You’ve worked hard to craft the ideal Instagram account for your brand. You’ve developed eye-catching content, perfected your aesthetic, and built an engaged community.
Now you’re ready to benefit from the value you’ve created. So how can you make money on Instagram?
Whether you have a few thousand or over a million followers, you can get paid for your efforts. Find out how to monetize your Instagram account and demonstrate your return on investment (ROI).
What to Do Before You Monetize Instagram
Before you devote time and resources to making money on Instagram, make sure your account is primed for monetization. Double check that you’ve completed the steps below first.
Write a Compelling Instagram Bio
Instagram gives you just 150 characters for your brand’s bio, so it’s critical to make every character count. Fortunately, that’s plenty of space for a brief introduction, a dash of personality, and a call to action (CTA). In this limited space, you can:
- Explain what your brand offers or what it’s all about
- Showcase your brand values or personality
- Highlight your newest product or service
- Mention branded or campaign hashtags
- Cultivate trust and build authority
- Tag partners, co-brands, or media resources
- Inspire action, such as clicks or sales
Since Instagram lets you include just one link, choose wisely. You may want to link to your homepage, your e-commerce site, or a splash page from Linktree or a similar app.
Post Consistently on Instagram
To monetize Instagram successfully, you need an audience. One of the easiest ways to attract followers is to publish content regularly. Not sure what to post? Keep a running list of content ideas, such as:
- Introducing or launching new products and services
- Showing followers how to use your offerings
- Showcasing sales, discounts, or limited-time offers
- Celebrating holidays and seasonal events
- Promoting your latest podcast, video, or blog post
- Featuring partners or brands you like
Then turn your ideas into a content calendar, complete with copy and creatives. Plan to publish consistently so followers regularly see your content on their timelines.
Publish Content at the Right Time
Should you post on Instagram multiple times a day or just a couple times a month? Most brands commit to posting at least a couple times per week to give followers plenty of chances to see their content.
Although it’s tempting to post only when you feel like it, you’ll get better results by identifying the right times to post on social media. To find the best days to post on Instagram, use a social media solution like Agorapulse.
Navigate to Agorapulse’s content report, and then scroll down to check publishing recommendations. Find the best times to post based on the highest engagement or the most people reached.
Make a note of the optimal times throughout a typical week. Then draft an Instagram schedule for your brand. Since you can schedule Instagram content with Agorapulse, you don’t have to worry about publishing in the moment.
Create High-Quality Content
Sure, your Instagram posts may miss the mark occasionally. But with a little planning, you can deliver high-quality content (almost) every time. Use these tips to improve content quality:
- Create a simple style guide that defines your brand’s aesthetic. Then use it to create original photos and videos that followers instantly identify with your brand.
- Publish stock photos sparingly, as they aren’t unique to your brand. If you do opt to share stock images, find high-quality examples on sites like Pexels and Unsplash.
- Don’t limit yourself to still images alone. Publish a variety of content across Instagram, including Stories, Reels, and IGTV. Use Agorapulse reports to see what type of content resonates with your followers.
You don’t need millions of followers to make money on Instagram. But connecting with more people can’t hurt either.
One of the easiest ways to improve Instagram reach is to leverage hashtags. Follow these rules of thumb to use hashtags correctly on social media:
- Add up to 30 hashtags, including a mix of branded, descriptive, and trending terms.
- Create hashtag groups in Agorapulse to save time when reusing lists of terms.
- Don’t feel compelled to use the maximum every time, as using unrelated hashtags can appear spammy.
- Experiment with using different numbers of hashtags to find what works best for your account.
- For maximum reach, include hashtags in the original post caption rather than in the comments.
Develop a Strong Following
To maximize your monetization potential on Instagram, you need engaged followers. You can increase Instagram engagement by:
- Being authentic: Embrace your brand’s identity and use it to make genuine connections with followers. Share your struggles and challenges.
- Starting conversations: Instagram works best as a platform for conversing with followers, not broadcasting ideas. Spark discussions and ask questions.
- Highlighting fans: Your Instagram account doesn’t have to be all about your brand. Share user-generated content (UGC) from your followers, too. That way you can give shout outs to fans and add variety to your feed.
Connect With Instagram Influencers
You can amplify your Instagram account by connecting with influencers across the platform. Use Agorapulse’s social CRM to identify your most engaged followers. Then check out their Instagram profiles to see if they have influencer potential.
You can add users to your list of favorites or create custom labels to track influencers. Your team can also create internal notes to keep everyone on the same page about potential partners.
8 Ways to Make Money on Instagram
After optimizing your profile and strategy, you’ll have an easier time generating value via Instagram. Now you can learn how to monetize Instagram accounts and choose the best option(s) for your brand or client.
1. Sell Products on Instagram
Does your brand sell products direct to consumer (DTC)? Do you have an e-commerce store? You have a couple options for selling products on Instagram:
- Try Instagram Shopping: This option is best if you have an e-commerce website where you can direct customers. First, set up your shop by adding product descriptions and images on Instagram. Then create collections to highlight themes or trends, and tag products in posts to encourage discovery. To make purchases, Instagram users can click through to your website.
- Close sales via DMs: This option works better if you don’t have an e-commerce website. Simply ask followers to DM you to make a purchase. Then you can make sales and accept payments right in your DMs, where you can start making money instantly.
2. Teach Followers How to Do Something
Do you make stunning salads or bake creative cakes? Perhaps you know how to style outfits for any occasion or turn heads with cutting-edge makeup. No matter your niche, your audience follows your Instagram account because they admire what you do. Why not show them how it’s done?
Aspiring teachers have a couple options to monetize Instagram:
- Sell an e-book: Compile all of your best tips into a single e-book, and add eye-catching images. Then put a price on it and upload it to Amazon or your own website. Share the link with your audience and promote it in your Instagram posts.
- Teach a course: Produce a video or an entire series that shows followers how to do something challenging. Then host your course on a platform like Kajabi or Teachable. Share the link with your followers and encourage them to join your course.
3. Hook Followers on Your Content
Even if teaching isn’t your forte, you can still encourage followers to pay for select content. Naturally, the posts and videos you share on Instagram represent just a glimpse of what you can do. Why not invite followers to explore your more premium content outside of Instagram?
Consider creating a subscription service or a membership site that features all your best content. Then you can make money by selling memberships or subscriptions, which you can promote on Instagram.
If you go this route, make sure you have a plan to upload premium content regularly. That way subscribers can continue to get value from their purchase and feel great about continuing to support your work.
4. Become an Instagram Influencer
You don’t necessarily have to sell your own products to monetize Instagram. Instead, you can become an influencer, by promoting your favorite brands.
To be an effective influencer, you typically need to be an expert in a particular niche, such as beauty, fashion, or food. By creating content around your area of expertise, you can attract followers who appreciate your lifestyle and trust what you say.
As you attract followers, you gain the ability to partner with brands seeking to tap into your audience. Some brands may offer products or services in exchange for your endorsement. Others may pay for sponsored posts, or content that features their products.
In some cases, brands look for Instagram influencers for long-term partnerships. To make the most money as a social media influencer, consider seeking out long-term sponsorships or brand ambassadorships.
5. Explore Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing offers an even more straightforward route for monetization. As an affiliate marketer, you serve as a brand ambassador for products and companies you like. Then you receive a commission when someone purchases something you recommend.
To become an affiliate marketer, sign up for a network like ShareASale or connect directly with a brand you like. Then create content featuring the brand’s products and include your affiliate links, either in Stories or in your Instagram bio. When someone uses your unique link, you make money.
Like influencers, affiliate marketers typically succeed by growing a community and building trust. For best results, take the time to create authentic content and get to know your followers before sharing affiliate links.
6. Offer Instagram Live Badges
Is going live a key part of your social media strategy? Whether you prefer to chat with followers independently or as a member of a Live Room, livestreaming offers plenty of opportunities to monetize Instagram.
With Instagram Live, you can do much more than pitch your own products or recommend brands you like. You can also sell badges to fans starting at just $0.99.
When fans buy a badge, they get a special heart icon and a feature in your list of supporters. Since Instagram highlights questions and comments from people with badges, you can interact with supporters and build connections more easily.
7. Leverage Instagram Ads
Do you want to amplify your earnings on Instagram? By running Instagram ads, you can reach more people and potentially drive more revenue.
To create Instagram ads, use Facebook Ads Manager. During the campaign setup process, you can choose where to place your ads. You can let Ads Manager automate placements or manually select from these Instagram options:
- Instagram feed
- Explore tab
To save time, you can allow Ads Manager to format your ads for Instagram automatically. To drive the best possible results, you can edit Instagram placements. Consider testing and updating the copy, creative, link, or even background color to optimize for Instagram.
8. Share Your Instagram Expertise
Whether you offer products via Instagram Shopping, become an influencer, or create content that sells itself, you’re likely to accumulate tons of knowledge. Why keep that knowledge to yourself, especially if you can monetize it?
For experienced Instagram marketers, sharing expertise—for a fee, of course—is a smart way to make money on the platform. Consider one of these two options:
- Become an Instagram coach: As a coach, you can guide Instagram users through the process of building a profile, growing an audience, and creating content. You might even specialize in helping Instagrammers become influencers or set up Instagram Shopping. Either way, you can share content about your coaching on Instagram and then encourage followers to sign up.
- Launch an Instagram agency: If you start a social media agency, you can use your expertise to manage clients’ Instagram profiles directly. For example, you might partner with brands to create Instagram strategies or connect with influencers. If you create a separate Instagram profile for your agency, you can use your established account to cross-promote.
How to Prove ROI on Instagram
Once you’ve decided how to make money on Instagram, start tracking and reporting on ROI. Naturally, your colleagues or clients will want to know whether your efforts are paying off. Here are three ways to demonstrate ROI.
With Agorapulse reports, you can calculate ROI based on all the metrics that matter to your team. First, decide which Instagram metrics best demonstrate the value you provide. Next, assign a value to each—like so:
- Impressions: $1.50 per 1,000 impressions
- Audience growth: $1 per new follower
- Engagement: $0.25 per like or comment
- Hashtags: $0.50 per campaign hashtag interactions
- Brand awareness: $2 per mention or branded hashtag
Then download your Agorapulse report for the time frame in question. Before sharing with your team, add a page to the report that tallies the ROI. Include your insights, such as where and how your team succeeded and what you can do to monetize Instagram even more next month or quarter.
Does your Instagram monetization plan involve actions on your company’s website? If so, be sure to include website analytics in your ROI report. Follow the same formula as above while focusing on Instagram traffic. Decide which website metrics provide value, and then assign an amount to each:
- Visitors: $0.50 per session
- Content: $1 per landing page view
- Conversion: $5 per subscription
- Revenue: actual value per e-commerce purchase
Add your Google Analytics report to your Agorapulse report to offer a comprehensive view of Instagram ROI. Remember to include your insights so your colleagues or clients know how to interpret the data and assess your success.
Are you using your e-commerce channels to monetize Instagram? If so, revenue is an essential component of your ROI report. Depending on the methods you use, you may need to use one or more of these tactics to report on revenue:
- Google Analytics: Enable e-commerce and enhanced reporting so Google Analytics can track relevant metrics automatically. Then pull Instagram revenue from your Google Analytics report.
- E-Commerce Analytics: Log in to your e-commerce platform, which should automatically track sales by channel. Then find the Instagram revenue on your sales report.
- Instagram Ads: Go to Facebook Ads Manager and break down the results by platform. Then tally the revenue from Instagram placements. Ads Manager can also calculate purchase return on ad spend (ROAS) to save you time.
No matter your niche or the nature of your products and services, you can monetize Instagram. From selling products to creating sponsored posts to teasing paid content, this social media channel offers tons of opportunities for making money. Which approach are you going to test out first?