Money Glass

Case Studies, Money Methods

How do Influencers make money on Instagram?

You’ve probably heard of Instagram stars making money from their daily photos. Perhaps you have considered jumping on board the Instagram train yourself?

Social media influencers on platforms such as Instagram have figured out how to reach and influence an image-hungry audience. While many traditional businesses have struggled to leverage the power of such platforms, these individuals are reaping the rewards of mastering algorithms to explore multiple revenue streams derived from their online activity, whether they want to build an empire or run a side-hustle for extra cash and free stuff.

Insta-Fame: How many followers do you need?

The short reply is “not as many as you think.” The perfect amount of follows is the amount that it takes to create an engaged and interactive audience. The actual number varies wildly depending on the level of engagement and the niche. The most interactive communities on Instagram tend to be interested in style, food, beauty, and fitness. One thing to remember is that it is real, engaged followers that are important. Having 100K fake followers won’t assist you, and in fact, they can significantly hurt your account. Do not buy fake follows.

Cheerful young african american man influencer broadcasting from home, using smartphone and tripod, copy space. Smiling black guy vlogger talking at mobile phone camera, shooting video for followers

Identifying revenue streams

The more engaged your followers are, the better. With a switched-on audience, sponsors are more likely to want to approach you and ask you to promote their goods. Top Instagrammers earn thousands of dollars per post but even those with only 1,000 followers can start making money.

Making Money on Instagram

You can use Instagram to earn money in several ways, depending on your content, target audience, and commitment. The beauty is that pursuing one revenue stream does not preclude making money from another. So, let’s start with the most common Instagram monetization method: influencer marketing.

Sponsored content with brands

The term “Instagram influencer” is often used nowadays. An influencer is someone who has formed an online reputation by doing and sharing amazing things. Influencers are trusted experts whose opinions are respected by their audiences. Many brands can’t compete with that as they lack the trust that influencers work so hard to generate with their audience. Companies work with influencers to create sponsored content within posts and stories.

Brands want your audience’s trust and engagement with high-quality content, not just your Instagram follower count and reach. If you don’t rely on your Instagram marketing income to make ends meet, you can always be picky about the brands you decide to collaborate with, just as brands will be picky about the Instagrammers they work with.

African influencer girl streaming online with mobile phone camera outdoors during coronavirus outbreak – Focus on face

What to charge as an influencer

These influencer deals typically include creating content—Instagram ads, posts, videos, or Stories—and granting the brand permission to use that content on their site or in an ad.

They usually involve a single post or a campaign in exchange for a fee, free product, service, gift, exposure, or a combination of some/all of these. When negotiating, keep in mind that you’re giving brands direct access to your audience (potentially millions of followers on one of the most famous social platforms) and usage rights.

Influencers with over 100,000 followers typically charge $500 per post. This will give you an inkling of what some brands are willing to pay and how to negotiate.

Finally, as an influencer, you must know your audience.

Where are you based, and what is your engagement rate (total engagement divided by followers)? If you own a business account, you can find statistics in your Instagram Analytics report. This will help you prepare for negotiations.

Finding brands to work with

Brands will find you if you’re big enough. But you can also look for brands that share your personality and values so your audience doesn’t feel you’re “selling out.” You can contact them directly or list yourself on one of the many influencer marketplaces to increase your chances of being discovered, such as:

Fohr. Connect to your Instagram, blog, YouTube channel, and other social media accounts to create an influencer “card” that shows brands your total reach. You can also obtain a list of brands and their wants and reach out to them.

Grapevine Town. You can register yourself in the Grapevine Village marketplace if you have 5,000 or more followers.

indaHash. Brands announce campaigns you can join. Post a photo with the hashtags and get paid. To be eligible, you need 700 engaged followers.

The rules for sponsored content vary but consider adding a #sponsored hashtag to all of your posts to be safe and respect your audience’s trust. Some brands may require you to use the “Paid Partnership with” tag to identify sponsored posts.

You can find some examples of sponsored posts and how Instagrammers incorporate brands into their stories or captions by searching #sponsored on Instagram.

Fashion stylist working with clothes

Become a partner

Unlike influencers, an affiliate is motivated by a commission to drive sales for a partnered brand.

This is done with a trackable link or promo code to monitor sales. Make use of the call to action “swipe up” or stickers on your posts to gain attention and drive people towards your bio. Be sure to add your link to your Instagram bio and Instagram stories. Since Instagram posts cannot contain links, you can create promo codes with your partner to allow you to generate revenue. Look for an online retailer that grants an affiliate programme. Try popular marketplaces like:

ClickBank. A tier-based affiliate programme open to all.

RewardStyle. A fashion and lifestyle influencer network with a 20% commission.

Affiliates. A popular option with a 10% commission.

You’ll be more successful if you plan and expand your online presence to include a website and other marketing channels.

Tip: If you’re using affiliate links in your Instagram bio, we recommend using a URL shortener like

Own an eCommerce store

It may sound like the only way to make money on Instagram is to sell out and work with brands.

But all creators have the option to market their own products: physical goods, services, or digital items that build a business with an audience at its core.

Selling your own goods eliminates the need to include messages from other brands in your posting strategy. Better yet, you can put your logo on the items you sell.

Fans can show their appreciation for your work by making a purchase that also benefits them.

How to sell your own merch

Using print-on-demand services, you can make branded T-shirts, pillows, coffee mugs, and wall art. You can sell services like photography or consulting by including a contact email or a link to your professional website in your bio. You can sell courses, ebooks, and design templates, all of which allows the creation of a passive income stream.

If you plan to sell multiple items, you might want to consider opening a Shopify store. You can enable Instagram purchases via one of the available Instagram gallery apps.

Instagram Shopping

Instagram Shopping allows people to easily shop your business’ videos and images on the platform.

It all starts with an Instagram shop. Sell products and share stories there. Instagram makes it easy for customers to browse and buy your collections. Instagram Shopping requires a Business or Creator account.

Create Collections, or curated product themes, to personalize your shop. New arrivals, gifts, and seasonal trends are common themes.

Your Instagram shop, like any online store, can have product description pages. You can include product details such as price and attributes here. You can direct people to your website or let them buy directly from the app using Instagram checkout.

That’s not all. Instagram allows people to buy your products through shoppable posts and stories. Your products can be featured in videos and images using product tags.

Buyable ads

You can also tag products in ads to increase the reach of shoppable posts. Ads Manager makes it easy to boost existing Instagram posts or create new ones.

Shop tab on IG

Instagram’s shopping tab is a great place to discover new brands. This helps you reach new app users.

Shop live. Do you enjoy live streaming? Then Instagram live shopping will help you make money on Instagram. Simply go live and tag products from your catalogue (or Facebook shop). The item will appear at the bottom of the screen, where users can tap to buy it.

The best part? It’s free to open an IG shop. You only pay a commission if someone buys your products via Instagram.

Social media influencer reviewing fashion shoe. Smiling young man vlogging about men’s sports shoe and filming himself at home on a video camera.

Get paid for your photos!

Twitter may be known for its 140-character limit, but Instagram is a photo-sharing app. Photos are assets that can be licenced, printed, and sold.

If you joined Instagram for photography, you could sell your photos on marketplaces like 500px or Twenty20 to brands and publishers.

However, you can sell your photos and prints or other physical products using the same method. Printful and Teelaunch allow you to print your photos on posters, phone cases, pillows, and more while ensuring customer service and order fulfilment.

Consider Instagram user Daniel Arnold, who made $15,000 in 24 hours by selling prints of his controversial photos. If there’s already a demand, all you have to do is take the initiative and invite your audience to buy your photography.

Monetize your content

This is one way to make money from social media. For creators in the US, UK, and Australia, IGTV ads launched in March 2021. IGTV ads appear when viewers go to a creator’s feed. The mobile-friendly video is 15 seconds long.

Instagram’s COO, Justin Osofsky, told The Verge that creators get a 55 per cent cut of all IGTV advertising, just like YouTube. Instagram offers creators a compelling way to earn passive income from their work and live.

Influencer Avani says IGTV has helped her grow her brand by allowing her to show her creativity and personality to her fans. Making money from my content inspires me to share more of myself with my IGTV fans.”


These are newer tools for creators and influencers to monetize on Instagram. Consider Instagram Live badges as tips you can receive during a live broadcast, similar to Twitch and TikTok.

Users can buy a badge during the live stream that appears in the comments and unlocks features like access to the creators’ badge list and a special heart. Users can pay $1.99 per heart, or $3.99 for 3 hearts

Instagram and beyond

What started as a hobby—making people laugh, taking silly photos of your dog, or sharing food photos—can turn into an opportunity to monetize your Instagram page. Influencers build their audience and then leverage that audience for gain.

If you don’t want to wait around to grow your brand, you could consider buying an existing Instagram account to get you started. Check out our article on Instagram account buying and selling.

If videos are more your style, check out our guide to how Influencers are making money on TikTok.

Previous ArticleNext Article
Send this to a friend