make money on instagram

How To Make Money On Instagram Regardless Of Your Followers Count (Updated 2021)


Updated on 08/05/2021

Four years after this post was shared, we see a lot of changes on Instagram. However, the good thing is that you can make money on Instagram in an easier way nowadays – whether you have 1k or 100k followers.

There are so many stories about people who make money on Instagram with the content they snap, shoot, and share every day.

And while many of them are true, there are still ones that are a mystery. Still, at some point, you have probably been wondering if these achievements can be your reality as well.

The truth is…

Just like bloggers, YouTubers, and other authorities, Instagram users can earn well from the content they produce.

Once you have the right reach and influence figured out, you can earn as much as you want.

So yes, the only sky is the limit with Instagram, and today we are taking you on tour in the sky.

And the best part?

Well, to make money on Instagram, you do not depend on your follower count.

You can have 1000 loyal followers and still make money on Instagram the same as 100k not-so-loyal ones. In a nutshell, it is all about the audience you gather. This leads us to the next part…

Money on Instagram


Making Money On Instagram In 2021: What Is Different?

As you know by now, Instagram is a disruptive force and environment, unlike many other social media networks. Even though the network was primarily created and intended for photo sharing, it is now a business platform that anyone can use.

From celebrities to wanna-be celebrities, travel and beauty bloggers, and businesses, the bare truth is that everyone can make money on Instagram.

In 2021, nothing was different than the tips you will see below. Below are some of the most popular ways through which individuals and businesses make money on Instagram:

  • They are focusing on sponsored posts and try to reach a greater audience
  • They are affiliates, selling products that belong to other brands and earning commissions from it
  • They are selling their own products, which could be physical or digital products – or even services
  • They are selling their photography or course on becoming successful in a given niche

So, how do you make money online on Instagram?

In general, five main business models work and let people make money from Instagram. They are:

  • The Influencer Model: These experts make money from sponsored posts and have built a reputation for doing and sharing things online. It may be hard to get there, but a great influencer can promote any brand and convince audiences about trends based on the trust that they built with their online presence.
  • The Affiliate Model: As we hinted above, affiliates are great because they receive a cut once they sell a product. There are affiliate programs that pay up to 70% in cash, which motivates many people to work towards make money on Instagram.
  • The Virtual Products Model: Knowing that Instagram is all about visual content, photogenic products sell well on the network. You can literally sell anything from poster photos to paintings, drawings, animations, videos, or other images.
  • The Physical Products Model: Physical products do sell on Instagram too. Even though you need to spend some capital to stock some products or market them accordingly, you can also sell them with ease – or sell them products directly on Instagram.
  • The Dropshipping Model: This model is ideal for people who don’t want to stock up – and want to sell products on Instagram to earn money directly from their suppliers. You can easily set up a dropshipping store and experiment to find the niche products that would sell well without wasting any of your startup capital.


How Many Followers Is Enough, So You Start To Make Money On Instagram?

As we said before, there is no rule carved in stone for your Instagram followers. The short answer to this question would be ‘not as many as you think’ while the long one would sum up to the following aspects:

  • The niche you are in and how directly it ties to a product category (fashion, food, beauty are the most popular niches based on top hashtags);
  • How engaged your followers are (100k fake followers are nothing compared to 1000 real ones);
  • Which revenue channels you will use to earn from Instagram.

In short, the more engaged followers you have, the greater the chance is for you to earn from Instagram.

And while there are many top Instagrammers with a million followers who make thousands per post on this platform, even those with a few thousand in their follower count can profit.


Make Money On Instagram: The 5 Ways Worth Exploring

It really depends on how unique your brand is, how many competitors are out there, what your audience likes, and their level of commitment to your brand. But aside from those factors, you can make money on Instagram with these five methods:

  • Doing sponsored posts for brands wanting to get in front of your audience;
  • Becoming an affiliate and making a commission selling other brands’ products;
  • Creating your own physical and digital product and selling it – or offering a paid service;
  • selling your photography;
  • selling your Instagram account (for a good reason or no reason at all).

Keita Ogawa (@keita_per) promoting Evans (@evansdrumheads) products is an excellent example of a “sponsored post” for a brand (and you don’t need to have a million followers to get that opportunity).

The great thing about make money on Instagram is that you can also mix and combine these approaches. That way, while you are adopting one strategy, you can also rely on another one. Below, we are going into detail on each of these approaches, starting from the first one.


1. Influencers – Working With Brands On Sponsored Posts

We hear a lot about ‘influencers’ nowadays. And while many people don’t know what these people are, the best way to define them is as people who have established themselves an online reputation by doing and sharing great things online.

Why are influencers important?

Basically, influencers are tastemakers to their audience. They help people decide what to try and what to buy and generally form an unbiased opinion on many products and services in a particular industry or niche. They are trendsetters and trusted experts whose opinions matter and are respected in the field.

Anllela Sagra (@anllela_sagra) is a perfect example of a well-respected influencer… in the picture below, she is promoting Brighter White.

This is essentially why a lot of people try to get more followers on Instagram. Becoming an influencer is not easy, and most importantly – it is not determined by just the size and reach of your Instagram account.

The truth is, becoming an influencer is hard – even harder when you try to balance your revenue as an influencer and your integrity as a creator.

However, the good thing is that you always have the freedom to be selective about your opinions, the brands that matter to you, and the ones you work with.

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How much should you charge?

If you have started following the path of an influencer to make money on Instagram, you should know that charging involves the creation of content and permission for the brand to use the content on their own site or in an advertisement.

A lot of these deals are negotiable, and typically, many influencers decide to make them, whether for a financial fee, a free product, a service, a gift, or the promise of exposure.

In a survey of 5000 influencers, more than 40% said that they charged $200 to $400 per post – however- this is only to give you an idea of what some brands are willing to pay for exposure.

How to find brands to work with?

Aside from cold calling or interacting with brands on Instagram, services like Shoutcart, Fohr Card, Crowd Tap, and IndaHash help influencers get clients regularly.

If you’re looking forward to becoming an influencer, want to optimize your profile, increase your engagement and credibility, reach your public and gain segmented followers: we can help you!


2. Becoming An Affiliate

Unlike influencers, affiliates are more ready to make sales for the partner brand because they earn a commission for every sale being made. Basically, affiliates have existed from the earliest eras of the Internet in the offline world.

However, in the digital world, becoming an affiliate is typically easier. On Instagram, it can be done with a trackable link or unique promo code to ensure that every link translates into sales.

However, Instagram has a policy of no links involved outside of the bio – and that tends to create some minor problems because as an affiliate, you can focus on one product at a time only and send your potential customers to your bio to follow the link and purchase.

Some of the best affiliate programs you can participate in for Instagram include ClickBank, RewardStyle, and Amazon’s Affiliate Program, all credible and known for the hefty commissions.

Alternatively, you can reach out to the many online merchants that offer affiliate programs for Instagram and start advertising to get a commission.

Now, even though affiliate marketing sounds like a numbers game that is artificial and created to drive sales without some emotion, many affiliates know that this is also an art.

In fact, affiliate marketing works best as a plan where you go into it to expand your online presence, including a website, and make use of many other marketing channels.

P.S. If you hate the long affiliate links as much as we do, you can always shorten them using URL shorteners like!


3. Opening Your Own Online Store

At this point, you probably think that big money on Instagram is best earned as an influencer or affiliate. However, that is far from the truth – because, with an online store, you can exploit all the benefits and drive the entire traffic to one place.

Basically, the concept of an online store is a website where every potential customer of yours can find nice products, physical goods, services, or even digital items that can help their brand or life in any way.

And although you need to invest some time upfront to build your online store (or have someone build it for you), nowadays, it is common to invest and make the leap into entrepreneurship.

Selling your own stuff to make money on Instagram is, after all, a decision that comes with peace of mind.

For example, you don’t need to worry about integrating messages from other brands into your strategy – and can get your own brand out there on the products you sell. There are several ways to attract your fans to your online store:

  • you can open a print-on-demand service and print your logo or campaigns on your own t-shirts, pillows, coffee mugs, wall art etc.;
  • sell your services such as consulting, Instagram social media management, or photography to interested people with a link to your professional website;
  • sell your digital products such as ebooks, courses, or design templates;
  • use your Instagram account to launch a business that sells your own original products or even a book.

One of the best ways to sell several items and open your online store is Shopify, a platform that connects you to buyers and builds a great online presence for your brand.


4. Sell Your Photos Online

Last but not least is the method that is exploited by many people nowadays. Basically, it is all about selling your photos online that can be licensed, printed, and sold in various ways.

As you probably know, having exclusive rights to a photo is not easy nowadays. You have to be the photographer behind it, download it with a no license agreement, or purchase it as a stock photo. In an era where libraries are limited, people are constantly trying to purchase photos at affordable prices.

That is how you can launch your Instagram – to advertise photos and link to the market where you are actually selling them in high quality.

There are many marketplaces for this, including 500px or Twenty20, where brands and publishers might license them (and where you can actually earn for your efforts).

Additionally, you can sell your photos as prints and other physical products using similar methods from above. For example, there are services like

For example, services like Printful and Teelaunch can let you put your photos on posters, pillows, phone cases, and other consumer products.

Many success stories in this field and many individuals and brands leaped forward and are earning well because of this method.

Being a photography addict

5. Sell Your Instagram Account

If you had enough on Instagram, there is still the possibility to move on and sell your account.

You will be amazed that even though it’s just a social media profile, if your follower count is good and the engagement is solid – you can easily get thousands of dollars for an established – profile.

This is good because you know that your hard work hasn’t gone to waste and will definitely be of use to someone. You can actually sell your Instagram account if you can no longer manage it – or want to break up with it.

Some services and websites will support you with selling your Instagram account.

Some of the most popular include the names of Fame swap and Viral accounts. Or, you can directly pitch to your competition or potential acquirers that may benefit from your profile.

And if you still don’t have a clue which of these techniques and tactics is right for you, you can just…

Do It For Your Own Love And Get Paid

Sometimes, you don’t need to be focused on a business model to make money on Instagram.

Starting Instagram usually begins as a hobby, and in the best cases, that hobby turns out to be a massive business year afterward as you start to make money on Instagram.

This being said, you can definitely start your Instagram journey as a hobby or interest to make people laugh or showcase your skills. In a world that is developing and a world full of possibilities, who knows what you will set for?

One thing is certain – there is a huge base of users in need of your content and a way to include you in their favorite brands.

So, what are you waiting for?

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