How To
18 min read

How To Make Money On Instagram [The Complete Guide]

Mariana Denmanty
November 20, 2022

Did you know that 1.21 billion people actively used Meta's Instagram monthly in 2021? This staggering number makes up 28% of global Internet users. 

The Statista forecast estimates that in 2025, there will be 1.44 billion Instagram users worldwide. This is a huge potential audience leveraged by over 500,000 influencers and more than 200 million companies

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So, how do you take advantage of the opportunity to reach such an enormous pool of potential customers? 

To guide you through the golden paths of Instagram, we’ll discuss the ways you can profit as a creator and as a business. We’ll also share some valuable tips and tricks that will help you prosper on the platform.  

Let’s get started.

How to make money on Instagram

With its huge pool of users of various backgrounds and interests, Instagram offers multiple opportunities to engage with potential buyers of services and products of all kinds. You can take advantage of the marketing potential of the platform both as a creator and as a business.

How to make money on Instagram as a creator

You haven’t founded a business and established your brand? Fear not—there are a variety of ways to earn a lot on Instagram as an individual. Here are some viable options:

  • Become an influencer
  • Become an affiliate
  • Create and sell your own digital products
  • Use Direct Messages with shoutouts
  • Use paid ads on Instagram
  • Utilize Live Badges
  • Create, advertise, and sell your own product line

And the question you probably want to ask: How much can you earn on Instagram as a creator?

The 2021 HypeAuditor Influencer Income Survey included 1,865 Instagram influencers and reported interesting findings:

  • The average monthly income generated by the surveyed influencers of all categories and tiers is $2,970. 
  • Depending on the number of their followers, the influencers’ average monthly earnings range between $1,420 (for micro-influencers) and $15,356 (for mega-influencers). 

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  • The best-paid categories are Animals, Business & Marketing, and Fitness & Sports.

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Now, let’s take a look at the options businesses have.

How to make money on Instagram as a business

Building and maintaining a robust presence on Instagram is a great way to make sure you’ll benefit from the platform.  Here’s how you can increase your profits:

  • Promote special offers and free gifts
  • Set up Instagram Shop
  • Partner with other businesses and influencers
  • Use paid ads on Instagram


So, now that we’ve covered a general overview of money making paths on Instagram, let’s dive into the details of how to go about each of these strategies.  

Become an influencer

You’re likely already aware of how promising this option is. Just think of the mind-blowing $1,604,000 Cristiano Ronaldo earns per post! It’s true that this is a professional soccer star with more than 388 million followers; however, even if you can’t be another Ronaldo, you can still do quite well with a solid following and clear niche.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is an influencer?

A social media influencer is a person who has an established reputation for being a specialist in a certain area. They post frequently on that topic on social media channels and grow large groups of engaged audiences. 

There are 5 different types of influencers depending on their following: 

  • Nano: 1,000-10,000 followers
  • Micro: 10,000-50,000 followers
  • Mid-tier: 50,000-500,000 followers
  • Macro: 500,000-1,000,000 followers
  • Mega: Over 1,000,000 followers

To put it briefly, influencers promote products and motivate their followers to make a purchase.

How do you become an influencer?

To become an influencer, the first order of business is to build a strong social media presence. Instagram is a great starting point because it’s one of the most popular platforms. It’s focused on sharing images and videos, which makes it a convenient medium for creators. Here are six steps to launch your Instagram influencer journey.

  1. Create an Instagram account

The first step to becoming an influencer is to have an account. Download the app and sign up. You’ll have the option to register with your Facebook account or with your email address.

  1. Pick a good username

Once you’ve signed up, you will be prompted to choose a username. Be careful as this is how people will get to know you—it must speak for you and be recognizable. 

It’s a good idea to opt for using your name as a username. Let’s say your name is John Doe, and you want to become a fitness influencer. Examples of usernames might be: @johndoe, @john-doe, @_doe, @jh_fit, @fit.johndoe, etc.

People are more likely to trust content from real people rather than from someone hiding their real name.

Do you have a website? Incorporate it into your username as this will boost your brand awareness.  

  1. Make your social media profile professional

Choose a business account as this will unlock more options and opportunities. Select a high-quality picture of yourself with your face clearly visible. Then, craft an engaging bio to make an excellent first impression. Note that you should include information like your name, areas of expertise, contact details, etc.


If you lack copywriting skills, specialized tools like can help you write your biography. With its dedicated Free Bio Generator, you’ll be able to add a professional touch to your profile within a matter of seconds. Simply copy and paste the suggestion you find most appealing or use the ideas as inspiration. 

The Free Bio Generator will come up with several bio ideas in seconds.

  1. Determine your niche

What are your passions and strengths? What areas do you feel most comfortable with? 

To help inspire you, here are some of the most popular niches:

  • Fashion
  • Lifestyle
  • Travel
  • Beauty
  • Gaming
  • Sports
  • Fitness
  • Business

Choose your niche carefully, find that thing you’re passionate about, and focus on it 100%. This will help you become an expert and tailor your content to your audience’s needs.

  1. Start posting 

Having determined your niche (or at least having an idea of what you’re good at), the next step is to post useful content for your followers. Note that you should keep it focused on your niche. Try not to mix it with your personal life.

  1. Grow your followers

Now that you’re ready to become an influencer, there’s one final and most important step: gain followers. 

Start by searching for other influencers in your niche and co-opt their followers. You can also search relevant hashtags and follow those Instagram users. 


Here are three ways to engage with users and increase the chances of them following you:

  • Follow them
  • Like their photo(s)
  • Comment on their photo(s)

Looking for other tested ways to attract followers? Take a look at our guide to building a social media following and make sure to apply the valuable tips we’ve shared.  

Now you know the basics of becoming an influencer. Yet, you have a long way to go if you want to make money on Instagram. Let’s get deeper into the essence of the profession. 

What is required to be a successful influencer?

Becoming a successful influencer takes time and effort. For the vast majority of people , it’s not overnight success. 

Note that you have to have at least 1,000 followers to be a micro-influencer. Once you reach that point, you’ll still just be scratching the surface. Follow the steps below to keep leveling up your game on Instagram. 

Know your target audience

What do your followers like? What makes them tick? Knowing your target audience is of utmost importance. To build a strong relationship with your audience and actually influence them, you need to know them well and publish engaging content. 


Take a peek at other influencers. How do they interact with their audiences? What is included in their content? What do they say when they post? You can always learn from the people that are already doing the work and reaping the rewards, especially if they’re in your same niche. 

Also, if you want to perfect your posting, check out our blog about how can help you create an Instagram post

Post relevant content regularly 

How often do you post? Publish content consistently. This is imperative if you want to grow your career as an Instagram influencer. The more you engage with your audience, the more they listen to you, and the more you influence them. 

So, posting content regularly is your top priority. While determining the visibility of your content, the Instagram algorithm takes into account the freshness of your post (post recency), post engagement, and past interactions. 

According to a Sprout Social’s study, the best days to post on Instagram are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and the best time is between 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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By posting regularly, you show that you care about your audience and they can count on you for timely updates and posts. Note that if you fail to post on schedule, your followers might decide to unfollow you. 

On the other hand, make sure that the content you post lives up to your followers’ expectation and brings them value. For further guidelines on how to deliver content your audience will love and engage with, check out our blog and get inspired by the examples you’ll find there. 

That is just one way you can make money on Instagram. Let’s explore other opportunities that Instagram offers.

Become an affiliate

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing offers an excellent opportunity to earn money online. It involves promoting someone else's products. When you refer customers to a merchant's website through advertisements and links, you receive a percentage of the sales revenue for each customer you refer. 

How to become an affiliate

  1. Pick your niche

Choose a niche which is a combination of popularity, profitability, market demand, or your interests. The most popular are:

  • Health and fitness
  • Home & Family
  • Fashion
  • Technology
  • Lifestyle
  • Finance


Making the right choice can be tricky. Here are some tips for choosing the right affiliate marketing niche.

  • Research and review products you're interested in promoting. See what other people are saying about them and how they're being marketed.
  • Choose a product that has enough demand to support multiple affiliates promoting it.
  • Choose a product that fits with your audience's interests and needs.
  • Narrow down your options by choosing one or two products to start with and test out first before adding more products later on.

  1. Find affiliate programs

Affiliate programs are an effective strategy to boost your online earnings. The concept is simple: you get paid a commission by recommending products or services to others, without having to actually sell anything yourself.

There are two ways of finding affiliate programs:

1) Affiliate networks: This is the connection between affiliates and merchants. The latter can create a program on the affiliate platforms, while publishers can select their preferred programs. In addition, the network defines terms and conditions and sets the whole process. Examples of affiliate programs are Amazon Associates, ClickBank Affiliate, the eBay Partner Network, Commission Junction, and more.

2) In-house programs: Brands can create their own affiliate programs and creators who sign up for the program earn commissions., for example, has its own affiliate program and users can earn from promoting the platform.

  1. Publish your content 

Now that you’ve chosen your affiliate program, start promoting it on Instagram. Note that you don’t need to have tens of thousands of followers to make money. According to Statista, an influencer with less than 10k followers can generate a compensation of around $195 per post on average. All you have to do is take care of your audience by posting when they are active and sharing useful content only.

How to get started with affiliate marketing on Instagram

Note that there are eligibility requirements for affiliates on Instagram: 

  • You must switch to a professional (business or creator) account so you can access the professional dashboard. This feature is only accessible on the Instagram app.
  • You must comply with Instagram Partner Monetization Policies and Community Guidelines.
  • You have to set everything up through your professional dashboard before you’re able to tag products and get paid.

Once you meet the affiliate eligibility requirements, there are six easy steps to get started with affiliate marketing on Instagram.

  1. Navigate to the professional dashboard
  2. Locate Get started with affiliate and choose Get Started
  3. Read the Terms and accept them 
  4. Select your business type
  5. Add a payout method. You can also edit it later
  6. Select Done

Now you can utilize product tags in your posts to share affiliate products and create a shop. Also, in the professional dashboard, you can find important insights regarding your affiliate content.

That’s it! You’re now an affiliate.

How to build an audience for affiliate marketing

The more interested people see your Instagram posts, the more likely you will be successful with Instagram affiliate marketing. So, how do you get the right people to see your Instagram posts? The answer is targeting.

Find other Instagram users with interests that are close to yours. Comment on their posts regularly and make sure it’s relevant. When someone interacts with your post by liking or commenting on it, interact with their comments whenever possible. This is where engagement comes into play. It’s a great way to establish a relationship with Instagram users, which will help build your audience and start growing your following.

If you already have enough followers, another way to build an audience for affiliate marketing is through hashtags. When you post something on Instagram, you can use hashtags to make it easier for people to find your content. 

When someone searches for a hashtag that you used in your post, they will see it in their feed. It’s an effective strategy to get discovered by new followers as well.


If you’re out of ideas and can’t think of relevant hashtags, the AI-enabled free Instagram Hashtag Generator can do wonders for you. 

How to build trust with your followers

Create content that appeals directly to them. That way when you post something new, they will be more likely to engage with it. 

The best way to build trust is by providing content that answers questions or solves problems for your followers. This makes them feel heard and understood while also giving them a sense of belonging within a community. 

How to promote your affiliate links

An affiliate link is a link that allows you to earn money from referring sales. Here are a few ways to promote it.

Include the affiliate link in your bio  

If you are always promoting the same brand or product, consider telling your followers to click on a link in your bio. This approach is ideal if you are an exclusive affiliate for a single brand. 

Use the Link sticker to add your affiliate link to your Instagram story

Instagram allows you to easily generate clicks to your affiliate offers. All you have to do is Upload a Story, choose the Sticker tool, Add your link, and select Done

Include the affiliate link in your post description 

If you’re taking part in an affiliate program offering a coupon code, people can make a purchase from the online store with a discount, and you’ll receive a commission.  

Run an advertisement

This gives you access to millions of potential customers and allows you to “unlock” the Shop Now button. Also, you can target specific demographics based on location and interests. Later on, we will discuss paid ads on Instagram in more detail.

How to increase affiliate sales

Apart from the tips above, here are a few additional tips.

Include the Paid partnership with [brand] label

The paid partnership function gives you the opportunity to be fully transparent with your followers. People will know that you’re promoting an official product, which builds consumer trust and increases brand loyalty.

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This can drive more sales and increase your revenue.

Add an affiliate storefront to your Instagram profile

Create an Instagram storefront that includes recommended products. Your followers can purchase from your profile by selecting View Shop and find your affiliate posts labeled as Eligible for commission.  

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Also, be creative with your hashtags and captions. This will help people find you if they're looking for specific items. 

Record product demonstrations

Videos can go a long way in engaging your audience. Include short videos showing how your product works or what it looks like in action. One of the best ways to sell something is to make it easy for people to understand what they are buying. This builds trust with potential customers that are more likely to purchase from you again. Luckily, Instagram offers multiple methods for video creation. 

  • Instagram Live for real-time streaming of product tutorials
  • Instagram Reels for short videos 
  • Instagram Stories for vlog videos


Remember, the shorter the better! Make sure to capture the essence of your product and avoid explaining every detail about what your product does. This will just confuse people who are watching it for the first time. You can add more information in the description section or in another video. 

Jump to our step-by-step guide on how to go live on Instagram, and you’ll get invaluable advice that will help you do it right.

Sell photos

Instagram is one of the most popular social media sites, but did you know you can also sell your photos on Instagram? This can be a great opportunity to make some extra cash.

A famous example is Daniel Arnold, a photographer, who made $15,000 on Instagram by selling his photos in 24 hours. However, it isn't as simple as setting up a PayPal account and posting your price list. Here are a couple of things to consider.

Make sure your photos are high quality

If you're going to sell prints of your work, ensure there are no grainy images or unnecessary blurriness. 

Before taking the shot, consider the following tips: 

  • Use the zoom feature when you need to take a clearer photo with more details.
  • Use lighting to create contrast whenever possible.
  • Aim for multiple pictures taken from different angles. You can choose the best one later.

Also, it's important to have three different pricing tiers for your prints so that people don't feel like they're being ripped off if they buy something smaller. For example, $5 for small prints with no cropping restrictions, $10 for medium prints with cropping restrictions, and $15 for large prints with cropping restrictions. 

Take photos with your phone 

A successful Insta photographer prefers to take shots with their smartphone cameras because they’re light and portable, and the photos can be ready to go in a few taps. 

What’s more, sometimes there are incredible moments that last just a second or so, and you wouldn’t want to miss them while setting your professional camera up. 

When posting your best shots on Instagram, you've probably been tempted by the many filters that come with the app. Be careful not to overuse them. Use natural light instead whenever possible as it will produce the best results.

Create and sell your own digital products

Selling your own digital products on Instagram is another great way to make money online without having to worry about inventory and shipping. They are easier to create and manage than physical goods.

Create digital products, such as ebooks, courses, stock photos, webinars, and more and sell as many copies as you want directly on Instagram. In addition, if you have your own website, consider selling them there, too. Digital products are easily available online and can be downloaded by anyone with Internet access. 

Use Direct Messages with shoutouts

This is one of the best ways to gain exposure and attract new followers. DM shoutouts are where you message another Instagram user and ask them to share your account with their followers. 

In order to get a shoutout, you will need to find someone who has a large following on Instagram and ask them nicely if they would be willing to give you one. If you have an interesting product or service, giving you a shoutout shouldn’t be a problem. 

Some people ask for payment for an Instagram shoutout, but others are willing to give a shoutout in exchange for you giving them one as well.

Opt for paid ads on Instagram

There are two ways to run ads on Instagram. You can either promote advertising posts via the Instagram application, which is the easiest way, or create ads via Facebook Ads Manager. Note that Instagram doesn’t yet have its own tool for creating ads. 

Create an Instagram business account

To get started, first create an Instagram business account

  1. Go to the Settings
  2. Locate Account 
  3. Tap Switch to Professional Account
  4. Tap Business
  5. Select your business category 
  6. Tap Done

Congratulations! Now you have an Instagram business account and you can promote posts and track campaigns inside Instagram.

How to create Instagram ads using Facebook Ads Manager

You will first need to create a Facebook business account

  1. Visit the Create a Page link
  2. Fill in all the required information.
  3. Locate Page Settings and select Instagram
  4. Select the Connect Account button
  5. Fill in details about your Instagram account
  6. Click Save

Now you are ready to run Instagram ads in Ads Manager.

  1. Navigate to Ads Manager
  2. Click Create 
  3. Select an objective
  4. Click Continue
  5. Enter details for the ad set
  6. Select Manual Placements at the placements section 
  7. Select Instagram
  8. Click Continue

Next, you will have to complete your ad by specifying the audience that should see it. Target your ad based on location, demographics, interests, behaviors, and connections. Once you are ready, preview your ad. When you confirm that your ad is completed, submit it for review. 

As soon as your ad is approved, it will go live on Instagram and start working for you and your profit. 

Use Live Badges

This relatively new feature allows users to earn more money from their livestreams.

What are live badges?

Instagram Live badges are a recently introduced function that lets viewers send money to creators during a live video. When the audiences purchase a badge:

  • Heart(s) will appear next to their usernames, making them stand out. 
  • In the comments section, hearts will be highlighted during the live video, and their comments can be pinned.
  • Their usernames will be on a list visible to you during the live video.

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What’s more, the influencer can see the total number of badges and earnings with the View button during the Live video.  

How to use Live Badges

Before you begin, note that you’ll need to have a professional account and set it up to get paid. Also, you need to qualify for monetization. If so, you will be able to locate the Set Up Badges button. If you’re not eligible, tap the Apply for monetization button and monitor your status through your Professional Dashboard.

Here is how to turn on badges and begin earning money from your livestreams:

  1. Go to your profile and tap Professional dashboard
  2. Select  Grow your business, then Badges
  3. Once onboarded, select
  1. and go to Live
  2. Select Badges to enable badges

Congratulations! You can now start earning while you’re live on Instagram.

Benefits of using live badges


Instagram live badges are a great way for creators to make money. As a creator, you’re probably putting a lot of effort into your content, and you deserve to be rewarded for it. Note that you should consider Live Badges as tips rather than a full-time salary.

Get to know your best followers

During your livestreaming, you can open the list of people who bought live badges and find out more about them. What are their names? How many badges did they purchase? Remember to show your gratitudes and build relationships with your followers.

Gain insights into your performance

Which live video received the most live badges? Review your content and analyze the number of badges you received. This is an indication of your performance and what percentage of your audience liked your videos. Keep this metric in mind when you create your content plan. 

Gain more followers

Now that you know which live videos perform better, you can stream more of what your viewers want. As a result, you will be able to expand your followers, which directly translates to increased revenue. 

Prices of Live Badges

There are three options for your viewers. They can buy: 

  • One heart for $0.99
  • Two for $1.99
  • Three for $4.99

In short, Live Badges are a way for people to support creators, who are then empowered with valuable insights to improve their performance.

Create your own product line

If you are a famous influencer who has your own brand (or you aspire to this), consider creating and selling your own product line. 

While Instagram was originally designed as a platform for sharing photos, it’s become a powerful marketing tool for businesses and entrepreneurs. It’s one of the most effective ways to market your own product line.

Take a look at the influencer Arielle Charnas. She has created her own brand called somethingnavy and has set up a store offering clothing, jewelry, accessories, and more. 

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So, what should you create? 


Start with physical products like clothing, shoes, bags, and sunglasses, or digital products like e-books, webinars, and software programs.

But don’t stop there. Consider creating your own:

  • Services
  • Memberships
  • Subscriptions
  • Courses

Tutorials or Masterclass sales

Create a course related to your area of expertise

The key is finding a niche that you're passionate about and creating content people want to engage with.

Have you already become proficient in something particular? 

If you’re convinced that other people will appreciate help with mastering this skill, this could be an excellent opportunity. You can benefit from your expertise while letting your followers benefit as well. 


Decide if you want to offer an entire course or individual lessons. If you're going all-in on this concept and creating multiple lessons that build upon one another, then you'll need some sort of curriculum structure in place. This will make your product more professional and help students know what they're getting into when they sign up for the class.

Create a course that is in demand

Since you're selling it on Instagram, create a course you know people will want to learn from. Think about what would be most relevant there. For example, if you love photography and want to teach people how to take better pictures with their phones, then a course about iPhone photography would be a good fit for your audience.

Sell your course on your Instagram page

Instagram is the second largest social media platform in the world, and it's a place that people go to for inspiration.

Here are five ways you can use Instagram to sell more courses:

  1. Create a feed post to promote your course
  2. Share videos of yourself teaching the course
  3. Use Instagram Stories to promote sales and special offers
  4. Share photos letting your followers look behind the curtain of your business
  5. Use hashtags

Sell your course on other platforms

Note that you're not limited to selling your course on Instagram alone. You can promote it on other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and sell it on other websites as well. Explore this list for more options:

All you have to do is choose one of these platforms and sell your courses. The more varied your audiences and media, the greater chances you stand to gain to more potentially interested users.

Now, let’s focus on how businesses can make money on Instagram.

Promote special offers

If you are running a retail business, Instagram can be a great way to get your products in front of new customers. Did you know that 44% of surveyed Instagram users shop with the app weekly? 

So, do you have something great on sale? Promote special offers on Instagram like discount codes, free shipping, and markdowns, as well as free gifts.

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The brand in the example above uses Instagram to promote a discount code for their planners. 

Instagram Shop

The Instagram shop is a new way for businesses to showcase their products. It enables brands to reach out to their customers directly through social media. Instagram users are able to discover new brands and products, thus allowing business to create a shopping experience on Instagram.

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What’s more, you can tag products highlighted in your content so Instagrammers can make a purchase the moment they see the item. So, consider tagging products in your posts and stories to increase sales.

Also, customers can shop in Instagram stories, which is another excellent promotion opportunity.

Partner with businesses as an influencer

Be open for business and let other brands know they can collaborate with you. Start with writing a list of businesses you think would benefit from your followers. In your bio, state that you want to partner with a business. For example, you can say you’re an influencer in a certain niche and you’re open for brand collaboration. 

Here are other ways to find brands and work with them: 

  • Pitch companies by yourself. Create a template message with your offer and send it to businesses looking for collaboration in your niche.


Note that almost half of recipients decide whether to open and read your email based on your subject line only. So, you need to make it an irresistible one. Using the free Email Subject Line Generator can save you time and effort when it comes to crafting catchy subject lines for your pitches. 

You got a reply? Well done! The next thing you have to do is negotiate the price and timeframe for the promotion. So, how much should you charge companies? It all depends on how many followers you have, the average likes you get, your engagement rate, and the niche you operate in.

Remember, whatever payment you agree upon, you are providing access to your followers who trust you. Try not to lose them.  

  • Tag brands when you post their products. This is a great way for them to notice you and collaborate with you.
  • Complete tasks on Crowdtap. This is available only in the US. It’s a great option if you have a smaller audience and you want to earn rewards.
  • Participate in brand post campaigns on indaHash. If you have at least 700 followers, you can post on Instagram with specified hashtags and get paid. 
  • Sign up on influencer marketplaces like Dovetale, Grin, Upfluence, Klear and more. This will increase the chances of brands finding and working with you.

Partner with influencers

A Benchmark Report on the state of influencer marketing indicates that every $1 invested brings businesses $5.78 earned.

Your first step is to find the right influencers for your brand.

Collaborate with creators whose goals align with yours. How do you do that? Take a look at their profile and content. What are their values? Make sure to pick the right influencer so that viewers are closer to your buyer persona. 

For example, it wouldn’t make sense for you to partner with a keto diet influencer if you sell milk chocolate. A cocoa lover influencer, however, would be a great match. 

The average influencer on Instagram with 1,000 followers charges $10 per post. If you want to find out how much other influencers charge on average, use the Instagram calculator

Keep in mind that deals are negotiable and can consist of a single post or an entire campaign in exchange for money, a free gift, or a service. 


With more than 1.2 billion monthly users, Instagram has established itself as the second most popular social network globally. Therefore, an increasing number of businesses and creators are using the platform to market their products and services.

There are various ways to drive results on Instagram, and you have to identify the ones that will work best for you. Whatever your products and services are, affiliate and influencer marketing offer great potential. And Instagram caters to them both.

Knowing the tips and tricks, the only thing left is to go out there and start applying them to benefit from the outstanding money making opportunities Instagram offers.

And remember that content is the heart and ever-ruling king of successful marketing. It’s worth getting some expert help to make sure you’re getting things right. This is where the full-fledged suite of copywriting tools can be your indispensable helping hand and inspiration. 

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