Be honest. How long do you spend on Instagram each day? Probably a couple of minutes or a few hours, right?
What if you could translate all that time into dollars in your pocket?
Maybe you want to buy a house or a car, or take off on a lengthy vacation in a foreign country. Or perhaps, you just want to make a comfortable living.
In any case, you can turn your Instagram hobby into a highly profitable source of income – or even a full-time career.
At first, making money on Instagram seems unlikely. After all, the app is mostly used to post and share photos and watch seconds-long video clips.
But think about Kylie Jenner who’s making around 1 million dollars per paid Instagram post. Or those top bloggers and influencers raking in thousands of dollars through sponsored partnerships on Instagram.
Instagram has become a goldmine for anyone with a large enough audience and reach on the platform. With that in mind, you now have the opportunity to explore multiple streams of potential revenue and earn steady profits through the app.
In this article, we’ll explain several detailed tactics you can use to help you make money on Instagram in 2019.
Can You Really Make Money on Instagram?
The answer is yes. In fact, there are plenty of Instagrammers who earn a living through Instagram alone. Once they have an audience and a strong influence, brands are willing to pay big bucks to get their products featured by these individuals.
Some influencers like Casey Dimmock have been able to double their income after starting a full-time career on Instagram. Even if not making millions, some influencers have been able to secure six-figure incomes with only a few hundred thousand followers.
If you plan on following in their footsteps, Instagram is a great place to start.
Here are a few ways you can start making money on Instagram:
- You could start selling your own products or services, whether digital or physical.
- You can take high-quality photos and sell them.
- You could become an affiliate, and earn a commission by selling or promoting other people’s (or company’s) products or services.
- You could also make sponsored posts for brands that want to reach your audience.
Earning money on Instagram isn’t always easy. Else everybody would be doing it, right? It doesn’t have to be difficult either. As long as you have a strong engaged following, you can increase your chances of financial success on Instagram.
How Many Followers Do You Need to Make Money on Instagram?
The truth is, the number of followers you have on Instagram can very much impact your profitability. See, some brands will require you to have a large follower base to reach as many prospects as possible, while some may be looking for a small niche market.
The ideal follower count will depend on the company, campaign, and project. However, most brands generally require that their influencers have at least 5,000 followers.
This suggested count could be more or less, considering these factors:
- How engaged your followers are.
- Which revenue channels you explore.
- What niche you’re in and how easily you can link it to a product category (whether fitness, travel, beauty, food, etc.)
Learning how to grow your followers is crucial and could lead to more profitable deals. Naturally, the more engaged followers you have, the better. So, make sure you are not buying followers!
The Importance of Engagement
It’s easy to get caught up in the race to grow your follower count, but engagement is what you really need to focus on. Having a massive following won’t amount to much if you don’t have active engagement.
Imagine having a million followers on Instagram and only getting a few hundred likes on your posts. What would that say to brands and other people wanting to work with you?
Low engagement is a warning signal to brands, indicating a lack of trust and authority. A high engagement, on the other hand, shows that your audience is real and brands are more likely to get more conversions in the form of sales or clicks.
You can follow these five awesome tips to learn how to maximize engagement on your Instagram.
Now, let’s get down to the meat of the matter!
How to Make Money on Instagram
There’s a world of opportunities for Instagrammers who want to make money on Instagram. Remember, many celebrities and influencers, big and small, have already used it to establish revenue streams for themselves – and you can do it, too.
Once you have an engaged audience, you can start earning money on Instagram in the following ways:
Make Money from Sponsored Posts
Being an influencer is probably the best-known way to earn money on Instagram.
An influencer is simply anyone who has built a good reputation by doing and sharing exciting things online, particularly on social media.
People often see influencers as trusted experts or trendsetters, whose opinions on certain subjects are well respected. In fact, influencers usually have a good following and are often able to convince their audience to take certain actions.
Brands simply cannot deny the huge impact of influencers, so they partner with certain influencers for sponsored posts to help promote their products or services or deliver targeted messaged to prospective customers.
Sponsored posts involve the creation of content, whether an Instagram post, video or Story. Sometimes brands will ask for permission to use your content on their own website or in an advertisement.
This type of deal can be negotiable and can range from a single Instagram post to a complete campaign. However, it all depends on the brand, scope of the project and the influencer’s bargaining power.
As much as you can be profitable as an influencer, you also have to learn how to balance your revenue with your integrity as a creator. But if Instagram is not your only stream of income, you are free to be selective about the brands you work with.
Determining Your Rate as An Influencer
When negotiating your rates, always keep in mind that you’re not just offering content to brands but access to your followers, as well as usage rights.
Some brands are willing to pay anywhere between $200 to $400 per post, according to a survey of 5000 influencers. So, imagine making a sponsored post every day. Heck, you could easily make a few thousand dollars per month.
The cost of influencer marketing may vary based on several factors:
- Engagement rates
- Content quality
- Follower count
Other factors that can impact cost include:
- Exclusivity: Can you work with competitive brands?
- Usage Rights: Is the brand looking to repurpose your content?
- Timing: How much time are you given to complete the scope of work?
- Brand Affinity: Is the brand closely aligned with your content? Have you worked together in the past?
With these factors in mind, it’s important that you also know your own audience. Who does your audience mainly consist of? Which brands best fit your audience? What is your engagement rate?
You can switch to a Business account to help dig up those statistics. These numbers will help in your negotiations with potential clients.
How to Find Brands to Work With
By now, you must be wondering, “How do I find brands to work with?”
You could start by researching brands in your niche that you’d like to partner with. These brands could include those that align well with your personality and values.
To reach out to them directly, send them emails promoting your services. Make sure to include your follower numbers, engagement statistics, and samples of the types of content that you post.
You can also list yourself on an influencer marketing platform to make it easier for big brands to find you.
Finally, always be transparent about sponsorships when making a sponsored post. Indicate with a hashtag that it’s a paid post (#sponsored, for example). Also, Instagram now allows you to disclose your partnerships with brands by including a “Paid Partnership with” tag on your sponsored posts.
Make Money from Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is another good revenue stream – once you’ve got a sizeable following. Unlike an influencer, an affiliate is more concerned with generating sales for partner brands in exchange for a commission.
Many brands sell their products through affiliate programs. In fact, a large number of people are making a small fortune from this venture.
Affiliate marketing is usually done with a trackable link or unique promotion code that makes sure that any clicks are converted to sales. Since you can’t place links in your posts on Instagram, you can simply add them to your Stories or in your bio.
You can still direct users to click the link with a “link in bio” statement in your caption. Just make sure to use a URL shortener like Bitly to reduce the length of those long, ugly affiliate links. As for promo codes, you can add them to your Instagram Stories or incorporate them in your captions.
To kickstart your journey as an affiliate marketer, you first need to reach out to an online merchant that offers affiliate programs that you can join. Alternatively, you can try different marketplaces like ClickBank, Amazon’s Affiliate Program or Reward Style.
Sell Your Own Products or Services
Let’s be clear. Working with other brands is not the only way to make money on Instagram. If you happen to operate a business, you can leverage the platform in the same way as any other brand.
On Instagram, you can sell your own products: physical goods, services or digital items, or those purchased from suppliers. This way, you can build a business with an audience at its core.
First of all, you’ll need to open up an online store on Shopify, Zazzle or Etsy. Better yet, you can create a Business profile on Instagram and make shoppable posts and tag your products. Your followers will be able to browse the “shop” feed right from your Instagram profile.
Here are a few ideas to get started:
- You can sell digital products such as eBooks, courses or design training programs.
- You can sell services such as consulting or photography.
- You can sell design printed t-shirts, pillows, coffee mugs, paintings, and more.
- You can create a Business profile on Instagram and start selling your own products on the platform.
- If you’re the tech type, you can sell smartwatches, selfie drones, mirrorless cameras, dash cams, wireless earphones, phone cases, power banks, and many more.
Make Money from Your Photos
If photography is what you’re into, Instagram might be your ticket to financial success.
Remember, Instagram is all about visual content. That means there’s probably a high demand for high-quality photos, paintings, animations, drawings – just about any visual-based digital products.
Think how many people purchase stock images online every day. With over 500 million daily active users scrolling past millions of photos on the app, you shouldn’t be surprised if you start earning a pretty penny when you get started.
Firstly, you must learn how to take quality photos for Instagram. Once you’ve improved your photography skills, you can learn more about filters, composition, and other key elements to produce the best images.
You can then list your photos on marketplaces such as Twenty20, 500px and Foap where they can be licensed by publishers and brands. However, you can sell printed versions on your photos on physical products.
Printing services like Printful and Teelaunch make it easy to put your photos on posters, pillows, phone cases, and so on.
Instagram can be a money-making platform for those who are willing to take the leap. Once you remain committed and put in the time and effort in building a large engaged audience, you can easily earn a decent living on Instagram in 2019.