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Ecommerce, Instagram, Marketing

How to Make Money on Instagram

If social distancing has thrown your 2020 sales strategy into disarray, you’re not alone. Brands everywhere are feeling the impact.

But the good news is there are still plenty of ways to make money on Instagram.

In this blog post, we’re covering 3 different ways to transform your Instagram account into a revenue channel, as well as sharing our top 6 tips to make money on Instagram right now:

Table of Contents

  1. What are the Different Ways to Make Money on Instagram?
  2. Share Shoppable Feed Posts and Stories
  3. Launch an IGTV Series
  4. Host a Flash Sale on Instagram Stories
  5. Optimize Your Link in Bio
  6. Sell Gift Cards That Can Be Redeemed Later
  7. Host Virtual Events on Instagram Live

What Are the Different Ways to Make Money on Instagram?

Whether you’re a brand or content creator, there are plenty of ways to make money on Instagram.

If you’re a regular on Instagram, you’ve probably seen sponsored posts popping up in your feed.

But being paid to post content is just one of many ways to make money on Instagram — and you don’t have to be a superstar influencer to get your slice of the pie.

Here’s a quick overview to help you get started: 

How to Monetize Instagram #1: Sell Products and Services 

If you have a product or service to sell, Instagram is jam-packed with tools and features that will help you attract new customers and drive sales for your business.

In fact, some brands have built almost their entire business on Instagram — like beauty brand @Glossier and cult skincare brand Summer Fridays.

Instagram has always been a great platform for visually showcasing products or services and encouraging audience engagement, but Instagram is becoming a serious contender in the world of e-commerce too.

Shoppable posts and Instagram Stories product stickers allow you to tag products directly within your content, streamlining the route to purchase down to a few simple taps:

Shoppable post

And it doesn’t end there, as Instagram Checkout makes it possible for users to view a product and buy it without ever leaving the Instagram app.

Checkout is still in closed beta testing and only available to shoppers based in the US. However, given Instagram’s recent progress in the e-commerce space, it’s likely we’ll see this feature continue to roll out across the US (and beyond!) in the not-so-distant future.

Alongside shoppable posts, there are also multiple ways to integrate links into your Instagram content.

Feed post captions may not support clickable links, but IGTV video descriptions, link in bio, and Instagram Stories links all provide valuable opportunities for driving customers to your website’s products or services!

The link in your bio is super easy to find and promote, making it one of the most valuable traffic-drivers on your Instagram profile.

And the good news is, there are tools out there to help you get even more from your link in bio.

For example, Linkin.bio by Later allows you to turn your whole Instagram feed into a clickable landing page that updates with every new post you share.

Looking for more inspiration on how to monetize your Instagram account? Take Taylor from Later’s free Shopify course today: How to Make Money on Instagram and Convert Followers into Customers!


How to Monetize Instagram #2: Affiliate Marketing

Are you a trusted source of inspiration for your followers? If so, affiliate links could be a great way for you to make money on Instagram.

Affiliate links are a digital way to earn commission from businesses and brands for the traffic or sales that you drive — so if you’re regularly sharing shoppable inspiration, this could be a great way for you to reap the rewards.

There are two main types of affiliate model: pay per click and cost per acquisition.

A pay per click model means that you’ll earn a small amount for every click that you drive to a website, while cost per acquisition only pays when an actual sale is made.

A cost per acquisition payment is usually a set percentage of the final sale amount. Each model has its pros and cons, but most influencers and content creators use cost per acquisition affiliate links and typically earn between 10-20% commission on sales.

To start creating and sharing affiliate links on Instagram, you’ll first need to join an affiliate program. Some of the most popular affiliate programs are:

  • rewardStyle – A cost per acquisition network with mainly fashion and lifestyle brands. Applicants must be approved. Commission rates vary between 10% and 25%.
  • Shopstyle – A cost per acquisition network with mainly fashion and lifestyle brands. Applicants must be approved. Commission rates vary between 10% and 25%.
  • Amazon Associates – Amazon’s cost per acquisition program that’s open to everyone. Commission rates vary between 1% and 10%.
  • Clickbank – A cost per acquisition network covering all verticals that’s open to everyone. Commission rates vary between 1% and 75%.

The payment term for commission earned through affiliate links is usually 60-90 days to allow for returns or exchanges, but this can vary depending on the individual business or brand partner.

Affiliate marketing can also be a great option for brands looking to earn more on Instagram too. Running an affiliate program and partnering with influencers is a great way to reach a much larger audience on Instagram.

And the best part of affiliate marketing is that you only pay commission on actual product sales, making it a low risk strategy for brands looking to drive sales.

If you’re a brand or business looking to start an affiliate program, check out our full blog post here!

How to Monetize Instagram #3: Sponsored Posts

If you’ve amassed a strong and loyal following around your niche, you could be in a position to make money on Instagram through sponsored posts.

Sponsored posts are a marketing tactic used by brands to help spread awareness of their products or services on Instagram.

And you don’t need to have hundreds of thousands of followers to land a paid partnership. Having a smaller, engaged audience that trusts your opinions can be just as valuable.

In a recent study with Fohr, we found that Instagram influencers with between 50-75K followers posted the highest ratio of sponsored content in their feeds, but even influencers with less than 5K followers had sponsored content in their feeds:

State of Instagram Influencer Marketing Report: Sponsored posts

One of the main concerns about sharing sponsored content as an influencer is that it could damage your integrity as a creator. But people are much more accepting of paid partnerships now, as long as you clearly disclose the partnership and follow the FTC’s guidelines.

When it comes to how much you can earn as an influencer on Instagram, there are no hard and fast rules.

Many digital marketers adhere to the one cent per follower (or $100 per 10K followers) rule, but only as a starting point for their calculation.

From there, you can adjust and take other factors into consideration, such as engagement rate, client budget, campaign length, and other partnership specifics.

And for brands looking to earn through influencer marketing on Instagram, now could be a great time to get involved.

Screen time (and social media time) has gone up across the board during social distancing, with many influencers open to negotiating their rates or content deliverables.

6 Creative Strategies to Make Money on Instagram 

Social distancing may be disrupting most aspects of daily life, but people are turning to social media as a form of communication, entertainment, and inspiration.

In fact, Facebook and Instagram have seen a 40% increase in usage due to COVID-19, with views for Instagram Live and Facebook Live doubling in one week.

And according to data from Afterpay, younger consumers with job security are spending more time on social media as they work from home, which is influencing their purchasing decisions.

So with this in mind, pivoting your business strategy to make money on Instagram could be a viable option, on the condition that your communication strategy is sensitive to the fact that this could be a difficult and emotional time for many of your followers.

Make Money on Instagram Strategy #1: Consistently Share Shoppable Feed Posts and Stories

Shoppable posts and stories allow your audience to go from product inspiration to product purchase in just a few taps – and do so in a way that’s organic to the Instagram experience.

Instagram Shopping

Streamlining to route to shop is a huge advantage for anyone looking to drive sales and make money on Instagram, as it makes the shopping experience so much simpler and convenient.

If you’re an e-commerce business selling physical goods, you can link your inventory or e-commerce platform to your Instagram account, and tag up to 5 products in your posts (or up 20 products in carousel posts).

On Instagram Stories, you can add a shoppable product sticker to your images and videos that viewers can tap to see the product details page.

To make your shoppable posts even more valuable, pair them with strong calls to action in your captions, such as: “Tap the post to shop!”

Make Money on Instagram Strategy #2: Launch an IGTV Series  

If you haven’t started an IGTV channel yet, you could be missing out on a big opportunity to make money on Instagram.

Unlike Instagram feed posts, IGTV posts can contain clickable links, which makes it really easy for viewers to click through to buy your products or services.

Plus, video is one of the most powerful mediums when it comes to influencing purchasing habits, as it allows viewers to connect on a deeper, more personable level with your brand and its products.

TIP: Encourage viewers to check out your video description (and links) by adding a call-to-action to your IGTV video title, such as: “Tap the arrow for more info.”

Looking for more ways to boost engagement and drive traffic from IGTV? We shared Product Marketing Manager of IGTV, Jon Youshaei’s simple 3-step plan for success! 

Make Money on Instagram Strategy #3: Host a Flash Sale on Instagram Stories 

One of the most effective ways to make money on Instagram is by adding an element of exclusivity and urgency to your offering — and one of the best ways to do this is by hosting a flash sale!

Due to Instagram Stories’ short lifespan and direct linking tools they make a great platform for sharing limited time offers, and you can even use Instagram Stories ads to guarantee they reach a large and relevant audience.

Once you’ve created an Instagram Stories ad, a “sponsored” label will be shown in the top left hand corner of your content:

And the best part is that you can create gorgeous promotional Instagram Stories for free using creative design apps, no expensive designers required!

Make Money on Instagram Strategy #4: Optimize Your Link in Bio 

Even with Instagram’s investment in shopping features, driving traffic through the link in your bio is still one of the most effective ways to make sales from Instagram.

Of course, it isn’t as simple as plugging a URL into your bio and hoping for the best. In order to make money from your Instagram profile, you need to add clear calls-to-action to your captions, such as: “Hit the link in our bio to shop this post.”

It’s also a good idea to make sure that the website you’re linking to is optimized for mobile traffic.

Which is where Linkin.bio by Later comes into play! It’s a tool that lets you turn your whole Instagram feed into a clickable landing page that updates with every new post you share.

drive traffic from instagram

This means you can share multiple links to your products for every Instagram post you publish.

And if you’re on a Later for Business plan, you can even connect your Shopify account to Linkin.bio! With just a click, you can tag Shopify products in your Linkin.bio posts, making it super easy for your followers to shop your feed.

Ready to start driving more traffic and sales from your link in bio? Start using Linkin.bio by Later today — it’s free!


Make Money on Instagram Strategy #5: Sell Gift Cards That Can Be Redeemed Later

If your physical business is on pause, now is a great time to invest in building a strong online community ready for when your doors re-open.

Most people understand the strain that social distancing is putting on physical-dependent businesses like restaurants, cafes, bars, and fitness studios, and many are willing to help support local businesses through this time.

And raising money on Instagram just got even easier, as businesses can now share gift card, food order, and fundraiser stickers in stories and on their profiles.

By sharing these stickers, when a user sees gift cards or food orders, they’ll be able to tap to make a purchase through a partner site. 

NOTE: Gift cards and food orders for delivery and takeout are currently only available in the US and Canada, but will roll out globally in the coming weeks. 

Make Money on Instagram Strategy #6: Host Virtual Events on Instagram Live 

Instagram Live broadcasts are one of the best ways to connect with your followers in a direct, transparent, and authentic way — especially when real life get-togethers are impossible.

And now Instagram Lives can be viewed on desktop, and can be saved directly to IGTV once your broadcast is finished!

Hosting a virtual event is a great way to provide a valuable service or entertainment for your audience to take part in, which can work wonders for building brand loyalty and trust.

Plus, you can strategically use your Instagram Live to promote your paid products or services.

For example, if you’re an online fitness instructor, you could talk about what someone can gain from buying a subscription package during your free Instagram Live event.

And you can also use Instagram Live’s built-in features to help drive traffic back to your site. Ask a member of your team to submit a “question” during the broadcast that includes a link, so that you can share this on screen. Check out hair brand Prose does this:

TIP: The shared response sticker isn’t clickable, so it’s worth keeping your links as short and memorable as possible.

Whatever your business model, there are many ways to make money on Instagram — while still building a strong network of loyal and engaged followers.

Scale up your Instagram strategy today with Later! Plan, schedule and automatically publish to Instagram for FREE with Later. 

Written By

Jillian Warren

Jillian is Later's Editor. A go-to expert in social media strategy and content marketing, she has worked in both London and New York. Next up? Lisbon and Paris! You can reach out to her on Instagram here: @jillwrren.

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