When we think of Instagram, we see a large platform to showcase your photos, connect with your friends, and stay up to date. But for the go-getters inside all of us, did you know that you can use Instagram while making money at the same time? And no, you don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of followers to start cashing in. 

There are different ways to harness the power of your audience and earn a living through Instagram. From sponsored posts to selling licenses, we’ll share with you 5 ways that you can earn money from your account, and what you can do today to get started. 

What does my Instagram account have to look like? 

First, let’s talk about what your Instagram has to be if you want to start earning cash through your account. Depending on what method you’re going to use in making money, your account should have at least one of the following: 

  • An active follower base 
  • A niche appeal 
  • Beautiful and professional photos

In terms of the required follower count, it’s smaller than you think. Many people believe that you need to reach at least 10,000 followers before you can start monetizing your account, but that’s not the case. What brands look for is a lively follower base that actively engages with your posts. So even if you just have 2,000 followers but all of them are active and organic, that’s already enough for brands to notice you.

The follower count matters most when partnering with brands for sponsorships and brand deals. In other methods of making money, sometimes the niche appeal and the professional portfolio would matter more, and you wouldn’t need tens of thousands of followers to start making bank. 

Here are the 5 ways that you can go into to make money from Instagram, how they work, and how you get started.

SEE ALSO: 5 ways to make money while playing video games

Partner up with brands and create sponsored content. 

How does it work?

Brands are always on the lookout for influential people that they can tap to promote their products to their big audiences. With Instagram as a medium, these sponsored content can come as product mentions and testimonials, reshares to your own page, and dedicated posts ad stories about the brand’s products. 

These brands are paying access to your audience and usage rights, and that equates to a big amount. How much money you earn will depend on the brand and your negotiations with them. 

How do I get started? 

What you can do to jumpstart your account to get noticed by brands is to first build your audience and develop a strong engagement with your followers. You should also build your account around a specific niche, so that related brands will feel more compelled to partner with you. 

Usually, the brand is the one that approaches you for potential sponsorships. You can try to contact brands that you support and want to collaborate with, especially those that are related to your created niche. You can also list yourself in influencer marketplaces like Fohr and Grapevine to further increase your chances of being noticed. Don’t forget to research the price to charge as an influencer, so you can negotiate assertively.

Marketplaces to check

  • https://www.fohr.co
  • https://www.grapevinelogic.com

Become an affiliate marketer and sell products for other brands. 

How does it work?

Much like being an influencer, affiliate marketing is another strategy you can go into by promoting a partner brand and its products. But the main difference is that instead of just spreading awareness about the brand, you must also drive sales for the product to earn your commission. This is usually done through tracked links or a referral code that your followers can use to earn a discount. 

Your earnings will depend on how many sales or site visits came from your link, and any upfront payments that have been negotiated. Sometimes, you also get a percentage of the profits for every customer purchase. 

How do I get started? 

Like when sponsoring an account, brands also contact you when they have an affiliate program that is in line with your niche. But you can also actively approach brands and online merchants that offer affiliate programs for their products. Additionally check out marketplaces like RewardStyle and ClickBank, and look for affiliate programs that fit your own brand and pay a considerable commission. Widen your reach by also sharing the link or referral code in your website or other social media sites.

Websites to check

  • https://www.rewardstyle.com
  • https://www.clickbank.com

Sell your own merchandise and set up an online store. 

How does it work?

Partnering with brands is not the only way to make money from Instagram. For those users that have a spirit for entrepreneurship, you can also opt to be your own brand by transforming your account to create an online shop and selling your own products. Instagram is the perfect platform to use for an online business because there are millions of potential customers that are only waiting to be tapped.  

The possibilities are endless for business ideas of what to sell. It can be a print-on-demand service of your own designs, handmade accessories, your pre-loved clothes, and so much more. 

How do I get started? 

Make sure that your chosen product is profitable and has a market that you can reach. Once you have decided on what to sell, set up the other necessary details of your business, like product photos, the modes of payment, and delivery options. You can choose to transact with customers directly from Instagram, or if you have a Shopify store, you can integrate that into Instagram so they can buy from the app itself. 

Offer a paid service to your followers. 

How does it work?

Instead of selling a physical product, you can opt to provide and promote a paid service using your Instagram account. Utilize any of your skills and talents that your followers may want to learn. This can include dancing lessons, photography lessons, and other services. You can also sell content and digital products like courses and e-books for your expertise, recipes if you have a passion for cooking, or commissions and design templates for artists. 

How do I get started? 

The service that you will offer should be reflected in the content that you are releasing on Instagram. To reach success with this strategy, it is crucial that you have already established a certain niche and have gained trust and respect from your followers. By showcasing that you are knowledgeable on the skill you’re trying to sell, your followers will be more obliged to avail of your service. Set up how you’re going to transact with customers through a membership platform like Patreon or Kickstarter.

Websites to check

  • https://www.patreon.com
  • https://www.kickstarter.com

Sell licenses to your Instagram photos and videos.

How does it work?

If your Instagram boasts a portfolio of professional photos, then this strategy is for you. Even if you don’t have a big audience to monetize, you can still earn a lot because photo licenses are great assets. You can sell your photos to different brands and publishers, or even as stock images for a great price. Some customers are also interested in buying prints of professional photographs. 

How do I get started? 

The key to this strategy is to simply post beautiful photos and build an impressive portfolio that will interest brands and avid customers. You can also create a specific portfolio for a specific niche if you want to target a certain brand to sell to. Additionally, you can list your Instagram photos in marketplaces like Twenty20 to reach more brands and publishers.

Marketplace to check

  • https://www.twenty20.com

What do you think about this article? What other ways of making money through Instagram do you know of? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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