How to Make Money on Instagram : Strategies to Monetize Your Creative Content

Profile photo of Karen Lin, author

Karen Lin

Instagram Growth | May 24, 2024

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

Thanks to social media, it pays to be creative these days. And it pays serious money if you know what strategies work! Here’s your complete guide on how to make money on Instagram, so you can have your Instagram pie and eat it, too!

Ten and twenty US dollar bills to demonstrate making money on Instagram.

How to Make Money on Instagram: Grab Opportunities to Earn Big Bucks

Find something you’re passionate about and you’ll never work a day in your life, to rephrase a quote by Mark Twain. Pursuing your passion and earning from it is no longer just the pipe dream it once was, before social media. With more than 1.22 billion active monthly users, Instagram offers virtually unlimited opportunities to reach countless people. The platform has made it their goal to be the best place for creators to make a living — this is another paraphrased quote from another guy named Mark, Meta’s CEO, Mr. Zuckerberg. If you haven’t done so yet, it’s high time that you learn the strategies for how to make money on Instagram!

First things first, you need to know how to become eligible to use Instagram’s monetization and promotional tools, or their Partner Monetization Policies. These are just a set of rules that applies to accounts, behaviors, and payments. For example, “you must reside in an eligible country where the product or feature is available” and, of course, you must comply with Instagram’s Community Guidelines.

You can also learn more about Instagram’s monetization features and find inspiration from the platform’s guide for creators.

Now it’s time to get down to the brass tacks of how to make money on Instagram!

A person putting money in their pocket from their Instagram income.

How Much Money Are We Talking About?

How much money can you make on Instagram? This is a tricky question to answer, as there are a lot of variables to consider. When it comes to how much they earn on the platform, both creators and brands keep this information private, for obvious reasons. And while it does not involve algebra formulas, Instagram income calculations are also not straightforward.

First, you have to specify what counts as making money on Instagram. When an Instagram reel of you singing an original song goes viral and you are able to sell your music on Spotify, is this considered as making money on Instagram? If you are able to drive traffic to your recipe blog where you host ads, does this count as income from Instagram?

It would be an understatement to say that Instagram can be an unpredictable source of income, especially if you’re only starting. It may help to know how much Instagram influencers make, as they typically have fixed rates. If you are a creator or a brand who wants to monetize your content, how much money you make on Instagram will depend on the following:

  • The size of your audience/follower base
  • Your account performance in terms of content reach and engagement
  • Your credentials
  • Your monetization strategy

All the same, below is the available information on how much some influencers, creators, and brands have earned from their Instagram content:

A bar graph showing how much money Influencers make on Instagram.

How to Make Money on Instagram: Strategies for Creators

If you’re a creator, you can make money on Instagram from your original content or use the platform to promote and sell your merchandise. When you gain a huge following and become successful, you may eventually have the option to take the influencer path. Once you have mastered and applied the best practices for creating interesting content and if you are reaping the benefits from it, you’re already primed for the following strategies on how to get paid on Instagram!

How to Get Paid on Instagram: Collaborate With Brands

Collaborating with brands to get paid on Instagram is an influencer’s bread and butter; but as a creator, you can also take this route to start earning money. Ideally, you should have a proven track record of high engagement with your original content to be seriously considered by a brand for Instagram collaborations. They’ll need to see that you can deliver the results they want, of course.

Collaborating with a brand is a proven way of making money on Instagram. Keep in mind, however, that the success of your collaboration and, therefore, your efforts to generate income will largely depend on selecting the right brand to partner with. Here are some tips to help you choose potential brands for collaboration.

  1. Choose a brand with a follower base that’s smaller than yours if your goal is just to earn some money or get free products, and not to gain new followers. They will likely accept your offer so they can tap into your follower base.
  2. Choose a brand with a follower base that’s significantly bigger than yours if your goal is to reach a wider audience. However, you must have something great to offer them that they’d want, such as an artistic talent or specialized skill.
  3. Choose a brand within your niche/industry.
  4. Make sure the brand shares the same audience type/s you’re targeting.
  5. The brand’s values must be aligned with yours so you can stay authentic.

Another important thing to keep in mind when participating in a paid partnership is that you will be required to disclose when the content you’re posting is sponsored in compliance with Instagram’s Branded Content Policies. Just as importantly, know how to earn with branded content like a pro.

Instagram for creators page showing how to make money on Instagram through brand partnerships.

How to Make Money on Instagram: Join Affiliate Programs

Another surefire way to make money on Instagram is by joining affiliate programs. Instagram affiliate marketing is similar to a brand partnership, but the difference is you’ll get paid for every customer you bring in. In comparison, a brand collaboration involves a fixed payment or some other agreed-upon value in exchange for the services you provide as a creator. If you’re an affiliate partner of a particular restaurant, for example, and you promote the business by offering a discount code/coupon, you’ll get paid for every customer that uses your code.

Instagram for creators page showing how to make money on Instagram through affiliate programs.

Sell Branded Merchandise

If you already have a big enough following and a relatively good engagement rate, you can start selling branded merchandise to earn some money on Instagram. If you want to know how to sell on Instagram, here are your options:

  1. Sell directly through your organic posts, Stories, Reels, and live streams. Those who want to buy can do so by commenting or DM-ing.
  2. Use Instagram Ads to promote your merchandise.
  3. Set up Instagram Shopping so that your customers can purchase your products directly from your posts.
  4. Sell via a link in your bio to your online store. 

Whether your product fills a need among your target audience or delivers value (such as getting your audience involved in a cause or making them part of an exclusive event), make sure your customers will be satisfied with its quality and that it’s undeniably “you.”  

Instagram for creators page showing how to make money on Instagram by selling their own merchandise.

Monetize Your Instagram With Live Badges

You can monetize your Instagram content by encouraging your followers to show their support through Live Badges. When you do a Live stream, your viewers can show their appreciation and support for your content by purchasing badges — thereby allowing you to directly earn money from your content.

Viewers can purchase as many badges as they want; they get multiple badges in $0.99, $1.99 and $4.99 increments. Viewers who purchase badges during your Live stream will have hearts next to their usernames, so you can acknowledge and thank them. Take note that you need a professional creator account and meet eligibility requirements for monetization to enable Badges. You can check your eligibility by going to your Professional Dashboard.

Instagram Live badges are currently available to eligible creators residing in the U.S. For eligible creators in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, Australia, Turkey, Brazil and Mexico, access to badges is currently invite-only. You can check your invite status by going to your Creator settings.

Instagram for creators page showing how to make money on Instagram by using badges in Live.

Make Money on Instagram by Offering a Class

Making money on Instagram by offering a class is similar to offering your talent or skill for a brand collaboration or enabling badges for a Live stream. This is a great option if you have a particular area of expertise, such as photography, cooking, specific craftwork, yoga, makeup, or even certain topics for discussion (e.g., motivational topics or your creative process). 

How do you earn? You can do a Live stream and enable badges or sell tickets to your Live masterclass or a pay-to-access video. As an alternative to Live badges, you can offer classes or tutorials for free via a Live stream or a video post and then ask your followers to send you any amount if they’re able to via a link in your bio. This way, your content will have maximum accessibility while you also tap into the opportunity to make money on Instagram. 

Man holding a DSLR camera and creating a tutorial video to make money on Instagram.

Drive Traffic to Your Blog/Vlog Through Links

If you already have a blog, vlog, or website where you host ads or affiliate links, you can drive more traffic to the external site by learning how to put a link in your Instagram bio. Remember that your Instagram bio is precious real estate as you can only post one clickable link in it. So, this one-time-only link allowance will serve you best if you use it to make money on Instagram. This strategy is ideal for the following:

  • YouTubers. Share highlights of your videos via Reels.
  • Fashion influencers. Share your outfits on Instagram and link to your website where your followers can find out where they can buy the clothes.
  • Food bloggers, chefs, bakers. Share photos of your food, or even short video clips of you cooking, via posts and Stories. The link in your bio will lead to your blog where you share the full recipes.
  • Outdoor enthusiasts, adventure travelers. Share photos of the beautiful places you visit and link to your blog where you go into more detail about your adventures.

How to Make Money on Instagram: Strategies for Businesses

Whether you’re using social media as the main platform for your business or as a means to expand your existing customer base, knowing the tried and tested strategies for how to make money on Instagram will help drive your results.

Monetize Your Instagram Business Through an Instagram Shop

Setting up an Instagram Shop is one of the most direct strategies to effectively monetize your Instagram business. With an Instagram Shop, you’ll have access to the platform’s native e-commerce tools and your customers can make their purchases directly from your shoppable posts. Your shoppable posts will have the little shopping bag icon to let people know that the products are available for purchase.

Your Instagram account can be both an online store and a content platform — a place where you can cater to your customers’ needs with your products/services, while also building and maintaining an appreciative and devoted community. Your customers can easily reach out to you and you can promptly provide customer service. You can promote your brand and products/services organically or through ads. You can connect with your target market more effectively and ensure front-of-mind awareness of your brand and the value you deliver.

Screenshots of an Instagram shop for activewear for women.

Monetize Your Instagram Business Through Special Offers

Did you know that 44% of Instagram users are Instagram shoppers? This is the weekly average number of people who use features like shopping tags and the Shop tab on the platform. You can maximize your chances of successfully tapping into this buying market and monetizing your Instagram business through special offers.

Hold a sale or offer special promos through your Instagram and the high shareability factor of Instagram posts will ensure widespread delivery of the information — because shoppers find special offers impossible to resist! You can even run an Instagram contest as part of a promo to make things more thrilling.

Three gift boxes for a brand’s special giveaway on Instagram.

Make Money on Instagram via Exciting Product Launches

Offering people the chance to be part of something exclusive is a surefire way to attract attention and encourage audience engagement. You can make money on Instagram by inviting your audience to get a sneak peek into a product launch. Make the event more tempting by offering them “first dibs” on your new merch offering a limited-time, introductory discount to those who make a purchase directly from the post and within a certain period. Use Instagram’s “Reminder” feature so people can opt into receiving reminders for your event.

Person working on a tablet for their Instagram product launch.

Collaborate With Instagram Creators

Collaborating with creators and influencer marketing are another time-tested strategy to make money on Instagram. Working with a creator works the same way as collaborating with an influencer. You’ll be able to tap into the creator’s dedicated and genuinely interested follower base. Your brand will benefit from the creator’s credibility and expertise in creating engaging content. You can strengthen your community and build a stronger and more competitive presence on the platform.

The main difference between a creator on Instagram and an influencer is that a creator is more focused on creating and promoting uniquely appealing content, while an influencer’s work is more about promoting a brand, product, or service. An influencer also creates content for a collaboration, but a creator offers an extra dash of creative flair. For a lot of creators, collaborating with a brand and becoming an influencer is the logical, next step in their journey. So if you’re still a relatively young business or still in the early stages of Instagram growth, partnering with a creator who’s also looking for a growth opportunity is often the ideal option.

A group of women in front of a laptop and creating content for an Instagram collaboration.

Collaborate With Other Businesses

Expanding your visibility and reach is crucial to Instagram growth and making money on Instagram for your business. Just like collaborating with creators, teaming up with other businesses will also allow you to reach a wider audience and boost your sales. You can partner with a brand similar to yours for a joint giveaway or event. Or you can pick a brand outside your niche/industry but which complements yours so you can offer both of your audiences something different. If you’re offering organic, handcrafted soaps, for example, you can collaborate with a brand that offers essential oils to give your followers a complete spa experience at home.

Make Money on Instagram With Instagram Ads

Instagram Ads are a must if you’re serious about adopting a strategy for how to make good money on Instagram. You can start with boosting an Instagram post, or get access to the platform’s complete and advanced suite of advertising tools and launching an advertising campaign. Knowing how to advertise on Instagram gives you advanced audience targeting capability and allows you to keep track of your boosted post’s or your ad’s performance via Instagram Insights.

Instagram Ads page showing the Ads Manager feature.

Why Should You Learn How to Make Money on Instagram?

If you’re a creator on the massively popular platform, learning the best strategies for how to make money on Instagram will help get you to your goal of making a good living from doing something you love. If you’re a business, knowing how to optimize the many ways to monetize your Instagram presence will give you the edge you need to grow and stay competitive.

Take note, however, that Instagram’s all-knowing algorithm is a built-in environmental influence that you have no control over. Understanding how it works to make it work to your advantage is not impossible, but extremely challenging. But if you have AI targeting capability, then you’ll have your own algorithmic advantage. Teaming up with a growth service that offers advanced AI targeting, a company like Path Social, is the smart step you should take so you can ensure that you’ll reach the right audience for your brand — real followers who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today!