How to Make Money on Instagram – A Detailed Step By Step Guide

Let’s say you have an Instagram account with thousands of followers, but you are looking for ways on how to milk that cow.

Successful Instagrammers have devised various ways on how to make money on Instagram, but trust me, the steps to getting paid on this social media platform are very technical and would require some specific skills to successfully cash out a reasonable amount of dough.

Most of you might share photos and videos on the platforms during your vacations, special events, weddings, casual outings or date night and hope for the streams of likes and comments to flow but the social platform is far more to that than meets the eyes.

Personally, as a business practitioner and research expert, I see people around me using Instagram, and I feel the need has come for me to help them turn those likes and comments to money.

Minor Instagram Facts to help Motivate You

• As of the end of last year 2017, Instagram had over 800 million active users.
• Out of 800 million active users, 500 million users are online at least once a day
• 95 million posts (both videos and photos) are shared within one day
• Most of its users are between the ages of 18-29 years old and about 32% of that number of people considers Instagram to be the most important social network.
• Only 20% of Instagram users are in the USA
• It is said that Instagram, made an estimate of $4 billion altogether in the revenue last year 2017
• Instagram posts with only one hashtag average 12.6% engagement than other posts without
• 26% of users make more than $75,000 from Instagram

Examples of People who Make Money off Instagram

Currently, Instagram has a total of 800 million active users online, and within that large community, there are thousands and if not millions of people who makes money off Instagram. They mostly make money through 3 ways (I said “mostly” because there are other numerous ways to milk that cow). They are:

1. Selling their own products or services
2. Becoming an Instagram influencer
3. Selling other people’s stuff through dropshipping

We are going to look at each way and see examples of individuals who have successfully taken steps to make this their steady income.

1. Selling your own products and services – Ashley Steenhoven

Ashley make money selling on instragramThis is one of the easiest ways of making money off Instagram, and there is no limit to how much you can make. Most of the times, this is very convenient if you have a store, but yet, it is still very okay if you just have your personal product to sell.

The story of Ashley Steenhoven started out this way; she just owns a consignment store in the city Hendersonville, Tennessee called Bloom Designer Finds, which was established in January 2014.

She’s selling her own products mostly clothes and fashion wears.

One day one of her employees suggested she starts selling her products on Instagram and she joined with no knowledge of how Instagram works; now she has over 6,800 followers (which is probably a good number), and she makes between 30 – 40 sales per day only from Instagram.

Even when her shops closed for the winter or she had a bad market day, she still makes more sales selling her products through Instagram. Also being a fashion figure, she also gets paid for her services in the fashion world.

On her worst sales day, she makes nothing less than $500 a day from selling her things on Instagram and makes up to $20,000 a month. She mostly used hashtags as her power tool.

2. Selling other people’s stuff through Dropshipping or Affiliate programs – Justin Wong

In this case, most of them are either social media influencers or just people who partner with social media influencers. This pattern of earning doesn’t require an individual to carry or prescribe its products. Most times, the products are not purchased by the individual till a customer purchases them.

Dropshipping and Affiliate programs are the most lucrative businesses which can be made huge with the Instagram market platforms. Sometimes most of these people partner with Instagram influencers and give them free products, which in turn they make use of it in their posts, then provide them with a link or code to order for the products.

They also take part in affiliate programs which they involve websites too. An example of an individual who does this for a living is Justin Wong. He is the creator of SoAestheticShop.

With the massive followers, he has gathered, there is no doubt that he makes tons of cash off Instagram with his dropship/affiliate program.

Each of his photos underwent thorough editing and checked very well before posting. He earns over $12,000 per month by using this method on Instagram.

3. Becoming an Instagram influencer – Rachel Brathe

Becoming an Instagram influencer is one of the best ways of making money off Instagram. This is because you can use the power of influence to your advantage by also earning through the other two ways of making cash off Instagram mentioned above.

An Instagram influencer is a person who gains popularity over time on the social media platform, and their fans are very supportive and try to adhere to anything he/she prescribes. They make huge cash from just posting a single photo of; approval to a certain product, making use of a product or just wearing shirt advertising that product.

One of this very prominent earner is Rachel Brathen who is a mother and stays in the country of Aruba. She is a social influencer particularly in the area of yoga, which gave her the popular name “Yoga Girl” by her followers. She got her breakthrough in 2013 by accident. Due to her social influence status, she can sell out yoga classes anywhere in the world just by Instagram.

She also uses her influence to create a market for top companies and clients in sports, yoga, etc. She makes over $25,000 per Instagram post and more than $100,000 a month.

Quick facts: Consumers have ranked Instagram influencers at the sixth most effective at influencing.

Step-by-Step Instructions on Making Money on Instagram

I know, seeing the success stories from these guys want to make you jump right into cashing out from Instagram, right?

Well, today is your lucky day! We will be going through the step by step instructions on how to make money from Instagram.

What you will need:

• A smartphone
• An Instagram account
• A Facebook page
• An active E-mail

The Steps:

1. Setting up an Instagram Business Account

Setting up an Instagram business account can be a little tricky but if you follow the following steps, you may find it easy in doing so:

• Tap the settings button on your Instagram profile
• Tap “switch to business profile” and select your facebook page to link it to (also make sure your profile is public)
• On the setup page, check the available information and make changes if necessary, then click done.

2. Research Niche or What to Sell

To become an Instagram earner, the first thing is to find the niche that suits your personality or research the items you want to sell. To make it more fun, this should involve something you like doing passionately and something you have a vast knowledge of.

Maybe you are into DIY crafts, yoga, gaming, cooking or fashion. Your niche can also be a combination of these different niches but let your posts not be too random. You can research about various niches and products to sell by:

A. Using Hashtags or Trending Topics

For those of you who are new to Instagram, hashtags are those short links that are prefixed by the (#) sign, eg #fashionnyc #yogaday etc. hashtag links specific type of interests or likes of people. If you follow a hashtag link, you would be able to see other posts with that same hashtag, linked all together.

Researching trending hashtags can be so tricky. There are certain tools paid or free which can detect trending hashtags and track hashtag utilizations. Most of them suggest hashtags to use while posting.

Generally, they all-in-all handle your hashtag usage using the statistics, potential reach, engagement etc. examples of these tools are:

• Talkwalker
• Ritetag
• Tagboard

B. Using Keyword Research Tool

Keyword researching is a type of SEO people use to research and find alternative search made that users enter into their search engines while searching for a slightly similar topic. This gives maximum exposure and can make or break your contents.

The best tool used for this type of keyword research on Instagram is SEMRush. It is a tool used by experts to find profitable keywords and demands from the market.

The thing that makes this tool very different is that it identifies different trends that happen in your niche. Using this tools gives you the ability of the knowing most keywords searched on Instagram.

3. Finding products

A. Selling your own stuff

Selling your own stuff on Instagram is very easy. First, you have to get to know what you are selling first. Mostly, it is best convenient to sell what relates to your niche. Mostly if your niche is yoga, you can sell yoga mats, pants etc. If you grow further and gather more followers, and you can even sell out your yoga instruction services.

Same thing with fashion and lifestyle. Overall, there are so many products to be sold both homemade and factory made. Also if you are selling your products, it is very advisable by experts to create your own blog, this can help as well grow your Instagram platform, drive traffic to your products and engage our audience.

B. Dropshipping

Finding a dropshipping supplier/provider can be very risky. The best way to get a trusted supplier is by checking out popular sites like:

• Alibaba
• Aliexpress
• Oberlo

The first two platforms are the most popular there is. They are the ones that have the best dropship suppliers so far, but with the number of suppliers available, there are no checks and balances thereby making the business a bit risky.

Do not fear.

You can learn how to order properly from Aliexpress and avoid mistakes here. As for the third platform, it looks into its suppliers and does a background check for you before it is added to their platforms.

C. Affiliate programs

Affiliate programs give you the edge to share a certain amount of money gotten when a customer buys a product online through you either by your link our using a code.

  • Shareasale

Shareasale offers you different types of links to share and earns from its merchants. Here is how you can get an affiliate link:

  1. Start by registering on
  2. Search for merchants and join their programs
  3. On your dashboard, click on links then select the merchant
  4. Then, select the type of link you want.
  • Clickbank

The clickbank marketplace has so many niches you can pick from to use. But before you can be able to be tracked you have to register on its platform. Here’s how:

  • Go to and register
  • Login, then scroll all the way down then click affiliates
  • Enter your full name and Clickbank ID which was given to you on sign up
  • Once signed up, you can access all the affiliate programs offered on this platform.

4. Rules of Posting and Finding Engaging photos

Posting contents on your Instagram page are the Holy grail of earning on Instagram. It shows your followers how active and engaging you are. Here, there are rules and steps to take, to prevent some consequences. Below I will try as much as possible to answer most of the questions you have in mind pertaining posting photos or finding engaging images.

• How frequent should you post?

Ans: Looking at the replies and advice of Instagram expects like Brian Hughes, it is advisable to post only once a day but not more than 7 times a week. You wouldn’t want to spam your followers, and also you wouldn’t want to show them you are not active.

• Where can I find Engaging photos?

Ans: getting engaging photos can be much of a hassle too, I know. You can take pictures of mostly your products like the food, yoga pants, shirts etc. you can also try to get someone to model for you if it’s fashion.

Even if you sold your products, you could ask your buyers to take a photo of them making use of the product which can act as social proof.

Also, try adding a touch of class to your photos by using to edit and enhance it. As for the affiliate or drop-shipping methods, you can get photos from the sites. There is no rule to which you can’t make use of their photos.

• Are there any rules to using other people’s photos?

Ans: Using other people’s photos without telling them is a serious offense that can be tagged impersonation if the person’s image is being displayed. If you want to use someone’s photos, at least backlink or mention their Instagram handle on your post.

• How can I create compelling descriptions?

Ans: When creating a compelling description, make sure you are true and honest with your words, your posts should be inspiring, and your photos should always align with your descriptions and captions.

• How do I shorten my long links?

Ans: you can use Google itself to shorten your links, go to then sign up, after that you can be shortening any link anytime.

5. Growing Followers

A. Optimizing Hashtags (#)

You can grow followers by various ways, one of the most active is to make use of hashtags, most of the Instagram money makers started off using the hashtag before they gained their popularity. Make sure you use the above tools, to research the trending and the profitable hashtags.

Tools like talkwalker, ritetag and tagboard help you go a long way when achieving that. After getting your profitable hashtags, post your photos on Instagram with those hashtags, e.g. yoga niches can have hashtags like #yoga, #yogasaturday #yogalife etc. It is crucial to use hashtags as it helps give you much exposure.

B. Actively Following Related Account

Another way you can sharpen your account is by following related people or business, with that Instagram algorithm automatically shows your posts more to people who follow that same business.

For example, your niche is on yoga, you can follow related yoga accounts and individuals by just searching on the Instagram search box with “yoga”, and various accounts can show up. By following them, their followers are also notified that you followed them and can end up checking out your page too. Also, you can get ideas on how to pitch in your niche from their success too.

C. Using Instagram Ads

The most vibrant but costly way is by setting up an ad campaign on Instagram. This can be done very fast. This is where the Instagram business account plays its part mostly.

You can’t start an ad without a business account so get that ready then try as much as possible to capture viewers with your ads. Use your best of the best and very detailed explanation. You can also try to add attractive benefits if they follow you.

To set up an ad, login to your Instagram account, then select the specific post you want much exposure for, click on promote then go to your insights.

D. Giveaways

A not so important but effective way to gain followers on Instagram too is to do “giveaways”. When doing so, tell the audience either to follow or repost your photos/videos or to tag their friends to your posts. This gives more exposure to your account, and also your followers tend to win prizes so this is a 50-50 win.

E. Using 3rd-Party Platforms

The last and also an effective way to grow your account on Instagram is by making use of 3rd-party platforms like,, and These platforms help you grow your account from the scratch to the top.


Like the famous saying says; practice makes perfect, I know you are already eager to try this out. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, I put some links that could spread more light to the steps that are much complicated.

Like I said, as an author, I see a lot of people making use of Instagram, and I want to help them turn those likes and comments to real cash. Also, this tutorial will help you solely to start making off money as an Instagram user.

Please tell me what you think about this tutorial, and share it if you liked it.

Instagram is free so why not make it work for you?


Tom McNaughton

Tom is a full-time digital marketer who has practiced internet marketing for over 10 years. Tom also serves dozens of local digital businesses and has successfully brought substantial traffic growth to their websites.

Delightful Work - Digital, Internet Marketing & Small Business Coach