Instagram is more than just a fun place to post your holiday snaps. For many people, Instagram is a career. Thousands of influencers make millions of dollars every year on the platform – and you could too.
All you need to do is meet some prerequisites and learn how to monetize your Instagram content!
Below, we’ll walk you through the top methods influencers use to make money from their content.
Let’s get started.
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Prerequisites to meet to make money from Instagram
There are loads of people making a full-time income from Instagram, but that kind of success doesn’t happen overnight. To be able to make money on Instagram, there are certain prerequisites that your account will need to meet first.
These prerequisites aren’t set in stone. But if you want to make a real living from Instagram, here’s what you should be aiming for:
You have a loyal, engaged audience
For brands, one of the main benefits of influencer marketing is the loyalty and trust you’ve built with your audience. They can leverage it to reach their goals, whether it’s to drive brand awareness or boost sales.
Loyal followers that trust you will trust your recommendations – and brands know this.
That’s why having a loyal and engaged following is so essential. If you can show you have a loyal following, brands will be more willing to partner with you for sponsored posts.
You’ll know if your audience is engaged by the number of questions, comments, and likes you get from your followers. If you have a high follower count, but low engagement, it’s obvious the majority of your followers don’t actively interact with your content. This will make it hard for you to monetize your Instagram content.
When brands are interested in working with you, they’ll consider your follower count. But what’s more important to them is that your followers are engaged with your content. This shows you’ve built up a good relationship with your followers.
It also ensures the sponsored content you create will resonate with your audience.
You have influence over your following
To be regarded as an influencer by brands, you need to have some influence over your followers’ decisions.
Influencer marketing is essentially word-of-mouth marketing, but on a much larger, digital scale. This means brands look for influencers who have authority over their followers’ decisions. They’re looking for trendsetters and people who have real power to persuade.
An engaged and loyal following is easier to influence. They want to be part of your community and – most importantly – they value what you have to say.
If you’ve mastered the art of engagement, you shouldn’t have any problems when it comes to monetizing your Instagram content. You’ll have a good idea of what your followers want to see and how they’ll respond to different types of brands and sponsorships.
If you’re considering monetization, we can’t stress enough that engagement is key.
Taking shortcuts and paying for fake followers to grow your audience will be a really bad move in the long run. Fake followers will lead to a drop in engagement, which is easy to spot. This will make it harder to partner with brands.
Plus, paying for fake followers can land you in deep trouble. If you’re seen defrauding brands, it can result in you getting your Instagram account blocked. You’ll also damage your credibility, break brands’ trust, and potentially face legal troubles. It’s really not worth the risk.
How many followers do you need to monetize your Instagram content?
You can try monetizing your Instagram account at pretty much any point in your growth journey. You might even be able to make some money when you only have a few hundred followers.
However, you’re likely to be much more successful working with brands once you’re regarded as a nano-influencer. These are individuals who have up to 10,000 followers. There are a few reasons for this.
Firstly, influencer marketing is a numbers game. Although high levels of engagement is a plus, there are still some brands who would rather partner with influencers with a larger following.
This all comes down to what the brands want to achieve in their influencer marketing campaigns. Some brands want to reach as many people as possible, and they can’t do that effectively with nano-influencers.
In addition to this, converting engagement into sales on Instagram becomes a lot easier once you hit 10,000 followers. There’s a simple reason for this: swipe-up links.
Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t allow influencers to use this feature unless they have 10,000 followers or more. Before you hit that follower mark, the only place you can link out to products or services is in your bio.
This is extremely limiting if the main goal of your brand collaboration is website traffic or sales. When you reach 10,000 followers, you’ll be able to include ‘swipe up’ links in your stories, which will make these types of partnerships much more successful.
Attracting followers to your Instagram is hard work, but you can use these tactics to learn how to grow your Instagram audience.
What you need to do to monetize your Instagram account
So, I know what you’re thinking: how do you meet the prerequisites for monetizing your Instagram content?
Well, it’s actually quite simple. You need to create and publish high-quality, original content consistently.
Follow-for-follow tactics and other shortcuts to gain followers won’t work in the long run. The only real way to grow and monetize your Instagram account is by creating posts that your audience values and wants to stick around for.
This won’t happen overnight. It’ll take time, patience, and dedication to get it right – but it’s worth it in the end. Here are some extra tips that’ll help you to build your Instagram account!
Post content regularly & at optimal times
If you want your Instagram following to grow, you need to commit to a posting schedule and stick to it.
Make sure you’re posting regularly and keeping your followers engaged with what’s going on in your life. Long periods of inactivity can lead to disengaged followers. They may even unfollow your account completely, so this is something you’ll want to avoid.
You should also consider when the best time to post is based on your following. You can use Instagram Insights to learn more about where your followers are and what times of day they’re most active.
Use this information to ensure that you’re posting at optimal times of the day for engagement. It’ll increase the chances of your followers seeing and interacting with your content.
Engage with your audience
Building a loyal and engaged following isn’t all about followers engaging with your content. You should aim to engage with them on a personal level too. It can be hard to interact with all your followers and respond to all comments, but it really pays off to make the effort to respond to as many as you can.
This will give your followers the idea that they’re a part of your community, rather than just another like on your photo. It’ll help you to build real relationships with your followers, and they’ll be incentivized to continue engaging with your content.
You can also interact with your audience by asking your followers to ask you questions or recommend things to you.
For more ideas on how to improve your Instagram engagement organically, check out this post.
If your Instagram account is still in a growth phase, then it’s really important to leverage hashtags. Hashtags are the key to being discovered by new followers, and you shouldn’t miss any opportunity to use them.
Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags in each post, but you don’t need to go overboard. Instead, you should focus on picking the right hashtags for your content and niche.
If you’re struggling to think of hashtags that might work, try out a few of these 100+ most popular hashtags on Instagram. You can also use a hashtag generator to get some ideas.
Find & stick to a consistent theme
Themes are key on Instagram, and if your theme isn’t on point, followers quickly become disengaged. A theme is the “thread” that ties all of your posts together. It might be a particular color palette or type of content. For example, you might exclusively post funny pictures of cats, inspirational travel landscapes, or pastel fashion products.
Think about the influencers you follow. When you started following them, you had a reason. Maybe they shared the same interests, fashion, or hobbies to you. Maybe you just really liked their content, or you thought their feed was pretty.
After you’ve followed the influencer for a while, you may find it hard to remember why you started following in the first place. That’s because you’re now a loyal member of their community and you’re now invested in the influencer.
However, it takes a while to convert followers from interested Instagrammers to loyal members of your tribe, and that’s why a solid theme is so important.
If you keep them hooked with your account theme, they won’t unfollow before they’ve been fully converted to a loyal follower.
However, if your content is all over the place, and you switch between cute dogs and death metal band pictures on a daily basis, some people might lose interest pretty fast.
Ways to monetize your Instagram content
Ok, so now you know what’s required to successfully monetize your Instagram content. So, let’s get into the exciting part — how you actually go about doing it.
Here are some of the most common ways influencers monetize their Instagram content.
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest routes to take when monetizing your Instagram account. It works like this:
- You sign up to an affiliate program that you think your audience will be interested in.
- The brand provides you with a unique trackable link that you can share with your following on your Instagram account.
- Every time someone clicks that link and makes a purchase, it’s logged as a sale on your affiliate account.
- You earn a commission for each sale you make. This might be a percentage of the total sale value or a flat fee.
Affiliate marketing is super simple, and with so many affiliate programs out there, you don’t have to jump through a ton of hoops to get started.
Many brands will let you sign up regardless of your total follower count and, as your following and sales grow, they may increase the affiliate commission you receive.
The only real drawback with affiliate marketing is that smaller influencers may find it hard to make a lot of money from it. Since you only bag a percentage of each sale, you’ll need to reach and convert a lot of people to earn a sizable income.
Of course, if your engagement is off the charts and the deals that you’re pushing are perfectly matched for your audience, you might find that a small following is all you need to make a decent income from affiliate marketing.
Sponsored posts and shoutouts
Sponsored posts and shoutouts are where the money really is on Instagram. Influencer marketing is fast growing, so influencers can make some serious money.
A sponsored post is when a brand pays an influencer to feature or promote their brand in some way. Shoutouts are when someone pays you to “shout out” their Instagram account by asking your followers to check out their page and tagging them.
If you’re keen to go down the sponsored posts route, you can get started by creating a list of potential businesses that you think would be a great fit for you and your audience.
After that, put together a winning influencer media kit that showcases what makes your account unique and send it out to them. Include information about your followers and engagement stats and wait for the offers to roll in.
Don’t have the time to create your own media kit? You can use this tool to generate an Instagram media kit for free!
As your account grows, potential partners will start reaching out to you, instead of the other way around.
Just remember to vet any offers that come along to make sure that they’re appropriate for your audience. Engaged followers can soon tire of influencers that post about any brand that pays them, so be wary of sponsoring brands you know will be of no interest to your following.
Create your own products
Creating your own products is another great way to make money on Instagram. All you have to do is create something you think your followers would like and find a way to sell it. You could create your own e-commerce site or sell them using marketplace sites like Etsy, DePop, and eBay.
Creating products tend to work well for artistic Instagrammers, DIY influencers, and home cooks. For example, if your Instagram account showcases your drawings, you could sell physical prints, mugs, and t-shirts with your designs printed on them.
If you can create a product that you know that your followers would be interested in, this can be a big moneymaker. You wouldn’t have to go through the work of finding potential brand partners.
Teach what you know through courses
If you’re having trouble working out how to monetize your Instagram content, you might want to consider sharing your knowledge with your followers instead of selling them a physical product.
If your account focuses on showcasing a particular skill you have, it’s likely that some of your followers would be willing to pay to learn how to do it.
You can list your course on marketplace sites like Udemy and Skillshare. Alternatively, you can create your own website and sell your own video course directly.
Instagram is a great place to share snippets of what your courses are all about. You can give sneak peeks at the classes and provide mini-tutorials that will give your followers an idea of what they would learn in the course to entice them.
If you can’t think of a skill that you want to share, consider making a course relating to becoming an influencer. If you’ve managed to grow your account to a sizable following, you have valuable information to share with followers that are keen to do the same.
Product placement is perfect for influencers who don’t want their branded ads to be so blatant to their followers and prefer a more subtle approach.
They involve showcasing products in your IGTV videos or stories and linking out to them. The brand will pay you just to feature their product in the video, and you won’t necessarily be expected to publish dedicated posts about the product.
For example, you might just share a snap of you wearing a particular pair of sneakers, without explicitly promoting said sneakers.
Final thoughts on monetizing Instagram content
That concludes this guide on how to monetize your Instagram content. As you can see, there are plenty of monetization options out there for every kind of influencer.
The way in which you choose to monetize is completely up to you. But hopefully, this article has given you some idea of the different options available.
And remember, monetization is the easy part. The hard part is taking the time to build and nurture a loyal following!
If you want to know more about how to monetize your Instagram content and reach out to brands, check out some of our other articles on the topic on our blog. Good luck!