Updated Jan 15 2024
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 nine proven methods for turning your likes into cash.
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.
Gelato makes creating custom print on demand products to sell through Instagram easy.
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.
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:
These many integrations make multichannel selling simpler for you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 nonoriginal 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
Language cannot be polarizing or inflammatory on the following topics:
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
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
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.
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'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.
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.
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.