You’ve probably heard stories of Instagrammers who are cashing in on the pictures they snap and share every day. You might've even looked at your own sizeable following in the know and thought, “Maybe I can do that too”.
Just like bloggers, YouTubers, and anyone who’s amassed an audience around the content they produce, Instagrammers have reach and influence figured out—two things many companies struggle with.
Together, these two things offer the opportunity for Instagram creators to explore multiple streams of potential revenue, whether they want to build an empire or just earn some extra cash and free stuff.
Need a quick guide? Read our post - Sell on Instagram: How to optimize your Instagram bio, hashtags and posts to increase sales
How many followers do you need to make money on Instagram?
If by now you're wondering how many followers you need to make it happen, the short answer is “not as many as you think”.
The long answer depends on factors that range from:
What niche you’re in and how easily you can directly tie it to a product category (fashion, food, beauty, and fitness are popular niches, based on top Instagram hashtags)
How engaged your followers are (100K fake followers won’t amount to much).
Which revenue channels you explore.
Naturally, the more engaged followers you have, the better. Check our tips on how to get followers on Instagram.
While top Instagrammers make thousands per post on the photo-sharing platform, even those with a smaller-but-engaged following of 1000 have the potential to start making money.
Free Webinar: How to Grow and Monetize Your Instagram Account
A free workshop with field-tested Instagram marketing tips. Learn how to grow your Instagram audience and monetize it with an online store.
How do you make money on Instagram?
Depending on your unique brand of Instagram content, your audience, and your level of commitment, you can make money on Instagram in the following ways:
Doing sponsored posts for brands that want to get in front of your audience.
Becoming an affiliate and making a commission selling other brands’ products.
Creating and selling a physical or digital product, or offering a paid service.
Selling licenses for your photography or videos.
The beauty here is that chasing one revenue stream doesn’t necessarily rule out another.
So let’s start with the most common approach to Instagram monetization: partnering with brands as an influencer.
How do I work with brands on sponsored posts?
The term “influencer” gets thrown around a lot these days.
An influencer is basically anyone who’s built themselves an online reputation by doing and sharing awesome things online. To their audiences, influencers are tastemakers, trendsetters and trusted experts whose opinions about certain subjects are respected.
Many brands just can't compete with that and so they partner with influencers instead for sponsored posts that help get the word out about their products.
But it’s not just the size and reach of your Instagram account that brands want. It’s your audience’s trust and engagement with your content.
It can be hard to balance your revenue as an influencer and your integrity as a creator, but if you’re not relying on your Instagram income to stay afloat, you always have the freedom to be selective about the brands you work with, just as brands will be selective about the Instagrammers they work with.