Kwabena Okyire

blog, make money online

Making Money With Instagram: The Best Ideas in 2022

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you would have heard of Instagram, and that it is a serious money machine. You may have even witnessed a few friends of yours cash out from the app that houses over a billion users every month. If you see Instagram as only a social app, then you may miss out on its many gifts that keep on giving. By simply changing your mindset about the platform and seeing it as what it is, you can join the ranks of Instagram millionaires by starting a business on Instagram. 

In this article, we explore the Instagram platform, not just as a social media platform, but a platform where you can build a thriving business and join the make money online crew, live your best life and create value for your lineage. We look at ways you can make money with Instagram and growth strategies.

Is it Possible to Make Money On Instagram?

Yes, it is possible to make money directly on the platform as a creator and also to make money as a business owner. Creators make money through brand deals, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and other creative ways. The Instagram influencer economy is said to have surpassed the 2 billion mark in 2020. That means Instagram influencers are making collectively more than entire industries. 

As a business, your strategy may hover around your product or service involving growing your brand and other sales-oriented strategies. Take the following people who moved from nothing to riches only with Instagram. 

Is There an Instagram Follower Count You Need To Start Making Money?

No, there is no strict follower count you need to become an Instagram influencer. Instagram influencer follower counts range from a few thousand to millions. The popular opinion is often that you need a couple of tens of thousands of followers. That often leads new users to seek shortcut methods such as buying accounts or engaging in activities that increase followers but do not add to the influence of the account. All that is not necessary and highly not advised since engaging in such activity could get you banned or get you the numbers without any corresponding engagement which is going to be a huge question mark when brands and companies are vetting you for a deal. 

If you are a business, you need not count followers as much as you count your sales numbers and targets. The ugly truth about social media is that the numbers don’t always say everything. A small account could be generating more sales than a large account. By looking at the numbers that matter, you can quickly calibrate your strategy to match. If your current content strategy is only bringing you followers and views without corresponding sales, your business is not improving. You may pursue another content strategy that brings you fewer followers and views but increase your sales numbers. 

Social media involves a lot of experimentation. And whether you are an influencer or a business, you will at some point need to look at the numbers, not as the end-all, but as a guide to your strategy for growth. Don’t take the numbers on the surface, dig deep to find humanely understandable reasons; that is where you can actionably take steps to build your brand and increase your influence on Instagram. When you think Instagram dollars, think of lots of followers, massive engagement, and sales. The combination of the 3 will make you rich, not only followers, or engagement, but also sales. 

5 Ways You Can Make Money On Instagram

Instagram is a platform. And like any platform out there, your ability to make money on the platform depends on your creativity. 

Influencer Marketing; Brand Deals and Sponsored Content

Influencer marketing is one of the most thriving ways to make money on Instagram. When you mention an influencer, most people either don’t understand what that means or think you need millions of followers to become an Instagram influencer. That is far from the truth. With a thousand followers, you can get deals as you grow your brand. The most important thing brands look for when looking for influencers is brand fit and engagement. So your Instagram niche is very important and will determine how many and what kind of brands you are likely to work with. 

There are 4 categories of influencers; nano-influencers. micro-influencers. macro-influencers and mega influencers. 

  • Nana-Influencers have have between 1k to 3k followers
  • Micro-influencers have 3k followers and more
  • Macro Influencers have followers of 100k or more
  • Mega Influencers have 1M+ Followers

Of course, no one starts at a million. Any influencer you spot in the discovery tab of Instagram once struggled over getting followers, building their niche, and getting more engagement. It starts with a desire to learn, a willingness to connect with followers and other influencers both online and offline. Be passionate about what you do because followers can easily spot phonies and avoid them. So, don’t be one. 

Start Your Own Instagram Store

Several eCommerce giants have been created with only Instagram. Despite the rise of Tiktok, Instagram has always been the go-to platform for eCommerce brands especially companies in the lifestyle and home care space. 

There are two ways to benefit from Instagram with eCommerce. The platform natively allows you to create a store. So if you are looking to keep things simple, that could be your starting point. Or you could go pro.

Going pro means investing in an online store such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Wix, WordPress, Squarespace, or any of the many eCommerce store builders out there. 

Advantages of Having an Online Store

  1. Easy to track various elements of your business
  2. Inventory management 
  3. Open 24/7
  4. Small maintenance costs, compared to brick and mortar. 
  5. Personalized marketing
  6. Access to buyers worldwide

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is one of the easiest businesses to start with an un-capped potential. According to Taboola, Affiliate marketers make $65,800 on average annually while the very top affiliate marketers on average make $154,700 in a year. However, while these numbers are averages, affiliate marketing has no income cap. You are only limited by just how many results you can drive for the companies and products you promote. 

Affiliate marketing is a referral marketing strategy that has been used since the last 90s. Amazon is the largest company that leverages affiliate marketing as a growth strategy. This means Amazon can rely on many independent marketers to promote their products in return for a commission anytime someone purchases through an affiliate link.

Affiliate marketing works simply much like referral marketing. When you recommend a product or service to someone and the person, in turn, buys, then you as an affiliate get a commission from the company for the sale (result) generated. How is it done? The answer is an affiliate program.

An affiliate program is an initiative that a company takes to accept affiliate marketers into their fold of independent promoters and marketers. The only interface between you as a marketer and the company is a dashboard, and that is all you need. Once you apply to join the program and you are accepted, you will have your dashboard to monitor your earnings among various other important elements of your business. 

While promoting many products sounds great, it isn’t. I mean, more products equal more money, right? Nope! One thing that is important to every affiliate out there is conversions. It doesn’t matter just how many products you promote, if you can’t get a conversion for any of them, you earn nothing. Super affiliates often promote only a handful of products that have a solid brand and also lie within their niche. Remember the mention about Instagram influencers needing to have a niche right? Affiliate marketers need a niche. This will help you build a community around the various products to promote. If you are the home car guy, you can add a link to the home care and maintenance category on Amazon for instance. Through profile visits, you can have traffic rushing to your link to create your income. 

Get Paid With IGTV

With the maturity of the creator economy, many platforms are now seeking ways to enable creators to make money directly on their platforms. Facebook allows video creators to make money from their videos and so does YouTube. Instagram is one of the newest platforms to make it easy for creators to make money directly from the platform. It came in the form of a new feature and app that Instagram introduced. 

IGTV is much like youtube. It allows users to upload long-form video content onto the platform. It should be noted that you cannot upload very long videos on Instagram Reels and the native posting of videos. The introduction of IGTV means you can decide to sign up for the IGTV platform, agree to their Partner policies and start making money. 

For most creators, this is good news and also an extra source of income for them. If you are an influencer, an affiliate marketer, and Instagram adds a new way for you to make more money, that’s just the icing on the cake.

The introduction of IGTV was more strategic and a competitive measure since platforms like YouTube and Tiktok were growing in video content. Tiktok had to increase the video length showing the need for longer-form content by consumers. 

Sell Your Services

If you are skilled in providing professional services or any other kind of services, Instagram is one of the best platforms to generate leads and drive sales. It all starts with picking an Instagram niche, building an audience, and developing engagement from your community. With a community that trusts you, it won’t be long before you can sell your knowledge and skills and make a living from Instagram. 

Flip Instagram Accounts

Instagram is a platform that needs a kind of specialty to grow. One of the ways to build a business and make money from Instagram is to grow and sell accounts using your understanding of building brands. Building niche accounts will allow you to sell them to people who see the value in owning such an account. 

Sell Your Content; Images and Videos

Instagram is one of the best platforms to find high-quality images and videos. The platform is built around the quality of content put on the website. That means big brands and individuals shop for images and videos from the website. If you focus on creating high-quality content, you can license your works for others to use. On another level, they could hire you to create special content for them. 

How to Get Started With Making Money On Instagram

Getting started with making money on Instagram depends on a few things;

  1. Your followers/Audience
  2. Your community
  3. Yoru niche
  4. Your engagement

No matter the kind of business or money-making idea you have, you will need the above to make an income. And if you want to make it a steady income stream, you will need to focus intently on these. 

The number of followers isn’t always a big deal depending on what you want to do or when you are starting. But in the long term, gaining a lot of followers should be a part of your plan.

The true gold on Instagram is a community that engages with your content. Imagine this, a big account with 100k followers posts an image and gets only 500 likes and 10 comments, and on the other end, an account with 3500 followers posts the same content and gets 1k likes and over 50 comments; which makes a compelling argument in terms of value? The most engaged account will get all the attention which is what you need. The attention is what brands will want access to if you are an influencer. 

The focus should be on building an engaging community. 

Instagram Hacks to Improve Your Content and Get More Followers

Maintain an Optimized Profile

Your profile is one of the most critical things when it comes to users deciding to follow you. Imagine this: a user sees your content, goes to see your profile and it doesn’t impress them. You may have won them with your content, but your profile was your undoing. 

There are a few things to never leave empty on any social profile, the most important is your profile. Instagram has a profile image, a bio, a link and that’s pretty much it. But what you put in these places has the power to win your followers or otherwise. 

Your Instagram Profile Image

Your profile image should be fitting especially with regards to your niche and meant to attract your ideal audience. While you may be tempted to put your best image there, it isn’t always about the best picture you have of yourself, but rather one that will help you connect with your audience. The profile image you use on Linkedin isn’t the same as that should be on Instagram because the platform has a more relaxed, less official feel to it. For this reason, you would see celebrities and popular guys post their unofficial activities such as vacations, home, travel, and other related content. On Linkedin, they would probably post more about work, professionalism, and career. 

Your Instagram Bio

Your bio is what hits them and answers the question, “What’s in it for me?”. The truth is, every single follower you have once faced this question and someday, you managed to convince them. Most people follow brands and other accounts for a reason. It could be that you give them advice, ideas, inspire them, and more. The single reason why people will follow you is that they have something to gain out of it. You may see some high achievers adding the revenue they have generated, the size of their team, or the results they have generated for themselves and others. You will also see something about what they do and what they post. These are basic questions you should answer with your bio. 

Your Instagram Business Link

Instagram like various social media platforms allows you one space to add a link. The vast majority of people have quickly realized this link is not enough and see solutions like LinkTree to add more links indirectly to their Instagram. However, the link you choose to add should be the single most important link when it comes to getting sales. Most will add a link to their email list, others will add a link to their landing pages such as a booking page or a product page. It all depends on your strategy. It is advised you have a specific link, instead of a bland website root URL. Direct them to your “About me” page, or press coverage of you. Such links help them trust you more as it builds credibility. If you are a business, you could have your top product link, a guide to using your product, etc. Affiliate marketers often direct the link to their blog (if they blog) or a direct link to one of the top products or services that they promote. For influencers working with brands, you could put in a sponsored post link in your bio as rent and get paid by the months it stays up. 

Coin a Branded Hashtag and Own It

Once you have a killer profile on Instagram, you need to get to work creating content. But just before that, you might want to create a hashtag that would direct all your posts to a single directory. Also, as your community grows, your followers will adopt the link and start to use it. 

A branded hashtag is hard to create because a lot of hashtags have already been used. You may want to put it off, but try to get one that communicates your brand and invites more people to use it.

Beyond creating your hashtag, you need to do basic hashtag research. Using hashtags will help you be discovered by a wider audience that is interested in your niche. 

Once you have your branded hashtags and some generic hashtags, start creating and publishing content. Always remember to include the hashtags in every post you make. You may depend on a few regular hashtags and find more specific hashtags for specific posts. 

Craft Winning Captions

Your caption is where you can do a lot of talking. And if you sell a product, the caption is where you can explain in detail and sell them why to buy your product or service. It could be an informative post where you show your experience and understanding of your niche. It is in the details that people decide to buy because everyone is trying to make a quick sell with catchy phrases. Your captions are where you stand.

Use effective copywriting to get your messages across in the best way. If possible, get a copywriter to write your captions. That way, you can be sure to hit the right points to help your audience see your value. 

Don’t Post It If It Is Not Appealing Enough

Instagram thrives on high-quality crispy content. It goes both ways for videos and images. If your content is not providing quality information, and imagery, you may not get as much attention. 

For this reason, foods, fashion, lifestyle, and other niches with great imagery go far on the platform. 

But you do not have to enter those niches to create quality content. Truth is, almost every niche can be developed on Instagram. Its over 2 billion monthly users have varied interests, and a good number of them will certainly have interest in more traditional fields like marketing, accounting, and consulting. 

Create content consistently and regularly to maintain your rankings. Make sure each post is the ideal, and not a makeshift of the ideal post. 

Do Giveaways, Celebrate Account Growth, and Build a Community

Nothing is better than a gift from a brand that you love. Most people think a giveaway is to grow your page or to get a lot of attention, but that is not the exact reason why you should do giveaways. By doing a giveaway, you ignite a feeling in your followers and community that will keep them coming back to your account even if they do not win. By making them feel a part of your community to the extent that they can win, that’s a feeling that you don’t get every day. And for the follower (s) who do win, you may as well have an ambassador for life. If you formalize it as a deal, they will probably gladly help you build your brand as a business. 

Why Should You Do Giveaways on Your Instagram Account

  • Increase Visibility, 
  • Drive Social Shares
  • Boost Brand Awareness

Do Regular Instagram Live Sessions

Instagram lives are a wonderful way to connect with your followers and audience and give them the feeling that you are real and that you care about them. It is sometimes to give the real nature of our being with images and short videos. Also, short videos would have been pre-recorded and have some editorial process to them. Live streams show your followers your actual self which is a great feeling to give your community.

But that is not the only reason to do Instagram live. By doing lives, you would get your notifications sent to all your followers. You will also get a good spot at the top of their app showing your live stream session. This is rare real estate on the platform that you cannot get unless you are running on live. 

After a few live streams, you will be able to see that your followers increase anytime you do one. That is the power of connecting live with your audience. 

Get on IGTV

IGTV is available in the original Instagram app, but it also has a separate app. This means by getting on IGTV, you have access to followers from people on both sides regardless of which app they are using. 

In addition, IGTV has a partner program that allows you to make money. We covered that in the previous section. 

Maintain a Consistent Brand

Branding is a very important part of growth on Instagram. Your brand may not have a made-up name or be a registered business, but it is still a brand and all principles of branding apply to you or your business. Consistency is the most important thing when it comes to a brand. Of course, consistency depends on how good your brand concept is. If you are consistent with a brand that doesn’t relate to anybody, you will probably only succeed in getting haters. Build a good brand on paper, get a mission and vision, have topics you care about and have a buyer persona. These will help you carve out your niche and connect with the people who also care about those things. 

Occasionally Promote Your Posts 

Occasionally promoting your posts will bring your brand to people who already care about what you are on the Instagram platform. Growing organically is increasingly getting tardy and an occasional boost will get you the needed follower count to network and connect with. 

Use Stories, A Lot!

Stories are a cheap way to be at the top of the minds of your audience every day. Or even multiple times a day. By using your stories to give your audience a special insight into your life and business such as backstage kind of content, you will always have them returning to see what’s new with you and your business. 

Whether you are a corporate brand or business or a much more relaxed personal brand, stories are a place to be creative and to connect on a personal level. That means your stories must have that personal effect. Your Instagram story is exactly what it means, give them an insight into your personal story, journey, and daily life. 


Instagram is a great platform. Like any great platform, whether you are a creator or a business owner, you can make money on the platform. Instagram has billions of users who you have access to by merely being registered on the platform. Through your content and community-building skills, you can provide them value and make some money alongside even if you do it as a part-time thing.

About the author

Kwabena Okyire

After 13 years in digital marketing, I left my job in 2019 to work online full-time. Today I run my own agency, help local companies with digital marketing, freelance on sites like Upwork and Fiverr, and share proven marketing and personal branding strategies from my entrepreneurship journey through this blog.