How do I monetize Instagram

Make money with Instagram - 4 tips to monetize your Instagram profile

A guest contribution by Lukas Kneip.

Instagram is currently one of the most popular social networks, especially among young people who are interested in lifestyle. The photo app is also becoming increasingly popular in Germany and has already attracted millions of people. According to the market research company Emarketer, the number of users is expected to increase from 11.2 million in 2017 to around 16.3 million.

Despite the growing number of users, some people on Instagram are faced with a major problem: How can you make money with your Instagram profile? There are some suggestions for this below.

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The hurdles of monetization on Instagram

Instagram really doesn't make it easy for people to make money on the platform. On the profile page you only have the option of integrating a single link. This usually leads to a website. In contrast to Facebook, Twitter and Co., the link in the bio is actually the only reference that can be inserted. Links in posts cannot be clicked because Instagram displays them as text.

Another hurdle in monetizing the Instagram profile is the reach and the associated engagement rate. Before you have a few thousand (real) followers, it is difficult to make money. The number of followers alone is not decisive, after all, there are now countless methods of getting followers. Since these methods are far from productive and buying real followers is quite expensive, we will not go into any further detail on them. What's more important than the sheer number of followers is engagement rate. In short: How many followers like your own posts and / or leave a comment?

As a rule of thumb, the more followers you have, the lower the engagement rate in percent. So you have to consider when monetization can start. For example, one profile with 1,000 followers has an engagement rate of 15 percent, another profile with 1,000 followers only five percent. This means:

  • Profile A with 1,000 followers speaks to around 150 people and
  • Profile B, on the other hand, only appeals to 50 people.

In the second case, it would make sense to collect 2,000 more followers in order to be able to address 150 people as well.

As soon as the number of people actually addressed is correct, monetization can begin. Of course, the engagement rate can also be increased with a few tips, such as call to actions, etc.

Tip 1: license or sell photos

Granted, most Instagram users aren't groundbreaking photographers. But many of them have powerful smartphones in their pockets that take quite good snapshots. In addition, nowadays it is not only the quality of a photo that counts, but also where it was taken and what message it conveys.

That is reason enough to be approached by companies who want to license or purchase photos. But what is the difference between a license and a purchase?

When licensing, the customer only pays for the right to use a photo (commercially). When buying, however, all rights are transferred to him and the author is no longer allowed to sell it to other customers. Of course, the cost of licensing is much lower, but only purchased photos are truly unique.

Selling photos on Instagram can make a lot of money, as photographer Arnold Daniel shows. In 2012 he received the title of best photographer on Instagram from the website "Gawker". Two years later, however, he had problems paying his bills. Without further ado, he offered prints of his photos for $ 150 before his 34th birthday. In one day, he had generated $ 15,000 in revenue.

If you are not a well-known photographer, you should take a look at the Foap photo platform. It makes it easy to sell photos to well-known brands. The content is also distributed through other sites such as Getty Images.

Tip 2: Sell exclusive products

A somewhat more complex method of Instagram monetization is the sale of exclusive items, for example t-shirts or eBooks. The latter have to be created, or you have to commission someone to create them, which of course involves costs and / or time. Someone has to design t-shirts too; They can then be sold directly via special websites such as Teezily without having to print and mail them yourself. The disadvantage: You get less money than for self-printed shirts, but the lower cost should compensate for this disadvantage.

The direct sale of exclusive products is particularly worthwhile for digital goods. Simply insert a link to the offer in your Instagram profile - interested parties can access the product and purchase it. The sale of digital products can be realized easily and inexpensively through providers such as Digistore24 or Gumroad.

Tip 3: integrate affiliate links

Affiliate links are quite popular on Facebook and Twitter. They can be easily integrated into social networks. That's not the case with Instagram, which is why affiliate marketing is more of a challenge. But that doesn't mean that implementation is impossible.

Affiliate links can also be skilfully integrated on Instagram. First, a new post must be published that refers to a product. The click-to-action is to get the user to click the link in the profile. In order to not only promote one affiliate link, there is the following trick: Use the Linktree service. You connect it to your Instagram account and you have the option of creating a personal profile page on which you can include several links. As soon as the user clicks on the link generated by Linktree in the Instagram profile, he ends up on a page where he can click on several affiliate links. In the paid version, the links can even be linked to the time the post was published.

Affiliate links for app installations, which are made possible by platforms such as SharePop, are also popular on Instagram. There, interested parties can choose campaigns and receive a tracking link for this. This is advertised on Instagram and, if a user installs the app, a payment follows. In addition to apps, you can also advertise content from major brands and are rewarded for every click.

Tip 4: create sponsored posts

The principle of SharePop with the advertised content also works without having to log in to the portal. Sponsored posts have long been the norm in the online world and don't stop at social networks like Instagram. Basically, the promoter is rewarded for posting an ad on Instagram, be it for a product or service.

Payment is usually made per contribution. You have to tell your partner in advance how big your personal reach is and how many likes and comments they can expect. This data has a decisive influence on the amount of the remuneration. Here it is helpful to upgrade your Instagram profile to a business profile, as Instagram statistics are available to you. These can be useful for negotiation.

Influencers with a large reach are usually written to by interested parties in order to publish a sponsored post. But you can also take action yourself and research relevant companies on the Internet that fit the chosen industry. An alternative are networks that specialize in cooperation. They connect influencers with advertising agencies.

Of course, there is also the possibility of maintaining relationships with advertising agencies who want to order sponsored posts every now and then. It is important that the posts always match the Instagram profile and do not seem out of place.

Flag advertising on Instagram

To be legally on the safe side, advertising on Instagram should always be recognizable. It doesn't matter if it's a sponsored post or an affiliate link. Advertising is advertising - and that must be clear to the user.

Some users consider it appropriate to tag their posts with the hashtag #ad. In Germany that is not enough. #Sponsored doesn't work either. It has to be a clear, German statement: #advertising or #advertising are the minimum. It is better to point out the cooperation in the first comment or at the end of the post.

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Conclusion on monetization with Instagram


On Instagram, the focus is on the images. It is therefore not surprising that high image quality makes it much easier to make money with Instagram. Instagram is particularly suitable for users who can present their pictures, their products or the products of others in an appealing way.
The use of affiliate links is possible on Instagram, but a bit more cumbersome. While they are easy to accommodate in many other social networks, affiliate links on Instagram cannot be used optimally without additional services or external sites.
As an alternative to a service like Linktree, you can link your own blog in your Instagram profile. In this way, for example, product reviews can be teased on Instagram and refer to the corresponding blog post, in which the appropriate affiliate links can be placed. Affiliate links can also be spread via blog posts via other social networks in order to reach the entire community.

Plugins like Blog2Social make it easier to share blog posts on Instagram and other social media channels. Blog posts can thus be shared on Instagram directly from the WordPress dashboard and given individual #Hashtags, which is particularly necessary for labeling advertising.

More information about Blog2Social.


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• Micro influencers - bloggers are the new stars in marketing
• Cross social media automation with optimized social media posts

Lukas Kneip has been self-employed in the social media area for several years and helps customers manage their profiles. In addition, he operates several web shops and consumer portals.

17. August 2017Lukas KneipInstagram, Social Media MarketingAffiliate, Influencer, Influencer-Marketing, Instagram, Monetize, Monetize Instagram, Social Media, Social Media Marketing