According to the Instagram statistics, the platform has 1.704 billion users worldwide. While it got its start as a photo sharing app, it’s transformed into a business platform. Millions of entrepreneurs are taking advantage of its selling power, from service providers to nonprofits to dropshipping ecommerce business owners, to make money on Instagram.
You may be asking yourself: How do people make money on Instagram? Can I pull it off myself? How is selling on Instagram different from other types of ecommerce business?
In this article, we’ll look at a few tactics you can start using today, so you can join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs who earn money from Instagram.
Ready to start selling on Instagram but need cool products to sell? Try Handshake, your wholesale marketplace built by Shopify.
Can You Make Money on Instagram?
Absolutely. As long as you have some beautiful and creative images to use, you can spark the attention of Instagram’s millions of users.
Now you might be thinking: Right, I get that it’s possible, but how the heck do I start?
To start, here are a few ways you can make money on Instagram:
Focus on sponsored posts for brands that want to reach your audience, making you the perfect medium to do that.
Become an affiliate and earn money by selling products that belong to other brands.
Offer to be a virtual assistant for an Instagram influencer. A lot of them are seeking help to get things off their plate.
Write captions for businesses without in-house content staff.
Sell on Instagram. You can sell either a physical or digital product, or even a service.
Sell your photography
The enthusiasts of this platform are always looking out for new ways to earn money from Instagram.
Don’t worry, we’ll unravel the mysteries of this whole process in detail, along with some success stories from Instagram.
How to Make Money on Instagram?
Instagram is ideal for selling products that photograph well.
If you have some photography skills, you’ll have a huge advantage for the platform. Bonus points if you’re photogenic yourself and want to bring some extra life to your product photography. Don’t have a camera? Learn how to take stunning photos with your phone with our product photography course. Nothing is going to stop you from earning money from the photo and video sharing app.
Here are 7 business models to make money on Instagram:
1. Become an influencer and make money from sponsored posts.
If you can reach coveted influencer status, you can use your Instagram profile to promote all kinds of products from all kinds of brands..
If you’re not familiar, an influencer is someone who has built a reputation and loyal following by sharing regularly on their social accounts. They have a good following and they’re able to convince their audiences to jump onto trends and buy certain products.
They have this power because they’ve spent a lot of time building trust and relationships with their audience.
Brands tend to partner with influencers to do sponsored posts that help spread the word about their products. To get to this point, you need to grow your Instagram following as well as regularly come up with posts that generate strong engagement from your followers.
Top influencers make thousands of dollars per sponsored post. Keep in mind that it takes a long time and a lot of hard work and talent to get to this point. It’s attainable for sure, but make sure you manage your expectations if you choose this route.
Become an influencer and make money from sponsored posts
As an influencer, it’s extremely important for you to know your audience. You need to understand who those people are – their interests, values, needs, and wants.
This way, you know which brands would best fit them. If you’ve switched to an Instagram business account, you can research your audience stats a bit more through the Instagram Insights feature.
If you’ve created a noteworthy online presence, chances are big brands will reach out to you. But as you’re building, you also find brands yourself that you think match your personality and values the best.
Reach out to them directly (through Instagram or through their websites) to try to negotiate a deal. You can also list yourself on an influencer marketplace to increase your chances of being found by a big brand.
As an extra tip, be careful not to lose the trust of your existing audience in the process of making money from sponsored posts. It’s always a good idea to use an Instagram hashtag that tells people it’s a sponsored post (something simple like #sponsored or #ad).
2. Become an affiliate and make money selling other people’s products.
You can sell other people’s products and get a cut. There are loads of people who make money from Instagram through affiliate programs.
The difference between an influencer and an affiliate is that an affiliate is working towards making sales for the partnering brand in exchange for a commission. On the other hand, the influencer is mainly aiming to create awareness. (If you’re only interested in getting exposure for your brand, you might want to go through these brand awareness tips to gain traction).
Affiliates make money through a trackable link or a promo code to make sure that you know exactly which sales came directly from your posts.
Become an affiliate and make money selling other people’s products
Create engaging posts so you can promote the products without being pushy. Since you can only have one link on your Instagram bio, you might want to connect a landing page to your affiliate link, which you can quickly create using a “link in bio” tool like Linkpop. In each post, make sure to tell people they can buy the product via the link in your bio. And create a fun Instagram caption to make it sound less salesly.
At first it may sound like a tough game, but affiliate marketing has a lot of potential if you plan on growing. You can expand your presence by including a website and/or other marketing or social media channels.
Check out our list of eye-catching Instagram post ideas from successful brands for you to take inspiration from.
3. Become a Virtual Assistant to an Influencer
If you’d rather work behind-the-scenes, consider becoming an assistant to an Instagram influencer.
Many influencers out there need help – with filtering sponsorship requests, running ads, identifying fake followers, and more. You can offer to be their VA and charge by the hour for your services.
As an Instagram influencer VA, you’ll be accountable for lots of things, such as managing DMs, scheduling posts, and replying to comments. Also, the influencer may ask you to share content ideas for growing their personal brand.
So if you always wanted to practice your Instagram marketing skills without being the center of attention, this is a great place to start.
4. Sell Instagram caption services.
Many small business owners use Instagram to promote their goods and services, but only a few of them have the resources or expertise to write good Instagram captions. If you’re good at coming up with creative Instagram captions, you can sell your services to these companies. Just remember, they’ll judge you by your ability to write engaging short-form copy.
To get the attention of business owners, write and put up some captions on your own account. Then include the ones that generate the most engagement in your portfolio. Chances are, if a business is going to hire you for crafting their Instagram copy, they are going to want to see your work. So make sure you have some examples they could look at right off the bat.
How much to charge for Instagram captions? Whatever pricing you feel you are worth. It could be $600 for 10 captions, or $1,000 for 20 captions. The important thing is to charge for your expertise rather than your time or your content.
5. Sell poster photos and other virtual products.
Instagram is all about the visuals. That’s why beautiful products and photos will get more sales.
You can sell poster photos, paintings, drawings, animations, videos, and other image or video-based virtual products. On each post, include an interesting caption and refer readers to visit the link in your bio. This is another popular way that people make money from Instagram.
Sell poster photos and other virtual products
If you think you take high-quality pictures, there’s a chance that you can get paid for it. Once you snap some great shots, use the best photo editing apps for phones to get the most out of the photos that you take. Try to be original, creative, and fun when you’re taking pictures. Those will get way more attention than boring ones.
You can use Instagram to promote your photography portfolio using relevant Instagram hashtags.
6. Sell your own physical products.
You can sell any physical product that you make yourself or buy from suppliers. This conventional ecommerce retailing usually requires stocking some inventory, meaning you’d need to spend some startup capital to buy your products.
You’ll also need a place where you can keep the products, like a spare room at home or a rented storage space. This is especially true if you plan on saving money by buying products in bulk. You’ll need a place to keep everything before they’re ordered by and delivered to customers.
Sell your own physical products
As of July 2020, you can sell products directly on Instagram by setting up an Instagram Shop (more on that later). Just tag products in your Instagram images and you can lead your Instagram followers to your product pages, where they can buy your stuff in one fell swoop.
7. Sell dropshipped products.
Dropshipping is a business model you can use to run your store without ever holding any inventory.
Once you’ve made a sale, your supplier will ship your products from their warehouse, straight to your customer’s doorstep. You’ll never need to worry about storing, packaging, or shipping your products. Phew.
Sell dropshipped products
This works in a similar way to our previous idea of selling products on Instagram to earn money. The only difference is that you won’t need to store any inventory. With dropshipping, you can experiment to find the niche products that would sell well, without wasting startup capital.
You can easily set up a dropshipping store with Shopify’s ecommerce platform (which is free for 14 days) and apps like DSers.
Should I Make Money on Instagram?
The numbers behind Instagram are staggering, and the platform is catching up with Facebook’s growth.
While Facebook has 2.80 billion monthly active users, Instagram’s growth has reached 1 billion users over 9 years in 2019 since its launch in 2010.
With Instagram constantly growing in popularity, it’s no surprise that Instagrammers are becoming an unstoppable force. They’ve figured out ways to make money on Instagram, and cash in on the pictures that they take.
If you want to make money with Instagram, check out these mind-blowing stats:
1) 1 billion users are active every month. That’s almost three times the US population.
2) 500 million users post a story every day. Almost double the US population.
3) 71% of US businesses (both large and small) use Instagram for branding and marketing.
4) 50 percent of Instagram users (500 million people) follow at least one business account.
5) There are 2 million Instagram advertisers every month.
6) Time spent on Instagram increases by 80 percent every year.
7) Brands get 4x more engagement on Instagram than they do on Facebook.
8) 80% of Instagram users make a purchase decision about a product while browsing the app.
9) 71% of Instagram users are under the age of 35, making it an ideal platform for brands targeting young adults.
Instagram Success Stories
You can learn from others’ experiences through case studies and success stories like those below.
Foster a specific niche lifestyle and start selling products that you’re passionate about. It can be any passion, hobby, or anything that you want to share with others. Just do what you do best.
With apps that connect social media platforms with your ecommerce site, the seamlessness is even better. Shopify comes with Instagram Business Account integration, which makes the whole process of using Instagram for business even simpler.
Learnings: Make Money on Instagram
Instagram is a goldmine for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to make money. By being creative with your account, you can earn money from Instagram like all the hot shots.
In summary, here are all the ways you can make money from Instagram:
Create sponsored posts for brands as an influencer
Become an affiliate and endorse different products
Be a virtual assistant to an influencer
Write captions for businesses
Sell poster photos and other virtual items
Sell your own physical goods
Sell dropshipped products
You can sell physical products by posting photos, live stories, and videos. You can also sell services, like influencer marketing. If you sell tangible products, consider using the dropshipping model – it’s convenient and cost-efficient.
How much money can people make on Instagram?
It depends on what you sell, and what business strategies and marketing tactics you use. If you’ve just started, you’ll probably only make a little. But as your Instagram following grows and you get better at marketing, you’re likely to see your numbers grow
How can I make the most money from Instagram?
Learn from successful Instagrammers. Combine what you’ve learned from them with your own strengths in marketing, photography, storytelling, and photo styling. Grow your following as much as possible, create contests, and be active by posting new photos once or twice per day. And of course, have a strong product and make sure all your customers are happy ones.
It may take a few weeks or months to start earning a sexyprofit from Instagram, so do some planning before you quit your 9-to-5 job. But if you’re ready to make the leap, there’s so much opportunity waiting for you. Get going now and keep an open mind so that you can always learn, grow, and smash your financial goals.