5 Ways to Make Money on Instagram
With over 500 million daily active users, Instagram has grown to become such a prolific marketplace—perfect for seasoned brands and budding businesses alike. In fact, the photo-sharing social media platform has become so profitable, there are currently five different ways you can leverage your account and content to make bank. Read on, and we’ll show you how to make money on Instagram.
1. Become an Instagram Influencer
Everyone who’s heard of Instagram has most likely also heard of its influencers. But just in case you haven’t: influencers are a term used to describe those who’ve successfully built a large and loyal following on Instagram. Thanks to the level of trust they’ve built with their audiences, they’re able to literally influence their followers to buy certain products or avail of certain services by simply posting about them. This, of course, provides brands with a great opportunity to reach prospective clients without being as hard sell with their approach.
So how do you earn from this? Well brands, for example, usually partner with influencers to create sponsored posts that help get the word out on their products or services. If you’re able to build your account to influencer status, you stand to make up to thousands of dollars per sponsored post—and all you have to do is share an image of yourself using the brand you’re partnering with. Imagine the possibilities: get enough partnerships in line and you could be set for life or at least a couple of months.
But before you get started on your content plan, here’s a little warning: going overboard with sponsored posts and advertising can easily also lose your followers, which can then demote your status from influencer to has-been. Keep in mind that people browse through Instagram primarily to be social and to be connected with friends and trends, and not to be sold stuff and marketed to. That’s why when it comes to sponsorships, be mindful of choosing brands to partner with. Their language and tone should be in line with yours, just as how an athlete would naturally partner with a sports brand.
2. Sell Products Online
Aside from being a social media tool, Instagram has also become a great e-commerce place where people can both like an image and shop for the item in it. You can fit your entire sales process on the platform. This gives you the perfect opportunity to sell products that you produce yourself, or better yet, source from suppliers—especially if you have nothing particular to sell, or just don’t want to deal with production issues.
Because Instagram is a free platform, you can opt to start small. Choose one to three products you want to start with, but stay on the lookout for new trends and interests! Engage, observe and continuously find the best opportunity to expand your offerings.
And that’s exactly why resellers regularly rake in an impressive amount: because they can focus on selling. The trick is to find items you’d be interested in marketing (and people are actually interested in buying), contacting suppliers, and purchasing in bulk—meaning you get them for much less than what their consumers actually pay when they buy in-store. This way, you get to dictate the price of the items (as long as it’s not more expensive than what the brand actually sells them for) and make a commission.
Even if you don't have a website, you can actually accept payments from your customers through online forms. You can even design your payment form to differentiate yourself and your brand from the old, boring shopping pages. If you have a huge following or are planning to invest a lot into Instagram ads from the get-go, you might want to get yourself a high-risk merchant account as they are better for accepting a high volume of sales
3. Sell Dropshipped Items
If you’re interested in becoming a reseller but don’t want the hassle of worrying about inventory, packaging, or shipping, then dropshipping is definitely for you. All you have to do is sell items using your Instagram account like you normally would, and have the supplier ship your products from their warehouse and straight to your customer’s door.
More and more small businesses have opted to get into a dropshipping business due to its convenience. The dropshipping business model is reliant solely on communication and coordination. It also doesn’t restrict you to just one place so you can travel wherever you want, as long as you can be efficient in responding to inquiries and attending to concerns online.
Consider looking into VPNs to make sure your Instagram and your other communication websites or channels with your suppliers don’t get blocked if you happen to go to places with high censorship. A VPN hides your IP address so you can keep accessing content you were allowed to access in your home country even as you travel abroad.
4. Sell Your Content
At the end of the day, Instagram is all about content. There are numerous ways you can earn money by making authentic sponsored content as an influencer. Or if you’re a photographer, artist, or designer, why not use the social media platform to sell your actual digital artworks? Post and share them on Instagram, and direct your audience to your website to make a purchase. Or invite them to DM you if they want an original copy of your work. Instagram is a great way to build an artistic portfolio, create an audience, and at the end of the day, make a sale.
5. Become an Affiliate
Another way to sell for other brands is by becoming an affiliate. By taking part in an affiliate program, you can market and push other people’s products or services and receive a cut. Some programs even offer pay-per-click campaigns so you can generate income from every click you get.
Think of affiliates like a cross between an influencer and a seller: you use your influence to sell something to your followers, for the benefit of making sales for your partner brand, and getting a commission in return. Affiliates usually make money on Instagram by sharing a trackable link or a promo code and making sure that clicks become converted to sales.
For example, travel influencers use the Travelpayouts affiliate network to link to flight tickets, hotel bookings, tours, and other travel-related services. For every purchase made through their links, they get a commission. Affiliate marketing is really straight-forward if you are working with an honest affiliate program or network.
The JotForm Affiliate Program is another example of a popular affiliate program that allows you to earn a commission for every customer that comes through from your unique affiliate link. For instance, if you’re a photography influencer you can use JotForm for online contracts and bookings. To monetize your content, all you have to do is promote JotForm products on your Instagram profile and get your followers and fellow photographers to subscribe to its services!
The game now is getting people to actually click through your links. One way to go about this is to create amazing, engaging posts that promote products without being too pushy. Consider also placing your link on your bio, since this is one of the few places you can create and share a clickable hyperlink. Then you can use your posts to direct your audience to your bio and to click on through if they wanna learn more.
Pro Tip: There are myriad ways for you to earn extra income online even from just using your smartphone. It’s just a matter of knowing which apps, websites, or tools will best suit your skillset or interests. Our friends over at iDinheiro have rounded up some of the most credible sources of income online. Once you start earning, make sure to develop good financial management skills and be mindful of your cash flow. Try to expand your income streams and look into other ways to make money from home during the quarantine.