How to Make Money On Instagram: An Entrepreneur’s Guide

Instagram began as a photo sharing social network. Today, it’s an e-commerce powerhouse available to anyone with something to sell.

There are over one billion users on Instagram as of June 2018. That’s a lot of potential customers.

Any Instagram user can post content in the form of a photo or video. Users with a large audience can turn their posts into a money-making opportunity. But how do they make money by posting?

This article explains how to make money on Instagram. It covers the most popular business models with proven results.

There are plenty of tactics you can put in place right away. Others need more time and work before you see a return on your efforts.

If you focus on building an engaged audience you can earn money through your Instagram account.

Let’s take a look at the multiple streams of revenue available to Instagram users.

How to Make Money on Instagram

Making money on Instagram depends on your audience, your content, and the time you spend on it. Here are the three most popular ways people make money on Instagram:

  • Sponsored Posts for Brands
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Sell Your Own Products

You can use one or all of these methods to make money on Instagram. One doesn’t preclude another. Let’s dig into each method.

Sponsored Posts for a Brand

The most common way to make money on Instagram is as an influencer. Many brands want to partner with Instagrammers with followers who match the brand’s target audience.

These Instagram users are Influencers. What they post online influences what their followers buy. The biggest influencers can make thousands of dollars for a single sponsored post.

Don’t think this only applies to fashion or lifestyle bloggers. There are plenty of niche markets where companies pay influencers for posts.

Some examples include pets, parenting, and tech business. The key is to find a topic you love to promote so you can attract followers.

Forbes Magazine found an Instagram user with 100,000 followers can make $5,000 for a sponsored post.

Affiliate Posts

Another option is to become an affiliate marketer for a company. As an affiliate, you earn money by selling products or services for another business. You promote a product or service on your Instagram.

You earn money for each sale made using your trackable link or discount code. If someone uses your link or code to buy the product, the company pays you a commission.

As an affiliate, you want to promote the product with a soft sell approach. Show your audience how you use the product in real life situations. Since Instagram only allows the link in your bio, you need to think through how you’ll drive traffic.

Do you want people to go to your landing page? If so, tell people to follow the link in your bio. Maybe you offer a discount code that’s used on the brand’s website?

Include the discount code in every post. Give visitors all the information they need to purchase the product.

Affiliate marketing can result from a direct relationship or through an affiliate platform. Affiliate platforms are third-party companies that connect influencers, brands, and potential consumers. One example is Amazon’s affiliate program.

Each affiliate platform has its own commission model. Some pay based on clicks, while others pay per sale. Each platform tracks the purchase to the affiliate marketer.

Sell Your Own Products

If you have your own product to sell, consider linking your Instagram to your e-commerce site. Apps like Shopify come with tools to connect to your Instagram business profile.

This allows for a seamless way for consumers to buy your product while they’re on Instagram. There are a few requirements to make your posts shoppable.

You must:

  • Have an approved shop on Facebook
  • Operate your business in a supported country

When your account is set up you can sell products directly on Instagram. Your buyers won’t have to go to another site to buy. Your products gain the potential to be seen by millions of shoppers.

Physical Products

You can sell any physical product on Instagram. It can be something you make yourself or a product you buy from suppliers. If you sell physical products you may have inventory and storage expenses.

Another option is to sell drop shipped products.

Drop shipping means you don’t hold the inventory. You buy products from the wholesaler and sell to the consumer. The manufacturer then ships the product to the consumer.

Instagram is a visual medium. It’s a good place to sell posters, photographs, paintings, drawings, video, and other visual products.

Whatever you sell, incorporate SEO into your captions and product descriptions. It attracts the right audience to your Instagram account.

Digital Products

But what if you sell a service or digital product? Can you make money selling your business on Instagram?

If you can express your service visually, you can market it on Instagram. For example, a fitness coach can post images of exercises with descriptive captions. The profile link takes viewers to a website where they can buy an download a fitness plan.

A crafter posts pictures of the finished product. A link takes customers to a website to buy how to instructions as a PDF download.

If you can show your potential clients your business in a visual way, you can market it on Instagram.

To get potential customers and sales, you need an audience. Next, let’s look at ways to gain followers. The more followers you have, the more money you can make on Instagram.

How to Increase Your Instagram Following

Many people wonder if they should build the audience first, then sell the product, or vice versa. The real answer is you should do both. Build your following before and after you start selling your product or service.

Make sure you have a couple hundred followers before you start to sell. You don’t want to post images of products if no one is there. You want some followers you can engage in online conversation.

Incorporate the following steps to get a strong following. Once you have interested followers you can make money.

1. Optimize Your Profile

Make the most of your profile. It’s so easy but often overlooked by Instagram users. Choose a username that’s searchable as a keyword. Your username should match your other social media accounts.

Fill out your bio. You have 150 characters to tell people why they should care. Always include a clickable link. You can use the link for a specific landing page or to send traffic to your website.

2. Create and Promote Your Own Hashtag

Make a hashtag for your brand. Choose something that’s descriptive and easy for people to remember. A hashtag makes it easy for you to follow conversations related to your brand.

Use the same hashtag on other platforms. Be consistent and persistent. A branded hashtag makes it easy for followers to find you and your products.

3. Develop a Visual Style

Look at your favorite Instagram feeds. Chances are the posts have an appealing visual style.

You want your visual style to convey your personality. It should match the mood of your product or services. Don’t use a cartoonish style for a serious product.

Be consistent with the style of your posts. If you use a filter, try to use the same one on all your posts. A uniform style makes it easy for people to recognize your brand.

4. Post Regularly

Consistency is king in the content world. When you post regularly, your customers see you. They know you’re active on Instagram and won’t hesitate to engage with you there.

An abandoned Instagram account won’t boost consumer confidence in your brand. It’s wise to post one or two times a day so your followers don’t feel bombarded.

5. Post Your Location

Include the location when you post videos and stories to your account. Use relevant hashtags and geotags so people find your posts.

You’ll be surprised to see how many more people view your post when the location is tagged.

6. Write Compelling Captions

You only have a few seconds to get someone’s attention. Make your content count. Instagram is a visual platform, but your caption has the power to draw in customers with details.

Don’t forget to include your brand hashtag. Add popular hashtags for your nice, too.

But don’t add too many hashtags or you’ll annoy your readers. It’s best to limit your post to use 5-10 relevant hashtags. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags, but it’s not recommended to use that many, as it’s spammy.

Look at posts by popular brands. You’ll see most captions are between 138 to 150 characters. Keep captions on ads to 125 characters, as concise and entertaining captions perform best.

7. Use Instagram Stories and Live Videos

Be creative when delivering your message. Make it fun. People watch stories that hold their interest.

Add geotags, stickers, gifs, and face filters to your stories.

The latest addition to Instagram is Instagram TV known as IGTV. The videos are in a vertical format. Instagram says it’s built for the way people use their phones.

Videos on IGTV aren’t limited to one minute. Each video can last up to an hour. That makes them perfect for tutorials and explainer videos.

8. Talk to People in Your Niche

Look around on Instagram and find similar accounts. Comment and interact with your competition and cohorts. When you follow people in your niche, you’ll gain followers.

9. Collaborate

Reach out to other influencers and similar accounts. Ask if you can exchange posts. Share your content with each other’s audiences.

If you collaborate you can do it as an affiliate, or get paid per post

10. Hold Contests

Have a contest or giveaway. Plan ahead with a special contest-specific hashtag. Create a series of posts to generate excitement and explain how the giveaway works.

Read and follow Instagram’s contest rules. Ask people to take part. Get them to repost the contest, respond to a question, and use the hashtag.

11. Ask People to Engage

All you have to do is ask. If you post content that’s helpful to others, ask your followers to participate. Ask for opinions. Encourage them to share your content.

Tell your story, and ask readers to share their experiences. You can do this on your post, or by asking readers to post their own content with your hashtag.

You’ll gain attention and followers when people interact with your posts.

12. Promote with Instagram Ads

Don’t forget about paid advertising. It’s a quick way to reach more people who might not find you.

The usual cost per thousand for an Instagram advertisement is about $5. Expect that cost to rise as advertising on this platform becomes more popular. Compared to traditional advertising methods, Instagram ads are cost-effective.

13. Pay Attention to Trends

Like every other social media platform, Instagram has trends. To make money, you must stay aware of changes to the rules and what’s popular.

Take time to study popular Instagram accounts. Stay current on news about Instagram and ways people use it.

14. Follow the Instagram Rules

Instagram guidelines detail how you should post and how often. Their rules cover the types of images or videos that are allowed on the platform.

Follow the rules to improve your chances of earning money on Instagram. If you don’t, you may be shadow banned, or banned outright from using the platform.

Go Make Money on Instagram

As you can see, there are several ways to make money on Instagram. The most important thing is to build a loyal group of followers who are engaged with your content.

Don’t limit yourself to how to make money on Instagram. You can sell anything from physical items to coaching services. Present your products through photos, live stories, videos, and IGTV.

Try the tactics and strategies outlined in this article to make money from Instagram. If you want more advice, contact the social media marketing experts at Marketing by Kevin. We’re ready to help you make your Instagram business a success.