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How To Monetize Instagram: Making Money as an Influencer

Make the most out of your Instagram account and learn how to leverage Instagram monetization for sponsored posts, Instagram stories, and more.

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Instagram is a great place to express yourself, show the world that you're a subject matter expert, and make some money.

Instagram monetization is a great way to earn money on the side or even turn it into a full-time career. Successful Instagram influencers make hundreds of thousands of dollars from the platform through various revenue streams provided by Instagram, sponsors, and from outside sources such as Patreon or Buy Me a Coffee.

The main reason influencers earn money through the Instagram app comes down to the fact that their followers want to show their appreciation for the efforts the influencer makes to entertain them, and corporations want access to an influencer's target audience.

An influencer is taking time out of their life to create content to share with their fan base, and fans recognize that effort. It's also understood that viewers aren't obligated to tip or subscribe to watch the content. That's where affiliate Instagram marketing and sponsored posts or Instagram stories are worth seeking, as they can result in a steady stream of income.

In order to make money on Instagram, you'll need to take steps to attract an audience and grow it to a number that sponsors like to see. You'll need to take steps to gain Instagram followers by developing a hook that draws people in, otherwise known as giving people a reason to follow you.

Once you've established yourself as someone worth following, your follower numbers grow, and businesses become more interested in using you as a salesperson for their product.

Read on to learn more about how you can build your brand on Instagram and start making money on social media just by sharing your passion.

How many Instagram followers do you need to have to start making money? Any account over 1,000 followers can become what is known as a 'micro-influencer'

Instagram monetization 101

Instagram enables creatives to make money doing something they love through affiliate links, tips, sponsored posts and Instagram stories, and direct payments for merchandise in your Instagram shop.

In order to get started with Instagram monetization, you have to open an Instagram business account and build your base of followers. Over time, you'll build a base of followers and start making money.

How many Instagram followers do you need to make money?

There's no hard number of Instagram followers you need to earn money on Instagram, but you won't start seeing steady income until you've reached 500 to 1,000 followers.

You can start earning money by offering merchandise for sale through the platform and through other avenues of income that are available on your Instagram page.

The majority of the money you earn won't come from Instagram itself. Instead, it comes from brands looking for micro influencers, affiliate programs, selling your merchandise through Instagram, and viewers tipping or donating money on and off the platform.

The only threshold you need to reach is 10,000 viewers in order to take advantage of Instagram's tipping program, known as Badges, for IG Live feeds.

Instagram has enabled subscriptions on the platform, a la Twitch, and YouTube. You can also allow ads to run on your video content, and Instagram will pay you a small amount. You can earn money from outside sources and the Instagram tip option when your follower base grows large enough.

visual representation of how much instagram influencers earn based on how many followers they have.

Instagram monetization requirements in 2022

In order to make money on Instagram, you have to follow the terms and community guidelines as laid out by Instagram.

That means you have to conduct yourself in such a way as not to get your Instagram page restricted or banned. In order to reap the benefits of Instagram monetization, you must upload media that fall within the accepted formats and don't violate the prohibited and restricted categories.

The prohibited formats include:

  • Static videos with little or no motion
  • Static image polls
  • Image slideshows
  • Looping videos
  • Text montages consisting of still or moving images with text over the image
  • Embedded ads

Prohibited behaviors include:

  • Soliciting engagement or compensation
  • Baiting Instagram users to click a link
  • Using alcohol, drugs, or tobacco
  • Undressing
  • Sexual behavior
  • Consuming inedible substances

Prohibited categories include:

  • Content that's been proven false by a third-party fact checker
  • Misleading medical information
  • Copying other creators' content

Restricted categories that you can talk about but may reduce or disable your Instagram monetization include social issues, tragedy, and/or conflict. You can also engage in objectionable activity, but you also run the risk of demonetization. They include substance abuse and criminal activities or behavior.

The same goes for sexual or suggestive activities and strong language. Explicit content includes displaying gross body conditions or gore, including body functions, medical procedures, infestation, and anything else that involves displaying or talking about the body in a gross or gory fashion.

5 ways to make money on instagram: get sponsored, promote your business, sell your items, earn badges, monetize your videos

How to make the most out of Instagram monetization

1. Present a strong personality

Presenting a strong personality requires having strong convictions, confidence, and being able to admit when you're wrong.

These aspects make you more relatable and likable, traits that viewers appreciate. You're using Instagram to promote yourself or your skill, and you need to show your audience that you know what you're talking about but be able to take criticism and change your opinions.

2. Have an area of expertise

Most of the time, an influencer has an area of expertise and is willing to share that with an audience. The expertise doesn't have to be unique, but you do need to bring your own experience and insights in order to set yourself apart from others who work in the same niche.

3. Post regularly

Followers like to see regular updates from their favorite influencers. Creating a posting schedule helps you manage expectations and set a reasonable pace for yourself in terms of having enough time to put up new content. Your Instagram followers will know that you'll post new content on a specific day of the week, and will show up to see your latest work.

4. Focus on one topic at a time

When you post on Instagram, you want to make sure to stick to one topic and minimize the chances of getting sidetracked onto another topic.

This goes for a live feed and a static post. Your audience engagement is better when you maintain focus on the topic you want to talk about or demonstrate.

There's nothing wrong with an aside, but save that aside comment for another post. You'll benefit from having more material for an upcoming post or live feed.

You may find that you want to repost on Instagram on occasion for any number of reasons. You can repost to share a favorite post of yours, use the post to highlight or reinforce something you did or said in a new post, or use it as a placeholder if you're unable to make new content for whatever reason.

Keep your reposting to a minimum, so you don't annoy your followers and make them less likely to return.

5. Engage with your target audience

One of the major appeals of social media is the opportunity for fans to engage with their favorite influencers.

Take the time to talk to your Instagram followers both in general and directly. You create a feeling of inclusivity and community when you talk to and with your chat.

During your presentation of your latest topic, you'll talk to your chat, but you can also talk with individuals if you're doing a live feed. It's also a good idea to respond to followers that post on your content.

You'll also need to manage your audience to maintain decorum in your posts. This is easily done on a static post, but if you're doing a live feed, you should consider asking people to moderate the chat, so you don't have to stop what you're doing to clean up the comments.

6. Become an affiliate marketer

Getting approved as an affiliate marketer gives you the opportunity to earn money through the promotion of a product. A brand will give you a product to demonstrate or use on your Instagram account, then give you an affiliate link that's connected to your account. You'll get a small percentage of a sale when anyone who follows your affiliate link makes a purchase.

7. Build your audience

The best way to get more Instagram followers is to engage in organic growth and omnichannel marketing. The platform allows the use of bots to manage your account, but it bans the use of view bots to make it look like you have more viewers than you really have.

Use all of your other social media accounts to let people know that you're on Instagram and which days you put up fresh content or start a live stream.

Make sure the posts are public to reach as many people as possible and be consistent with your schedule. It takes time to grow your Instagram account and audience, but people will return and tell others about you as long as you give them something to show up for.

8. Set up a business account

Instagram requires you to switch your personal Instagram account to a business account or begin with a business account in order to accept payments directly in your Instagram shop.

The business account includes a dashboard that lets you track the performance of your Instagram account, use professional tools to improve the quality of your feed and gain access to Instagram's internal library for professional influencers.

9. Create a social media plan

Becoming a content creator on Instagram requires the use of a social media plan, or an internal management plan. You need to figure out what kind of category you're going to present, the types of social media content you're going to create, the frequency of your posting, where you're going to post, and so on. This will help you stay organized and keep your content flowing.

Expand your brand

Instagram monetization is a great way to make money and engage with people who share your passions. It offers multiple delivery options in the form of static image posts, Instagram stories, live feeds, and video clips.

At Mailchimp, we offer an extensive library of free materials to help you make money on Instagram as well as how to market yourself across popular social media outlets.

We can also help you build your website and get you going on a marketing plan that helps you grow your brand through the delivery of important metrics and tools that get your name in front of your ideal audience.

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