How to Monetize Instagram in 2021: Top 6 Ways

How to Monetize Instagram in 2021: Top 6 Ways

How to Monetize Instagram

If you’re reading this post—chances are, you have an Instagram account. You probably have some followers as well. You want to know if it’s possible to monetize your Instagram account.

Research says that Instagram is one of those social media channels where organic reach is still alive.

There’s plenty of potential for someone like you to grow an account on Instagram, grab a bunch of sponsors or other opportunities and start making money.

This is what I am going to cover in this guide. I will describe six different ways on how to monetize Instagram. And I will also talk about the things you need to do to monetize your Instagram successfully.

Let’s get started.

Before You Start to Monetize Your Instagram

In this section, we’re going to take a look at the different prerequisites you need to start making money off your Instagram account.

As you’ll see below, monetizing your Instagram isn’t a laid-back job. It doesn’t simply end with creating an Instagram account, getting some followers, and posting fresh content whenever you feel like it.

It’s a business, and you must treat it like one if you want to be successful.

Start with Your Instagram Profile Bio

Your bio is the chance you get to make an impression with first-time visitors. On Instagram, I see two categories of good bios: ones that are creative and punchy. The second? They’re informative.

You can be either creative or informative.

Here’s an example of an informative bio.

Covered Goods Instagram Bio

Covered Goods—is a tiny startup selling nursing covers. And they add both social proof and a brief description of what they do as a business on their bio.

Here’s an example of the second type of bios: creative, short, and punchy.

Nike Instagram Bio

For a company as big and diverse as Nike, the bio is restrained. Plus, the fact they used the image of a shoe instead of using the word shoe stands out to me.

Look at how they got creative and made an impact with just a few words.

Instagram is a bit frustrating because you cannot add links under image captions. You can add links on Instagram Stories only if you have more than 10,000 followers. For the rest of us, we have to be content with the option of adding a single link in our bios.

Is there a solution? You bet.

Tools like Rebrandly can help. Its LinkGallery feature lets you create a URL and point it to a landing page with all your links. With this tool, you can send followers to multiple destinations with just one link—the one in your bio.

Post Regularly on Instagram

I can’t stress this enough. Be active on Instagram to generate consistent levels of engagement.

Remember this: your competitors and other influencers are regularly posting content. If you don’t post enough, the content they post will feature on the feeds of potential followers.

That doesn’t mean you can get away with mediocre content. Take time to create truly useful content that you can share with your followers. It takes hard work to build up a following from scratch. Custom-made images and infographics really shine on the platform.

Build a Relationship with Followers

In addition to posting regularly, here’s what you can do to build relationships with followers.

  • Ask people to comment on the photos and videos you upload
  • Encourage interaction by asking what to post next
  • Encourage UGC content with a contest

Also, you may not be able to strengthen your relationship with followers by simply adding lots of images or asking them to comment on the pictures you share.

Embrace all the features on Instagram like IGTV and Instagram Stories. These are handy tools, and you might be missing out on a lot of engagement if you don’t leverage them.

Instagram Stories

The Instagram Stories feature lets you display temporary content. You can add many customization features like tagging a location, tagging a user, adding polls or gifs.

In this manner, it becomes simple to customize Instagram Stories.

Instagram Live

Instagram Live lets you record a video and have followers watch it live. You can have live Q&A sessions or talk to people about what happens behind the scenes. It is a great place to educate the audience.

A good Instagrammer would announce the live event at least a few days in advance and build up hype. It’s a great idea to let your followers know about this beforehand so that you get lots of people watching the content and interacting with you.

If you ask followers to share UGC content, this improves your chances of people trusting your recommendations.

Spend Time Creating Great Captions

Captions are another way to create interest if you do them right. Start with the most important information. Then create different drafts of your post before you finally publish it, instead of writing something impulsively. Be brief. Nobody wants to read essays.

Add images and engage your Instagram audience. Get them talking by adding a question at the end. This invites them to participate by sharing what they’re thinking.

Here’s an example from an influencer Erica Ligenza. She often gets her followers to interact and engage with her by posting questions and polls.

In the example below, she’s asking her followers to share their top Beatles songs:

Erica Ligenza Captions Example

Leverage Hashtags

On Instagram, you can use a maximum of 30 hashtags on a post. However, using the entire number is overkill. Instead, post between 10 to 15 hashtags at most.

You can choose from several free and paid hashtag generator tools. You can also simply search for a keyword on Instagram and then get recommendations from within Instagram itself. That’s one of the quickest ways to generate hashtags.

Now, let’s explore the 6 different ways on how to make money on Instagram:

1. Use Instagram to Grow your Online Course/Coaching Business

A majority of marketers start a blog or run paid advertisements to get consulting leads. Others use the same approach to market their online courses.

Have you ever thought of using Instagram for the same?

You can post short tutorials on Instagram and generate leads for coaching or consulting work.

Let’s start with an example:

For instance, @makeup regularly posts short makeup tutorials.

MakeUp Instagram Tutorials

These videos are never long as Instagram is the place for short videos, just a few things followers can watch and learn quickly from.

What you can now do is use the captions section to inform followers that you offer consultancy or are running a premium course on the subject. As your videos rake up views, you will start getting new leads for your business.

That’s not all. You can use Instagram to create a consistent theme that generates interest and excitement around your course.

Let’s say you have a course around fitness. So you could post about:

  • Your diet
  • Your lifestyle
  • Motivational quotes
  • Your equipment, calories burnt, tools, and more
  • Photos of your workout sessions
  • Results from students

Ensure to link to the course in the author bio while taking every chance to lead people to the course using captions.

In addition, you should always make it a point to read and respond to comments. You’re going to get a number of ideas about what people want, what they’re struggling with, and what you can do to help.

These insights can be a great way to validate your idea before you create it.

Recommended Reading: How to Create and Sell an Online Course

2. Monetize Instagram Through Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the simplest ways to earn money on Instagram as there are lots of people who are doing it successfully.

However, you need a balance between how many times you post affiliate content vs helpful, educational, or entertaining content.

If all you do is post content from which you hope to make money on Instagram, you’ll quickly lose engagement from followers.

Another key to success with affiliate marketing on Instagram is to choose the right affiliate program.

There are hundreds of programs you can join, and as someone new to affiliate marketing, you can be a little overwhelmed. Here’s what to do:

  • You can opt to promote products that you’re already using
  • Whatever industry you’re in, there are round-up lists of best affiliate programs that help you select a few top ones
  • On those affiliate-program pages, look for ones with high commission and EPC rates
  • Another factor to look at is the period for which the cookies are set. The cookie period should be at least 30 days so that even if someone clicks through your link and buys a little later, you still get the commissions.

Ideally, go with 1 or 2 programs that you can relate to and scale later on.

Here’s an example where the account Weareskinfluential promotes a product with a 10% discount code its followers can use.

Weareskinfluential Instagram

Using custom codes for your campaign eliminates the need for a unique tracking link. It also makes it easier to buy something for potential buyers. They just have to plug in the coupon and click to purchase.

Here’s Erica Ligenza promoting a skincare product with a coupon that gives her followers 15% off:

Erica Ligenza Affiliate Offer

However, you may not get any big success with affiliate marketing on Instagram until you start collecting email addresses.

Think of Instagram as a channel to drive traffic to your sales funnel and capture their information so that you can market to them later.

By sharing useful content regularly, you can grow your email list and use that as a foundation for building your online business.

3. Sell Your Own Branded Products

As an Instagrammer, you have a creative side to you. You can further explore this creativity by creating and selling custom items like mittens, t-shirts, cookies, or even custom-made slime. There you have another way to monetize Instagram.

Visually appealing products work well on Instagram, and here’s an example:

Mittens750 Branded Masks Instagram

You can simply create a t-shirt design, a design for a mug, or other products and have a print-on-demand service (e.g. Printful) create the product for you and ship it for you.

With the print-on-demand model, you contract out production to someone else. The service provider has a catalog of products on their website which you can personalize based on your design.

You only need to collect the shipping details and pass them over to the print-on-demand partner. In this way, you avoid production headaches, renting space for inventory, or dealing with shipping hassles.

Here are a few simple ideas you can execute:

  • Wall stickers
  • Fridge magnets
  • Small toys
  • Mugs and glasses
  • Hoodies, t-shirts, sweaters
  • Pens
  • Custom phone covers
  • Digital art
  • Calendars

You could even run a poll on your Instagram channel to understand what you should sell.

They must relate to your niche and be a drawing-in point for your audience. Lisa Frank frequently does giveaways of her on her Instagram account. Here’s an example.

Lisa Frank Instagram Example

That’s something you can mimic to grow your account, engage your followers and generate more interest in your products.

Here’s another example. The account mugs_art_music sells customized mugs and stickers on Instagram.

MugsArtMusic Instagram

Now, keep in mind that The more engaged your followers, the bigger your profits. You only need 2% of 10,000 followers buying a $5 pen to make $1,000.

However, it’s a challenge to separate images of your products from the other content you post.

The solution? Use a tool like Like2Buy. Once you create a Like2Buy profile, you can add the custom link they give to your bio and turn your Instagram into a shoppable online store.

If someone clicks on the link, they see a gallery of product images and browse through them to add products to the cart. If they click on any of the images, they can buy the product.

Selling on Instagram is easier if you turn your Instagram account into a shoppable account. Announce that your products are shoppable on your page and follow that by posting product photos.

Ensure that the captions you use encourage people to continue reading. Tell a story, share advice, motivate followers or simply state your opinion and get people to click through.

4. Find Freelance Clients on Instagram

If your services have a predominant visual element, you’re going to have a great time generating leads on Instagram.

Industries like event planning, wedding photography, graphics, or home design are all spheres where you can showcase past work through Instagram and use the platform to send you a steady stream of leads.

If you’re a florist, you can show all the flower arrangements you did in the past for different clients on Instagram, and this can get you followers and interested leads.

Think of Instagram as the channel where you showcase your expertise. The goal is to find clients among your followers.

Once you’re creating posts and generating followers, here’s what to do next:

Send Your Pitches Through DMs

Even though you’re posting all those images, getting new clients isn’t going to be a cakewalk. Reach out to followers who could potentially benefit from what you’re doing.

Reach out to potential customers with a short and punchy message. If the message is short, they’re most likely to read it through.

Here’s how you can message them:

“Hey! (name) Thanks for following me. I’d love to talk to you about how I can help you with doing x. I am pretty good at it, and you can see all the different setups we have done for our clients. You can check the Insta feed to understand more about my work.”

You can send the DM and also test out a few variations. Personalizing the DM with the first name of the person is key.

Also, prepare yourselves to answer follow-up questions and be on the lookout for those. Answering any questions they may have as quickly as possible helps you close the deal sooner.

5. Run Sponsored Posts on Instagram

Another way to make money on Instagram is to run sponsored posts from brands.

Here’s a little food for thought. Nectar Sleep hired influencer Daryl-Ann Denner to create a post for their memory foam mattresses.

Daryl gave out information on Nectar, their product, and told her followers about the free trial they were running in the post’s description.

Memory Foam Mattresses Sponsored Post

So, what were the results?

When the promotion started, Nectar had around 11,200 followers, and by the end, the follower count swelled to over 112,000.

That’s not all. Daryl’s post generated 10,000 views in a single day and 20,000 views in total. That got Nectar plenty of word-of-mouth.

Here’s another example: Subaru’s most successful campaign was the “Meet an owner” campaign with which they raised brand awareness for their product.

Subaru’s Meet An Owner Campaign

For the campaign, Subaru roped in 20 influencers in industries from fitness to art. And each of them created content around a Subaru car, adding their unique voice to the content.

Zach King, an influencer, shot a video that showed him surprising his date with a Subaru car. The video got over 8 million views.

Here are campaign results: The campaign generated an engagement rate of 9% resulting in hundreds of thousands of new comments, several million likes for over 58 sponsored posts.

Brands are increasingly turning to influencer marketing to promote their products. This is an excellent opportunity for you to turn a buck simply by spending a few minutes talking about a brand in a creative way.

In each of these cases, the brands reached out to the influencers. When you’re starting, that’s not likely to happen.

What’s the solution? Start reaching out to brands on your own to get the ball rolling.

Here’s a sample pitch you can use to send a proposal to brands:

“Hey name, my name is X. I run an Instagram account in your line of business. It has 10,000 followers and high engagement. We routinely get 100s of comments for our posts.

I was wondering if you’d be interested in sponsoring a post with us.

We can jump on a call at a time convenient for you.”

6. Video Product Placement

Product placement is a way of advertising a particular product through a video by not making the product placement obvious. Product placements are another fantastic way to earn money on Instagram.

You might have seen the tactic in many movies.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind to make sure you succeed with video product placements:

  • Look and research what’s the usual rate for product placements.
  • Product placements generally work depending on how naturally the placement flows with your video and what you typically create.
  • It should be something that fits into your life as an influencer.
  • Discuss the details with the company so that both of you understand all aspects of the placement clearly.
  • You may also be asked to draft how you will place the product and show it for approval.
  • Ask all necessary information so that the company can answer the same if there are comments or questions.

You may pitch companies the same way for this as you pitched them for sponsored post opportunities.

Video product placements are popular because they are hidden advertising. Because they’re so subtle, people watching the content desire getting the same products to achieve the same kind of lifestyle the influencer has.

Frequently Asked Questions About Instagram Monetization

In this section, I’ll share answers to some of the questions I’m asked often about monetizing Instagram.

How do I monetize my Instagram?

As we highlighted in the post, there are more than a few ways to monetize Instagram:

  • You can sell online courses or run a coaching gig
  • You can be an affiliate marketer
  • You can sell branded products
  • You can do sponsored posts
  • You can do video product placements
  • You can find and work with freelance clients

Which method is most suitable for you depends on your core skills and what you’re interested in most.

Is Instagram good for affiliate marketing?

Instagram is an excellent platform for affiliate marketing. One of the reasons being is the high engagement rate. It has greater user engagement on the platform than what you get with social media platforms like Twitter or Snapchat. The 928 million-strong advertising reach is another great factor.

How much does Instagram pay you for 1 million views?

Instagram doesn’t pay you any money for views or followers.

However, you can make money on Instagram using one of the monetization methods discussed in this guide. The amount of money you make depends on the type of Instagram account, your niche, and the number of followers you have got so far.

With 1 million followers, you can expect to earn around $10,000 per post from companies willing to work with you.

Can you make money with 1,000 followers on Instagram?

Yes, you can. Understand this: what’s more important is how engaged your followers are and not how inflated your follower count is.

Ultimately a business that spends money on you has to get a viable return on its investment.

Businesses measure their reach and influence first. Use the Instagram analytics report to see how engaged your audience is.

How many followers do you need to monetize Instagram?

There’s no threshold of followers for Instagram monetization. However, most accounts wait until they have 5,000 to 10,000 followers or more before posting sponsored content.

Because if you have a higher engagement, say 7%— you reach 70 users with 1,000 followers and 700 with 10,000 followers.

You use functionality like sharing links within Stories. Build your brand now and then try and make money later on. It will pay off.

How much money does 10k Instagram followers make?

How long is a piece of string? In much the same way, answering how much you stand to make with 10k or 100k followers is a toss in the air.

People with 6k to 10k followers are called micro influencers. A survey cites that such accounts can make up to $88 per sponsored post.

A good rule of thumb to follow is influencers get paid $10 for every 1000 followers they have.

How do you monetize photos on Instagram?

Instagram is primarily a visual marketing platform, so you can grow your account by posting pictures. A rule to understand is: Never post low-quality images. Blurred and low-quality content doesn’t make the cut on the channel. Stock photos don’t work either.

You can also give your followers a voice by letting them create and share posts using a particular hashtag.

You can sell photos through Instagram if you’re a good photographer. Showcase your skills by capturing any interesting moments you find. Very soon, you might find a number of people connecting with you to use those pictures.

If you’re not getting any requests, you might consider putting up a post informing followers that your photos are for sale. If your photos are good, you will get a lot of interest.

How many followers do you need to get verified on Instagram?

Having a defined number of followers doesn’t get you verified on Instagram. However, having 10000 or more followers gives you much of the same benefits.

How to get verified on Instagram?

Here are all the steps you need to follow to get verified on Instagram.

To get verified, make sure the bio is filled out, it has a photo, and you must have at least one post on your account. The more posts, the better.

Two, your account should represent a well-known, well-searched-after person or brand. An Instagram employee manually reviews the account, checking on news sources for the brand or person doesn’t consider any paid promotions for this. Have a web page, YouTube channel, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

Ultimately, keep growing your Instagram following. These and more steps will help you get the coveted blue checkmark on the account.

How to Monetize Instagram: Final Conclusion

What do you think of the different strategies I shared above on how to monetize Instagram?

If you get the basics right, Instagram monetization is going to be relatively easy. You just need to be consistent with your efforts. Don’t throw in the towel after a few weeks of trying.

I would suggest that you start with one of these methods first and see where it leads you. Once you do something for a while, you’ll understand if the particular method is best for you. If not, you can switch over to something else.

To recap, you can make money on Instagram in several different ways. Two of my favorite methods include: selling online courses and affiliate marketing.

Also, remember that your followers are first, and monetizing comes second. Don’t sacrifice content quality for the sake of making money on Instagram. Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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