Do you want to learn how to make money on Instagram? It’s the dream for a lot of people. I mean, who doesn’t want to get paid to share pictures of themselves doing what they love!?
What’s exciting is that you don’t need millions of followers to make money on Instagram these days. More and more brands are turning to “micro” or “nano” influencers who focus on high-quality content.
Plus, Instagram continues to introduce new ways to monetize your content, like the release of Instagram Live Badges and Subscriptions. It gives your followers more ways to support your work, and it’s opened the doors for content creators of all kinds to leverage Instagrams intuitive tools and broad reach.
To help you get started, you’re going to learn how much you can expect to make on Instagram, the top 5 ways to monetize your Instagram account, and tips for success.
Can you make money on Instagram in 2022?
Yes, you can learn how to monetize Instagram and start making money this year. Instagram continues to be one of the most popular social media platforms for creators to leverage their following and make money.
We’ve seen TikTok grow in popularity in 2020 and 2021, especially with the under-30 crowd. But Instagram still surpasses TikTok in the number of users, and users span a much wider age range.
When you look at the number of Instagram users plus the fact that Instagram keeps adding new ways to monetize your content, it’s safe to say you can still make money on Instagram.
Instagram added Live Badges in 2020 that allows followers to support creators during their broadcasts by purchasing hears that range from $0.99 to $4.99. They’ve also launched new tools for affiliates, creator shop options, bonuses for hitting milestones, and more.
In January of 2022, Instagram began testing paid subscriptions with a handful of creators. The idea is that you set a monthly price of your choice, and users can unlock premium content.
How much money can you make on Instagram?
How much you earn on Instagram is very much related to your follower count. The number of followers you have isn’t everything — you’ll learn why as I explain more about how to earn money from Instagram— but having a lot certainly doesn’t hurt.
The top Instagrammers make serious bank, have hundreds of millions of followers, and can earn well over $700,000 per post. Here’s a list of who’s on top:
- Cristian Ronaldo - 394 million followers
- Kylie Jenner - 305 million followers
- Leo Messi - 303 million followers
- Ariana Grande - 292 million followers
- Selena Gomez - 292 million followers
How many followers do you need on Instagram to get paid?
While the top Instagram influencers have millions and millions and millions of followers, don’t be intimated or put off. You can still make money on Instagram, with just 1,000 or so followers. The key is engagement.
You want followers who like, comment on, and share your posts. That’s where the money is.
Brands look at your engagement rate when deciding whether or not to invest in you. An average engagement rate is 2%-3%, but rates between 4% and 6% are considered high.
You can easily find your engagement rate by searching “Instagram engagement rate calculator.” You can plug in your IG handle and see where you stand.
How to make money on Instagram - 5 ways
1. Get sponsored
It’s reported that word-of-mouth marketing is 5x more effective than paid ads. That’s massive, and it’s the reason brands invest in creators with brand partnerships or sponsored content.
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the average earned media value of every $1 a brand spends on Instagram is $5.78.
Think of sponsored posts as getting a recommendation from a close friend. When a content creator you trust does a shout out to a specific brand, you’re likely to listen. This is why sponsored content is so incredibly valuable.
To do it well, your sponsored content must relate to your brand, and it needs to be something you believe in. Below is an example from my good friend Miranda of The Plus Life Blog.
2. Affiliate marketing
In June of 2021, Instagram began testing a native affiliate tool that allows creators to discover new products, share them with their followers, and earn commission on sales they drive.
Affiliate marketing is big with bloggers. It works by sharing unique affiliate links with your audience, and when someone clicks on that link and makes a purchase, you earn a commission. That’s either a flat rate or percentage of each sale.
With bloggers, you share affiliate links directly in your blog posts. It’s similar on Instagram as you share traceable links and promo codes in Stories or your Instagram bio.
Commission on affiliate posts can range from 10-20%, and you and your affiliate manager will figure that out when you start working together. Some companies pay-per-click or cost-per-acquisition.
To get started with affiliate marketing, you can join affiliate networks like ShareASale, CJ Affiliate, Rakuten, or Skimlinks.
3. Create your own content
Content is the core of Instagram, and you’ve built your following on funny, uplifting, educational, or motivational content. You have an increasing number of ways to make money on Instagram.
- Link in bio: If you have a Patreon, or tipping platform like Ko-fi or Buy Me a Coffee, a link in your bio so your followers can directly support your work.
- IGTV Ads: Instagram launched IGTV Ads in 2020, and they now share revenue on 15-second ads played in IGTV videos. This is ideal if you create long-form video content, and it’s similar to how you make money on YouTube.
- Instagram Live Badges: This is another new feature, and followers can now “tip” you while watching your Live videos. Users can purchase badges that look like heart icons for $0.99 to $4.99, with a cap of $250 per viewing session.
- Bonuses for Badges: Instagram has started to reward creators for hitting specific milestones, like live streaks and joining with different accounts.
- Earn monthly income with Subscriptions: This new feature (launched in 2020) lets you manage and earn income from subscriptions directly on Instagram instead of bringing them off-platform. You can set a monthly price and offer benefits for each level.
Here’s an example of a creator using Instagram’s subscription service. You see the monthly subscription cost and the perks of joining.
4. Sell your own products
Because of its broad reach and intuitive selling tools, Instagram is an excellent place to make money selling products you’ve created. You can sell clothes, courses, photo filters, decor, and much, much more.
While you can put a link in your bio to another online shopping platform, like Etsy or Shopify, you can now easily open an Instagram Shop. It comes with tools that help you launch, sell, and track how well your products perform.
Instagram Shops makes it easier for users to scroll and buy with features like product tags and links directly to your shop. Users can even save items to purchase later, and you get analytics on how users interact with your store.
Here’s an example of what a post looks like when it’s set up through Instagram Shops. The black tags pop up when you tap on the post and give more information about the products, and the “View shop” bar at the bottom of the post brings users to your shop where they can browse the rest of your products.
5. Promote your business
If you already have a business and want to know how to earn money on Instagram, the simple answer is to use Instagram to promote your business. You can put a link in your bio to your Etsy shop where you sell printables, the website for your freelance proofreading business, your blog, etc.
You can begin to develop content that highlights your business, like sharing clips of a just-posted YouTube video. To really boost your brand, you can invest some cash and promote posts that you want more people to see.
Riley Whitelum and Elayna Carasu of Sailing LaVagabonde leverage Instagram’s linking features by linking to their YouTube channel, online store, website, and Patreon.
Tips to monetize Instagram
Making money on Instagram is much harder than it looks. It’s entirely possible to do it, but it takes time and energy. To help you grow your following and successfully learn how to make money on Instagram, here are 5 must-follow tips:
Tip #1: Niche down
Your niche is the interest or theme of your account, and it’s how users connect to you. You can find your niche by exploring your interests, experiences, occupation, passions, etc. Maybe you’re a vegan dog owner, slow fashion enthusiast, elder-millennial bitcoin investor, or homeschooling parent of multiples. Niching down gives you direction, helps you build a community, and helps you identify brands to work with.
Tip #2: Be authentic
Your brand is a reflection of who you are, and never be afraid to let your freak flag fly. Be exactly who you are and genuinely love the content you’re putting out there — these are the keys to success.
People can spot inauthenticity, and it’s also how you’ll burn out quickly. So do what you love, and be yourself.
Tip #3: Advocate for yourself
You have to put yourself first as you begin negotiating with companies for sponsorships and affiliate relationships. You’ve invested time in your brand, and you need to be compensated fairly.
That’s not to say that you can make $1,000 for your first sponsored post, but you should stand up for fair rates. Research what’s fair for your niche, follower account, and engagement rate.
Tip #4: Be transparent
You are legally obligated to disclose affiliates and sponsorships, and not following those rules puts you at risk of being removed or fined. It also jeopardizes the audience relationship you’ve worked so hard to build.
Tip #5: Give back to your audience
Your ability to earn money on Instagram is because of the people who follow you, so treat them well. They’ll potentially have high expectations for how you respond to DMs or comments. It’s important to engage with them, but don’t hesitate to set boundaries. You can take time off, turn off comments, or set comment filters.
The final word on how to make money on Instagram
If you’re starting from scratch and want to learn how to monetize Instagram, you have more options than ever before. It can be overwhelming to try them all at once, so take your time and focus on one at a time.
My biggest piece of advice, and it’s something I tell anyone who’s starting an online business, is don’t quit before you get started. It takes time to build something successful, but if you’re willing to commit, the potential is there.
Instagram gives content creators a platform to make money through sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, promoting their businesses, and selling products. However, Instagram doesn’t directly pay creators.
There’s no one-size-fits-all number, but some sources say you can expect to get paid $10 for every 1,000 followers you have, once you hit 1000,000 followers on Instagram.
Instagram doesn’t pay creators, but brands have been known to pay content creators around $10 for every 1,000 followers they have once they hit 100,000 followers. Creators with high engagement rates can earn upwards of $500 for every 1,000 followers.
Start building your following by engaging with other creators in your niche. You can then start reaching out to brands to run sponsored posts or to share affiliate links.