You can’t scroll through your Instagram feed without seeing your favorite creators promoting products—both their own and those from other brands. Ever wonder if you could get in on the action? While top-performing celebrity accounts can fetch seven figures for a promoted post, you don’t need their millions of followers to earn money on Instagram.
In fact, Instragam creators with as few as 1,000 followers have multiple options for monetization. Whether you want to build a social media empire or earn extra cash through a profitable side hustle, making money on Instagram is easier than you think.
This guide will teach you how to make money on Instagram, with seven attainable ideas from affiliate marketing to selling merch for your personal brand. Plus, get inspired by real examples of creators dominating the space.
How to make money on Instagram
- Collaborate with brands on sponsored content
- Open your own ecommerce store
- Design merch for your personal brand
- Become an affiliate marketer
- Enable Instagram Shopping features
- Sell your photos or art online
- Earn Live badges from fans
- Offer paid subscriptions
- Sell used stuff
Making money on Instagram isn’t always about how many followers you have. The methods that work the best for you will depend on your unique brand of Instagram content, your target audience, and your level of commitment. Layer on several ideas to maximize your earning potential—diversification of your revenue streams is a smart financial strategy as you explore how to make money on Instagram.
💡Tip: Before you dive into these ideas, make sure you have an active Instagram account. Some of these methods also require an Instagram Business Account.
1. Collaborate with brands on sponsored content
An Instagram influencer is a creator or celebrity that wields influence over a loyal base of fans and followers. To their audiences, influencers are tastemakers, trendsetters, and trusted experts within their areas of expertise or influence.
Brands often can’t replicate the authenticity of a real person sharing real moments. Rather, they cash in on this influence by partnering with creators who are verified on Instagram and have audiences that overlap with their target customer. Brands pay influencers for sponsored content where these creators promote products within Instagram Stories, posts, and Reels. Creator Dapper on the Daily often partners with Disney—a smart collaboration for her audience of moms.
Brands using Instagram marketing are clamoring to get access to the engaged audiences of trusted influencers. As an Instagram creator, though, it’s important to assess each opportunity to ensure it doesn’t harm your personal brand.
If you rely on Instagram marketing for income, be selective about the brands you work with so as not to alienate your audience. Similarly, brands will want to be selective about the Instagram creators they work with to ensure there is a match with values and audience.
Understanding what to charge as an Instagram influencer
Typically, influencer contracts involve the creation of content—posts or Stories that act as Instagram ads for the brand—and will sometimes include permission for the brand to use the content for their own purposes (such as in ads on other platforms).
In exchange for this Instagram marketing, influencers will receive a fee, free products or services, the promise of exposure, or some combination of compensation.
Pricing and contract negotiation tips for Instagram influencers:
- Set your own limits. Beware of contracts that promise exposure or undervalue your worth.
- Understand your value. When negotiating, remember that you’re not just offering content but access to your audience and usage rights.
- Find out what others are charging. As a benchmark, the average influencer who has upward of 100,000 Instagram followers charges up to $500 per post.
- Know your audience. Who are they and what is your engagement rate (total engagement divided by your number of followers)? This will help you be prepared when it comes time to negotiate.
- Consult a lawyer. Most of the terms of influencer deals are negotiable. A lawyer specializing in these types of contracts can help you earn more money.
Finding the right brands to work with
If you have enough influence on Instagram, chances are brands will find you and offer you sponsorship deals. But you can always be picky about the brands you work with and reach out to them first.
Try listing your details on influencer marketplaces to signal to brands that you’re open to collaboration. Shopify Collabs is an influencer marketplace that connects creators with brands looking to get exposure to new audiences.
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The rules vary when it comes to sponsored content, but to be on the safe side and respect your audience’s trust, consider adding a #sponsored hashtag to indicate sponsored posts. You can find examples of sponsored posts and how Instagram creators integrate brands into their Stories or captions by searching the #sponsored hashtag on Instagram.
Instagram also has a “Paid Partnership with” tag that prominently identifies sponsored posts at the top of the content. Here’s an example of a partnership between vegan chef Timothy Pakron and the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas.
2. Open your own ecommerce store
Creators of all kinds are in a good position to sell their own products—not just products from other brands. Physical goods, services, or digital items can be an extension of a creator’s brand, offering value to audiences and allowing them to buy a piece of their favorite online personalities.
The lines between creator and entrepreneur are blurring, with more people looking to own their independence and make money from their craft. Pet influencer Loki the Wolfdog parlayed Instagram success into his own brand, Loki Naturals.
A few options for selling products and services online include the following:
- Sell services such as photography or consulting by directing Instagram users to your professional website.
- Offer digital products such as an online course, sounds, ebooks, or design presets.
- Sell your own original products and ship them yourself or through a fulfillment warehouse.
- Use dropshipping to sell products without having to manage inventory and shipping.
💡Tip: Creating custom products from scratch can be a lengthy process, from product development and design to branding, shipping, and manufacturing. For a lower lift way to sell products to fans, jump to the next idea.
3. Design merch for your personal brand
“The ability for [content creators] to sell products is just so natural, because their abundance of content allows them to have those moments of plugging their products,” says Chris Vaccarino, founder of Fanjoy. Fanjoy is a business helping creators easily produce and sell merchandise to fans.
This method means you don’t have to create a separate brand and products from scratch. You simply need to come up with relevant designs and print them on merch like mugs, t-shirts, and art prints using a printing partner.
There are a few ways to make and sell your own merch:
- Use a print-on-demand service to print and ship your products directly to fans.
- White label existing products with your personal branding. These should be products that relate to your brand or content. Think branded resistance bands for fitness influencers.
- Hand-create merch yourself, such as by silkscreening t-shirts with your own designs.
4. Become an affiliate marketer
An affiliate marketer is a creator or publisher that shares unique links to brands and products, receiving a commission every time those clicks become sales. Brands provide a trackable link or unique promo code to attribute links to a creator. Whereas influencers often receive a flat fee for exposure, affiliates make money only when their efforts contribute to a sale.
Use a mix of links in your Instagram bio, in Instagram Stories, and on your link-in-bio page (this way you can promote several brands). You can also share promo codes in post captions (because links aren’t allowed) to create more opportunities to capture sales.
An affiliate program is a system set up by brands to manage the details of their affiliate relationships with Instagram users. Approach brands with affiliate programs directly or try popular affiliate marketplaces like the following:
- Rakuten Advertising is a popular affiliate network with carefully vetted advertisers and a weekly payment structure.
- LTK is an invitation-only fashion and lifestyle influencer network that offers access to more than 5,000 brands.
- Amazon Associates is a popular option that pays a 10% commission on qualifying sales.
5. Enable Instagram Shopping features
Social selling continues to grow, with more social media users turning to their favorite platforms to discover and buy products. This is great news for ecommerce brands and creators who can now reach Instagram followers and fans where they already hang out. Instagram Shopping includes a number of native features that enable social selling.
“Instagram Shopping tags are so effective—and over 130 million people are tapping on shopping tags every month—because they allow people to go from product inspiration to product information in just a few taps,” says Taylor Loren, director of marketing at Later.
It all starts with an Instagram shop—a storefront that lives front and center on your Instagram account. After clicking a prominent button on your profile page, Instagram directs users to a seamless experience for shoppers to browse and buy your products.
Apparel brand Miracle Eye has a standalone website, but it also uses an Instagram shop to give fans one-tap access to its collections.
You can customize your shop by creating collections or curating products into themes or gifting occasions. Think: new arrivals, gifts for Mom, holiday decorating, summer fun, etc. Your Instagram shop is a mini version of your online store that includes product images, pricing, and descriptions similar to your website. Here, Instagram users have the option to buy directly from the platform.
Followers can also buy your products throughout Instagram, thanks to features like:
- Shoppable posts and Stories. Use product tags to showcase items from your catalog in videos and images.
- Ads with Shopping tags. Add product tags to ads and extend the reach of your shoppable posts. Create a business account to access the Ads Manager or boost existing Instagram posts.
- Live shopping. To use Instagram live shopping, go live and tag products from your brand that you feature in your broadcast. The products will appear at the bottom of the screen, where live viewers can tap to purchase.
💡 Tip: Link your account with Shopify to sync your products and orders. The Instagram and Facebook Shopify integration lets you offer one-click checkout and manage orders in one place.
6. Sell your photos or art online
While video and other features increase in popularity, at its core, Instagram is a photo sharing app. That makes it a great place for artists and photographers alike to monetize their Instagram account by selling prints and originals.
There are a few ways to do this:
- Use a photo selling marketplace like 500px and link your pages in your bio.
- Sell your photos or sell art as originals or prints through your own online store and link to your Instagram bio.
- Sell these items directly on Instagram using Instagram Shopping features.
- License your work on stock image sites and drive businesses to your work using Instagram.
- Use a print-on-demand service like Printful and Teelaunch to print photos or art on items like totes, mugs, and t-shirts. Promote these in your Instagram content.
Artist Adam Spychala uses his Instagram account to push followers to his online store, where he sells prints of his work.
7. Earn Live badges from fans
Instagram Live badges are like tips you receive from your fans for creating value and producing the content they love. If you’re familiar with tip-based features on Twitch and TikTok, you’re all set to start making money on Instagram just by being you!
During a livestream on Instagram, viewers can purchase “badges” (icons of varying monetary value) that pay the creator directly and unlock features for the viewer. Instagram users can buy badges in increments of 99¢, $1.99, and $4.99 to support a creator’s work.
8. Offer paid subscriptions
Once your fans are hooked on your content, offer them the chance to engage with exclusive content, just for paying subscribers. Instagram’s own subscription program is open to US creators over 18 who have more than 10,000 subscribers.
You can also use third-party tools like Patreon to earn money on Instagram from subscriptions. Substack is another subscription option if you want to start a fans-only newsletter to accompany your Instagram page. Or, you can even gate your online store to offer unique content for paid subscribers who sign in. These options offer you the opportunity to build your email list and own your audience outside of the platform.
Creator Aliza Kelly promotes both her Substack subscription and her paid community subscription, The Constellation Club, on her popular Instagram page.
9. Sell used stuff
If you’re not an influencer but you’re looking to make money on instagram, consider using the platform to sell old stuff. Whether it’s refinished furniture, used clothing you no longer wear, or vintage thrift finds, you can make side income selling it on Instagram. Declutter your home or kickstart a vintage clothing business to test the waters before opening your own store.
Small vintage resellers often use Instagram like a local resale market, asking followers to DM to buy a product then arranging local delivery.
📚 Read more: How To Sell on Instagram: The 2023 Guide
Instagram influencers: tiers, rates and top earners
Several factors determine how much money an Instagram influencer makes. Some smaller influencers with relatively low numbers can make a good living by targeting a profitable niche, such as financial products.
At the other end of the spectrum, celebrity accounts can rake in multi-millions for a single post.
One common way to categorize Instagram influencers and their earning potential is to sort them into five tiers based on their follower count. On average, earnings tend to correspond with these follower numbers:
- Nano-influencer: 1,000–10,000 followers ($10–$100 per post)
- Micro-influencer: 10,000–50,000 followers ($100–$500 per post)
- Mid-tier influencer: 50,000–500,000 followers ($500–$5,000 per post)
- Macro-influencer: 500,000–1 million followers ($5,000–$10,000 per post)
- Mega-influencer: 1 million+ followers ($10,000–$1 million+ per post)
How many followers do you need to make money on Instagram?
A nano-influencer can make money on Instagram with as few as 1,000 followers. However, follower count isn’t everything. The amount of money you make on Instagram depends on a few other factors, including:
How often do your followers interact with your posts? An engaged follower base increases the value of your content by promoting it. They share your posts and spark discussions in comment threads, increasing the likelihood that Instagram’s algorithms will amplify your account.
Loyal followers are more likely to follow your calls to action, such as clicking on a partner affiliate link.
Affiliate marketing commission rates
The percentage commissions you receive when you persuade followers to click on affiliate links—and your overall earnings—will vary considerably depending on your affiliate partners and the types of products you promote.
As your account grows, you can leverage your larger following to negotiate better rates.
Likewise, the niche you target will have a significant impact on the amount of money you can earn per follower. If your audience consists of unique demographics that are sought after by brands or are interested in expensive products, expect to receive better partner offers.
Number of income streams
While affiliate marketing and one-off product promotions are the most common ways to monetize your account, the amount of money you make from Instagram also depends on the number of monetization streams you pursue.
Alongside these models, consider developing a product line, such as branded merchandise. Ongoing brand deals that cover a program of posts and reels can also attract higher earnings.
Who are the top earners on Instagram?
These ten influencers are regularly reported as the highest earners on Instagram. Notably, they are all celebrities who leverage their existing reach and status to monetize their accounts:
- Cristiano Ronaldo. Estimated sponsored post value: $3.2M
- Leo Messi. Estimated sponsored post value: $2.6M
- Selena Gomez. Estimated sponsored post value: $2.6M
- Kylie Jenner. Estimated sponsored post value: $2.4M
- Dwayne Johnson. Estimated sponsored post value: $2.3M
- Ariana Grande. Estimated sponsored post value: $2.3M
- Kim Kardashian. Estimated sponsored post value: $2.2M
- Beyonce Knowles. Estimated sponsored post value: $1.9M
- Khloe Kardashian. Estimated sponsored post value: $1.8M
- Justin Bieber. Estimated sponsored post value: $1.2M
Remember, you can make money on Instagram even if you have a lower follower count. That’s because brands value access to highly engaged niche audiences that align with their target customer.
📚 Read more: 17 Ways to Get More Followers on Instagram
Turn your Instagram account into gold
There is no shortage of ways to make money online with the plethora of tools and channels available to creators today. Instagram alone has multiple monetization options allowing influencers, creators, and artists to earn an income through the platform.
To get started with making money using the ideas discussed in this article, work on developing engaging consistent content that people want to see. This is the best way to grow a loyal audience that you can eventually monetize. Build your brand, set up an Instagram shop, and find exciting ways to make money on Instagram!
Ready to create your first business? Start your free trial of Shopify—no credit card required.
How to make money on Instagram FAQ
Can you get paid on Instagram?
Yes, you can get paid on Instagram. If you’re looking for how to make money on Instagram, there are several ways to do so, including:
- Collaborating with brands on sponsored posts
- Becoming an affiliate marketer
- Driving traffic to your brand’s own site
- Creating an Instagram shop
- Selling your photos or art as prints
How many Instagram followers do you need to make money?
How many Instagram followers you have can directly impact how much you make. While top Instagrammers make thousands of dollars per post, even those with small but engaged followings of 1,000 have the potential to start making money. Building your account is becoming easier with the growing list of Instagram tools that can help with everything from creating content to selling products.
To make money on Instagram, rates are also determined by engagement, quality of content, name recognition, audience demographic, and skill set. The standard is $10 per 1,000 followers, but can vary depending on your contract and sponsor, and the more followers you have, the more your earning potential.
Does Instagram pay you for likes?
No, Instagram does not pay users for likes. Instagram is a social media platform where users can share photos and videos with their followers. Likes on Instagram are simply a way for users to show appreciation or support for a post. While having a large number of likes can potentially increase visibility and engagement, you can not directly make money on Instagram through likes.
How do beginners make money on Instagram?
Beginners can make money on Instagram by focusing on creating great content to attract followers. Once you have about 1,000 followers, you’ll have enough of an audience to sell products to. Add your online store URL to your Instagram bio or try affiliate marketing. Once you’re a pro, set up a business account or creator account.
How do you sign up for an Instagram business account?
To make money on Instagram, you often will need to sign up for a business account. Setting up an Instagram shop and placing product tags in ads both require this upgrade. The great news is that it’s simple. To set up a business account, go to the menu in the upper right corner and tap “Settings and privacy.” Under “Account type and tools” you will find an option to “Switch to professional account.” Tap this and complete the setup process.