With over one billion users per month consisting of more than 70 percent young people (up to 35 years), Instagram is today considered one of the most prominent channels for digital marketing in the world.
Although Instagram is a popular platform among influencers, only a small percentage of them earn enough money to make a living from their posts. As the number of sponsored posts on Instagram increases, the competition to make money on this type of marketing has also become fiercer.
Studies conducted by the analysis company inspire.I show that an influencer needs approx. 40,000 followers on instagram to earn an annual average salary. In other words, making money on Instagram via sponsored posts can be tough for those who do not already have a relatively large group of followers.
The question is what are the other opportunities to make money on Instagram for those who only have a small number of followers?
In this post, we go through the most common options for making money on Instagram in addition to sponsored posts:
- Join an affiliate program (“Affiliate Program”) and get commission on the products and services you sell.
- Sell products through your own online store.
- Sell your photos
One approach does not preclude the other. It is not uncommon for marketers on Instagram to combine the above approaches to maximize profits.
Make money as an “Affiliate” in an affiliate program on Instagram
An easy way for those who do not have enough followers to make money on sponsored posts is through so-called affiliate programs. Unlike sponsored posts that typically aim to create awareness among an audience or follower for a particular brand, product or service; Affiliate programs are more about selling an actual product or service.
How does an affiliate program on Instagram work?
By registering as a partner or “affiliate”, you get a commission on every product or service sold that takes place through your marketing channel. The most common is that you as a partner market a certain product or service via a traceable partner link.
When one of your followers clicks on your traceable link, they are sent to your partner company’s website. When a purchase is made, an agreed commission is paid to you who, as a partner, mediated the customer via the link. Today, there are several platforms for those who want to join affiliate programs. Some popular platforms are: ShareASale, FlexOffers, Upfluence and CJ Affiliate .
How to link to Instagram?
Instagram does not allow regular users to add links to their posts. To make money as an affiliate, you have to be a little quirky:
Via discount code : Instead of using a traceable link, several partner programs offer discount codes that you can share with your followers on, for example, Instagram. When a purchase is made with your unique discount code, you receive a commission from the partner company.
Link in your profile : A common strategy is to link to a private blog or website in the instagram profile. The strategy is to convert followers into customers on a private website that is set up with partner links and / or discount codes.
It also happens that Affiliates uses a traceable link in their user profile. The problem with this strategy is that you can only market a partner company (because it is only possible to add a link). Your marketing on Instagram is then limited to include only one brand or product.
Use an app to allow more links : To be able to add more links to your user profile and to also enable links from individual Instagram posts, there are today apps that you can use.
One of the most popular apps is Linkin.bio which is also a good tool for those who want to sell products via Instagram (see below). Via Linkin.bio, you can tag products from your webshop in your Instagram posts.
Link in Instagram Stories : This is an effective but laborious strategy. Posts in Instagram Stories remain visible for only 24 hours from publication. Adding traceable links to Instagram Stories requires that you have at least 10,000 followers and that you upgrade to Instagram’s company profile .
Make money through your own online store on Instagram
Taking the step to start selling your own products is easier than you might think. Entrepreneurs and influencers on Instagram can, by introducing their own products, quickly increase profitability compared to marketing other people’s products.
Starting your own online store is easy and relatively inexpensive. What you need to think about is choosing a platform that is well adapted to your market. For example, if you have many Swedish followers, you should use a webshop that is integrated with Swedish payment solutions. Here you can read more about how to start a cheap online store that is adapted for Sweden.
The simplest business model that is common in the USA in particular is via so-called Dropshipping. Unlike affiliate programs, where purchases are made on your affiliate’s website, you direct your followers to your own webshop.
Dropshipping means you set the prices you want. The finesse of dropshipping is that you do not have to take responsibility for the logistics of the products you sell in your online store.
After a product has been sold in your online store, the order is sent directly to your supplier, which ensures that the products are delivered to the customer. Of course, the profit per sold is lower with dropshipping than if you are responsible for the logistics flow on your own. Then the other side you avoid both warehousing, purchasing and other administrative costs with dropshipping.
Whether you want to sell products via dropshipping or be responsible for purchasing, warehousing, and delivery of your products, you need to set up your own online store. You can either link your Instagram profile to your online store and thus attract followers to your webshop. Other popular options are to use an app that enables sales via Instagram.
Some popular apps that connect your online store with Instagram are Like2buy, Shoppable Posts (Instagram’s own application), Insel and Soldsie.
Sell your photos on Instagram
It may sound obvious but you can actually sell your photos. Many professional photographers post their photos on Instagram in order to market and sell their work.
Even as an amateur photographer, you can sell your photos provided your photos are unique or add value to your followers. There are a couple of marketplaces that you can use to sell your Instagram photos, for example