Are you a digital creative who wants to see their hobby turn into a legit stream of income?
Or do you already consider yourself a digital entrepreneur and want to see your business take off?
In both cases, Instagram is the platform to use.
With 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram ranks 6th among the most popular social networks in the world and has become so much more than just an image and video sharing app.
Nowadays, it’s the perfect platform to showcase and sell your digital (and physical) goods.
And even though there is no such thing as making easy money on Instagram (we wish!), there are plenty of inspirational ideas from the pros you can implement in your own Instagram monetization strategy.
Here are 33 successful Instagram monetization examples of what & how to sell to start making money:
Selling digital products & content
1. Drum kits
Drum kits are collections of different drum sounds, including hi-hats, snares, kicks, claps, and more and they make great digital products to sell if you’ve got an ear for the rhythm.
So, if you think you’ve got a bit of a musician in you, let that beat out! Show it off on your Instagram page and pack it into a versatile drum kit for other producers to purchase.
For example, Lakey Inspired is a producer based in Los Angeles. He posts recordings of his material on Instagram and sells drums hand-picked from his personal library.
Pro tip: Make sure to talk your drum kit up, just like Lakey does in the Instagram story section he’s dedicated to drum kits only.
2. Sound effects
If you’re good at designing soundscapes, you might already have a huge library of sound effects just sitting on your computer and waiting to be used. How about sharing some of those sounds with the community – and earning income by doing so?
Photographer, videographer, and YouTube vlogger Peter McKinnon even went one step further and created a brand new sound effect pack using his own mouth only. He used both his YouTube channel (3.6 million subscribers) and Instagram account (1.7 million followers) to promote it. As you can see, the followers were more than satisfied with the product.
Pro tip: Instead of just using Instagram, use a combination of your social network platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) to promote your product.
3. Beats & loops
If you’re an enthusiastic musician who’s always looking for fresh sounds, let your unique production style show on your online store, too! Pick the best beats, loops, and other sounds, showcase them on your Instagram account and sell them as a sound pack.
Here’s an example: Denis Berger, or PVLACE, was making music in his parents’ home when he decided that his beats and melodies are unique enough to be turned into a digital product. He started live streaming his content to a followership of 500 Instagrammers, and that’s how people started noticing Denis has real talent.
Today, Dennis has been signed by 808 Mafia (one of the biggest hip-hop production teams in the US), is making way more money and has more than 22K followers on Instagram.
Pro tip: Leverage Instagram Live streaming to build a devoted fan base and drive sales to your online store.
4. Lightroom presets
We live in an increasingly visual world where high-quality aesthetics sell like hotcakes. This is one of the reasons Lightroom presets are such a popular item to sell among many digital creators and influencers.
In short, a Lightroom preset is a collection of photo edit settings for Adobe Lightroom, bundled into a single click. If you have a decent amount of skills in photography and editing, as well as a good eye for visuals, selling unique Lightroom presets might be your ideal Instagram monetization strategy.
Her own Instagram account aside, Justine has created a dedicated account for her presets exclusively. On that account, followers can see what photos look like before editing:
…and how they look like after using Justine’s presets:
Pro tip: For full effect, show “before and after” photos of your product being in use. In the case of Lightroom presets, this would mean posting photos before and after editing them with your presets.
They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. So, don’t go wasting your unused high-quality photos by leaving them in the depths of your hard drive. Sell them for a good profit in the form of wallpapers for smartphones and desktops.
For example, while mainly selling Lightroom preset bundles, photographer Paul Sydow also offers urban wallpapers and promotes them via Instagram stories:
Pro tip: Lure in your potential customers by publishing a couple of wallpapers for free on your profile via Instagram stories. Then promote a larger collection of wallpapers, but this time – sell them for a fee.
6. Instagram Stories templates
Instagram Stories are used by half a billion people worldwide. On the one hand, you can just imagine all that audience at the tip of your fingers. On the other hand, the growing number of Instagram and Instagram Story users means your post must be absolutely unique and compelling to stand out among the vast sea of other content.
To put their Instagram Story on a pedestal, businesses and influencers are using templates to help their content stand out. This makes it yet another great graphic design product you can add to your online store. And what better way to promote your templates than to showcase them via your own Instagram Stories?
For example, among Lightroom presets, creative title packs, and other graphic products, designer Alan Ayoubi sells his “Red on Turquoise” template for Instagram Stories:
Pro tip: Collaborate with micro-influencers (someone with 1000 to 50 000 followers) – send them a free Instagram Stories template and in return, have them tag you in the story. That way, you’ll showcase your templates to an even larger audience.
An overlay is a yet another method to set a specific mood or tone in your photographs – and another addition to the list of digital goodies that can help you monetize Instagram.
Simply put, overlays are additional layers that can be added to images using an editing program like Photoshop. If you’re a keen photographer with a good eye for visuals, like the K1 Production, you can sell overlays that you’ve created to help other photographers replace the sky, add snow, bokeh lights and even fireworks in their photos.
If you’re looking for an Instagram monetization strategy that can help you earn as much as six figures, perhaps it’s time to give selling LUTs a try. At least, this kind of approach helped photographer and vlogger Christain Matte Grab.
Christian believes that the color and look of a video or photo is the most important thing when it comes to telling a story and making the viewer feel a specific emotion. That’s why he got into color grading and sells LUTs, or Lookup Tables, that help alter the color of video footage.
Pro tip: Place links in Instagram Stories that take your followers directly to your online store – just like Christian does it with his LUTs.
9. Videos & films
If you’re into film making, selling original footage, videos, and even documentaries can also help you monetize Instagram.
For example, Nils Jansons and Kaspars Alksnis are both inline skaters and travel enthusiasts. They turned their passion into income by making a short documentary in only 30 days. The full documentary including exclusive action footage can be found in their online store.
Pro tip: Post customer reviews of your products on your Instagram account – especially the ones from thought leaders and authorities within your niche. Here you can see Nils posting a review about their documentary from Johannes Jacobi, the founder, and organizer of Winterclash, one of the world’s biggest rollerblading events.
10. After Effects templates
If you’re into digital arts and specialize in visual effects and motion graphics, selling After Effects templates could be a great way to exercise your skill and make an extra buck.
You see, the more you work in this niche, the more little tricks you might have picked along the way. These tips can be turned into digital products that could help others design faster and better.
Fazon specializes in anime visual effects, and most of the content he publishes on his Instagram account of over 22K followers consists of design-related posts. Like this one of a one-eyed ghoul, an After Effects project file that yo on Fazon’s online store to re-design the template on your own frame by frame.
Pro tip: If the link to your online store is not overwhelmingly long – like in this case – you can add it to the main post for additional exposure.
You don’t need the help of big publishing houses to become an author. Write an ebook and sell it on your own digital store!
The truth is – ebooks make great digital files to sell because they’re easy to create (as long as you’ve got a good idea in mind to write about) and easy to promote via Instagram.
For example, An Medina is an international life coach who uses her Instagram profile with more than 460K+ followers to promote her ebooks “Serendipia” and “Luz dentro de ti” (“Light inside you”).
Pro tip: Create a unique hashtag for your product so that you can track all reviews, and customer feedback about it on Instagram – like An did for her ebook (see below).
12. Cookbooks & recipes
Let’s face it – everyone loves good food, especially Instagram users. Food is one of those few distinct niches that always performs well on the photo-sharing platform and is one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram.
So, if you’re into exploring recipes that could make people’s taste buds feel as if in heaven, selling cookbooks and food-related items might just be your way to Instagram stardom and extra income.
Food vlogger and cookbook author Danni Rose is one of the successful examples. Posting mouth-watering videos on her Instagram profile of 133K followers is the perfect way to advertise her cookbook “Haywoods Place: Juke Joint Comfort Food”.
Pro tip: If you’re selling recipes and cookbooks, show off the end product (in this case, the meal) in the most delicious way. Here’s a very tempting and steaming video of Danni’s oven shrimp boil that easily makes one want to check out her recipe book.
13. Gaming items
Did you know that the average salary in esports (or video game competitions) is $60 000, and that top esports players can earn millions of US dollars a year?
Even if you’re not going pro in video gaming or developing your own game, there are still ways you can earn in the industry that’s expected to be worth over $90 billion by 2020. Some of your options include creating gaming items, like skins, in-game items, thumbnails, and other aesthetic content.
Pro tip: Make sure the game whose items you’re going to sell allows in-game loot to be sold outside the game interface. Some of the games that allow this kind of trading are Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite (which is also one of the most important video games in 2018), as well as Dota 2.
14. Magic tricks
Making money with magic doesn’t have to involve performing on the streets. Nowadays, your magic tricks can be sold as digital files on your online shop.
For example, Chris Ramsay is a magician who entertains people at private and corporate events. He also shares his tips on starting a solo career in the magic industry via Instagram and his highly popular YouTube channel and sells his magic tricks online.
15. Subscriptions & memberships
People love being a part of an important and like-minded community – especially if it provides them with exclusive knowledge they can’t acquire elsewhere. Selling subscriptions and memberships is your chance to offer that unique know-how and make a little extra income by doing so.
Take musician and entrepreneur Adam McInnis as an example. Among his multiple businesses, like producing and writing songs, he has also launched a successful online membership business that has helped him earn $20K in 2 months.
In his Billboard 500 Club memberships, which cost from $29 to $59 a month, he invites customers to join a private group of real music industry enthusiasts. In the group, songwriters, top producers, managers, and agents treat the club members to the secrets of the industry in live podcasts.
Pro tip: Use the Instagram TV feature to share longer video insights about your digital product. Adam shares a lot of tips and video fragments from his podcasts to show what the customers will get when purchasing his memberships.
Sponsored content & affiliate marketing
16. Brand sponsorship
So what exactly does a paid Instagram sponsorship really mean? It means posting promotional content on your feed and get any kind of compensation in return. Sometimes you can even choose the form of compensation – money or a free product.
I know what you’re thinking:
“I have to be a big shot influencer to score a brand sponsorship on Instagram.”
This isn’t entirely true.
Whether you have just started building your Instagram following or have already reached the level of a micro-influencer (between 1K–500K followers), there is no reason why you shouldn’t try to make some money on Instagram.
When Spotify decided to promote its Discover Weekly feature, they’ve started hunting for micro-influencers. Their only task was to post “in a style and context suitable to your usual Instagram look and feel.”
As many as 13 micro-influencers participated in the campaign, posting witty, hyperlocal snaps of their Discover Weekly playlists. The campaign was a hit, achieving 28,998 likes and comments, 1.27% engagement, and just 11 cents per engagement.
If you’re a newbie in the Instagram influencer marketing world, it’s your lucky day. As we have created a list of top six marketing platforms that help influencers connect with brands:
To sum up, here are few tips for a crisp start as a paid Instagram influencer:
- It’s very important to comply with FTC regulations and include tags like #ad or #sponsored.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you want to be paid for your work but the brand you’re interested in hasn’t mentioned the topic of the money at all, ask them directly what is the budget for the project and what they can offer.
- Stick to your guns when negotiating compensation! Don’t be afraid to say no if you feel that you’re offered less than you think you’re worth.
- Make sure you sign a contract! Make it a rule – no contract means no work.
17. Earn extra with affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing involves signing up with a brand or a company and then promoting their services or products. If someone buys a product or signs up for service following a link posted by you, the commission falls into your pocket.
Why are affiliate programs perfect for Instagrammers? Because you don’t actually have to sell anything yourself. Instead of figuring out how to create your own product, you can help someone else sell theirs. The sweetest part is that you’re actually taking some part of their profit. All you need is a feed that is easy on the eyes and a fair amount of followers.
There’s a ton of affiliate programs available for you to start monetizing your Instagram now. Here are the top affiliate marketing networks to consider if you are just getting started:
18. Selling Instagram accounts
Building an Instagram account takes time, energy and resources. Most of the brands and companies are ready to use the advantages of Instagram marketing, but they aren’t ready to commit to growing a hot Instagram account.
Have you cracked the code of attracting niche followers? Earn money by helping other businesses do the same. Or make it instead of them!
Choose a popular niche, and do your magic with attracting the followers and then offer the account for sale. A lot of businesses out there would be happy to begin social marketing campaigns to increase brand awareness, traffic and sales. You just need to find the right niche and the right customer.
Pro tip: Here are some platforms that can help you sell Instagram accounts:
19. Become a brand ambassador
If you’ve managed to become a strong influencer, you have a good chance of becoming a brand ambassador. This happens when a company wants to establish and maintain an ongoing partnership with you to create content over a period of time and maybe even forever.
Here are three steps to being successful as a successful brand ambassador:
Build clear brand identity. Always treat the top six photos of your feed like a resume. Make sure the flow of your feed is clear and aesthetically pleasing.
Sell yourself. This might be a challenging task but big brands are always on the hunt for people who can showcase all aspects of their personality.
Build a follower base and boost your engagement. This goes without saying, but in order to be successful when promoting a brand you need an audience to whom you can promote it.
Selling merchandise and apparel
Are you already a creator on Instagram or on your way to become the next greatest Insta blogger? Try and earn some extra money by launching your merch campaign!
One of the great examples of merch you can sell is T-shirts. In order to bring this idea to life you would have to launch an online T-shirt shop. As soon as you’ve done that, you can start promoting it and Instagram posts are one of the best ways to do it. Once the post is in your feed it remains there for everyone to see.
There are several ways to promote your T-shirts: cute shots of you (or someone else) wearing product samples or flat-lays of t-shirts. To boost sales, you can also include the following information:
- Tell a story of what has inspired you to create a merch collection
- Be crystal clear on where and how your followers can buy the products, e.g. “Link in bio if you want to get your own!”
- Don’t forget about promo codes that your followers can use to get a discount
Founder of @run.5050 is showing good examples with promoting his “Fueled By Water” T-shirt campaign. He has posted several photos of him and others wearing his t-shirts.
Pro tip: The above actually applies not only to selling T-Shirts but to any kind of merch – hoodies, caps, mugs, etc.
21. Denim with Original Drawings and Prints
The world of fashion is hungry and heartless. In order to survive you always need to think outside the box and be able to come up with fresh ideas. In other words, creativity is the key to survival.
Meet Nadia Mary Florence @ndmryflrnc.dnm – a great example of making a creative fashion idea come to reality. She’s started an unusual business of hand painting denim jackets and selling them on Etsy, promoting it on Instagram. With the comeback of denim fashion in 2020, her Instagram following of just about 2K followers, keeps growing in popularity.
Pro tip: Etsy functions as a marketplace with tough competition from other sellers. Try starting your own eCommerce store to sell your product through your own custom storefront. It is easier than you think.
Don’t get me wrong—you don’t always have to invent something new to be successful in the fashion business. Sometimes, on the contrary, it can be very useful to look at something that seems to be old.
Appreciation of vintage clothing from fashion legends like Kate Moss and Bay Garnett gave an enormous boost to second-hand fashion. In other words vintage is in. With more people open to pre-worn wear, it’s easier than ever to make money from selling retro fashion.
There are tons of valuable items in the thrift shops just laying around, waiting for someone with a unique sense of style to discover them. If you’re ready to spare some time and legwork in looking for your first collection, you can make it work.
Just like @dalenavintage who started selling vintage items that were “hand-selected for their beauty, purity, and quality” back in 2008, steadily growing an interest and client base over the years.
The good news is that Instagram has become the hottest platform for promoting vintage fashion. Starting your own little vintage online shop is easier than you think and does not require any technical experience at all.
Selling trending products
23. Original art
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Instagram has heavily influenced the art market. Vogue has even recently called Instagram the “World’s Most Talked-About New Art Dealer.”
This may be because Instagram has one great advantage over other social media platforms – pronounced lack of words; it is overwhelmingly visual and experiential.
Of course, Instagram is not a magical solution and it definitely won’t work for every artist. But if you can learn to use it effectively, you will be surprised by the results you can achieve. Not only in terms of growing the number of followers but also in terms of presenting and selling your work.
24. Reusable bags
We hear it everywhere – plastic is dangerous for our environment. It’s high time for everyone to switch from plastic to a cute reusable shopping bag. Reusable shopping bags are huge now. Forbes has even called it The New Must-Have Luxury Item.
Instagram has definitely become the main hangout spot for those who want to transition to a greener lifestyle and buy from brands with a purpose.
So if you’re willing to become a successful ecopreneur and have a great idea for a reusable bag design, Instagram is definitely a way for promoting your product. All you have to do is start your online shop and follow the guidelines to promote your brand.
Pro tip: Share a little bit about yourself. Mention why ecology is important to you. Sometimes personality is what makes a brand stand out.
25. Detox tea/juice
Another huge hit on Instagram now is everything related to a healthy lifestyle. The US corporate wellness market is likely to reach around $15.5 billion by 2024. In 2020, going organic with your business is a good idea as a lot of attention goes to a positive impact of body detoxification.
Let’s take @spartandetox as an example. Their Instagram account that promotes a smoothie detox and juice cleanse program to more than 20K followers.
Pro tip: Share how’s your journey been so far. Being real and raw about your experiences throughout your sustainable lifestyle and the ethical business journey will help gain the trust of your customers.
26. Organic Skincare
If you don’t believe in the positive effect of detox, you cannot deny the power of quality skincare.
It’s no surprise that the organic skincare beauty market has rocketed in 2020. Over the years, people have become more aware of what it is hat they are actually putting on their skin.
As a result, hundreds of new skincare companies have formed to meet this new demand for safe, natural beauty products. If you’re running (or have an awesome idea to launch) an organic skincare line, you might just have hit the jackpot.
27. Enamel Pins
If you’ve been looking to start a trendy low-cost business, selling enamel pins is one of the best to undertake in 2020.
The most brilliant thing is that instead of making big investments in the promotion campaign you can use Instagram to launch it. If you know how to monetize your project, you will start making money in the blink of an eye.
Nutmeg and Arlo is an extraordinary example of the enamel pin business. They have over 50K followers on Instagram and have made almost 20k sales on Etsy since joining in 2016. Sounds appealing, doesn’t it?
Pro tip: Keep in mind Instagram’s algorithms—captions and hashtags are crucial for target audience engagement. Know your field and conduct a small research on the most popular.
28. Pet products
Did you know that the global pet care market is projected to surpass US$270 billion by 2025?
Take The Polkadog Bakery as an example. They are a treat boutique for dogs and also marketing gurus. They take their followers behind the scenes of their business.
What is great about their marketing strategy? They manage to tell a story of their brand without even hinting on how good their treats are. But trust me, no one who is following them on Instagram would ever doubt that Polkadogs Bakeries handmade dog treats are of the highest quality.
With millions of “pet parents” all over the world, it isn’t surprising that this niche looks so promising. Here are the top five popular pet products to sell next year:
1. Pet beds. Traditionally, pet beds were stiff in design. But with this fluffy pet bed, we see a more comfortable pet bed being made for our furry friends.
2. Multifunctional biting toys. Not a regular biting toy— it cleans your pet’s teeth!
3. Dog seat covers. Everyone would love to keep their car clean while taking their pet to a vet or a store.
4. Pet Grooming Sets. Taking your pet to a professional groomer is a pricey experience. More and more people are interested in home grooming, and that’s when grooming sets come in handy.
5. Personalized Pet Collars. It may seem that a pet collar is a typical search-based product. However, the fact of personalization makes an item more of an impulse buy.
Selling lessons and tutorials
29. Music lessons
Offering lessons is another great way musicians can make extra money. However, why visit students at home when you can reach a far larger audience (in less time) by publishing your music lessons online?
Take a look at Dan Mumm’s music tutorials which are truly the full package. Aside from video courses, his tutorial packages also include a PDF ebook, guitar tabs and even a backing track that students can play in the background when learning to pick the right chords. Needless to say, you’ll find the link of Dan’s online store in his Instagram profile:
Pro tip: Always post the link of your online store in the URL section of your profile if you want to monetize Instagram. Having it up there at all times will increase direct traffic.
30. Photography tutorials
They say that knowledge is power. But we also know for a fact that knowledge can mean additional income – especially in photography, an incredibly expansive topic where there’s always more to learn.
By sharing basic or advanced know-hows about composition, photo editing, color correction, and retouching, you can help others expand their knowledge and help yourself make a living. Besides, the more unique and rare your tips are, the higher the monetary value of your tutorials.
Keydrin Keylo Franklin, the photographer behind 924 Photography, sells tutorials on color grading photos and teaches his dodge & burn action used in skin editing.
Pro tip: Create an actionable contest on your Instagram page to increase engagement, get more people to visit your profile – and thus check out your product. For example, Keydrin occasionally launches the “Who did it better?” contest where his followers judge which version of a photo was edited or retouched better.
31. Workout guides & challenges
Fitness influencers are one of the most popular sectors of influencers on Instagram, always striving to post content related to sports, working out, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
If you’re one of the people who loves being healthy and fit (and love to talk about it), perhaps this is your best path to Instagram monetization. Gina Scarangella is one of the successful examples within this category. Gina is a gymnast and registered nurse who’s also into calisthenics and sells workout challenges on her online store.
Pro tip: When selling digital products related to the health and fitness industry, your body is the best platform for showcasing the effect. Post as much content as you can that shows the results of your workout routine. For example, Gina’s Instagram account is full of videos with her jumping and twirling in the air – a result you wish you’d be able to achieve when completing her 30-day upper body challenge.
32. Online coaching
Aside from workout programs, online coaching is another digital product you can sell if you’re into fitness and want to monetize Instagram.
For example, Flavio Raponi sells online coaching that includes a personalized nutrition and training plan, as well as consistent check-ins with Flavio as a personal coach. That way, customers get to monitor their progress and ask any questions.
Pro tip: Similarly to Lightroom presets, show before and after photos how your coaching would affect one’s physique by using yourself as an example.
33. Style tutorials
The beauty and fashion industry is yet another booming market to enter, and creating unique style tutorials is a great way to do so.
For example, Guia Cero sells videos of extreme and alternative haircuts where you can see the models going through different stages of hairdos – a bob with bangs, a mohawk, and even a completely bald head. Not only educational, the transformational content that Guia posts on her Instagram account is also very entertaining!
Pro tip: Guia Cero’s unique hair tutorials prove that there’s a niche for Instagram monetization for everyone. Try and determine yours by identifying what your interests and passions are and considering how profitable that niche is.
Ready to sell on Instagram?
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to monetize Instagram. Now, what you have to do is – pick a strategy and start showcasing your digital goods!
Good luck, and happy selling!
Ritvars is the marketing lead at Sellfy.