Make money on Instagram with just 500 followers in 2020 (Detailed Guide)

Make money on Instagram with just 500 followers in 2020 (Detailed Guide)

There is no doubt that Instagram has gained popularity fairly quickly. With over one billion active users, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platform. Due to large active user base, it has become easier to make money on Instagram even if you don’t have a large following.

I have tried multiple ways to monetize my Instagram and failed until I finally learnt how to make money on Instagram. In this detailed guide, I will explain how to start your Instagram from scratch up to how you can build a business.

Content Creation Master Plan

First things first, you need to switch to a business account. I will explain later in this blog why it is necessary. Before you start posting content, you need to select a niche. Suppose you choose photography as your niche, you can post your amazing photos on your page which will eventually help you grow. All you require is a nice camera and you’re good to go. Depending on your first 10-20 photos people will decide whether they will follow you or not.

Keeping that in mind you should always make sure you post your best work. You can even use editing software like Adobe Photoshop to make your content look even better. Always keep a consistent theme with beautiful colors that match up. Additionally, the post should tell the story behind to the audience. People tend to follow you if you provide value. You need to be sure of what you want people visiting your profile to see.

Apps to create great photos

make money on instagram

If you plan on creating content on your phone, Adobe Spark Post is one of the best options available. It supports both Android and iOS. You can even use their stock images wherever required. Most of the features they offer are free. You will not require the premium package in the beginning. Even if you do subscribe their paid subscription it will only cost you $9.99 per month and $99.99 annually.

Alternative to Adobe is Canva, most of the influencers use Canva to create beautiful images. You can use it on your phone and pc as well. Few of the features are free but if you plan on using it to build your page then I would suggest you to sign up for premium subscription.

What to post to make money on Instagram

make money on instgram

While posting your amazing pics, you can even repost content of other people as well. Choose the content that is already doing well and post it on your page. Do not forget to give them credit. This strategy allows you to post a lot of content and be really active all the time.

Though this is a good strategy but it is not good to always post someone else’s content. It’s better to have 1 in 8 post that is not yours. you need to have a lot of good content to make money on Instagram.

How to find the best performing content to repost?

You need to look for great accounts in your niche with content similar to yours, that can easily integrate with your theme. Of course, you don’t want to repost your competitors’ content, because you don’t want to promote them, but those that have products or businesses related to your own. So for example, if you have a fashion-related Instagram profile you could sometimes post a picture with a nice watch or other times a picture with a great travel destination and so on.

When looking in your market for great content to repost you need to search for top performing images – with lots of comments and likes and basically engagement. But also look in your community what other people are reposting, the influencers in your market, your competitors. Try to get your inspiration from other huge accounts.

Posting Strategies to Make Money on Instsgram

Most of the people get confused with how many posts they should create to start reaching larger audience. All the studies and research done says that consistency is the key to become successful on Instagram. The conclusions from those studies suggests that posting 2-3 times a day is sufficient.

This is because in order for your IG account to grow fast and long term you need engaged and loyal followers. The more these followers engage with your content the higher your content is valued and shown to them. The one thing all these followers want is consistency though. This is both in the type of content you share and how much of it you give them.

It is true that Instagram is a visual medium and many people concentrate on the images alone. However, captions are as important as the image. You’ll never be able to constantly produce award winning images and videos and even if you do, unless you have a highly recognized brand people will often miss them. This is where the captions come to your aid.

You can use your caption in many inventive ways in order to attract the attention of your followers and visitors and make them engage with your content. After all, it’s all about engagement. The more likes and comments your posts have the better they are ranked, and will be shown to more and more people.

Hashtag Research to Make Money on Instagram

Hashtags on Instagram have special pages named “hashtag feeds”. All posts that used that hashtag are shown on those pages. So each time you use a hashtag in the caption of your post, that post will be shown on that hashtag’s feed under “latest posts”. On top of that, if your post has a lot of engagement it means that it’s interesting and people like it so Instagram also shows it on the “top posts” section for that hashtag, where everyone who visits that hashtag sees it. This all translates in a lot of free, easy to get organic traffic for your account.

On top of this, people can follow hashtags now. So this means that you can end up on someone’s feed even if he’s not a follower. If you do and they like what they see they will likely become followers though.

Doing the hashtag research

make money on instagram

Yes, this step will take some time but it’s really important and if you do it correctly you’ll only have to do it once. The idea is that you’ll gather a portfolio of the best hashtags in your industry and use them as needed every time you post. This way you don’t need to come up with hashtags as you post and are sure to get the highest possible return because you’re always using the right hashtags.

There are two ways to do your hashtag research: manually or using a tool. I use an android app called in Tags. There are many other similar apps that you can use to see how many people are following the hashtags you plan on using.

In a single post, you can use up to 30 hashtags. Though it is not really necessary to use all 30. I use 15-20 hashtags in each of my posts and I am able to generate desirable results.

Best Posting Time

You’ll find a lot studies and research online telling you the exact days and times you need to post on in order to get the maximum exposure. Unfortunately, it’s all based on the limited data they had at their disposal. And the chance of it working out of the box for you is slim to none. This is because it all depends on several factors that are completely different from account to account and also constantly changing.

You’ll have to keep in mind however that your account will keep growing so this data will obviously change over time as you’ll be getting more and more followers. So this is not a one-time research but rather a constant thing you’ll need to do. Fortunately, you too will gather more and more data in time so it will get easier.

Here are some times of the day to start your data gathering off, based on the top research done till now:

  • Higher engagement is reported on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays during the morning commute (8 am to 9 am), late at night (2 am), end of the 9-to-5 workday (5 pm)
  • You should also experiment with Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays between 9 am and 6 pm
  • Videos are reportedly to get the most engagement between 9 pm and 8 am
  • You should post your top content during the week, as it seems overall lower engagement is seen during the weekend

Maintain a Healthy Engagement Rate

Maintaining a high engagement rate on your account is extremely important because this is how Instagram measures the health of your account and help it get discovered by more people.

After discovering your account, people might like, comment or even share your content. Or they screenshot your post to share it with their friends or even save it. All this activity around your profile is very important because Instagram uses them as metrics to judge your engagement.

So it’s very important that you build an engaged following if you want to drive sales from your Instagram page. Now, let’s see some tactics and strategies for keeping your audience active and engaged.

#1 Respond to comments

Tactic number one for making sure you have a strong engagement on your profile is to write back to people’s comments and messages. This is very important because if people are taking their time to look at what your brand is doing and leave a message you want to say thank you and show your appreciation.

#2 Do S4S (Shoutout for Shoutout)

Tactic number 2 is to do as much Shoutout for Shoutout (S4S) as possible. By doing that you get as many people as possible to share your content.
We will have quite a few lessons about this strategy and how to best approach it. But, the bottom line is that you need to be thinking about doing partnerships. Getting other people to share your content and exposing your page to other audiences. You share their own content in return. This way you will both benefit from maximum exposure and expand your reach. It’s a win-win growth tactic.

#3 Be consistent

Being consistent with your posting will keep your audience engaged. So you need to make sure you post every single day high-quality content. The more consistent you are with your posting, the faster your accounts will grow.

#4 Engage with other pages

Another great tactic to keep a strong engagement is to comment, like, engage with other Instagram accounts in your niche. Always search for new hashtags in your niche to constantly have a fresh new batch of people that you can engage with. Commenting and engaging with them will make them notice your brand, follow along and eventually buy from you. But first, you need to get their attention.

People will come and go so making sure you have a good influx of new people coming in by commenting, liking and engaging with their content.

#5 Use hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to reference images and an extremely powerful way to reach new people that might like your content. So for example, if you have a shoe brand you might want to put in the hashtags for the kind of shoe you’re promoting because people might be searching. People that are really into sneakers might be looking for that particular shoe.

Using niche and targeted hashtags is actually the one growth method recommended by Instagram to get your content in front of new people. They created this feature with this one purpose in mind: to help you get your content discovered by people interested in what you publish.

#6 Reward engagement

This is something that many big Instagram accounts are doing and have amazing success with it. For example, @garyvee had this tactic that he named “the sixty-second club” to get people commenting within sixty minutes of when he posts on Instagram. So, he encourages people to turn on notifications for his page so every time he posts a video or an image on his feed people will get a push notification on their phone and they go and write a comment because they have a chance of winning something.

Other brands have a different approach like featuring their loyal customers or the most engaged followers on their page. Or even using giveaways to spark up the engagement and reward the lucky few that will win the contest.

Another tactic to grow your engagement rate is to have a clear call to action in your caption or even in your post.

Can you make money on Instagram?

Yes, you can! There has been a myth going around that you need hundreds of thousands of followers to make money on Instagram. That is not true. You can make money on Instagram with just as low as 500 followers. In fact, there are multiple ways to monetize your Instagram.

You need to post constantly and provide value to your audience in order to gain loyal followers. The benefit of that is they will stay for longer than others. Before promoting anything on Instagram, you need to have an outstanding page.

Focus on your growth in the beginning by using hashtags and doing s4s with accounts similar to yours. The strategy I use is commenting on the posts of big accounts that attracts followers. I usually comment on 50 different posts that has helped me gain 70-100 followers a day. According to me this is one of the best ways to attract people to your account.

How to make money on Instagram?

I often get DM’s of people asking me “how do you make money on Instagram?”. Before you start you need to make up your mind on what monetization route you’ll take. There are many ways to earn with your account and each can involve different strategies that you have to apply. Also depending on what you want to do you can start monetizing right away. There is no need to wait until you reach a minimum number of followers.

Let’s talk about all the monetization options available so you have a better overview of what exactly you can do.

1. Selling your product to make money on Instagram

This is one of the main things people with a personal branded Instagram page try to do. And it’s a good strategy. Growing your followers base and having a product that you can push to them is a great way of making money. Due to the fact that it’s your own product if your followers trust you, they will more easily be swayed to check it out and buy it from you.

A product can either be a physical product, an e-book or even a service. If you control it, you get all the revenue from it and can make sure the quality is top notch. If you do this, you’re bound for success. Make money on Instagram by selling your product.

The downside to this option is that you need the product. Either create it if it’s a book or digital goods and services or alternately try dropshipping or find another good supplier that you can rely on for a physical product.

2. Becoming an affiliate

You can become an affiliate for a high quality product in your niche and sell it for a share of the profit. Here are 67+ high paying affiliate programs. I make money on Instagram using affiliate programs.

It’s a largely used method given that it’s faster to start with and you can spend most of your time on increasing your followers count and nothing else. Do the initial research, pick a good product to be an affiliate with, or even several of them if you want to have some backup and after that you’re free to only grow your account.

E-books and digital goods can go from 50% revenue share up to 70% revenue share for you. Physical products usually go from 5% to 15%. This is one of the best way to monetize a beginner.

3. Growing your email list

This is something you should do regardless of the way you’re monetizing your account, however there are people that use their account with this tactic. I use Aweber as it is one of the best email marketing platform.

It does require some skill and knowledge though. The idea is simple – create an email list of people interested in certain products (your niche). You can use that list to sell your own product or become affiliate to other products and sell them. You can continue selling to these people over and over again, especially if you create a strong connection and they trust you.

4. Working with brands

This depends on the type of account and the quality of your followers. You have multiple brands in your industry to choose from. This is something that has picked up traction lately and more and more people with really targeted accounts and a decently big following started doing.

These brands send you different kinds of products. You have to review and post about it to your followers. It works great with clothing, gadgets and pretty much all kinds of physical goods. Instagrammers even get free meals in top restaurants for a post about their time there.

This is mostly for accounts with a moderate number of followers, as the more followers you’ll have the more you’ll ask for your promotion. Accounts having hundreds of thousands of followers will also ask for money on top of the goods they receive.

5. Selling shoutouts

There are people using their Instagram account just to sell shoutouts. You should know what they are by now, but just in case – they are basically a post about someone else’s account where you mention them in the caption with a “@username”. This is used by many people to grow their own accounts by either shoutout exchanges or just buying them from accounts a lot larger than theirs. So, there are of course people that sell them. Most of the people make money on Instagram using this strategy.

Depending on how big your account is, you can make a lot of money. You can get anywhere from $10 up to $1000 and more for just a post mentioning someone else’s account.

6. Account management

Offer your services to other people to help them grow their account. You can become an account manager and actually grow accounts for other people. This has started to be a very profitable business lately. More and more people want to take advantage of Instagram. But they don’t have the money to hire a full time employee or the time and knowledge to do this themselves. This is a good way to make money on Instagram.

Depending on what businesses you find and what you actually do with those accounts you can ask for anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to $1000 and more to manage a single account per month. You will take care of its growth and everything it takes to make it successful. This might not sound much, but you don’t have to have just one client, you can have 10, 20 even 100 clients. With 50 clients at a moderate $400 per client per month you can have an income of $20.000 per month. There are people making a lot more with this tactic. And there’s space for a lot more competition as well.

7. Create content for others to make money on Instagram

This is another strategy I personally used when I started monetizing my Instagram accounts. I created posts and stories for other accounts. Depending on how much effort it will take, you can set the price for your clients. I was able to make $700 per month by creating content using Photoshop. $700 is quite decent amount for working around 2-3 hours daily at home.

It’s not an easy process, it takes effort to look for clients and work takes time as well. But if you produce quality content then you can really succeed on Instagram. I suggest you look for more than one client. That way you will be able to generate good monthly income.


Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platform. More and more people are building their business. The secret to make money on Instagram is consistency.

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