How to Make Money With Instagram

How to make money with instagram

Do you prefer taking photos over writing long blog posts? Why not build a following on Instagram and do paid promotions via sites like or These agencies help connect you with paying advertisers, giving you the chance to post on their behalf for a fee. You can, of course, source willing advertisers directly yourself as well and build up revenue streams through paid Instagram promotions. In this post, we talk about how to make money with Instagram:

How To Get Started
Choose something you love and can be involved with for the long term; if after two weeks (or two months) you’re sick of taking photos of cute kittens, you won’t stay long enough to build a following and a revenue stream. If you genuinely love the topic, or are involved in it as part of your career, you will have more chance of staying with it for the long term and maximising your potential.

Let’s say you love taking pictures of bars and restaurants; you and your friends go out regularly and take pictures of the best bars, clubs, and restaurants around your city, and are developing a following from others who love your posts. Once you build a following of 10,000 followers or more you can then begin to offer paid promotions for bars, clubs, and restaurants around town. Your focus (the key word here) on local city venues will help you achieve a higher fee per post, as you can tangibly show your relevance to the target market of these clubs and restaurants; they will want to talk to your followers, as these people are their key target market.

Do These Things When Building an Instagram Following:

1. Focus on a profitable market. Think about who your followers will be, and who your intended advertisers are. The more focused you are, the more you can charge for posts in future.

2. Be consistent. Consistent quality content and engaging posts will keep people active within your community. Post daily at a minimum, and do some tests to see which time of day you get the most likes and comments.

3. Encourage interaction with your followers. For example, you might post a picture of a fantastic meal and encourage your followers to tag someone who they would love to eat with at that restaurant.

4. Get active and follow your favourite accounts. Many social media users will exchange a “follow-for-follow” with you if you are friendly and offer great content. Start following the companies that you intend to pitch to in the future and they will probably follow you back, beginning your relationship with these marketing managers.

5. Start networking and talking to the marketing managers of your target companies. Ask them what they are looking for, and how you can position your account to help fulfil their goals.

6. Have fun and show your human side! Many of the large Instagram accounts are focused on the people and personality behind the account, not just the pictures themselves. Let your personality shine through and you’ll find your followers are more loyal in the long run.

7. Develop a blog and other social channels alongside your Instagram account. You can link between these accounts and build followings on multiple networks; this strengthens your brand and allows you to do wider paid promotions in future.


Avoid These Things When Building an Instagram Following:

1. Don’t try to cover every category on your Instagram account. Specialise in something and do it really well. This will help you build a loving fan-base and an interested bunch of companies willing to pay for specialised promotions.

2. Should you buy Instagram followers? There are many websites offering guaranteed followers for a small fee; avoid the temptation to cut corners like this. For one, it’s against Instagram’s Terms of Service (ToS) and could get your account shut down. Secondly, these accounts won’t be useful to you in future as they are probably not real people, and won’t contribute to any interaction with your posts. A following of 20,000 that gets only a couple of likes per post is not going to attract many paid promoters.

3. Get to know the Instagram rules to avoid being punished for accidentally violating their ToS. Using third party apps to help you schedule posts is, for example, against the Instagram ToS and may get your account shut down. Know your rights!

4. Try not to take negative comments personally. Unfortunately there are some Internet trolls out there just waiting to post unhelpful comments and ruin your day. Let them go, and don’t bother engaging in meaningless online comment squabbles. On the upside, enjoy your fan love and reward regular (positive) comments by following those users.

How Much Will You Be Paid?
If you sign up with an agency such as or you may receive between US$30 – US$100 per paid promotion; these figures will vary depending on the quality and quantity of your followers, as well as the industry you have chosen. Keep in mind that these agencies often keep 30% of each promotion value as their fees.

In addition to using agencies to source companies to promote, you might also want to build direct relationships with brands and companies in your category. Rather than simply doing one-off posts, you could build a long-term relationship whereby you agree to post and mention their brand/product/venue an agreed amount of times over the following 3-6 months. It will be up to you to negotiate the value of your promotions, and do be wary of any terms or conditions that might exclude you from doing other paid promotions during your contract period.

With some effort, an Instagram account with 200,000 followers could earn US$50,000 – US$75,000 per year by paid promotions and shout-outs. Time to start snapping!

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