How To Make Money On Instagram: Be The Next Success Story

by Anish Sah April 03, 2018
How to make money on Instagram

If you are like most people, you might find yourself scrolling mindlessly through Instagram, dozing in and out of consciousness, for hours on end.

There are serious Instagrammers whose posts you love. Their profiles are the dream—photos of beautiful sunsets and skylines laid out perfectly. If you want to take your Instagram account close to perfect, there are Instagram hacks that you have to use.

Some of them are making serious money through these posts that you find yourself coming back to. That’s made you want to try your hands at the Instagram game. Now you want to know how to make money on Instagram.

If you are going to spend hours on Instagram every day, you might as well make some money, right?

But where do you get started?

The main thing you need to know is that if you have to produce content that your followers will enjoy, and that requires you to invest serious time and effort.

Along with that you also need to make your Instagram profile stand out in your niche. Thankfully for you, there are plenty of Instagram hacks for that.

In this article, I will give you some of the most useful Instagram hacks for different types of business models and tell you how to make money on Instagram.

Setting up Shop: Instagram Hacks

First things first, you will need an Instagram account that people would find appealing. Your Instagram feed is what you have to show for your business and what followers and companies will base their decision on.

If your Instagram account doesn’t attract people’s eye and they don’t find it useful, why would they follow you?

Instead, they will pick from a plethora of Instagram accounts that are funny, quirky, interesting and relevant to them—accounts that have used these Instagram hacks to create a unique personality.

The first thing you need is an Instagram account that people will want to follow. If you already have an Instagram, just ask yourself if you would follow it if it weren’t your account. If so, great!

If not, you’ll be glad to know that with just a few Instagram hacks, you can seriously up your Insta-game and gain some Insta-fame.

Once you get used to these Instagram hacks, going that extra mile and learning how to make money on Instagram won’t be difficult. Give your current profile a scan and figure out how your or your business’ personality is coming through.

Figure out what your goal is with Instagram. Make it as specific as possible. It can be something like “gaining 2000 followers in the next month,” or “making $500 within the next couple of months.”

Once you have a specific goal in mind, you will know which Instagram hacks would be the most applicable to your business model.

Now it’s time to know what you need to do to achieve that goal and get one step closer to understanding how to make money on Instagram.

Luckily for you, I am here to help.

Figure Out A Niche

If you are looking to make money on Instagram, it’s important that your Instagram posts follow an overarching theme. This point is not so much an Instagram hack as it is an Instagram essential.

Before you start daydreaming about making money on Instagram, you need to give brands an account that they can associate with.

For example, if you are a beauty blogger, cosmetic companies and beauty brands will pay you to produce sponsored content—from product reviews to makeup routines—featuring their product. For that to be possible, your Instagram profile has to revolve around beauty and makeup.

What you do within the boundaries of that theme is up to you and your creativity. But if you don’t have a theme that a majority of your posts are about, your Instagram account is gonna be all over the place. That will make it difficult for companies in different sectors to approach you regardless of the traffic you get and ruin your chances of making money on Instagram. Figuring out your niche is also going to help you cultivate a specialized following.

If your Instagram niche is fitness, users that are interested in fitness, diet, and exercise will be more inclined to follow you.

Within that profile, you are going to want to use different Instagram hacks to make it look more appealing, such as picking a grid layout, using Instagram carousels or mastering Instagram Live. These days users are more inclined towards clean, uncluttered layouts, so maybe you could go with that.

If your major focus is how to make money on Instagram, find niches that pay well. Not all niches are equal on Instagram. It’s going to cost you time and effort, so it’s better to think about beforehand what niches pay well.

The niches that I have mentioned repeatedly in this article are those that are more superior in terms of Instagram revenue. Some popular niches are wealth and money, and travel and lifestyle.

If you want to make money on Instagram, don’t go the meme route. They are not going to earn you anything. And eating Tide Pods isn’t going to reflect particularly well on your brand. Make a smart decision with what niche you pick if you want to know how to make money on Instagram.

With any niche, the content that you put out is the most important thing. Let’s take fitness for example and examine what kinds of content work well.

You could do collaborations with professional fitness trainers and create photo or video content. You could do short video interviews with nutritionists.

You could post appealing photos of your green smoothie or cute videos of you working out with your dog.

You could go with a weekly series format and show different workout routines you follow every day. The possibilities are endless.

But how to make money on Instagram in fitness, you ask? There are fitness models that make money on Instagram through ads and get paid for Instagram posts featuring brands of sportswear or fitness tracking devices.

Sometimes fitness models are approached by fitness brands to model for them. If you are an expert in the niche, you can also sell custom workout guides.

If you are struggling for content, go through Instagram posts of popular Instagrammers in your niche. If it is fitness, follow the best fitness Instagram accounts in 2018.

These are popular Instagrammers whose content provides value to the viewers. Don’t imitate, though. Remember you have to try and stand out as much as you can. But even for that, you need to stay on top of what your competitors are posting, and that’s where the above-mentioned Instagram hacks come in.

Figure out what your interests are. If you are not sure what it is, look at what most of your current posts are about. If you find, for example, that the majority of your posts are about technology, perhaps that’s your interest.

Give it a good think, though. Or three posts in and you might start struggling for ideas.

Some Instagrammers work with multiple niches that go together like travel and photography, increasing their chances of being approached by businesses working in both of these sectors.

If that’s what you want to do, find niches that are complementary. Some loosely related niches could be food and fitness, fashion and beauty, comics and illustrations, and so on.

Figure Out What Your Instagram Aesthetic Is

Just think about it. If you had a brick-and-mortar retail store, would you invest in interior designing to make it inviting? Obviously!

Similarly, if you are ecommerce business, your profile is your store. Your profile is how you make money on Instagram. So you have to make sure it’s inviting, too. Once you have decided what your niche is, you can pick from the many Instagram hacks to give your profile a great look.

Your Insta aesthetic is super important. Instagram is all about quality photographs of arty stuff—depending on what your niche is. Which means your average photos that you post on Facebook are not going to cut it on Instagram.

How to make money on Instagram

Start with some basic Instagram hacks.

Pick a username and bio that will stand out from the crowd even within your niche.

Your bio can simply state what your Instagram offers to its followers. If you are a business, make sure to mention your website on your bio to drive traffic to your website from Instagram. There are many creative, quirky bios that you can be inspired by.

Your display photo can either be your company logo, a photo of your art or of yourself. However, it can’t be a grainy photo that you took hastily to make your profile picture. Your bio and your profile photo lay down the foundation for your Instagram persona. Take some time to create a good first impression.

The next point is a given, but I will state it nevertheless. 

Set your visibility to public. If you choose to, you can set your profile back to private once you have gained a good following.

Once you have done that, pick a cohesive theme for your Instagram. It’s good if the photos you post have similar aesthetic so that your profile doesn’t look like it’s all over the place. Pick a color scheme and a filter that suits your niche.

It’s important to think what your profile looks like in grid view. That’s where you will see the fruits of following a cohesive theme.

If you are posting photos of food, for instance, you could focus on a minimalistic presentation and experiment with flat lays. Just a few pops of colors here and there and your profile will look clean and appealing.

Edit your photos to make them fit the overall theme. PetaPixel says that the most popular filter is Clarendon followed by Juno, Gingham, and Lark.

If, for example, you choose to use Clarendon for one of your photos, then try and use that for as many posts as possible.

While Instagram’s own editing tool suffices for some photos, try and use other photo-editing tools too. You can choose from the many photo-editing apps that are available, such as Snapseed, VSCO Cam, and Afterlight, among others.

When restaurants or hotels land on your Instagram page, the very look of your profile, along with the numbers of followers, will push them to associate with you. You can then get paid for Instagram posts that you make.

Lastly, hashtags are the name of the game and among the easiest Instagram hacks to use. You might have seen people posting random hashtags that lead nowhere because these hashtags are not used by anyone else but that one person.

Do your research. Use tools such as Hashtagify or Top Hashtags to find the best hashtags.

Aim for 20 or fewer hashtags. Figure out what hashtags are popular in your niche. Make the hashtags specific. If it’s a photography post, don’t just ‘#photography.’

You can also create your own hashtag for your brand name. Of course, it will just be you using the hashtag initially, but as your brand starts gaining popularity, so will your hashtag.

In any case, #travelphotography or #foodphotography is better than just #photography. You can be more specific and figure out what hashtags are used by other Instagrammers in your community. Don’t take hashtags for granted. These Instagram hacks will set you on the path to popularity.

Gaining Followers

You get paid for Instagram posts if they reach a large number of people. Companies pay you to promote their products and services to as many people as possible.

That’s why you need a proper following on Instagram. If you don’t have a good enough reach, you might want to think of getting some following first. Instagram has over 800 million monthly users, and you can tap into its massive user base.

So exactly how many Instagram followers do you need to make money?

The good news is that you don’t need as many followers as you think you might. Just a couple thousand to get started and your reach can grow from there.

What you can do for to gain more followers on Instagram:

Focus on using the tips mentioned above to cultivate a specialized following. Post things that are relevant, appealing, funny or all of the above.

Once you are happy with your Insta profile, follow people in your niche. Promote your content among people in the same niche and community. Following people is a great way to make your content known to them.

Never ask for a straightforward Follow4Follow or like4like. That makes you look cheap and insincere. Instead, interact with other users and create an impression. Make the most of the features available on Instagram, such as Instagram Stories or Instagram Live. Reply to comments posted by your followers.

Post captions that will make your followers want to comment; questions work really well for that. This is a regularly used Instagram hack and is popular among Instagrammers across all niches.

Never, never, never engage with trolls. Getting into petty fights will only affect your credibility.

Appear genuinely interested in the work of other Instagrammers in your niche. Their shout-outs or stamp of approval will help you go a long way.

How To Make Money On Instagram: Business Models

You have created an Instagram profile now and it’s looking great. It’s got a theme and interesting content and it looks well put together. You have cultivated a specialized following, and your followers enjoy your content and value what you have to say about a particular niche.

To put it simply, you’ve set up shop. Now you just wait for people to start buying what you are selling.

Your work doesn’t stop there, though. You need to keep working to monetize this amazing account you have developed. And the way you monetize your Instagram traffic is different from website monetization strategies.

Now, let’s dive into different business models on how to make money on Instagram.

A simple answer for how to make money on Instagram is to run ads to sell your products. But that’s just one way, and you probably knew that already. Even the way you sell is different on Instagram than other platforms.

There are also many other ways, and some creative ones too. How to make money on Instagram does vary based on whether you have a personal or a business account.

Become An Influencer And Get Paid For Instagram Posts

What’s an influencer did you ask? Ever bought a watch because a certain fashion blogger posted a photo of himself wearing it on Instagram?

How about that stationery purchase because your favorite artist said on Instagram that she uses it?

Artists/Bloggers/Celebrities that influence your purchasing decision get paid for Instagram posts about such products.

If you are an influencer, you can approach brands and help them promote their products to your followers. Influencers make thousands of dollars for such sponsored posts.

If you wish to be an influencer, you need some areas you have insight in—fashion, food, lifestyle, fitness, nutrition, art, literature, comedy—and the potential to get good reach through your content.

But there’s something else you need. To get paid for Instagram posts for promoting businesses and their products and services, you need to be able to convince your followers that you have actually used the product. Then you need to persuade your followers to make the purchase.

Once you have been approached by a business, follow these super simple steps:

Create a photo or video post

Mention the brand or a link for it.

Hashtags work really well. Post it and get paid.

Things to Remember:

You have to reach out to brands, and do this quite a lot especially in the beginning.

Make posts that look genuine. Don’t hype the product too much—unless you are indeed a fan.

If there’s something you don’t like about the product, mention that too. Don’t dwell on the bad things, but don’t completely ignore them. Phrase it carefully though. Don’t explicitly say you don’t like it. You could say “Wish [insert criticism] was different, but still a great [product type].”

Among the recent Instagram hacks is to simply put #Sponsored for paid posts, and that would still help promote the product without making it look like you sold out and are recommending a product just for money. Research shows that your followers are put off more by posts that look insincere than those that explicitly state that they are sponsored.

In simple words, people don’t mind knowing that you get paid for Instagram posts as long as the product you are recommending is good.

You can also create a high-value bundle by packaging a blog-post, Twitter Facebook, and Instagram posts.

Not everyone is an influencer, though. That doesn’t mean you can’t make money on Instagram just because people don’t think you are a trendsetter.

How To Make Money On Instagram With Clickbank

If you have been wondering how to make money on Instagram with affiliate marketing, this part of the article is for you.

Yes, there is a way to make money by affiliate marketing, and it works the same way it works on other platforms. You sell other people’s products and receive a cut for each sale that you make. If you want to make use of affiliate networks to make money on Instagram, there are a few options for you.

Clickbank is a platform where relatively new users can monetize their traffic. How to make money on Instagram with Clickbank is a popular topic among first-time bloggers.

This platform features an array of good quality products. You can promote these products as an affiliate. Experts suggest starting off with products that are selling well already to make money on Clickbank. You can find out what products are selling well based on what’s called a Gravity Score.

If you are not sure how to make money on Instagram with Clickbank, perhaps you can use some of these other marketing networks.

There’s ShareASale that has products across 40 categories. You can track your product promotions on ShareASale through custom links.

There are other platforms too such as Peerfly, OfferVault, MaxBounty, among others.

If you do know how to make money on Instagram with Clickbank, you can supplement your income by using some of these other platforms too.

Once you have found the product to promote, buy “shout-outs” from influencers. You can do that by simply browsing through websites such as Shoutcart that allow you to do so.

If you get significant traffic on your Instagram account, other Instagram users will pay you for a “shout-out,” which is a screenshot of their profile on yours. That can help promote their Instagram account and redirect some of your followers to theirs. It’s a simple way for up-and-coming Instagrammers to increase their followers.

For this to work, it’s better if the profile you are promoting is related to your niche in some way. If you are a comic artist, for instance, you could promote Instagram accounts that are about comics and you could get paid for Instagram posts.

Include a landing page to your affiliate link on your bio. Mention in the captions for your posts that the product can be bought through that link.

Affiliate marketing is a great model on how to make money on Instagram by promoting other people’s products.

But remember, when picking products for affiliate marketing, stick to your niche. Ask yourself this: Would you buy the product you are promoting? If not, don’t promote it.

Sell Virtual Products Or Services

You can also sell your skills through Instagram in the form of photography, comics, and art, among other things. Brands are always looking for photos to help sell their products. If you are a professional photographer or have excellent photography skills, you can sell your photos to such brands.

Use the numerous Instagram hacks to make your profile more attractive, especially if you are working trying to sell something that needs a visual appeal like photography.

But how exactly do you go about selling your photos? There are various platforms that you can register in to sell your photos. There are marketplaces such as Foap, Snapwire or Twenty20 that help link photographers and brands.

Brands constantly need photos for their marketing campaigns and are increasingly turning to Instagram to find the photographer for them.

Instagram is the best platform to showcase your photography skills and your portfolio because the whole platform revolves around quality photographs. With your portfolio available on the platform itself, you can approach brands for photoshoot opportunities or sell your photographs, making Instagram an ideal way for photographers to make money.

Bear in mind that the brands value authenticity. It means it’s better if the photos are taken in social settings and they look candid. Experiment with different kinds of photography. Try flat lays; they work really well with food or product photography.

How to make money on InstagramFood Flat Lay

Putting your portfolio on Instagram is tantamount to putting your portfolio there where potential employers can see if you are the right fit for them. Some professional photographers have admitted that magazines are increasingly scouting their next hire on Instagram.

Apart from photography, you can also sell your art through Instagram. It works the same way photography would. People can view your art and they either purchase the art you have put out or commission paintings or art projects to you. There are many artists that have been selling their art through Instagram be it paintings, illustrations or comics.

Other services you can sell are animation or stop-motion. Creative techniques like stop-motion are increasingly being used by brands to come up with more appealing ways to promote their business.

If you have a proclivity for the arts or are an aspiring agent, how to make money on Instagram is not that difficult a question for you. Instagram can play the role of an agent for you. Do the work that’s needed and make the most of it.

Sell Physical Products To Make Money On Instagram

How to make money on Instagramalmedapottery


Just like your virtual products, Instagram is a great platform to display and sell your physical products too. You can make money on Instagram by selling products that you produce yourself or that you purchase from suppliers.

It is convenient to sell via Instagram like it is via other ecommerce stores. The quality of the photos and the room to play creatively provided by Instagram creates an appeal that helps attract your target market.

To run a store via Instagram, you need a product first of all. You need to stock some inventory and you need somewhere to store it. Of course, you would also need a delivery mechanism to make sure your products reach your customers on time.

Many Instagrammers have found a knack for entrepreneurship by selling products through Instagram. Even with that there are various Instagram hacks that you can use to create a personality for your brand. For example, you can get your buyers to take photos of your product using them and tag you in them.

Communication is crucial, and Instagram provides a great platform for that. Engage with your users and get them to engage with each other.

Final Thoughts

Sure the answers to how to make money on Instagram are pretty straightforward. If you are, however, overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to put in and it seems impossible to make any money on Instagram, let me tell you that that’s not it.

Good news is that it is possible. After all, all your favorite Instagrammers started somewhere, right? Just like you they might have wondered how to make money on Instagram at some point. But they put in a lot of work and time, and you will have to too.

The dream would be everyone just being in awe of your Instagram profile and you making loads of money off it. But it won’t happen overnight.

Just follow the Instagram hacks to create a personality and cultivate a following that most suit your particular brand, and keep posting!

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Avatar for Anish Sah
Anish Sah

I am an Internet Marketing and SEO Learner, Social Media Analyst and a young Entrepreneur. In this blog, I share proven Internet Marketing and SEO techniques that I’ve learned over the years. I hope my success stories will help anyone start making money online, or scale up if they already are making money online. Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get updates on the latest techniques.

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