Want to start earning big money from your Instagram account? Read on to learn how to monetize Instagram effectively.
If you’re an influencer with at least a few thousand followers on Instagram, there’s no reason you can’t make a good income from the platform. And we’re going to show you how right now.
In this post, we’ll be exploring some of the best monetization methods. We’ll cover both the essential, high-impact methods as well as some lesser-known strategies that you might not have considered.
Ready? Let’s get started.
1. Sell sponsored posts
Selling sponsored posts is the bread and butter of Instagram monetization. It’s the go-to method for most influencers and the main way creators earn money on the platform.
The idea behind sponsored content is that companies will pay you to create posts that promote their brand or products as part of a partnership deal. Instagram calls these kinds of posts ‘branded content’ and they feature the ‘Paid partnership with…’ tag, just like this:
The amount you’ll be able to earn through sponsored posts depends on factors like how many Instagram followers you have, your average engagement rates, and the niche you fill.
But as a general rule of thumb, expect to earn around $10 per 1,000 followers.
So if you have 100k followers, you’re looking at around $1k per sponsored posts—which really isn’t too shabby. At this size, all you need is a few sponsored posts per month and you have a full-time income.
There’s plenty of demand out there, and it isn’t just for the huge mega-influencers. Even if you’re only a small influencer with around 1k followers, you could still find plenty of brand partnership deals. In fact, brands are increasingly recognizing the value of tapping into the smaller but more engaged audiences that micro-influencers tend to have.
That said, if you want to focus on growing your following first, check out our in-depth guide on how to get more Instagram followers.
How to do it
The best way to find new brand partnership opportunities is to reach out to brands you think might be a good fit for your audience to see if they’re interested in paying for a sponsored post.
But before you do that, you’ll need to prepare a media kit. Your media kit sums up who you are and what you can offer brands. It details things like how many followers you have, audience demographics, engagement rates, rates, and all the other metrics you think brands might be interested in.
You can use an Instagram analytics tool to uncover these metrics and track the performance of your sponsored posts. We’d recommend Social Status.
Once you have your media kit, make a list of prospects and start emailing them with it. If you get any interest, you might want to set up a phone call or video chat to discuss it further. And if they want to move forward, create and sign a contract with your new brand partner.
Bear in mind that Instagram has specific guidelines that you must follow when it comes to branded content. For example, you must tag your brand partner in the post. Read more here.
2. Become a brand ambassador
Another way to make money on Instagram through brand partnerships is to join a brand ambassador program. This isn’t exactly the same as selling sponsored posts, but it is similar.
The difference is that Instagram influencers who become brand ambassadors regularly promote a company for a long period of time by acting as a spokesperson and talking positively about it on social—it isn’t a one-off arrangement like a sponsored post. Think Nike and Michael Jordan, or Nespresso and George Clooney.
The benefit, of course, is that the longer contracts provide you with more of a steady, predictable income stream.
Influencer and celebrity Stacey Solomon is a brand ambassador for retail store Primark and regularly promotes the brand on her Instagram account:
The deal seems to have been very lucrative for Stacey as she even now has her own womenswear collections and kidswear ranges in store.
How to do it
If you’re going to act as an ambassador for a brand, it should probably be one you truly believe in. So start by thinking about the brands you actually value and would like to promote.
From there, you could start by posting about them on your Instagram account for free, in the hopes that someone from their social team will pick up on the positive publicity and reach out.
Alternatively, you can reach out directly to them by email and ask if they have an ambassador program. Make sure you state why you think you’d be a good ambassador and again, share your media kit.
Once you’re a brand ambassador, you’ll probably be posting about them regularly. It may even be stipulated in your contract that you have to share a minimum number of posts about the brand per month.
In that case, you can use an Instagram scheduling tool like Pallyy to schedule these high-priority posts ahead of time.
3. Promote affiliate links
Another one of the best ways to make money as an influencer is to promote affiliate links to your audience.
It works like this:
First, you find an affiliate program for a product you believe in and that you think would be a good fit for your audience.
After that, you sign up as an affiliate and grab your unique referral link. Then you share posts on Instagram recommending the product to your audience:
When people who see your Instagram posts click your referral link and make a purchase, you earn a commission. Commission rates vary by program, but can be as high as 10%-50%.
The most popular affiliate program in the world is Amazon Associates. It’s easy to sign up for and there are millions of Amazon products you can promote, but commission rates tend to be fairly low.
We’d recommend joining an affiliate network like ShareASale and starting there. You can also check out our list of the best affiliate platforms here.
How to do it
Instagram has recently started rolling out its own affiliate program for creators, but it’s not yet widely available.
If you’re lucky enough to be eligible, you can onboard by navigating to Professional dashboard > Set Up Affiliate.
Then, find a shop and choose the products you want to promote and save them to your wishlist. When you’re creating an affiliate post, you can tag products that you’ve saved.
If the affiliate program isn’t available to you yet, you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way. That is, add your affiliate link in your Instagram bio and then share posts promoting your affiliate products with a comment telling them to click the link in your bio.
If you want to promote multiple affiliate products in tandem, you’ll have to use a link in bio tool like Shorby. Pallyy comes with a bio link tool as well. These tools let you create a custom landing page to house all your affiliate links, so you can link to that page from your bio instead.
4. Release your own merch line
Instead of selling someone else’s products through Instagram, why not just sell your own? It’s easier than ever these days to release your own line of merchandise thanks to print-on-demand platforms.
You can sign up for a print-on-demand platform and sell custom merchandise like T-shirts, mugs, tote bags, coasters, etc. that feature your own designs.
Zach King has 24.3 million followers on Instagram and offers one of the best examples of this monetization strategy.
He’s sold thousands of hats, stickers, and apparel products featuring his iconic logo through his online store.
How to do it
The easiest way to sell custom merch is to use a print on demand site. These services fulfill products on-demand for you by printing and shipping them directly to the customer when you make a sale, and then billing you for the base cost.
You don’t need to purchase any stock upfront—you just upload your designs and add the product to your product catalog.
Of course, you’ll also need your own ecommerce store to sell your merchandise. There are lots of ecommerce platforms out there that you can use to build one, but we’d recommend Sellfy.
Sellfy is both an ecommerce platform and print on demand fulfillment provider rolled into one. And it’s built specifically for creators.
All you have to do is sign up, create your store (this part can take less than an hour), and upload your designs to products in Sellfy’s print-on-demand catalog. Then you’re ready to start selling!
5. Sell digital downloads
If you don’t want to sell physical merch, you can always sell digital downloads to your Instagram audience instead. I’m talking about things like PDFs, audio files, photography, downloadable prints, templates, etc.
For example, if you’re a fitness Instagrammer, you could sell your workout plans or diet cheat sheets as digital downloads.
Likewise, musicians with a following on Instagram could sell their music as MP3 downloads. Or if you’re a van life influencer, you could sell your build blueprints. You get the idea!
Here’s a real-life example from Eamon & Bec, a couple with 334k followers on Instagram:
They sell several digital downloads through their ecommerce site, including a vegan-recipe ebook, van layout guide, and preset pack.
How to do it
The first step is to create an ecommerce store. Again, we’d recommend Sellfy. But any of these 10 best platforms to sell digital products will work.
From there, upload your digital downloads, set your pricing, and build your store. And once you’ve done that, you can start driving traffic to it through Instagram.
Try sharing snippets on Instagram that leave the audience wanting more. For example, fitness influencers could release short video tips through Instagram Reels and invite the audience to buy their workout guide for more.
Or if you’re a food Instagrammer, post mouth-watering photos of your best culinary creations and tell your followers they can get the recipe through the link in your bio.
6. Set up Instagram Shopping
Rather than driving traffic to your website, why not sell your digital or physical products directly through Instagram?
With shoppable posts, your audience can click on the product tags in the images and videos you share to shop for items from your storefront without having to leave the app.
Not only that, but you can also get your products featured in the shopping tab, which helps with discovery.
How to do it
To open an Instagram shop, you’ll need to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. There are a few requirements including having your own website domain where customers can buy products and an Instagram profile that’s set up as a business or creator account.
Once you meet the eligibility requirements, you can set up your shop in Commerce Manager or another supported platform, or through the Instagram app.
You’ll need to choose a checkout method, specify your sales channels (i.e. Instagram, Facebook, or both), and add products by connecting your existing catalog or creating a new one.
Once you’ve done all that, you can submit it for review and if it’s approved, you’re ready to start selling.
7. Go Live & earn Badges
Instagram Badges is a relatively new feature for Instagram Live. When you go Live, viewers can buy badges as a way to support you.
When viewers purchase badges, a heart appears next to their usernames as a way to recognize their contribution. You’ll be able to see your total earnings from badges and your progress toward the goals you’ve set.
Fitness Instagrammer @charleeatkins let her viewers give back through badges and received an outpouring of support.
This is a really neat way to let your most loyal followers support you as a creator, and a great way to monetize your livestreams.
How to do it
First, make sure you’re eligible and that the Badges feature is available in your country. It’s currently available to eligible creators in the US but is invitation-only in other countries including the UK, Germany, Japan, Brazil, and Mexico.
If you’re eligible, you can turn badges on by navigating to Profile > Professional dashboard > Set Up Badges.
Then, go live and let your audience know that you have Badges enabled and invite them to use them if they want to support you.
8. Drive traffic to your website and monetize it
Even if you don’t want to sell products through your own online store, it still makes sense to create your own website and drive traffic to it through your Instagram bio link.
That way, you can run AdSense, Ezoic, or monetization ads from a header budding company on your site and monetize that traffic through ad revenue.
Because you’ll be driving a ton of traffic through Instagram, your website posts and pages will rank quickly on Google thanks to all those positive social signals, which will help you get even more traffic through SEO. And more traffic means more ad revenue.
How to do it
First, you’ll need to create your website, connect a domain, and sign up for web hosting.
We’d recommend using WordPress.org hosted by DreamHost. But any of these blogging platforms will do the trick.
Then, start creating blog posts and website content that you think your target audience will appreciate, and promoting it through your account.
For example, if you’re a food influencer, you can create a blog post with one of your own original recipes, then share a link to it and promote it in your feed or Instagram Stories.
Make sure your blog posts are optimized for a popular keyword that people search for and optimize it for SEO to drive even more organic traffic through search.
Keep posting consistently, promoting your posts on Instagram, and growing your website traffic. Once you have at least 10,000 visitors per month, you can start monetizing your website with ad revenue.
Use Google Adsense or one of the best Google Adsense alternatives. You can also check out our roundup of the best ad networks to find other advertising opportunities.
9. Cross-promote other monetized channels
Instagram offers limited native monetization opportunities outside of sponsored posts and Instagram Shopping. But you can use Instagram to promote other channels that are more easily monetized.
For example, you could use Instagram to advertise your podcast. And then monetize your podcasts with ads.
Or you could ask your Instagram followers to subscribe to your YouTube account, and then monetize YouTube with video ads, patronage, and sponsorships.
Just look at Ria Ricis. The Indonesian influencer started out on Instagram, where she has over 32 million followers.
Eventually, she used Instagram as a platform to launch her own YouTube channel, and she’s quickly amassed over 30 million subscribers—a following almost as large as on Instagram.
And because she publishes long-form videos to her YouTube account, she’s able to squeeze in multiple ads per video and enjoys much better monetization opportunities.
How to do it
This one’s easy. Just link to your main monetization channel in your Instagram bio, and ask your audience to check it out in your posts.
Alternatively, create a landing page with Shorby and add links to all your monetization channels to it. Then link to that landing page in your Insta bio.
10. Ask for donations
One of the easiest ways to monetize Instagram is to simply ask your audience to help support you.
You’d be surprised at how well this works. If you have a good relationship with your followers and they appreciate what you do, you can bet a good chunk of your most loyal fans will want to give a little something back.
The great thing about this method is that it’s super easy to roll out. You don’t need to find sponsorship opportunities or create products, you just set up a donation link and invite your fans to support you if they want to.
How to do it
The easiest way to accept support from your fans is with Buy Me a Coffee.
It’s a completely free service so you don’t have to pay anything upfront; the platform takes its cut by deducting 5% from your donations.
Just sign up to create a donation page, then link to it in your Instagram bio. Instagram users can head to your page and choose how many coffees they want to buy you: 1 ($5), 3 ($15), or 5 ($25).
We even have our own Buy Me a Coffee page. Check it out if you want to see what it looks like in action or you’d like to support Blogging Wizard.
P.S. If you don’t like the look of Buy Me a Coffee, try Patreon. Or check out these Patreon alternatives for more options.
11. Earn Bonuses
Bonuses are another relatively new set of Instagram features that provide users with opportunities to earn money from their content performance.
One example is Reels Play, a bonus program that rewards you with money based on the number of plays your reels get. The more plays, the more you earn.
It’s still being tested right now and it’s only available to select creators (invitation-only). However, if you’re one of the lucky few to be selected, it can be a fantastic revenue source.
How to do it
As I mentioned, you have to be invited to participate in Reels Play.
If you’re eligible, you can get started by navigating to Professional dashboard > Bonuses > Get started. Then, read the terms and conditions, add your business information and make sure you understand the rules, goals, and deadlines, and you’re ready to start making reels!
12. Build a mailing list
The problem with earning money on Instagram is that you’re trying to monetize a rented audience. The channel is owned by Facebook—not you.
So if you want to unlock more monetization opportunities, it makes sense to move your followers over to an owned channel as soon as possible. And your best bet is email.
Once you’ve got your Instagram followers to subscribe to your mailing list, you have a lot more monetization options. You can present them with products, offers, etc., and usher them down your sales funnel to get them to buy your products or affiliate links. Or you can monetize your list with solo ads.
@xiaomanyc is a polyglot influencer who uses his Instagram and YouTube channels to get followers to sign up for his language-learning newsletter and has amassed thousands of opt-ins.
Eventually, he plans on releasing language courses and using his newsletter to drive a ton of sales. And because he’ll have nurtured his list beforehand, they’re likely to be primed and ready to purchase.
How to do it
First, you’ll want to invest in some sort of email marketing software. We’d recommend Moosend, but any of these email marketing platforms will work.
The next step is to set up a landing page with an opt-in form asking visitors to subscribe to your mailing list. It helps to offer some kind of lead magnet to incentivize them to sign up, like a free resource or download.
From there, you can add a link to your landing page in your Instagram profile and encourage your followers to sign up.
It might even be worth running an Instagram giveaway contest on Instagram to collect email subscribers. This strategy works really well and can build your list up super fast.
Once you have your list, use your email marketing software or a funnel builder to create a simple sales funnel that nurtures them until they’re ready to convert. Converting might mean buying your products or anything else that drives revenue for your business.
13. Sell subscriptions
Selling subscriptions is great as it’s a way for creators to earn a recurring revenue stream that’s steadier and more predictable than selling products or sponsored posts.
If you have a very loyal and engaged fanbase, and you’re eligible, you can sign up for Instagram’s Subscriptions program. Then, you can set your own monthly rates and offer perks to fans that subscribe, like exclusive content.
How to do it
Access to the Subscriptions feature is invite-only for now but may be opened up to more creators in the future, so keep an eye out. If you’ve been invited, you can set it up from your professional dashboard.
If you haven’t been invited, you can use a third-party subscription platform like Patreon to sell memberships instead.
14. Set up paid communities
Paid communities are a lot like subscriptions. The basic premise is the same: you monetize your Instagram audience by charging them a monthly fee to access exclusive perks.
But in this case, the perk they get by subscribing is access to your community space. In the community space, they can interact with other like-minded fans.
You can set up multiple plan tiers with different benefits. For example, you could offer a low-cost Basic plan that lets subscribers access the forum and post comments and questions, and a more expensive Gold plan lets them access exclusive discussion boards or interact with you directly.
The great thing about paid communities is that they don’t just provide you with a nice revenue stream, but they also allow you to reward your most loyal fans and boost brand loyalty by building an engaged community around your brand.
How to do it
We’d recommend using Podia to build your community.
Once you sign up, you can use the Communities feature to create a virtual discussion space in one click, then customize it by creating your own topic boards, etc.
You can also use Podia to create an online store and sell community memberships as digital products.
15. Sell your templates and filters
If there’s one thing Instagram creators tend to be incredibly good at, it’s touching up photos. But did you know you can sell your Instagram templates and lightroom presets for good money? It’s true.
Just look at this collection of Mom Blogger presets on Etsy, crafted to help you create a cozy aesthetic in your Instagram feed:
The seller behind this listing has sold over 100k presets to date—just think about that for a second. That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars from digital products alone.
How to do it
List your templates and presets for sale on your own website, or through sites like Creative Market or Etsy.
Then, let your followers know that if they like the way your feed and posts look, they can buy the templates and filters you use through the link in your bio.
16. Create and sell an online course
If you’ve made a name for yourself on Instagram, the chances are that you probably have expert-level knowledge that others would be willing to pay for.
In that case, you could consider creating your own online course or masterclass and selling it through Instagram. Here are some ideas:
Instagram photographers could release a photography course teaching their fans how to get shots like them.
If you’re an Instagram model, you could teach people about fashion, how to pose for photos, or how to edit them effectively.
Or if you’re a fitness Instagrammer, you could release a course teaching people about nutrition, exercise, and how to get in shape.
And if you think you don’t have any special skills—you do! If you’ve managed to grow your Instagram following to a decent size, that’s a skill in and of itself. So why not create a course teaching others how to do the same and grow an Instagram account?
How to do it
The first step is to sign up for an online course platform. We’d recommend Podia for this too as it has a built-in learning management system and everything you need to create and sell knowledge products.
Then, put together some lessons and craft your course in the platform, and prepare it for sale. And finally, promote it on your Instagram page.
17. Release your own song
These days, it seems like every influencer has released their own song. Bella Poarch, PewdiePie, Logan Paul… I could go on and on.
@tatemcrae has over 2 million followers on Instagram and has used her profile to promote her new song, ‘Uh Oh’.
If you have a large following on Instagram and a talent for music, you could do the same. And if you’re lucky, the initial momentum you build through social traffic could push your song into the charts, making you a bonafide musician.
From there, you could land lucrative record deals and make a ton of money through music streaming and album sales.
How to do it
Record a song (you’ll probably want to rent out a recording studio to do this professionally) and distribute it using a music distribution service.
Then, start promoting it on Instagram. Read our guide on how to sell audio files online for more advice.
18. Sell personalized videos through Cameo
This is another easy monetization strategy that many creators overlook.
If you didn’t already know, Cameo is an app where fans can purchase personalized video messages from celebrities and influencers
Video messages tend to be pretty short—30 seconds to 3 minutes on average—so it requires very little effort but has big earning potential.
Japanese influencer @natsukitheman uses his 128k-follower Instagram account to promote his Cameo page.
He’s sold hundreds of personalized videos, earning tens of thousands of dollars.
How to do it
This one’s pretty straightforward again. Just sign up for Cameo, set your prices and availability, and add a link to your page to your Instagram bio.
Just bear in mind that you’ll probably need a very large and engaged following in order to get sales, so this strategy is best for mega-influencers and celebrities and might not be suitable for smaller micro-influencers.
That concludes our in-depth guide on how to monetize Instagram.
Hopefully, you were able to find a few monetization methods to help with your Instagram marketing strategy.
Want to learn more? Check out these posts:
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we may make a small commission if you make a purchase.