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1. How to monetize Instagram: 11 top strategies

How to monetize Instagram: 11 strategies for success

If you're among the 1.4 billion Instagram users in 2024, then you already know Instagram has long outgrown the days when it was just a mere photo-sharing app with a bunch of funky filters. Instagram's immense popularity has opened up a world of opportunities for creators, business owners, and even corporations to be able to reach their audiences like never before.

If you've stumbled upon this article, chances are you're looking for ways to generate income from your Instagram following. In this article, we will share 11 proven methods for turning your likes into cash.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Monetize your Instagram account by selling products through Instagram Shopping, engaging in influencer and affiliate marketing, offering unique content via badges and subscriptions, accepting donations, co-hosting live streams, and more while maintaining authenticity, engaging your audience, and adhering to platform policies.

  • Follow Instagram's monetization requirements to avoid breaking the site's rules.

  • Leverage Instagram's many tools for promoting your page and products.

  • Build your subscription base on Instagram to reach a larger audience and have access to monetization tools.

  • Strategies to grow your Instagram following organically include optimizing posting times using Insights, interacting authentically with similar accounts, consistently delivering high-quality, resonant content, and effectively using relevant hashtags to enhance visibility and discoverability.

  • Gelato makes creating custom print on demand products to sell through Instagram easy.

How to monetize Instagram: 11 top strategies

How to monetize Instagram Nine top strategies

There are many ways to monetize Instagram's platform, whether you are a stay-at-home mom looking for additional income or a small business owner promoting your products and services. Below are nine top strategies you can leverage to make money with Instagram.

1. Selling physical products

Selling physical products

One of the simplest ways to monetize your Instagram following is by creating and selling custom merchandise. Whether you are a small business owner or an influencer, the secret to creating merchandise that sells is to understand your target audience and cater to their interests. You can choose products that fit into the niche you've created. For example, if you're a fitness influencer, consider selling fitness apparel or reusable water bottles.

You can promote your products seamlessly through Instagram Shopping. If you are a US-based creator, you can use this tool to showcase your products and let followers buy directly from the app. To qualify for selling on Instagram Shopping, make sure that you meet the following requirements:

  • Your small business has a website domain.

  • You must live in one of the dozens of qualifying countries, which include the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, Korea, Kenya, and many others.

  • You have an Instagram account as either a creator or a business.

  • Create an Instagram Business Manager account to control your pages, ad accounts, and shopping.

Integrating the Instagram shop with your existing shopping platform is another option. The platform offers multiple shopping integrations that allow you to import your catalog of products, including:

  • Shopify

  • BigCommerce

  • Woo Commerce

  • Wix

  • Open Cart

  • And others

These many integrations make multichannel selling simpler for you. The successful execution of multichannel selling on Instagram relies on building a unique and recognizable brand. This involves creating visually appealing content that resonates with your target audience. 

Focus on quality over quantity - every post, whether it's a product showcase or a behind-the-scenes shot, should reinforce your brand message and ethos. And remember, consistency is key. 

Make sure that all product information, pricing, and delivery details across channels are accurate and up-to-date. This is crucial, as conflicting information can lead to confusion and a loss of trust among your followers. 

Additionally, dealing with queries or complaints swiftly and professionally can enhance your reputation and foster customer loyalty. Monetizing Instagram, just like any other social platform, requires attention to detail and a willingness to adapt to your audience's needs and preferences.

2. Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a way to use your personal brand on the Instagram app to promote products from another company. For example, suppose you have a presence on Instagram as a fitness and nutrition expert. In that case, you might work with a company that sells healthy meal kits to promote its products through SEO tactics and follower engagement.

On your Instagram page, you may show that you use the products to build interest in the brand among your followers naturally. Marketing as an influencer typically relies on the trust that you have established with your followers to influence or inspire them to choose to use the same products that you do.

To ensure this, transparency and integrity should be your guiding principles. Always disclose your sponsored content by including the #ad or #sponsored hashtags in your post's caption. This practice not only adheres to the Federal Trade Commission's(FTC) guidelines but also strengthens the bond of trust with your followers, as they appreciate an influencer who is honest about their collaborations. 

Moreover, understanding your followers is crucial to make sure they relate to the brand you endorse. Engage with your audience to know their needs, preferences, and interests. Only promote products and services that align with your values and those of your followers. Remember, your authenticity is the key to not just gaining followers but also maintaining engagement and achieving long-term success.

This form of marketing can become a lucrative way to monetize Instagram. In fact, 80% of companies have marketing programs to work with Instagram influencers to build their brands naturally. If you want to become a successful Instagram influencer, focus on establishing your personal niche and building a strong base of followers. Keep your followers engaged and contribute rich, original content to your Instagram profile.

Start monetizing your brand

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3. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing has many similarities with marketing with Instagram influencers. Both types have companies working with Instagram creators to promote their products. However, as an affiliate marketer, you have a unique affiliate link to direct your followers to purchase the brand's products. You get a commission from each sale through your Instagram page.

Affiliate links can be very profitable for you, especially if you affiliate yourself with a brand that aligns with your online profile. Having a large base of followers also helps because you will have a bigger pool of potential buyers through the affiliate links. 

In order to successfully implement affiliate marketing on Instagram, you need to carefully select brands or products that will resonate with your audience. Promoting brands unrelated to your niche or that are misaligned with your followers' interests can impact your credibility negatively. 

For instance, if you have a fashion-based account, it makes sense to affiliate with clothing, cosmetics, or accessories brands. The goal is to ensure that the products you promote organically fit into your content rather than seem out-of-place or forced. 

The next step to optimizing your affiliate marketing strategy is to be transparent about your affiliation. Honesty is not only ethical, but it also fosters trust with your audience. A loyal audience is far more likely to purchase products you recommend. 

Remember to include a message in your posts that these are affiliate links, and you receive a small commission if they purchase using your link. This establishes trust and can also motivate your followers to support you by making purchases through your links.

As with influencer marketing, work to grow your base of followers and stay true to your personal online branding. High-quality, original content will keep your followers returning to your Instagram page for more and increase the likelihood that they will take advantage of your affiliate links.

A well-kept and updated profile can help you to earn a lot through affiliate links. For example, a skincare influencer on Instagram earns $5,000 monthly from commissions through affiliate links from TikTok and Instagram. While this offers one instance at the higher end of the earnings range, you can still receive a little extra money through the affiliate links each month.

4. Using Instagram Badges

Using Instagram Badges

Another avenue to monetize Instagram is using the platform's badges. To use this monetization method, you must qualify by meeting the following requirements:

  • Live in the United States

  • Have at least 10,000 followers

  • Be 18 or older

  • Agree to and follow both the Community Guidelines and Partner Monetization Policies.

Some creators in other countries can use badges through an invitation-only program.

You use badges during live video broadcasts. Viewers can purchase one or more badges for $0.99, $1.99, or $4.99 each during the live video. Their badge purchases appear next to their names in the chat. You should give shoutouts during the video to those who buy badges to reward them and remind others to jump into buying badges, too.

Remember that you need to have at least 10,000 followers to enable Badges. Scheduling regular live video broadcasts will give you more chances to earn money through Badges because your followers can only get them during your live videos.

In order to enhance your chances of earning from Instagram Badges, you'll need to create live videos that are engaging and interactive. Ensure your content is fresh and interesting, gives value to your audience, and promotes interaction. Make use of features like the comment section and poll stickers to engage your audience during your live sessions. 

The more engaging your live video is, the higher the likelihood that your followers will purchase badges to support you. It’s also crucial to promote your live broadcasts ahead of time. Letting your followers know in advance about your upcoming live video will increase the likelihood of high participation. 

Use Instagram stories to tease content, update your bio with information about it, or even make a post about it. Consistency is also key; having a regular live video schedule allows your followers to tune in for each session, bringing in a more stable stream of income from badges.

5. Allowing Instagram subscriptions

Instagram subscriptions allow your followers to connect with you on an insider level. Subscribers unlock access to special content you create for them. Make sure to remind followers of this chance to subscribe to your Instagram and give them hints of what they can get.

Subscribers pay a monthly fee to earn the privilege of accessing your special content. Since they pay monthly, you'll also earn money each month. You can choose the ways to interact exclusively with your subscribers. Options that Instagram offers to subscribers include:

  • Subscriber chats

  • Exclusive live videos and stories

  • Special posts and reels

  • A subscriber homepage from which they can access all your exclusive subscriber content

  • Special badges in chats and feeds

To get the most out of subscriptions, do the following:

  • Incentivize followers to become subscribers by providing exclusive content for subscribers.

  • Stay consistent with posting for both followers and subscribers.

  • Reward subscribers with prompt replies in chat and recognition during live videos.

  • Offer subscribers special surprises, such as having a special guest in a subscriber video, to keep them connected to your channel.

If you want to monetize Instagram by using subscriptions, you'll need to put in the work to make your subscribers feel valued and that their subscriptions are worthwhile. Therefore, the content you offer must be high-value. This could be early access to your new products or services, interactive Q&As, special promotions - the list goes on. 

While creating this unique content, ensure you maintain the quality and authenticity your followers love about your brand. This will not only make your subscribers feel special but will raise the likelihood of them sticking around and engaging with your content. 

In addition to the quality, the consistency of your posts is key. Just as you would with your regular content, you should maintain a schedule for your subscriber-exclusive content. Use Instagram's post-scheduling feature, or external tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to manage this effort efficiently. 

Consistent, regular updates that offer unique value make a subscription worth it for your subscribers. And when your subscribers are happy, they are more likely to help you build a stronger presence on Instagram with their active interactions and referrals.

6. Leveraging Instagram Gifts

The Instagram Gifts program currently has limited availability to creators. If you do have access to Gifts, you can activate it with your reels. Instead of followers directly sending tips to creators, they buy stars on Instagram and send those to the creators during reels.

Whenever a follower sends you a star on one of your Instagram reels, the platform tracks it to calculate your revenue share from all the stars earned on all your reels for a month. Your share will be equal to $0.01 per star earned. This program does not use the same system as Facebook Stars and uses a separate program for tracking.

If you can accept Instagram Gifts, turn it on for your reels in the settings to start earning. Implementing Instagram Gifts is a straightforward process. After toggling on the option, it's crucial to woo your audience, and posting engaging content is central to this. You need to draw viewers in and hold their attention, encouraging them to support your work through these digital "tips." Consistency is key here; make your posts regular and always bring something fresh to the table. 

In addition, engaging with your followers directly can further boost Gift earnings. Respond to comments on your posts, shout out regular Gift givers in your stories or reels, and foster a genuine connection with your audience. This relationship-building not only adds authenticity to your profile but also motivates your followers to contribute more generously with their Gifts, thus bringing in a better flow of income.

7. Coaching and consulting

Coaching and consulting Version 1

When you influence and connect people to your niche, you can offer consulting or coaching services to your target audience. Use your Instagram posts to establish your expertise in a particular area. For example, if you want to work as a life coach, showcase your knowledge and skills in the area to encourage followers to connect with your consulting services.

Match your coaching or consulting services with your Instagram presence and maintain an active profile while engaging with your followers. Use your unique expertise as a stepping stone to provide personalized services to your followers. When posting content, ensure it aligns with your coaching or consulting services. This provides an organic way to promote your services subtly without coming across as overly salesy. 

Once you've established your area of expertise and you consistently create valuable content, you can start offering one-to-one consultations or group coaching sessions. To effectively monetize this, consider incorporating a booking system into your bio link or even leveraging Instagram's new feature, which allows users to book services directly from your profile. 

Direct communication tools, like Instagram's DM or video calling, can aid personal interaction for a more comprehensive consulting experience.

8. Selling digital products

The Instagram app can provide a way to sell digital products, such as ebooks you've written or online courses you've created. Because your followers typically reflect your target audience, you already have a group to promote your digital products. Your Instagram followers want to find out more about what you have to say about your specific niche topic. Hence, they make a great group to start advertising your digital content.

To create an online course, you should be an expert in the field, have first-hand experiences from which your followers can benefit, and create high-quality content for the course. The program needs to have enough information to ensure that those who purchase the course feel properly rewarded for their investment.

Crucial to establishing a successful Instagram-based online course is understanding your audience's needs. Seek to identify the challenges or knowledge gaps your followers face. Use this information as a basis for developing your course content. This ensures that your course not only brings value to your followers but also positions you as an authority in your field, which is essential for credibility and trust. 

Then, focus on the quality of your deliverables. Invest time in creating a well-structured curriculum, using engaging visuals, and delivering valuable content. The better your course is, the more referrals you're likely to obtain, which can significantly boost your Instagram monetization.

Make sure you promote your course effectively by leveraging your Instagram stories, posts, or even Instagram ads to reach a larger audience.

9. Running Instagram ads

Use Instagram ads to promote your business. While you must pay for these ads, you set the budget. Boosting your posts transforms them into ads to draw people to your Instagram page. Instagram also allows you to create and manage ads on both Instagram and Facebook through the Ads Manager page.

Running ads from other brands to earn money from them was an older monetization option Instagram offered. Before 2022, Instagram did allow creators to run ads on their videos to earn revenues, but Instagram announced that the platform ceased support for that as of February 28, 2022. Additionally, a tested ad revenue system on Instagram reels does not appear on the platform's official page for earning money, which indicates its current unavailability to creators. 

Despite this change, there are ways for creators and businesses to monetize their content through ad collaborations. Partnering directly with brands for sponsored content can include creating bespoke content that showcases a brand's product or service in an authentic, natural way that resonates with your Instagram followers. Remember to negotiate terms that are beneficial for both you and the brand, considering factors like your audience size, engagement rate, and the effort required to produce the content. 

Don't just lay the groundwork for sponsored content, make sure to track and analyze the results, too. Showcase your effectiveness as an influencer by proving your ability to drive engagement and conversions through carefully curated sponsored posts to attract more lucrative deals in the future. Turn your Instagram account into a powerful marketing tool by utilizing Instagram's native analytics or third-party tools to measure the success of your promotional posts. 

As a result, you'll be able to adapt your strategies and potentially attract more brands, thereby increasing your earning opportunities from sponsored content.

10. Accepting donations

a person holding a smartphone showing a 'Donate' button

Don't underestimate the generosity of your Instagram followers. One way you can leverage this is by accepting donations. Here's the scoop: if your followers truly appreciate the content you produce, they might be willing to support you financially.

There are several ways to go about this. You could directly ask for donations via a link in your Instagram bio or subtly hint at donations in your posts or stories. Additionally, you could use platforms like Patreon, which allow creators to receive regular financial contributions from their followers. 

But remember, accepting donations requires a careful approach. You don't want to come off as too pushy. A good strategy is to provide tiers of donations, each with its own perks. This way, your followers feel they're getting something in return for their support. Keep in mind that while this strategy can be successful, it primarily works with a highly engaged audience that values your content.

11. Co-hosting live streams with other creators

If you're a creative spirit at heart and adore sharing those moments of inspiration with your fellow Insta-fam, co-hosting live streams with other creators might just be the golden key to unlocking Instagram monetization opportunities. 

This strategy combines the power of collaboration with the thrill of live content to maximize visibility, engagement, and, eventually, revenue. Just think about the incredible content you could craft and the larger audience you could reach by teaming up with other talented creators!

The collaboration can be enriching! Not only do you share audiences, but sharing ideas and creative perspectives can help you grow as a content creator yourself. This strategy is not just about monetization but also about enriching your personal artistic journey.

Co-hosted live streams allow for accepting donations, selling digital and physical products, and offering exclusive experiences during the live stream. Pairing up with like-minded creators can indeed bring about exciting monetization opportunities. Plus, it's a turbo-charged way to grow your Instagram community in a more heartfelt and authentic manner.

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Instagram monetization requirements

You must understand and adhere to the site's monetization policy to start making money with your Instagram account. First, you must only sell original content that you've developed or that has significant additions to existing work to make it your own. Additions you can add to non original content include commentary, creative editing, or parody.

You must avoid prohibited topics or information even when making your own content. Instagram does not allow the following in monetized content on its site:

  • Misleading medical claims

  • Misinformation

Language cannot be polarizing or inflammatory on the following topics:

  • Age

  • Disability

  • Ethnicity

  • Gender

  • Immigration

  • National Origin

  • Political affiliation

  • Race

  • Religion

  • Sexual orientation

  • Socioeconomic class

Additionally, Instagram will only monetize content on tragedies if it is explicitly uplifting. Other topics below, whether in real or fictional depictions, can prevent you from monetizing your Instagram. If in doubt, avoid the following sensitive topics:

  • Tragedies, such as death, mental illness, or abuse

  • Criminal behavior, including theft, embezzlement, and judicial proceedings

  • Substance abuse

  • Profane language

  • Sexual activity, whether suggestive or explicit, such as revealing clothing or sexual poses

  • Gory content, such as medical procedures, bodily fluids, ingesting non-food or nauseating substances

Finally, avoid the formats that Instagram prohibits monetization of:

  • Static or looping videos

  • Image slideshows

  • Static images with polls

  • Content that already has embedded ads

  • Images or videos with overlaid text

Once you know the types of content you cannot monetize on Instagram, use your creativity to produce original, high-quality content that you can use with Instagram's tools to make money.

Proven strategies to organically increase your Instagram followers

Meaningful growth on Instagram is often the result of strategic efforts, so the organic growth of your Instagram account can go hand in hand with your monetization strategies. Here are some tried-and-true strategies for organically growing your followership this year. 

1. Optimizing post times 

When to post matters. Understanding when most of your followers are online can be a game-changer. Use Instagram's Insights feature to check audience activity. Times, when user engagement is high, is your golden hour to reach more eyes. Don't forget: Consistency is key; posting regularly helps you stay at the top of follower feeds. 

2. Engaging with similar accounts 

Engagement is the currency of Instagram. Start by following similar accounts in your niche, comment on their posts, and engage with their content. Genuine interaction helps you get noticed, increases your account's visibility, and often brings reciprocal actions.

3. Consistently sharing high-quality content 

Content is your calling card on Instagram. Create a blend of educating, entertaining, and inspiring posts that resonate with your target audience. High-quality visuals paired with captivating captions result in higher engagement rates. Remember, consistency is king, but quality is queen. 

4. Using relevant hashtags 

Hashtags can steer the Instagram algorithms in your favor, making your posts more discoverable. Use a combination of popular and niche-specific hashtags to broaden your reach. Tools like Hashtagify can help you find relevant and trending hashtags in your industry.

Monetize your Instagram with custom products

You can create and sell high-quality, custom products without ever keeping inventory by using a print on demand service, such as Gelato. When you work with a print on demand provider, you only pay for the products you sell. Once your customer places an order, Gelato prints, ships, and delivers your products directly to your customer. Take a look at our catalog of high-quality print on demand products like wall art, t-shirts, hoodies, drinkware, and more.

Gelato integrates with the most popular ecommerce platforms, such as Shopify, Wix, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. Plus, when you choose Gelato for printing and shipping your physical products, you select a more sustainable option. Even if you sell to people worldwide, Gelato prints and sends products to your buyers from a local site. Local production reduces emissions from shipping and gets products to your customers faster.

Multiple integrations, no inventory to keep, sustainable production, and 24/7 support have helped people from around the world start online businesses easily. Sign up for Gelato today to sell customized mugs, clothing, and more.

Instagram account monetization FAQs

How many followers do I need to monetize Instagram?

Instagram's official stance on monetization is that creators need to have an "authentic, established presence" while maintaining a "sufficient" number of followers.

According to a 2022 piece from Business Insider, follower count has become less critical because even creators with fewer than 10,000 followers can monetize their accounts. Since Instagram does not have a set minimum number of followers for monetization, many people with only a few thousand followers have brand partnerships to promote products to niche markets.

Who is eligible for Instagram monetization?

According to Instagram, those monetizing their content must create original work, have real followers, and have an audience authentically engaging with the content. Additionally, they must live in an eligible country that allows the use of the Instagram monetization product. Creators eligible to make money on Instagram must agree to comply with community rules, avoid creating prohibited content, and accept the monetization policies.

Can I monetize Instagram with 1000 followers?

Instagram does not have a minimum number of followers to monetize content. Business Insider interviewed two dozen creators with 2,000 or more followers to get information on how they monetized Instagram with small bases. Engagement with the audience and having an active presence on the platform allows those with a follower count of less than 100,000 to earn money on Instagram.


Next steps

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