In June 2020, Instagram surpassed one billion monthly users, accounting for nearly one-eighth of the world’s population. It’s a hugely successful site with no signs of slowing down in terms of growth. Unfortunately for advertisers, the sum of money companies is paying to market their goods and services under the guise of selling on Instagram is the same. In the second quarter of this year, ad spending increased by 177 percent year over year. Impressions increased by 209%, while CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) decreased by 10%. Advertisers are pouring more money into the photo-sharing app than ever before, and they’re getting better at it. The stakes are high.

However, only about two million advertisers use Instagram every month, which is a very small percentage of the one billion users. Even if not everyone on Instagram is looking for new products or services, let alone yours, there is still plenty of potentials to use the site to sell your pretty stuff.

I’ll show you how to do it properly! If you follow these five steps for making money and moving units on Instagram, you’ll be selling like a pro in no time.

Convert your profile to a professional one. 

This isn’t groundbreaking information, but a surprising number of small business owners I speak with want to begin selling on Instagram without first completing this simple move. Converting your regular Instagram profile to a company profile unlocks a slew of useful sale and monitoring features. Here’s how to make the move before we get into those.

  • Log in to your account and go to the top right of your dashboard to the cheeseburger-looking icon. 
  • At the bottom right, tap Settings. 
  • “Switch to Business Profile” is located at the bottom of the page. 

It’s a boom! You’ve completed the task. If you ever want to return to your account (which you won’t), simply return to the same location and tap “Switch Back to Personal Account.” 

Right now! Here are some of the highlights of the features you’ll have access to once you’ve made the switch:

  • Insights from Instagram. It’s not as easy to look up a follower’s personal and demographic details on Instagram as it is, say, on Facebook. Compiling the data in aggregate is much more complicated. Instagram Insights takes care of all the legwork for you.
  • CTA (call to action) button. This appears under your bio at the top of your profile and allows people to call, email, or get directions to your company.
  • Links to other stories. Instagram, as you might know, does not allow users to connect inside their posts. There is also a limit of one website connection per bio. The ability to include links in your Instagram stories allows you to guide your followers to specific items and landing pages on your website. This is a big plus because stories are highly visible and slowly becoming a power.
  • Alignment on Facebook. You can now use Business Manager/Ads Manager to link to your Facebook business page and start running ads! This is the third step. Don’t worry, we’ll make it.

With hashtag analysis, you can bolster your organic campaigns. 

Another thing I notice once I take over a company’s Instagram account is that the owners are eager to reach out to more people but have no idea how. If you’re a serious business owner, a hashtag could make you think, “That’s a frivolous thing I don’t want to be associated with.” However, hashtags are the most effective way to increase engagement with your organic Instagram campaigns. Switching to a business profile allows you to see how many views come from hashtags and how many of the accounts you hit weren’t following you when they saw your post on a post-by-post basis. Both of those numbers will skyrocket if you get smart with hashtags.

“Hashtag research” can sound ostentatious, but it sounds nice to a customer and is useful in practice. The procedure itself is very straightforward. Check for words specific to your niche by going to Discover > Search >Tags. After that, you’ll be able to see how many posts have used that hashtag. When you use the hashtag in a tweet, it is automatically added to the Discover queue.

You’ll want to use a mix of hashtags with a high posting volume and a low posting volume. The explanation for this is that the “relatively less” variety can often be just as important, if not more so, and using them increases your chances of being noticed and engaged by a high-intent audience.

Begin running advertisements

Another common refrain I hear is, “I have a limited budget and want to make the most of it.” Many business owners believe that having a small budget disqualifies them from running Instagram ads, but this could not be further from the facts.

Executing low-budget bought Instagram advertising will offer you more bang for your buck than building and running organic campaigns if you execute well. And I know what you’re thinking: Aren’t organic campaigns free unless I hire someone to do them for me? Yes, indeed. However, Instagram advertisements have the potential for a huge return on investment, so if you do it well, you’ll be able to recoup your investment quickly.

You’ll want to resist the desire to simply tap “Promote” within the Instagram app to get the most bang for your dollars. You won’t be able to target Instagram users based on their interests or demographics, and you won’t be able to utilize Custom Audiences to remarket to Instagram users who have made specific actions on your website and persuade them to buy that widget they never bought.

If you’re selling physical goods, use Instagram shopping. 

Shopping on Instagram is a blast. The only catch is that if you’re selling services, you can’t use them. If you are, you may proceed to the next stage. If you’re an e-commerce seller, on the other hand, Instagram shopping is your best buddy. A quick rundown of how everything works and how to get started. The only difference between shopping posts and organic posts is that when visitors “tap to view products,” product names and pricing are exposed.

They’re led to a product details page with a description of the product and a CTA when they click on the tags that pop up. They proceed to a landing page from there. Making sure you have a product catalog ready to go on Facebook and activating product tagging is all that’s required to get started. Check out our piece on using shopping in Instagram stories for a more in-depth look at the procedure.

Collaborate with influencers 

Influencer marketing has been on the increase for a while, but it’s extremely popular on Instagram these days, and it’s especially popular for advertising actual things. What is the reason for this? Because putting your product in the hands, on the shoulder, or in the stomach (if you’re selling juice, for example) of an influencer gives it credibility with a large and entirely new audience.

There’s a slew of millennial Instagram influencers right now who grew up with the app and know how to use it to build and retain a loyal following. There are millions of these mini-celebrities on the app, and you can use them to promote your product for a very modest cost—most influencers charge by the follower, with prices ranging from $5 to $10 per 1,000 followers.

That means that if you only had $100 to spend on an influencer campaign, you could have a 10,000-follower influencer. That’s a total of 10,000 people who were previously unaware of your product. And, because you’re paying for both reputation and reach, this may be a more effective strategy than, say, spending $100 on an Instagram marketing campaign that reaches 10,000 people.


To truly enjoy the benefits of Instagram—to convince consumers to buy what you’re selling—you must first invest in the platform as a whole and commit to using it as a profitable channel. Don’t allow a tight budget to keep you from investing in ads, buying influencer posts, or even paying for organic campaign management. These five steps, when taken together, can help you generate a lot of money from Instagram sales. Let’s get started!

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