Creative Ways to Make Money Online with Instagram

With so many different ways to make money online and with the Internet changing with each passing day, it’s important to stay on top of new opportunities. As you make your way around the web, you’ll likely come across a number of articles and guides on Facebook marketing, for instance, and how you can tap into specific demographics for specific purposes in order to turn a profit.

You might remember when I wrote about using Pinterest as a prime example. Another hugely popular social network with remarkably high interaction rates is Instagram. Yes, a lot of Instagram feeds are filled with selfies and foodporn, but it also represents the opportunity to make some money here. Here are a few strategies and methods that you might consider.

Promote Your Product or Service

Let’s start off with something a little more indirect and more about marketing what you’re already doing. Just as a blog or an email newsletter may or may not make money on its own, in the strictest sense, you can make a lot more money on the backend when you have a product or service to sell. As an example, I ran a promotion over the holiday period for my book and I posted a screenshot of the Amazon page on Instagram to promote this promotion.

Naturally, the engagement level can vary considerably based on the number of followers you have and how well you optimize the post for discovery (like the use of hashtags), but Instagram can be a terrific channel for marketing your products and services. Just make sure that you have nice and easy URLs in the caption for people to enter, since external links are not clickable in Instagram aside from in your profile.

Go Physical with Etsy

As an extension of the above tactic, it is also possible to use Instagram to promote the physical goods you are selling through a service like Etsy. Indeed, this can develop into a two-way relationship. You use Instagram to promote the products you’re selling on Etsy and you can take some of your best images on Instagram and convert them into physical Etsy products, like prints, t-shirts and coffee mugs.

Depending on your market and product, a varying amount of money can be made on Etsy. A similar approach can be taken with other channels with higher pricing schemes and profits, like Clickbank. Be creative!

Visual Affiliate Marketing

Even if you don’t have a product or service of your own to promote, you can still effectively use Instagram as a marketing channel. Depending on the restrictions on the offer set by the advertiser, you may be able to use Instagram as one of your traffic sources for affiliate marketing purposes.

Remember that Instagram images don’t have to be taken or created from your mobile phone. Be creative with PhotoShop and other image creation tools on your computer, generate effective promotional images that have your affiliate link in them, and post them to Instagram that way. Again, as with selling your own products, you’ll want to have easy short URLs, so directing people to a landing page is likely the most effective.

Sell Photos with Twenty20


Your Instagram pictures don’t need to exist in a vacuum that can only be found within the Instagram ecosystem. One service and marketplace that you might consider is called Twenty20 and it gives you the opportunity to “get discovered and sell your photos to brands and digital creators.” You’re already taking pictures and posting them on Instagram; you may as well put them up for sale too.

The pricing is set by Twenty20 and is based on the resolution that the buyer wishes to have, ranging from small 800 x 600 pixel pictures for web use to large 2800 x 2100 pixel images for print and large format purposes. The commission rate is somewhat low at just 20%, but Twenty20 takes care of everything on your behalf.

Participate in Snapwire Challenges

Similar in scope to Twenty20 is another online marketplace called Snapwire. There’s a great article up on Cult of Mac that explain some of the details, but the gist of it is that you are once again selling the rights to the pictures you’re already posting on Instagram. One key difference here is that in addition to buyers browsing through your gallery, you can also participate in Snapwire challenges.

This is why a buyer posts up a specific request and the Snapwire community submits their best pictures that fit with the buyer’s brief. This is not unlike some of the other sites you may have found online with competitions for logo designs, site designs, and so on.

Don’t leave any money on the table. Instagram can be fun, but it can be profitable too.

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