Making money on Instagram can seem like a challenge if you don’t have at least 10,000 followers already.
But did you know that Instagram has more than 1 billion monthly users? That’s a lot of people, just waiting to find out about you, and what you have to offer!
In this article, we’ll show you all the different ways you can make money on Instagram, even if you don’t have 10,000 followers yet.
Over the past few years, it’s evolved from a simple photo-sharing app to a powerful marketing tool that influencers and businesses of all sizes are using to reach their target audiences.
According to Instagram Business, 60% of people use this platform to discover new products, 80% of them follow at least one brand, 200 million accounts check out a business profile each day, and 66% of profile visits are from non-followers.
Much like Google and Facebook, Instagram is a place where potential customers are every single day.
In 2019, people can make big bucks on Instagram: The recent Hopper HQ report claims that Kylie Jenner is paid around $1.2 million for a single post on Instagram. Pretty amazing, huh? Obviously, if you’re not one of the world’s most well-known celebrities, your estimated earnings may vary depending on the following count, engagement, reputation, etc.
However, every person can still find an individual approach to Instagram monetization even though the competition is high. Here are the top nine ways to make money on Instagram:
If you want to learn how to make money on Instagram, you need the right business model.
Where do you start?
Why Having 10,000 Followers Is Important
On Instagram, getting 10,000 followers is kind of like the turning point: suddenly, more doors open up, and your efforts to make money on the platform become a lot easier.
Not only do more brands reach out for partnerships, but you also get the coveted “Swipe Up” feature on your stories. Brands love this feature since it converts at a whopping 15-25% per story.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to start making money with fewer than 10,000 followers.
Whether you’re an individual influencer or a business, we’ll show you the best ways to start making money on Instagram before you get to the 10,000 follower mark.
Instagram for Individuals vs Business Owners
If you want to make money as an individual, your main goal should be to attract brands.
The only reason brands are going to give their money to you is because of your influence on their target audience. Therefore, building relationships and keeping your audience engaged is the most important thing to focus on.
Now, if you’re a business your goals will be slightly different.
Instead of using your content as real estate for brands, you’ll want to get as much of your crowd to engage with your own content as possible.
That doesn’t mean you should be spamming them with ads (we see that enough through sponsored posts). What really moves the needle is creating content that’s so creative and interesting that it outshines the content your competitors are posting.
Capture and share amazing pictures with a story in the description, or highlight an example of when your product helped someone.
Creating interesting, engaging content that’s related to your brand’s industry is key. Be consistent in posting and take steps to build relationships with other users.
You can easily build relationships through sharing Instagram love: like other users’ photos, comment on their posts and reply to their stories.
How to Make Money on Instagram Without 10,000 Followers
With under 10,000 followers, you have fewer tools available to help you monetize, but there are still several things you can do to get started.
Let’s explore each of them below!
Make Money on Instagram From Sponsored Posts
Influencer marketing is on its rise, according to Social Toaster: 92% of individuals trust word-of-mouth recommendations, 76% of people say that they’re more likely to trust content shared by common people than brands, and 82% of customers want to get referrals from friends before making a purchasing decision.
Simply put, people seek out peers’ recommendations, so it’s no wonder more and more brands reach out to influencers to get shoutouts for their brands.
Since users crave transparency on Instagram, all influencers need to disclose sponsored posts, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines for online advertising. And here’s how a sponsored post may look like on Instagram:
Daphne Nur Oz is a popular TV host with over 387k followers, so it’s no wonder that big brands like J.Crew reach out to her for a chance to enter an already-established community of engaged Instagrammers.
Want to know the best part? There’s no need to have a solid following to start making money with sponsored posts. When choosing the right influencer, most brands pay close attention to the engagement rate, so even big brands like Dunkin’ want to work with nano- and micro-influencers.
Since these influencers have in-person interactions with the majority of their subscribers, they deliver better results, which means you can get an offer even if you have less than 1,000 followers count on Instagram.
This is a very common monetization channel for individual influencers. Basically, a brand pays you to create an advertorial piece of content for them in the form of posts or stories.
In order to do this, you really need to have a strong presence within your followers, as well as trust and engagement.
Because of this, it’s important to make sure that you’re only partnering with brands that you enjoy, would actually use yourself, and are specific to your niche.
If you’re advertising antivirus software but your account is all about hiking, your post won’t get as much engagement. The sponsored brand won’t get any return on their investment, and you’ll lose your trust and reputation with your audience.
On the other hand, if your Instagram feed is about horses and horseback riding, you could easily advertise something like a spray to make the saddle shine. This way, you’ll get far better engagement.
Now, you might be wondering, how do I get brands to sponsor me when I only have a couple of thousand followers?
It’s not that hard.
Well, that’s if you’ve created a noteworthy online presence and a great relationship with your followers. It’s even likely that brands will reach out to you first. Many smaller companies that want to start influencer marketing on Instagram will usually start out by reaching out to individual accounts with a smaller following first. Besides, they need to start somewhere, too.
Examples of sponsored posts from influencers with under 10,000 followers
Cinnamon And Coriander, an Instagrammer passionate about all things food has over 600 posts of recipes she loves and has created herself.
Although she doesn’t have 10k followers yet, she’s grown quite an engagement with her followers by including long captions about her cooking.
Her posts have many comments as well, with an average of 150 comments per post. The engagement and quality of her pictures attract sponsors like Just Spices to promote them in her posts.
If you own an eCommerce store, why not open an Instagram account for it as well?
This is a great way to create more awareness of the products you’re selling. Your Instagram page can be full of attractive pictures with people showcasing the products.
If you don’t have a model, you can be the one showcasing the product, or if the product doesn’t need a model, you can create a nice background to make the product stand out.
Either way, it’s important to invest in a good camera. Instagram users often won’t look twice if your feed is full of low-quality images. And if the user knows your images are bad quality, they may think your product is as well.
Become a Brand Ambassador.
Sponsored posts work well on Instagram, but most companies want to establish long-term relationships with influencers, so they seek out brand ambassadors who can promote a company in a positive light on a regular basis.
Since Instagram is the most preferred channel for influencer marketing, it’s a perfect place for users to find brand ambassador programs and collaborate with companies to promote their products. Large brands also frequently send free products to influencers so they can review and promote them.
For example, Jay Alvarrez is a lifestyle blogger who posts photos and videos on his Instagram and YouTube channels. With a highly-engaged community of over 6 million loyal followers, brands are eager to build a long-term partnership with him.
Not only do brands invite Jay to become a brand ambassador, but they also offer him to create capsule collections and co-branded products. In 2018, he designed a travel and luggage bag line for the Norwegian company Douchebags.
Most brand ambassadors sign contracts with brands to promote their products. And to get better results, brands need to find an influencer who has a following that represents the target audience. For ambassadors, this means a great opportunity to make money as the standard salary for a brand ambassador is somewhere in the $40-50,000 range.
Micro-influencers in a specific niche are often more valuable to brands than major celebrities as they have a more engaged audience.
Promote Affiliate Links.
To make money with affiliate marketing, you need to join affiliate programs so that you can add affiliate links to your Instagram and make a commission on the sales you generate.
When done right, affiliate links can bring big money.
As you can see from this site’s Blog Income Reports, I bring in over $70k/month, mostly from affiliate programs.
To do this, look at joining affiliate networks like Shareasale, Clickbank, Awin, and Impact. You can also join individual affiliate programs right from a company’s website or by searching: “COMPANY + affiliate program.”
Since Instagram has a solid user base of engaged people, it’s a perfect place to promote affiliate links.
No matter how many followers you have, you can insert a clickable link in your Instagram bio. For instance, a fashion blogger Sophie Shohet uses this feature to promote affiliate links:
Since Sophie has more than 10k followers, she can also create clickable Instagram Stories. And here’s how she promotes affiliate links within her posts and on her profile:
Instagram followers pay close attention to Instagram posts, so using captions to tell about affiliate marketing links is a great way to grab the attention. However, all links in Instagram posts are non-clickable, so adding a URL isn’t the best idea as readers have to copy the link manually from your text.
Thus, it’s better to write a call to action, inviting your readers to click on the link in your bio. Anyway, it’s important to disclose affiliate links as you get a commission on each sale, and using hashtags is a great way to do it.
Sell Physical and Digital Products.
Over the last few years, Instagram has turned into a powerful sales machine. Since people use this network to discover and buy products, Instagram rolls out business account features like in-app checkout, the shop button, product tags, and shoppable stickers to make the shopping process easier.
While big brands like Zara and Michael Kors use Instagram to increase ecommerce sales with platforms like Shopify, this platform is also a perfect place for common people who want to sell something and don’t have their own ecommerce store.
It’s tough to sell products online from just your Instagram account. You should look into choosing an ecommerce platform or website builder to launch a website and get traffic from Instagram.
You could also start a dropshipping business so you don’t have to ship your own products or handle returns.
Another option is to learn how to sell on Amazon and promote your products on Instagram that way.
Either way, you need to add links to your content in your Instagram account. And one good place to add links is in your Instagram bio.
Just write a call to action and include a website link so that interested followers can learn more about your offer.
And if you have switched to an Instagram creator account, you can create shoppable posts to sell physical products in-app. Check out how Katie Sturino did it:
From cheap cosmetics and second-hand clothes to luxurious apartments and expensive cars, people buy all kinds of products on Instagram.
No matter what you sell, your potential customer is probably there. However, it’s important to find your niche and look at the competition by searching for hashtags and keywords you want to target.
Create Visual Content for Sale.
It’s no secret that Instagram is a visual platform: People upload 100 million+ of photos & videos daily. However, it’s not enough for brands to upload overly polished professional photos of their product to stand out from the crowd.
Modern customers crave authenticity, so they pay close attention to user-generated content.
In fact, most consumers believe that UGC is 35% more memorable than other media, so businesses of all sizes want to publish content created by their customers. Simply put, it’s your opportunity to sell photos and videos you create.
When it comes to the travel industry, companies of all sizes invite real travelers to take photos showcasing their experiences while staying at brand properties in exchange for free accommodation and payment.
Here’s an example:
Publishing user-generated content in the travel industry gives great results.
For example, a small town in New Zealand, Wanaka, achieved a 14% increase in tourism after working with Instagram influencers who shared the images of the city on their profiles.
However, I don’t recommend this approach unless you have a huge following. There’s nothing more annoying to hotel owners than a fake influencer asking for a free stay.
How Much Money Can You Make on Instagram?
Celebrities can earn a lot of money by posting on Instagram. In fact, the highest paid social media influencers get anywhere from $8,400 to $1.2 million per post. Obviously, your income depends on your reputation, your number of followings, and your ability to grow your Instagram over time.
To calculate your estimated earnings from your online presence and social accounts, it’s important to calculate your engagement rate. Why? Engagement shows that your audience is active, so it’s no wonder that influencer prices and costs depend heavily on this metric.
Views and clicks don’t mean anything unless users take action.
The formula is pretty simple: Combine the number of likes and comments per one post and divide it by the number of followers, then multiply by 100
No matter what your engagement rate is, there is always room for improvement. The main idea is to find your niche and promote your services so that your income can also grow.
How to Make Money on Instagram FAQ
Can I sell products on Instagram?
Yes, you can sell products on Instagram with Shoppable Posts. However, it’s best to use an ecommerce platform in unison with Instagram to increase your sales channels. Here are the steps to get started:
1. Create an Instagram account and convert it to a business profile.
2. Make sure that you have a Facebook Page with an active product catalog.
3. Ensure that you are selling physical products, as services aren’t allowed.
4. Once eligible, you can add product tags to your individual posts. To do this, select a photo you want to tag, tap on the product in the photo, enter your product name from your catalog, and click done.
Can I make money with 1,000 Instagram followers?
You probably won’t make a lot of money with 1,000 followers, but it’s still possible. Brands typically pay anywhere from $10 per 1,000 followers to $500 for every 1,000 followers depending on your niche and engagement.
If you have around 1,000 followers and want to make money, you should look into coupling your Instagram with other marketing channels.
For example, you could learn how to start a blog and link to your digital products or affiliate marketing articles from Instagram. Additionally, you could sell products on your own website with an ecommerce platform. While you won’t make much money with 1,000 followers, omnichannel marketing strategies can boost your income from other channels.
How many followers do you need to make money on Instagram?
The amount of followers you need to make money on Instagram varies depending on your industry. While you can make money with 1,000 followers or 1 million followers, make sure to focus on engagement.
Micro-influencers with a highly-engaged audience can be more valuable to brands than huge celebrities with millions of followers. Remember, brands don’t just want impressions and views, they want users to take actions – leads, email sign-ups, and sales.
How do I get Instagram followers fast?
In order to quickly grow your Instagram and build up your follower count, there are many different strategies. Here are some of the top ones to try:
1. Plan an Instagram strategy based on your target audience.
2. Create a well-planned bio and profile.
3. Have consistent branding and color schemes.
4. Start sharing high-quality content and promote via other social channels.
5. Use a hashtag tool to find relevant hashtags and add up to 30 to each post.
6. Schedule and post on a consistent basis.
7. Run contests, giveaways, sweepstakes, and provide promo codes to entice users to follow you.
8. Use influencer marketing tools to connect with other influencers in your niche and work to get featured on their accounts.
9. Use Instagram advertising to pay for more followers.
10. Join Instagram communities in your niche and be an active member of the community.
How many Instagram followers is considered average?
While the number of followers vary widely by account, the average number of followers is considered to be around 150. There are many profiles with 100 followers or less all the way up to millions of followers.
If you are an individual with a personal account or a small business, you may have a lower follower count. The key is to maintain an engaged and active audience rather than focusing on vanity metrics.
How do you get sponsored on Instagram?
Getting sponsored on Instagram requires a lot of work and a consistent approach to growing your follower count. Most of the time, you’ll have to pitch for paid sponsorships rather than brands coming to you. Here are some tips to get sponsored:
1. Define your brand and deeply know your audience.
2. Post consistently with hashtags and geotags.
3. Tag brands in your posts that are in your niche.
4. Include contact information and links in your bio.
5. Start reaching out and pitching paid sponsorships.