November 2, 2018 Last updated on February 9th, 2021
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If you’re wondering how to make money on Instagram, you’re in the right place! Of course, growing and monetizing your Instagram account can be a challenge, especially when the algorithm is forever changing, and the platform continues to attract more users, all eager to get their content seen. Even if you have a perfectly polished Instagram account and have ticked off every box on the list when it comes to optimizing your bio, researching your target audience, and carefully planning out your content strategy, you might still need some extra help. With that in mind, here’s what you need to do to cash in on your Instagram profile!

How to Make Money on Instagram

Building a Community

Before you start marketing your products and making your Instagram shoppable, it’s important to establish a community of your target customers. Why? Because you want to reach them easily and quickly with promotions and offers, convey your brand message, and nurture them to become customers (and eventually ambassadors).How can you do this? Let’s start with tagging. Hashtags to be precise.

    • Hashtags

In order to get your content in front of the right people, you need to reference it properly with Instagram hashtags. The aim is to appear in the search results of the hashtags your ideal follower/target customer is searching for.You’re going to want to select specific hashtags that aren’t already saturated with associated content so your content doesn’t get lost. If a hashtag has millions of posts referenced under it, your post is extremely unlikely to rank (unless of course, you’re Kim Kardashian). You can find out how many associated posts a tag has by simply entering into the Instagram app search bar.

How to Make Money on Instagram

Stick to more specific, long-tail hashtags that have fewer associated posts – and only choose hashtags that are relevant to your account and the content you’re posting. No spammy hashtags such as #followforfollow! These will devalue your content and won’t bring you the right kind of loyal followers you want to attract.

  • Ads and organic promotion

You can also use Instagram ads to promote your content to a specific audience. You can optimize your ad objectives to drive traffic to a link (such as your website or particular product page), and increase the reach or conversions of a shoppable post, as well as many more options that that could be a fit for your brand. Check out this 7 step tutorial on Instagram ads to find out more.If your budget is limited, why not cross-promote your Instagram content on the other channels your target audience is engaging with? It could mean sharing content on Facebook, promoting your Instagram on your blog, utilising your existing email list, and so on. There are plenty of opportunities to cross-promote your Instagram account, so just keep this in mind whenever you are creating any kind of content for your brand. It might seem strange targeting your existing audience, but remember, the more quality followers you can add to your Instagram community, the better – this is how you grow. More followers = quality engagement = more followers.

Using Instagram to drive traffic

Next up is driving those followers to your website. There are two ways you can approach this:

  • Link in Bio

Using a link in your bio is the oldest and easiest way to drive traffic from your Instagram profile. Firstly, you can use link shortening platforms such as Bitly and LinkTree to track the number of clicks your link receives. For example, Bitly allows you to view how many clicks your links have received over any given period, and the breakdown of traffic by source – so you can use the same link across multiple social platforms and still see from which platform you got the most traffic. It also gives you some idea of the demographics of your audience as it shows where your clicks came from by country.How to Make Money on Instagram bitlyJust add the original link you want users to visit (whether it’s your website, a promotion etc) into bitly and then copy the shortened link over to your Instagram profile in ‘Settings’ under ‘Website’

  • Instagram Stories

More and more Instagram users are watching Stories on a daily basis, so make the most of the opportunity. Even if you don’t have the 10000 followers that allows you to link from Stories, you can still utilize the feature to drive loads of traffic!If you have over 10k followers, you will be able to add a link to each of your Stories. To add a link out to a blog post, product page or pretty much whatever you like, just go to Stories, upload your video or photo, and then select the link symbol at the top of the screen.Next, you’ll be prompted to add the URL you want your Story to link to. When anyone views your Story, they’ll see a small ‘See More’ CTA at the bottom of the screen with an arrow to Swipe Up. However, it’s fairly hidden, so get creative and draw some attention to it using the editing features on the Instagram app. Paint some arrows, for example, or add a quirky gif next to the CTA to draw the eye.

How to Make Money on Instagram Instagram Stories

If you don’t have 10k followers or above, you can still use Stories to drive traffic. Record a quick video of yourself letting your followers know about your new post, and pique their curiosity. Or, share photo from your feed to your Stories with a CTA to visit your profile and check out the post in full.

To share a post from your feed, click on the paper airplane/arrow button below the post in your feed. The first option you’ll see is to share to your Story. Select this, and it will bring up a screen with your photo in the centre, ready for you to edit, add tags, and add that all important CTA.

How to Make Money on Instagram add feed post to instagram stories Pick the Stories you want to promote, particularly those that performed well, and add them as highlights to your profile. To do this, you need to:

  1. Tap Story Highlights on your profile (below your bio).
  2. Tap the ‘plus’ icon. – Select the Story you want to add to your highlights, then tap Next.
  3. Choose a cover and a name for your highlight
  4. Tap Add (iPhone) or Done (Android).
  5. Edit or add more Stories to your highlight by tapping Edit Highlight.

How to Make Money on Instagram Stories Highlights

Making your Instagram shoppable

To really understand how to make money on Instagram, you need to understand how to make your Instagram feed shoppable. For a full step by step guide, take a look at the ebook Instagram for Entrepreneurs: Growing and Monetizing Your Account. There’s a complete section on making your Instagram feed shoppable, and creating shoppable posts. For a quick overview of the set-up process, here are they key steps you will need to take:

1. Sell something tangible

As of yet, it’s not possible to sell services through the Instagram shopping feature – you have to be selling a tangible product that comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policies.

How to Make Money on Instagram as a Brand or Entrepreneur

2. Convert to a Business Profile

It’s absolutely vital that you convert to a Business Profile if you want to make money on Instagram. No Business Profile, no shoppable feed. And, there’s more: If you don’t have an Instagram Business profile, you won’t be able to access insights or analytics on the Instagram platform, or through any third party tools 😨. Those stats are key for analyzing your strategy and adapting it to help you reach your objectives and overall goal.

3. Update your Instagram app

It might seem obvious, but it’s important to check that you have the latest version of the Instagram app installed on your phone, otherwise you might encounter problems when you go through the process of making your Instagram shoppable.

4. Create a product catalog on Facebook

A Facebook catalog is basically a listing of all your products that you want to sell. You can

set up your catalog via your business’ Facebook Page. To do that, you need to first add a shop section on your Business Facebook Page.

Click Settings → Edit Page → Template → Shopping Template → Apply Template

Shopping Template Facebook

Once that’s done, you’ll need to set up a payment process. Next, just click “Add Product” in your shop, write a description, add a price, image (or video) and a checkout link for each, and you’re done! Keep in mind it might take up to a few days for Facebook to approve your request to set up a shop.

Find out more about creating shoppable posts.

Influencer and affiliate marketing

If you’re an influencer with around 10,000 followers or more, you can also look into affiliate marketing. Promoting products or services through your own Instagram can be a worthwhile side hustle, but unless you’re at the top of your game, don’t rely on your Instagram to cover your monthly expenses!

On the flip side, if you’re a trying to grow your brand, there are plenty of influences out there who will be happy to promote what you’re offering (for a fee) – often, the number of followers the influencer has will influence how much you’re willing to pay, but ultimately you should be looking at whether they’re the right fit for your brand, and making sure their account is genuine. There’s a lot to consider when searching for the right Instagram influencers, but at least there are a ton of great tools out there to help you with the process, such as SocialBakers and Webfluential.

If you don’t have the cash to spare on tools, you can always do things the “old-fashioned” way and search the Instagram platform for popular accounts in your niche. Want to learn more about working with influencers? Take a look at this post on running a successful influencer marketing campaign.

Hopefully you have a clear idea of how you can grow and monetize your Instagram account, and you’re ready to delve deeper! For even more information about how to make money on Instagram, download the complete ebook “Instagram for Entrepreneurs: Growing and Monetizing Your Account”.

Over to you – What tips do have on how to make money on Instagram? Leave a comment and let us know how you use the platform to monetize your content!

About the author
Caitlin Hughes

Caitlin Hughes

Caitlin is a Content Marketing expert at Iconosquare, based in Berlin. She’s passionate about creating ROI-driven content strategies and sharing her best tips on social media marketing. She’s also into true crime, loves ‘80’s music, and spends too much time online shopping.

More posts by Caitlin Hughes

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