More and more small businesses are looking to get started selling products and services on Instagram. But how do you do it? This article sets out to illustrate how some of the top influencers on the platform are able to be full-time influencers and make their share. And how you can earn an income on Instagram too, whether you aim to sell products (that be selling your own products, digital products, physical products for big brands) if you're a blogger, affiliate marketer, whatever your business model by the end of this you will have actionable ways to help with the monetization of your Instagram page. There are mainly two categories when it comes to making money on Instagram. One requires you to have a large enough following to render your influence as, well, influential. The numbers associated with your account will be your main selling point when trying to partner with businesses. The second category is aimed more so at startups. It requires you to have a product or service you sell and advertise to people on Instagram. Secret option number three is how people make money on and off Instagram regardless of what they produce.
The most common and most reliable way to make money on Instagram is brand deals. Suppose you are an influencer with a large enough number of followers and a defined personal brand. In that case, businesses and brands will pay you to promote their products. The scale can range but, from Shopify, "The average influencer who has upward of 100,000 followers charges up to $500 per post, on average." It isn't all about the numbers though, as many of us are aware, some services allow you to buy Instagram followers. Yet, users who partake in these services might notice their posts only garnering a fraction of the likes or comments. These brands might pay for one post at a time or a whole campaign of sponsored posts, which means that you agree to continually post about the product/brand during a given period. These campaigns could comprise multiple posts on your follower's timeline or posts to your story. This is what's known as Instagram marketing. Instagram marketing relies heavily on the use of hashtags as this is one of the only ways to be searchable on Instagram. Using relevant hashtags and not just trending ones is a critical way to increase engagement rates.
Finding brands to work with is a bit hard; one of the most tried and true methods is reaching out to a brand via direct message. It might seem weird at first, but taking the first step this way shows interest and initiative. If that isn't quite your speed, there are ways that you can make it easier for brands to find you. Influencer marketplaces are essentially job boards for influencers. You create a profile outlining your reachability, noting the platforms you are predominately on. And brands, if interested, reach out with a proposal. If you've done freelance work, think of Fiverr or Upwork, but instead of clients needing help creating something, it's brands wanting shoutouts within different communities aiming to run more specific and targeted Instagram ads.
Services like Fohr allow you to create an influencer "card" so brands searching for potential partnerships can find a creator that matches their goals. Brands can also make a card outlining their wants from a campaign. Similarly, sites like Grapevine Village allow users with a follower count of at least 5,000 to be on their directory of influencers.
One of the other ways to make money in this category is through becoming an affiliate with certain products. Sites like ClickBank offer an affiliate marketplace, as well as the Amazon affiliate program. Becoming an affiliate allows you to earn a commission for every sale associated with your affiliate link. In contrast with brand promotion, where you would get paid the same amount regardless of sale increases, regarding affiliate links, you'd earn commission on each sold product incentivizing you to do as much as you could to help drive up sales.
Now, let's talk about that second category for influencers and entrepreneurs, selling a product or providing a service. If you create something by hand, like weaving, sewing, crocheting, or any art or craft, using Instagram to market your good is a great way to draw business to your site. If you've set up an e-commerce site with Squarespace or a page on Etsy, managing orders is very straightforward, and you can use Instagram primarily as an advertising tool. Suppose you aren't the one making your product but a designer or photographer. In that case, websites like Redbubble or Printful will be where you'd want to direct people as these sites allow you to upload pictures and files that they then print onto an assortment of products, ranging from stickers, hats, mugs, and pillows (and a lot more) think dropshipping. Instagram allows for some unique abilities with community building. Engaging directly with your audience is a compelling marketing strategy, creating loyal customers who are eager to support you.
However, there is an easier way for your customers to buy your work; setting up your e-commerce shop right there on your Instagram page. Instagram Shops, yes, Instagram has fully functional e-commerce integration within its app. With Instagram Shops, you can attach purchasable products to a post. This integration will allow your Instagram users to tap and enter their shipping and billing information. The order will go straight to you to process and fulfill. Integrating with Instagram might seem like a strange step to make. Still, the easier it is for your audience to find and fall in love with one of your products, the easier it will be for you to make sales. If you run a consultancy, then linking to services like BookVid in your Instagram bio allows you to charge and schedule online meetings all in one place. Set your availability, meeting length, your rate, and share your link. It's that simple.
BookVid emerged on the scene earlier this year as one of the top monetization platforms for Creators. At a high level, the BookVid tool is like Calendly + Zoom + Venmo, all in one. It allows your followers to pay you for 1-on-1 video calls easily. You set the prices, sync with your calendar, and instantly get Venmo'd at the end of the visit. While other companies take 20-30% fees, BookVid is entirely free for Creators. Sign up on bookvid.com today.
This next and final category applies to anyone on Instagram who wants to start their Instagram side hustle—simply making money off of the things you post. The internet rewards high-quality content, whereas celebrities like Kylie Jenner are too big to fail at this point; midsized Instagram users have their Instagram content consist of almost entirely sponsored posts, never missing an opportunity to share a promo code and further their marketing channels.
Instagram recently began paying creators who put ads on their IGTV videos. Similar to YouTube and Twitch's donation buttons, viewers of Instagram Lives can now pay for "live badges" to help them stand out in the chat. Tiktok has even incorporated a similar feature. As you build an online presence, you can push people off-platform, maybe to a YouTube channel where you are trying to gain subscribers, or to third-party donation sites like Ko-Fi and Patreon, turning audience members into consistent monthly subscribers. Most important for making money on Instagram is finding your niche and building your community to be loyal and eager to share your work. An audience willing to support you and support your creative endeavors on or off the platform should always be your target audience.