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Many of us use Instagram to keep up with friends and family and to post about our lives. What many people don’t realize is that you can use Instagram to start a business and make money.
You might be surprised just how many businesses you can start on Instagram — we’ve got 30 ideas for you.
Instagram business ideas
If you’re an Instagram expert and are leaning toward your own entrepreneurial endeavor, you might be ready to try out one of these Instagram business ideas.
To become an Instagram influencer, you first need a large, active following. Most Instagram influencers choose a niche that they’re passionate about and tailor the content they post to this niche.
An Instagram influencer makes money by advertising products to their followers. Many companies now pay influencers to post about their products or offer influencers a certain percentage of any sales that are made using a personalized code they give their followers.
The most successful Instagram influencers craft the perfect small-business Instagram profile by posting content that resonates with their audience in order to build a large, active community of followers. While the number of followers is important for influencers, you also want engaged followers who are actively engaging with your posts — whether to comment, share or more.
2. Instagram manager or consultant
While there’s a lot of overlap between the tasks done by an Instagram manager and an Instagram consultant, these are slightly different roles and businesses.
An Instagram manager is someone who is hired to manage someone else’s Instagram account. An Instagram manager can work with multiple clients and companies, creating and posting content on Instagram to gain them more business.
An Instagram consultant, on the other hand, operates their business as a consultant offering strategic plans and recommendations to businesses on how to use their Instagram. A consultant generally creates a plan but rarely is the one to put that plan into action.
3. Affiliate marketing
On Instagram, you can create posts or a story about certain products that you like and use. You can then share those links in your Instagram bio or through the shopping feature on Instagram.
When followers click on the link and purchase something, a small percentage of that purchase is given to you. Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize your Instagram business.
4. Product reviewer
An Instagram product reviewer typically works within a niche trying the newest products within that niche and providing honest reviews to their followers. Product reviewers gain a following by sharing honest, interesting opinions that can be trusted by others. Combine these product reviews with affiliate marketing and you’ve got a money-making Instagram business idea.
One of the reasons Instagram has been so successful as a social media channel is that it offers something unique: visuals. Instagram is all about beautiful images, photos and videos.
There are a few directions you can take this Instagram business idea:
Social media photographer: Social media photographers get together with other business owners for photoshoots that provide those business owners with content for their own Instagram channels.
Product photographer: Product photos are used by the business selling the product to market it on their website and social media.
Event photographer: Organizations or even individuals will hire you to document their events, whether official, staged photos, candids throughout the event, or a combination.
Portrait photographer: Business owners need headshots to use on their websites and social media, families need family photos, and people need pictures to celebrate big life events.
Stock photographer: What’s better than an Instagram business idea that you can operate from anywhere? Getting to travel and make money. As a stock photographer, you can travel and take photos that are sold to marketing agencies and stock photography websites for profit.
6. Photoshoot stylist
If you have a talent for styling people and products, you just might want to become a photoshoot stylist. When a business needs photos of their product, a business owner wants to look great in their photoshoot, or an influencer needs some help with their image, you can provide the styling. The best part is, all you need is an Instagram account to showcase your talent and start your business. You can also target other Instagram businesses as potential clients.
While Instagram has been all about the photos for a long time, the world’s attention is moving toward videos. Instagram stories are a great addition to any successful social media strategy. If you have an eye for capturing moving images, an Instagram business that focuses on video is timely right now.
8. E-commerce seller on Instagram
Instagram recently added a “buy” button which allows product sellers to sell directly on the 'gram. If you’re interested in selling products online, you can launch your store on Instagram and find customers directly through the app.
9. Digital product salesperson
You can sell digital downloads of ebooks, printable worksheets, checklists or images through your Instagram.
Start snapping eye-catching photos of your meals around town, accompany them with brief reviews and recommendations, and before you know it, you’ll have built a loyal following of fellow foodies who want your opinion. From there, you can try to attract sponsorships and affiliate relationships with various restaurants or related industry businesses.
11. Personal stylist
By curating a grid of your best styles, you’ll garner an audience who looks to you for inspiration — and could be willing to pay you to style their own looks. A personal stylist shops for clothes for others, curating their closet and saving them the time.
12. Professional organizer
As our lives become busier and more cluttered, there’s a demand for those who can help us tidy up and organize. Professional organizers come into people’s homes and help them to get rid of what they don’t need and organize the rest. Showcase your skills with before and after images of your work and watch your client list grow.
13. Baking or cooking expert
Take your anxiety-reducing leisure activity and put it on the ‘gram. Instagram can be a great place to share with followers how to bake and cook. As your followers grow, you can try to make money through sponsored content and affiliate marketing.
14. DIY and craft expert
If you enjoy crafting or DIY projects, you can put that expertise into Instagram posts and videos to share with followers who may also be working on projects. Build a following and seek affiliate links from advertisers.
15. Slime or ASMR maker
Yes, this is a real niche on Instagram. Many people scroll social media looking for stress-relief and relaxation. One thing they love is slime-making and ASMR sounds. You’ll have to check it out to believe us, but if it resonates with you or capitalizes on some of your own skills, this could be a fun Instagram business idea.
16. Travel ambassador
Travel brands and even tourism agencies work with influencers to attract customers and travelers. Become a travel ambassador on Instagram to try to make money while traveling.
17. Makeup artist
You can provide tutorials for various looks, from natural-looking makeup to Halloween special effects makeup, as well as provide your services for bridal parties or other special events.
18. Cosplay designer
Many Instagram-famous people make their money by recreating famous characters’ costumes — whether from movies, TV shows, comic books, games and more — and sharing the images online. If you have a knack for design and are an avid cosplayer yourself, this could be a business for you.
19. Hair stylist
Similar to makeup artists, hair stylists can use Instagram to leverage their business by posting pictures of their best styles. As you’re starting out, you can post the styles you create for yourself, and then as you gain clients, post their images as well.
Whether you’re an illustrator, animator, sketch artist, potter, ceramicist, portraitist, painter or clay artist, or you work in any other artistic medium, Instagram is the perfect place to launch your business.
21. Graphic designer
Showcasing a portfolio with a traditional website can be overwhelming — you don’t want your prospective clients to have to scroll forever. But with Instagram, they can more easily see your work and reach out to you directly for more information.
For those who love to perform, Instagram can allow you to showcase your talents while bringing people joy in their everyday lives. Instagram entertainment business ideas include:
While a dropshipping business looks the same as any e-commerce business to your customers, the behind-the-scenes operations are actually pretty different. When someone buys an item listed on your e-commerce Instagram page, the order is routed to your manufacturer, who will package and ship the item. You can list however many products you want but only pay for what sells. This means you can experiment to find what sells best, and you don’t have to worry about unsold inventory or storage costs.
24. Data analyst and infographic designer
In the age of big data, there’s no better way to understand the numbers than with a graphic. Data analysts and infographic designers can enhance understanding through visuals.
25. Online educator
If you’re knowledgeable about a specific topic, you can turn that knowledge into an Instagram business by offering short lessons and tutorials through your Instagram channel.
26. Pet personality
This one might sound a little far-fetched, but you’ve likely come across an Instagram-famous pet. If you have a pet of your own, not only is there a never-ending fountain of adorable picture opportunities, but you can also personify your pet’s thoughts into funny posts that attract shares and followers. With enough followers, companies in the pet care industry may want to partner with you to promote their products.
You can use Instagram to advertise your coaching services and stay in touch with current and potential clients. Instagram business ideas for coaches include:
From wedding invitations to signs and silly sayings, calligraphers can use Instagram to show off their work and find even more paying customers.
29. Meme maker
With an eye for topical subjects and an ear for irreverent humor, you can become a popular meme maker. As a visual channel, Instagram is the perfect place to share memes and gain a following through well-curated hashtags.
30. Topic expert
Instagram business ideas are dependent upon your previous experience and crafting image-worthy posts. Wherever your expertise lies, there may be a way to leverage it into an Instagram business.
What makes an Instagram business idea successful
Study the most influential companies on social media and use these tips for success.
Keep it honest
There are a number of ways to hack your way to a lot of followers on Instagram. While follower counts are important, a loyal, active following is more important. Keep your Instagram profile honest and professional.
One way to build followers fast is to offer a giveaway or contest. Publish a post offering something a free item, experience or discount. To be entered into the drawing, require people to follow your account and tag a friend or two in the comments. Those friends will see the post and may also enter the giveaway by following your account.
Everyone loves free stuff. This makes giveaways a great way to increase interaction and to build your followers. You may have to get creative with what you’re giving away before you have too many brand partnerships, but as your followers grow, you’ll be able to offer even more enticing items.
People come to Instagram to be inspired, to feel good, to see something they’ve never seen before. No matter what your business is, you want your Instagram feed to feel inspirational and aspirational.
Share your expertise
If you’re picking an Instagram business idea, it should be something that you have expertise in. People follow channels that provide them with expert advice and inspirational posts. No matter what your field or skills, your Instagram channel should be focused on sharing that with your followers.
Make posts shoppable
Instagram made making money easier than ever by adding their shopping feature. If you’re selling physical or digital products, you’ll want to make your posts shoppable. The fewer steps there are between clicking on the item and purchasing, the more likely your customers are to buy the product. Make it easy for them and you’ll see success.
Create opportunities for interaction
Many channels on Instagram place a high priority on the number of followers their account has. This is important, but there’s an even more important number: engagement rate.
To show followers that you’re not just being followed by bots or other wannabe influencers, you want to have interactions and comments on your posts. Provide people with opportunities to answer questions and to interact with you. Encourage comments, shares and saves, not just likes.
In the era of big brands, many shoppers are moving away from buying from corporations to buying from real people. You’ll want to make your Instagram channel feel personal and to share your personality with followers. Exhibit your uniqueness to attract more followers.
When starting a business on Instagram, you’re channeling your expertise into your posts. As part of that, people are coming to you for advice. While you don’t want to give it all away for free, it’s important to share your advice and wisdom with your followers. When you share something that people find useful, you’ll build your brand authority and keep people coming back, tagging their friends and talking about your account. From there, your audience will easily grow.
Let your customer speak
People like to interact with others on Instagram, but even more so, they like to be recognized. As you build your following on Instagram, don’t forget to let others speak. Feature comments or images from your followers and thank them in posts. Everyone likes to be recognized.