How to sell on Instagram 1

Make money with Instagram - the 5 best strategies

In contrast to other social networks, Instagram has taken on a highly disruptive role in the field of e-commerce. While it was originally intended for photo sharing, it is now a business platform that can be used by anyone - including those running a dropshipping business. You may have asked yourself one of these questions: How can you make money on Instagram? How much is possible? How is selling on Instagram different from other types of ecommerce?

In this article, we're going to discuss strategies you can use to get started and make money on Instagram right away.

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Can you make money with Instagram?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes - you can definitely make money on Instagram. As long as the business can be expressed visually and creatively for marketing purposes, one can benefit from the millions of Instagram users. Now you are probably asking yourself the next question: How can you make money with Instagram and what do you have to do for it?

To get started, here are a few ways you can make money on Instagram:

  • You could focus on sponsored posts for brands that want to target your audience, which in turn makes you the perfect medium to do so.
  • You could become an affiliate marketer and make money selling products from other brands or service providers.
  • You could also sell your own products. This can be a physical or digital product or even a service. Basically, you can sell services and products on Instagram, just like in any other e-commerce environment.
  • You could sell your photography.

The enthusiasts of this social media platform are always on the lookout for new ways to make money on Instagram.

Don't worry, in this post we're going to detail in detail how people make money on Instagram and how you can do it too. We will also present three interesting success stories.

How can you make money on Instagram?

Instagram is great for selling products that are easy to photograph. In other words, if your products are photogenic, you can most likely sell them on Instagram. Even if you are photogenic yourself or take fantastic photos, you may be able to build a huge fan base that you can then monetize.

In general, there are at least five business models that can be used to make money on Instagram:

1. Become an influencer and make money from sponsored posts

With your influencer status, you can approach companies and suggest that they advertise their products as part of your contributions. An influencer is someone who has built a reputation for themselves by doing things online and sharing that with their followers. They have a dedicated fan base and are able to convince their audience of trends based on the trust they have built with their online presence.

Brands like to work with influencers to raise awareness of their products through sponsored posts. Influencers have to keep an eye on many things, such as: B. the size and reach of their Instagram presences as well as the trust and commitment they build based on their content.

The most famous influencers can earn thousands of euros per sponsored post. Just imagine: You publish one sponsored post per day and you can easily earn tens of thousands of euros a month with it. Sounds good, right?

A typical influencer post involves the creation of content such as an Instagram post or an Instagram story in which the brand or its products are advertised. As an influencer, it is therefore very important to know your audience very well.

You have to understand which group of people your target group is mainly made up of. This is the only way you can assess which brands are best received by your followers. If you have already switched to an Instagram company profile, you can research your key figures in your Instagram Analytics a little more closely.

Now you might be wondering how to find brands that are open to collaboration and willing to spend money on a sponsored post. Once you've built a significant online presence for yourself, chances are that bigger brands will reach out to you on their own.

But you can also take the reins into your own hands and find brands that, from your point of view, fit well with your personality and values. One option would be to reach out to brands directly (through Instagram or their websites) to try to negotiate a deal. Or you could sign up for an influencer marketplace to increase your chances of working with a big brand.

As an additional tip, you should make sure that you do not gamble away the trust of your existing audience with your sponsored posts. That's why it's always a good idea to use Instagram hashtags to indicate that it's a sponsored post (e.g. by adding #advertising or #sponsored).

2. Affiliate Marketing: Selling third party products

You can sell other vendors' products and earn a commission for doing so. Many brands sell their products through affiliate programs. There are now many people who make money from affiliate marketing.

The difference between an influencer and an affiliate is that an affiliate generates sales for the partner brand and receives a commission for it. In contrast, the influencer primarily aims to create awareness.

Affiliates earn money on Instagram via a traceable link or a promotional code to ensure that all clicks are converted into sales or can be assigned accordingly.

The recipe for success here lies in appealing contributions so that you can advertise the products without being too intrusive. But since you can only have one link on your Instagram bio, it may be advisable to connect a landing page to your affiliate link. For maximum effectiveness, you should point out in every relevant post that the product can be bought via the link in your Instagram bio.

This strategy may seem quite challenging at first. However, affiliate marketing offers a variety of expansion opportunities if you want to continue growing. You could expand your presence by integrating a website and / or other marketing or social media channels.

3. Sale of poster photos and virtual products

Instagram is all about visual content. Photogenic products sell particularly well on Instagram. You could e.g. B. Sell poster photos, paintings, drawings, animations, videos and other image or video-based products. Again, refer readers regularly to the link in your bio. If you want to earn money with Instagram, you can also rely on your artistic skills.

When taking photos, you should always try to be original and use your own style. When you have built up an appealing photo portfolio, you can advertise it on Instagram with relevant hashtags.

4. Sell your own physical products

You can sell any physical product that you either make yourself or purchase from suppliers. This conventional ecommerce trade usually requires you to hold and store some inventory. That in turn means that you have to take start-up capital in hand.

You also need a place to store the products (e.g. an empty room in your apartment or a small storage room). For example, if you're buying inventory from a China-based supplier, you'll need to put it away somewhere before customers can order it and then ship it.

Since February 2018 you can sell products directly on Instagram via Instagram posts and stories. By simply tagging products in your Instagram images, you can direct your Instagram followers to your product pages where they can quickly and easily buy products.

5. Selling via dropshipping

Dropshipping is a business model that allows you to run your shop without ever having to build your own inventory. Once you've made a sale, your supplier will deliver your products from their warehouse straight to your customers' doorstep. You don't have to worry about storing, packing or shipping your products.

Selling products via dropshipping works in a similar way to the previous section. The only important difference: you don't have to buy and store inventory. With Shopify's e-commerce platform, you can easily set up your own dropshipping shop, which is free for the first 14 days. It's even easier with Oberlo's dropshipping app and our unlimited free plan. With dropshipping you can experiment in order to find real bestseller products without the use of valuable start-up capital.

Earning money with Instagram - what are the advantages?

For those wondering why they should make money on Instagram, we have compiled the most important Instagram stats. The numbers behind Instagram are impressive, with the platform slowly but surely catching up with Facebook's growth. While Facebook has 2.07 billion monthly active users, Instagram has already had one billion users since its launch in 2010 eight years later.

As Instagram grows in popularity, it is also not surprising that Instagrammers become a factor that can no longer be ignored. They have found ways to make money with Instagram and are often rewarded princely for their photos.

When it comes to making money on Instagram, the following numbers are extremely interesting:

1) 1 billion users are active every month. That is almost three times the population of the United States.

2) 500 million users are active every day. That's almost double the US population.

3) Used in 2017 70.7 percent of all US companies Instagram. With 30 million companies (large and small) in the US, that number equates to 21 million US companies using Instagram.

4) 80 percent of all Instagram users follow at least one company profile. This corresponds to 640 million users who follow at least one company.

5) There are 2 million advertisers on Instagram every month.

6.) The time spent on Instagram increases by 80 percent every year .

7) Used in 2016 48 percent of all US brands use Instagram for advertising . In 2017 that number reached 71 percent. In 2018 the value was already 82 percent.

8) 300 million Instagram accounts use Instagram Stories every day

9) Instagram users by age :

  • 18 to 29 years: 59 percent
  • 30 to 49 years: 33 percent
  • 50 to 64 years: 18 percent
  • 64+ years: 8 percent

10) Instagram users by gender :

  • Female: 38 percent
  • Male: 26 percent
  • others: 36 percent

11) Instagram posts with location tags get 79 percent more engagement .

12) Photos with faces get 38 percent more likes .

13) User generated content has a 4.5 percent higher conversion rate .

Instagram success stories

Learn firsthand how to make money on Instagram with case studies and success stories like the following.

Focus your content on a specific niche and start selling products that you are interested in yourself. It can be any passion, hobby, or anything you want to share with others. Just focus on what you do best.

You can make the experience even more seamless with apps that connect Instagram to your ecommerce site. Shopify offers an integration for Instagram company profiles, which makes the whole process even easier.

The following entrepreneurs are seamlessly integrating Instagram marketing into their online shop. Check out how they make money on Instagram so you can mimic their success.


BeardBrand was first featured in an article in the New York Times. The shop opened with just $ 30 seed capital and a dedicated supplier. How the owners of BeardBrand make money on Instagram is unique and inspiring.

They sell products that make life easier for men with beards. has built a strong Instagram presence with more than 155,000 followers.

In this case, Instagram can be easily integrated into the overall shopping experience, as the followers can identify with the people depicted in the posts. With the right approach, these posts can spark customer curiosity and instill trust.


With almost one million followers, the RadSlimeShop's inventory is usually sold out within 24 hours. The videos are crisp and clear, and viewers can even hear the colorful slime being formed. These photogenic videos undoubtedly have an amazing marketing impact.

The video for the Minty Rainbow Chip slime, for example, generated more than 400,000 views. With this huge number of views, it's understandable why the product sold out within 24 hours and why the brand can successfully make money on Instagram. uses Shopify's e-commerce platform which is flexible and adaptable. So when you're working with amazing videos and live images, making money on Instagram can be easy.


Justin Wong, the founder of Aesthential, loves lovely Harajuku-style fashion. His popular Instagram account is his most important marketing channel. Note that every Instagram post has been carefully edited to create a very attractive visual experience. Wong makes $ 12,000 a month on Instagram and sells various products using the dropshipping business model.

This means that does not keep its own inventory. While there are several dropshipping suppliers, the products are only bought in by the shop owner when they are ordered by customers. Dropshipping is now one of the most lucrative business models and can easily be linked to marketing on Instagram.

For example, Aesthential works with social media influencers who receive free products and discount codes for their followers in exchange for their sponsored posts. Another way to increase sales is through affiliate programs. So anyone with a website and social media presence can participate and receive a commission as soon as a customer orders via the corresponding affiliate link. This is another way of making money on Instagram.

Earning money with Instagram: requirements

Using apps, following best practices, using the optimal filters, and applying proven advertising strategies are the keys to success here. Nevertheless, you have to stay up to date on new trends and rules if you want to successfully earn money with Instagram.

1) Instagram for Business: Become an Expert

There are two types of Instagram profiles: personal and business. The company profile was introduced in July 2016. You can find more detailed information on this and step-by-step instructions directly on Instagram or Facebook. Shopify also has an in-depth tutorial on how to sell on Instagram.

2) Start an Instagram shop

With an Instagram shop you can integrate your product catalog into your Instagram profile. In this way you can advertise your products directly to Instagram users via posts, stories, on the Explore page and in a special tab "Shop" in your profile.

3) Integrate ecommerce apps for Instagram

Instagram is only partially suitable for online shopping. So, in order for it to work for businesses, it takes some ingenuity. However, the ecommerce shopping feature can be seamlessly integrated with apps specifically designed for Shopify stores.

Try some of these apps so you can see for yourself which of them are the best for posting products, prices, and specs on separate pages. This way, the customers will feel as if they are still on your Instagram pages when they are actually on the shopping app pages.

We recommend using Shopify in this regard, as Shopify has numerous apps that can be integrated with Instagram. Many of these apps can be tested for free.

4) Master Instagram Best Practices

Instagram has detailed rules on how to post, what types of pictures or videos should be posted, and how many times per day you can post. Following these rules could improve your chances of making money on Instagram. So is z. For example, the number of hashtags to be included is limited - you cannot use more than 30 hashtags for your posts.

According to CoSchedule, it is recommended to post 1 to 2 times a day so that your followers don't feel overwhelmed. You will also have enough time to create unique and engaging posts.

According to Sprout Social, the ideal length of Instagram captions is between 138 and 150 characters. You should limit yourself to approx. 125 characters for texts for your advertisements. The optimal number of hashtags is between 5 and 10, even if up to 30 hashtags are currently possible, but this is not recommended. Instagram can assign a so-called "shadow ban" to your posts if they contain more than 20 hashtags. This means that your posts will no longer appear in searches for certain hashtags. If you really want to make money on Instagram, it will significantly reduce your chances of success.

5) Use Instagram filters and appealing photos

The difference between using the optimal and sub-optimal filters can be in the one- to two-digit range between likes. Graphics platform Canva conducted a study of America's most popular Instagram filters. The order is based on rank, with the most popular filters in the world being: Clarendon, Juno, Valencia, Gingham, and Lark.

The most popular filters for nature:

The most popular filters for nature:

  • Kelvin
  • Valencia
  • Nashville

The most popular filters for food:

The most popular filters for selfies:

Use tools like Picodash to find out which photos work well. The aim is to orientate yourself towards successful Instagram accounts, but still create your own unique content. Motivate yourself to learn more every day so that by the end of your journey you can successfully make money on Instagram.

6) Create posts based on viral stories

Such contributions can be easily integrated between your product photos and videos. With tools like Stencil, PromoRepublic and Be Funky you can easily design and publish inspiring images.

Getting Instagram Followers: Here's How You Can Do It

Should you build your Instagram presence before you start selling or only afterwards?

The answer is simple: beforehand and later.

Ideally, you already have a few hundred followers before you start selling. This way you can avoid posting great pictures of your products on an empty account. With a few hundred followers, you can expect some interaction, which is a good place to start.

But how can you then tap into a strong audience on Instagram and gain even more followers? We have put together 14 tips for you, with which you can start immediately. Because one thing is certain: if you want to earn money with Instagram, you need a committed audience and a sufficiently large number of followers.

1)  Optimize your Instagram profile

Make sure to choose a username or company name that is less than 30 characters long. Ideally, your name can also be searched using a keyword. It should also match the username you use on other social media platforms.

Your bio should be up to 150 characters. It is also advisable to add a clickable link to your website. This is the only place you can add a clickable link to your Instagram account. So this is an important aspect of optimizing your account.

2) Work with a special hashtag

If your account name is "Janines Café", it would be a good idea to create the hashtag #janinescafe and use it in the future. Then, when you want to keep tabs on conversations about your brand, you can easily check your hashtag. You can also share your hashtag on other occasions and platforms, both online and offline.

3) Use hashtags relevant to your niche

Instagram allows 30 hashtags per post, but that can quickly backfire. It's recommended to use 5 to 10 popular hashtags for your niche and related to your products.

4) Engage in conversations related to your niche

Check out accounts that use the same hashtags. Follow these accounts and take part in appropriate conversations. This is how you can effectively get new Instagram followers.

5) Use compelling captions

An Instagram caption is a written description or explanation of your Instagram photo to create more context. The best captions will help your followers feel invited to join the conversation, and like your posts.

6)  Organize and promote competitions

Create a contest with a photo that invites you to participate and shows the prizes. Also add a special hashtag for this competition. Think about how the winners will be selected, then make the rules clear and clear.

For example, you can ask users to take certain photos for the competition. Each photo with the special hashtag will then be entered into your competition. But make sure you follow Instagram's contest rules.

7) Create and share Instagram stories and live videos

Instagram Stories have become an important part of Instagram, and they keep growing. There are many ways you can make your story content engaging and even interactive. So you can e.g. Enhance it with geotags, selfie stickers, moving texts, color overlays, text and face filters (just like Snapchat). Get your message across and be creative. Your followers should have fun doing it.

8)  Post regularly.

The key to success lies in being regular and making sure posts are designed the same way, e.g. B. with the same filter or the same type of posts, such as photos or quotes. You should also familiarize yourself with the best times to post on Instagram. With the help of these strategies, your followers will recognize your posts and automatically associate them with your brand. You can also use third-party social media applications like Hootsuite, SocialFlow, and Sprout Social to schedule your Instagram posts.

9)  Work with influencers and similar accounts

Contact influencers and similar accounts to push each other or to get paid or sponsored contributions. For example, if you already have a large fan base, you can swap posts with similar users. If you work with an influencer, you can set up an affiliate program. Depending on the size of the audience, a commission can be paid out or paid for each contribution.

10) Use the location function Post videos and stories to your account. Use suitable hashtags and geotags so that your posts can be easily found.

11)  Develop a unique visual style

Choose the same filter and style for your Instagram account. If you have multiple accounts, each account should have its own personality. For example, one account could be about branding activities and the other could be about selling products.

12) Ask others to interact with your content

When you ask something, people are usually helpful and answer. As long as the caption on the posts has value to them and evokes positive feelings, you can politely ask people to interact with it.

13) Use Instagram Ads to reach more people

Paid ads can help you reach more people who would otherwise not have looked for your posts. On average, an Instagram ad costs between EUR 0.50 and EUR 1.00.

Promote your business on Instagram

Regardless of your business model, you have to make your business known to be successful in the long term. Self-promotion, however, requires more than just a thick coat. Most of all, if you want to make money on Instagram, you need to be strategic and use proven tactics.

When it comes to selling on Instagram, purchases are mostly impulse-based. Your selected advertising channels must be tailored to this circumstance. The key is creating a “wow” factor with the photos, videos, and captions of your posts. This is rounded off by a seamless shopping experience without friction losses.

  1. Use convincing and professionally produced photos and videos and rely on popular filters and tools.
  2. Integrate your Instagram account with your ecommerce store for a positive and consistent experience.
  3. Work with as many influencers as possible. Pick influencers whose philosophy and followers match your own presence.
  4. Develop a well-coordinated strategy and publish high quality content every day.
  5. Design all of your social media presences, websites and blogs in such a way that they reflect a uniform theme.

Make money with Instagram: findings

Here's a roundup of the strategies you can use to make money on Instagram in 2021:

  1. Working as an influencer with sponsored posts
  2. Sell ​​products from other providers as an affiliate marketer
  3. Sell ​​visual products such as photos, art, or merchandise
  4. Sale of physical products
  5. Establishing a dropshipping shop

Whether you just want to earn some extra money or make Instagram your main source of income, you can do it with these models. Be aware, however, that any of these strategies will require work, discipline, and dedication, and success will not come overnight.

How much money can you make on Instagram?

It depends on what you are selling, what business strategies you are pursuing, and what marketing tactics you are using. If you are just starting out, you will likely make little money at first. However, as your Instagram audience grows, you gain more followers, and you are more comfortable with marketing, there are no limits to your success.

How can I make the most money on Instagram?

Learn from successful Instagrammers. Combine these insights with your own strengths in marketing, photography, storytelling and image design. Grow your audience as much as possible, work with competitions, and be active by posting new photos once or twice a day. Last but not least, you should sell an attractive product and offer your customers an extraordinary service.

Before you can quit your regular job (if you even want to), it can take a few weeks or months before you can successfully earn money with Instagram. Many successful e-commerce retailers generate six or seven-figure income annually. With that in mind, selling dropshipping products on Instagram is a business model that is too good not to try.

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