If you’ve spent any time on Instagram, you’ve probably seen brands and influencers who seem to be raking in the cash promoting and selling products. It might seem too good to be true.
While not every brand or influencer can make a million dollars, there are multiple ways to make money on Instagram. And you don’t have to have thousands of followers or a massive brand behind you.
You just have to know how to leverage the business tools Instagram provides.
Here is everything you need to know about making money on Instagram, including how to set up a business profile, the benefits of using a brand Instagram account, and how to use Instagram’s business features. But first, why has Instagram suddenly become the darling of the social media industry?
There Are Over 25 Million Instagram Business Accounts
Instagram’s base has been growing rapidly in the last few years. According to Google Trends, interest in Instagram has been growing over the past five years, while interest in Facebook, is waning.
Currently, there over 25 million business accounts on Instagram. In addition to a rapidly growing number of business accounts, the social media giant says those accounts also finding quite a bit of success on the platform.
Eighty percent of accounts on Instagram follow a business and two-thirds of people who visit business Instagram profiles aren’t following that business.
Personal vs. Business Instagram Account
What is the difference between a business account and a regular Instagram account?
For starters, business accounts come with additional features, including:
- The ability to add additional contact information
- Allows you to create Instagram ads
- Use ‘shoppable posts’
- Access to Instagram insights
- Ability to add “Action Buttons,” which connect to third-party apps
There are a few benefits to sticking with a personal account. For example, you can’t change a private account to a business profile. So if you have privacy concerns, you may want to stick with your personal account.
Also, you can link to multiple Facebook pages from a personal account, which isn’t possible under a business account.
Why Is It Important For Influencers to Switch From a Personal to a Business Instagram Account?
There are some concerns that switching to a business profile may cause a decrease in organic reach. (Looking at you, Facebook.)
Currently, those fears are unfounded. There is, however, a chance that could change in the future. But, if you are looking to make money on Instagram as a business or as an influencer, the added features of the business accounts make the switch worth it.
How Do I Change my Instagram From Personal to Business?
Ready to make the switch to a business Instagram profile? It is quite simple. Start by logging into Instagram on your mobile device.
1. Click on the Gear Icon
2. Click “Switch to Business” Profile
3. Select the Facebook Page to Connect
4. Set your account to Public (Remember, private accounts can’t switch to a business profile)
5. Review the information, then click “Set up Your Business Profile”
Now, you can add the extra contact information, start creating ads, and even add links to your Instagram stories. (More about how to use all those features below.) You will also want to start following other accounts in your niche in order to increase your followers.
Benefits of Instagram Business Accounts
We touched on the benefits of a business account just a bit before, but there are so.many.reasons to make the switch. Below, we will dig into some of the business features and discuss why they are so important if you want to make money on Instagram.
Remember, these features are only available for business accounts.
Instagram Insights is the native analytics feature within Instagram. You can view it by going to your brand profile, clicking the hamburger icon in the right-hand corner, then looking for the “Insights” option.
This will take you to your main insights page on a tab called “Activity”
The activity insights page lets you see:
- The number of actions taken on your account in the last week
- Profile visits over the last two weeks
- “Discovery,” which is your account’s reach
- You will also see two other tabs: Content and Audience.
Content shows you how posts in the last week performed. You can view insights on regular posts, stories, and promotions.
The last tab is Audience. This will give you all sorts of juicy details about who your audience is, including their location, age range, gender, and the dates and times they are on Instagram.
All of this information is critical to understanding what type of content will do well and what time you should post on Instagram.
Run Instagram Ads
Instagram ads are a fantastic way to increase your reach and find people who are interested in the products or services you offer. You can create ads with photos, multiple photos (aka carousels), videos, and stories. Instagram ads can be created through the Facebook ads manager.
Like Facebook, you can also ‘boost’ posts on Instagram. We will go over how to do that in the next section.
Instagram ads can be used to promote specific products, raise brand awareness, or encourage users to contact you. The following CTA buttons are supported for Instagram ads:
- Apply Now
- Book Now
- Contact Us
- Call Now
Running Instagram ads is one of the simplest ways to make money on Instagram. Here are a few of the top benefits of running Instagram ads:
- You can create highly targeted audiences, which allows you to reach both people who do and don’t follow you on Instagram.
- Ads look more organic, which increases the likelihood that users will interact with them. (Though they are marked “Sponsored”, just like on Facebook)
- You can create a conversation in the comments by answering questions, responding to negative feedback, and sharing more information.
- There is a wide range of content formats, including video and stories, which means you can create the type of content your audience reacts best to.
You can sell physical or digital products, drive calls or visits to a brick and mortar business, and even book appointments. Instagram ads offer tons of features and customization options, which is outside of the scope of this article. This guide to Instagram ads is a fantastic place to learn more.
Promoted posts boost the visibility of posts on your Instagram feed. They can be used to increase the number of Instagram followers, sell products, or drive traffic to your website. They are easier to create than ads and can be done right from the mobile app.
Here is how to create a boosted post on Instagram.
- Create and post the post you want to boost.
- Go to your Instagram profile.
- Click on “Promotions” located to the right of your profile picture.
- Click “Create a Promotion.”
- You will now see a list of your most recent posts, select the one you want to promote.
- Click “create a promotion.”
- Select where you want to send people. The options are your Instagram profile, your website, or your storefront.
- Click “next.”
- Choose a target audience. You can allow Instagram to create your audience automatically, or manually enter your target audience. (If you have created Facebook ads before, you can create similar targets. Otherwise, I suggest letting Instagram create your audience automatically. Once you have a better idea of what works, you can play with targeting more.) Click “Next.”
- Set your ad budget and duration. CPM (cost per thousand impressions) on Instagram is around $5, so for best results, your minimum budget per day should be $5.
- Click “Create Your Promotion.”
This format will promote your post in both feeds and stories, and Instagram will choose the best performing placement.
One of the major benefits of having an Instagram business account is the ability to add multiple ways to contact your business. Here is how to take advantage of the contact button.
- Go to your business Instagram profile. (If you haven’t switched to a business profile, read “How Do I Change my Instagram From Personal to Business?” above.)
- Click “Edit Profile.”
- Under “Business Information” look for “Contact Options” and click.
- Your email address should already be here, but you will also see options to add a phone number and address.
You can also choose to add an “Action Button,” which we will cover in the next section.
- Add Action Buttons
Many people use social media exclusively for brand building. However, if you want to make money on Instagram, then you need to take advantage of the Action buttons, which are located at the bottom of the contact buttons we updated above.
This feature allows your business account to connect to dozens of other services so customers buy products, reserve tables, order food, and much more–all without ever leaving Instagram.
- A restaurant could add a button to ChowNow so followers can order delivery in Instagram.
- A band could connect to Fandango so fans could buy tickets.
- A venue could sell tickets to a conference through Eventbrite.
- A business consultant could allow users to book an appointment through MyTime.
- A salon could connect to Salon Iris to let users book a hair appointment right from their Instagram feed.
There are dozens of other Action buttons you can use, check out the full list here. You do need an account with the third party app in order to utilize the Action button.
Have Links on Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are a powerful feature similar to SnapChat. They allow users to post photos and videos that expire after 24 hours. Business profiles can also include links in their Instagram stories.
In order to activate the ability to add links to your Instagram story feature, you must have 10,000 followers or a verified Instagram account.
Here is how to get verified on Instagram. Gaining followers should be done organically, either manually or by using an automated service.
After you meet the requirements, here is how to add links to your story:
- Open the Instagram app. You will see a bar of profile photos at the top of your feed, with yours on the far left.
- Create an Instagram Story by clicking the + next to your profile photo in the bar. You can choose to add one photo, several photos, videos, GIFs, etc.
- Click on the “chain” icon in the upper right corner, between the download and sticker button. (If you don’t see the chain icon, make sure you have met the followers or verification requirement.)
- Add the URL you want to send followers to.
Adding links to your stories is pretty simple, and it allows you to drive more traffic to landing pages, your website, or any other URL.
How to Add Payment Gateway to an Instagram Business Account?
There is not a direct way to add a payment gateway to Instagram, because it does not function natively as an ecommerce site. Just like you would need a plugin or other ecommerce platform to sell products from your WordPress website, you will also need another platform to sell directly from your Instagram account.
You can do this in several ways. Using the action buttons mentioned above, you can direct users to a linked third-party app, which does keep them in the Instagram.
You can direct users to your site using a link in Instagram stories, and have them check out on your website. Depending on your site, this could be a bit clunky.
Or, you can connect your Shopify or Bigcommerce account so you can tag items in shoppable posts.
While there isn’t a native payment gateway in Instagram currently, they do seem committed to creating the features businesses need to sell products. I expect to see better third-party integrations or a native solution from Instagram at some point.
Making money on Instagram doesn’t require learning a complex new software or mastering Google algorithms. All you need to do is have a product (or service) to sell and take the time to understand the business features Instagram offers, including the ability to access Instagram Insights, run ads, add additional contact information, connect to third-party apps, and add links to your Instagram stories.
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Have you had success making money on Instagram? What Instagram feature have you had the most success with?