How to make money from Instagram

  • Post category:Business
  • Reading time:18 mins read
How to make money from Instagram

Instagram’s mushrooming prominence continues to supersede the sluggish business pace of many competitive social media platforms. With one million users registered within two months of its launch in 2010, the company crossed its benchmark of 1000 million users in the year 2018! This staggering growth rate achieved in less than ten years of business has influenced more than 500 million users to visit the platform on a daily basis.

Instagram users from October 2016 to September 2017
Instagram user trend from 2016

With so many features to showcase a product and a consistent effort in improving itself, Instagram has opened up a lot of opportunity for brands as well as influencers. Features like Shoppable Post, IGTV, Reels and native payments have made Instagram one of the most e-commerce friendly social media platforms. So if you are thinking about making money from your profile, keep reading further.

Just like bloggers who have learnt their way to monetize the content they produce over a website, Instagram users can as well make money by reaching & influencing their audiences. A recent survey conducted by Hopper HQ claims that Dwayne Johnson is paid around $1.1 million for a single sponsored post. While celebrities like ‘Rock’ have over 200 million followers, a recent survey conducted by us proves that influencers with 1,000 to 10,000 followers have the highest engagement rate on Instagram. So what is stopping you to earn millions and join the league of successful entrepreneurs on Instagram? 

In today’s blog we will discuss three major ways to make money on Instagram depending upon your engagement with audience, follower count and social recognition.

1. Earn through Affiliate Marketing

Earnings generated through commissions by means of influencing and promoting products is known as affiliate marketing. The earnings are made based on the clicks or sales generated by your influence either through a discount code or a product link. Depending on your niche, the affiliate commission can start from 3% and may go all the way to 45%. Affiliates can easily earn through Instagram by sharing the discount codes & links in posts, reels, stories, and bios. These codes and links are provided directly from the brand or by an affiliate network like Amazon along with an analytics platform to track your sales growth.

If you are new to Instagram Affiliate marketing, here is a quick guide to start your earnings right away.

#Step 1: Choose an Affiliate Network.     

Joining an Affiliate network is the first step in starting your journey as an Affiliate marketer. There are many good affiliate networks available that provide metrics such as tracking, payment processing, and report generating that are useful in analyzing your overall growth. Depending upon the modes of commission (pay per click and cost per acquisition) you can choose to create an account on ShareASale, CJ Affiliate, Pepperjam or Amazon.

#Step 2: Create an Affiliate Program      

The next step towards becoming a successful affiliate marketer on Instagram is by building a compelling program matching your audience. A discount coupon shared in the post for a relevant product can influence your audience into buying. Besides, building a tiered program based on commission to circulate and share your post can further motivate your audience to join and promote your program.

#Step 3: Performance Analysis

Once you have started promoting your products on your Instagram account, it is important to keep a track of your performance. Statistics in your reports help in monitoring the clicks with respect to the sales basis which you can analyze the performance of product. This will eventually help you to focus more on high paying products rather than the ones which are not driving any sales.

2. Sell Your Products

Instagram is a great platform to promote and sell your products. With unique features being launched by Instagram Shopping; the product reach as well as the buying rate has increased by 44% for some, indicating its efficiency in generating income. This feature allows brands to add a price tag along with the product name, besides you are also provided with a call to action button that can direct users to your website or to brand’s page via affiliate network. Unlike a single link used in bio, unique link for each product makes it easier for audience to directly visit the product’s page increasing the possibility of conversions.

However, in order to use this feature on your Instagram Business account, you need to have an existing business on ecommerce portals like Amazon. Additionally, you need to have a Facebook business page connected with your Instagram account.

Here is a quick guide to set up shopping on Instagram.

#Step 1: Create Facebook Catalog

The first step to activate ‘Shopping on Instagram’ feature is by creating a catalog on Facebook. In order to do so, you need to visit Facebook Business Manager and click on ‘Settings’.

Next, go to ‘Edit Page’ and select ‘Templates’ for your shop. You can add all your products, descriptions, prices along with the URL for purchase. Once all the details have been filled, click on ‘Save’ and wait for your products to get approved by Facebook. This usually takes 2-3 days before you can proceed ahead.

Once your account gets approved you can link your Facebook catalog with your Instagram Business Page.

#Step 2: Add Tags

Once you have linked your Facebook business page with your Instagram Business account, you need to activate the Shopping feature before you can start adding tags on your product posts.

Go to ‘Business Settings’ on Instagram and select ‘Shopping’. Click on ‘Save’ and restart your application.

You have now activated ‘Shopping on Instagram’ feature. Edit your existing post or create a new portfolio to display price tags, product name and call to action button. A small preview is also provided which allows users to modify their tags as per the image. On publishing your Instagram post will now display a small shopping bag to your audience which on clicking redirects the users to your ecommerce store.

#Step 3: Start Selling

Once you have started your Instagram store, it is important to optimize and grow your account to reach more audiences. Ensure you are using the right Instagram Bios to influence your audiences. Nobody likes a monotonous and dull image, limit the usage of similar hash tags on every post and be creative while posting an image. Consider using Instagram analytics to go over your engagement and click through rates for better sales conversion.

PS: Make sure you create at the least 9 shopping posts for your audience.

3. Become an Influencer

Around 40% of the people purchase products after being influenced on social media networks. This makes influencer marketing opportunistic, especially for someone who is applauded for trustworthiness, credibility and has a large audience base.

Becoming an influencer is simple if you can engage your audience with your content and persuade them to spread your content. However, in order to be successful you need to a have an engaging fan following base that are actually swayed by your work.

Here’s a quick guide to becoming a successful influencer that can generate an active source of earning from Instagram.

#Step 1: Focus on your Niche

Businesses and brands majorly look for micro influencers that cater to specific niche segments. Even though the following count for these types of influencers is generally less, however the conversion rate is higher since they can connect with their audience having a common interest.

Engagement Rate on Instagram
Instagram engagement rate

Additionally, a recent research conducted by our team led to the conclusion that influencers with less number of followers (1000 – 10,000) were able to engage their audience more as compared with someone having more than 100,000 followers.

#Step 2: Write meaningful captions

Gone are the days when writing a 3 word caption along with a photo could lead to a huge fan following. Today’s audience need more than just a pretty profile. A great way to engage and influence your audience is by choosing the right captions for your post that is both relevant to the product and your community. Bear in mind that the first line of your post needs to be astounding since an entire caption is not visible unless you press ‘more’. Additionally, do not forget to make them quirky along with a call to action button to further engage your audience & boost your conversions.

#Step 3: Avoid Fake Followers

Follower count can be a deciding factor and your earnings from sponsored posts may increase in line with your audience. However, the level of engagement and reach your posts produce is more important than an inorganic following base. Moreover, it might not take long for a brand to realize that your audience isn’t worth investing.

As appealing as it may look at a first glance, a profile with fake followings may result in zero conversions. Consider best practices and hard work as your friend while planning to increase your Instagram follower count.

#Step 4: Be Consistent

Create an engaged community where you respond to all the likes and comments shared by your audiences. Post high quality images, info graphics and videos that are informative yet inspirational. Make sure you regularly ask questions and conduct polls that actively engage your audience to participate and share.

It is also important to schedule your Instagram posts as per your feasibility. It can be twice in a day or once in a week, all you have to be is consistent with your postings; unless you want to keep your fans waiting!

Start a blog on Instagram and get paid

With a maximum of 2200 character limit, an Instagram micro blog has created a thriving opportunity for creators who are constantly looking to inspire the audience with their work. By partnering with brands and influencing your audience you have the option of getting paid through this medium. And unlike any other blogs found over the internet, starting a blog on Instagram is relatively easier.

Businesses have now realised the importance of social media (45% and growing) making it a more competitive environment within the same set of audience. This rise in competition is also seen within the blogging community as well. With more and more bloggers creating an account on Instagram, a good amount of hard work and dedication is required to produce captivating visual content that can attract the visitors. That’s not all; you need to be consistent with your work and an out of the box thinker to retain their engagement.

To make things simple we have created a step by step guide that can help you start a blog on Instagram. This guide will assist you in increasing the engagement rate within your audiences that will considerably drive more sales. Let’s begin.

#Step 1: Create an Instagram Account

Creating an Instagram account is completely free, easy and only requires a couple of minutes before you can publish your first post. However, the only thing that needs to be decided before creating an account is your username. Once you have finalized your username, you need to open the Instagram application and sign up with your email address or phone number. You will then be asked to provide a username and password to create your new account. That’s it, your Instagram account has been created.

#Step 2: Choose your niche

Deciding your niche and sticking to it is the key to becoming an influencer and getting paid. Besides, a broad category covering all the aspects inefficiently may not interest any target group. Primary focus should be around target customers who show interest in the content and service offerings provided by you. While deciding your niche, make sure to do some research considering the competition and its popularity. Additionally, it should be something that you are really passionate about.

#Step 3: Complete your profile

Once you have created your Instagram account and decided your niche, it is time to complete your profile by adding your bio, profile picture and call to action button. A good profile stands out in a crowd; make sure you leave an impression on your visitors by showcasing your work in a captivating manner. If you are a business owner, it is a good practice to mention your website details, email address and phone number in case other similar business wants to collaborate or reach out to you. Remember to tailor and customize your profile to your focused niche. This will ensure that the target audiences are reached out and are more likely to engage with your content.

#Step 4: Post inspiring images

Being a visual platform, engagement and interaction on Instagram is possible only if the published content is appealing to its audiences. In order to be conspicuous, consider using photo editing applications that improve the overall aesthetics of your image. It is also a very good idea to check out your competitors profile and analyse which post draws maximum attention of the visitors.

Tip: Restrain yourself from using images that promote racism, sexism, and homophobia.

#Step 5: Start writing your blog

Once you have finalized your content and chosen a captivating image, it is time to create your first blog post. Unlike traditional blog sites, an Instagram blog commonly known as an Instagram caption allows you to write up to 2200 characters below your image. However, the first line of your caption (first 50 characters) is the most important ones as they are responsible in grabbing reader’s attention. A typical Instagram blog must begin with a catchy phrase at the start, followed by an informative content with regular line breaks and a call to action button at the last.

#Step 6: Research on hashtags

In order to categorize your content and make it more discoverable to the audience, Instagram has provided an opportunity to the content creators to add relevant ‘hash tags’ to increase the reach. They are a combination of letters, numbers and emojis that form together as a clickable category displaying all the relevant posts where it was tagged. Researching your hashtags is an effective way to outgrow your competition and become an influencer in a short span of time. This being said, same hashtags should not be used repetitively even if they are giving good results. An organic growth is only achieved if you continue to research your niche and find new audience for engagement.

How to make money through Instagram followers?

Visitor engagement rate plays a vital role in deciding the income generated by an influencer through his followers. An efficient way to calculate your influential earnings is by analyzing the engagement rate of each post by adding the total number of engagements received in a post (likes, comments, shares) and dividing it by the total number of followers. This fraction should then be multiplied by 100 to get an absolute percentage depicting your engagement rate.

Typically an engagement rate of a profile greater than 4% is considered good for any industry, and is more likely to earn good amount of money through followers.

A credible niche influencer committed towards sharing high quality informational content that actively engages its readers is more likely to earn more as compared with an account that publishes random out of the context posts. Additionally, brands prefer working with influencers who have built a community around a specific category.

This being said, count of followers does matter when the engagement rate is analogous between multiple same niche profiles. For this reason, brands usually determine the strength of the influencer basis its engagement rate and the count of following base.

To analyze the possible earnings basis the following count, let us review each scenario one by one.

Earnings with 500 followers

The chances of brand reaching out to an influencer for sponsored posts are minimal if the following count is less than or equal to 500. At this stage your sole focus should be on earnings generated via affiliate marketing. On an average a micro influencer with around 100-500 followers makes 35$ per month through affiliation within his audience. The key is to maintain an active engagement within your community that will help you outgrow in your niche, thereby increasing your revenue stream.

Earnings with 1000 followers

Websites like Tribe pay around $45 for a sponsored post for influencers with a following count ranging between 1000 and 5000. Couple this with affiliate marketing and you can make a decent monthly earnings that can range anywhere between $100 and $150. In addition to this, try pitching other micro influencers with a sponsored shout out or a mention of their work in your upcoming post. This being said, remember to be consistent by generating unique and interesting content for your audience. Once you have generated a passive source of income via this platform, focus on your next benchmark of increasing the fan following while keeping an eye on the engagement rate.

Earnings with 10,000 followers

An organic fan following of 10k or more is a huge achievement for any influencer. You will notice a huge influx in your social engagement rate and following count. Besides, there will be endless opportunities of brand partnerships and sponsorships. On an average an influencer with 10,000 followers can make around $2500 per month by sponsored posts, affiliate marketing and through shout outs. Additionally, you can catapult your earnings by starting other business models on Instagram.

Earnings with 100,000 followers

An influencer with more than 100,000 followers is a brand in itself. With this kind of influencing potential, thousands of brands usually approach for guest posts in exchange for freebies. The estimated earnings with this type of following count can reach up to $10,000. Depending on your niche an average influencer with around 100k followers charge $150 per post. But remember to stick to your niche while catering to sponsored post. You do not want to disengage your audience by sharing out of the context posts. Avoid the monotony of posting only sponsored content or your user engagement rate may soon start to decline.

Earnings with 1,000,000 followers

Instagram accounts with following count of more than 1 million have special significance on social media. They are provided with special features like account verification (Blue tick) and a swipe-up within the story that directs user to main content. This helps big brands and companies to utilize the ad campaigns more effectively, thereby increasing your sponsorship earnings. An influencer with followers of around 1,000,000 can charge approximately $600 per post from brands and companies. Depending upon your niche, this amount can rise to $800 or even more. Once you have reached this milestone, you basically come under elite influencer list of Instagram.

How to make money from Instagram reels

Once started as a substitute for ‘TikTok’ users post its ban, has now become a flourishing feature for Instagram influencers. With a limit of 30 seconds, posting sponsored content on Instagram reels has become a new trend to create more engagement. It is a quick way and efficient way to grab user attention and create awareness. When compared with a traditional shoot, a video posted on Instagram reel consumes less production time and is relatively cheaper to film. To add to this, a recognised influencer can charge around $300 per reel. A win for sponsoring brand as well as the influencer!

Follow these basic principles in order to start your earnings from Instagram reels.

1. Captivating video

Depending on your niche, focus on uploading entertaining videos that are informational and engaging to viewers. A creative video creates a lot of engagement among audience which will eventually help you to gain more followers. Focus on posting multiple videos each day to gain more footprints; this way you have a great chance of getting picked up by the algorithm.

2. Competitor analysis

One of the simplest tricks for beginners looking to make money through Instagram reels is by analyzing their competitors from the same niche segment. Take a look at the content where users are getting more engaged and has relatively more views than the rest. Analyze the reasons for its success (genre, theme or the content) and based on these analysis try to make a more compelling video.

3. Regular posting

Consistency is the key to success. You chances of getting visible on top increases if you are regularly posting more videos for your audiences. Just like you schedule your normal Instagram posts, plan your week in advance and stick to your schedule every day.

4. Properly sized dimensions

A rookie mistake that a lot of micro influencers commit is uploading a reel with incorrect dimensions. So even if the content is amazing, the chances of the particular reel getting popular are minimal. Make sure the video fits the 4:5 dimensions to avoid getting cropped in the feeds.

5. Value based captions

A continuous effort in writing value based captions for users to get more information related to the subject will definitely increase the chances of engagement. Even if your video content is entertaining and getting more likes, you will end up getting nothing if the following count remains the same. Your aim is not to increase the views, but for users to follow and spread your work.

Bottom Line

Instagram is getting more and more popular among brands and consumers. With the highest engagement rate, this platform is soon going to become the most used social media channel among the users. A little smart work coupled with creativity, consistency and dedication can definitely boost your earnings. Remember, it’s never too late to start anything. What started few years back as a hobby can be molded into a full time money making opportunity.

Good Luck!


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