Social media marketing isn’t just for companies and celebrities. Everyday people can use their social media knowledge and skills to earn cash on popular sites and apps, including Instagram. With Instagram, you can promote products, advertise and sell your own services, and much more to earn a buck. Below are certain steps you should take to turn your Instagram account into your own source of income.

Build an Instagram Following

Before you start making money on Instagram, you need to increase your number of followers. Start by connecting with people you know, then branch out to similar users and watch your audience grow. Here are a few ways you can attract and retain followers:

1. Post images catered to a specific audience.

Your pictures should be interesting and relevant to people who fit within the target demographic you want to reach. For example, if you want to represent products related to home decor, you should start by posting pictures of your home, household items or products you love. If you want to sell sporting goods and athletic brands, post pictures of yourself, friends and others being active and using the related products.

2. Add hashtags to your photos.

Hashtags can extend your reach by guiding people to your photos on your Instagram page. Research your desired brand, industry and audience to learn what hashtags people are searching for and add them to your photos. You can even go back to past photos and add hashtags in the comments section.

3. Take good photos.

The more higher-quality images you post, the more attention your photos will receive. Take the time to learn some photography skills. As The Huffington Post notes, “You don’t have to be a pro to master a few photo basics. A lot of what makes a good snap is intuitive.” You could invest in a professional camera, but if that’s not an affordable option, download an editing app. For example, Perfect 365 can produce “flawless” selfies, and Snapseed is great for retouching and improving the quality of photos.

Become a Brand Ambassador

Once you’ve built a large following on Instagram, look to see if you can become a brand ambassador. PetaPixel reports that Mobile Media Lab, a marketing agency that connects Instagram users with companies seeking endorsement, says “represented Instagram users who have more than 100,000 followers can earn $700 to $900 per photo.”

Snapfluence also connects brands to Instagram “influencers” who can engage followers. According to its FAQ page on its website, Snapfluence accepts online applications for influencers. Although a large following doesn’t guarantee you’ll become an influencer, the company does look at “quality of media and engagement with each applicant’s followers.” If you get accepted into the program, you can potentially join a campaign partnership and receive compensation in the form of cash, freebies or more exposure to your personal brand.

There are other similar “influencer” and ambassador programs out there — just ask around and do your research. But be aware that some programs might only offer free merchandise instead of cash for promoting campaigns and products on Instagram. Still, the extra exposure could lead to more opportunities down the line, which could translate to cash.

Promote Your Business, Products or Services

If you have a service, product or skill to share, you could turn your followers into customers. For example, use Instagram to advertise your tutoring, makeup or freelancing services. If you’re skilled at making handcrafted items or clothing, take pictures of those products and put them on Instagram.

Blogger Chiara Ferragni was able to turn her blog, “The Blonde Salad,” into a brand and business. In September 2014, Women’s Wear Daily reported that Ferragni was on track to generate almost $8 million in revenue from her blog, advertising, brand collaborations and her footwear collection. Part of the success has to do with her Instagram posts.

“It’s Ferragni’s social media presence — most notably her Instagram, with nearly 2.8 million follower and gaining thousands more daily — that continues to boost her fame, and, in many cases, brings in extra cash,” reported Fast Company’s Co.Design last year. As of May 2015, Ferragni has approximately 3.7 million followers.

No matter your product, business or skill, you can market yourself to your followers and earn money. Post pictures of whatever it is you’re trying to sell, and let your followers know how they can contact you for more information.

Get Paid for Your Instagram Photos

Maybe you don’t have a business you want to promote or products and services to offer, but perhaps your Instagram photos are jaw-dropping. If so, you can possibly make a ton of cash on Instagram by selling your photos for a fee.

Try selling your photos independently, like Daniel Arnold. The photographer was struggling for money a year ago, but he made thousands of dollars in one day by offering an Instagram sale of his photographs, reports Forbes. He had users email him screenshots of the 4×6 prints they wanted to buy from his Instagram archive for $150 each, and the response was overwhelming — he received almost $15,000 worth of requests.

Or, you can work with brands and get paid for your photos. According to the Guardian, photographer Liz Eswein charges $1 per like under each sponsored photo she posts on Instagram — and that’s on top of the money she gets for the number of photos she takes. “There aren’t words to describe how amazing an experience it’s been,” Eswein told the publication, “to travel the world and be paid to go to all of these places to take pictures, which is something I love.”

In the age of social media, users are finding new ways to utilize technology and make money online. Take advantage of the Instagram community and use your pictures, followers and social media skills to earn cash.

Photo credit: tulpahn /

This article originally appeared on How to Make Money on Instagram

This article by Tess Frame first appeared on and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.


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