Social media that works for you.
With over a billion users and counting, Instagram is definitely a force to be reckoned with. In fact, as the popularity of this particular platform has grown exponentially within the past 5 years especially, an increasing number of people are using Instagram for more than just social interactions. Companies and individuals are intent on discovering how to make money on Instagram.
That said, the question is how: how do you get started on your Instagram money making journey? The easy answer here is of course, acquire a gigantic following and market your product to that audience, or there’s also the option of getting brands to want to pay you for promoting their products. And certainly, this will help set you on the path to accruing an Instagram fortune, but it’s a bit harder than it sounds. So this is where creativity comes into play! And also, a little know-how in regard to best leveraging Instagram to your monetary advantage.
Instagram only allows you to have one link in your bio. Constantly changing Instagram bio links when you’ve something new to share can be a daunting task. Since Instagram bio links are most often overlooked, it’s your opportunity to craft a compelling Instagram landing page to optimize your Instagram traffic with clickable links, messengers, and social networks. Most importantly, drive more traffic, leads, and sales to your website, blog, or online store. Use these Instagram link in bio tools to add multiple links to your Instagram bio for more traffic. Don’t let your organic traffic go to waste, start optimizing your Instagram bio link using some of these tools!
It’s all about the money.
First off, it’s important to understand that you are going to need some followers to be able to monetize your Instagram presence. That said, you don’t necessarily need hundreds of thousands or millions of people following your account, generally a few thousand will enable you to make money—if you understand the best strategies going in.
So how do you get that audience? What’s going to attract users and thus get them to follow you? Make sure your bio stands out. A boring, run-of-the-mill write up here is not doing you any favors. This is a chance to show a little flair and yet still keep it simple and to the point. You can also use this particular piece of Instagram real estate to provide links to your site or any other such page that you want to gain exposure. Above all else, have a little fun with the bio and make sure it is true to your brand/personality.
Time is money
Whether you are using your Instagram for your business or otherwise, posting regularly is also key to building up that audience. An inactive Instagram account is simply going to sit there and ultimately fade away into social media obscurity. What’s more, it’s not only essential to post regularly but you want to strive for the type of content and captions that compel users to actually engage. And when they do engage with one of your posts, never leave that conversation hanging. Be present!
The day/time that you post can impact the level of engagement that said post receives. For instance, studies have shown that weekends tend to get less action than weekdays; also, posting during traditional break times, such as after lunch or dinner also seems to be more successful as far as user engagement goes.
Once you do have that audience and your account is fine-tuned and ready to go, then it is time to start making some money.
How to Make Money on Instagram: Strategy 1 – Sponsored Content
By far this is among the most common methods for making money on the social media platform; having sponsored content can be very lucrative…if you have a large number of followers. For instance, those with numbers averaging in the millions can sometimes make thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) per post. In the beginning don’t count on making those kinds of numbers, but you can certainly get started on trying to attract sponsors.
Be true to your profile. That is to say, be who you genuinely are. Post pictures and captions that speak of your personality or brand. You will start to gain followers, and these will be people who tend to have similar interests and styles. Eventually if you are persistent, brands may approach you if the audience size and your specific niche is relevant to them.
Keep it real
Just like every other business relationship, there needs to be trust. In other words, don’t work with just any company especially if you’re not on board with some aspect of their brand. Your users trust you. They are turning to you for a legitimate recommendation. If you wouldn’t use/buy the product yourself, then you shouldn’t be promoting it to your audience.
After you’ve created the sponsored post, be it a video or photo, then you need to understand how to apply the right hashtags. And not just hashtags, you also want to include links to your sponsor’s most relevant promotions and deals. The brands you partner with are going to want to see results—meaning, an increase in sales of their products. So you have to create posts that compel people to heed that CTA and ultimately buy.
Making Money on Instagram: Strategy 2 – An Affiliate Program
In order to make money via affiliate links, you’re going to have to join an affiliate program. This can be done by either joining a network such as Clickbank, or additionally, you can also search for individual affiliate programs in which to participate.
Have a clickable link in your Instagram bio. As you can’t offer clickable links in your posts, you are going to want to use those posts to point people back to your bio and the affiliate link in question. If they do in fact purchase from that affiliate as a result of your post or Instagram story, then you get paid. It’s pretty simple actually.
The key here is to be transparent. Make sure your followers are in fact aware that you are making money as a result of any purchase transacted through that particular link. The worst thing you can do is to try and hide this. Trust is key on any social media platform, and Instagram is no exception. So just be up front about what you’re actually doing.
Start Making Money on Instagram: Strategy 3 – Sell Actual Products
Because the social media giant has become so pervasive, Instagram now offers business features that enable you to essentially commercialize your account. That is to say, they do now have elements such as an in-app checkout feature as well as a shop button. Granted, selling directly from Instagram isn’t as easy as setting up an e-commerce store for example, but it can be done.
Direct users to your site or e-commerce store. Again, it can be somewhat of a hassle to sell strictly through your Instagram account. This is why setting up a site or store for your product and then directing Instagram traffic there through a link in your bio could work to your advantage.
Get freelance help for your site. If you aren’t certain how to set up a website or create a Wix or Shopify store, you can outsource this at a fairly reasonable rate.
Know who your Instagram competition is. A little bit of legwork here goes a long way. Know who you’re competing with. Identify key hashtags and see how other such companies/individuals are engaging audiences.
Money Making Tactics: Strategy 4 – Sell Photos and Videos
User generated content (UGC) is slowly becoming the go-to for many businesses, as customers appreciate authenticity and “realness.” In fact, an increasing number of companies are turning to UGC as the images tend to be more memorable from a marketing perspective. Therefore, if you have a decent size following and are a better than average photographer, you might have a shot at selling your pictures and making pretty good money at that!
When using images to make money: travel and tourism. The travel industry is among the most eager when it comes to purchasing user generated content. And sometimes they may even offer influencers some freebies by way of hotel stays or other such package deals.
Make sure you have a big enough following. Usually as relates to the travel industry especially, they want to work with authentic Instagram influencers before they agree to any type of deal.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to making money. If you are going to try to sell images (or video) you may want to take some time and polish those picture taking skills. Quality does count here.
Instagram Money: Strategy 5 – Write Captions for Others
You can think beyond your own account. Many smaller firms especially turn to creative and clever writers to pen their content for them, particularly if they can’t afford an in-house content creation staff. You can potentially make some good money by writing Instagram post captions. Keep in mind, they are usually seeking out quality writers who understand how to develop content that actually engages.
Start by fine-tuning your own Instagram account. Fairly simple strategy really…your own account is your chance to showcase that top notch writing talent. Make sure your work on it demonstrates quality.
To this end, also put together your portfolio. Odds are, if a company is looking to hire a freelance writer for their social marketing, they are going to ask to see your portfolio. Take some time to go through and ensure the pieces in it are relevant to the job for which you’re applying.
Don’t oversell, be honest. In your portfolio as well as in how you present yourself in general, don’t oversell your writing skills. And make sure that the pieces in your portfolio are in fact truly representative of you.
Not sure how to create a portfolio? There are plenty of sites that offer aspiring writers help in terms of creating a killer portfolio. For instance, check out this information regarding portfolio creation even if you have no writing experience.
Make Money on Instagram: Strategy 6 – Story Masks and Filters
Instagram introduced their wildly popular Instagram Stories back in 2016; since then there are nearly 500 million users who either watch such stories or create their own on any given day. This being the case, people like to spice up those stories by adding fun and quirky masks and filters. If you have the skills and creativity to develop these, then you can sell them to other users and make some money in the process.
You can also generate masks and filters for companies. Companies are increasingly turning to stories and the options therein to draw in more customers. Many consequently are looking to use unique designs and logos by way of story masks and filters.
Instagram Money-Making Tips: Strategy 7 – Host a Virtual Event
Instagram Live broadcasts are a fun and highly effective way of connecting with your users. By holding a virtual event, you have the opportunity to then speak about your brand, offer valuable information, even direct followers to your site or a promo you may be running. Especially with events of the past couple of months, Instagram Live events of this nature have become even more common—particularly for influencers looking to gain exposure and thus increase there potential for making money through the platform.
You can have someone post a question during the broadcast. When strategically done this will then allow you to answer by way of a link to your site.
Remember links aren’t clickable. The key is to therefore keep it short and memorable.
Remember those calls to action. It is okay to remind your audience of what you’re selling and consequently what they need to do in order to purchase from you.
To Make Money on Instagram: Strategy 8 – Promote Your Work
Especially if you’re in a creative field such as photography or if you’re a painter for instance, Instagram is the perfect visual platform for you to showcase that amazing talent. You can use it in order to gain even more exposure for the art/work that you create. And as your followers increase, you have greater opportunities to engage and hopefully sell some pieces!
Make sure any links in your Instagram bio work. Basically, just make sure your bio is updated, any links are relevant, and you are providing ample information for those who do want to reach out and purchase your work.
Also, keep in mind there are companies who will partner with you. Numerous companies within the creative field like to partner with up and coming artists and professionals. Get a big enough audience and you never know what can happen.
Tomorrow, you’ll wish you started yesterday.
Navigating the world of Instagram can be tricky at first. And if you are looking to make some money on the platform then you definitely want to explore a range of options. There are multiple money making methods which if used in conjunction with one another could potentially set you up for some real Instagram success. The key of course, as we’ve noted, is getting users to follow you. The larger your audience, the more apt companies and brands will be to want to partner with you. It’s all about the numbers in the end.
Another thing to keep in mind when looking to Instagram’s money making potential, to date more than fifty billion photos have been shared on the social media platform. That’s a heck of a lot of photos! The point here is, Instagram can be a pretty crowded playing field. For any aspiring Instagram influencer that means that not only do you have to be consistently posting and engaging, but you have got to figure out a way to stand out.
What makes your brand/personality unique? Why would a user want to stop and look at your image and read your caption over someone else’s? In order to experience Instagram success, you have to be somewhat of an outside-the-box thinker at times. Take your posts up a notch and really spend some time finding that angle that will get you noticed and consequently allow you to emerge as a potential influencer—one with the capacity to make some real money on Instagram!
For more tips on using social media to engage with your audience and make money, read our ‘Creative Ideas to Increase Sales’ e-book.
Anne is a former English professor turned content writer. Holding a PhD in Literature, she spent almost a decade in academia putting that degree to use, until finally realizing it wasn't exactly the best fit. A full-time writer now for the past seven years, she's learned a great deal about the numerous subjects she's gotten to tackle, everything from real estate investing to the scarier side of online dating—sometimes more than she actually wants to learn. A mom of five (two teenagers and three dogs)