No-Bulls&#! Guide to Making Real Money on Instagram

Before you get thinking about how to earn money through Instagram, you need to learn how to build influence to drive awareness and sales.

A large follower count does not necessarily mean that you influence your community. A measure of influence is a combination of the number of followers you have, and the average likes and comments you receive on your posts.

One without the other will often result in a lower potential to earn money through your Instagram account. A large follower account with low engagement will look like you’ve purchased fake accounts and a small follower count with high engagement will not have enough reach to convert to sales.

For those struggling with growing on Instagram, read this: Q&A 1: How Do I Get More Followers on Instagram?

When you gained about 60,000+ followers and consistently stayed around 2.5% engagement calculated by (average likes + comments) / total followers, you’re ready to start making money on Instagram.

Sell Your Content

Your content might be the reason you’ve grown to a large follower base. The content you’ve created specifically for Instagram might be high demanded by companies, websites, or webloggers.

Websites and blogs are always looking for quality photos to go with its articles, or even re-use it on their own Instagram account.

Check out these websites that could potentially earn you upwards of $100 a photo.

500px Prime

SmugMug Pro




Start a Business

If you don’t want companies taking a cut of every photo you sell, you can quickly build a website without any coding experience with Shopify.

Shopify is a complete e-commerce solution that allows you to set up an online store to sell your goods. Though the initial set up is for selling physical goods, you have the options of adding extensions to Shopify that enables you to sell digital products.

Combined with product tagging on Instagram, it makes it super easy to convert your followers into customers. The product tag is a feature that lets you tag your products on Instagram with a shoppable link.

This feature is currently rolling out to eligible and approved businesses in the US. It may not be available to you at this time.

To ensure you’re eligible and ready to use Instagram product tagging:

1. Install the Facebook catalog

2. Set up an Instagram Business Account

3. Add a Shop Section on your Facebook Page

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the process of earning commissions by promoting other people or companies products. Large affiliate networks have thousands of products you can choose from. All it takes is building a product strategy, and marketing it within your Instagram pages.

To succeed, you need to curate the products that have the right fit for your audience interests. You want to be the go-to source for great products, not perceived as an account that solely pushes products to make a sale.

The benefits of affiliate marketing are that you don’t have to purchase, manage inventory or ship the goods to the customer. It’s a perfect strategy for gaining passive income.

Here’s a list of the highest paying affiliate programs.


Amazon Associates

eBay Partner Network

Become a Brand Ambassador

People and companies are willing to pay you to endorse their products on your Instagram account. The endorsement can take one of two forms. The company might provide you with an image and caption they want you to post on your Instagram account, or the endorsement can be collaborative effort to create the collateral together.

There is a strong demand for influencer marketing. Researchers from SwayGroup reported marketers who implemented an influencer marketing campaign earned an average of $6.85 in media value for every $1 they spent on paid media.

So how much you should charge for each post? published an incredible finding on Instagram Influencers through a study of 500 Instagram influencers accounts.

The study shows that

– Average price paid per post was $271
– Average follower count of an influencer is 63,000
– Fewer than 1,000 followers charge on average $82.60 a post
– Accounts with 100,000 followers or more charge on average of $763.30 a post

For those wanting to find out their estimated earnings per post, check out this fantastic tool created by Influencer Marketing Hub: Instagram Influencer Earnings Calculator

Finding partnerships can be difficult. You can either go the cold call route and direct message 100 potential companies every day to see if they’re interested. Or you can join an influencer marketing platform.

Jump Fame

Shout Cart

Be sure to disclose sponsored Instagram posts, or you might end up in trouble with the FTC. As a consumer protection agency, the FTC is tasked with the prevention of fraudulent or deceptive advertising, and educating marketers about their responsibilities under truth-in-advertising laws and standards.

To avoid the headaches, make sure to use hashtags #sponsored or #ad along with a caption that indicates that you’ve been compensated to promote a product.

Sell your Account

Selling your account is your one-time payout for all your followers. If you manage multiple accounts and decide that its just too much work, this is a great option to cash out.

From a study of a thousand accounts, the going rate is about 1 cent per follower. To calculate how much your account is worth, multiply your total followers by 0.01. For example, an account with 100,000 followers will be worth around $1,000.

Here’s a list of a few sites to list your Instagram account.

Fame Swap


What are other ways you’ve used to generate an income on Instagram? Let us know down in the comments.