With over 1 billion monthly active users and 500 million daily active users, Instagram offers any business a great platform to reach and connect with their target market.
A large number of businesses have already recognized Instagram’s potential seeing that 71% of U.S. companies already use this social media platform, and this number continues to grow.
Furthermore, Instagram already serves 2 million advertisers every month. If they weren’t seeing a decent return on their investment, they wouldn’t be on Instagram.
More importantly, a significant number of Instagram’s users are willing and able to spend money. According to a survey by We are Flint:
60% of people earning over $100,000 per year use Instagram
46% of people who earn between $80,000 and $100,000 use the platform
55% of people earning between $70,000 and $80,000 use it
36% of people with earnings between $60,000 and $70,000 are on Instagram
45% of people earning between $30,000 and $60,000 per year use Instagram
Additionally, brands see engagement from approximately 4% of all their followers, compared to less than 0.1% on Facebook.
Instagram photos generate 23% more engagement than they do on Facebook, with brands experiencing engagement rates that are 10 times higher overall on Instagram than on Facebook.
It’s a fact that 80% of Instagrammers follow at least one company, and 60% of users discover new products while using Instagram.
All these statistics add up to some very important facts. Instagram users are not only open to engaging with businesses on the platform, but they do so frequently. They are also very happy and willing to spend money via their favorite platform.
In other words, you can make money on Instagram more easily than on many other platforms. Of course, you have to do it right if you want to succeed. The first step is to choose how to make money on Instagram, as there is a wide range of opportunities.
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How Much Money Do I Get for Instagram Followers?
The amount of money you can potentially earn on Instagram will vary based on a wide range of factors. Things like what niche you are in, how many followers you have, how engaged those followers are, and what revenue channels (see below) you are working with all matter.
How Many Followers Do I Need?
The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to have 100K followers to make money on Instagram. You can even start with as few as 1K. Of course, you’ll make more money with 100K, but you don’t have to wait that long to start making money.
However, as with anything, quality is really more important than quantity. If you have 100K “fake” followers – ones you bought from some too-good-to-be-true outfit promising you the moon – you aren’t going to find a lot of success because those followers are going to be anything but engaged.
Save your money and avoid trying to game the system because it’ll be a waste of time and resources. Instead, learn how to effectively grow your following organically. It might take longer but you’ll have more engaged followers, which will translate into a more sustainable business model and more money.
Here’s a video with some great tips on how to grow your Instagram account:
Monetize-Factor: Your Niche
Your niche will also affect how large your account can grow and how much money you can make. Something obscure like “learn to train a lizard” will never have as much earning potential as “personal finance,” for example.
However, don’t make the mistake of picking a niche based solely on earning potential. If you choose a niche just because it’s profitable but you have no interest in it, you are going to fail.
To succeed on Instagram, you need to post frequently, so you need to be at least mildly interested in your niche. Otherwise, you’re going to get tired of doing it pretty quickly. Plus, your audience will sense your apathy and their engagement will drop too.
The reverse is also true. You can’t pick a niche solely based on your interests. If it isn’t a profitable niche, you will put in a lot of effort for very little return. In the end, you will give up because you will tire of putting in so much work for no benefit.
The sweet spot is the intersection between niches that are profitable and niches that you are interested in.
Here are some great videos on how to choose your niche and some profitable niches for Instagram:
Monetize-Factor: Audience Engagement
Another vital factor that will affect how much money you get for Instagram followers is the level of audience engagement. Engagement refers to how active your followers are in terms of interaction. The more they interact with you through comments and likes, the more engaged they are.
The higher your engagement rate, the more money you can make. You can calculate your Instagram engagement rate by adding the likes and comments you get per post, dividing that by the total number of followers you have and then multiplying the result by 100.
The general idea is that the higher your engagement rate, the more people are actually paying attention to you and the more likely they are to take action.
Here are some tips to help you improve audience engagement on Instagram:
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How to Make Money Online with Instagram
9 Fresh & Creative Methods
Now that we’ve looked at the factors that influence your earning potential on Instagram, let’s check out the methods you can use to actually earn some cash. These aren’t in any specific order as all of them offer lots of opportunities.
However, it’s a good idea to choose a single method and stick to it until you’ve mastered it. Otherwise, if you try doing too many things at once, you’ll likely fail.
1.Sponsored Posts from Brands
You’ve probably heard the term influencer since it does get used quite a bit nowadays. An influencer is someone who has a great online reputation that they’ve built by creating and sharing amazing stuff online.
For the people who follow them, they set trends and their opinions on certain topics are highly trustworthy.
Since most companies can’t compete with the relationships influencers build, they partner with them on sponsored posts and shoutouts designed to advertise their products and services.
This is where the quantity over quality comes in. While brands certainly like social media influencers with a large following, they are just as – if not more so – interested in the level of engagement. The more engaged your audience is and the more they trust you, the more these brands will be interested in working with you.
In fact, many brands are now turning to what they call “micro-influencers”, namely influencers with smaller followings. The number of followers seems to differ with some stating that a micro-influencer is someone with between 10K and 50K followers, while others feel it’s someone with 100K or fewer followers.
The important part is that these brands are willing to pay you to advertise their products or services to your audience through sponsored posts and shoutouts, a system that is also referred to as influencer marketing. The biggest advantage to this method is that you don’t have to do much. You don’t have to set up your own website, or create your own product, or anything like that. You just post something and get paid for it.
There are two main ways in which you can get sponsored posts and shoutouts.
The first is to contact the companies you like directly and show them what you can do for them. You need to craft a compelling brand pitch that will show them why they should advertise on your account. Here’s a great guide to creating an effective brand pitch.
The other option is to sign up with a marketing platform for influencers, such as AspireIQ, Upfluence, and Famebit.
Regardless of the approach you choose, having a great Instagram page, along with a compelling Instagram bio, will certainly help your case.
Like sponsored posts, affiliate marketing doesn’t require as much work as other methods, but it does require a good strategy. Unlike sponsored posts that rely on increasing awareness, affiliate marketing is all about making the sale.
Therefore, you need an effective strategy in place to not only convince people to buy but also to avoid annoying your followers. The idea is to recommend your favorite products and provide people with a unique link to buy that product.
The unique link lets the vendor know where the person came from and they will pay you a commission for the sale.
You can also use a promo code to offer a discount, which will provide another incentive for your followers to purchase through your link.
One challenge used to be that Instagram only allowed you to place links in your bio. However, thanks to things like product tags and Instagram Checkout, you’ll find it much easier to sell affiliate products.
Luckily, there is a wide range of affiliate programs available for almost any product you can imagine. Amazon’s affiliate program alone will give you access to an incredible number of products you can promote and earn from.
However, it’s a good idea to only promote products you truly believe in if you want to turn this into a full-time gig. Test the products out yourself, and if they’re good, then promote them. If you’re promoting everything under the sun, especially things you haven’t used personally, it will eventually come out and your whole earning potential will crash and burn.
3.Sell Physical Products
Another way you can make money using Instagram is by selling physical products. You can set up your store on Facebook or create your own to sell products. There’s also the option of resorting to dropshipping, but that’s more an issue of logistics than anything else.
The key to success, though, is finding the right product or products to sell. This will require some research on your part to determine what your target audience might be interested in buying.
You also have the option of creating your own product and having it manufactured, or you can have an existing white label product branded with your own label. Luckily, nowadays, finding a supplier is easier than ever.
Selling products through Instagram will require a business profile. As of this writing, you can only sell physical products that align with the merchant agreement and commerce policy as laid out by Facebook.
You then have to set up your catalog of products on Facebook using an e-commerce platform. This will let you tag those products on Instagram, after your account has received approval for shopping. Turn on the shopping features in your Instagram account and then add products to your posts.
You can also use Instagram stories to sell products, combined with relevant hashtags to increase exposure. Instagram stories have proven very effective at boosting engagement, while the right hashtags can do wonders for visibility.
You can also create a YouTube channel and link it with your Instagram profile to further promote your offerings and engage your followers.
However, like with any online endeavor, you need to balance the amount of promotion you do with valuable content. Generally speaking, you need to adopt the less-is-more rule. A good rule of thumb, at least when you’re starting out, is for only one post in every ten to be promotional.
3.1 Setting Up Your Own Store
Setting up your own store has never been easier. There are many e-commerce solutions that will help you get up and running quickly, which we’ll look at in just a moment.
Basically, all these eCommerce platforms help you build a website with a store attached that includes everything you need, including payment processing and more.
Here’s a great video on setting up a store with Shopify.
3.2 Using Dropshipping
Dropshipping involves buying products from a supplier who then ships directly to the customer. Normally, you’d to purchase inventory, find a place to store it, and handle the shipping to your customers yourself.
With dropshipping, however, you list the products your supplier sells on your online shop and when an order comes in, they handle all the logistics. The advantage is that you aren’t risking getting stuck with inventory you can’t sell, and there’s also far less work involved.
Oberlo.com is also great because it offers a wide range of statistics to help you make the best decision when deciding what to sell. They also provide some great apps and tools to help you promote your store.
4. Print-on-Demand Dropshipping
Print-on-demand dropshipping is a subsection of dropshipping dedicated to creative fields. It is dedicated to creating a physical version of digital products like books, photographs, and artwork.
Basically, you can add an option to digital products on your site and customers can choose to order the physical version. The order is directed towards the service and they print the item and ship it directly to the customer.
This is an especially popular service for authors as many people still like reading print books. It’s also a great option for artists because it allows customers to display the artwork, which many prefer over just the digital version of a piece.
Many Instagrammers and bloggers have found this to be a lucrative opportunity as the investment costs are minimal. It doesn’t hurt that T-shirts and mugs with great messages and fun slogans always seem to be popular.
5. Sell Digital Products
Another way you can make money online with Instagram is by selling digital products. Now, it’s important to note that, at this time, you can’t sell digital products or services directly on Instagram. However, you can certainly use this social media platform to promote your offerings.
When it comes to digital products, you can either create your own to sell or act as an affiliate for someone else’s products.
As always, though, these products should be relevant to your niche. For example, if your Instagram account is in the cooking niche, you shouldn’t promote a course on learning how to make money from blogging.
Naturally, creating your own products will require more effort, but it also means more control over the quality and a far greater earning potential. Here are some different types of digital products you can use to make money online with Instagram.
Photography and Artwork
Photographs and other artwork are a great way to make money via Instagram, especially since it’s a platform that revolves around images. And people love beautiful things, so you won’t find it difficult to sell beautiful digital photos or artwork.
The market for information products is massive. You can write books, create video courses, and much more. The idea is to provide people with the information they want and/or need. You can get some great ideas on the type of information products that do well by visiting Clickbank, which is a massive marketplace.
Stock Photos and Video Footage
While this is related to photography and videography, it’s not exactly the same thing. Instead of taking artistic photos, the idea is to take photos that other people can and will use for their websites or to create marketing materials or more. The same applies for video footage.
It’s a great way to make money via Instagram because, once again, it’s very visual, which is perfect for photos and videos.
You can also post your stuff on marketplaces like Stockphotos.com, Dreamstime.com, Shutterstock.com, and more. Then use Instagram to promote your work.
6. Create Your Blog to Make Money
How to make money blogging is a massive topic and beyond the scope of this article How to make money with a Blog , though this guide is excellent. However, you can use Instagram to promote your blog and increase traffic, which will eventually translate into higher earnings.
Many bloggers have discovered that cross-posting to Instagram has significantly boosted their exposure. There’s also the possibility that it could increase your rankings in the Google SERPs, just like posting on your YouTube channel can help.
One essential component to making money with blogging is choosing a good web hosting company that will ensure your users have a great experience.
7. Write an eBook
If you love to write, then you can create an eBook and post it on Amazon Kindle or the many other platforms that sell eBooks. It can be non-fiction or fiction, whichever you prefer. You can then use Instagram to promote your book.
Books sell very well, so if it’s something you’re interested in but don’t think you could write one yourself, you could always hire a ghostwriter to do it for you. While it means more of an upfront investment, it can be very lucrative.
8. Start a Podcast
Podcasts have become very popular (read: The Rise of Podcast Marketing) and they can be a great way to earn money online with Instagram. You create a podcast on a topic relevant to your niche. It can even be something like how to succeed on Instagram, or how to be an online model, or how to take brilliant photos and so on.
Podcast hosting provides you with a place to upload your files so users can listen to your podcast. It’s like website hosting, but for podcasts.
However, you also gain access to some great tools like analytics reports, marketing and promotional tools, round the clock support, social sharing and much more.
Without podcast hosting, there’s no way for people to access your content. Even if you want to list your podcast on iTunes, for example, you’ll have to upload it to a hosting service first.
Once you’ve found a hosting service, though, you can make your podcast available anywhere you choose. Then, you can use Instagram to promote your podcast.
9. Create an Online Course
Courses can be very lucrative and a great way to make money online with Instagram. In a nutshell, you create a course, upload it to a site like Udemy or Skillshare, and then promote it using Instagram.
Deciding on what the course should be about is a little more complicated and creating it can also be time- and resource-intensive. However, it’s definitely worth it.
This video will help you find a profitable course idea.
Once you’ve created your course, you’ll have to decide on the platform you’ll use. These platforms are, basically, marketplaces for courses.
Udemy is among the most popular and they have a revenue share model where they pay you 50% of the money your course generates, and they keep the rest. However, they let you upload your course for free, and the exposure is excellent.
Skillshare has gained a lot of traction and they offer some excellent tools to make your course look great. They pay between 30% and 50% of the earnings of your course, but they also don’t charge a fee for you to upload your course to their platform.
You can earn more if you post on Thinkfic, Podia, Teachable, Learndash and Learnworlds as they don’t impose a price or take part of your revenues. However, you have to pay a monthly fee, which differs depending on the platform.
Teachable, for example, offers different plans ranging from $29 to $399 depending on the number of courses you want to upload, the number of students, and various other features and services. Learndash has plans starting at $159 all the way up to $995 for a lifetime package.
Where Can I Learn More How to Make Money Online on Instagram?
If you want to learn more about Instagram, including how to build your account, increase engagement, take advantage of image engagement, and much, much more, then you should check out the following classes on Skillshare and Udemy.
An excellent course that will teach you how to leverage social media effectively to start making money or to promote an already-existing brand. Cat Coquillette, the course creator, has a lot of experience selling her art using social media, especially Instagram.
Instagram image engagement is far greater than any other social media platform. Plus, great images get even greater engagement. This course will teach you how to create amazing photos that your audience will be desperate to share.
Brandon Woelfel is a freelance portrait photographer and a magician with a camera. He will teach you everything you need to know to draw people in with your great images.
Sean Dalton, a popular Instagram lifestyle photographer, will teach you everything you need to know to become an influencer on this social media platform. He grew his following by a little over 25,000 users in a mere 9 months and he teaches you how he did it.
This course is great if you’re just starting out. It will teach you how to attract followers that will engage and, eventually, convert into customers. It also promises to get you to 10,000 targeted followers, which is a decent size following that can help you start making money. The course has been updated with all the latest Instagram features and algorithm changes.
Benjamin Wilson is an entrepreneur and marketing innovator who is passionate about developing new and effective marketing strategies that work.
Bryan Guerra, founder of Invert Media and an expert in e-commerce, online marketing, and customer acquisition, teaches you how to turn Instagram into a business. You’ll learn how to quickly grow your following, how to make money from your Instagram account, and how to completely automate it so you save time and aggravation.
Nik Swami is an entrepreneur with a variety of online ventures that earn revenues in the multiple six-figures. In this course, he will teach you the 10 marketing strategies he uses to gain thousands of followers every month and earn hundreds of thousands of dollars using Instagram.