Instagram boasts an impressive 400 million monthly active users.
And many of those users are making money from the site. Some even earn way more than you could ever earn with Facebook or other social media platform.
That’s right. Instagram is no longer just a place to view photos of people’s meals and cats. If you do it right, you can actually make money from it.
And the best part is – anyone with a camera can do it.
All you need is a good following and the motivation to post photos and engage with other users. Essentially, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort – you can turn Instagram into a pretty good source of income.
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And there are lots of ways you can do it.
But, before you begin, you need to do one thing…
Build an Instagram Following
When it comes to making money with social media sites, the most important element is the number of followers/fans you have.
You can’t turn Instagram into a money maker if you don’t have a following – that’s pretty obvious.
So, the first thing you need to do is build up the number of followers you have. This does take a bit of time, but if you put in the effort, you will get more followers.
Here are a few tips for increasing your followers on Instagram.
1. Follow and Interact with other People
A lot of people post photos on their account, and just sit back and wait for followers to come to them.
But, that’s the wrong approach.
You need to put yourself out there and follow other users. There are a few easy ways to do this.
One method involves simply searching Instagram for keywords that are in your niche.
So, if your niche is fitness, then type in keywords, like “push ups” and you’ll be presented with plenty of photos from other users. Follow these like-minded users. Then click on the “likes” button under the photo, to see who has liked the image.
Then, follow those people. If they’ve liked images from other people in your niche, then they’re likely to be interested in your photos too. This is a simple, but effective way to get more followers.
After you start following people, make sure you interact with them, by liking and commenting on their images.
2. Keep Your Posts Relevant
It’s important to stick with one niche on Instagram, whether that’s cooking, yoga, or beauty.
If you’re a skincare specialist, then post images of skincare products.
If you’re a yoga enthusiast, then post images of yoga poses.
If you love cooking, then post photos of the meals you make.
Always post images that are going to be relevant and interesting to your target audience.
This is beneficial for a few reasons.
- Firstly, you’re more likely to retain followers if your content is relevant.
- Secondly, it will be easier to sell items and represent brands if you stick to one niche.
To reach your target audience and get your posts found, you have to use hashtags.
When you use hashtags, people searching for those keywords will discover your posts – meaning it brings in plenty of potential followers.
Again, relevancy is the key with Instagram. Keep your hashtags related to your niche. It’s a good idea to check out photos from other people in your niche, and see what hashtags they’ve used.
Also, check out TagsForLikes.com. They post popular Instagram hashtags.
4. Make Sure Your Images Are High Quality
To be successful on Instagram, your photos have got to look good – after all, images are the sole focus of the platform.
That doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of cash on fancy camera equipment either. Lighting is one of the most important factors of a good photograph. So, try to take photos in natural light.
Also, make use of filters. These can really enhance images and make them look much better quality.
Making Money on Instagram
So, now that you know how to increase your followers, it’s time to start making money from them. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to make money using Instagram.
Here are eight of the most effective methods.
1. Do Affiliate Marketing on Instagram
Affiliate marketing is still one of the best ways to earn money online. You don’t have to create a product – all you need to do is market someone else’s product and you’ll get paid a percentage of each sale.
You don’t need a website to make affiliate sales anymore either – you can do it using just your Instagram account.
All you need to do is choose products in your niche – so if that’s fitness the product might be kettlebells or if it’s fashion, it might be shoes. Then, simply highlight and promote that product through the images you post on Instagram.
Add your affiliate links to the caption or to your bio, and then when someone makes a purchase through your affiliate URL, you’ll make a commission!
So, for example, if you’re in the beauty niche, post photos of makeup looks you create, and mention the products you’ve used.
2. Do Cost Per Action Affiliate Marketing
If selling products through affiliate links doesn’t sound like a good fit for you, then try cost per action affiliate marketing.
In regular affiliate marketing, you get money each time you make a sale.
But, with cost per action affiliate marketing, you get money whenever a user takes action, such as clicking on links or entering their email – meaning you don’t actually have to sell anything to make money.
The more actions users take, the more money you get.
One of the best cost per action affiliate marketing programs out there is MaxBounty. This affiliate network has been around since 1997 – so it’s got plenty of experience. It brings together publishers, like you, and advertisers.
Simply browse through the site’s offers and choose a product you’d like to promote. When choosing a product to promote, make sure you only choose social traffic offers – as you’ll be using Instagram, a social networking site, for promotion.
Then, post the URL of the product into your bio section or the caption of your posts. When other users interact with the link in some way, you can earn a commission.
Cost per action affiliate marketing is much easier than traditional affiliate marketing, as you don’t have to sell anything to make a profit.
3. Become a Brand Ambassador or Influencer
One of the most profitable methods of making money on Instagram is to become a brand ambassador – or as the industry calls them Instagram “influencers”.
As a brand ambassador, you simply team up with companies to promote brands and products through your Instagram posts, hashtags, and captions. You can reach out to brands you like and want to work with directly.
But an easier option is to apply to some networks that bring influencers and brands together.
Fortunately, there are plenty of them, including:
In order to become a brand ambassador, you need to have a big following, which companies want to leverage.
For example, if you want to join SocialGlory, you must have at least 5,000 followers.
And, to join InstaBrand, you must have at least 10,000 followers and over 1,000 likes per post.
The amount brands are willing to pay varies. Some will pay you a flat fee per post, some will pay you for likes, and others will just send you free stuff to promote. It’s estimated that brands spend more than $1 billion dollars on sponsoring content on Instagram.
Becoming a brand influencer is pretty tough – you must have at least 5,000 to 10,000 followers. And, your posts must get around, on average 1,000 likes.
4. Get Paid for Instagram Photos
If you love photography, then you could make money selling your photos on Instagram.
You can sell your photos to photography agencies, magazines or individuals.
All you need to do is post a selection of high-quality photos, and then use your account as your photography portfolio. You can either state in your bio that your Instagram photos are for sale, or you can put a price on each individual photo in the caption area.
Just make sure that you watermark all of your photos. A watermark is a transparent image or text, which you place on the photo to make it more difficult to copy the item. Essentially, it prevents people from stealing your images.
5. Market Your Own Business
Are you a blogger, a freelance makeup artist, or a personal trainer?
If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, then you could use Instagram as a promotional tool.
If you run a fitness blog for example, then post a photo from your blog, and put a link to your blog post in the caption area. This will drive traffic to your website, and increase your traffic.
Similarly, if you’re a freelance makeup artist, then post photos of the makeup looks you create and then post your contact details.
Essentially, your Instagram followers are potential customers. So, if you market your brand right, you can earn money from your followers.
6. Contact Brands Directly
While you can join networks, like BrandSnob, and earn money for creating sponsored content, the competition is tough and you might not always get to work with the types of brands that you really want to collaborate with.
A good alternative is to contact the brands that you want to work with directly.
Make sure that your posts fit with the brand’s niche.
For example, if you post music related posts, then only contact music related companies.
Contact the brand via email or send them a message through Instagram. Let them know that you have a following that they could leverage to promote their brand. Offer to post sponsored content for them.
Some brands might say no, but others might say yes, so there’s no harm in trying.
If they do say yes, then you could earn some cash just for posting sponsored content.
7. Check out Popular Pays
Did you know that you can get paid simply for posting content on Instagram?
A website called Popular Pays aims to bring together brands and Instagrammers, or “creators” as the website calls them.
Essentially, Popular Pays will pay you or send you free stuff for promoting a brand’s products or services. The amount you’ll earn varies depending on factors, such as how many followers you have.
8. Sell your Account
If you’ve built up a large following on Instagram, then consider selling your account.
Whether you’re just not interested in the site anymore, don’t have the time to manage your account or would like to move onto a new niche, selling your account can be a good option.
There are plenty of brands and individuals that are looking to buy accounts with large followings.
As long as you have a decent sized following and know how to get your content in front of the right audience, you can make a pretty decent amount of money from Instagram.
So, give one of these methods a try!
As long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you’re sure to make money on Instagram (or any other social media platform.)