Written by Ashlyn Brooks

February 7, 2022

What started out as a hobby — making people laugh, doing silly dog ​​photo shoots, or sharing food photos — could be an opportunity to turn Instagram into a source of income that’s fueled by your active followers. While it may seem like generating a revenue stream is only for influencers, we have seen plenty of casual Instagram users earn a nice income when they follow the right strategies.

Instagram’s monetization tools are constantly expanding to include more users including small business owners, micro-influencers, and even start-ups, all of whom can easily build their eCommerce presence, sell products, and make money online. 

The opportunity to tap into Instagram’s income streams is huge. And if you follow these steps, you could be well on your way to making your first sale. 

1. Partnerships

Paid partnerships aren’t anything new but they are increasing in popularity. And with Instagram, paid partnerships couldn’t be easier. In fact, there are tools to make the experience that much more robust. For example, instead of disclosing that you’re doing a “paid partnership post” you can:

  • Turn posts directly into an ad.
  • Get performance feedback and insights.
  • Use the “Paid Partnerships Tag” to directly tag the business you’re promoting.

The benefits of using paid partnerships include:

  • Get paid for your posts (duh!).
  • Expanding your reach as a brand.
  • Building your partnership portfolio.

2. Offer subscription-based content

Let’s be honest, you have some great content to offer the world but what if you could monetize that content on a whole other level? This is where subscription-based content comes in. Whether you have a small, dedicated audience or a vast amount of followers, you can monetize your content through subscriptions. Here’s how:

  1. First, get an email list going.
  2. Then curate your content specifically for that audience.
  3. Give valuable insight into your niche in your content.
  4. Market it as “subscribers only.”
  5. Charge a monthly subscription fee in order to access your specialized content.

3. Create an online course

Actively making money on your content is great, especially when you’re engaging with  your audience and followers. But there is a more “hand-off” approach and a way to earn passive income; namely, creating an online course. If you think about it, you probably already have the content needed for an online course — it just has to be put into the right format. And using tools like Instagram automation and Chat Marketing can help you easily sell your online course to followers without breaking the bank or breaking a sweat. Utilize tools like Teachable or Udemy to create a one-of-a-kind online course that not only helps your audience but generates passive income in the process. (Win-win, right?)

4. Advertising

Traditional advertising is ceasing to be known as the only go-to for big-name brands. Now you can advertise on pretty much any social media platform for as much or as little as you’d like. For example, with Instagram ads you can create:

  • Story ads.
  • Video ads.
  • Collection ads.
  • Carousel ads.

Plus you can tailor your ad experience to fit your needs (and your budget). This includes defining your target audience, picking your ad format, and creating follow-up conversations for those that engage with your ad. 

5. Consulting

Everyone (well, almost everyone) would like to be their own boss and control how much they make and the amount of time they put into their work. And since you’ve already mastered generating revenue through Instagram, why not make some extra income by consulting. According to HubSpot Instagram consultants can make from $15 – $250 per hour depending on your services and experience :

  • A consultant with 0-3 years experience and a limited portfolio will likely want to start charging between $15-$50 per hour, depending on the project scope and type of client.
  • After three years, you can charge between $50 and $100 per hour.
  • Once you’re an advanced consultant with an impressive portfolio, you can charge upwards of $120+ per hour.
  • Social media consultants can charge anywhere from $15-$250+ an hour, so it’s important you keep in mind your prior work experience, the scope of the project, and the type of client when deciding your rate.

6. Sell digital or physical goods

Another route is selling digital or physical products that you create yourself. Selling your own product is not only a great source of passive income, but it also builds your brand and reaches a wider market. A digital product could be:

  • Templates.
  • E-books.
  • Photography.
  • Digital art.
  • PDF documents.
  • Applications.

And physical products could be:

  • Clothing and apparel.
  • Accessories or jewelry.
  • Stickers.
  • Books.
  • Planners.
  • Bags.

7. Become a brand influencer

We know what you’re thinking and the answer is “no,” you absolutely do not need to be a celebrity to represent a brand as an influencer. However, you do need to agree with the product and the brand’s values, in order to talk about them in a positive way on social platforms. Becoming a brand ambassador is easy if you have the right following and connections. Typically, being a brand ambassador means you’ll:

  • Be the face of the brand.
  • Collaborate on products.
  • Build the brand’s audience using your followers.

8. Freelancing services

Freelancing is when you work as a contractor to provide a service to a client or customer for a set rate or fee. Freelancing gigs can be found all over the internet, from a simple Google search to job marketplaces, like Fivver or LinkedIn. Freelancing services can be pretty much anything you want it to be, but some popular online options include:

  • Website creation.
  • Digital marketing.
  • Writing. 
  • Social media management.
  • Videography.

9. Affiliate income

Being an affiliate is similar to being an influencer or brand ambassador. As an affiliate, you’ll promote a product or service on your platform, and when there’s a sale you receive a kickback—which can range from a small percentage to a set rate based on sales. 

10. Fan funding

Do you have hard-core followers or fans? Why not let them pay you? Known as fan funding, fans can choose to support you and your business through donations or investments using platforms like Kickstarter or Patreon. Just be aware that fan-funding platforms take a percentage or flat fee of your earnings before dispersing funds. You can even donate part of your earnings to charity. 

Key Takeaways

There are plenty of ways to earn a living through Instagram or the internet. As a creator, the sky’s the limit. Try one of the ideas in this list or try them all — you may even have success if you diversify your income streams. The main takeaway from this is that your audience can help generate income, and you don’t need millions of people to endorse you — just a dedicated group to get you going. 

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The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.