Don’t simply pass the time on Instagram—turn it into a passive income instead. From selling merchandise to becoming an influencer, you can choose numerous methods to make money on Instagram.
With this guide, you will not only learn how to make money on Instagram, but how to significantly scale your presence as an online entrepreneur too. To exemplify this, we've selected the 10 profitable examples of brands making money on Instagram to walk you through the opportunities.
To strengthen your off-platform Instagram marketing strategy, create a website and link to it in your bio for eCommerce, influencer, traffic opportunities and more.
Can you make money on Instagram?
Yes, you can make money on Instagram. According to CBInsights, Instagram is one of the top platforms where influencers and creators can monetize their content and lure more followers. The platform also tries to help creators monetize their influence on the platform. In 2021, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta (parent-company of Facebook and Instagram), said: “To help more creators make a living on our platforms, we’re going to keep paid online events, fan subscriptions, badges, and our upcoming independent news products free for creators until 2023.”
The company also wants to help educators better understand their payouts from the platform, and has released an Instagram Payouts feature, which helps people see what their payout will be after taxes, refunds and in-app purchase fees.
Making money on Instagram vs Youtube
There are some key differences in how you can make money on Instagram vesrus Youtube. The main one is that Youtube pays its creators via advertising revenue. Creators can choose to display ads on their videos and then they earn a percentage of the revenue made from these embedded ads. As a creator on Youtube you can also earn money from sponsorships, also from brands and companies, or merchandise sales of your own or another brands product.
This advertising revenue-sharing model doesn't exist on Instagram. Money is made on Instagram through sponsored posts, shoutouts, affiliate links, selling products as well. as through Instagram reels and Instagram Live.
How many followers do you need to make money on Instagram?
In most cases, making money on Instagram is contingent on the number of followers you have. For instance, you will need at least 1,000 followers to begin earning money through Facebook’s Brand Collabs Manager. That said, if you want to open an Instagram Shop, your follower count is less critical to earning potential.
A second factor to making money on Instagram is your social media engagement. To calculate your engagement rate, take the number of likes and comments per post and divide it by your number of followers. Ideally, you want to have a 3% engagement rate to appeal to brands for sponsorship. Companies prefer you have a highly active audience rather than a large following that’s either stale or inactive, so prioritize building an engaged community. Engaging with your audience and posting high-quality content is what will grow your Instagram followers over time.
Should you use different ways to make money on Instagram depending on how many followers you have? Not necessarily. The key ways to generate revenue on the social media platform, such as sponsored posts and shoutouts, are the same regardless of follower numbers. However brands may be more willing to collaborate with you, and to pay more, the higher the number of followers you have. But the same may be true if you can show you have a smaller, but engaged and niche audience for a specific brand or product.
Yes, influencers with millions of followers can command more money per sponsored. Instagram post Rumors are Christian Ronaldo earns anywhere from US$1.6 million a post. But these Instagram earners tend to be high profile celebrities with millions of followers but on and offline. Average earnings from posts to be a lot lower.
How to make money on Instagram
01. Partner with a brand for sponsored posts
One of the most promising ways to make money on Instagram is by becoming an influencer, micro influencer or nano influencer. As any of these types of influencers, you will be compensated with gifts or money in exchange for creating and sharing engaging content around a brand or business. These might take the form of sponsored posts, or shoutouts, where you positively shoutout about a brand or product on your Instagram account with a story or post. Reels can also now be used to promote sponsored content or include links to your own website and services.
Instagram promotion works for businesses due to the highly visual nature of its content. Making money on the platform is all about using this visual impact to maximum impact, while reaching hundreds and thousands of potential customers.
Typically, you'll get paid per post, with your follower count and engagement rate setting the price. Nano Influencers, who have 500 to 10,000 followers, get paid between $10 - $100 per post. Micro influencers, who tend to have 10,000 to 50,000 followers earn about $100 - $500 per post.
See the full pricing scale below, published by the Influencer Marketing Hub, showing how much money you can make on Instagram according to type of influencer.
To find brands to work with, you can join varying Influencer Marketplaces, tag the brands you love, or email them directly with an influencer media kit. Think of a media kit as a digital showcase of your work and insights into your audience demographics, follower count, engagement rates and unique value proposition. You can create a media kit using a portfolio website template or make a PDF with Canva and Etsy.
02. Get paid by Instagram as a Creator
Facebook announced that by the end of 2022, they plan to invest over $1 billion in programs that allow creators to earn money for the content they create. One of these programs is the Creator Fund which allows you to monetize your content through IGTV Ads, Instagram Live Badges and Bonuses.
Instagram Live Badges
Being a creator on Instagram is not just about the content you publish but also about your relationship with your followers. You should aim to create an Instagram business account for added trust, form a strong bond with your followers and give them the content they want to maximize your earnings.
Instagram had this in mind when it created its Live Badges feature, allowing fans to show their support to their favorite creators. Live Badges work like a digital “tip” people can give to Creators during a Livestream. It comes in the shape of a heart and can be bought as packages that sell between $0.99 - $4.99.
To add this feature to your account, go to your “Profile,” click “Professional Dashboard,” tap “Grow Your Business,” and select “Badges.”Once you go Live, click on the “badges” icon on the left side of your screen and turn them on.
Just like the name sounds, Bonuses rewards you financially after hitting certain milestones on Instagram as a creator. If you meet a number of Lives, sign up for IGTV Ads or create a required amount of Instagram Reels, then you’ve reached some of the Bonus Programs’ milestones to collect your reward. But before jumping in, you should know that the Bonus Programs are currently invite-only, so stay tuned for updates on eligibility.
03. Open an Instagram Shop
An Instagram Shop is a lot like running an online store, except it’s all on an app. Their slogan “post, tag, sell” explains how it works. After creating your shop, upload product images, descriptions and prices of your merchandise. Then users can discover your items and check out without ever leaving Instagram.
Take a look at how Wix user Palm & Wild created an Instagram Shop for their elegant art prints. By selling beyond their website, they can reach new users and make money on Instagram. They've also kept their website URL palmandwild.com in their Instagram bio to help potential customers learn more about the other products and drive traffic to their website.
Follow these five steps for creating a shop on Instagram:
Convert to a business account.
Connect your Facebook Page.
Upload a product catalog.
Complete account review.
Turn on Shopping.
04. Become an affiliate marketer
Unlike becoming an influencer and getting paid per post, as an affiliate you get paid on commission. The average affiliate commission rate to expect is anywhere between 5% - 30%. Your sales will most often get tracked with a unique promo code or UTM link. On Instagram, affiliate programs often go by the name "Brand Ambassador." You can either apply to become one on a company's website or be approached by the brand.
The number of followers you have is not a deciding factor for brands looking to hire affiliates, rather they want to see that you’re a fitting person who connects with their audience.
In advance, you should know that you can only add product links on the app in your Instagram bio or your Story (if you have over 10,000 followers). Since these two places are limiting, you might also consider creating a blog and writing SEO-optimized blog posts about the products with trackable links.
05. Drive traffic to your website
80% of people surveyed said Instagram helps them discover and buy new products or services. Evidently, the more people who see your brand on Instagram, the better chance they will buy from your website. To help you make more money online, you can use Instagram indirectly to drive traffic to your website. With the help of all your Instagram visitors, you can boost sales, grow your email marketing list and expand your loyal community of customers.
06. Offer Instagram marketing services
Are you skilled in Instagram marketing, caption writing or content creation? If so, you might be suited to take on an Instagram freelancing gig. By consulting other companies on improving their Instagram marketing techniques, you can make a nice profit, charging service fees between $20 - $50 per hour and even $100 for writing captions.
Book more freelance customers and spread the word about your services in your Instagram bio. You can also advertise your services on platforms such as Fivver and Upwork. Plus, consider adding online scheduling to your website so people can book services directly from your site.
07. Sell photos, illustrations or digital files
Instagram is all about the visuals, so if you're a designer, photographer or creative, it's time to cash in on your talents. You can sell your photos to other businesses, which is very common in the travel industry, or you can sell your own content, such as prints and illustrations.
Moreover, if you have a photography website or online portfolio, think of Instagram as a "storefront window" for your work and use it to get more clients.
08. Offer your audience exclusive content
Humans are curious creatures with a strong desire to keep learning. This is why online course platforms such as Coursera, Masterclass and Udacity have gained a large customer base. If you’re thinking about creating an online course, Instagram is a wonderful outlet to market it and earn money with each registration.
An average individual course can start at about $100, while longer, more intense courses can cost thousands of dollars. But you don't only have to limit yourself to earning through this alone. Simple downloadable guides, eBooks, whitepapers or templates can be other lucrative ways to make money on Instagram.
09. Dropship products
When starting a business, a factor that often provides logistical and financial hurdles is inventory. However, you can run a store without ever holding any inventory, thanks to the dropshipping business model.
By starting a Dropshipping business, you can choose from millions of different suppliers' products such as T-shirts, books, mugs, and pillows. You're set free from the hassle of fulfillment and shipping and get to set your own pricing to maximize profits. Once you're ready to promote your dropshipping business, create a dedicated Instagram page to showcase your products, ad vertise your site and increase sales.
10. Create an Instagram feature account
Instagram feature accounts act as hubs to showcase photos from several different creators within a niche. For instance, a travel page shows images of various top travel bloggers and tags them for credit. Here are countless Instagram feature accounts sorted by topic that you can look at for reference.
But can you make money on Instagram from this type of page? Once you’ve grown your account to a favorable size, you can offer paid spots to users who wish to get featured on your accounts’ feed or Instagram Stigories.
Many are willing to invest good money for such prime real estate and exposure. On average, paid spotlight slots can range from $15 to $30 per post. Other Instagram hubs manage follower loops and “like for like” engagement groups and offer VIP paid memberships in them for as high as $20 - $30 per month.
While this income method doesn’t require you to buy or sell any physical products, you will need to invest a considerable amount of time engaging with accounts, messaging potential customers and continually growing your followers.
Tips to succeeding on Instagram
Pick a niche: Choose a niche to focus on and be an expert in. It will be much easier to gain followers and brand partnerships when you have a clear and specific target audience from the start. For instance, being a food influencer can be seen as far too broad. A niche example could be focusing only on vegan or gluten-free cuisine. Honing in on a subject will also differentiate you from the competition and make you highly relevant to brands in that industry.
Regularly engage with others: Build a strong community by often liking, commenting, messaging and sharing other people’s content. Simply taking a beautiful shot and hitting “publish” won’t do the trick. Instead, allow people to get to know you can see you as a real person who is equally interested in others’ content. Storytelling is an essential part of securing engagement across all social media platforms and Instagram is no exception. Hone your storytelling skills across all of your content and it will make a difference.
Add tags: Use hashtags, geotags and tag brands in your posts and across your branded content. This will drastically help you get discovered by new followers and maybe even land new brand deals.
Use a multi-channel approach: Be active on other channels such as YouTube and TikTok. Start a blog and newsletter and cross-promote your accounts. This will help you attract relevant people from all angles and inform them of more places to keep up with your content. Extend your reach across other money generating platforms, such as Patreon. As a musician you may use Instagram to promote your music, and even include links for fans to download it for a fee. With Patreon you can extend its monetization potential by offering behind the scenes footage or priority access to new or unreleased music.
Be proactive and resilient: Whichever of the ten methods you try, take strong action with messaging brands about new partnership deals. Apply for several ambassador programs and often collaborate with others (even for free when you first start). As you kick off your Instagram monetization efforts, remember the words of Robin Sharma, "the only failure is not trying."
Brands making money on Instagram
Mike Holston has amassed more than six million followers on his @therealtarzann's account. From posting videos of giant snakes and leopards to rare lizards, Mike uses fascinating content to capture eyes while sharing interesting facts. With an average of over 400,000 views per IGTV video, he has plenty of ad opportunities to make money on Instagram.
Wix user Palm & Wild created an Instagram Shop for their elegant art prints. By selling beyond their website, they can reach new users and make money on Instagram. They've also kept their URL palmandwild.com in their Instagram bio to help potential customers learn more about the other products and drive traffic to their website.
Amie has built a seven-figure business while traveling and has dedicated @rebellenutrition to it. She teaches others to earn a passive income with online course creation. In one caption, she gives followers a sneak peek of key discussion topics for her online course and adds the price and instruction to register. She knows how to show off her value and exemplifies how to combine a visually appealing feed with diverse social media content.
Wix user Sweet Mana created a dropshipping business dedicated to handcrafted botanical skincare products that promote relaxation and mindfulness. Sweet Mana's Instagram is filled with bright product shots and tropical nature images that help you feel like you’re experiencing the product first-hand. By not storing inventory, they’ve likely saved a lot of time and money getting products into customers' hands—putting them in a position to make their Instagram even more profitable.
Underwater Photography Nature dedicates their Instagram page to water shots that have accumulated over 135,000 followers with an average of 5,000 likes per photo. They’ve monetized their Instagram in two ways. One, in their bio, they’ve written, “For features/promo/shoutout use email contact.” Two, they use captions to monetize, like a recent caption that says they offer advertising promotions on their popular page.
Joy McElveen, with over 2,000 followers, works as a Brand Ambassador for Brown Girl Jane. In her caption, she uses a promotion code and call-to-action to encourage people to purchase CBD skincare.
Influencer SouKeyna serves as a strong example of what Instagram brand partnerships can look like. In the post, SouKeyna shows herself applying Armani Beauty makeup. She’s also added a paid partnership label at the top of the post to provide transparency, a required practice in social media and influencer marketing.
If you're looking for further inspiration and examples of how huge influencers and celebrities have turned into a money making venture, check out the accounts of Kylie Jenner, Selena Gomez and others.
How to promote your business on Instagram in order to make money
As with any business you'll need to make sure your Instagram marketing is on point in order to generate traffic to your account and maximize its chances to make money money. Consider paid advertising, which is a popular way to reach potential customers on the social media channel, and a key component of all digital marketing strategies.
Instagram is a great place to build a community of your target audience, and one you can engage with regularly and directly. This can take a lot of time and work to achieve, but a loyal Instagram following is crucial to monetizing your account.
You might also want to consider how you can create content that will go viral, and be shared by thousands of people, in order to extend your reach and grow your community. From funny memes, to viral videos and other types of content - think big with your reach.