There was a time when making money on Instagram was almost impossible if you didn’t have millions of followers and work as a full-time influencer. Luckily, Instagram has evolved in recent years to support smaller accounts and now offers users better options for making money.
With a rollout of fresh monetization features this year, and more brand interest in social media marketing than ever, even niche accounts have a chance to get paid handsomely on the platform. Read on to find out what you need to do to cash in on Instagram’s popularity and start making money from your account.
The Top 5 Best Social Media Marketing Software to Help You Make Money on Instagram
Our team has done extensive research on the best social media marketing software to help you grow, automate, and monetize on social media.
Here’s our pick for the best apps for growing and making money on Instagram.
- Sprout Social – Best for Learning Your True Brand Perception
- Hootsuite – Best All-in-One for Posting on Multiple Platforms
- Later – Best for Planning and Scheduling Features
- SocialPilot – Best for Small Teams Managing Multiple Accounts
- Agorapulse – Best for Streamlining Messaging
Make Money on Instagram in 9 Easy Steps
There are lots of monetization features available directly in the platform, or ways you can get paid by brands to promote their products. But first, you’ll need to prep your account and do a little groundwork.
- Sign Up For Sprout Social
- Switch To A Professional Account
- Understand Your Audience
- Create Valuable Content
- Start Using Reels
- Join Instagram Subscriptions
- Create A Media Kit
- Pitch Brands For Sponsorships
- Sell Your Own Products
For this guide, to help with analytics, we’ve chosen Sprout Social thanks to its in-depth social media analytics tools and reporting to help you get to know your audience. Plus, right now, you can try it out free for a 30-day trial period and see the features in action for yourself.
Step 1: Sign Up For Sprout Social
The first thing you want to do to make money on Instagram is to sign up for Sprout Social.
Sprout Social is a social media marketing software that will help you grow on Instagram and also analyze and understand your audience.
Obviously, growing on Instagram is important to get more followers, and it can also help you land brand deals. But actually understanding your audience is more important because that is the key to easily monetizing on the platform.
With Sprout Social, you can get started for free with a 30-day trial. This will give you a chance to get used to the tools before committing to one of the plans and will also give you a chance to start understanding your audience and improving your social media marketing straight away.
If you head over to Sprout Social and click on start your free trial, you don’t even need a credit card to sign up. You just need to provide a few details, like your name, email, and link to your social accounts, and you can start using all the features and tools.
Although using Sprout Social probably won’t directly make your money on Instagram, it will help you grow and organize your account in a way that will make it a lot easier for you to make money in the long run.
Step 2: Switch To A Professional Account
If you haven’t done this already, your next step should be to switch to a professional account.
This will make it easier for you to analyze your audience, grow your account, grow your following, and make more money on the platform. In fact, most of the steps that we talk about in this guide won’t work unless you have a professional account set to business or creator.
There are certain Instagram monetization programs that are only offered to those types of accounts, as well as Instagram’s own analytics tools. If you pair those features with using Sprout Social, you’ll find it much much easier to grow quickly.
The best thing about switching to a professional account is even though you get access to lots more tools and opportunities to make money, it’s free to do. Just head over to your settings and choose Switch to a Professional Account and then choose Creator or Business as your category.
Step 3: Understand Your Audience
Again, here we’re just laying the foundations for you to be able to monetize quickly once your account is optimized.
There are a lot of steps you can take and methods you can use to monetize on Instagram, but understanding your audience is key to all of them. If you understand your audience, you know how to make them trust you, you know how to give them value, and you know how to give them products that they’ll enjoy.
If you know your audience and create content they enjoy, they’ll be engaged. And if there’s one thing that brands look for in an Instagram account when choosing whether or not to partner with them, it’s engagement.
The need to understand your audience is one of the big reasons that we suggest you sign up with Sprout Social. It includes features like audience analytics and competitor analytics, as well as automated messages to help you connect with your followers.
Using these, as well as Instagram tools, will help you understand who your followers are, why they follow you, what content they like, and how to keep them coming back.
All of these things are key to making money on Instagram. If you know who your audience is and what they want, that is half the battle in making money on the platform.
Step 4: Create Valuable Content
This is the last step to laying the foundations for monetizing your Instagram.
There is definitely a benefit to having entertaining content, but if you are able to have content that is really valuable to your audience and gives them education or inspiration, it will make it a lot easier to monetize your account.
You can create valuable content in any niche for any audience. It just has to be content that either solves a problem for them or helps them do something.
If you can provide content like that for your audience, you start building a relationship where they want to give you something back. This makes it easier for you to sell things or ask for things from your audience, even if that’s just shares and likes for engagement.
Sharing valuable content also helps build trust with your followers, which will make things a lot easier if you do want to do sponsorships or ask your audience to buy something from you.
Creating valuable content is easier said than done, but if you understand your audience and you use analytics on Sprout Social to see what they are already responding to you, it will be easier. You can also even ask them in the comments what they want from you and what they think would be valuable.
Step 5: Start Using Reels
Now that you’ve laid the foundations to grow your account and build trust with your followers, you’re ready to start using the tools Instagram gives professional accounts to make money.
One of the best possible ways to monetize on Instagram right now is to use Reels. For a start, Reels are heavily promoted, will get you in front of more people, and will help you grow faster.
The best part, though, and the key to getting monetized, is that Instagram has a Reels program where they will pay you to make Reels.
The program is called Reels Play Bonus, and it’s invitation-only based on a set of criteria like how many views your Reels are getting and how many followers you have. If you do get invited, you’ll be able to earn money from your Reels if they go viral.
Considering the popularity of Reels right now and how much success people in every niche have with them, there’s a great chance with this program for smaller creators or account holders to make money on Instagram.
The first step for anyone thinking about monetizing on Instagram should be using Reels, because not only will Instagram push your content and help you grow if you have Reels, but you could get paid for them, and it costs you nothing.
(Just remember that you need a professional account to qualify for the program.)
Step 6: Join Instagram Subscriptions
If you’re located in the US, you’re in luck. Another one of Instagram’s new features that they rolled out this year is Instagram Subscriptions.
This feature lets followers Subscribe to exclusive paid content from their favorite Instagram accounts. The feature is similar to having a Patreon, where you give subscribers the option to pay you money to support your channel and get access to hidden content.
Hopefully, now you understand why you had to lay the foundations of creating valuable content and building trust with your audience. If your followers believe that you create really valuable, interesting content, they will be more willing to pay to see exclusive content than if you hadn’t done the first three steps.
This feature is such a great way to make money on Instagram because you can choose your own subscription rates (although currently it’s capped at $99) Plus, being able to monetize is based almost entirely on the quality of your content and the relationship you have with your audience, not on likes or follower count.
This makes it such a great option for smaller accounts and people who are new to the platform.
Currently, to set up Instagram subscriptions, you have to be based in the US, have a professional profile, and be in good standing with Instagram for never violating their policies.
If you do qualify, you just need to go to settings, select Set Up Subscriptions, choose the amount you want to charge subscribers, and then confirm. You’ll then get a button visible on your profile that allows users to directly subscribe and pay you.
Step 7: Create A Media Kit
Now that you’ve built the trust of your audience and you’ve used Sprout Social to grow your account, it’s time to show off those numbers.
Even if you don’t have the biggest following, you can still put together a media kit that is attractive to potential sponsors or partners. A media kit is just a presentation of your stats on Instagram, like how many followers you have, how many likes you get on average, or what your engagement rate is.
Many Instagram users assume that having a smaller following won’t get them any sponsorships, but many brands actually prefer to work with micro-influencers. This is because smaller accounts tend to have better engagement and more personal relationships with their followers, which lends itself better to making sales because trust has been built.
If you wanna make money on Instagram, sponsorships or partnerships are a big part of that. And if you want to be able to reach out to brands or respond to them if they reach out to you, having a media kit with your numbers will help you negotiate your rates.
You can even include your rates on your media kit if you want to look more established.
Here’s what else you should include:
- A bio
- Links to your other social media accounts
- Your number of followers
- Your audience demographic
- Your engagement rate
- Your growth over the last 6 months
- Average likes, comments, and shares
A media kit won’t directly make you money on Instagram, but it will help you look more professional and charge higher rates when you land a sponsorship.
Step 8: Pitch Brands For Sponsorships
If you’re a niche account or you get a lot of engagement and followers, you might have brands reach out to you directly for sponsorships or partnerships. If not, you can reach out to brands, introduce yourself, tell them about your following, and offer your account as an advertisement for their products.
If your account is in a niche, focus on brands in your industry. Firstly, these companies are more likely to want to partner with you and see the value of what you do, and secondly, your audience is not going to buy something that’s not relevant to them.
When you do reach out to brands to offer to introduce their product to your audience, make sure that you explain in your pitch how this will benefit them. The more benefit they can see in this, the more they will be willing to pay you.
One thing that you can do to really boost your chances of being valuable to them is offering something alongside your follower account. For instance, having a subscriber account gives you an edge over regular influencers or creators.
And in the same way, having a YouTube channel or an email list with a lot of subscribers gives you something extra to offer brands, which means you can charge higher rates.
When you pitch brands to suggest a collaboration, you should also try and pitch ideas that can be turned into a series or a longer-term project. For instance, you may pitch a carousel post where you charge for each post in the carousel.
Or, if you were to do a skincare partnership, you could pitch a ‘before and after series’ where you show your followers your results once a week for a month.
Sponsorships can be really lucrative, and if you’re successful, you can use your results to pitch bigger brands in the future. However, unlike some of the other monetization options on this list, you will have to establish yourself a little bit and spend time building an audience before you get to this step.
Step 9: Sell Your Own Products
The last step you should take towards making money on Instagram is selling your own products or services.
This could be anything from selling merchandise for your personal brand to selling services like consulting.
Whatever you do doesn’t really matter; all that matters is that your audience is interested, and it’s something they’re willing to pay for. This is where all of the trust and all of the value you’ve already created for your audience come into play.
If you really want to make sure that you create and promote a successful product, we recommend doing some research with your followers first.
Listen to them when they tell you what they want more of, pay attention to what they like and don’t like, and interact with them in the comments to see which of your product ideas interest them the most.
A good rule of thumb for trying to sell a product or service is to find out if people are interested before you create it. The beauty of Instagram is you can have one-on-one connections with your followers, or you can even have a poll in your Instagram stories where followers can vote on which products they would like.
Getting followers directly involved in the process of designing products for them makes it much, much more likely they’ll buy. Once you do create products or services, you can link to them in your stories, you can create a link in your bio to a landing page, or you can even use the Instagram shopping tool to create a virtual store.
This is a great way to make money on Instagram because you don’t have to worry about follower numbers or brands wanting to partner with you. And you can continue making money with these products or services over and over again, and adapt them as your audience evolves.
Final Thoughts About How to Make Money on Instagram
With all of the new features Instagram has introduced this year to help businesses and creators monetize, it’s actually very easy to make money on the platform. Not only are there options for smaller accounts, but there are a variety of ways to make money that are suited to different niches and different audiences.
The best thing about making money on Instagram is that, at the same time, you get to grow a community, create content about something you enjoy or you’re passionate about, and build a brand that you can to make money across all your social media.