August 8, 2018

4 Super Efficient Ways to Make Money on Instagram as an Influencer

someone on a laptop at a desk

Influencers are a great way to connect a brand with its audience. Brands are aware of the influence that social media influencers have over their followers. Therefore, an increasing number of companies today are leveraging Instagram influencer marketing to increase conversions and build awareness for themselves.

Compared to the other social media platforms, Instagram offers the highest user engagement rates with brands. In fact, 92% of marketers consider Instagram as the most important social media network. If visually engaging pictures are your style, then becoming an Instagram influencer might be the career option for you.

Though unconventional, being an influencer is a full-time job and requires talent and serious hard work to find success.

Prerequisite – expand your reach and audience

Danielle Bernstein is one of the top beauty influencers according to the Forbes Top Influencers 2017 list. With 1.8 million followers on Instagram, she charges $20,000 per post in some cases.

Top influencers are not the only ones who are making money. Micro-influencers who have 10,000 to 100,000 followers are also taking a significant share of the pie. According to Forbes, an Instagram user with 100,000 followers can charge up to $5,000 for a sponsored post.

The above statistics make it evident that you need to have a decent number of followers before becoming an Instagram influencer. More followers implies higher engagement on your Instagram account. That can increase your chances of finding brands to work for or even selling your product directly. Therefore, for better ways to make money on Instagram, you need to continuously work towards increasing your reach.

Now, there are many ways to make money on Instagram as an influencer. Let’s take a look at four of the more efficient ways.

1. Partner with brands

Once you have enough followers, look to partner with the brands that align with your niche and image. This is important so that your posts do not look like you’ve sold out, which can deal a blow to your established image. Sponsored posts are the most effective way to make money as an influencer. Your sponsored content on Instagram can be an image or a video highlighting a product.

Laura Foley has 6,601 followers on her Instagram account.

The above image is a sponsored post she did. Her Instagram posts generally revolve around her life with her family. So this sponsored skincare post goes well with her Instagram image. If you have a sufficient number of followers, brands will find you themselves. Or alternatively, you can reach out to brands that may be willing to pay you. Contact relevant brands and try to strike a deal with them.

There are two ways to contact brands:

  • Directly through emails or phone calls
  • Indirectly through an influencer platform

There are many influencer networks or influencer marketplaces that can help you find relevant brands. For example:

  • TRIBE – The platform allows brands to present the brief of their marketing campaign. Influencers can choose and pitch for the brief they find suitable. The brands can then choose the influencer if they are happy with the pitch.
  • Revfluence – An influencer makes a request to be included in the Revfluence database. The influencer is screened before being accepted into the database. Clients can search within this database using an extensive range of criteria for an influencer.

As an influencer, you can choose the kind of partnership you would like to enter into with brands. It can be a single channel or a multi-channel partnership. It can be a one-off partnership where the deal ends with a few posts. Or you can choose long-term partnerships.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Not everyone has enough followers to do sponsored posts. For such influencers, affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money on Instagram.

Affiliate marketing refers to promoting a product through links and getting paid per sale. Affiliates are more interested in generating sales for a brand than any other aspect of marketing. Choose the brand that aligns with your image and content. Contact them and offer to help promote their product/brand. You can link to the brand’s product in your bio since Instagram doesn’t allow links anywhere else on the page. Then you will get a small commission when someone clicks on that link and purchases the linked product.

Sarah Buron has 4,145 followers on her Instagram account.

Even with a small number of followers, she has been able to get 36 likes on her affiliated post.

There are many online popular affiliate marketplaces like Amazon, Ebates, ShareASale, etc. You can use any of these to start with your affiliate marketing.

3. Sell Your Own Product or Service

Working with other brands is just one of the ways to make money on Instagram. The other more direct way is to set up your own store to sell your own products.

Chances are that if your fans like your content, they might like to buy your products too. These products can be normal goods like clothes, jewelry, home furnishings, mobile covers, shoes, machine parts, etc. Or they can be original products that you have created yourself. This includes your artwork, homemade cakes, cookies, or even a book you have written.

Post beautiful pictures of your product in a creative way. You can use Instagram’s internal filters or photo editing tools like Pixlr or Adobe Photoshop to make your products interesting. Add clear and appealing descriptions. You can also post behind-the-scenes photos and user-generated content to develop an emotional connection with your followers. Use relevant hashtags and make it easy for people to find your product.

For example, Paola is the creator of Paola’s Pixels, an online store where she sells her geeky art products.

She makes incredible, geeky-themed enamel pins, patches, clothing items, stickers, lanyards, art prints, as well as interesting products for businesses and individuals. She advertises her products on her Instagram. All of her pictures are sharp, clear, and visually appealing to the audience.

You can also offer to sell your services on Instagram. These can be consultancy services or coaching, travel packages, or others.

4. Sell Your Own Photographs

One of the artistic ways to make money on Instagram is through the pictures you’ve taken. As a professional photographer or an amateur, you can advertise and showcase your pictures to other brands or individuals. Find popular niches and create pictures for them. For better response and engagement, you should focus on creating only high-quality and unique images.

Do not forget to add a watermark to your images and use captions to list the selling details concisely. Also, use appropriate hashtags to attract relevant customers. Apart from selling your photographs directly, you can use your photos on products and sell them. These can be customized mugs, pillows, T-shirts, and posters with your clicked photographs.


Instagram is a highly collaborative media channel. It offers loads of opportunities for influencers to make money. The above-listed ways to make money on Instagram will help you find the most practical approach that works for you. Just stay dynamic, and maintain a flexible attitude when dealing with brands.