Sales strategy: How to make money on Instagram


Most of us use Instagram to follow brands and keep up with our friends. But did you know there’s potential to make money on Instagram?

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a content creator or influencer, there are plenty of ways to cash on Instagram. The good news is that you can start making money even with a small following. In this post, we’ll show you a few popular strategies that can help you make money on Instagram.

There are 3 ways you can make money on Instagram:

  • Become an influencer and work with brands on sponsored content
  • As an affiliate marketer promoting other people’s products
  • Start an Instagram shop and sell your own products

Strategy #1: Become An Influencer And Make Money From Sponsored Content

An influencer is someone who has built an online following and generally people trust their opinions. Many brands choose to work with influencers on sponsored posts to promote their products. This strategy is for you if you’re really good at making strangers on the internet like and trust you.

Source: @danielasantos_

How many followers do you need to become an influencer?

A common misconception is that you need a minimum of 10,000 followers in order to work with brands. This is not true. According to a study, 55% of brands say they prefer micro-influencers. So, it’s not just the number of your followers that brands are interested in – it’s the quality of your audience and how engaged they are.


Tip: Use an Instagram statistics tool to track your engagement rate and other followers stats. This will help you when you negotiate with brands.

  1. Choose a niche

You should pick a niche you truly love. Think of what is something you can post about for the next 6 months without getting bored or running out of topic? Then, do some market research and see if there is a demand for influencers in that area. If yes, that is your niche.

Note: The beauty, fitness and travel niches are already very popular so it’s going to be more difficult to compete for brand deals. @Girlvanayoga found a niche in teaching yoga for teens and promoting racial inclusivity.

  1. Build trust & grow your audience

There is no shortcut to building an engaged audience. But there are tried-and-tested methods that were proven to work.

  • Post quality content that either inspires, educates or entertains your audience
  • Show up consistently and nurture your audience one post at a time
  • Show your followers that you are an authentic, genuine and real person

@zettyburn is a micro-influencer with approx. 3k followers (at the time of this post).

  1. Collaborate with brands

Most brands are eager to work with influencers. And if you’ve established a strong personal brand, businesses will come and approach you. But if they don’t, you can still collaborate with brands by:

  • Reaching out directly asking for a brand deal.
  • Signing up on influencer marketplaces like Upfluence, AspireIQ, Famebit.

How much can you charge for a sponsored post?

The amount you can charge depends on the niche, type of sponsored content, (video ad, Instagram story or image post) and a brand’s budget. As an indication, most influencers charge between $100 – $2000 for a single post.

Strategy #2: Become An Affiliate Marketer And Start Selling Other People’s Products

As an affiliate marketer, your job is to promote other people’s products for a percentage fee of every sale. You can talk about your favourite products and direct your followers to a link to buy the products. Brands will give you a unique link or promo code from where they track sales. The benefits? You don’t have to manage, source and ship the products yourself.

@jamescharles is a beauty blogger that often uses affiliate codes to sell products.

  1. Pick a niche

Similar to being an influencer, you need to start with a niche. The key difference is, as an affiliate you’ll typically start by reviewing products (for free) and sharing your recommendations. If you’re just starting out, its good to test a few different niches, before deciding where to focus.

  1. Find merchants to affiliate

Start by signing up as an affiliate on several affiliate networks. These sites are the bridge between small companies (sellers) and affiliate marketers. Some reputable affiliate networks to consider are Clickbank, Rakuten and Amazon Associates.

Tip: Since Instagram only allows you to put one link in your bio, you can create a simple landing page in Mailchimp and list all your affiliate links there.

Strategy #3: Start an Instagram Shop and sell your own products

You can create an Instagram business account to sell:

  • your own products (T-shirts, mugs, dog food, etc.)
  • services (coaching, consulting or photography)
  • digital products (ebooks, courses, logos or design templates)
  1. Set up your account so it’s shoppable

Instagram offers a bunch of e-commerce features for businesses: the Explore tab, product tags, shoppable posts, Instagram Shops and Instagram Checkouts. But in order to take full advantage of all these features, you need to have a business profile. From there, you can create a Facebook shop and start listing products.

@thrivecausemetics is taking full advantage of this feature.

  1. Sell on Instagram with shoppable posts and stories

Shoppable Instagram posts and stories, allow your audience to complete a purchase in just a few taps. Once you have created a catalogue of products in your Facebook Shop, you can tag up to 5 products in a feed post and 1 product per story.

Source: @boscia

  1. Start an IGTV series to promote your products

You can now IGTV videos showing people how to use your products. Unlike your feed posts, IGTV allows you to add a clickable link in your post. This makes it really easy for viewers to click through to buy your products or services. Here’s a guide to help you create IGTV series that converts.

Source: @gypsytan

  1. Run Instagram ads to reach a broader audience

One of the best ways to broadcast your content to a larger audience is to use paid ads. Instagram ads can run on both your stories and feed and you can set them up either from your Instagram or Facebook.


And that’s it! You now know 3 ways to make money on Instagram!