Instagram is one of the most powerful social media channels. With over two billion monthly active users, Instagram is ripe for brand-influencer partnerships leveraged to sell products and services to consumers. If you want to learn how to make money on Instagram, you’ve come to the right place!
There are more than 25 million businesses on Instagram. This is good news for influencers since that means there are 25 million potential clients they can partner with!
As an influencer, paid brand sponsorships are usually the #1 way to monetize your page, but they are not the only way. A study from Insider Intelligence revealed just how much influencers could earn with sponsored posts.
Even with a mere 500 followers, a social media influencer can earn $100 per image post, $114 for a video post, and nearly $50 per Instagram Story post. While this will depend on your niche and how active your target audience is, these numbers are much higher than what you would expect on other platforms like Facebook.
Why Should You Try to Make Money on Instagram?
For those with the right skill set, Instagram provides an excellent business opportunity. It has seen exponential growth in recent years with no signs of slowing down. Reels and Instagram Stories have piggybacked off of the success of Snapchat and TikTok, making Instagram a contender for multiple types of social content.
Business marketing continues to shift away from traditional methods, like TV and radio commercials, in favor of connecting with audiences in their natural habitat: social media.
Shoppers are increasingly seeking recommendations for how to spend their hard-earned money on social media. Enter the influencers.
How Much Do Instagram Influencers Make?
While the number can vary wildly based on several factors, the general rule of thumb is that an influencer can make around $10 per 1,000 followers for sponsored posts. Factors that can affect this amount are:
- How marketable is your niche is
- Competition in your field
- Your engagement metrics
- Your history and reputation as an influencer
- The demographics of your audience
The scale also isn’t linear. For micro-influencers with only 1,000 followers or less, the chances of finding any sort of sponsor are slim. Once you get up to the 10,000 follower milestone, you might be able to start landing some decent deals. Then there are mega-influencers with hundreds of millions of followers, some of whom are rumored to earn a million dollars for a single sponsored post!
What Are the Requirements for Making Money on Instagram?
There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to making money on Instagram. Some influencers are able to find sponsors with <1,000 dedicated followers in a specialized niche. Others can have 10,000 followers or more but struggle to land brand offers because their niche is oversaturated or unmarketable.
Anyone can earn money on Instagram with a good plan in a marketable niche. You just have to put in the hard work to gain a significant following and have some luck in landing a sponsorship deal.
How Many Instagram Followers Do You Need To Make Money?
While $10 per 1,000 followers is a good rule of thumb, most micro-influencers may have trouble catching the eye of marketable brands. You should aim for a solid four-figure follower count before you can expect to get paid as an influencer.
While you might be able to get started with a few thousand followers, chances are you won’t get noticed by major brands or be able to quit your day job until you’re in the five-figure bracket.
What You Need to Make Money on Instagram
Several factors go into an influencer’s ability to make money on Instagram. Their niche and preferred type of content can have a lasting impact on their marketability. Nevertheless, these factors have a lot of nuances, and it is difficult to say “these niches are good” or “static images are bad” without other considerations.
There are two ever-important statistics when it comes to succeeding as an Instagram influencer, however: reach and engagement.
Reach and Influence
Reach and influence is most easily measured by one metric: the number of followers. While the quality of those followers is also important, this is the figure most often used to calculate an influencer’s success. In other words, how large is your audience?
In addition to the number of followers, the quality of those followers is also important. An account may have a considerable number of followers, but if those followers aren’t engaged, their value is diminished.
An account with 5,000 fake followers is less valuable to marketers than an account with 1,000 avid fans who hungrily consume high-quality content. To be a successful influencer, you need to not only attract followers but also post quality content that keeps them interacting with you.
Tips To Make Instagram Work For You
Like most business ventures, becoming an influencer has its ins and outs. You need to not only understand the concept of being an influencer but also the finer details of what does and doesn’t work on your target social media platform. Below are some general tips about being successful as an influencer on Instagram.
To gain more followers, you need to know the audience and niche you are targeting. Why is this important? Brands will typically only partner with influencers in their niche.
This is because influencer marketing on a brand level is all about gaining access to a built-in audience that will already be interested in their products or services.
If you don’t have a defined niche, you may find it difficult to land profitable brand sponsorships. This is why 55 percent of brands prefer working with micro-influencers.
Micro-influencers, like @beautybyjulia, have a very defined niche with very loyal followers ready to make purchases based on influencer recommendations.
You can see that having a defined beauty niche helped this Instagram micro-influencer land a paid sponsorship with OGX Beauty.
Authenticity Is Key
One of the most essential tips for earning money on Instagram is building trust with your audience. If your followers don’t trust you, your engagement will suffer, which decreases the chances of netting brand sponsorships.
How do you build trust? Post quality content that your audience wants more of. Consistent posting is one of the best ways to build trust since you are continuously popping up in your followers’ feeds.
Posting consistent content within a specific niche has allowed Instagram art influencer @dailyart to reach 9 million followers.
Other important factors are being authentic and respecting your audience. If your audience can sense you are just in it for the money, they are less likely to trust your recommendations.
It is also vital to stay true to your content and audience. Once you start landing sponsorship deals, if your page suddenly turns into a series of marketing ads, your fans might lose interest.
Learn How To Market Yourself
As an Instagram influencer, you must know how to market your most valuable asset: yourself.
An Instagram influencer is essentially an internet celebrity. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses can help you find your role in the social media sphere and which businesses you would be good at representing.
You probably already have a niche in mind based on your interests and expertise, but knowing how to expand your umbrella can help you find new opportunities. For example, an influencer who normally focuses on luxury accessories like watches and handbags might break into the market of luxury automobiles.
Knowing yourself and what appeals to your audience will arm you with what you need to market yourself to desirable brands.
Provide Amazing Customer Service
As an Instagram influencer, customer service may not be a term that crosses your mind. When you cross the threshold from being a social media icon to an influencer, that usually means partnering with brands and promoting products.
If you recommend something to your audience with false promises or promote a low-quality product, it reflects poorly on you. Or maybe you recommended a product, and now one of your fans has a question about how to use it.
Do your due diligence before recommending or reviewing a product to be sure it is something you would recommend to friends or use yourself. If a fan comes to you with a question about a product you suggested, you should be ready to provide some customer service!
How to Make Money From Instagram
While brand sponsorships are the primary way to earn money as an Instagram influencer, there are many other methods you can employ to generate additional streams of income and diversify your efforts.
Below are some lesser-known tactics you can use to make extra money with your Instagram influence.
Promote Affiliate Links
Content creators have potential customers that hang on their every word. This can prove profitable when it comes to affiliate marketing. If you want to know how to start making money on Instagram, you need to understand affiliate links.
For instance, affiliate marketer Pat Flynn was featured in an Ahrefs article for making over $100,000 from affiliate links in a single month.
What is affiliate marketing? Essentially, affiliate marketers earn money by sharing trackable links that take shoppers to product pages. If a shopper clicks an affiliate link and makes a purchase, the affiliate to who the link belongs to earns a commission off of the sale.
Instagram influencers are in a perfect position to make money from affiliate links since they already have a receptive audience. The first step in setting up your affiliate marketing revenue channels is to join an affiliate platform.
Affiliate marketing platforms to consider as an Instagram influencer are:
- AMAZON ASSOCIATES
- CJ.COM (COMMISSION JUNCTION)
- RAKUTEN AFFILIATES
- IMPACT AFFILIATE MARKETING
- WALMART AFFILIATE PROGRAM
Amazon and Walmart affiliate programs are great because you have access to tons of kinds of products from multiple brands.
Once you’re signed up and have brand affiliate links ready, it is time to leverage your Instagram influence to create another revenue stream. Here’s how fashion and lifestyle nano-influencer @chelsss.rose leverages Amazon affiliate links to make money on Instagram.
She introduces the apparel via an Instagram post and places a clickable link to shop the products featured. When a follower finds the item they are looking for; they tap through to the Amazon product page for that specific item.
You can see that the link for the Amazon product page is unique to the influencer. The Instagram post for this product had 158 views. If only 20 bought this product, the influencer could make over $40 with an estimated 5 percent commission on each sale.
Sell Your Products
If you gain more followers on Instagram and have a receptive audience, why not sell your own products? You can easily promote your website or Etsy account on your Instagram bio. You can even drive traffic to your sales platform with Instagram posts or Instagram Stories!
Here’s how Instagram influencer and jewelry designer @marah.cotta.clay uses Instagram to sell her very own physical products.
You can also utilize Instagram Shopping to create shoppable posts through your Instagram page!
Set up an Instagram Shop
If you have your own products, you can actually sell them directly. All you need to do is set up Facebook Pay on your business profile and comply with the following terms and policies:
- Community Guidelines
- Online Merchants Agreement
- Commerce Policies
- Advertising Policies
- Pages, Groups, and Events Policies
You can then add products to your page, and visitors can buy them directly within the app! For many influencers, selling merchandise is a great way to increase your potential revenue.
Monetize Videos with In-Stream Ads
In-stream ads are a popular monetization strategy for influencers on social platforms like YouTube. Previously you could earn advertising revenue on any video content on your Instagram page.
Now, Instagram is shifting its video ads to Reels. If you are already producing Reels that attract a lot of views, this is an easy way to earn extra money on the side. If you aren’t creating Reels, now is the perfect time to start!
Collaborate with Other Influencers
While collaborating with other influencers might not earn you money directly, it is a great way to grow your online audience and improve your earning potential for the future.
Ideally, collaboration with influencers will be with peers who complement your niche, but who are not direct competition. This allows you to get in front of a new potential audience (and vice versa) which can be a quick way to gain new followers.
Add a Link to Your Site on Your Bio
It is common for seasoned Instagram influencers to have websites of their own. Depending on their niche, they might sell their own products, offer consultation services, or just use them to collaborate with clients outside of Insta.
If you have your own website, you can link to it in your Instagram bio to drive traffic there. You can also link to your other social accounts or Linktree to build your network.
Publish Sponsored Posts
Publishing posts for brands is the bread and butter of most Instagram influencer campaigns. Once you have a significant following, this will net you the most money for your effort.
Depending on your level of influence, this can earn you hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a single post. If engagement on that post is good, you may find yourself with a steady sponsor!
Oftentimes, companies will seek out influencers who want to promote their products. But unless you are a big name in your niche, it doesn’t hurt to throw your hat into the ring. Try connecting with brands you think your audience would be receptive to and look for an opportunity to pitch them a sponsorship deal!
Enable Live Badges
Live badges are a new feature from Instagram that allows viewers to tip live streamers. Badges come in denominations of $0.99, $1.99, and $4.99, with all of the proceeds going to the host of the Live video.
In addition to showing support to the creator, badges give priority in the comments, so superfans have extra visibility. A special message is also displayed, and fans can earn a spot on the creator’s list of badge holders by making donations. At certain thresholds, additional features unlock, such as having your picture highlighted and access to a special heart emoji.
Currently, badges are only available to influencers in the U.S. with over 10,000 followers, though it is expected that they will continue to roll out in other regions.
A common type of affiliate post for influencers is special offer promotions. Usually, this looks like a special discount code that your followers can use.
This is a very well-balanced system as all parties get something out of the deal:
- Your fans get a special discount on products they are likely interested in
- You earn a commission when your promo codes are redeemed
- The company gets new shoppers and a boost in sales
Promoting offers is a nice balance between giving product recommendations and giving value to your audience. They get a discount out of the deal, not just a sales pitch.
How To Get Sponsored On Instagram
While it is true that many influencers are sought out by brands interested in getting in front of their audience, most of us don’t want to sit around and wait for that to happen. You can increase your chances by growing your follower count, keeping laser-focused on a marketable niche, and maintaining high engagement.
You can also actively pursue sponsorships on Instagram. After all, you have developed valuable skills and positioned yourself to be a marketer in your niche. You can pitch yourself to companies that you think would be a good match for your audience.
Start by interacting with them on social media to get on their radar. Once you are more familiar with their brand and marketing strategy, try reaching out and offering your services.
How To Decide What to Charge As An Influencer
While the $10 per 1,000 followers rule of thumb is a good starting point for the average influencer, experience and marketability are also major factors.
For example, if you’ve never done a sponsored post before, companies will be less likely to pay out top dollar. On the other hand, if you have a history of very successful sponsored posts, you can negotiate for a premium price.
At the end of the day, charging less increases your likelihood of landing deals and may be a good tactic early on. You might even offer to do some free posts while getting started. Once you have a few successful deals under your belt, then you can shoot for the $10 per 1,000 followers mark or beyond!
Become A Brand Ambassador
Brand ambassadorship is a long-term partnership where an influencer promotes and serves as a spokesperson for a company. This might include making sponsored posts, offering promotions, or posting product reviews.
While brand ambassador work tends to be less lucrative per post, the advantage is more consistent opportunities. Especially early in your journey as an influencer, a brand ambassadorship is a great opportunity for consistent work, and it looks great on your resume! Later in your career, brand ambassador roles can end up being very lucrative.
How To Find Brands To Work With
Brands will pay top dollar for Instagram marketing channels, enlisting social media influencers to raise brand awareness, make sponsored posts, and create a social buzz with high-quality, original content. With enough popularity, brands will flock to you. But before then, you may need to put in some legwork by pitching yourself to brands in your market.
When reaching out to a brand, the first step is to find the marketer at the company who handles influencer marketing. Next, compose an email with key metrics (followers, engagement rate, niche, etc.) to sell yourself as a worthwhile marketing opportunity.
A pitch email might look something like this.
Cold-calling brands can be time-consuming. The good news is that influencer marketing platforms like Scalefluence can help you connect with marketing agencies looking for influencers.
Scalefluence is a premier influencer marketing platform with the expertise to get you paid top dollar for your creativity and influence. With a robust network of brands and agencies, Scalefluence makes landing paid brand sponsorships easy.
Here’s a brand sponsorship example from Instagram beauty micro-influencers @karenncamargo_ and @alamarcosmetics.
This sponsored post netted an engagement rate of 4.5 percent, far above the average Instagram post engagement rate of 2 percent. This influencer marketing campaign most likely resulted in serious sales!
Promoting Your Business on Instagram
As you can see, there is a whole economy at play behind the scenes on Instagram. The job of an influencer is to understand how these systems work in order to bridge the gap between businesses and their target audience. Scalefluence can help accelerate your growth with support and a network of partner brands.