How to Make Money on Instagram

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Whether you’re scrolling through baby pictures, looking for design inspiration or finding something tasty to make for dinner, Instagram has something for everyone. It even provides an opportunity to earn some money. If you have a business, you can use Instagram to promote your products and services by posting pictures, linking to your website and generating hashtags. Doing this can help you increase your customer base and your sales without investing very much money.

If you don’t have a business or are just starting out, you can still make money on Instagram. Through sponsored posts and becoming an affiliate for other companies on Instagram, you can earn hundreds to thousands of dollars a month. Since there’s a good chance you’re already scrolling through Instagram regularly anyway, this provides a chance to earn money with little to no investment.

How to Make Money on Instagram Through Sponsored Posts

Making money on Instagram through sponsored posts is the main way to earn money on the social media site. Doing this does require you to have a relatively large number of followers and an audience to whom you tailor your posts. For instance, if you have 70,000 followers looking for your quick recipes for moms page, you are an ideal candidate for sponsored posts. And if you have 500,000 followers watching your page for travel tips around the globe, you are an even more ideal candidate for sponsored posts.

So how do sponsored posts work? Once you’ve found your niche and built up your followers, you should reach out to potential sponsors who cater to your audience, if they haven’t already found you. Potential sponsors are companies and brands that pay for your Instagram post in exchange for you including a link to their site or a mention on their Instagram page in the post’s description. Depending on the company and how many posts you do for them, you can earn at least several hundred dollars per post.

To find businesses you want to collaborate with, you can start by tagging them in your posts when relevant and using their hashtags. That way both the company and their followers can see it. Just be sure to only tag them in high-quality photos that you think they’d want to be tagged in, and not dark, grainy images.

Of course, you can always reach out to businesses directly if you have a more formal collaboration idea. If you go this route, be sure to let them know what your niche is, how many followers you have, where you’re located, anything that sets you apart, your follower engagement rate and why you’d be a good fit for the business. If you’re a good match, the business may be willing to pay you good money to directly reach their target demographic, at what is likely a low cost to them.

How to Get Paid to Sell Products on Instagram

You can also make money on Instagram by becoming a company affiliate, meaning you sell products for other companies on your page. You can do that by featuring a product, either in use or on its own, and link to the company’s Instagram and website in the description. The description should highlight how you used the product, how it worked for you and how it could benefit anyone who finds it via your page. If that translates into a sale for the company, you get paid a commission or an agreed-upon amount.

By doing this, you create word-of-mouth marketing that goes directly to a company’s target demographic. If, for example, you post a picture of you using the latest yoga mat to your thousands of devoted yoga followers, the yoga mat company gets its product in front of the exact people they want to buy it. This is more likely to lead to a sale for them and a commission for you.

If you become a brand affiliate, be sure to label your posts as such. Include the hashtag #ad somewhere obvious so that it is clear to your followers that you were paid to endorse a product. You also need to let your audience know if you were given a product to try. Not doing so can get you in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission.

Best Practices for Posting on Instagram

When using Instagram in any capacity, there are some best practices you should follow. This is especially true if you are using your site as a brand ambassador for a company. Best practices for posting on Instagram include:

  • Post regularly: If you want to build an audience and gain followers (and thereby gain people who want to pay you to market for them), you should regularly post on your page. That may be several times a week or several times a day, depending on your audience.
  • Engage your followers: Post interesting, high-quality images and videos that your audience wants to see. Encourage them to comment or repost.
  • Choose an appropriate handle: Make sure your Instagram handle is appropriate for your audience. If you are trying to build your name recognition, then use it. Otherwise, it may be more beneficial to use a handle that explains what you do, such as YogiLifeLA.
  • Use several hashtags: Hashtags can help you get found by more followers or by brands who want to partner with you. Use them often and freely. Get creative with your hashtags, but also be sure another brand or Instagram page isn’t already using them so that you don’t all get archived under the same hashtag.
  • Do not post anything illegal or lewd: It is illegal to post violent, nude, unlawful, hateful or pornographic content on Instagram. Refrain from doing so. 

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About the Author

Leslie Bloom has worked in upper-level management positions in both publishing and the mental health field. In addition to years of business and management experience, she has more than 20 years of experience writing for a variety of online and print publications, including Metro Magazine. She holds degrees in both journalism and law.