How to successfully monetize Instagram for passive income

Tips Sep 03, 2021

Social media platforms have become one of the most promising non-traditional income sources in the past few years. Platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are now viable sources of income that can provide 5-7 figures of income every year.

Making money from social media used to not be taken seriously. Nowadays, you won't find anyone that doubts the earning potential of social media.

However, what still confuses a lot of people is how to get started - how do you build a big Instagram following and monetize off the platform? And is it even possible to stand out among a sea of already successful influencers?

Yup, it’s possible! Let’s show you how you can monetize your Instagram account and make money while you sleep.

Can you make money on Instagram?

Definitely. There are plenty of ways to make money on Instagram, especially if you're creative about it. You can monetize through sponsorships, affiliate marketing, selling your own products, providing PR opportunities to brands, and more.

Quick facts about Instagram monetization

Here are some of the most common questions and answers people search for about making money on Instagram.

Do Instagram creators get paid?

Yes, if they choose to monetize. Instagram does not pay users for having large social followings. Instead, Instagram creators get paid through sponsorships, affiliate commissions, advertisements, PR opportunities, or selling their own products and services.

Recently, Instagram announced some new monetization features in development for eligible creators. These new opportunities, including a branded content marketplace, affiliate ecommerce, and Creator Shops, allow Instagram creators to drive even more revenue.

How many followers do you need to make money on Instagram?

You need at least 1,000 Instagram followers to start earning from the platform as a rule of thumb. Beyond this figure, your earning potential increases proportionately with your income. Brands pay anywhere from $10 for a sponsored post up to over $1.5 million, depending on your influence (aka follower count and engagement metrics).

Statistica revealed Cristiano Ronaldo's per post-earnings as approximately $1.6 million, while Ariana Grande makes $1.51 million for each post. Crazy, right? Beyond your follower count, however, your post engagement factors into earnings - brands are only looking to invest in influencers connected to their audiences.

Having a million followers is nice, but if you’re only averaging 1,000 likes per post, it signals to a brand that you likely bought followers or that your content is relevant to your audience.

Here's a table to give you a general idea of how much you can earn, depending on your follower count. These ballpark figures were shared by Saving Advice.

Follower Count (Range)

Approximate Pay Per Post (USD)

1000-25k

Anywhere from $10 to $100

25k-75k

Anywhere from $100 to $300

75k-100k

Anywhere from $300 to $500

100k to 250k

Anywhere from $500 to $1500

250k-500k

Anywhere from $1500 to $3000

500k-1 million

Anywhere from $3000 to $6000

1 million-100 million

Anywhere from $600 to $500k

100 million-350 million

Anywhere from $500k to $1.6 million

How can you make money from Instagram?

You can make money from Instagram by first building a following and establishing yourself as an influencer. Afterward, you can earn through sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, coaching, selling products, and similar creative ventures.

How many followers do you need to be an influencer?

If you have at least 1,000 followers, congratulations, you're part of the micro-influencers crowd. Your influence is more established after growing your following to more than 25k, and monetization opportunities increase.

Ways to monetize your Instagram account

Looking to earn some serious cash with your Instagram profile? Here are some popular monetization strategies to consider:

Personal coaching & training

Do you have expertise in a field? Maybe you're a nutritionist, a fitness junkie, or crazy good at marketing. If you've built up an Instagram following in your niche, you've successfully established yourself as an authority figure. Your audience is interested in your niche, too, and genuinely wants to engage with you and your content.

This presents a great opportunity to monetize your free time by advertising personal coaching services directly from your Instagram Business profile. And hey, if your following is big enough, you can also coach people on how to become Instagram influencers!

Personal training is quite different from coaching - while the latter is more development-orientated, training is more focused on helping trainees acquire new skills. So, you can offer followers personal training opportunities and teach your Insta fans valuable skills.

Sell your own products

Selling your own products is a great potential source of consistent revenue. Even if you opt for coaching or training, it's a good idea to create a product at some point.

Why? Well, products are low-maintenance. After you've put the effort in and created a quality product, you can focus on marketing and selling it. In contrast, if you're offering training or coaching services, then you still need to invest time to conduct training and coaching sessions.

Compare this to creating a high-quality course that teaches those same skills - all you need to do is market the course (which your following is perfect for). Of course, it's good to take feedback about the course and update it, but these efforts are still less time-consuming than regularly offering services.

Become an affiliate

You know how good real estate agents help you find the perfect home, and then take a cut from the seller? That's how affiliate deals go, too.

In affiliate marketing, influencers sell other brands' products and gain a commission on each sale. The commission can be a flat rate or a percentage of the sale. The sales are tracked with affiliate links or through e-coupon codes.

Affiliate marketing is a great monetization opportunity for several reasons. The product isn't yours for starters, so you don't need to worry about shipping logistics, customer support, inventory, etc. Moreover, becoming an affiliate gives you the freedom to choose which products to promote - so you can pick ones that provide real value to your audience.

Sell tickets to digital or in-person events

COVID-19 reshaped the events landscape - businesses are now taking their pick from digital, in-person, and hybrid events. You can partner up with an event or tradeshow and sell tickets in exchange for a commission.

Create sponsored content

While your affiliate marketing revenue depends on sales, creating sponsored content presents a no-strings-attached means of earning. You can negotiate a per post rate with the brand, and prepare sponsored content for the promotion.

When creating sponsored posts, don't limit yourself to static content - dynamic content like IGTV videos can be engaging and yield better ad revenue.  Additionally, since Instagram started sharing IGTV videos in the main feed, IGTV Ads offer even more potential.

Give Instagram Badges a shot

Badges are a relatively new feature that helps creators and influencers earn from Instagram Live. If you set badges up, fans can buy them when you launch a live video. Badge holders get additional perks, too, including the spotlight in your Live's comments. They can also unlock features like placement on a creator's list of badge holders or a special heart to respond with.

How to get sponsors on Instagram

Okay, so we've established that sponsorships can help you make some serious cash. But how do you actually find brands to sponsor? Here are some pointers.

Get enough followers (around ~10k)

The first step to getting sponsors is to make sure your influence is significant enough to interest brands. Growing your following to around 10k is a good first milestone, and here's more on how to kickstart your online presence.

After you build a reasonable following, sponsors might just start coming to you. Otherwise, there are a few ways to find interested brands:

Reach out to brands directly (through email or DMs)

Wait! Doesn't cold email/messaging put you in a bad position to negotiate? Well, no - cold outreach can actually be a great way to find sponsors.

If you have a solid following, brands in your niche are likely interested in collaborating with you. In the same way that influencers are looking for brands to sponsor, sponsors are looking for influencers to help promote them.

So, if you have a brand or two in mind that can benefit from your following, drop them an email or a DM. At worse, they won't reply, and at best, you'll have a sponsorship deal.

Use influencer software to find brands

Influencer software can help you locate brands in your niche that have expressed interest in collaborating with Instagram influencers. Alternatively, some influencer software lets you put your details into their database, and interested brands can come to you.

Facebook (and hence Instagram) has even launched a software of its own - The Brand Collabs Manager - for this very purpose. To use the software, you need a minimum of one thousand followers and have to meet some additional criteria.

Create a portfolio with success stories & proven results

Brands use case studies, testimonials, success stories, and other forms of social proof to convince you of their product's value. Similarly, to convince brands you're a promising sponsor, build a portfolio and share your successes.

You can detail key metrics, like how much traffic you directed to a brand, or how many conversions you facilitated. Instagram highlights are a great place to showcase your success metrics - brands can see the numbers and approach you if they're interested.

How to monetize with Instagram Shopping

Instagram Shopping lets you turn posts and stories into immersive storefronts. After setting up your Instagram Shop, all you need to do is put up a post and tag the relevant product. Then, clicking on the product directs your viewers to your website's product page - it's that easy.

Instagram Shopping Posts

Instagram Shopping Posts are just regular posts with product tags, which direct prospects to your product pages on your new shop.

Instagram Shopping Stories

Instagram Shopping Stories are similar to shopping posts - you upload relevant story content, and tag featured products. The tags direct your followers to your Instagram shop catalog.

Instagram Shop

Facebook and Instagram Shops encourage an integrated buying experience for social media users. You can link your online store pages to Instagram Shops, and tag your Shop products in Instagram posts to drive sales.

Instagram Checkout

Instagram Checkout is a secure e-commerce shopping feature that helps consumers buy directly off Instagram. Small businesses use this feature to drive sales because the checkout feature removes friction from the buying process.

If you're selling a product, Instagram Checkout is a great way to make it easy for your fans to purchase.

Monetize Instagram with Beacons

Beacons isn't your average 'link in bio' tool - it's a full-fledged tool that lets creators monetize from Instagram. With Beacons, you can design beautiful mobile site pages, directly accessible from your Instagram bio.

Sell content from one location

You can use Beacons to sell directly from your Instagram bio, by featuring products or linking to your Instagram Shop pages. Beacons lets creators accept payments through PayPal, or you can set up Stripe to take payments via Apple Pay, Google Pay, and credit cards.

Create a page in seconds with AI

Getting a page ready with Beacons is hassle-free. Just answer a few simple questions, and the AI will put together your perfect mobile page. If you want to customize your page further, the dashboard has an 'Appearance' tab with beautiful pre-made templates and additional features.

Armed with one link that hosts all your most important content, it's time to get out there and start building your brand!

Conclusion

Earning off your Instagram account might seem like a far-fetched dream, but it's quite possible if you put the effort in and grow your following strategically. With high-quality content, the right tools, and a will to succeed, you can start making some serious money off Instagram.

Get started with Beacons today to make money from Instagram.

Jessica Li

Chief of Staff at Beacons