How to Make Money on Instagram in 2021

If you’re looking for tips on how to make money on Instagram, then this in-depth article will help you learn how you can use the platform to achieve exactly that.

According to the latest statistics, Instagram has more than 1 billion monthly active users with more than 500 million users using Instagram Stories every day.

More than 112.5 million people in the United States use Instagram per month. That is approximately 11% of all Instagram users across the world, with 89% of the users living outside the U.S.

Such massive numbers mean making money on Instagram is a real possibility, especially if you have a decent following.

However, It’s important to note that having tens or hundreds of thousands of followers is not a prerequisite for you to make money on Instagram.

How to Make Money on Instagram 2021

Below are some of the most lucrative ways you can make money on Instagram in 2021.

1. Promote Affiliate Products

promote affiliate products
Promote affiliate products and earn commission

One of the easiest ways to use Instagram as a revenue-generating platform is by promoting affiliate products. As an affiliate, you will promote products or services of different brands using a custom or unique link and you will earn commissions from successful conversions.

For example, if you love to travel and you take amazing photos, you can promote the camera you use and earn a commission if someone chooses to buy the same camera after clicking on your link.

I am sure you have come across Instagram users mentioning different brands on their posts. It could be a watch, a pair of shoes, sneakers, or even hoodies they are wearing. They earn a commission if they use an affiliate link.

You will need to create engaging, exciting posts that allow you to add affiliate links without coming out as pushy. Your content should not appear promotional but rather a recommendation of yours.

I recommend you join affiliate networks such as ShareASale, ClickBank, Impact, and others. These platforms have hundreds of thousands of affiliate products you can promote.

If you wish to understand what affiliate marketing is, I recommend you read my previous article: What is Affiliate Marketing? – 17 Questions Answered.

2. Publish Sponsored Posts

ways to make money on instagram
This is a good example of a paid sponsored post

Another realistic way to make money on Instagram is through sponsored posts. But maybe you are skeptical thinking you need more than 100K followers on Instagram to start making money.

As I mentioned earlier, having hundreds of thousands of followers is not a prerequisite for you to make money on Instagram. Most brands look at engagement rates to determine the right Instagrammers to partner with.

Getting gigs for sponsored posts on Instagram is quite easy these days. There are many platforms that connect Instagram influencers with businesses, agencies, and individuals looking for sponsored post opportunities.

But what exactly are Instagram Sponsored Posts?

It involves getting paid by a brand or individual to create a post that recommends their products and/or services.

The screenshot above shows a sponsored post on Instagram with the client being Jones Dairy Farm and Mary’s Whole Life the influencer.

As earlier mentioned, getting sponsored post gigs on Instagram is quite easy due to the growing number of platforms that connect influencers with those looking for ways to market their products and/or services on Instagram.

Some of these platforms include;

  • ShoutCart
  • InfluencerCart
  • AspireIQ
  • Heepsy
  • Influencity
  • InstaBrand

You need to sign up as an influencer and connect your Instagram account. You will then set your prices for posts.

Clients will then check out your account and determine whether you’re the right influencer for their brand needs.

How much can you get paid by businesses or brands per sponsored post?

A study by eMarketer found that brands pay between $100 and $2,085 per sponsored post. For videos, brands pay between $114 and $3,138 while Insta Stories pay between $43 and $721.

3. Sell Your Products or Services

make money on instagram 2020
You can also sell your products on Instagram

A good alternative to promoting products from different brands is promoting your own products or services.

If you have physical products or own a business, you can use Instagram as a platform to promote your products. This is also great if you have an online store, either a dropshipping or print-on-demand store.

If you wish to make money on Instagram selling your products, then you can open an Instagram Shop, a feature introduced in July 2020.

A good alternative is to connect your Instagram account with Square Online, a platform that will create an online store for you based on what you upload on Instagram and the product tags you choose.

Setting up your store with Square Online is free. However, there is a paid version that gives you advanced features such as setting up a website with a custom domain of your choosing.

You can also make money on Instagram promoting and/or selling your services. Let’s say you are a good graphic designer, logo designer, painter, voice-over artist, web designer, or you make fantastic drawings, Instagram can help you get clients.

4. Become a Brand Ambassador

become an ambassador on Instagram
Make money on Instagram as a brand ambassador

Although sponsored posts pay well, it’s always hard to build a long-term, good, mutual relationship with your clients. Such long-term relationships are what most brands are looking for; not one-off payment for a job well done.

With Instagram being a great platform for influencer marketing, brands are looking for brand ambassadors who will occasionally promote their brand and company in a positive light.

As a brand ambassador, you will regularly get free products and/or services from the company on top of getting paid really well. The free products could be a new product they want you to try out, review, and promote.

You will most likely need to have lots of followers to land top gigs as an influencer marketer. Your income will even be higher if you can combine different platforms such as Instagram and YouTube or Instagram and Facebook.

The beauty of being a brand ambassador is that you can sign a contract with a brand to promote their products/services for a specific duration.

In the second option above, we mentioned websites that can connect you to potential clients. You can also find brands on the same platforms;

  • ShoutCart
  • InfluencerCart
  • AspireIQ
  • Heepsy
  • Influencity
  • InstaBrand

5. Become an Instagram Marketer

how to make money on instagram tips for 2021
Sell your expertise as a social media marketer

If you have professional skills in social media marketing, including the use of Instagram for business, then you can sell your skills as an Instagram marketer.

As an Instagram marketer, some of your responsibilities will include;

  • Creating marketing and social media campaigns
  • Budget planning for Instagram campaigns
  • Instagram content ideation and creation
  • Ensuring brand consistency in marketing campaigns

According to statistics provided by Instagram, 60% of social media users say they discover new products on Instagram with more than 200 million users visiting at least one business profile per day.

The same survey indicates a third of the most viewed stories are from businesses, with 62% of Instagrammers saying they became more interested in a product or brand after seeing it in Instagram Stories.

In a survey commissioned by Facebook, 81% of respondents said Instagram helps them research products and services.

A study by eMarketer revealed that 20% of Americans use Instagram for business/commercial reasons with 11% of users using the platform to find or shop for products and 9% using it to promote their businesses.

In another study by Mention, 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded and more than 80% of businesses consider Instagram engagement to be one of the most important metrics.

Sorry for mentioning too many studies, but I suppose you get the point. Here are other important stats you should keep in mind;

  • 73% of U.S. teens say Instagram is the best way for brands to reach them
  • An estimated 75.3% of businesses in the U.S. used Instagram in 2020
  • Brands post an average of 2.5 Insta Stories per week
  • One-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses
  • Brand Stories have an 85% completion rate

As you can see, Instagram plays an instrumental role for businesses, and with your skills as an Instagram marketer, helping brands reach and engage with potential customers on the platform will earn you a good income.

How to Make Money on Instagram FAQs

Let’s have a look at some of the common questions regarding ways to make money on Instagram.

1. How much money can you make on Instagram

The amount of money you can make on Instagram depends on a number of factors, including your reputation, number of followers, and engagement rate. Engagement rate is a more important metric than the number of followers you have.

To calculate your engagement rate, you add comments and likes, divide the total by your total followers then multiply by 100. Celebrities, for example, will make more from one sponsored post due to their reputation and higher engagement rates.

2. What do you need to sell products on Instagram?

While you can sell products on Instagram, there are a few things you have to do to accomplish your goal.

  • Convert your Instagram account into a business profile
  • Have a Facebook Page with an active product catalog
  • You should also launch an Instagram Shop

Launching an Instagram Shop allows you to integrate your product catalog with your Instagram profile, which in turn gives you the ability to promote your products to Instagram users through Instagram posts, stories, the Explore tab, and the Shop tab.

3. How many followers do you need to make money on Instagram?

There is no minimum number of followers required for one to start making money on Instagram. However, the more followers you have the easier it will be to get clients and convince brands to partner with you.

However, it’s vital to keep in mind that engagement is the most important metric most brands will consider. If you have many followers but a low engagement rate, then someone with fewer followers but a high engagement rate will have the edge over you.

4. How do you increase your chances of getting sponsored posts?

use social media to make money
Another sponsored post on Instagram

There is a lot that one has to do before reaching a level where brands are willing to pay for sponsored posts on their Instagram profiles. Some of the tips to grow your brand and followers include;

  • Define your brand and understand your audience
  • Be consistent with the type of content you post
  • Post consistently and use geotags and hashtags
  • Regularly tag appropriate brands within your niche
  • Include contact info and links in your bio
  • Reach out and pitch brands for paid sponsorships

If you’re not yet at a level where brands are approaching you for paid sponsored posts, you will need to pitch them and let them know why you are the ideal Instagram influencer to help boost their brand.

Some of the important details to include in your pitch include;

  • Your Instagram profile link
  • Number of Instagram followers
  • Audience demographics – e.g. age, gender, nationality, interests, etc.
  • Your engagement rate for the last 30 days
  • Your pricing
  • What you need from the brands paying for sponsorships

5. Can you sell services on Instagram?

While there is no straightforward answer to this question, it is possible to sell some services (not all) on Instagram. You do not need Instagram Shop to do this.

However, I recommend having a separate personal website where you have a portfolio of your previous work and link to it in the bio section of your Insta profile.

Some services you can sell on Instagram include logo design, graphic design, web design, photography services, painting/drawing, and consultation services.

In a nutshell, what you post on your profile should reflect the nature of the services you offer.

6. How can you build a strong following on Instagram?

If you’re not a celebrity, building a solid following on Instagram can be a daunting task. However, some of the recommendations I can offer include;

  • Optimize your Instagram profile with appropriate keyphrases
  • Post content regularly that aligns with your goals
  • Promote a specific hashtag that aligns with what you sell
  • Use multiple hashtags related to your products and/or services
  • Participate in niche-specific conversations
  • Collaborate with like-minded Instagram influencers
  • Use CTA-powered Instagram captions to fuel engagement
  • Create and promote Instagram Stories
  • Use geolocation features (e.g. geotags) where applicable
  • Make good use of Instagram Live Videos

P.S: Learn more about Instagram SEO to understand how to increase your discoverability on the platform.

Final Thoughts…

I have focused on just a few ways to make money on Instagram but I believe there are more ways one can take advantage of one of the largest social media platforms and make a full-time income while enjoying what you do.

If you also feel there is a really good way to make money on Instagram, feel free to share your tips in the comments section below.

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