If this is your year to build your brand and establish your business on Instagram, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to thrive as a creator on Instagram, from launching your account and gaining followers, to diversifying your income.
Last time, we unpacked how to work with brands. Today, we’re going to talk about all the other ways you can monetize your following!
Successful creators always work to establish multiple income streams. That’s how you build a social media presence that supports you long-term in a steady, sustainable way, so Instagram can truly be - or at least support - your full-time job!
There are so many ways to make money on Instagram. In this guide, we’ll discuss ways you can:
- Sell products through Instagram
- Educate other creators
- Get paid by Instagram directly
- Get paid by your followers directly
Instagram commerce: Selling on Instagram
Be honest. How many times have you been tempted by shiny new trinkets (and maybe even hit ‘buy’) because of Instagram?
Turning your Instagram into a shoppable virtual store is a powerful way to monetize your account.
Increasingly, social platforms aspire to be shopping destinations. This is called social commerce, and it’s a huge, and growing, trend. Instagram has plenty of native features, from Wishlists to the ‘Shop’ tab, to encourage people to shop on social.
Let’s break down how to sell products on Instagram.
Set up an Instagram Shop
If your Instagram was a physical store, this would be the equivalent of browsing the racks. In your Instagram Shop, you’ll include a photo, description, and price for each item you list for sale.
Below each item is a button that takes followers to your website, where they can purchase it. If you’re in the United States, you even get Instagram Checkout, which lets people buy right in the app!
Tag products in content
What’s really exciting about Instagram Shops is how you can integrate them with the rest of your content.
You’ll be able to tag products in your posts, Stories, and Reels — you can even add shopping capabilities to livestreams now!
This way, your customers don’t intentionally need to seek out your store. Your products can be featured in all your content, so that if they’re following you, they can’t miss them!
Thinking outside the box
Selling products on Instagram is a natural fit if you’re an artist, designer, or crafty person. But you can make great money with Instagram Shopping even if you’ve never made physical goods!
Try curating amazing products your audience loves, like vintage clothing or self-care items. You can also collaborate with an illustrator or designer to make custom branded merch! What about cute tote bags or baseball hats with a branded design?
Digital products, like printables and ebooks, are another genius way to make money on Instagram. You could make recipe books, printable planners, or guides to whatever you’re knowledgeable about. This is a super scalable, low-cost way to make the most of Instagram shopping since you don’t need to worry about shipping or storing physical products.
Shopping from Creators
Brand partnerships and Instagram Shopping are the two most powerful ways to make money on this platform. But did you know there’s actually a way to combine them?!
It’s called Shopping from Creators, and it brings the interactivity of tagging products to all your branded content!
You’ll be able to tag your partners’ products within your branded content, just like you would if you were selling them in your own store. It’s a way more direct, engaging way to highlight products you love, and get your followers’ eyes on them.
Most influencers have access to this feature — it depends how many followers you have, and where you’re located in the world. You’ll just need to have a Creator account, rather than a regular profile.
Educate other creators
Instagram is about sharing images — but it’s also about sharing information. Selling educational material and resources is a clever way to make money on Instagram that’s in high demand!
Tailoring your materials to other Instagram creators is an especially smart way to approach this strategy, since your followers are already on Instagram. But there’s no reason you couldn’t apply these strategies to other topics related to your niche, too.
Your followers love how your content looks. That’s why they’re making a choice to keep you in their feed! Why wouldn’t they want to emulate it themselves?
That’s the idea behind image presets — a ready-to-go package of settings buyers use to instantly and easily edit their photos. By selling image presets, your followers can get the same distinctive look they love on your account for their own images.
It’s a great way to stand out from the crowd and get away from the Instagram or Prequel filters everyone else is using. VSCO and Lightroom are two popular apps to create presets for.
Your buyers might be other creators, or anyone who wants to elevate what they post on IG!
You might be interested in: How to create your own Instagram presets - and sell them for passive income
Online courses are a natural way to make money by educating others on Instagram. If you’re somewhat established as an influencer, that means you have valuable business experience that others will pay for!
Try creating a course or guide, using a platform like Teachable, Skillshare, or Thinkific, that coaches other aspiring creators on how to succeed in your niche. Then, promote it to your followers!
Of course, your online course doesn’t need to be about your creator journey. Listen to your niche — what expertise and experience do you have to share?
Earning money directly on Instagram
Instagram shopping gets lots of attention, but it’s not the only way to earn money on Instagram.
IG also offers some interesting tools that help you earn money more directly. Thanks to some exciting new features, your followers can financially support your account, and pay you for your content — and you can even get paid out by Instagram itself!
Monetizing your content this way can be a great, consistent income stream to diversify how you make money from your Instagram. Here are three great options for doing so:
To help promote certain types of content and accounts, Instagram sometimes pays bonuses directly to their creators.
For example, right now they have a Reels Play bonus program, because they want to see more creators experimenting with this type of content. If you’re eligible for this program, you’ll be awarded money based on how many viewers watch, enjoy, and engage with your Reels.
If you’re eligible for Reels Plays, or any of Instagram’s bonus programs, you’ll get a notification.
Go live with Badges
Badges let you turn livestreaming into a fun, interactive way to make money!
While you stream, followers can buy badges for $0.99, $1.99, and $4.99 — it's a similar idea to tipping you because they like your work. When they buy a badge, a heart will display next to their name. Don’t forget to say thank you!
Badges are available to creators in the United States, and on an invite-only basis to creators in other regions. Get the full scoop from Instagram here.
If people love your content, why shouldn’t they be able to pay you for it? That’s the idea behind Instagram Subscriptions, which Instagram introduced in January 2022 to a small number of creators.
For a recurring monthly fee, followers who love your work get access to extra, exclusive content that doesn’t appear to the rest of your audience.
So far, Subscribers get exclusive Lives, Stories, and a special Subscriber badge next to their name.
Build a thriving business on Instagram
You can earn money on Instagram. This platform wants its creators to thrive, and there are so many ways you can make that happen.
Brand partnerships, social commerce, Live badges and presets — as a creator, a healthy, sustainable business is all about having multiple income streams!
With so many options for earning out there, you just need to find the ones that feel right for you. All it takes is flexibility, creativity, and a willingness to experiment. But if you’re an Instagram creator, you’ve already got those in spades.
Making a living on Instagram is incredibly exciting. If you’ve monetized your Instagram account through multiple, diversified income streams, you aren’t just a creator anymore — you’re a business owner!
Like any business owner, you need to protect your assets against dangers. For Instagram creators, the biggest threat is getting hacked and losing years worth of community growth and content in a heartbeat.
That's why Notch built the first insurance product specifically for Instagram creators.