1. Sell Products Through Instagram Shopping
Instagram introduced Instagram Shopping in 2021 to empower businesses to sell products directly on the platform—no more sending followers elsewhere to buy your goods. Instagram Shopping adds a shopping tab to your profile, letting users see products from your Shopify catalogs. You can also tag your products in organic content you publish to send viewers over to your store.
Don’t be shy. Mention your products to your audience. Try not to go overboard and be over promotional, but also remember to give your Instagram store a shoutout every now and then.
2. Drive Sales with Instagram Ads
Use Instagram ads to drive traffic back to your website, ecommerce store, or even your Instagram Shopping tab. You could run in-feed image ads promoting your products or get creative with TopView ads (fullscreen takeovers) to boost your Instagram following—both can help you make money on the platform.
You can also use Instagram as a top-of-funnel resource to get users to sign up to your email list or SMS campaigns. This technique can help keep your Instagram account appear less salesy while still being an influential revenue driver.
3. Participate in Affiliate Programs
You don’t need your own products and services to make money on Instagram. Instead, use affiliate marketing to link out to other goods and make a percentage of every sale when a user clicks through and makes a purchase. Here’s how:
Place an affiliate link in your profile—then direct traffic from your organic views to click the link.
Redirect traffic to your Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest account where you can more generously place affiliate links.
Paste coupons codes and URLs in your video descriptions. Users will have to copy/paste the link into their browser.
4. Promote Songs
Get paid to add songs to your videos. Nearly every video on Instagram has an accompanying background song for creators to lip-sync and dance to—and artists recognize this value. If you have a large enough following and engagement, musicians will pay to have you promote their music in your songs.
They know if your video goes viral, their song goes viral—and that means more downloads, concert tickets, and merch.
If you’re a musician (or aspiring musician), you can use Instagram to promote your own music. Instagram is a place to sing and dance, so it only makes sense to publish your own beats on the platform…
5. Publish Sponsored Posts
Brands will pay you to feature their products and services—this is called sponsored content. You don’t need to be a monolithic influencer to get in on the action. Smaller brands will still pay good money to work with microinfluencers who have a robust and engaged community—even if it’s not very big (yet).
You can approach brands proactively or wait for them to reach out to you. If you have over 100,000 followers and 100,000 video likes in the last 28 days, you can apply to join the Instagram Creator Marketplace, a platform that connects high-paying brands with influential creators.
6. Become a Brand Ambassador
Brand ambassadors function similarly to sponsored content, but they help in more of a long-term capacity rather than a one-off post. As a brand ambassador, you’ll likely receive compensation and free product in exchange for a fixed number of videos every week or month. The better your content performs, the sweeter your brand ambassador deal becomes.
Look for brands you love. Ideally, you can find a brand that helps you expand your network, receive gear (you actually like), make money, and have fun. Most businesses have exclusive ambassador application pages on their website, so poke around your favorite brands to see if they have any enticing programs.
7. Start a Patreon
Offer free content through your Instagram account, but entice your followers to support you on Patreon to unlock premium content. This might be:
- Behind-the-scenes peeks
- Exclusive content
- Personal time with you
- Live chats and hangouts
- Community access
- Public shoutouts
Get creative. When you build a loyal following, they’ll want everything you can get. However, just ensure you put in the time to make your Patreon content valuable and worthwhile—you don’t want anyone to regret their purchase after signing up.
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8. Find New Clients
Instagram can be an excellent platform to build your freelancing or consulting business. Publish engaging content to build your audience, and then promote your services. A follower might need your help, or word of mouth might lead you to another client.
If you build websites for a living, feature some of your projects on Instagram. If you’re an email marketing consultant, publish some of the cool campaigns you’ve created.
With enough creativity, you can make any business (from plumbing to accounting to software) exciting on Instagram. You just need to let your personality loose and have some fun—that’s what Instagram is all about.
9. Build and Sell Instagram Accounts
Have a knack for building audiences quickly? Do it for a living.
There are plenty of creators and businesses who’d love a headstart on Instagram. If you can rapidly build Instagram followings, you’ll have a list of potential buyers.
Think about potential industries that might want to purchase a lucrative Instagram account. You might struggle to sell an account focused on cat GIFs (or maybe not)—however, an unboxing profile or account focused on cars would likely sell much faster.
Steer away from making any of these accounts personal. You don’t want followers becoming attached to your face or name. Instead, focus your content on the subject material. This can sometimes make it challenging to grow an account, but that doesn’t stop people like 23-year-old Ramy Halloun from making $120,000 executing the same technique on Instagram.
10. Work with Influencers
You don’t need a massive following to make money on Instagram you can just leverage the creative minds who’ve done the hard work of building loyal audiences. Partner with influencers to promote your Instagram account or sponsor your products.
A simple shoutout from the right person could make or break your business. Remember when Elon Musk skyrocketed Dogecoin’s value by 600% in a single week? That’s an example of accidental influencer marketing.
Imagine if you did it on purpose.
When you live stream on Instagram, your followers can send you coin donations (which can be traded for cash). Create amazing live streams, attract a big audience, and watch the coins start pouring in.
However, be aware that actively soliciting gifts is a big no-no per Instagram’s community guidelines. The exchange needs to be natural and organic.
You need 1,000+ followers (and must be at least 16) to go live on Instagram, and you need to be 18 or older to earn gift points.
11. Raise Money Through Crowdfunding
People love to participate in crowdfunding campaigns—whether that’s financially backing your project on Kickstarter or supporting a cause on GoFundMe. North America contributed $17.2 billion in crowdfunding in 2021 alone.
And the success rate isn’t bad, either. The average success rate of crowdfunding campaigns is a whopping 22.4%, which isn’t bad when you consider that just 10% of startups succeed.
We recommend (when possible) launching a crowdfunding campaign related to your Instagram account’s content. It’s strange when a horse-loving profile tries to raise money for a revolutionary new board game on Kickstarter. However, just about any brand can raise money for those in need. For example, nobody will fault your brand for trying to raise funds for an orphanage, even if your account is focused on country music lip-syncing.
12. Collect Tips
If you don’t have projects or products in mind, consider asking for tips. It’s an excellent way for your audience to support your account and keep the content flowing.
Collecting tips on Instagram is similar to opening up your guitar case while you perform on the side of the street—or how Wikipedia asks you to donate every time you visit the website.
A few tipping platforms make the process quick and easy:
Venmo: Just use someone’s Venmo link, username, or QR code to visit their profile and make a donation.
Buy Me a Coffee: Buy Me a Coffee is a simple, fun way for your audience to say thanks. You can use the platform for one-time donations or ongoing memberships.
Tipeee: Tipeee wins for being the most user-friendly and also offers a fair amount of features. You can create a page to showcase your profile, update tippers, display rewards, and let the community engage.