Instagram is the #1 preferred social media platform for making money according to 87% of social media influencers. With a little understanding of how brand affiliation, influencer marketing, and even using Instagram to sell your own goods works, you too can learn how to monetize your Instagram account and get started on the path to social media success.
Remember way back when Instagram launched in 2010 (yes friends, it’s been nearly a decade!) and all anyone could think to use it for was heavily filtered images of their food? Well, times sure have changed, and now Instagram has evolved into a money-making platform for millions of users. Not only can the ‘gram be a convenient side-hustle, for many it’s a legit full-time job providing a six-figure income!
Want to know how you can get paid on Instagram? Read on!
If you want to monetize your Instagram account, you might be interested in knowing that there are 800 million active users every month. For some perspective, the entire population of the United States is only about 327 million. In fact, of those 800 million monthly Instagram users, 500 million users are active every day! That’s still nearly double the US population.
How’s that for some motivation?
With a pool of so many active users, there is great potential to reach people who are interested in your unique offering to the social media world, which gives you the potential to make some money.
So, where to start? There’s a few different options when it comes to making money on Instagram.
How To Make Money On Instagram Tip #1: Become A Brand Affiliate
Brands are regularly looking for people to promote their products or services and will frequently offer mutually beneficial affiliate programs. You can usually spot these types of posts when an Instagram user posts some sort of product informing you that you can save X amount when using their unique discount code at purchase. When you place an order using that discount code, the Instagram user gets a kickback from the sale. It’s a great set up because the company gets new business, the affiliate partner gets a percentage for promoting the product, and the buyer gets a discount. Win-win-win!
You’ll start to notice that there are endless types of products and services involved in affiliate marketing – clothing, beauty products, food products, subscription boxes, bicycles, photography, organizing services…you get the idea. Whatever you have an interest in, there’s likely a brand that will allow you to promote products or services you actually care about.
Getting Started As A Brand Affiliate
There’s more than one way to get started as a brand affiliate. But here’s the secret sauce to success…
…the key is to have an engaged following that feels like they can trust your recommendations and take action as a result.
You’ll want to identify what sort of niche you want to work with and create quality content that will cater to that group. If you’re wanting to be an affiliate for an athletic wear brand, make sure your feed shows your value as a fitness expert that others want to follow. Lots of pictures of your cat isn’t going to get you very far with fitness brands, but motivational pictures of you in the gym will. Pick something you’re passionate about so that it feels natural and easy and not like a lot of “work”.
Sometimes you’ll see posts from brands asking for ambassador applicants. What they’re asking for is brand affiliates! It’s a great way to get started.
However, even if a brand isn’t asking for applicants, that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested! If you feel like you have something good to offer, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask the company whether they are accepting new ambassadors or affiliates. They just might give you a chance. Pretty soon, as you build your following and perfect your content for your niche, you’ll find brands knocking on your door asking you to rep them.
How To Make Money On Instagram Tip #2: Become An Instagram “Influencer”
One of the hottest terms you’ll hear in the social media world these days is that of “influencer”. An Instagram influencer is a user with a large audience that has established credibility within a certain industry or with a particular type of audience.
Influencer marketing, aka sponsored posts on Instagram, are a way of promoting a brand or product by partnering with popular Instagram users and even celebrities. Influencers are paid for each Instagram post or story highlighting the aforementioned brand or product.
Many of the same principles that apply to being a brand affiliate also apply to being a social media influencer. (You’ll find that the two often overlap — social media influencers participate in sponsored posts while also working as a brand affiliate for other companies as well.)
Other Instagram users usually trust these influencers and their recommendations, and brands are often willing to pay good money for sponsored posts from successful influencers. In fact, the average amount paid for a sponsored Instagram post is $300.
It’s a great way for companies to get their products in front of new audiences. The best part is that unlike a random ad, Instagram followers are more likely to purchase when someone they trust is recommending a product in a very personalized way. Companies view sponsored posts as a solid investment in generating more business, hence the potential for some good money.
Getting Started And The Rise of Micro-Influencers
So now that you know what a social media influencer is, the real question is how is it done?
If you have a massive and engaged Instagram following (like many celebrities), chances are brands will be proactively reaching out to you in hopes that you’ll be willing to partner with them.
But say you’re just a regular schmuck scrolling social media in your sweats, hating your current job and wondering how to make money on Instagram — there is hope for you, too!
It may be daunting to think about building a following of 100K+ Instagram followers, but the good news is you don’t have to! Even a few thousand genuine followers can land you some sponsorship gigs thanks to the rise of micro-sponsorship. Companies are finding that these smaller-scale sponsors often have better engagement and better conversion rates than big name celebrities. Again, it comes down to trust within your audience.
If you have a decent and engaged following, there are websites dedicated to connecting potential Instagram influencers with interested brands. Some good ones to check out are:
How To Make Money On Instagram Tip #3: Sell Something Of Your Own
So far the methods we’ve discussed about how to get paid on Instagram have involved promoting products or services that belong to other people. However, it’s totally possible to make money with your own products, as well. Have something awesome that you make? A really great service you can provide? A banging new clothing line that you’ve designed? Is there something you can do that makes you stand out out from the crowd?
Bam! Put it on the ‘gram!
Using Instagram as a platform to showcase your products or services is a business-savvy move that will help grow your online presence and generate sales.
Physical products such as clothing, accessories, or original artwork that you created are excellent products for the platform. Since Instagram is based on visual appeal, anything that can provide you with an eye-catching image is going to get you moving in the right direction.
It gets better:
A little while back Instagram created shoppable posts that allow users to shop directly from their feed. This makes shopping so easy that they hardly even have time to think about it. If you have a catalog of products hosted on another platform (Shopify is a good example), you can link your products with the post, allowing a user scrolling their feed to purchase with just a couple of taps.
It’s also possible to sell digital products. If you haven’t noticed by the barrage of ads, online subscription courses are all the rage right now. Everything from workout plans to photography to how to clean your home are areas where subject matter experts are creating their own content and promoting it on social media. If an entire course is too much for you, you could consider an eBook about a subject you are passionate or knowledgeable about.
Last but not least, don’t forget about services you can provide! A few ideas:
- massage therapy
- hair styling
All of these and more can be promoted through your Instagram account, bringing in more business and more money.
If there’s something you can sell, leveraging Instagram as a way to connect with new customers and keep current ones engaged is a fantastic way to increase your income.
Hard Work Pays Off
At the end of the day, when it comes to making money on Instagram, there are multiple avenues that you can pursue that would best fit your particular strengths.
Keep in mind, however, is that whether an Instagram income is a side-hustle or a full-time gig, it is work.
Put the work in to offering quality content and quality products/services and you’ll reap the benefits. There is much you can learn about understanding your niche, your audience, and the Instagram algorithm that will help you continue down the road to success.
Now that you know the basics of how to get paid on Instagram, now is the time to get started! If you have a vision, some creativity, and a band of loyal followers, it is absolutely possible to monetize your Instagram account. You can enjoy the freedom that comes with being your own boss while doing something you love.