Top Ways To Make Money Using Instagram

Top Ways To Make Money Using Instagram

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Early in the year, I posted an Instagram picture of a physical product I sell through my online store. In the following four hours I made 0 from that one picture. Not a bad return on investment of my time hey?

In this post I’ll how to use Instagram to get the most marketing buck for your business and three steps (+ action items)to making a profit using your Instagram account.

Technology has fundamentally changed the way that we do business. But it’s also changed the way we view the world. Our attention spans are shorter… what? Oh look, a bunny rabbit riding a uni-cycle.

Wait. Where were we?

Right. Instagram.

Let me first share some pretty mind-boggling stats.


Monthly Actives


People Outside U.S.


Photos Shared


Likes Daily



What is it about Instagram?

We’re becoming more visually oriented because that is one of the easiest way to project a message to our flickering minds in a really short time. ‘They say’ a picture conveys a thousand words, and this is true on Instagram.

While the platform still has its irks and eccentricities, there can be a powerful marketing opportunity within the site, we simply have to take the time to realise how to leverage it to its full potential… but you don’t need to be a social media expert.

Step One: The first thing to do is to create an account. Why of course! And then post your first picture. But before you do, I want you to have a browse through these Instagram accounts.

They all have one thing in common. They choose a style and they stick to it. It’s part of their branding. It’s a message to their followers. We like beauty. We like style.  This is ours.  You’ll find that the most beautiful Instagram accounts all have a complete look of cohesion about them, even though the style may differ account to account.

Why is this important? We are attracted to beauty. It’s an innate human desire and now that we have monkey minds, we want to be able to immerse ourselves in that beauty as quickly as possible. Having a consistent and cohesive brand story is the easiest way to share that on Instagram. We don’t want to, nor have the time to hunt through dodgy pics to get to your stunners.

Instagram is a visual marketing medium so you want to make sure that you are able to tell a consistent brand story. It makes your account more recognisable and it means that you’ll get followers who’re engaged with your brand before they even know exactly what it’s about. Then it’s your job to warm them up to your offers.

Branding cohesion and style will work in your profit favour by building an audience who come for your pics and stay for your products or service. 

Action item #1. Begin to create your brand using an identifiable visual style on your Instagram account. It doesn’t matter if your photo’s are completely hodge-podge up until now. Here’s an example of my account from the first few months and then now.

make money using instagram

My Instagram account when I started.


how to make money using Instagram

My Instagram Account Today

 Step Two: Become engaged

I have created relationships with people via Instagram who have been pivotal in my business. There’s women I’ve never met in person who have had asked me to be interviewed on their blogs, who have offered me their houses when I have been travelling, who have given me much needed advice and who have been my sounding boards and support if I needed to open up a service or product for testing.

You need to get chatting to people on Instagram. Respond with a simple. ‘Love this picture’, and a picture that you do love. You gotta’ keep it real! Let your favourite Instagrammer’s know you adore their accounts. Do a re-gram (but not with that uurrrrgly re-gram picture in the bottom or top of the picture folks, please!). Take a screen shot of their picture and share with a note recognising who it has come from. Give them some good loving vibes and ask others to go check out their accounts.

You may well have them return the favour… IF:

  • Other people with beautiful accounts wont want to re-gram your pics if you haven’t followed step one (see above).
  • Make sure pictures that you re-gram suit YOUR branding and style story.

Quick tip: Re-grams can be perfect for your dry spells on Instagram… or when you have no good pics to share that match your style.Choose another pic that matches your story and suits the story of what you have to sell.

Action Item #2: Get out your phone babe. Choose a hot account you love and let them know. Re-gram a favourite picture that suits your brand and style story and tag that account.

Step Three: Take key opportunities (but don’t slime yourself all over the place)

Sell. Do not post a sales picture on Instagram more than once or twice a week. Max. The only reason my one picture was worth $390 was because I only post at strategic times. If I was plastering my account with my sales message, peeps be leaving for sure!

Once again… choose a picture that suits your brand and style story. Try not to have to add words to your pics, this can detract from your account. Try and choose a picture that tells a story of what you sell.

Here’s three examples of pictures I’ve used in sales. The last one with the clipboard was my $390 pic. 

kombucha home-brew 2  kombucha-homebrewkombucha Sales Offer

I always use a paragraph to explain beneath the picture with what my offer is using a value proposition. As an example, for the middle picture this was what I had written.

While we have people boxing up Kombucha SCOBY’s in Melbourne to post to you, I’ve still got (always got) my personal brew with me. I drink one glass a day, as do my tiddly winks and my Mum.
Kombucha is an excellent probiotic beverage and one that not only adds functional healing qualities to a diet, helps to crowd out the desire for not-so-healthy choices like soft drink, coffee or alcohol.
You can purchase an organic SCOBY and starter culture from The Whole Daily, through the link in my bio or xx alice

The above works because I’m not just saying ‘You should buy this’. I tell a story, I let my followers into my world. They know I’m away from home, they know my Mum drinks this. I then give a reason why people would want to buy it and then I share where they can get it from. As with my most successful pic to date, there is also a call to action. Do not miss this. Make sure your audience knows you’re selling something and ask them to go and buy it. 

IMPORTANT: Make sure your Instagram account is integrated with your Facebook page so that your sales message crosses both mediums. While your weblink wont be clickable in your Instagram caption, it will on Facebook and you can get buyers from there as well. 

Action Item #3: Get a sales picture prepared. 

If you have something to sell, get a sales picture prepared. In that picture you need to be able to be consistent with your brand story and visual style, give a valuable ‘why’ and add a call to action.

If you are a person selling a personal service, like a coach, here’s some tips for you.

  • Is your coaching room beautiful? Can you take a picture of an element of that?
  • Can you share a personal way you walk your talk? Herbal tea, exercise, drawing, meditation etc.
  • Is there a quote you can share that reflects what you do or the results you wish for your clients to get?

Final words: Don’t let the belief that you need to post constantly take over your life. When you reach a certain amount of pictures, you can get away with posting twice a week as long as they are quality and again, match your branding. People won’t unfollow you for posting less if you remember to make it a quality visual story. 

For this reason I have personally had a lack of success with setting up images ahead of time, such as with a Schedugram. Though many people love it. I prefer to have a moment take me over and then share that in my own time.

Don’t shy away from using your account to sell yourself. You deserve to receive financial return for the valuable work that you do.

Now, I want to hear from you…

Do you use Instagram for marketing?

Have you had success?

What works for you?





Top Ways To Make Money Using Instagram was last modified: January 17th, 2016 by Alice Nicholls



21 Responses to "Top Ways To Make Money Using Instagram"
  1. Hahaha couldn’t help but laugh when I saw the pics from your older instragram account, I was like OH NO THIS IS WHAT MINE LOOKS LIKE! :p Really good tips Alice – thank you for sharing xx

    • Big-Time Blogger says:

      Hope I didn’t offend!!! Crystal babe, your Instagram account is exactly where is needs to be right now for you to be where you need to be in a year. I can’t see your before and after through 2015. I’ll be checking back. X

  2. Bree Cleal says:

    Great post. Everything you’ve listed I feel like I’ve just nutted out. It’s all fallen into place a bit like a Tetris game! 😉 Instagram takes a while to get your head around but it’s worth the effort, it’s a happening place!

    @imageffect @whimsieandbliss

    • Big-Time Blogger says:

      You got it goin’ orrrrn. Rock on Sista. I actually find the better you get at it, the less time you spend on it. You think? (side note* I finally gave up scrolling mindlessly in 2015).

    • Anitra says:

      hell everyone!! OHIO DID THE DAMN THANG!!! Shoutouts to all volunteers who helped make the re-election of President Obama possible. Special shoutout to the students of Southern U and Spelman College who came to Cleveland to help GOTV!! HBC#&U8217;s rule!!!!

  3. sue says:

    Oh Alice, thank you for this post! In the sea of emails that come flooding into my inbox every day, yours is one that I always take a moment to look at.
    They never fail to make me smile, or to bring value… love your work!
    This one was a beauty! My insta SO wants to look like your ‘after’ shot, but can veer to the slightly tattier side… time to pull my finger out and clean house!
    Thanks heaps. xxx

    • Big-Time Blogger says:

      Using all organic cleaning products of course… 😉 Be kind to you and your other dodgy pictures… 😉 They are still the you that you are/were then. Simply getting some more calculated hustle in your midst. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Susie Garden says:

    Alice, yet again you cut through the BS and tell it like it is. Thanks so much for such a useful and inspiring post. I want to overhaul my Insty big time right now!

    Thanks for the motivation x

    • Big-Time Blogger says:

      Thanks for being here Susie. I think this all the time… nobody is immune. I wont to delete the first year of my Instagram life… and yet, it’s just a different story of me. Really though I CAN see the difference in profit form now to then. Different mindset, different behaviour = different results. I earned nothing of it then so not surprising with change comes growth. 🙂 Keep being awesome.

  5. Amy Booker says:

    I feel like I just had a light bulb moment! I am inspired to “fix” aka improve my account. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. mel says:

    Thanks for the post Alice. As I embark on trying to grow my social media presence this post was perfect!! Great tips. I think number one is the thing I’m finding the hardest; finding an identifiable visual style. Do you have any other tips on how to decide what your style is? Thanks for your generosity, Mel.

  7. Jacinda says:

    I must say I never jumped on the Instagram wagon when it landed on the planet until my teen daughter told me I simply had to have an account to sell my skin care lotion. She occasionally put up snaps for me and said she would manage it so I could focus on making the lotion. Well, as with all teens, that fell by the wayside. Now I have found your BlogClub and read this article, I am super excited to understand how Instagram can work for me. She did do a good job with what I gave her to work with, but Im going to jump in the driver’s seat now, revamp, rejig and get my sales ON! Thank you so much, look forward to learning so much more in this ever changing world we live in x

  8. Alice what I really loved here is how you said not to delete the previous feed but work from now on making it consistent in branding.
    I love that you let your feed still show your growth which is beautiful and real.

    All for authenticity always. Thanks for these handy tips, I’m going to be implementing them as of tonight!

  9. Love this post Alice. Some great tips that I will keep in mind. I like that you don’t use a scheduler. I often worry about trying to post enough and thought about planning and scheduling posts but something feels off to me about that. In some ways it feels like I’m manufacturing content and trying to make myself and my life look a certain way, when in reality it isn’t really like that. I think it’s about finding that balance between being authentic and strategic. It can be a rather blurry line and I’m still trying to find it for myself Thanks for sharing. N x x

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