How to Make Money with Instagram

Instagram is an incredibly popular photo sharing social network. You can add filters and captions to your photos, earn likes, and gain followers. You can also follow friends, celebrities, and other folks to receive their pictures on your Instagram feed. If you've got a knack for taking interesting pictures, or want to convert a lot of followers into customers, there are several ways you can start earning money on Instagram.

In four years, Instagram has gone from having one million to over 300 million users. The app’s reach as a platform for sharing photos is incredible, but for many, the value of what’s posted maxes out at a number of likes.
Many photographers with tens or even hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram have little-to-no prior professional experience. Yet they’ve managed to gather huge followings around the photos they take and share from their smartphones.

How to Make Money with Instagram

Attracting Followers

Build a solid follower base. Like any other product, you will need a market before you can start making sales. In Instagram, your market is your followers. Take some time to increase the number of followers for your account by posting unique photos and interacting with your followers.

Use hashtags to draw in more people. Make sure that every photo you take has at least three hashtags that can bring in more viewers. The hashtags should relate to the photo, but should be broad enough that they show up in lots of searches.

Producing Quality

Master your craft. The fact of the matter is that people will only be willing to buy your photos if they're "good". This means a lot of different things to different people, but taking quality pictures is required if you want to end up selling them.

Use different cameras. Don't limit yourself to your phone's camera. Instagram allows you to upload photos taken with other devices (as long as you transfer them to your phone first), so invest in a nice camera. You'll see the difference immediately.

Setting Up Your Store

Set up an online store. You can't sell your photo's directly through Instagram, so you'll need to set up another way for people to buy your pictures. There are a couple of ways that you can go about this.

  • Services such as Twenty20 allow you to sell your photos directly through their site. They take care of the printing and shipping, while you get 20% of the sale. This can be useful if you don't want to deal with printing and shipping orders.
  • You can set up your own online store using your personal website. You will be able to keep more money than you would if you used a service, but you will be responsible for staying on top of orders, as well as printing and shipping the images yourself.

Link each image to its store page. Regardless of which method you take when setting up your storefront, each image on Instagram that you wish to sell should have a link in the caption to the store page. Use or TinyURL to shorten the address so that it doesn't take up the whole caption.

Marketing Products

Gain lots of followers. If you want to be able to convince a company that you can help impact their sales, you'll need to show that you have the followers to back that claim up. Companies want to see that you have influence over a large number of people.

Contact companies. Explain how your Instagram account can help increase awareness for their brand. Show them detailed numbers for your followers and how often you update your Instagram feed. Display some sample shots to show that you know how to take clear, artistic pictures that can paint their product in a positive light.

  • Services such as QuickShouts and Popular Pays connect companies with aspiring Instagram marketers.

Work out a contract. Work out details for your contract, such as the number of pictures you're expected to take, and bonuses for increased followers. A contract protects you from being under-compensated by the company you are marketing for.

Take quality pictures of the product or service. While you are marketing a product, you want to ensure that you never upload a bad or mediocre photo of that product. You are now an ambassador for the product, and your work will influence your ability to get future contracts.
You can, and should, still add personal touches to your photos. This will help your followers relate to the images and keep them from feeling too much like advertisements.

Turning Followers Into Customers

Direct followers to your blog. Your Instagram profile should always have a link to your personal or company's website or blog. As you gain followers or random viewers, you will increase the traffic to your site.

Highlight your skills. You can use Instagram as a portfolio for your abilities and talents, including web development, fashion, photography, and many other fields. Keep your Instagram feed updated with your latest work and current projects. Use hashtags to draw prospective customers to your images.

Take photos of your products. If you run a business that makes physical good (anything from motorcycles to cupcakes), Instagram is a great way to advertise your goods to new people. Take photos of your newest products, and use hashtags to draw in some followers. Some hashtag examples include your company name, product name, slogan, and use.
Make sure to link to the product's store page (if applicable) in the comments.
Always submit nice pictures of the products you are offering. Avoid using low-quality cameras.

More Ideas


This must be the subtlest and the noblest way to earn money from Instagram. Instagram is founded on the idea that people who has a handheld camera has something interesting within them, and sharing them to a community of the same interest would bring better and even profitable results.
If you love photography (not only doing ‘selfies’), then try Instagram. Bring your skills of composition, exposure, and retouching to the surface. Most of all, let the people know you got the skill—a skill wherein effects end up being ‘accidents.’ If you can capture great shots, people will contact you to take good shots of their products, all using Instagram.

‘Back-End’ Photography

A ‘back-end’ photography, seriously? Yes. There’re some remarkable people who may not be great with photography itself, but put them in the post-processing scene, and they shine.
If you’re good with post-processing such as adding effects (where Instagram is very good at), then you can also be hired as told about photographers. Clients may offer you few shots for you to play all day, and voíla, there’s your paycheck.

Instagram Marketer

A part of the whole ‘social media marketing’ idea, being an Instagram Marketer means you’re hired to market something using Instagram and targeting the communities built within the photo-inspired social network. If you’re great in dealing with people online, and if think you’ve got the technical skills and the rightful amount of time to spare, then this job is great for you!

  • TIP#1: Have you heard of SnapFluence? Here, you can be an ambassador of a brand, product, or campaign. Your only job is to be an active Instagram user (such as posting updates and interacting with people). You can get paid and you can get exclusive benefits like free products!
  • TIP#2: Another iOS app you can try is Popular Pays. This is how it Popular Pays works: a company will make an offer (usually not in cash but in goods), and if you like it, join the request (for example, 500 followers for a product to be marketed).

Sell Items ‘Online’

Got some products to sell? Want to be a re-seller? You’ve got a business and wanted to highlight your product? Set Instagram as another channel for you to get more traffic (or attention). One thing so great about Instagram is that you can make mediocre product shots look cool and persuasive. Once you get the hang of it, Instagram can be really helpful to help you sell more.
Moreover, you can also start your own hashtag. Enlist thousands of followers. Follow other users and get connected. The larger your network within Instagram, the better.

  • TIP#1: To make Instagram a little more unique and especially useful for your business, you may want to make that network a channel only for your unique offers. An exclusive and heart-pounding sale, daily deals, a free offer, a membership offer, etc.—these are some of the many options you can try.
  • TIP#2: Have you tired HashBag? It’s more like an app, and is actually a third-party one. But what it does is that everytime an item is posted on Instagram with the hashtag #forsale, the app automatically parses them and posts them on its own market. So if you want to make your product enlisted here, try the mentioned hashtag. Payments will be processed through PayPal and you get the job to ship the item!
  • TIP#3: Don’t try missing Statigram. Aside from other minor features such as selling and searching for popular members or hashtags), the main offer of Statigram is more like an analytics tool for your overall Instagram performance.

Market Your Service

Are you a freelance? A web designer and developer? A fashion designer? A ‘real’ photographer? A quality analyst of some sort? A writer? Let the Instagram community know your skills by posting your progressive portfolio. Your new items on the list. Your most current project. Your most outstanding or trending project. But of course, don’t forget your contact details.

Sell Your Photos

Have you ever thought of this idea? You’ve got crazy shots on your storage card, and keeping them like that will not generate a cent. But if you try to sell your photos to some agencies, you might even get at least a commission or a percentage of the profit.

The following are some venues for you to sell your Instagram photos:

  • Instaprints– sell your photos here and people can buy them in real materials or objects: photos can be printed and framed, used as greeting cards, and even delivered to their doorsteps!
  • Twenty20 – formerly InstaCanvas, here you can get the audience you want that you once haven’t achieved in Instagram alone. Upload your photos here, and sell them as you’ve always planned.
  • SnapMyAd – not really a marketplace for Instagram photos, but what you get here are rewards which aren’t that bad at all. Look for a about a brand or niche you love, and promote your skills. If you win, you get some good shares! By the way, * SnapMyAd also has its iOS app. Visit iTunes for more information and download.
  • Statigram Contests – much like SnapMyAd, you choose a contest for some good trades.
  • Printstagram – here you don’t really sell your photos as you’ve shot and edited in Instagram. Instead, you can sell printouts of those photos using Prinstagram (whether in a form of a business card, a shirt, a calendar, etc.). Printstagram is a printing service, but they do the job well.

Affiliate Links

Much like in blogging, you can get affiliate links from Amazon, for example. Get a unique link for a product, use Instagram to take good shots about the product, and when there’s a sale, you got a commission.

Be An Ambassador

Best if you love travelling, you may want to take Instagram shots of the places you visit. Use those photos to market yourself being a tour guide or a local ambassador of some famous spots. Arrange dates for your followers. Gather them in actual places where you can meet. Get well paid for these adventurous services.
This trick can also be applied to restaurants, shopping malls, etc.

Food photography on Instgram

Do you love fast food, gourmet food, healthy food, sweet food, American food, sea food, or just any food?
Instagrammers do!
Instagrammers love posting photos of their food, either when they eat out or cook in their own kitchens. Food photographs are widely followed and liked on Instagram. Food photographers on Instagram come from different walks of life and include food bloggers, authors, travellers, chefs and professinal photographers.
You can be one of them and snap up your own food niche on Instagram by posting your daily yummy food photos with some quirky naratives and comments, and watch the followers flock to your account.

‘Fashion’ stands on favourite spot

Aside from the pets and food, the most followed industry on instagram is fashion.
Instagram fact:
Eight famous fashion brands rank among the top 10 brands on Instagram. They are: Nike, Forever 21, Adidas, Topshop, Vans, Victoria’s Secret, Red Bull and Michael Kors.
There are over 43 million posts on hashtag #fashion. Individual fashion bloggers can profit tremendously from Instagram’s fashion loving population.
Making money with Instagram is similar to making money with Pinterest. Fashion and beauty are favored topics. These photos and Instagram videos are visually appealing and entertaining to the public.
If you are fond of fashion and beauty products such as makeups, nail polish, etc, register with some affiliate programs, set up a website using blogger or WordPress, or make a simple ecommerce website using the bigcommerce platform. Then you can market your website and all the products using the following methods on Instagram.

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