Gregory Mount
Gregory Mount
How to Make Money on Instagram
5 (100%) 3 votes

Do you reckon yourself among avid Instagrammers? Do you frequently share your photos with the global community? If you do, then you have probably considered an idea of making money on it. Let’s face it, the possibility of earning thousands of dollars just for posting pictures is incredibly tempting! The truth is, in the age of social media we live in, it is not just a fantasy – it’s a prospective business that is opening new opportunities for socially active and enterprising individuals all the time.

It is reported that the number of monthly active Instagram users has reached an inconceivable 800 million! No wonder that brands in almost every niche turn to reputable Instagrammers for help in promoting their products and services. Social media like Instagram give companies public reach and access to the most important resource – audience. That’s why they are ready to pay hefty sums to whoever is able to draw public attention to their brand.

So are you ready to know how to make money on Instagram? Follow on and you will find out what exactly Instagram influencers do to secure a steady inflow of cash.

Prerequisites for a successful Instagram monetization


If your goal is to get paid for your Instagram posts, the first thing you’ve got to take care of is your audience. Your success depends mostly on your followers, and their number must be high enough to guarantee a public reach that will satisfy the requirements of companies you are partnering with.

It is as simple as that: the more followers you have, the more chances you get to receive a lucrative offer. If your social profile is not popular enough, why would companies even bother to contact you?

On the opposite, Instagrammers with a powerful following represent a valuable resource for brands to raise awareness about their products.


To be able to exert influence on your followers, you need to possess a considerable level of authority among them. If your content is in high demand and has proven to meet high-quality standards for a long period of time, you can basically consider your status established, given the number of your followers is big enough.

Authority is required to make people trust you and believe that your level of expertise in a particular niche meets their expectations. Possessing a right amount of credibility, you can recommend products and services to your followers through Instagram and expect them to pick up trends from you. To understand the logic behind this scheme, it is enough to answer a simple question: will you listen to a stranger who is recommending you to buy a product or follow the advice from your close friend? Most probably, the latter. This is exactly how your authority should work on Instagram: you make people engaged with your posts, become a part of their lives, share interesting content, and then leverage your credit of trust to pursue commercial purposes.

Quality content

When you post photos on Instagram just for your friends and family, you should hardly strive for perfection, unless you want to surprise everybody with your photography skills. But when it comes to making money on Instagram, the requirements for your professionalism can be extremely high. This is when your skills of taking cool snaps and the equipment you use really matter.

To make brands take an interest in you in the first place, you have to make sure your photos are good enough. Even more so when you start working with companies. To be able to meet their expectations for the quality of photos you will need a powerful camera capable of taking photos in high resolution (4K is preferable). Your creativity and ability to make perfect shots come to the forefront as well.

Tips on how to get it right

In order to become a successful Instagrammer, you should follow some simple rules. With a right approach, you can get enough followers and achieve a required level of authority to become an Instagram influencer.

  • Provide enough information about yourself. Write an extensive Instagram bio that will allow users to get a better understanding of who you are and what you do. Ideally, your bio should be short and concise, although offering a clear description of your personality and area of expertise. Contact information is important as much. Don’t forget to mention your geographical location too.
  • Make use of relevant hashtags. What can be more important on Instagram than a masterful use of hashtags? Tags are basically keywords that allow you and your images to be found by other users. That’s why utilizing right hashtags will give you more visibility and expand your reach. Take some time to research the most popular hashtags in your niche and don’t forget to include them in every post you make. You can also check out a couple of online tools like TagForLikes or to find the appropriate tags.
  • Post only good quality photos. Build your reputation on images you are absolutely sure of and don’t give others a reason to question your professionalism by posting photos of lower quality. Remember, Instagram was created for sharing images in the first place, so make sure the photos you post are capable of catching attention and keeping your audience engaged for a long time.
  • Be consistent. Apart from the quality of your posts, another aspect that matters as much is the regularity. If you have made a couple of interesting and successful posts and then disappeared out of sight, you will most probably lose your audience. Becoming an Instagram influencer is pretty much like surfing: you catch a wave and do your best to ride it as long as it can carry you. That’s why your posts should be frequent. In this way, you will remain on people’s radar longer and maintain the engagement you have once created.
  • Find your theme. This one goes hand in hand with determining your niche. You must come up with a well-defined topic for your Instagram account, so that other users can easily identify your scope of interests and understand what kind of images to expect from you. If you don’t focus on one specific issue and make posts on many different subjects at once, you can get your followers confused. And in that case, they can easily lose interest in you.
  • Introduce a story. To uphold your followers’ engagement, it might be a good idea to weave in a kind of narrative in your posts. Naturally, it is not easy to tell stories by means of visual content. But you can think of the ways to create a story-like progression to your posts, make a logical link between them, implement cliffhangers, just like in movie series, leaving your audience craving for more.
  • Keep communicating. As with any other social media, ensuring a powerful following on Instagram is impossible without communication. For this reason, it is vital to keep in touch with your followers all the time, using any means and opportunities at your disposal. Interact with other Instagram users by commenting on posts and liking them. You should always be open for discussions if you expect people to let you in their lives.
  • Combine different channels of influence. While focusing on Instagram, it is highly recommended not to give up on other social channels that can bring new visitors to your Instagram account. First and foremost, create a blog that would be an extension of your Instagram channel. It will allow you to elaborate on the topics broached by your Instagram posts, and hence make your content more self-sufficient and versatile, giving it more value. Just remember not to stray too far away from the ideas conveyed by your images on Instagram, otherwise, you are risking to cause an unnecessary confusion. Additionally, your blog can help you avoid long and aesthetically displeasing captions and keep your posts leaner.
    Other social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. can also be very useful for expanding your public reach. Integrating all of these options will enable you to achieve the best results in establishing a solid follower base and achieving a high level of credibility.
    If you own a social network on Ning, consider all these solutions at your disposal because you already have a comprehensive platform for starting a blog and can make other social media work for you thanks to the seamless integration option.

Ways to monetize Instagram

Now when you know the basic rules of the game, you must be wondering what sources of revenue famous Instagrammers usually procure for themselves. There are multiple ways to make money on Instagram, and the most popular of them are publishing sponsored posts, becoming affiliated with brands, selling products, and selling photos.

  1. Sponsored posts

Making sponsored posts is one of the proven ways of monetizing Instagram. A sponsored post is a piece of content, an image or a video, highlighting a certain brand. Captions to such posts usually contain branded hashtags, brand mentions, and links to affiliated web resources.

The logic behind this marketing strategy is very simple. If you have a lot of followers, brands will want your outreach to raise awareness about their products and services. So you share it by making sponsored posts and get paid for it. The price of your posts depends heavily on the number of followers you have, as well as your authority among them.

Given a remarkable following on Instagram, there are high chances that companies interested in your services will find and contact you on their own. But you can also try various tools that help Instagrammers find brands to partner with, for example, Buzzweb,, TRIBE, TapInfluence, etc.

However, to be able to preserve your credibility and integrity, you’ll want to support only those brands that fit your lifestyle and personality. The idea is to put in the spotlight only the products that you truly believe are good for yourself. People that follow your Instagram channel and trust you as an individual are likely to click on the link and buy the product. So your goal is basically to set up a trend. But if you personally don’t trust the product or the brand, best stay away from promoting it. Otherwise, your followers will most likely feel the dishonesty and leave you, which you certainly don’t want to happen.

  1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is similar to making sponsored posts but differs in a way that makes it more sales oriented, meaning that you get paid not for generating awareness but for encouraging people to actually buy products. Thus, your Instagram posts must convince users to click on the affiliate URL link provided by the brand or use promo codes, driving the company’s sales. The links can be introduced both in your bio and captions.

This strategy is less straightforward than selling products directly and requires quite a lot of creativity since your job as a brand’s affiliate is to make sure that clicks are translated into sales. It works well with industries like garments, tourism, healthcare, beauty and others.

To find companies that would potentially like to affiliate with you, it is worth checking popular online marketplaces like ClickBank or RewardStyle.

  1. Selling photos

Whether you are a professional photographer or an amateur with ambitions, you can always try to sell your photos to private users, companies, or agencies – Instagram is an image-sharing platform after all!

Images, just like any other product, can be effectively sold, licensed, and printed on a variety of goods. You can use Instagram to showcase and promote your unique photos. If they reach the right audience, you will have all the chances to successfully make money on them.

Therefore, your primary task is to take remarkable snaps, put your personal watermark on them, provide engaging captions, and use relevant hashtags to reach out to the public that might be interested in your talent.

  1. Selling your own products

Supporting other brands is not your only option. You can create your own brand and use Instagram to promote it.

If you have a product (physical or digital) or service to offer, there’s nothing easier than creating a business account on Instagram and advertising it by posting photos, showcasing your contended customers, etc.

You can set up your own online store and sell all kinds of stuff. If you used to sell photos, you can try expanding your business by selling items with unique prints of your own design, be it t-shirts, mugs, posters, pillows, etc.

If you consider yourself an expert in some particular area, there’s nothing preventing you from writing, promoting and selling an e-book through Instagram.

  1. Selling your Instagram account

Yes, as relentless as it might sound, selling an Instagram account is also a viable way of making money as long as your follower base is big enough for others to take an interest in it. Certain individuals and companies would be happy to get access to your audience for a right price. A couple of online services can help you with this, for instance, Fame swap or Viral accounts.


Making money on Instagram is real. It is a feasible opportunity that has grown into a full-on business for many Internet enthusiasts who had managed to earn a reputation for interesting content and then leverage it for getting revenues.

As you see, you don’t have to be a social media marketing pro to benefit from the opportunities offered by Instagram. If you know your ways around this social platform and have a clear understanding of your audience, there’s no reason not to try monetizing your endeavors. Just remember why people started to follow you in the first place and maintain this identity that makes you posts special. If you are able to find a balance between doing business and preserving the integrity, then you’re good to go.



Gregory Mount

Gregory Mount is SMM specialist at Ning.