How to Make Money on Instagram – Without Millions of Followers

In our previous post, we’ve shared How to Make Money Online as a Malaysian Influencer. In this article, we’ll dive a little deeper into the scope of Instagram:
1. Why Instagram is still relevant in 2021 & beyond
2. How many followers do you need to start making money
3. How to get your first 3,000 followers on Instagram
4. 3 Ways you can make money on Instagram once you have followers
5. Easiest, 5-steps to make money on Instagram with Involve
Let’s start with answering your burning question, is Instagram still relevant?

Why Instagram is Still Relevant in 2021 & Beyond

Most popular social media networks worldwide – Source: Sprout Social

Instagram is the 6th most popular social network worldwide as of July 2020, according to Sprout Social, beating out TikTok by 282 million more active users, and this number is steadily growing.

Active Instagram users by age – Source: Statista

According to Statista, more than 50% of its active users are between 18 and 34. Thus, making Instagram the perfect platform to visualize products that appeal to these demographics, such as:
  • Beauty
  • Health & fitness
  • Travel
  • Fashion
  • Lifestyle
  • Business
  • Animals
Now that we have proved that Instagram is still relevant and a necessary tool for promotion, how many followers do you need?

How Many Instagram Followers Do You Need To Start Making Money?

Image source: Freepik

According to interviews from Involve’s Publishers, most Instagramers start to make decent money and get brand deals when they have an average of 3,000 organic followers.
What’s the logic with having 3,000 organic followers? You’ll achieve one of the 2 things:
1. Whatever you’ll be promoting will reach out to at least a few thousand people, and some of them are bound to click on your link, and a smaller percentage of that will buy. It’s a number game.
2. 3,000 followers might be the minimum requirement (an unspoken rule) for some brands to start noticing and take you seriously.
3,000 followers is what you should be aiming for before you even think about making money. Which leads us to the next section:

[Expert Advice]: Do Not Buy Your Followers!

Image source: Freepik

Most Instagram Influencers would recommend not to buy followers. Here are 3 reasons why you should not buy online followers:
1. These followers are bots. People can see it right away because you’ll have many followers but too few engagements in each of your posts.
2. Whenever you post something, nobody will buy it because bots don’t buy your recommendations. Real followers do!
3. Brands know that you’re buying followers (often they have scanning tools), they’ll avoid you like the plague.

How to Get Your First 3,000 Organic Followers on Instagram

Image Source: Freepik

Here are tips from our Top Publishers boiled down to 4 points for your Instagram success:
1. Forget about selling anything until you reach 3,000 organic followers and focus on building your audience by creating quality, engaging content.
2. Pick a niche and stick to it! Pick a topic that interests you, and don’t stray too far. E.g., if you’re a beauty blogger, stick to beauty products and not politics.
3. Post helpful and entertaining content. The world is full of mediocre, meh content. Create useful, unique content and inject a bit of your personality in there!
4. Be Consistent! You have to show up regularly on Instagram and be active with your posting. Plan out your content in advance and make a schedule so you’ll never miss a post, no matter how busy you are.

3 Ways You Can Make Money On Instagram Once You Have Enough Followers

Image source: Freepik

Once you have 3,000 followers, there are 3 ways you can make money on Instagram:
1. Method 1: – Medium difficulty: Sell your own products
2. Method 2: – Difficult: Get brand sponsorships
3. Method 3: – Easiest for newbie: Affiliate Marketing
Method 1: Sell Your Own Products
The best way to make money is to sell your own products. Let’s take an example of Thrift Garage, a thrift store on Instagram:

Thrift Garage’s Instagram profile – Source: Instagram

This method works for people who have their own product or service to sell. But what if you don’t? That would make us go to the next method, Get Sponsorships from Brands.
Method 2: Get Sponsorships from Brands
Alright, you picked a niche, created great content, and amassed thousands of followers. Sooner or later, brands are bound to notice you!
Product sponsorship is when brands think that your influence is strong enough and provides you with free products. In return, they need to do a product review for the brands and share the review content to the Instagrammer’s followers
Let’s take a look at an example from one of Involve’s Publisher, Wirda Wina, an Instagram food reviewer:

One of Wirda Wina’s sponsored post – Source: Instagram

Wirda worked hard to build a following on Instagram by reviewing food products, and that got her over 35,000 followers on her Instagram profile.
Food brands love to sponsor Influencers with many followers like Wirda by sending her free samples and sometimes cash vouchers for her to create food review videos.
But getting brand sponsorship is hard for someone new with little followers. So if you’re starting and have less than 3,000 followers, the easiest way to make money is using the following method; Affiliate Marketing.
Method 3 (Easiest): Through Affiliate Marketing

Image source: Freepik

Affiliate Marketing is when you get paid for promoting other people’s products or services online.
Example: Iena Eliena is a Malaysian Blogger who is active on Instagram that talks about fashion, beauty and food. She does not have her own products to sell.
Most of her followers follow Iena Eliena for her cheerful personality and her honest review of her favorite products. Let’s take a look at Affiliate Marketing in action: Here, she promotes health products from Royale Pharma:

Iena Eliena’s Affiliate content – Source: Instagram

In the description of her review, she inserted several links. Those are her Affiliate links. If one of Iena Eliena’s followers click on her Affiliate link and ends up buying, Iena Eliena will receive a commission.
This process of earning a commission for a sale for promoting someone else’s product online is called Affiliate Marketing.
With around 3000 organic followers on Instagram, you too can start Affiliate Marketing as explained in the next section:

5-Steps to Make Money on Instagram with Involve

1. Create quality content and build your audience to around 3000 followers.
2. Register as a Publisher with Involve.
3. Pick a related product & copy the product link from the Advertiser.
4. Paste & generate your Affiliate link for that product with our Deeplink Generator.
5. Promote your content with the link.
Here’s a screenshot of how you can generate your Affiliate link with our Deeplink generator:

Insert your Affiliate link into your content and promote to your audience.
Pretty easy right? Start your Affiliate Marketing journey today with Involve, if you have not registered as a Publisher with Involve, click the button below:
Register as Publisher