When Instagram launched in 2010, it started out more like a visual platform where users could share the greatest moments of their lives with their followers via aesthetically pleasing pictures or videos.
However, it has now transformed into a site where people can earn more than just bread and butter.
As of 2024, Instagram is the second most-downloaded app globally, and it is also the fourth most-used social media site with a whopping 2 billion monthly active users worldwide.
Considering these incredible stats, there’s no doubt that this platform can be great for you to earn money. Moreover, 50% of people use Instagram to find a brand to spend their money on.
The best thing about this app is that you can earn money in ways that best match your interests right in the comfort of your home.
Whether you possess great skills in writing eye-catching captions, capturing top-notch quality photographs, delivering social media services, creating awesome handcrafts, or even running a dropshipping business, Instagram has something to offer to everyone.
That’s the reason why you will find not only large corporations but also small businesses on this platform. Therefore, if you also want to make lots of money on Instagram, keep reading this article!
- Can I Make Money on Instagram with 500 Followers?
- How to Make Money with 500 IG Followers?
- 1. Affiliate Marketing/Promoting Affiliate Products on IG
- 2. Dropshipping
- 3. E-Commerce
- 4. Selling Your Own Digital Products/Courses/Training Programs
- 5. Affordable Paid Shoutouts
- 6. Starting a Blog and Promoting It via Your IG Account
- 7. Consultations
- 8. Actually Selling Your Account
- 9. Selling E-Books at Cheap Prices
- Are 500 Followers Enough to Earn Money on Instagram?
- Pros and Cons of Monetizing 500 Instagram Followers
- The Bottom Line
Can I Make Money on Instagram with 500 Followers?
Now that you are well-familiar with what Instagram has to offer, you might be wondering how you can make money on this platform even if you have 400 or 500 followers.
Do you know that mega influencers (with more than 1 million followers) can earn up to $250,000 for each sponsored post! Whereas influencers with less than 100,000 followers can make around $200 per post.
But this doesn’t mean that an influencer with 500 or even 1000 followers can’t make enough money on Instagram. To be honest, what really matters is your dedication to work and not really the follower count.
If you put all your hard work into content creation, keep your audience engaged, communicate well with your followers, and develop trust among your followers in your niche, you can certainly start making some dollars.
One of the commonly asked questions is:
“Does Instagram pay you for followers?”
No, it doesn’t pay you for simply having a certain number of followers on your profile. However, we never know if this feature will be available in the near future.
Instagram keeps coming up with amazing features every year. For instance, it created incredible shopping features for businesses that allow customers to shop products right from this app in a cinch.
How to Make Money with 500 IG Followers?
No matter how you want to make money with a follower count as low as 500, the most important metrics are reach and engagement.
You can achieve this by tailoring your content according to the likes of your audience and making them feel like a part of your small community. Trust between you and your followers is also another key aspect.
Most small accounts perform better in terms of engagement and reach as compared to large accounts due to the close connection with their followers.
As you achieve this, you can make lots of money with only 500 Instagram followers in several different ways jotted down below.
1. Affiliate Marketing/Promoting Affiliate Products on IG
Affiliate marketing works by a brand giving you a link or promo code to encourage sales from your followers. For every sale you make, you get a certain percentage of commission out of it.
Even with a few followers, you can still get affiliate links from different brands and monetize your page.
You merely have to prove that your audience is highly engaged with the content you produce. For this, your page will speak for itself.
Now, the next question in your mind might be:
“How do you apply to affiliate programs?”
It’s not that hard. You simply need to search for a company’s name and write “affiliate program” with it in the Google search bar and hit enter.
Let’s say you want to apply for a Tailwind affiliate program to better manage and run your Pinterest business profile. This is how you will search for it on Google:
‘Tailwind affiliate program‘
From there on, it’s as simple as clicking on the website link and applying to the affiliate program.
Also, you navigate to this link and find hundreds of affiliate programs in various niches on the SB Digital blog as well:
The affiliate link generated may be a long mix of letters and numbers. To make it easy to access and memorize, use bit.ly to shorten and customize your link. You can also use it to track the performance of your affiliate links.
You should add the affiliate link in the “bio” section of your profile for your followers to easily access it. You must also disclose to your followers that this is an affiliate link.
One more thing to consider is that you should only apply to affiliate programs of companies or brands that you yourself trust and appreciate. This will build a better connection between you and your followers in the long run.
You can’t simply apply for the affiliate link of a brand that you dislike just for the sake of earning money.
If you’re super-talented in creating handmade crafts like candles, bath products, decoration pieces, portrait drawings, creative merchandise, and painting, no amount of followers can restrict you from cashing your art.
However, many people are put off by the hassle of selling these products to the ultimate buyer. You have to deal with inventory and costs related to it, packaging, delivery, etc.
Guess what? Dropshipping will be your best bet here.
As soon as someone places an order with you from your online store, a supplier will handle the hassle related to packaging and shipping. The product will be dropped off at your customer’s doorstep by the supplier, and you earn a profit. Phew!
There are plenty of websites you can use for dropshipping, depending on your niche, such as Redbubble, Etsy, AliExpress, and Shopify.
Instagram will allow you to advertise your products by sharing pictures or videos of your items on your feed or stories along with specific links.
Here’s an example account for you to take a look at:
Remember to write an eye-catching caption with every post and upload premium-quality photos to attract the eyes of the followers.
Adding relevant hashtags will also make your content more discoverable by a greater audience irrespective of the “limited” number of followers you have.
Instagram has become a major marketplace for businesses to advertise and sell their products and for customers to look for and purchase a product.
From the world’s most famous brands like Nike, Zara, and Louis Vuitton to small home-based businesses, you will find users looking for products and investing in them right through Instagram.
It has made marketing and selling even easier with the introduction of business-specific features for Instagram business profiles, such as item tags, in-app checkout, shoppable stickers, and the store button.
Of course, e-commerce requires you to take responsibility for storing, packaging, and delivering your products on your own. However, if this is what really makes you happy, Instagram will be the right platform.
You can create your own website to showcase your products for a more professional look and then use Instagram as a marketing tool.
Another way is to utilize Instagram for both marketing and selling your products. For instance, you can sell t-shirts right on this platform by displaying them on your feed or stories and asking your followers to place an order by directly DMing you.
You can also deliver at-home services as there are many small businesses doing so. It could be anything that you’re an expert in, like spa, cleaning, or care services. Here, adding reviews from your customers to your profile will make you stand out.
4. Selling Your Own Digital Products/Courses/Training Programs
Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos are some of the best examples of how digital products can make you a millionaire. Of course, a millionaire now, once also started from a few hundred dollars.
With the increased use of the internet in today’s modern world, digital products are quite a trend as well. You only need to invest your time and effort once while creating a digital product.
After you have got the final product in your hands, there’s not much effort, and you also don’t have to deal with the hassle of shipment and point of sale.
So, it’s quite risk-free and profitable in the long run. You can think of it as a source of passive income as well if done right.
You can create and sell planners, professional-quality photos, online courses, workout plans, cheat sheets, templates for how you negotiate with your clients or cold emails you send, a list of freelancers you recommend in your niche, etc.
If you are a software engineer or developer, you can even try developing software like a time or team management tool.
No matter what you do, make sure to display your digital products in an appealing way to your audience and use the appropriate hashtags along with informative captions.
Just to give you an example, here’s an account (a friend) I know that makes a lot of money off of Instagram without a lot of followers (it’s possible with just 500-1000 or more followers):
5. Affordable Paid Shoutouts
An Instagram account with 10,000 followers and just a few likes and comments on their posts provide no value to businesses that want to market themselves.
On the other hand, a page with 500 followers and a higher engagement rate will be more attractive in the eyes of the brands willing to advertise their products or services.
Therefore, selling shoutouts at affordable rates will also help you make money on Instagram. Shoutouts, one of the influencer marketing types, are quite a trend on Instagram, and they don’t seem to fade away anytime soon.
Some Instagram accounts ask other accounts to mention their account or share a picture of their product in exchange for cash, whereas others can also give you a free product or service of your choice in return.
No matter what you choose, you should market yourself using hashtags or joining groups on other social media platforms that how your IG shoutouts can help their niche or audience at an affordable price.
Here, word-of-mouth recommendations will also play a key role. At the start, you may find it hard to sell shoutouts. However, once you do, make sure to deliver your best services and exceed the expectations of your “client”.
For instance, asking them how and when they want the shoutout to be done, as well as going the extra mile and recommending to them which caption will work best to capture a new audience.
6. Starting a Blog and Promoting It via Your IG Account
If you own a blog and you want to drive more traffic to it, using your IG account will be ideal for you.
You may be earning money on your blog by displaying ads or using affiliate links for the recommended products, and you can significantly increase the amount of money you make per month by promoting it via your Instagram account, even with 500 followers.
The most important thing to note here is that you need to have a relevant audience following you on Instagram. Of course, you can achieve this by posting content relevant to your niche through stories or your feed.
Using the right keywords and hashtags can help you further in building the right audience. You shouldn’t merely keep sharing the links to your blog posts regularly, as this will put off your current and even potential followers.
Hence, it’s better to keep a fine balance between sharing links to your blog posts and posting valuable content like tips and tutorials to keep your audience interested. This way, you won’t seem like an annoying marketer trying to promote their blog only.
Sharing a few glimpses of your personal life on and off will help your followers connect with you on a more personal level and help them stay loyal to you and your blog.
Are you an expert in giving consultations to clients in the field of business, health, finance, fitness, or even career?
Well, the good news is that Instagram can be a great platform to help escalate your consulting services to a new, broader audience.
You should optimize your Instagram account to make it look more professional, and adding testimonials of your past clients can increase your credibility as well.
You can even provide the first consultation for free and also mention this in your bio. If your services are good enough, they will definitely come back to you.
Sharing valuable content like templates and going live on Instagram to discuss your industry-related topics can tremendously help with your reach.
8. Actually Selling Your Account
Another amazing way to make money from your IG account with 500 followers is to sell it. Yes, you can actually do that!
Selling an Instagram account is quite straightforward. Although the monetary worth of your account will be partially determined by the follower count, the importance of engagement rate can’t be overlooked.
The higher the engagement rate, the better. Therefore, when growing your account from scratch, you should post consistently, interact with your audience, use hashtags, share videos, hold contests, and do anything else that will help with your engagement rate.
You can locate buyers on Facebook groups easily. Search for “social media marketing” or “Instagram marketing” groups and negotiate a price with them via inbox.
During the process of selling your IG account, take screenshots of your chat with the buyer or record your conversation with them to avoid scams.
9. Selling E-Books at Cheap Prices
If you’re not the best writer out there or you simply don’t have the extra time and energy to write e-books from scratch, you can sell e-books that you didn’t write yourself at low prices on Instagram and earn lots of profit!
When selling e-books on your IG account, you need to represent yourself as an industry expert.
For example, if you’re a gym freak and own a small fitness account on Instagram, you can’t expect to make sales on graphic designing e-books. Why?
Because you have an audience that sees you as an authority in the fitness niche, and they are willing to learn your tips and techniques to get fit and healthy like you.
Therefore, they will be ready to purchase fitness e-books from you.
Your next question might be:
“Where can you purchase e-books along with their rights to sell on your IG account?”
For this, you can search for “PLR vendors” on Google who sell e-books on their websites along with their rights.
PLR stands for “Private Label Rights”. It means that you can legally purchase and sell e-books to your audience.
Of course, you will need to spend a few dollars to purchase them at the start. However, that amount will be easily recovered after a few sales as you can sell an e-book for an unlimited number of times.
Are 500 Followers Enough to Earn Money on Instagram?
The number of followers isn’t the only metric to help you earn money on Instagram. Even if you have 500 followers on your IG account, you can use several different ways that we have just discussed above to make money.
The most important metrics are reach and engagement, and they are highly dependent on how efficiently you incorporate your Instagram marketing strategies.
As the owner of a small account, your strategies should align with your primary goals, i.e., increased reach and engagement.
A tight-knit community on your Instagram that highly interacts with your content will give a great impression to businesses, and they sure will be willing to use your services.
Or, with their help, you can promote your products or services in a better way as well.
Pros and Cons of Monetizing 500 Instagram Followers
Monetizing your 500 Instagram followers is possible in many ways; however, it comes with both pros and cons.
- A small community means you have a close connection with them which equates to an increased number of likes and comments on your posts. This can be appealing to brands with goals to escalate engagement on their account.
- When you’re able to organically grow your follower count from 0 to 500 followers, you know which tactics work best to monetize your content as you know your audience better.
- When you are handling and managing a small Instagram account, you are able to put your “best” Instagram practices in place along with trials and errors to increase your income without any issues.
- For some businesses, having a large number of followers is important, along with other metrics, to reach a wider audience.
- You may not be able to drive increased traffic to your website with only 500 followers.
- The “swipe-up” feature in the stories to help your audience directly access the affiliate link may not be available to you until you reach 10,000 followers.
The Bottom Line
Instagram is one of the best platforms to earn money from selling products or services to promoting your blog, even with limited followers. You can make your audience engaged and loyal to you using the right strategies.
It’s essential to stay dedicated and consistent as these 500 followers will turn into thousands of followers in no time. Learning from other successful Instagrammers will be your best bet as well.
If you stay motivated and consistent, you may even quit your tedious 9-5 job down the road and earn more on Instagram.