How to Make Money on Instagram: 5 Top Practices for Earning More in 2021

Social media has become a way of life. In 2021, more people are scrolling through IG than strolling through shopping malls. Businesses in all industries are catching on. Companies are turning to apps like Instagram to put products in front of more consumers.

The convenience and familiarity of the platform make it a hotspot for savvy shoppers. Plus, all those stunning photos help brands lure in more consumers. This guide shows how to make money on Instagram in a few different ways.


Table of Contents

  1. How Many Instagram Followers Do You Need to Make Money?
  2. How to Make Money on In
  3. What Are the Requirements For Making Money on Instagram?
  4. Promoting A Business on Instagram
  5. Instagram Success Stories
  6. Should I Make Money on Instagram?
  7. Frequently Asked Questions

How Many IG Followers Does an Account Need to Make Money?

Many IG Followers

It’s easy for people to think that they need a large following to make money on Instagram. Most of the influencers on the platform have tens of thousands of followers. So, how do people make money on instagram, especially everyday users? Many folks turn to sell products and promoting services.

Some influencers want to build entire brands. Others are fine with cashing in on affiliate marketing. Either way, it’s possible to start without tons of loyal fans.

While popular profiles make more money, there are other factors to consider:

  • Niche (and how it relates to product and merchandise)
  • Quality and engagement of the audience (fake followers won’t be too active)
  • Variety of revenue streams and channels

Keep reading to see specific examples.

How to Make Money on Instagram

Make Money

The question of how do you make money on Instagram is a worthwhile one. Most people have seen online influencers make thousands of dollars a month. They’re either promoting a product, selling unique services, or working as a brand ambassador. Yet, these strategies aren’t limited to profiles with huge followings.

The nice thing about social media marketing is that it varies widely. This is a good thing because it means individuals can try several tactics at one time.

Check out the top business strategies of 2020:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Launching an online store
  • Posting sponsored content
  • Selling IG photos

Keep in mind, all of this depends on several factors. Different types of accounts will yield unique results. Other things to consider include your audience and the amount of time you’re willing to commit.

Practice #1: Work With Sponsors

Practice #1: Work With Sponsors

Sponsored content has become a big thing on social media. It’s also one of the most common ways to make money from Instagram. Last year, there were over 500,000 influencers on the platform. It’s safe to say that each one shared a sponsored post at least once.

So, what exactly does this method entail? It can be as simple as sharing a product or service with the audience. To be fair, influencers can receive some hate for sharing these types of posts. The trick is to use this method sparingly. In other words, it shouldn’t supply the bulk of one’s income. Otherwise, the audience will only see ads rather than the person’s original content.

On the plus side, there’s a reason people use this strategy to make money from Instagram. The individual doesn’t have to be a marketing expert or an entrepreneurial genius. They don’t have to worry about creating products, fulfilling orders, and shipping. When everything works out, they’re just sharing something and profiting from it.

Now, here are the steps to sharing that first sponsored post.

#1: Select or Create a Niche

If a profile is going to have any influence, it needs to cater to a specific topic. In 2020, there’s a subculture within almost every niche. There are the more obvious subjects like fashion, gaming, fitness, and veganism. Still, there is also a lot that’s outside of the box.

No matter the industry or focus, there’s a brand willing to collaborate. Yet, people should choose a niche that means something to them. This is going to be what they live every day. When in doubt, get specific. A ‘micro-niche’ can seem more authentic to potential partners.

Some random ideas:

  • @Lil_Man_Life: follows the adventures of a Bernedoodle and his human dad
  • @SmithBrothersHawaii: chronicles the life of two siblings who run a smoothie shop
  • @JacobTrue: a professional photographer who focuses on dreamy sunsets and beaches

#2: Establish Credibility

The media and entertainment industry has changed quite a bit. Today, individuals long for authenticity and transparency. Social media helps fans engage with companies and influencers. This is good and bad because it means that it’s harder to take shortcuts. The payoff is a more loyal and active following.

To build a positive reputation, one must provide value. Influencers share content that inspires, educates, or simply makes life better. They become experts at their craft. As a result, people respect their opinions. Brands know that influencers can sway audiences. That’s why they often partner with each other.

#3: Determine You Rate(s)

This is an interesting dilemma. Partners will pay various rates, and the amounts are all across the board.

The details will depend on several different factors:

  • The influencer’s audience engagement statistics
  • Type of content involved
  • Amount of posts

The larger the following, the more people that influencers will reach. This is why insights are so important to influencers. These metrics reveal the average age and location of their fans. That will certainly play a role in which partnerships he or she chooses.

The deal could be an image or video post or a few Instagram Stories. Maybe the company wants some ad work. The type of content will also determine the rate.

So, what is a decent rate? A study from GroupHigh of 5,000 influencers revealed the average pricing. About 42% of respondents charged $200 to $400 per post. Some negotiations involve money and/or free products. In other cases, it’s an expenses-paid trip or access to a premium service. Regardless, both parties get more exposure, which is always a good thing.

#4: Reach Out & Collaborate

Large-scale profiles don’t have to send out too many pitches. Businesses tend to reach out first. For those who are still building a fan base, it’s best to work with similar size brands.

There are different ways to get in touch:

  • Email the company directly
  • Join the listings on influencer marketplaces
  • Send a DM to potential partners

It can be scary to reach out to a business directly. No one wants to seem needy or entitled. There’s definitely a right and a wrong way to go about this.

People should not contact a company that they aren’t familiar with. The brand they work with should be one that they admire. They use their products or services regularly and have for a long time.

Individuals don’t want to make high demands. This is a negotiation. They should explain what they can offer and why the partnership is mutually beneficial. Include engagement stats in the email, too. These guidelines also apply to direct messages with companies.

Influencer marketing platforms are another option. Company representatives go to these websites to seek out new partners.

Here are a few to try:

  • AspireIQ
  • Crowdtap
  • Famebit
  • Fohr
  • Grapevine
  • IndiaHash
  • Upfluence

#5: Be Clear About Ad Content

Sponsored posts can get a bad rap. It’s usually because the individual wasn’t transparent about working with a partner. Again, consumers want authenticity.

The U.K. and the U.S. have legal sponsorships obligations. People must provide clear ad disclosure to their audiences. This involves posting the hashtag #ad at the beginning of the caption. Other tactics include sharing #sponsored or including the ‘Paid Partnership’ tag.

Practice #2: Try Affiliate Marketing

Practice #2: Try Affiliate Marketing

Another way everyday people are making money on Instagram is through affiliate marketing. Despite its name, it’s not exactly what folks might think. Unlike sponsored posts, this method doesn’t involve becoming a spokesperson for a product. Individuals still get the benefit of not having to process and ship orders.

There are still things to consider, though. Affiliate marketing doesn’t work too well without a decent strategy. The term itself holds a lot of baggage, too. It’s best to do some research before agreeing to this kind of deal.

When everything works out, being an affiliate pays off. It can be a great way to recommend a favorite product. Loyal customers can earn an income just by sharing something they like. On IG, this usually involves posting a link or promo code.

#1: Choose a Preferred Industry

The startup process is somewhat like doing sponsored content. First, a person needs to find a specific niche or focus. It’s best they choose a topic that they have a genuine interest in. For example, a sustainability enthusiast would enjoy promoting a vegan or eco-friendly makeup line.

Keep in mind that lots of people who start on this path aren’t big influencers. Sometimes, they begin by writing reviews for businesses or products. This is fine, but there should still be an authentic feel.

#2: Interact With Sellers

Once they have an area of focus, individuals can track down affiliated partners. It’s possible to reach out to a company via email or direct message. Of course, this strategy is a bit more difficult and may cause anxiety.

While some brands post this information on their websites, others don’t. So, another way to join these programs is to go to a dedicated platform.

Some examples are:

  • Amazon Associates
  • CJ Affiliates
  • Clickbank
  • Rakuten

These platforms are central hubs that help companies and influencers find each other. Plus, there are thousands of products and services to choose from. Odds are, there will be something that resonates with everyone.

#3: Share the Product With Followers

After signing up with a program, the rest is quite simple. It’s all about sharing the products or services. Influencers still have to include the #ad hashtag, but it’s not a huge deal. Most consumers are fine with this and appreciate the transparency.

Practice #3: Open an E-Commerce Shop

Don’t forget; people are making money on Instagram through their products, not someone else’s. Yes, it’s okay to share affiliations and sponsored content in moderation. Too much of this, though, and followers are quick to label them a “sell-out.”

Some successful influencers earn income by offering their unique creations. This could be a physical item or a service. Lots of people sell digital downloads or guides, too.

This tactic works well for entrepreneurs who are new to social media. Likewise, it’s a natural progression for influencers who want to start offering merch.

#1: Come Up With a Product or Service

The fun part is thinking about what to sell. This also takes a lot of time and deliberation.

The good thing is that the possibilities are endless:

  • Clothing and accessories
  • Online courses, PDFs, e-books
  • Services (tarot card reading, mentoring, nutrition coaching)
  • Physical products
  • Photographs and artwork

The list goes on, and there are tons of sub-categories. Using social media to promote this merchandise is a wise choice. It’s a way to spread awareness on a global scale. Those who already have a personal online brand are in a prime position. They have existing fans who will be enthusiastic about supporting them.

#2: Create a Business Account With Shoppable Links

Next, individuals will need to revamp their IG accounts. Social media sites have been evolving with users, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

IG offers several e-commerce features:

  • Instagram Checkout
  • Product tags
  • Shoppable posts and Stories

The ideal course of action is to get a business account. Some folks use a Shopify store or something similar. Regardless, they need to curate a professional catalog of merch.

Many social platforms have integrations that people can use to share their e-commerce websites. This makes it easy for customers to buy something with the click of a button.

#3: Share & Promote Merch

This bleeds into the next step of sharing and promoting the merchandise.

There are so many ways to do this:

  • Post shoppable links on social media, landing pages, and websites
  • Add product tags and stickers to IG Stories and posts
  • Cross-promote the business across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

These days, it’s easier than ever to purchase online. Consumers can swipe up to visit an e-commerce site or browse inventory. Influencers can appeal to loyal subscribers by sharing posts. An example is an image of themselves using or wearing the merchandise.

Practice #4: Manage a Supply Chain

These days, it’s not uncommon to watch influences rake in thousands of dollars a week. It’s easy to think everything’s a piece of cake. It’s the back-end stuff that most people don’t see. Even though it’s behind the scenes, it’s still a critical component.

Managing a supply chain and inventory can be overwhelming. That’s why many people use the dropshipping model. They make the sale, and the manufacturer ships the item from the warehouse. Influencers still manage their merchandise, but they don’t need to store any inventory physically.

Some places that use the drop-shipping method include:

  • Amazon
  • Oberlo
  • Shopify

Practice #5: Profit Off of Stunning IG Photos

There are dozens of social media apps to choose from, but IG is unique. The platform is highly visual, making it a great space for creatives. Art may not be the first thing people mention when they think about making more money. Yet, photography can be super profitable.

Individuals can license, print, and sell photos through different tactics. Lots of well-known IG profiles became successful through striking images. Professional photographers found the app to be a good place to post and promote their work. These are the types of people that can benefit from this income-streaming strategy.

If their pictures are generating buzz, they’re one step away from profiting off of that.

  • Offer prints of popular photos
  • List the pictures in a marketplace like 500px
  • Pitch a licensing deal to photography brands and publishers
  • Work with a service like Society6 or Redbubble to put the images on physical items

Can You Make Money on Instagram?

Can You Make Money

Today, there are more entrepreneurial opportunities than ever before. More people are turning to online and virtual services, too. It may still seem strange to ask, can you make money on Instagram? In reality, there’s never been a better time. The trick is staying aware of the platform’s policies, rules, and social trends.

First, Get an Account in Order

Most folks are using IG for personal profiles. To start making money, they need a business account. According to Instagram statistics, 200 million users view a brand profile daily. This opens up a world of deeper metrics and insights. Companies can add their work hours, location, and contact info in their bios. From there, it’s about marketing effectively.

Build an IG Shop

One of the easiest ways to market items and services is through an IG shop. The platform helps with integrating a company’s merchandise into their profile. As a biz account, the team can promote things to consumers.

There are different ways to do this:

  • Ads
  • Explore tab
  • Photos, videos, and Stories
  • Shopping link in the profile

Integrate IG E-Commerce Apps

While it’s easier than ever to sell merch on IG, it’s not the only option. To achieve that big break, entrepreneurs must bring other apps into the business plan.

Some of these applications help with publishing, others with product listings. Some programs can organize a beautiful IG gallery view of items for sale. Others manage customer support and reporting.

Learn the Do’s & Don’ts

Every entrepreneur knows that the process involves lots of trial and error. The same is true for promoting biz on social media. Keep in mind that IG requires sellers to follow specific policies.

These relate to:

  • How to properly share promotions and ads
  • Accepted types of images and videos
  • The number of times influencers can upload content
  • Hashtag limitations

Improve Those Photography Skills

Finally, never underestimate the power of stunning image filters and editing tools. Good photography skills are essential, but don’t be shy about doctoring up a picture. Lightroom is a popular photo-editing program. Also, Picodash can help individuals identify which designs attract the most engagement.

In the age of altered photos, Canva found the top-performing IG filters:

  • Clarendon
  • Gingham
  • Juno
  • Lark
  • Valencia

Learn the Art of Self-Promotion

Self-Promotion

Entrepreneurs in all industries must discover their ideal publicity strategies. Again, this takes time, and there will be missteps along the way. It can be scary to put oneself out there on the Internet. Self-promotion isn’t always glamorous, but it’s crucial.

The platform focuses a lot on visuals, so appearances are critical. A sub-par profile can dash the dream of making money on Instagram. That said, a carefully-curated feed can produce amazing results.

When it comes to impressing an online audience, there are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Share professional photographs. Either hire an expert or start using premium filters and tools.
  • Maintain a consistent brand voice. Be sure to sync the IG profile with the e-commerce store.
  • Embrace the power of partnerships. Influencer collaborations invite new subscribers while keeping things exciting for existing fans.
  • Continue refining a social media strategy. Algorithms always change, so don’t get complacent. Keep growing while also posting daily.
  • Maintain that consistency in tone, design, and themes. The audience should be able to recognize the brand’s color palette, font, etc.

Influencers That Made it Work

Trying to earn income through social media is a dizzying experience. There’s the initial confusion around how people make money on Instagram. Then, there’s the trial and error of the learning process. Most people see the final result but not the hard work that came beforehand. Here are some inspiring examples to help struggling influencers push through.

Although they vary in their niche, all these accounts have certain things in common. They focused on a genuine passion, something they were good at and enjoyed doing. From there, they put different tools and techniques to work. Here is a closer look at a few prime examples.

  • @aesthentials, 345k follows. The shop’s founder has a keen interest in Japanese Harajuku fashion. The distinct style attracted a worldwide fanbase. After partnering with other influencers, the store achieved even greater success. Aesthentials is a good example of the dropshipping model. A customer purchases clothing, and the supplier sends it out.
  • @beardbrand, 166k follows. This small team started with less than $50, but they found a vendor and got to work. The founding member was passionate about beards. He wanted to change the way society views bearded men. Who knew this noble and inspiring cause would attract tons of guys across the country?
  • @rad.slime, 855k follows. This account has almost a million fans but focuses on something super simple. The tactile sensation of touching slime is a universal experience. Rad Slime Shop’s IG pictures and videos are clear and well-edited. Audiences can hear the crackle of the slime and see the intense colors. The content is so enticing that the store runs out of stock within hours.

Should You Make Money on Instagram?

Should You Make Money on Instagram?

By now, it’s less a question of how to generate income on social media. Rather, it’s why individuals should make money on Instagram. As more aspects of life move online, this business strategy is a no-brainer. For those that have their doubts, consider these stats.

First, check out some insights on gender and IG usage:

  • Men: 26%
  • Women: 38%
  • Other: 36&

This age data is also helpful for entrepreneurs and influencers:

  • 18-29-year-olds: 59%
  • 30-49-year-olds: 33%
  • 50-64-year-olds: 18%
  • 65+:8%

Explore more mind-blowing facts and figures about the app:

  • Every month, 1 billion people log onto IG. To compare, that is about triple the population of the United States.
  • Every day, there are 500 million active users on the platform. That’s 500 million potential sales, likes, or followers.
  • In 2017, about 70% of American brands had an IG account. Today, that figure is about 75%.
  • 80% of IG users follow at least one business profile.
  • Every month, the app shares content from 2 million advertisers.
  • Every year, the average user time on IG goes up by 80%. Today that translates to almost 30 minutes of screentime per day.
  • Brand Stories have an 85% completion rate, up from 69% in 2019.
  • Posts with location tags boost engagement by 79%.
  • Photos with faces increase likes by 38%.
  • User-generated content converts 4.5% more.
  • The potential advertising reach is over 849 million individuals
  • 62% of people report higher interest in a company or service after seeing it in an IG Story

FAQs

Can Instagram Users Get Paid?

It sounds like a dream come true, but it’s possible. If someone wants to know how to make money on Instagram, they’ll find away. The methods above provide a great starting point for almost anyone. With the right tools and lots of commitment, these strategies can work.

To recap, here is a list of potential income streams:

  • Sponsored content
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Open an e-commerce shop
  • Sell drop-shipped items
  • Profit off of photography

How Much Can You Make on Instagram?

This is the million-dollar question. It’s one thing to know how to make money from Instagram. The other side of the coin is figuring out potential earnings. It will depend on the type of income strategy and number of subscribers. Content can generate $100 or as much as several thousand dollars.

How Much Money Does an Account With 10K Instagram Followers Make?

The answer is not as clear as one might think.

It depends on lots of different factors, such as:

  • The quality of the subscribers
  • Specific niche
  • Type of work (sponsored content, selling merch, affiliate marketing)

These three facets alone can create lots of variation. Two accounts could have the same number of followers, but the results might be different. One profile might generate a few hundred dollars per month. The other may bring in thousands of dollars with each post.

Who is the Highest Paid Instagrammer?

The most successful profiles belong to super-famous celebrities and athletes. Cristiano Ronaldo has the highest-earning account, making $47.8 million last year. Behind him is soccer player Lionel Messi, who made $23.3 million. The highest-paid female celeb is Kendall Jenner. She made $15.9 million from IG alone in 2019.

Don’t Underestimate the Potential – and Hard Work – of IG Marketing

Lots of people wonder, how do people make money on Instagram? For one thing, these profiles have lots of subscribers. When it comes to generating an income, people try a variety of tactics. It’s all about knowing how to make money from Instagram and being patient. Sometimes an individual has to try several methods to become a success. For some folks, it takes a long time to break into a specific niche. To gain more clarity, check out the practices above. If you’re experienced with IG marketing, be sure to leave your insights in the comments.

Published: December 21, 2020Updated: December 21, 2020

Matt Robinson

Matt Robinson

Matt is an experienced technical writer and translator skilled in writing targeted texts for a variety of audiences. He has a diversified background, including social media management of various products. He is a data-driven strategist and a passionate story-teller. He posts about all social innovations and delivers high-quality research and content to our readers.


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