How To Make Money On Instagram: The Advice To Follow

There are now one billion Instagram users worldwide. That’s just under a seventh of the world’s total population. Which begs the question: why on earth don’t you get more likes for your dog pictures? Well, hold that thought for a moment, because these days, Instagram is about more than likes.

From the mega-influencers to your mate’s start-up, savvy marketeers are utilizing the picture platform to boost sales and generate income. For some, it’s a legitimate career option. If your name is Kylie Jenner, it’s a $1 million-per-post side hustle.

And while you might not quite be able to achieve those heady heights, there are ways to make your Instagram posts work for you, reaching a new audience ready to part with their hard-earned readies.

“Instagram plays an important role in our profession, it helps broaden our audience and keep our customers up to date with the newest stock and promotions,” explains designer and business owner Jen Kaye.


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Don’t believe us? Over 35% of online adults use Instagram, and (in the US at least) 42% of these earn upwards of $75,000 per year (£59,000), meaning there should be lots of disposable income floating around. However, it isn’t limited to the US; 80% of all Instagram users reside outside the USA, meaning with the right tweaks, your posts can reach a truly international audience.

“My Instagram is my life and I upload nearly everyday across my social media accounts. I’m paid to do endorsements for clothing brands such as boohoo and New Look,” says microinfluencer and entrepreneur Zack Smith.

Face it; we’re all addicted to Instagram anyway, so you may as well be earning money during those hours spent scrolling on your phone. Which is why we’ve gathered a collection of professionals, from microinfluencers to creatives and small business owners to offer up their tried and tested tips for making real money from Instagram.

The Microinfluencer


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At just 23, Zack Smith is paid to promote brands including boohooMAN, Palmers and Nivea on his Instagram. He also runs an event company and PR company. His 40,000 plus followers provide a ready audience.

“Sponsorships are an amazing way to show people which companies you are working with, and which companies have actually paid you promote products and items. It’s as simple as uploading pictures at certain times of the day, and using relevant hashtag.

“It all depends on how many followers you have. More followers equals more money per post. You have to follow people whom you actually interact with, as there’s no point following people who don’t like your posts or comment. I have to be very selective. Many of my followers view my stories but don’t like my pictures. It baffles me.

“In terms of refining your feed, Instagram has a new tool that allows you to ask your followers questions such as ‘What would you want to see more of on my Instagram?’ It helps with marketing and growing your followers, and is very useful.”

Advice To Follow

Get your ratio right: “I have 44k followers and I’m following 4k as it looks good for business so ratio is important as an influencer.”

Manage your time: “I think the best time to post would be around 6 o’clock Friday as everyone will be finishing work and using their phones. I have a schedule on my phone to remind me.”

Never over-tag: “Never use too many hashtags as it makes your page look unprofessional and amateur.”


The Auteur Author


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With the publication of Hings, Glaswegian Chris McQueer announced himself as one of the UK’s most talented short story writers, earning praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, and Limmy. With his new book HWFG out this November, McQueer is doubling down on online promo.

“Instagram is really important for me as a writer. It lets me get across my personality, which is important for an author as we’re often seen as faceless, old recluses. It’s good for me to show I’m not like that.

“A lot of value gets placed on the ratio of following to followers, but I don’t think it matters too much. I’ve never been put off following someone or thought any less of them because of the number of people they follow. Your feed will be clogged with a load of shite you don’t care about if you go daft and follow everyone though, just follow people you like or are interested in or admire.

“Asking questions is a good way to increase engagement. Instagram stories is a great tool and when used well they really do help increase sales. I’ve done a couple of giveaways of books: ‘Share this picture and follow me for a chance to win a signed book…’ I’ll post wee snippets of my readings sometimes as well. A writer who uses Instagram brilliantly is Daniel Piper, he should give out lessons to writers, he’s a genius with it.”

Advice To Follow

Have a day off: “Sunday evenings tend to be prime time for posting. Everyone’s lying about on their phones. That’s when I post any promo stuff, including pictures of my new book, upcoming readings and signings etc.”

Know your audience: “A lot of people take my books on holiday, so I’ll repost the best pictures they send me of the book in exotic locations, which obviously increases the visibility and increases sales as well.”

Hashtags can do the work for you: “They’re really good for growing your account at first. They seem to work really well for photographers and make-up artists especially; my girlfriend uses lots on her make-up Instagram, and it’s a great way for her to get noticed by other artists, brands and bloggers.” @chrismcqueer

The Small Business Owners


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