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Many people think that you need thousands of followers on Instagram to turn a profit. The average person has only 150 followers on IG.

While it’s best to have at least 200 followers before you start selling, there are many different paths to make money on Instagram.

You can build your follower list before or after you start selling and make it profitable, as long as you have an engaged audience.  

How to Make Money with Instagram for Your Small Business

3 Ways for Your Small Business to Make Money on Instagram
Get Paid on Instagram: 3 Ways to Increase Your Followers and Engagement
Make Money from Instagram with these 5 Strategies

Check out our video on how to make money on Instagram with shoppable posts here:

3 Ways for Your Small Business to Make Money on Instagram

There are several different ways to make money on Instagram. Before you start setting up, think about your audience, and what would be useful and interesting to the people who follow you.

How often should you post to make money on Instagram?

To make your audience hungry for your posts, post enough, but not too much. One or two posts per day is right for some businesses, while others post once or twice a week. Do some testing and see what works best for your engagement.

With a strong following and engagement you can:

  • Sell products or offer a service
  • Become an affiliate and make a commission by selling products from other brands
  • Sell original photographs, artwork, and videos

Sell Products with an Online Store

You can expand your small business selling products to your Instagram audience. Your Instagram followers follow you for a reason. This option gives you a new way to support and add to the experience of your followers.

You can add a product that sells to your feed and make more profit from every sale than you can by selling for other brands.

If you don’t already have a product in mind, we have some ideas:

Become an Affiliate for a Partner Brand

An affiliate is more than an influencer. Affiliate marketing is a great way to start selling online and to build brand awareness. If you want to be an affiliate with Selz, you can read about how to become an affiliate with us here.

If you want to launch yourself as an affiliate on Instagram, think about these tips:

  • Create promo codes to add to your posts to up the number of links you can provide your audience
  • Take advantage of links in Instagram Stories
  • Use a link shortener like Rebrandly or Bitly to make your links easier to read and understand

Sell Original Creations on Instagram

If creativity is what brought you to Instagram, there are many options for you. With IG you can:

  • Use your portfolio to get the attention of stock photography companies like Twenty20 or Shutterstock
  • Sell your photographs as prints or print them on t-shirts, mugs, and more with a service like Printful or Zazzle

Read here for more creative business ideas.

Person taking pictures of paintings for sale. Great images are important when you want to make money from instagram

Get Paid on Instagram: 3 Ways to Increase Your Followers and Engagement

Engagement is the most important part of any strategy as you learn how to make money on Instagram. You can use this tool to get a sense of your current engagement.

1. Hashtags

Hashtags are a way to encourage engagement and to introduce new followers to your brand.

Hashtags are also valuable for branding, so create and promote a dedicated hashtag for your small business. This hashtag can also be useful on other platforms. Give this hashtag to your happy customers to collect more user-generated content.

If you want to employ some social listening, look for conversations about your brand by checking your hashtag.

You may find that some hashtags are consistently useful to you. Use these hashtags to find other businesses for partnership and cross-promotional opportunities.

How many hashtags should I use?

You can use up to 30 hashtags on Instagram, but savvy marketers don’t recommend more than 20. 5-10 is an ideal number of hashtags.

Think about your personal user experience. You want your followers to feel comfortable and excited, and you want your content easy to read.

Too many hashtags in a comment can feel chaotic. It can also make your audience feel like finding new followers is more important to your business than they are.

Research the hashtags your competitors use and other frequent hashtags for your niche. Hashtag tools like Display Purposes and All Hashtag can be helpful as you build your hashtag list.

Create a comprehensive list to pull from as you post, along with new and trending hashtags. Mix it up and keep notes on what works best for your audience.

2. Location Tags

The location feature is one of the hidden gems for making extra money on Instagram. These posts have a much higher engagement rate than other posts.

Be sure to add videos and stories while you are in locations that are relevant to your audience. Geotags and hashtags can also help boost local engagement with your posts.

3. Captions

Captions on your posts give you a chance to add context and meaning to your photographs.

You have around 2000 characters for every post on Instagram. Some data says that 120-150 characters is the right amount, while other data shows higher engagement with more content.

The secret here is knowing your audience. It may take some time to find the right balance. At the end of the day, you want your followers to want to know more about your story. Captions can help or hinder that process depending on how you go about it.

  • Use Instagram handles (eg. @selz) to tag other Instagram users and to offer credit for user-generated content
  • Ask questions to learn more about your audience
  • Don’t forget to add CTAs to your captions. Point your audience to your links! 

You can also use CTAs to encourage followers to tag friends, share your posts, and check out your other content.

Captions are important for engagement when you want to get paid on instagram. Make your pictures tell a compelling story with Selz the ecommerce platform for growing businesses

Make Money from Instagram with these 5 Strategies

1. Connect

Get in touch with other businesses who offer complementary products or services and do some cross-promotion. Partner with influencers in your community. Read here for some great tips for finding and working with influencers in your niche.

2. Shoutout for shoutout (S4S)

This strategy is similar, but much more straightforward than option one. With S4S, you research Instagram accounts in your niche, then ask for an exchange. If successful, they share your post once you share their post on your account.

3. Instagram Ads

Paid ads and sponsored posts will give your business an opportunity to connect with a broader audience. Instagram ads usually run about $0.50 to $1.00 per post, depending on your niche.

4. Multichannel promotion

Actively promote your business on multiple platforms and create a multi-channel promotional strategy.

LinkedIn is a great place to find leads. This platform has a high level of engagement for professionals and is a great place to learn more about collaborators and competitors.

 5. How to Make Money on Instagram? Instagram Shopping

Shopping isn’t a logical journey, it’s an emotional one. We buy things emotionally and on impulse.

Instagram is full of bright images and exciting products. It’s like bringing the candy store home with you. Instagram Shopping lets you have that candy delivered.

With this feature, you remove one more step from the buying process. Just one click and product tags or stickers on Instagram connect your shoppers with your online business.

That click leads your customer directly to the product page where they can buy the exact product that excited them on your feed.

If that wasn’t enough, Instagram shopping does more than making it easier to buy. This feature gives you more opportunities to promote your products.

The Selz integration with Instagram Shopping lets you post shoppable stories and product posts that lead directly to your Selz store for more sales from your favorite social media channel

Instagram Shopping and Selz

Your Selz plan includes direct integration with Instagram Shopping.

First, you’ll need to create your product in Selz. Go to Selz and create an account.

You can start adding products right away by clicking on ‘Add an Item’. The items you add will automatically go into your ecommerce store. You can see your store by clicking on ‘Store’ and ‘Preview” in the left-hand menu. You’ll see all your products sitting on your very own custom URL.

Then you’ll create a Facebook store. The steps are simple, but if you need a refresher, you can read about it here.

From there, all you have to do is connect Instagram to your Facebook store. This connection lets you tag all the products in your store with your Instagram profile.

It’s that easy. Now, it’s time to optimize so you can really start to make money online with Instagram.

To start, you have the option to add a special shop tab on your Instagram profile. You can promote to your current audience with product stickers and tags for posts, videos, and stories.

For attracting new customers, there’s the Explore tab. This is a space where the billion active users on Instagram can discover your products and buy them from your online store.

When users are browsing their Instagram feeds, they’ll see icons on your posts that let them know which items they can buy. Tapping an icon will show users your product names and prices. You can also share product descriptions, photos, or a link to your store.

A group of employees take a picture at a conference together - Instagram is a great way to tell the story of your business, which is important if you want to make money from Instagram

Final Tips: How to Make Money with Instagram

We have a few more tips on moneymaking strategy. It’s one thing to have an attractive Instagram account, and another to make money from Instagram. Keep these in mind as you build your posting schedule and get started:

  • When promoting in the comments, only add one CTA. Think about your Instagram as a landing page with constant new content and adjust your messaging accordingly.
  • Step away from controversial topics. Keep your content relevant and fun but stay in line with your brand.
  • Don’t just post your products, show the results the product can get for your audience
  • Don’t overdo it with hashtags
  • Build a relationship with your followers and find ways to connect with them on more than one channel

About the author

Jana Rumberger

Jana is a writer and Content Manager at Selz. She has expertise in ecommerce strategy, selling products online, and small business solutions. Jana combines diverse experience in education, design, and manufacturing to craft engaging content.

In addition to her writing, she is a visual artist and foodie in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Jana Rumberger

    Thanks for the kind words Rosendo, we’ll be posting a blog with some of our favorites soon, so keep an eye out!

  2. Rosendo Lanfair

    Hey there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects? Thanks for your time!

  3. SimoneQ

    If you post both to instagram and Facebook, with a bunch of hashtags you get wayyy more people for your store. But your content has to be great. Using too many filters hurts too sometimes.

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