A platform that was initially built for sharing photos has now become a career for influencers and popular content creators around the world. Yes, that’s Instagram for you. However, most people don’t know how to make money on Instagram.
Many believe that in order to earn money through Instagram, one needs a massive following.
Yes, you need an audience — the goal is to attract enough people so that advertisers will happily pay you for access to them. But even a few thousand people who are engaging with your posts is enough to make advertisers take notice of you.
Now if you’re also one of those people wondering how Instagram pays and how can you earn from it, this article is for you.
4 ways to make money on Instagram
Anyone can start an Instagram account, but it takes dedication to make money from it. Here are four of the most popular ways the pros make money from their Instagram channels.
- Doing sponsored posts.
- Becoming an affiliate marketer.
- Selling their own products.
- Licensing their photos or videos.
But before proceeding with the details of how to make money on Instagram, you first need to know how to attract an authentic audience base for yourself.
How to build a following on Instagram
If you think writing a nice bio and sharing pictures from your daily life will attract a huge audience on Instagram, you’re on the wrong track. You need to have a strategic approach.
Here’s what you need to do in order to grow on Instagram:
It’s your words, photos and videos that will serve as the bridge between you and the people you hope to attract. The more often you post, the more likely your audience is to find your profile and follow you.
You must start a relationship with those who are interested in your thoughts and photos.
Also, posting doesn’t only mean posts — you may also live stream or add stories or anything that could help you reach your target audience.
Hashtags are everywhere on social media. But it turns out that Instagram is more hashtag-dependent than any other platform. And because of this, users can even follow hashtags on Instagram.
With the help of the right set of hashtags, you can reach more of the people you’re looking for, which is obviously great for your Instagram growth.
Create relationships with influencers
Influencers are the people who have clout over a specific segment of an audience. For example, Deepika Padukone is an influencer — one with 48.6 million followers. Even one mention from her can get you thousands of followers in a short span of time.
Know the peak hours
While there’s no best time to post, you need to know at what timing your followers are most active.
It will take some time for you to gain followers (and for Instagram to gather enough data on them) before you will know what time of day they are most often on Instagram.
To learn your peak hours, head on to Instagram Insights and check out the followers section. But there’s no need to stay up all hours just to post updates — use one of these tools to preschedule posts so you can go about your life.
Interact with your followers
Engagement is the key and is measured in actions taken — clicks, comments, shares, etc.
Instagram, just like the other social media platforms, promotes posts that have great engagement rates. After all, Instagram wants to show things that people already love to even more people.
If enough people engage with your posts, the posts can get featured in the top posts for various hashtags — or even get featured in the Explore tab. This could be your best chance to gain more followers.
And that’s why engaging with your community by liking their comments and replying is essential.
So, these were the most basic ways of building an audience on Instagram. But once you have a devoted group of followers, how can you make money from it?
How to make money on Instagram
You may have thousands of followers on Instagram, but those followers aren’t going to pay you. To make money through Instagram, you need to explore the most popular ways of getting paid.
1. Doing sponsored posts
When you succeed in building a massive follower base for yourself on Instagram, brands might reach out to you for promoting their brand name or products through your posts. Although the business pays for the post, you create it.
Once you have built a large audience for yourself, you’ll be considered as a trendsetter and trusted expert for your audience. By sponsoring an Instagram post you create, the business taps into your influence to spread the word about their products/services and build trust with your audience.
Credible and authentic influencers with a loyal followings can make thousands of dollars with just one sponsored post.
2. Becoming affiliate marketer
Another way to earn through Instagram is by selling others’ products. You earn a reward for every sale made through links you add to your posts.
There are many people on Instagram using this tactic to earn a substantial amount from it.
An influencer and affiliate might seem to be pretty similar but there’s a little difference between them:
- Partnering with an influencer is generally for creating awareness and building trust
- An affiliate is for selling the brand’s products and earning through commissions
However, to get a steady income from affiliate marketing, you need to have a considerable number of followers and be viewed by them as a trustworthy expert in your niche.
3. Selling their own products
If you’re an entrepreneur looking for a way to get new customers, Instagram should be a must-try. Brands like Bed Colors use Instagram as their primary platform to sell their products.
- It’s similar to starting an Amazon fba or Shopify store, where you use the platform to sell your own products.
- You may start with a few products, see if there’s a market for what you’re producing, and then eventually offer more.
Instagram also allows businesses to sell products directly through Instagram posts and stories. All you need to do is simply tag your products in the posts and that leads your followers to a product page on your website.
Editor’s note: Once you’re sure people are interested in your product, build your own eCommerce website to sell it from. GoDaddy’s Online Store has all you need to sell and ship products anywhere in the world.
4. Licensing their photos or videos
There’s a special connection between good visual content creators and Instagram — after all Instagram is basically a photo-sharing platform.
Whether you’re a photographer, video creator, artist, or anyone who creates awesome visuals, Instagram can be a goldmine for you. Start with showcasing your best works on Instagram and promote them as much as possible on your other social channels.
Once people start to discover your work and appreciate it, you will start to earn and grow your income with time. Just keep sharing!
Set off as an earning Instagrammer
Instagram has come a long way in the last few years and now it’s considered as one of the most powerful social media platforms. Now if you want to start a side hustle and earn a pretty penny, Instagram can be a good choice.
However, just like any other side hustle, Instagram needs consistent effort along with a pinch of patience. And once you excel in both these qualities, you pave your way as a successful earning Instagrammer.