How to Make Money on Instagram
The use of social media as a stream of income has become viable for most business owners and entrepreneurs.
Today, Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms for monetizing content because of its broad range of features and extensive user base.
Further, it allows users to interact with their audience in myriad ways. You can chat, sell, create posts and stories, and even broadcast live videos.
Whatever content or products you wish to sell, Instagram still proves to be one of the most versatile apps available.
There is some apprehension about making money on Instagram, and it’s understandable that people have reservations.
However, you will be surprised by how possible monetization is.
After reading this article, you will have a strong knowledge of how you can make money and the different ways in which you can.
You will also learn the key tips to bear in mind when using Instagram as a monetization app.
How Many Followers Do You Need to Make Money?
It is true that many celebrities use Instagram to monetize their content and act as brand ambassadors for products they are sponsored by.
This can often give a false impression of what you need to make money on Instagram.
You do not have to be famous or have a six-figure follower base, and you do not have to be a brand ambassador.
Although this is a great way of making money on Instagram, users can also earn cash via different methods.
To start monetizing your content you do need to have an established audience, but the number of followers needed is not as high as you might expect.
As few as 1,000 followers is a good starting point for the commercialization of your products and content.
Rather than sweat over the numbers, the aim is to find an active audience.
For instance, you may have an account with 50,000 followers, but none of them engages with your content. With less engagement comes less opportunity to commercialize brands, products and services.
However, if you have an account with 5,000 followers who are looking out for your content, then it is more likely that you will be able to make money from them.
This is known as the creation of a niche audience. It is better to tailor your content specifically to a small audience than to have a more generalized approach.
Marrying your posts, stories and even the color scheme of your account can go a long way towards effective monetization. Think carefully about your intentions with each post you make.
Reduce filler content – posts that do not contribute to monetization – and instead optimize content where commercialization is viable. This will ultimately help with engagement and making money in the long run.
Ways to Earn Money on Instagram
Now that you know the basics of followers and niche audiences, you can learn more about the various ways you can make money.
Before doing so, it is important to reiterate the versatility of Instagram. You can combine many of these methods together to further monetization.
You are not restricted on Instagram, and the direction you choose is entirely dependent upon how you want to make money. What works for you will be different from someone else.
Create Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts are one of the most popular ways that influencers make money on Instagram.
Influencers are often asked to create a specific post or story in relation to a company’s products or mission.
The influencer is used as a marketing leverage, and often sponsored posts are given to Instagram users with large followings.
It is possible that you will be asked to make a sponsored post if you have a strong follower base. Further, it is even more likely that you will be asked if you have a tailored Instagram account that appeals to a niche audience.
The reason for this is because it is more likely that your followers will engage with the post, and so the respective company will have better success with your account than, say, a more general account.
Sponsored posts are also sustainable once you have developed a good relationship with the respective company.
Before taking on any sponsored posts, think about how profitable it will be in the long run and if there is a chance you’ll be offered more than a couple of posts.
Become a Brand Ambassador
Like sponsored posts, you may be asked to advertise a product or a service of another company.
Being a brand ambassador is one of the most accessible ways of monetizing Instagram as lots of businesses have Instagram accounts to sell and market their brands.
You will likely be given a sample of a product or an item to display on a post or story. Once you have done it, you will receive a commission.
It is a simple way of making money, but, once again, you have to ask how consistent it will be in the long term.
Further, it is essential that you consider how it will affect the rest of the content on your page. Be smart and choose brands that fit with your Instagram content and/or your personal goal and ethics.
Provide Affiliate Links
Affiliate links are one of the more hands-off ways of making money. A company will request for you to attach a link to their website in your bio and on your posts.
When your followers click the link, you will receive a commission.
It is likely that you will only be asked to provide affiliate links on your page once you build a good rapport with a specific business.
Further, affiliate links often work alongside sponsored posts and brand advertisements. Once you have established these monetization methods, you’ll further increase your chances of aligning with another company.
Your page can also be used to advertise product discounts, and you may be asked to provide codes that give consumers a discount and also provide you with a commission.
Having affiliate links are somewhat exclusive, and they may tie you to one company. However, this company could potentially grant you greater commissions in the long run.
Sell Physical Products
Outside of working for other businesses, many people use Instagram to market and sell their own physical products.
If you make pottery, for example, or are involved with any form of crafting, Instagram is a great platform to advertise and sell your products to your followers.
Often, selling products on Instagram will involve other social media apps, and Etsy, for example, is a good place to sell your products whilst using Instagram to market them.
The more niche your audience is, the better opportunities you will have to monetize your physical products.
Sell Digital Products
In addition to physical products, Instagram is often used to sell marketing, photography and technological services.
Instagram allows you to advertise the products you sell, and it is a good platform to showcase your talents.
Videographers, editors and digital artists use Instagram to find commissions from their established audience.
Provide and Advertise Services
Like selling digital products, Instagram gives users an opportunity to market their services and showcase their skills.
Whether you are a personal trainer or a beauty technician, an Instagram account can be used to post the results and procedures of your service.
The best way to make money from advertising your own services is to appeal directly to your niche audience.
With an established following who are consistently engaging with your content, you can build a clientele network.
Content Creation, Marketing and Design
If your skills lie elsewhere, there are still many opportunities to monetize Instagram.
Companies, influencers and budding entrepreneurs are always looking out for people to work behind the scenes to make their Instagram pages stand out from the crowd.
Social media management, editorial and marketing services are a great way of building a career on Instagram.
Businesses need striking content, strong captions and good overall design, as well as marketing expertise to help take their business to the next level.
Key Tips for Monetization
A combination of monetization methods can help you build a sustainable career. However, you will not be the only one looking to use Instagram to make money.
The use of social media for profit has become commonplace and there is a fair amount of competition. With this in mind, you need to consider these tips so you can give yourself the best chance in the long term.
Find Your Niche Audience
This is arguably the most important point when you start to monetize your Instagram account.
Spend time researching what audiences you can appeal to with your content and how you can monetize their attention.
A niche audience is always favorable to a general audience when considering monetization.
Think of where you engage with your audience and how you can consistently build on this.
Create High-Quality Content
Your content needs to be high quality, strategized and consistent.
Remove any content that could be considered as filler. If you have pictures that are not related to your monetization schemes, then they do not need to be on your Instagram.
If you are sentimental about your content, then set up a personal Instagram account. A monetized Instagram account should only be based around making a profit.
In addition, when you do create content, ensure that it is high quality and well edited.
Content can be created on Instagram with only a smartphone; however, you may need to invest in a better quality camera, lighting and a tripod, or other specialized equipment or props, as you progress.
Outline Your Strategy
Before taking the steps towards monetization, outline the ways in which you intend to make money and determine how your content is going to create these streams of income.
Your strategy should be updated as you progress, but it is always good to think initially about what impression you want to create.
Instagram is a process of visualization, so do not hesitate to be lofty in your initial aims.
It may also be worthwhile thinking about collaboration. If you are inserting yourself into a niche market where there are established Instagram users, then do not hesitate to pick up as much as possible from them.
Some may even really enjoy your ideas and content, and offer you collaboration opportunities or share your content on their page. This can fast-track your monetization journey.
Get an Insight into Engagement and Analytics
You must be aware of what your audience is engaging with, what times they are engaging at and even who else they are engaging with.
Using the insights tab and the app's built-in analytical software is a great way to get a broad idea of how your content engages your existing audience.
However, depending on your aims and how meticulous you are, you may want to invest in other software that gives you a deeper insight into your engagement levels.
Apps such as Keyhole allow users to track engagement in real-time. Knowing who is engaging with content at which points can help you develop better monetization strategies.
Learn as Much as You Can
To top it off, you must be informed about Instagram, social media and the ways in which you can create a sustainable income.
This article is a great starting point, but you can also look towards other informative articles or free digital marketing courses to gain a comprehensive understanding.
As well as this, spend time on Instagram making notes of who is selling what and how they are tailoring their profiles towards monetization.
If you are willing to spend money and take the time to learn more, an influencer marketing program can be really beneficial.
BuzzSumo and The Room are great software platforms that highlight what makes an authentic Instagram page. These programs can help you build an account that suits your exact needs.
Stick to the Rules
When using sponsored/advertising content on Instagram, you will be required to adhere to rules set out by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
It is your responsibility to learn and stick to these rules. The ASA has collaborated with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to publish an 'influencers guide' that will help with this.
The basic premise is that any advertising content that is posted to your Instagram must be clearly identifiable. Many influencers use hashtags such as #ad, #gifted or #spon to identify gifted items, adverts or sponsored posts.
Social media monetization is only growing, and the ways in which accounts are being tailored towards making a profit are rapidly changing.
This is the perfect time to monetize your talents, and if you want to turn a loved hobby into a career then Instagram could be the platform that allows you to do so.