How to Start Making Money on Instagram

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Is Instagram just another one of those apps that you mindlessly scroll through when you can’t sleep?


Or, is it the perfect platform to start earning some money?


With a billion users worldwide, you’d be a fool not to take advantage of that opportunity.


There are essentially 3 ways in which you can make money on Instagram — posting sponsored content, affiliate marketing, and selling your own products.


This article will walk you through each of the different ways, so that you can decide what is best suited for you — let’s get started!

1. Become an Instagram Influencer

Instagram Influencer

Working as an influencer is a great way to make a ton of money.


With over 500,000 active influencers on Instagram as of early 2019, it’s clearly a plausible career choice.


The most common way that Instagram Influencers make money is by doing sponsored posts.

Instagram Influencer

They’ll get paid upfront to post about a certain product, whether it’s a face cream, headphones, or any other kind of product.


A lot of the time, you’ll even get some free products too — and who doesn’t love free stuff?


It’s best advised to do mostly sponsored posts, as you’ll make more money that way.


If you’re interested in doing affiliate deals, make sure you only select products that your followers really love.


But we’ll get into affiliate marketing later.

1.1. How to become an influencer

Instagram Influencer

Becoming an Instagram influencer isn’t easy, lots of people have tried, but failed miserably.

But at the same time, it’s not rocket science either.

There are a couple of things you need to do before you can start flashing your Instafame.

1.1.1. Find your niche

When you’re an Instagram influencer, you’re going to be living and breathing your brand.


Make sure it’s something you actually have an interest in (or you’ve got to be a great actor!)


When finding your niche, ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • Which field am I most knowledgeable about?
  • What am I most passionate about?
  • What content could I happily create even without making any money at all?

Up to 55% of brands have said that they prefer micro-influencers (1,000 to 100,000 followers) who actually have a real, authentic connectionwith their audience, and actually care about the products they advertise.


So, if you’re passionate about saving the turtles from plastic straws, then don’t be an influencer for brands that overuse plastic.


Or if you’re all about natural and organic products, don’t advertise for brands whose products are filled with chemicals — you’ve got to really believe in your brand.

1.1.2. Grow your Instagram page

Grow your Instagram page

You need to have both an impressive amount of followers and a high engagement rate.


There’s quite a number of ways in which you can increase your followers on Instagram.

Such as:

  • Writing witty captions
  • Tagging relevant Instagram accounts and using hashtags that will expose you to a larger audience
  • Consistently posting top-notch quality and at the right time

Improving your engagement rate isn’t too difficult either.


Essentially, you want your followers to be commenting, liking, and sharing as much as possible.


Most influencers boost their engagement rates by asking their followers questions in their captions.


An example would be a post including sponsored AirPods, and a caption asking, “What’s the first song you’d listen to if you were wearing these right now?”


This way, your followers feel heard and as though you are genuinely interested in their answers.


If you want to make them feel even more special, reply to their comments.


They’ll appreciate the gesture.

1.1.3. Partner with brands

Partner with brands

There are two ways to link up with brand partners:

  • Pitching to them directly: Contact the brands you resonate with, and tell them what you can offer. Your brand pitch needs to be compelling, so be sure to include details about your audience and what kind of approach you’ll take when posting their products.
  • Sign up with an influencer marketing platform: This way, they have the chance to find you. There are several of these marketplaces, such as AspireIQ, Upfluence, and Famebit.

Remember to post your adverts transparently.

kendall jenner instagram's account

Always make it clear to your audience that you are posting an ad, by adding ‘#ad’ or include the ‘Paid Partnership’ tag.

1.1.4. Set your rates

Set your rates

If you’re new to Instagram Influencing, you might be a little unsure as to how to set your rates for posting sponsored content.


Tribe has an App that you can use to check the standard rates according to your follower count.


This makes it a lot easier for you to know what you can expect, and to avoid getting taken advantage of by companies who are trying to pay you less than what you’re worth.


You also need to check your finances when it comes to setting your rates.

 check your finances

It’s not just about how many followers you have, but also first checking and working out how much you need per month.


If you’ve got 75k followers, you can expect around $560 for a single post.


So, if you need to make $5,6k a month, you just need to post 10 times a month.


Imagine earning almost $6k a month just by making 10 sponsored posts — We can see why you’re interested.


If you want to learn more about how brands go about their process of selecting influencers, check out this guide.

2. Become an Affiliate Marketer

Become an Affiliate Marketer

Affiliate marketers, in a nutshell, make money by getting other people to spend money.


They get commission on every sale that funnels through their Insta post or profile — this can be really ideal if your products match your audience.


This can be a pretty rewarding job, as you don’t need to worry about production or managing orders.

2.1. How to become an affiliate marketer

To become an affiliate marketer, you need to be partnered with a brand.


Choosing the right partners can be tough - you want to make sure you both have the same values and goals in mind.


Here are some of affiliate networks to help you make the right choice:

After you’ve set up your affiliate network, you can improve your exposure even more by joining platforms such as ShopStyle or rewardStyle.


Shopstyle is a shopping search engine that has products from hundreds of different brands compiled into one website. 


Their affiliate program, ShopStyle Collective, enables bloggers, influencers, and affiliates to create links and widgets of the products to share with their followers on social media.

affiliate marketers

RewardStyle creates relationships with brands and then invites bloggers, social media influencers, and affiliates to promote those brands through affiliate links. 


Affiliates can make between 5-15% commission from items sold through their affiliate links.

affiliates promote brands

While this can sound like an easy job, you’ve got to have a good strategy.


There’s a thin line between marketing efficiently and frequently enough to get your audience to indulge in your products, and annoying the living daylights out of them.


This is something that’ll take some trial and error.


You may need to test your audience and see how many times you can post in a day 

before you start losing followers.


Pay attention to the wording in your captions.


Are you begging them to go buy your products?


Don’t.


This will come across as desperate, and as though your product isn’t selling, even though it’s supposedly such a great product.


You also definitely shouldn’t come across as aggressive and bully your way into getting people to buy stuff.


Be authentic and genuine.


The more your followers can see that you actually care about your product and are interested in sharing something you’re passionate about, the better.

3. Become an Entrepreneur

Become an Entrepreneur

From autonomy to working flexible hours, the benefits of becoming an entrepreneur are plentiful.


If you’re not keen on Instafame or settling for only earning commission, it might be in your interest to start selling your own products.


This way, you won’t necessarily be using Instagram as your actual income (like an influencer would), but rather as a huge market place.

We won’t go into detail on how to become an entrepreneur,as there’s already such great content out there. 


But as we’ve already said, becoming an entrepreneur means using Instagram as one of your marketing platforms, and not as an actual gateway to a steady income. 


So, you’ll need to be learning how to use Instagram for your business instead. Whether you are a photographer, or a clothing brand, you can sell virtually anything online.


Instagram has set up a shop feature which enables users to purchase products from brands tagged in influencers' posts right in Instagram. 

If you’re interested in reading about how to set up your shop on instagram check out this article.

4. Conclusion

With a future entangled with technology, the platforms we use are no longer good enough for just social interaction.


They’ve now become a place of income for thousands of people — either as a source or a marketplace.


Whether you want to become an influencer, an affiliate marketer, or an entrepreneur, it’s time you get on board and start making some of your own money.


Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an expert in your niche, Instagram is the perfect platform to get going — no more excuses!

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