How To Make Money On Instagram — 8 Strategies

Instagram isn’t just for chatting with your friends anymore. It’s currently a powerhouse platform, like YouTube, where creators can turn their passions into profit. With over a billion active users, Instagram offers a variety of opportunities for influencers to monetize their content and build extremely profitable businesses — for many, even leading to a new full-time career.

How To Earn Money On Instagram

Creators on Instagram have a variety of monetization strategies at their disposal. From sponsored partnerships that allow creators to collaborate with some of the most well-known companies in the world to offering digital and/or physical products that can offer their audience more than just the free content on the app, creators can truly maximize their earning potential while maintaining authentic connections with their communities.

1. Sponsored Content Partnerships

If you’ve ever seen your favorite influencer sharing a product in their content with #ad or #sponsored, you’ve likely seen sponsored content. Sponsored brand partnerships are a major source of income for most Instagram creators. These collaborations allow influencers to work with brands and showcase products or services to their followers.

In most cases, the brand hires the creator and provides them with a “creative brief” to showcase the mandatory talking points the content needs to include. The creator is then responsible for creating engaging and authentic content seamlessly integrating the brand’s messaging into their own brand’s messaging.

For this type of partnership, most creators negotiate a flat-rate fee that they have created for themselves based on their profile statistics like reach, engagement, and follower count.

2. Instagram Affiliate Partnerships

Affiliate partnerships, though a type of sponsored brand collaboration, offer creators a different way to monetize their content by earning commissions rather than a flat rate.

Through affiliate marketing networks or directly from the brand, creators earn a percentage of sales — typically anywhere from 5-30% — made via their referral links or discount codes. In some cases, this is a great opportunity as the earning potential is endless vs. a flat-rate fee.

This method enables creators to generate income while delivering value to their audience through authentic recommendations and endorsements.

3. Instagram Bonus Incentives

While very different from TikTok’s Creativity Program, Instagram does offer its incentive program to reward creators for posting on the app. According to Instagram, “Bonuses are opportunities for creators to earn money directly from Instagram.”

Currently, the feature is only available for business and creator accounts on the app. The bonuses are invite-only with creators learning that they are invited on their professional dashboard. If you are invited to a program, it’s encouraged that you accept as soon as possible as the offers may expire if you do not respond promptly.

Bonuses range from paying you for completing certain tasks (ex: going Live on Instagram a certain number of times) or for reaching certain statistical milestones (ex: getting a certain number of views on a Reel). It’s all dependent on which bonus program you are invited to.

4. User Generated Content

Traditionally, user-generated content is the content that users of a certain product organically create and post on social media apps. However, since influencer marketing has grown exponentially, many brands are hiring creators specifically to make organic-style content for them.

User-generated content or “UGC” can be used in the brand’s organic social media, in-house marketing, paid advertisements, and beyond.

The appeal of UGC lies in its authenticity and variety. Rather than hiring a full production team to ideate, capture, and edit content for new campaigns, brands can collaborate with creators, making production more efficient and often more cost-effective.

For this type of partnership, many creators negotiate a flat rate with the brands, which often includes the rights for the brand to use the content in their marketing efforts.

5. Donations and Gifts

You can also earn money straight from your audience on Instagram. Anyone viewing a piece of content can purchase “stars” and use them to purchase a virtual gift for you as a “thank you” for sharing the content. When those gifts are sent to the creator, they receive a revenue share equal to $0.01 USD per star.

To be eligible to receive virtual gifts from your audience, you must have a professional account, be 18 years or older, have at least 500 followers, and remain compliant with the Instagram Community Guidelines. You must live in a country where the feature is available (these countries are listed on Instagram’s blog).

6. Instagram Subscriptions

Offering your audience exclusive content behind a paywall is also an option on Instagram. Subscriptions allow you to showcase specific content to only a certain group of people who have purchased access to it.

You can create Lives, stories, posts, Reels, and broadcast channels that are specifically for your paid subscribers. Instagram has created a separate tab on your profile — marked with a crown symbol — that houses all of your subscriber-exclusive content.

After confirming you meet all of the eligibility requirements, you’ll be able to go to your professional dashboard to enable the feature and set your monthly price. Currently, Instagram does not take a percentage of your monthly income from subscriptions.

7. Selling Merchandise

As you grow your loyal audience on Instagram, you may find that your followers are interested in purchasing physical merchandise from you to represent your brand and help spread the word beyond the app.

Ideating, designing, manufacturing, selling, and shipping physical merchandise can be quite a feat, but companies such as Pietra simplify the process by providing these services to creators for a fee.

You can also choose to sell your products via Instagram Shopping, where you’ll be able to create your storefront directly in the app. Users can then checkout on the same platform simplifying the process for purchasing. You can learn more about setting up your Instagram Shop here.

8. Digital Products and Services

As you grow a loyal audience, you may also find that they are interested in diving further into your perspective and expertise in your particular field. Because of this, many creators choose to offer coaching services or sell digital products like e-books, courses, mentorships, or consulting sessions.

No matter their niche, creators can use their knowledge and expertise to provide valuable digital offerings that help their audience acquire a new skill, generating a very lucrative income stream for the creator.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Much Do Instagram Influencers Make?

There is no guidebook or “industry standard” for the rates that influencers charge. Many of them compile rates that feel fair based on the money, time, and work that is required to run their business and create the piece of content. 

Forbes spoke with four different creators with under 10,000 followers who all charged different rates per post — anywhere from $100-$400 respectively. 

How Do You Get More Followers On Instagram?

Posting Instagram Reels consistently is one of the best ways to grow your following on Instagram. Reels are distributed on a separate tab and shown to a pool of both people who follow you and those who don’t. It gives you the maximum opportunity to reach potential new followers versus posting carousel photo posts.

Another aspect of gaining more of a following on Instagram is to post content that is shareable and watchable. Videos that have a higher retention rate typically get pushed further out into the feeds of potential new followers, so making a video that a viewer wants to watch until the very end is key. The algorithm will favor your video even more if it finds that the content is being shown a lot of interest in the form of likes, comments, shares, and saves.

How Many Instagram Followers Do You Need To Earn Money?

There is no minimum follower count that is required to earn money on Instagram unless you are specifically looking to monetize via Instagram’s virtual gifts option which requires 500 followers minimum. Many micro-influencers under 10k followers are getting paid hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for brand partnerships and affiliate collaborations.

How Many Views On Instagram Reels Do You Need To Get Paid?

There is no specific number of views you need on your Instagram Reels to monetize. Many avenues of monetization require more of a loyal community — even one that is small in number — than anything else. When you have a loyal community that has shown genuine interest in what you are sharing, it becomes more accessible to land paid brand sponsorships, sell digital and physical products, and make more with affiliate partnerships.

Bottom Line

Similar to TikTok, Instagram creators can monetize their content and build their revenue streams on the platform in many different ways. From sponsored brand partnerships to affiliate marketing, this is a unique way of generating a substantial income. As Instagram continues to evolve, the potential for creators to build profitable, sustainable businesses on the platform remains robust and ever-growing.

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Instagram isn’t just for chatting with your friends any…