You won’t be shocked to know that Instagram is a key tool for eCommerce. Ranked as the fourth most popular social media platform globally, Instagram has over 1.3 billion users. That’s a lot of potential audience members. Of course, not all of them are going to be interested in what you have to offer, but if even a fraction of them are, that’s a great start. If you’re interested in starting your own Instagram business but you’re not sure what type of business to start, here are 20 awesome Instagram business ideas to inspire you.
Why start a business on Instagram?
One of the hardest parts of growing a business is attracting an audience to your product. As a business owner, you usually have to go out of their way to find their audience. But for Instagram entrepreneurs, there’s already a sea of potential audience members (and customers, depending on what kind of business you want to start).
The best part about starting a business on Instagram is that it’s completely free to use. While there are some areas where having a budget could help you out, you technically don’t need any cash to get your account up and running.
So long as you have internet access and a device to post from, you’re good to go!
Who should start a business on Instagram?
Running a business on Instagram isn’t the solution for every budding entrepreneur. Because it’s a visually-focused platform, you’ll want to make sure that you’re someone who’s comfortable operating in that realm. That doesn’t mean you need to be an expert photographer, it simply means that you will probably want to have an interest in visual content and branding. If visual content isn’t for you, there are plenty of other business opportunities out there!
Best businesses to start on Instagram
For those of you who love images and videos, and are ready to start posting your way to a full-time income, these are the best business ideas that are a perfect fit for Instagram:
Instagram is an ideal place to get started with a product review business, particularly if you’re someone who enjoys working with visual content.
You’ll need to build a steady stream of image and video-based content to share your opinions and promote your business. For video content, the shorter the better. The ideal length for the platform is around 26 seconds, so you’ll need to get good at short, engaging reviews.
To run a successful Instagram product review business, you’ll want to create a comprehensive content strategy and post on a regular basis. But simply posting isn’t going to be enough to build a full business. You’ll need to engage with your audience on a daily basis一smaller accounts can make money, but they need that engagement rate.
Unfortunately, simply amassing a large audience on the platform won’t actually get you paid. How can Instagram product reviewers make money?
- Through partnerships with brands and selling sponsored posts.
- By providing affiliate links to the products they review.
- The sale of their own digital products (though, you’ll need to incorporate an off-platform method to truly engage this method).
This is one major disadvantage of using Instagram for your product review business: limited linking opportunities. That means sharing affiliate links will be a little bit more challenging.
However, you can solve this problem by pairing your Instagram product review page with a blog. Not only could this provide extra revenue, but you could also have an opportunity to charge more for partnerships that want to utilize both audiences.
While “influencer” might sound like a fictional job title, with an engaged audience of 10,000 or fewer followers, you could make around $88 USD per post. With 100,000 or fewer followers, you’re probably looking at around $200 USD per post.
This isn’t McMansion money. However, there is potential to bring in some sweet side cash that can help pay off student loans, or let you grab the extra large pizza with the premium toppings on your regular Friday night in.
But relying solely on sponsored posts to carry your business’ finances isn’t the best monetary move. This is why many influencers combine paid posts with more passive means of income, such as affiliate marketing.
Again, however, the lack of linking capabilities can make affiliate income a little more challenging. Instagram has a notoriously low conversion rate, which stems from the fact they aim to keep users on the platform as long as possible. This means your best chance of increasing your income is either seriously mastering conversion or doing it on-platform.
To utilize your Instagram influence to make money, you’ll need an engaged audience. Many brands are counterintuitively interested in smaller creators because smaller audiences often mean higher engagement.
For the longevity of your business, you’ll also want to consider collecting emails, establishing a website, or even creating an off-platform group. These tactics will give you a space where you own and control the content, and have more leeway to monetize your content and audience.
While Instagram has expanded its capabilities over the years, at its core, it’s a place to share great photos with your audience. This makes it the perfect place to start and promote your photography business.
If you’re passionate about photography and good at grabbing great shots, this could be the perfect Instagram business for you. Popular photography businesses on Instagram include:
- Portrait photographer
- Stock photographer
- Product photographer
- Wedding photography
Not all photography businesses can be Instagram-only ventures. Businesses like portrait or wedding photography require you to get clients and work with them offline. But, even in these cases, Instagram is still a great promotion platform. Other photography niches, like product photography, may not require in-person clients.
If you truly want no “clients” and instead want to sell photography rights, you can use Instagram to promote your stock photography to get sales on platforms like Adobe Stock.
Or, you can cut out the middleman (so to speak) and use your photographs as a base for physical products. Using a print-on-demand platform like Society6 can allow you to create great products without having to pay any upfront costs or for a place to store them. You can even set up an Instagram store through their shopping capability and give people the opportunity to check out your catalogue on the platform.
Instagram started out as a photo-focused platform, but in recent years video has begun to lead in popularity. This makes it the ideal platform to start promoting a videography business.
Much like photography, videography often requires off-platform work with clients, so it’s not an Instagram-only (or Instagram-mostly) business choice. That said, as far as promoting your business, it can be a great place to connect with clients and show off your skills.
Video content is versatile on Instagram. You can use any post type from your profile feed to your stories to share video content. While there used to be time limits, videos uploaded to Instagram can now be up to 60 minutes, with the exception of Reels which remain in the 30 to 60 second range.
If you have an eye for capturing engaging video, and are up for the challenge of building an audience on Instagram, this could be the perfect entrepreneurial opportunity for you.
There is something for everyone on Instagram, and food recommendations are no exception. If you like sharing pictures of food on your adventures or in your hometown, and have no qualms about giving an honest opinion, then Instagram food critic might be the job for you!
Instagram food influencers grow their audience by sharing delicious visuals accompanied by engaging text. While everyone’s business is unique, they typically make money in the following ways:
- Sponsored content (short term).
- Brand collaborations/ambassadors (longer term).
- Instagram bonuses.
While bigger audiences usually means more money, you don’t necessarily need one. Creators with as little as 5,000 followers are considered micro influencers, and can often find brand partnerships.
You’ll want to focus on creating stellar content, growing your audience, and increasing your engagement.
Craft or DIY expert
Do you always find yourself taking on another DIY project? Is crafting one of your favourite pastimes? Then showing off your crafting skills or DIY expertise on Instagram could be the ideal opportunity for you.
Popular DIY and craft Instagrammers like @abeautifulmess, @damasklove, and @sarahpikepottery fill their feed with great visuals and fun videos sharing their love of creating with their audience. Whether they’re showing off the finished product or giving a step-by-step guide on how their audience can create their own versions, they’re engaging with their audience.
Like other Instagram influencers, DIY and craft creators make money via sponsorships, ambassadorships, and possibly bonuses from Instagram. But they can build another revenue stream if they’re creating products that can be sold.
Your audience is already interested in your DIY tips and they probably love your creations, so why not make it easier for them to skip the work and make a purchase? Instagram’s shopping feature is perfect for DIY and craft creators who sell physical products and want to promote them to their audience.
Instagram’s shopping feature can turn your feed into a storefront. You don’t have to make craft projects or sell photo products to utilize this ecommerce feature. Sellers of all types find themselves making waves and bringing in sales on Instagram.
Instagram Shop allows you to integrate your products right into your Instagram feed. With your product catalogue integrated, you can promote them to your audience through Instagram Stories, posts, and the “Explore” tab. Then, followers can make a purchase directly on Instagram through the Instagram checkout.
For creators that hope to see success with Instagram Shop, you’ll need to make sure you focus on having stellar product photos. While good images are important in every online selling situation, Instagram users expect stellar quality.
It’s worth it to point out that you don’t have to sell physical products. You could also utilize Instagram to sell digital products, which is a great low-cost business start-up idea.
Digital product seller
There are endless types of digital products that you could sell through Instagram. One of the huge benefits to selling digital products is that they become a passive income source. You’ll have to put in the effort of creating the product, uploading it to your online store, and marketing it to your community on Instagram. But when someone makes a purchase, it is sent automatically, so you can sit back and watch the sales roll in.
Digital products can be things like music, videos, graphic design templates, online courses, photos, services, and so much more. Once you have a product idea, conduct market research in order to determine whether it is a viable business idea.
There’s an audience for pretty much everything out there. Regardless of what you’re an expert in, there’s an opportunity for you to monetize it on Instagram.
You could show off your fashion expertise and recommend styles. Or you could aim to educate your audience on topics in day-to-day psychology. Regardless of where your expertise lies, if you share your knowledge in an engaging and consistent way, there’s definitely a chance you could turn that into an Instagram business.
How can you make money as a topic expert? You can:
- Team up with relevant brands and create content via sponsorships or ambassadorships.
- Sell physical or digital products related to your niche.
- Provide services that are relevant to your topic expert.
It’s up to you what you want to do with your Instagram business, you can take it wherever you want!
Instagram social media marketing manager
A social media manager works with other businesses to help them connect with customers by creating and implementing a marketing strategy. This can include tasks like writing and scheduling social media posts, creating advertising campaigns, and replying to comments and messages. A lot of small businesses struggle with digital marketing, so as a social media manager, you can entice them to invest in your paid services by offering exclusive marketing tips on your Instagram. Include a call to action so that you turn those followers into paying customers.
Affiliate marketing is a way to make money advertising products without having to deal with things like inventory, packaging, and shipping. When you are advertising affiliate products, you will receive a unique link which you can share with your followers. Then, when they make a purchase using your link, you will receive a commission at no extra charge to them.
Lifestyle bloggers can take different forms, so start by deciding what topics you want to focus on in your blog posts. For example, you could be a travel blogger, photograph street style, or share your personal life. Think about what topics you know a lot about and would feel comfortable talking about regularly.
After you set up your blog online, focus on using Instagram to capture your audience’s interest. Once you get them to your website, you can make money through selling advertisement spots, affiliate marketing links, sponsored posts, or your own products.
Instagram is a great place to show off your hairstyling skills and connect with new potential clients. But how do you set up an Instagram profile to be an effective marketing tool as a hairstylist?
First, set up an Instagram business profile and add a link to your website where people will be able to schedule appointments, purchase products, and learn more about the services you offer. Use your Instagram username, profile picture, and bio to communicate who you are, what you do, and how people can purchase your services. Instagram even has a “book” button that you can add to your profile, which links to several appointment booking apps.
As a photo sharing platform, Instagram makes an ideal place to promote your work as a makeup artist. Whether you’re a cosmetics brand selling products, a freelance makeup artist, or a makeup influencer, you can use Instagram to connect and build your community.
People love watching the makeup process, so consider using Instagram live to show your process in full or post full video tutorials using IGTV. You can also link to your YouTube page or sell makeup tutorials on your website.
As a travel ambassador, you could get paid to travel and review hotels, restaurants, and local attractions. Travel brands like tour companies or travel agencies will hire people like you to promote their services by writing reviews and posting social media content. You could also set up a referral based business as a travel blogger, where you will make a commission when you refer people to a travel agency you’ve partnered with.
Social media is often a hub for communities and fandoms, from the ultra-popular to the incredibly niche. Another creative business idea is to start a cosplay business, where you can sell anything from costumes to wigs to action figures and so much more. Some cosplay designers offer custom design services, where people can pay for you to create a costume for a specific character. Alternatively, you could offer cosplay related services like editing photos of people in their costumes to help bring the fantasy to life.
Do you have an adorable pet at home who you think the internet would love? People love cute pet photos. Did you know you can actually make a decent living by creating an Instagram profile for your favourite furry friend? It’s a very crowded market, so you should try to find something unique that makes your pet stand out. For example, you could play up a certain characteristic or behaviour that is endearing and makes your pet memorable. Once you’ve established your account, you can start making money through sponsored content, affiliate marketing, and partnerships with pet product companies.
If you love working out and you want to turn that passion into a career, there are tons of options for you to monetize a fitness Instagram account. Start by identifying your goals in the fitness industry. You could offer personal training from home, you could create workout videos on your YouTube account, or you could partner with brands to be a fitness influencer or affiliate marketer. Deciding which path appeals to you most will help you determine what kind of content you should create, who your ideal client is, and the kinds of brands to reach out to.
Getting started on Instagram
Instagram is an image-first platform, which means when you plan your business strategy, you need to think about aesthetics. Successful accounts stand out because they:
- Post consistently.
- Create great visual content.
- Engage with their audience on a regular basis.
Creativity, inspiration, and connection is valuable on Instagram. So get ready to think big, have some fun, and flex your entrepreneurial muscles on Instagram.
If you’re ready to take your Instagram game from social media strategy to business official, Ownr makes registration a piece of cake!
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