End of 2021, I shared that I made 130k in the year alone.. and you all flooded my comments and dm’s with one question. “How?” We’ve talked about getting started, we’ve talked about growth. Now it’s time to make money on Instagram and get that paycheck.
I’ll start this with a warning, if you will. This is a job. It takes hard work and dedication, especially when you’re just getting started.
Instagram doesn’t have a partner payment system in place like YouTube or TikTok, so it’s not as simple as taking a picture, posting and making money. To earn an income on Instagram, you have a few options.
Whether directly through a brand, earning commission, or a platform like RewardStyle, Influencers can share posts, stories, links and drive traffic for followers to purchase anything from shoes to couches to dog food. It costs your followers nothing extra, but uses your unique link to pay you on the back end for your purchase.
Be wary of these, as it takes a lot of time and effort to create content. Affiliate programs do not guarantee an income and often pressure you to sell sell sell to your followers. It’s an easy way for brands to try and get out of paying you for your work.
Of course, if it’s a brand you truly love and you already tried negotiating, it might be work taking on and sharing organically.
Brand Collaborations aka Ads
More commonly, Influencers will rely on SponCon (sponsored content) as they budget themselves out for the month (keeping in mind payment can happen in Net 30-120 day increments). This is when a brand will hire you to create content for them, either featuring their product (that will be gifted or reimbursed) and pay you for your post.
Why? They like your follower count. Or your photos. Or your entertaining reels.
To a brand, hiring an influencer is a business decision. They use an allocated marketing budget (often saving thousands by not hiring a model, photographer, renting a set, etc) and spend it quarterly among influencers because hearing about a product from someone you’ve grown to enjoy following on social media is so much more powerful than a commercial or billboard.
If you’re an amazing photographer but don’t have a huge following, you also have the ability to pitch yourself to a brand for content only where you sell them your photos and rights for whatever period of time you agree on.
It’s definitely not as perfected as the Creator Fund on TikTok but Instagram did launch a Reels Play bonus that has been rolled out to most creators, where you get a monthly view goal and monetary reward for reaching milestones along the way. In my case, I can earn up to $800 if I accumulate 1.77 million views on my Reels posts in a month. One downside is that if your Reel starts to go viral after a couple of weeks, those views might not get accounted for in the monthly view goal in time.
They also rolled out IG Live bonuses where you go live on Instagram every week to earn a milestone bonus. When you are live, you can also earn Badges where followers can gift you money in the form of a badge as you are streaming. This is basically a nod to TikTok’s version of going live.
And as a nod to YouTube ads, Instagram also allows you to earn via In-Stream Video Ads. Essentially, as a viewer is watching your video posts, they will get an ad and the viewer has to stay watching. This is honestly worth literal pennies, but I guess in the grand scheme of things, it still adds up.
Instagram has recently launched a brand new Patreon-like Subscription service which is in the works for even more bonus opportunities. I touched on this in my email list last week, and I’ll definitely share more details once Instagram rolls it out to more creators. I’ve heard lots of mixed reviews on this new launch, and I think this is going to be a great way to make money on Instagram and be able really connect and cater your target audience.
Maybe you’re an artist or crafty, and decide to open a shop through Instagram– whether it’s a clothing line, pet products, party planning, or even food catering. Maybe you launch an online course or created resources to help others grow and succeed in your niche. This could include Lightroom presets, video LUTs presets, e-books, pdf guides, etcetera.
Social selling is a great way to personally connect with your audience and gain potential new clients.
Virtual Assistant Services
Maybe your knack is engagement or design, and you decide to apply to brands you love to run their social pages, such as a Social Media Coordinator, Public Relations Representative, or Influencer Marketing Coordinator.
You could also work directly with influencers and entrepreneurs as a Social Media Assistant, Online Business Manager, Copywriter, Brand Partnerships Manager, and so forth. The best part is that it’s remote, you can pitch yourself to your favorite brands and influencers so you know you’ll most likely enjoy working with them, and you can set your rates.
There is no lack of money in this business. I promise. You just have to find your in and you can make money on Instagram. What do you enjoy? What are you good at?
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Thank you so much for putting this together. It is so helpful to see this! All of these are great ideas and things I didn’t know about!
Thank you so much for sharing this valuable information. I wish I could monetize reels, but IG has only allowed to monetize Lives, which I rarely do. Boo. But this information is amazing. Thank you again for sharing.