content
- Getting paid for teaching your audience
- Offering Instagram management services
…and many others.
The best way for you to make money on Instagram will vary depending on your strategy and your following. For instance, if you are an influencer with an engaged audience, you might find sponsored posts more lucrative than starting an Instagram shop.
Just remember that you don’t have to use just one monetization method. You can diversify your strategies to increase your chances of earning even more on the platform.
Best Ways to Make Money on Instagram
As you’ve seen from the list above, there are a lot of different ways to earn on Instagram. The best part is that you don’t even need a huge audience to start making money today.
Listed below are 19 of the best tactics out there, some of which you probably already know about, and others that are not as common.
Go through the entire list to explore all the options available to you before making your decision on how to make money on Instagram.
With that said, here are 19 different ideas to chew on.
1) Create a Complimentary Blog
The best advice I can offer anyone looking to start making money online is to create a blog. This has many benefits.
For example, you can use your Instagram account to drive traffic to your blog where you can turn the traffic into leads and sales.
Blogging generates long-term results and helps you build links so you can get even more visibility for your content online. I have a free course on how to start a blog that you can check out here.
2) Promote Affiliate Offers
Instagram boasts a super-engaged user base, which makes it the perfect place to promote affiliate links.
Regardless of the number of followers you have, you can insert clickable links into your Instagram bio.
For example, Sophie Shohet, a fashion blogger, uses this feature to promote links to affiliate products that her audience would love. Once users click on the link, they are directed to the product homepage, and if they make a purchase, she gets paid a commission for each sale.
3) Get Paid to Advertise Products
One of the best ways to make money on Instagram is to become an influencer and get paid to advertise products and services from different brands.
Whether it’s sponsorships, paid partnerships, or brand deals, you stand to benefit a lot from building an engaged audience on the platform and then partnering with brands to give them access to your audience.
Just remember, only work with brands you believe in. Don’t just promote any products just for the sake of making money as this will not go down well with your audience.
Jenny Cho, a hairstylist is a great example of someone who uses this strategy to make money on Instagram:
If you’re going to use this strategy, you must start by understanding your audience and figuring out your numbers on the platform. Brands and advertisers will want to see your numbers to determine that you have a high enough number of active followers for them to get a healthy return on their investment.
4) Monetize Your Videos with IGTV Ads
Another way to get paid on Instagram is to allow brands to display ads during your videos. You can set this up easily from your creator account settings.
Enable the monetization option that allows in-stream video ads and then proceed to post your videos as usual.
The amount of money you earn from this monetization method will depend on the number of views each video gets in the feed. Instagram pays out 55% of the revenue generated from ads and payments are issued monthly.
5) Earn Instagram Badges Through Live Videos
Instagram lets you earn money directly from your audience by sharing real-time videos using the platform’s Live feature.
You can showcase your products, talents, etc. and viewers can buy “badges”, which are basically tips, as a way to show their support.
Badges are priced as follows:
Viewers can buy as many badges as they choose for up to $250 per Live video. Keep in mind that badges aren’t a subscription purchase, which means that they will only remain active during that Live video.
6) Make Money From Your Content
Just like YouTube and other social media websites, Instagram lets you monetize your content directly on the platform.
We’ve already looked at a couple of ways to do so (IGTV ads, and Live badges). However, you can also make money from your content by using third-party sites like Patreon and Only Fans.
One way to make this strategy work is by providing tons of free value on Instagram and encouraging your followers to subscribe on either of the two platforms (Patreon and OnlyFans) to get exclusive content. It’s also a good idea to set up your own website and earn from that as well.
For instance, if you were a baker it would make sense to use a website builder for bakeries to create something quick and easy, then continually direct people to the site in an effort to have them buy your cookbooks, products, services, or whatever else you sell.
7) Earn Bonuses From Instagram
Right now, Instagram is trying very hard to compete with TikTok. In an attempt to entice creators from the rival platform and onto its own, Instagram has unveiled a bonus program to incentivize creators to publish short-form videos and Reels. These are designed to attract a lot more views and engagement on the platform.
Reels are separate from other Instagram marketing strategies like Instagram Stories, Instagram posts, and Instagram Live videos. To get started earning bonuses, simply sign up on the platform, complete the application and confirm that you meet all eligibility requirements.
8) Use DMs for Sales Conversations
On Instagram, you don’t have to wait until you have a large audience to start making money. If you have a specific service you’d like to offer to others on the platform, you can pitch it in direct messages (DMs). This can be a very effective approach for gathering leads.
Just remember to warm up the relationship first before diving in with your pitch. For instance, you might watch and engage with your prospects’ stories. Engaging with them ensures that over time, your account shows up more, and higher, in their feeds.
9) Start an Instagram Shop
On Instagram, you can launch your own online store. This is a great option if you don’t find affiliate marketing or influencer posts appealing.
Studies show that over 130 million people click on shopping posts on the platform, which makes this a great opportunity to earn money.
Setting up a store is now easier than ever before. Simply follow the intuitive prompts on the platform, and even if you have no prior experience, there are plenty of third-party apps and services designed to help you get up and running in no time. You can sell anything in your store, including physical products or digital goods.
10) Become a Brand Ambassador
We talked about sponsored posts earlier, and while these work extremely well on Instagram, some companies actually prefer to establish long-term relationships with the influencers they collaborate with.
They want brand ambassadors who will promote the company on a regular basis. If you have built up an engaged audience of at least a couple of thousand, then you can start reaching out to companies to seek out collaboration opportunities.
Jay Alvarrez, a lifestyle blogger, is an example of someone who is killing it on Instagram using this strategy. He has collaborated with a lot of travel brands to promote their products to his 6 million loyal followers.
11) Become an Instagram Coach or Consultant
For those who are killing it on Instagram and have managed to build up a massive audience of engaged followers, you can make money teaching others to do the same.
Become an Instagram coach or consultant to start earning as soon as possible. Others want to know how to build followings like yours and monetize their content on Instagram (which is actually why I’m writing this article).
So, if you know how, and have done it yourself, you can make a lot of money from teaching others how to become successful on Instagram.
12) Teach Your Audience and Get Paid
If teaching is in your blood, then you can also leverage this skill by getting paid to teach your audience various skills to help them achieve their goals.
You can create your own information products like courses, eBooks, audiobooks etc. and sell them on the platform. For example, there are a lot of Instagram creators making money teaching their audience how to learn a foreign language, how to do woodworking, how to practice yoga, etc.
Many of these products are sold for upwards of $100 which means this is yet another great earning opportunity.
Olivier Wong is a great example of an Instagram creator who makes money using this strategy. He teaches his audience about photography and makes a ton of money selling online courses on Instagram.
13) Offer Instagram Management Services
One of the best things about making money on Instagram is that many of the methods don’t require a large following on the platform.
For instance, you can offer Instagram management services, even with very few followers. You just have to know your way around the platform and you can use your talent and skills to help others who want to grow their Instagram following.
Influencers and celebrities often need help managing their accounts. They find that as their fan base grows, they don’t have the time to be as hands-on as they would like. That’s where Instagram management services come in.
This is different from offering coaching services because you’ll actually do the work for them. For instance, you might have to engage with their audience on their behalf, schedule their posts, reply to comments, and share content ideas to help the influencer grow their personal brand.
14) Become a Virtual Assistant to an Influencer
This is similar to offering Instagram management services. If you would rather be behind the scenes, then you can become a virtual assistant (VA) to an influencer.
As previously mentioned, a lot of influencers need help managing their accounts. But, as an assistant, you’ll probably do a lot more than just interact with their audience. You may also have to perform other tasks like filtering sponsorship requests, running ads, identifying fake followers, and more. You can charge for your Instagram influencer VA services by the hour.
15) Sell Your Photos
Instagram’s major focus is on visual content. High-quality, original photos will always attract a lot of attention from buyers.
This can be any type of image, such as:
… and basically any other type of visual content.
You’ll find plenty of buyers in every niche, such as real estate agents trying to sell homes, travel industry brands who want to showcase different destinations, and so on.
This strategy works so well because consumers trust user generated content (UGC) a lot more than they do any other type of content on social media.
You can sell your Instagram-worthy pictures and photos on marketplaces like 500px, Twenty20, or Foap Community.
Here’s an example of an Instagram user in the travel industry who takes pictures of his experiences while staying at brand properties in exchange for payment and free accommodation.
16) Make Instagram Stories Filters
Since the feature was launched in 2016, Instagram Stories has become a wildly popular content format. Users create short-lived content which is highly engaging and offers brands even more opportunities to attract the target audience.
What’s more, creating Instagram Stories filters and masks has proven to be a profitable endeavor.
While some large companies have in-house designers to create masks and filters for promoting their products and proving their niche expertise, many smaller brands have to rely on freelancers to do this for them.
And that’s where you come in.
If you have the relevant expertise, offer your services on Instagram and collaborate with brands to make money on the platform.
17) Sell Instagram Caption Services
A lot of small business owners promote their goods and services on Instagram. However, relatively few of them have the expertise or resources to come up with really good Instagram captions.
The value of great captions cannot be underestimated. They offer a direct line of communication to followers and give brands the opportunity to share their voice and message with their audiences.
If you excel at writing great captions, then you can offer your services and Instagram. There’s no shortage of businesses that will pay you for captions that help them get more engagement on the platform. Some creators charge up to $600 for 10 captions.
Before you get started, though, make sure you have some awesome examples that you can show businesses to prove your expertise.
18) Sell Your Instagram Account
A lot of Instagram users trade Instagram accounts for money. Whether it’s because they’ve been using Instagram for a while and need a break or they have multiple business profiles with tons of followers, they make good money from selling verified Instagram accounts.
If you’re good at building up an audience, you can use this as a way to earn money on Instagram.
You can sell your account on popular marketplaces like Viral Accounts, and Fame Swap. But, you should tread carefully as this violates your user agreement with Instagram.
To be honest, when you consider that there are dozens of other, legit methods to make money on Instagram, I don’t think it’s even worth the risk.
19) Drive Instagram Traffic to Your Website
This is an indirect way of making money on Instagram. You can drive traffic from the social platform to your website to generate business there.
Studies show that over 40% of Americans use Instagram, which means the opportunities for generating traffic from this social site are immense.
Your business doesn’t have to be directly tied to Instagram for you to use the social site to generate more sales. There are thousands of smart entrepreneurs who leverage their Instagram audience to create consistent income through a separate business.
Regardless of the type of business you run, Instagram is a great way to get the word out about your products or services and generate tons of traffic and sales.
In fact, this is arguably the best strategy for anyone who owns a business and has a website or blog for the business.
You can use your Instagram profile to promote your business and create awareness by posting beautiful pictures that boost your brand and give you a unique identity. This will help you attract visitors to your website where you can set up funnels to generate leads and sales.
Simply link to your blog or website in your bio, and if your content is engaging and enticing enough, visitors will click through to your website to learn more about your business.
Who Are the Highest Earning Instagram Accounts?
The highest-paid social media celebrities and influencers get paid six figures for each sponsored post.
The amount depends on how large and how engaged their following is. Obviously, the higher the number of followers, and the more engaged they are, the more money the influencer commands.
The image below depicts some of the largest influencers right now:
Not many people command this level of income, but those willing to work at it can grow their Instagram business in the same way over time.
With that said, here are some of the top celebrities, influencers, and bloggers who earn the most on Instagram.
1) Cristiano Ronaldo – @cristiano
Followers: 450 million
Cost Per Post: $2,397,000
With almost half a billion people following his account, this popular soccer player makes over $2 million for each Instagram post.
He has a ton of brand partnerships, and while there isn’t a lot of earned media of his brand partnerships, it doesn’t affect his ability to be impactful as an influencer.
As the most followed account on Instagram, he is able to draw massive amounts of attention from his devoted fans which is why so many brands are clamoring to work with him.
One of his most recent collaborations on the platform was with Therabody and it generated over 5.6 million engagements!
2) Kylie Jenner – @kyliejenner
Followers: 350 million
Cost Per Post: $1,835,000
After starring in her family reality show, Kylie has become one of the most desirable influencers for fashion brands.
Her Instagram posts are often on the “most liked” list and Kylie’s audience is not only huge but also has impressive engagement rates. This is why she is one of the highest-paid social media influencers out there.
Although she made a lot of money working with other brands, the brand that benefited the most from her huge social media following is her own. In 2016 she launched Kylie Cosmetics which allowed her to amass a considerable fortune.
3) Khabane Lame – @khaby00
Followers: 80 million
Cost per Post: $317,000
Khabane Lame is a social media personality who is well known for his viral videos where he silently mocks any overcomplicated life hack videos.
With over 80 million followers, it’s easy to see why brands are eager to collaborate with him on Instagram and other platforms.
On TikTok, he is one of the most followed stars, surpassing creator Charlie DAmelo with an impressive 142.8 million followers.
4) Eleonora Pons – @lelepons
Followers: 50 million
Cost Per Post: $264,000
This internet celebrity has over 50 million followers. Professionally known as Lele Pons, she rose to fame as a singer and novelist and is now the most viewed Instagram star.
As an influencer, she has worked with many different brands and even surpassed quite a few mainstream celebrities in capturing the attention of viewers and consumers on the platform.
She has a diverse following made up of all different age groups. Through her comedic and lifestyle videos, she has built up a virtual empire that generates millions of dollars every year.
5) Caio Castro – @caiocastro
Location: South America
Followers: 20 million
Cost Per Post: $162,000
Caio Castro is a Brazilian actor, model, and GoPro athlete. He is best known for the role he played as the antagonist, Bruno Oliveira Guimarães, on Malhação, a popular teen television series.
He also appeared in a number of telenovelas which added to his fame. Today, he is a successful travel blogger and influencer. He gets paid over $162k for each post on Instagram.
In addition to these high-earning celebrities and influencers, there are a lot of success stories on Instagram from regular people looking to make money online.
Here are two examples:
Example #1: Beardbrand
Beardbrand is a great success story to take inspiration from. The creator rose to success by following a simple yet powerful plan which involved fostering a specific niche lifestyle and selling products that he was passionate about.
The Beardbrand store, which was featured in the New York Times, started with only $30 and a very committed vendor.
On Instagram, the brand now has a presence of over 180,000 followers which helps tremendously in selling their products.
Whether it’s a passion or hobby or just knowledge that you want to share with others, if you do what you do best, you stand a higher chance of being successful on Instagram as your passion will shine through in everything you do.
You can learn from this example and use apps that connect eCommerce sites with social media platforms for a seamless shopping experience. For example, Shopify has Instagram Business Account integration, which makes it extremely easy for you to get started selling your products on Instagram.
Example #2: Letterfolk
This is another example of the many small businesses that are doing things right on Instagram.
Letterfolk is run by a husband-and-wife team who sell letter boards that come with full sets of characters so people can personalize their boards.
Their account is funny and relatable, and they inspire their audience using engaging content made with their own letter boards, as shown in the image below.
They use their pictures to garner awareness for their brand by tagging others, and inviting them to like, or share on social media.
Unlike many other accounts on social media that have an air of perfection about them, this one portrays real life which is why they’re so successful at reaching their customers on an emotional level.
7 Tips to Earn the Most Money on Instagram
At this point, you should be familiar with how to make money on Instagram but only a select few earn the majority of their income on the platform. They do this by following specific best practices.
Now that you know all the different ways to make money on Instagram, and who’s making the most, it’s time to take a look at seven tips to help you increase your earnings on the platform so you can transform that phone in the palm of your hand into an ATM.
This is what’s working now, according to experts who actually do it each day.
1) Grow Your Instagram Account
The first tip is the most obvious. For you to be able to make more money on the platform, you must first increase the number of followers on your account. To do this, you must learn effective ways to promote your Instagram profile so you can attract more followers.
This is the surest way to contribute to your success in the long run. So, make sure promoting your Instagram account is part of your overall strategy for growth.
Besides, most brands only want to work with accounts that are active and engaging. So, you have to show that you are good at connecting with your audience before brands will line up to work with you.
Show them that you’ll be able to market their products satisfactorily to an ever-growing audience.
Here are some tips to help you grow your Instagram account:
- Complete your bio and add all appropriate details
- Frequently post high-quality images
- Use relevant hashtags on posts (lots of them)
- Host giveaways and contests
- Interact with your targeted audience and followers by liking posts, leaving comments, etc.
2) Find Your Niche
Moving on to more specific ways to boost your earnings on Instagram, the next tip is to find your niche.
Choosing the right niche is critical to building an engaged audience. If your topic is too broad, you’ll find it hard to build a base of loyal fans. By narrowing it down, you can attract the attention of your target audience and stand a better chance of positioning yourself as a credible authority on the subject.
You may already have an idea of what your niche should be, but you should still do your research in order to ensure that you focus your efforts on a niche that is not only popular but profitable too.
3) Be Transparent and Build Trust
As any marketer will tell you, building trust with your audience is an integral part of social media marketing.
Regardless of what you do on Instagram, whether it’s affiliate marketing, doing Live videos, creating Reels, or running Instagram ads, it’s crucial that you be transparent with your audience at all times.
Make sure all your communications are clear and easy to understand. Don’t try to trick people into clicking links or buying your products.
Get people to know, like, and trust you, and they’ll be lining up to do business with you. Focus on building a strong brand that your customers will want to engage in conversation with, and your efforts will pay off in increased sales over time.
4) Authenticity is Key
Everyone loves authenticity on social media. When you publish comments, photos, or videos on your profile, it gives people a glimpse into your life. Don’t show them something that isn’t real.
Authenticity is the one common denominator shared by the majority of successful Instagram accounts. In order to build up your personal brand, make sure you always keep it real with both your followers and the brands you work with (or aspire to work with).
This will increase customer engagement, loyalty, and respect – three factors that have a huge impact on your overall success on the platform.
Here are some tips on how to be more authentic on social media:
- Always speak the truth about your products and services and show your followers you have nothing to hide.
- Never use clickbait headlines. This is the fastest way to lose your audience’s trust.
- Don’t go crazy with scheduled posts, but focus more on real-time posting and interaction.
- If you mess up, own it. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t admit it when you’re wrong. So, rather than deleting negative comments or avoiding talking about some mistake you made, own up to it. This will serve you well in the long run.
5) Learn How to Market Yourself
This tip works for all your marketing channels, not just Instagram. There’s no way to succeed if you can’t find effective ways to market yourself and your business online.
Fortunately, getting started marketing your product on Instagram is easy. You can begin by sharing personal stories of day-to-day experiences to give audiences a hint of how the product is used. Add tips and tricks to help them get the most out of it.
Remember, to stand out on the platform, you must create stories that are truly your own so people will engage with your brand. The more engagement you get, the more leads and sales you’ll be able to generate.
Instagram’s algorithm works according to the relevance of your posts, which means that if you post original content that your followers find valuable, they will see it in their feed more often.
Here are a few additional tips to help you market yourself better:
- Design all your social media accounts, blogs, webpages, email, etc. to reflect a consistent theme.
- Create a marketing plan with strategies, tactics, and processes that you can follow to grow your Instagram business.
- Learn from and collaborate with other influencers in your niche to find what works best when it comes to marketing yourself.
- If your budget allows it, use professionally produced photos and videos, as well as your favorite filters and tools, to help you publish compelling content.
6) Provide Excellent Customer Service
If you decide to sell products or services on Instagram, then your online store must be designed to provide seamless customer service. For those who are just starting out, you may find using a Shopify dropshipping store to be the best option.
Keep in mind that Instagram is a community above all else. When you sell your products on the platform, be prepared to get into conversations with other people who love those products as much as you do.
So really, your focus shouldn’t be on selling, but rather on making connections and the selling will take care of itself.
The better you work at providing great customer service, the quicker you’ll be able to develop a loyal customer base of people who trust you and find you reliable.
7) Use the Right Tools
My final tip involves using the right tools to grow your business. Earning money on Instagram is a lot easier if you set up your business the right way. And for this, you need certain tools that will amplify your efforts and make your work easier.
For instance, Boomerang is an app designed by Instagram that allows you to create GIF-like videos from a series of photos as in the example below:
Here are some more essential tools that every Instagram marketer needs:
- Marketing: Repost, AutoHash, Display Purposes.
- Design: VSCO, Snapseed, Afterlight, Canva.
- Video: Movavi, Vimeo Create, Boomerang, Life Lapse.
- eCommerce Apps: Instagram Shoppable Feed, Covet.pics.
- Account Management: Sked, Hootsuite, Buffer, Later.
- Analytics: Sprout Social, Iconosquare, UserGems.
With the right tools at your disposal, there’s nothing to keep you from earning money on Instagram starting right now.
Summing Things Up
I’ve provided you with 19 ways to start earning money with Instagram, as well as 7 effective tips to boost your earnings. I’ve even included some of the highest-earning accounts for inspiration.
I hope my guide on how to make money on Instagram will come in handy start using Instagram to turn a profit. Good luck!