How to Make Money on Instagram in 2023? The Ultimate Guide for Creators

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As a fellow tech geek and data analyst, I‘ve been fascinated by the money-making potential of Instagram.

With over 2 billion monthly active users, Instagram has quickly become one of the most influential social platforms. Savvy creators are turning their accounts into lucrative businesses.

But how exactly can you monetize your Instagram presence?

In this comprehensive 4,000+ word guide, I‘ll provide detailed tips and actionable strategies to start earning money on Instagram consistently.

Whether you have 10k or 10 million followers, there are proven ways for regular users like you and me to generate multiple income streams. I‘ve personally tested several of these methods with great success.

Let‘s dive in!

Brand Sponsorships: The Main Way Influencers Get Paid

Influencer marketing is projected to grow into a $20 billion dollar industry by 2024 according to Business Insider Intelligence data.

This means brands are investing more dollars into influencer campaigns on Instagram.

As an influencer, you can collaborate with brands in several ways:

This is the most popular type of branded content. You earn money by mentioning or featuring a brand in your posts.

The average price for a sponsored post is:

  • Micro-influencer (5k-20k followers): $50 -$250
  • Mid-tier influencer (20k-100k followers): $200 – $2,000
  • Macro-influencer (100k-1 million followers): $1,000 – $10,000
  • Mega-influencer (1 million+ followers): $10,000+

But follower count isn‘t everything. Engagement and quality of followers also impact how much brands will pay. An influencer with 100k highly-engaged followers often earns more than someone with 1 million disengaged followers.

Sharing brand sponsored stories is another option. This provides more authentic, "in the moment" type branded content.

Rates for sponsored stories start around $50 for micro-influencers and go up from there.

Affiliate Commissions

As an affiliate, you earn commission when someone purchases through your referral links. The average commission rate is 4-20%.

This provides passive income from products you‘re already using and recommending anyway.

Free Products

Some brands send free products in exchange for organic mentions in your content.

The payoff comes from increasing awareness. Make sure to clearly disclose when posts featuring free products are NOT sponsored.

Brand Ambassador Programs

Becoming an ambassador means representing a brand more extensively over a longer period. You might earn a monthly fee, free products, exclusive events, and more.

Brands sometimes sponsor giveaways and contests to increase awareness and engagement. This is a popular tactic for micro-influencers.

Sell Your Own Physical or Digital Products

Creating and selling your own products means keeping 100% of the profit.

This also gives you more control over your brand versus aligning with other brands.

Here are some products you can sell directly to your audience:

  • Apparel – t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, tanks, hoodies, etc.

  • Posters and wall art

  • Phone cases

  • Mugs, water bottles, and other drinkware

  • Tote bags

  • Jewelry and other accessories

  • Candles, soaps, and other home items

  • Photography prints

  • PDF guides and ebooks

  • Online video courses

  • Memberships and communities

  • Coaching/consulting services

  • Presets and templates for designers

  • Stock imagery and video footage

  • Music, podcasts, and audio content

Bonus Tip: Don‘t just think physical products. Digital products have higher profit margins since you don‘t have production and shipping costs.

Leverage Affiliate Marketing and Referrals

Affiliate marketing is a key passive income strategy. You earn commissions by sharing affiliate links and readers make purchases through them.

Here are top affiliate programs to explore on Instagram:

Company Commission Rate
Amazon Associates 4% to 10%
ShareASale Varies by retailer, averages 8%
Rakuten Varies by retailer, Up to 40%
Shopify 2% to 4%
CJ Affiliate Up to 90% or more
RewardStyle 8% to 20%

Some best practices for affiliate marketing:

  • Disclose affiliate links using #ad, #sponsored or affiliate link buttons

  • Only recommend brands and products you genuinely like and use

  • Share affiliate links in your bio, posts, stories

  • Create content specifically reviewing or mentioning affiliate products

  • Don‘t overly push sales pitches or spam affiliate links

Referral marketing works similarly. You earn bonuses or commissions for referring readers to certain apps, services, or programs.

Sell Shoutouts and Promotions

Your engaged Instagram following is valuable real estate for brands. You can make money by selling promotional opportunities.

Some popular options are:

  • Shoutouts in your Instagram Stories – $50 to $500+

  • Takeovers allowing a brand to post from your account for a day – $1,000+

  • Promoting a brand‘s account in your bio – $500 to $1,000 per month

  • Creating a dedicated post or Reel promoting a brand – $100 to $10,000+

  • Live unboxing of a brand‘s product – $500 to $5,000

The key is having an audience relevant to the brand you‘re promoting. Make sure to charge brands accordingly based on your follower count, engagement metrics, and influence.

Launch Memberships and Paid Groups

We all have super fans who crave more exclusive access and interactions.

Memberships and paid groups cater perfectly to these loyal followers.

Here are some popular membership perks:

  • Exclusive behind-the-scenes content

  • Ability to message you directly for advice

  • Special discounts and deals

  • Early product releases or pre-sales

  • In-person meetups and events

  • Monthly video calls, Q&As, and classes

Pricing often ranges from $5 to $50+ per month. Use platforms like Patreon, OnlyFans, Mighty Networks, or Circle to operate your membership program.

Promote it subtly in your content and link in your bio. top creators earn 6 figures+ per year from loyal members.

Create and Sell Online Courses

Online courses represent a massive opportunity to monetize your skills and expertise.

Courses provide more in-depth education and training compared to free tips on Instagram.

Ideal course topics relate to your niche and expertise like:

  • Photoshop, design, and creative skills for photographers

  • Fitness and nutrition advice for personal trainers

  • Business and marketing strategies for entrepreneurs

  • Cooking and meal prep for foodies

Courses typically range from $99 to $500+ depending on the depth and production quality.

Use course platforms like Teachable, Thinkific, or Podia to create content, market your course, and sell to students. Leverage Instagram to find your ideal students.

Top creators earn well into the 6-7 figures from high-value online courses.

Monetize Your Account with Ads

If you don‘t want to mess with selling or affiliates, another simple option is monetizing your account with ads.

Instagram provides selective opportunities for creators to earn a cut of the ad revenue generated from their account.

This includes:

  • IGTV ads – 55% revenue share from ads played before your videos

  • Badges on IG Live – fans pay to show support during your broadcasts

  • Brand sponsorships – brands pay for sponsored posts and content

  • Instagram shop – sell products right on your profile

To qualify, you need at least 10,000 followers and be willing to show ads to your audience.

While ad revenue might not make you rich, it can provide some automatic background earnings.

License Your Content

Instagram is all about eye-catching visual content.

If you have an aesthetically pleasing feed in your niche, you can generate income by licensing your photos and videos.

Some websites that connect creators with brands in need of content are:

  • Getty Images – Earn up to 45% royalties

  • Adobe Stock – Earn 33% royalties

  • Shutterstock – Earn up to 50% royalties

  • Twenty20 – Earn up to 80% royalties

  • Stocksy – Earn 50% royalties

You retain full ownership and sell licenses for brands to use your work.

Launch a Side Business Powered by Instagram

Take your account to the next level by launching a side business centered around your brand and audience.

Leverage Instagram‘s massive reach to quickly find customers for your new business.

Some examples of businesses you can start include:

  • Dropshipping Shopify Store – Sell trendy products by dropshipping inventory from suppliers

  • Print on Demand Merch Store – Upload your designs and sell merch without inventory

  • Freelance Services – Share your skills and offer graphic design, social media help, photography, video editing, etc.

  • Information Products – Expand on your best content into online courses, coaching programs, ebooks, etc.

  • Crafts and Handmade Products – Homemade soaps, jewelry, candles, artwork, etc.

  • Agency Services – Social management, influencer marketing, and more for clients

Monetizing beyond just sponsored posts helps diversify income and build a larger brand.

Reels Play Bonus Program

Instagram is heavily pushing creators to post more Reels.

As incentive, they‘ve launched the Reels Play Bonus program to pay top creators up to $10,000 per month for creating quality Reels.

To qualify, you need:

  • 10,000+ Instagram followers

  • 100,000+ Reels plays in the last 30 days

  • Original videos that entertain and engage viewers

Instagram determines potential payouts based on your Reels performance – views, shares, comments, etc.

This bonus represents easy incremental income for Reels you‘d post anyway.

While currently limited to the US, Instagram plans to expand it globally.

Hopefully you‘re seeing the tremendous money making opportunity Instagram now represents.

But growing a profitable influencer business takes more than just signing up.

Here are my top tips for maximizing your earnings:

Choose a niche. Position yourself as an expert in one specific niche. Fashion, beauty, cars, photography, travel, art – whatever you‘re most passionate about.

It‘s easier to monetize a highly targeted audience interested in your specialty.

Post Valuable Content Daily. Posting consistently, especially Reels, helps grow your account. Strive for at least one post per day showcasing your skills and personality.

Engage With Followers and Industry Peers. Reply to comments, create polls and ask questions in your captions. Network and engage with other influencers in your space.

Analyze Performance and Optimize. Use Instagram Analytics to see which types of posts perform best. Make data-driven decisions to maximize reach and engagement.

Improve Video Production Quality. Invest in video equipment like cameras, mics, lighting. Creating cinematic looking videos helps earn more sponsorships.

Diversify Your Income Streams. Don‘t rely solely on sponsored posts. Combine brand deals, digital products, licensing, affiliate marketing, etc. to build a diversified business model.

Collaborate With Complementary Influencers. Team up with others creators in your space to cross-promote content and share audiences.

Provide Value First, Monetize Second. Don‘t get caught up chasing money early on. Establish yourself by consistently providing value for free first. The money comes later.

I hope this guide provided an in-depth overview of how to turn your Instagram account into a profitable platform.

With over 2 billion monthly users, Instagram provides incredible monetization potential.

But earning money takes time, patience, commitment to your craft, and focus on your audience.

What tips do you have on generating income from Instagram? What strategies have worked for your brand? Let me know in the comments!

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