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How to make money on Instagram: 7 proven ways

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Instagram is a favorite pastime of millions of people around the world. However, there is more to it than just sharing photos and videos. Instagram has become a powerful tool that allows marketers to boost their brand’s credibility, widen their reach, provide lightning-fast customer service, drive sales, and more. In this post, we’ll tell you what makes Instagram the perfect fit for marketing and will walk you through the most lucrative ways to monetize the platform. We’ll also share some actionable tips for taking your marketing strategy to the next level on Instagram.

Instagram statistics marketers need to know

Before you dive deep into making money from Instagram, let’s get a bird’s eye view of the platform. Here are some Instagram statistics that may be crucial for your marketing. 

  • With more than 1 billion active monthly users (as of April 20, 2020), Instagram is the 6th most popular social network in the world.
  • Over 500 million users are active on the platform and the same number of users interact with Instagram Stories daily.
  • There are 56.3% of women and 43.7% of men among US Instagram users.
  • The biggest age group on the app is 18-29 year-olds. 
  • The average amount of time spent on the app is 28 minutes per day in 2020.
  • 63% of Instagram users log in on the platform at least once a day.
  • About 200 million users of the app interact with at least one business account per day.

What makes Instagram a good monetization channel?

There are many factors that make Instagram a great place for generating revenue. Here are some of them:

  1. People often use the platform for discovering products.
  2. About 130 million Instagram users tap on a shopping post to learn more about products every month.
  3. Influencer marketing thrives on the platform and there are over 500,000 active Influencers.
  4. Instagram shoppable posts make shopping on the platform hassle-free.
  5. About 25 million businesses are present on Instagram, so users expect brands to be on the platform and use the app to connect with them.
  6. Having a verified business account helps establish trust with your audience.
  7. You can get more exposure if your customers show their appreciation by tagging you or sharing your post.
  8. Instagram ads are displayed on the News Feed and don’t differ from regular posts.
  9. You can embed links in the bio, text overlay, Stories swipe-up, and Image descriptions. This allows driving traffic to your website or any other website you want to promote.
  10. Having an Instagram account is beneficial for your online reputation as it helps to connect with your customers and manage conflicts and deal with negative reviews. 
  11. Presence on Instagram (as well as other social media) can boost your SEO. When people search for your brand, social media also appear in search results and help you garner more attention.
  12. Integration with Facebook makes cross-promotion possible.
  13. Having an Instagram account can give you a competitive edge, especially if your competitors aren’t present on the platform.
  14. You can connect your Instagram profile with other social media profiles and get your Instagram posts published to other social media automatically.
  15. Instagram is a visual platform and visual content is the most engaging content type.
  16. The app offers a wide range of analytical features and advertising options. 

Instagram monetization strategies

Though Instagram is a crowded place and the competition is incredibly high, there is still a lot of earning potential on the platform. Check out some of the most lucrative ways to make money on Instagram and choose the one that suits you most.

1. Becoming an Influencer.

Once you’ve grown a loyal following, you can start making money from Instagram by promoting brands and businesses. More and more people trust word-of-mouth recommendations over traditional advertising methods. So, brands pay Influencers a fee to be mentioned in sponsored posts.

This is a win-win strategy if harnessed properly. Influencers get a chance to generate revenue and provide additional value to their followers, while brands manage to reach out to wider audiences. The larger your following is, the more you can get paid for such a partnership. When doing Influencer marketing, choose the products and services related to your niche. 

Make sure you promote only the products and services you can vouch for. Also, don’t prioritize monetization over value in your account and don’t spam your followers with sponsored posts. Another good practice is to let your audience know when you publish sponsored posts by adding a #sponsored or an #ad hashtag. There is a Paid Partnership tag on Instagram which discloses the paid relationship.

If you’re good at Influencer marketing, you can get a long-lasting partnership and start endorsing a brand and become its ambassador.

How can you find brands to partner with? If you have a large audience, brands are likely to approach you themselves. However, if you’re just starting out as an Influencer, you can join an Influencer marketplace, for example, on Grapevine, Fohr, etc.

2. Selling your products or services.

Instagram is a perfect place for promoting your products and services. You already know that many people use the platform to find out what is trending and have a look at new products and services. So, why not use this trend to your advantage and promote your own services and products? Instagram seems to be cut out for this because:

  • The visual nature of the platform allows showcasing your product.
  • The Instagram shoppable posts make the process of shopping seamless and effortless.
  • You can use hashtags to get user-generated content and reviews.

Top tips on selling on Instagram 

  1. Let people peep “behind the scenes” and show them how your product or service is created.
  1. Show the variety of options you’re offering.
  2. Add Story Highlights for different products so that your audience can always have a look at them.
  1. Ask your customers for permission to share their content featuring your products.
  2. Create guides and tutorials to make using your product or service easier.
  1. Embed a link to your shop or website in your bio.
  1. Make sure you announce sales, flesh sales in your posts, bio and Stories.
  2. Offer your followers Instagram-only coupons and discounts.
  3. Create teasers of new products before launch.
  1. Make the most of the Instagram Stories Swipe-Up feature to drive more traffic to your store. Note that this feature is available only to accounts with more than 10,000 followers.
  1. Partner with Influencers to get more eyes on your account.
  2. Leverage the right hashtags to be discovered by potential customers.

3. Doing affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a marketing strategy in which affiliates get paid by advertisers for promoting a product or service and driving traffic to an advertiser’s website. This strategy suits Instagrammers with a large and loyal audience as the strategy is similar to word-of-mouth recommendations and is based on trust.

To start making money as an affiliate, you need to join a reputable affiliate program or network, for example, Awin, Shareasale, Travelpayouts, CJ Affiliate, Rakuten, etc. Truth be told, Instagram is not extremely affiliate-friendly as it doesn’t allow links added to posts and Stories (unless you have more than 10,000 followers) and its competition levels are incredibly high. Despite this, affiliate marketing is one of the most profitable money-making strategies on the platform. This is because its engagement levels are incredibly high and Instagrammers often use the app as a search engine for discovering new products. 

To monetize your audience’s love of travel, join Travelpayouts. In the affiliate network you will find monetization tools from Booking.com, RentalsCars, and other major travel brands.

So, what can you do to tackle the lack of link opportunities on Instagram?

  1. Place the affiliate link in the Instagram bio and tell your followers about it in captions and Stories.
  1. Add links to text overlays. To make affiliate links more user-friendly, shorten them with tools such as Bitly, Cuttly, Rebrandly, etc.
  1. Offer coupons instead of affiliate links. You can display coupons both in posts and text overlays. Unfortunately this method is very limited, as not all companies have the coupon feature on their websites.
  1. Use paid post promotion. If you promote a post, you can add an affiliate link to it.

To extend your marketing options, you can create your own website and drive your Instagram traffic there. You can use different affiliate tools on your own website, including banners and widgets. On your own domain, you can develop your own brand with the White Labels and lock the audience on your own brand.

There are solutions on how to automatically create a website based on Instagram — we previously wrote about one of them.

Tips on Instagram affiliate marketing 

  1. Create attention-grabbing visuals showcasing a product and illustrating its benefits.
  2. Mention the products you’re promoting in live videos and stories.
  3. Don’t overload your account with promotional posts. Remember that you should create valuable content for your audience.
  4. Leverage relevant hashtags to be discovered. To find relevant hashtags use such tools as Display Purposes, AllHashtag, RiteTag, etc.
  5. Promote your account via Instagram Shoutouts which is paid promotion on an Influencer’s account. You can find influencers to partner with on shoutout marketplaces such as Buysellshouts, PlugHype, Shoutcart, etc.
  6. Disclose your affiliate relationships so you don’t lose the trust of your audience.
  1. Run Instagram paid ads.

4. Offering social media marketing services

Social media marketing may seem easy. However, only those with expertise manage to cut through the noise on Instagram and see tangible results. So, if you’re an expert on social media marketing, why not monetize it and start helping others achieve their marketing efforts on the platform?

No matter how good you are, you’ll still need to win people’s trust. The best way to do this is to offer a lot of free valuable content resolving the pain points of your audience.

5. Creating AR filters

Instagram filters, also known as masks, are incredibly popular as they are entertaining and can work miracles for boosting brand awareness, promoting an event or a product, getting UGC, etc. If you think outside the box and are good at designing such filters, you can monetize your talent and create brand-specific masks to achieve some marketing objectives for businesses.

6. Becoming an Instagram manager

An Instagram manager is usually responsible for promoting an account, growing its following, creating compelling content, organizing contests and giveaways, setting up paid ads, communicating with followers, etc.

Today, Instagram is booming and many businesses want to have a presence on the platform. Most of them are eager to farm out social media marketing, so if it’s up to your speed, tap into this trend.

7. Creating visual content for businesses. 

Instagram is a visual platform and a highly competitive one. To get a competitive advantage, businesses need to create top-quality attention-grabbing visuals. However, creating quality visuals may be challenging and many businesses prefer to outsource it. If you are good at taking pictures or generating video content, leap at the chance to monetize your skills creating content for other people on the platform.

9 actionable tips on creating powerful Instagram campaigns

Before you delve into Instagram marketing, take a look at these easy-to-follow marketing tips which will help you become successful from the get-go.

  1. Before you launch a campaign on Instagram, make sure you clearly define your goals and build your marketing strategy accordingly. 
  2. Create a memorable Instagram username which consists of less than 30 characters. To boost your chances for being discovered, use a relevant keyword in your username.
  1. Create and promote a brand-specific hashtag. This will help you get more eyes on your account. Besides, it’s a hassle-free way to find out what customers are saying about your brand.
  1. Add niche-related hashtags to your posts. It’ll help extend your reach and garner more attention from people interested in your niche.
  2. Explore other accounts in your niche and get involved in conversations and discussions.
  3. Write compelling captions to provide context for your visuals and boost engagement. Captions allow you to spark a conversation with your audience. An Instagram caption is limited to about 2,200 characters, which isn’t much. So, your caption should be concise but yet powerful. 

What are the secrets of a compelling caption?

  • It puts important information first.
  • It tells a story about your brand that will resonate with your audience. It doesn’t have to be a long story but it should reveal your brand’s personality in a way. In the example below, Airbnb shared their story of providing support and accommodation to those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • It’s perfectly formatted and structured. Don’t just place big chunks of text, make it scannable. For this, break up the body of the text, highlight the most important words in bold and italics, use lists, bullets, and emojis.
  • It boosts engagement by asking questions or encouraging followers to express their opinion.
  • It includes a CTA. The purpose of a CTA is to encourage your followers to perform the desired action after reading your post.
  • Make sure you create Instagram Stories and Live Videos as video format proves incredibly entertaining and engaging on Instagram. You already know that about 500 million people interact with Stories daily, so why not use this to your marketing advantage? 
  • Run contests. This is a great way to engage your audience and boost brand awareness. Besides, it gives you a perfect chance to get loads of user-generated content.

How to track your performance on Instagram 

Tracking your campaigns is vital for amplifying your marketing strategy and boosting growth. But, where can you get data about your performance on Instagram? 

You can get a lot of information about it from Instagram Insights. This is a free tool available to business accounts which provides marketers with information about their audience, posts, stories, and ads. With the help of Insights, you can get reports on a wide range of metrics, including impressions, engagement, reach, top posts, etc. Besides, you can collect data about your performance on Instagram with the help of powerful third-party analytical tools such as Sprout Social, Iconosquare, Phlanx, Tapinfluence, etc.

How much can you make on Instagram?

Instagram is a goldmine of opportunities. So, the earning potential on the platform is almost limitless and it is determined only by your expertise, diligence and creativity. We’ve shown you a variety of ways to generate revenue from Instagram, so take the plunge and start using Instagram for your marketing purposes.