How to Make Money on Instagram: A Guide to Selling

Last updated on November 8, 2018

How to make money on Instagram: A Guide to Selling

If you’re an ecommerce store owner wondering how to sell on Instagram, or you’re just generally interested in how to make money on Instagram, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide we will show you:

  • The easiest way to make money on Instagram
  • Why a website builder is the best way to sell products on Instagram
  • How you can start selling on Instagram using Shopify, BigCommerce and Squarespace– Instagram’s only eCommerce partners

But why Instagram?

Well, the social platform currently has over 800 million active users. Not only that, it also drives more engagement than any other social channel. This is largely down to the fact most of our social interactions are linked to visuals.

So if you’re looking to target your audience on social media, Instagram seems like a no-brainer, right?

Right. But if you’re serious about maximising your profits, you’ll need to integrate your account with an ecommerce website. Here’s why:

Instagram now allows you to take your audience directly from browsing on the app, to making a purchase on your website.

Lucky for you, we’ve been there and done it. So we’ll walk you through the process of: setting up on Instagram, choosing a website builder and, most importantly, integrating the two!  

If you don’t have an online store yet, you’ll want to check out our helpful guides below:

  1. Online Store Builder Comparison Chart – our top-rated ecommerce store builders.
  2. How to Build an Online Store – step-by-step guide to creating an ecommerce store.
Best Ecommerce Website Builder
Top Choice

5 out of 5

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Ease of Use

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5 out of 5 stars

Pricing

5 out of 5 stars

Best Large Business Website Builder

4.5 out of 5

Template Design

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3.6 out of 5

Template Design

4.5 out of 5 stars

Ease of Use

4 out of 5 stars

Features & Flexibility

2.5 out of 5 stars

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3 out of 5 stars

Pricing

3 out of 5 stars

1

Selling On Instagram: The Easiest Way To Make Money

There are loads of ways to make money through Instagram, but until now, it hasn’t always been that easy.

Businesses would have to fork out money for sponsored posts, get in touch with influencers to promote products, or, at best, sell through their Instagram stories (a feature that’s only available to accounts with 10,000 followers or more!)

Now though, the game has changed and selling on Instagram has never been easier.

After successful trials in the U.S, Instagram has now rolled out its very own Instagram shop which, alongside the States, is available in: United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Brazil.

This game-changing new feature is accessible to anyone and allows you to tag products in images and send users to your site in a matter of clicks! But more about that later…

Firstly, to access Instagram’s shop, you’re going to need an Instagram business account, a Facebook store, and an ecommerce website.

I know this sounds daunting if you don’t have anything in place already but trust us, you’ll be amazed at just how quick and simple it all is.

If you need help getting going on Facebook – check out our useful guide on setting up a Facebook store here.

After that, setting up on Instagram couldn’t be easier.

Here’s how to set up an Instagram business account: 

Step 1: Download the Instagram app, open it, and enter your details to sign up.

Step 2:  Now you’ve got an account, select Settings – located in the top right-hand corner of the screen – and click Switch to Business Profile.

Step 3: Sync your Facebook store with your new Instagram account to pull over any products you sell on there.  

2

Online Stores: The Best Way To Sell On Instagram

So why do you really need an online store?

A website allows you to create a direct link between your customers on social media, and your store.

Imagine seeing something you really liked in a shop window, only to be told they only sell that product in their other shop a few blocks away. It’s still possible to purchase the product but it sure as heck is frustrating!

It’s important to showcase your products on Instagram, but if you don’t have a linked website where your audience can purchase them from, you’ll lose out on a load  of sales!

Not only that, but it’s the only way to use Instagram’s new ecommerce shop.

Here’s how it works:

  • Select the image you want to upload from your library.
  • Once you’re on the New Post screen, hit Tag Products.
  • You can then tap the image – much like you would to tag someone in a post – and select a product from your website.
  • It will then appear on your audiences’ feed who can tap the image themselves and the product itself will appear.
  • After that, all the consumer has to do is touch Shop Now! They’ll then  be redirected to the product on your site where they can buy it.
Instagram shop feature
It’s a straightforward process that can help you reap massive rewards!

But what if you don’t have your own website?

Fear not, if you’re looking for a fast and easy way of getting online, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Squarespace are three great choices.

Both website builders make getting online a piece of cake.

Don’t know what a website builder is?

Put simply, a website builder, also known as an online store or ecommerce platform, is an online programme that allows you to create a website with little to no technical knowhow!

All the hard stuff’s taken care of so all you need to do is focus on uploading your products and making the site look exactly like you want it to.

Shopify, BigCommerce, and Squarespace integrate seamlessly with Facebook and Instagram and allow you to pull all your cross-channel marketing together into one central hub.

Here at Website Builder Expert, we recently surveyed 1,881 individuals and found that 87% of people who aren’t online want a business website so it’s important you don’t get left behind!

3

Set Up Your Instagram Shop With Shopify

Shopify is one of the best and fastest growing ecommerce builders in the market today. It has:

  • Over 500,000 active stores online which have helped their customers process over $40 billion in sales.
  • Sleek and stylish designs that make your store look great.
  • Hundreds of Apps to help improve and expand your store’s functionality store (you can add more as your business grows and requires new features!)
  • 24/7 help and support.

As we said before, Shopify is one of only three platforms that integrate with the Instagram store. If you want more info about starting up a Shopify store – click here.

So, once you’ve got a Shopify store, you just need to connect the Instagram sales channel in Shopify to start selling.

To add the Instagram sales channel, follow these easy steps:

  1. From your Shopify admin, click the + button by the Sales channels heading.
How to add Instagram on Shopify

    2. On the Add sales channel dialog, click Instagram to learn more about the sales channel.

How to add Instagram on Shopify

    3. Click Add sales channel.

How to add Instagram on Shopify

    4. Log into your Facebook account page to authenticate your Instagram account in the sales channel.

How to add Instagram on Shopify

After that you’re all set!

With Shopify allowing users to track sales via Instagram, and Instagram making the transition from their social platform to your Shopify site seamless, it seems like a match made in heaven.

Don’t just take our word for it though – hear what Instagram themselves have to say on the matter:

“Discovery is at the heart of the Instagram experience. Together with Shopify, we are enabling new ways to turn discovery into exploration, allowing Instagrammers to find new things from brands they love and businesses to find opportunities to build relationships with these valuable customers.”

Shopify also offers a 14-day free trial, so you can get started without spending any of your own, hard-earned money. Click the button below to get started on Shopify.

Shopify Review – check out our expert review weighing up all the pros and cons of using Shopify.

Shopify Pricing Plans – browse all of Shopify’s plans and decide which one works best for you.

4

Set Up Your Instagram Shop With BigCommerce

BigCommerce is also a very reputable ecommerce website builder, helping you build your own online store without having to touch code at all. It has:

  • Helped merchants process over $9 billion in sales.
  • A comprehensive set of tools to help your store.
  • Leverages different social channels to help you grow your sales (Instagram is just one!).
  • You can add more advanced tools through their App store (just like Shopify).

To integrate with the Instagram store, complete the following steps:

  1. From BigCommerce admin, select Channel Manager
How to integrate Instagram in BigCommerce

    2. From there, choose Instagram

How to integrate Instagram on BigCommerce

    3. Log into your Facebook account page to authenticate your Instagram account

How to add Instagram on BigCommerce

Once you’ve then gained approval, you’re good to go!

Here’s what BigCommerce themselves have had to say about the integration:

“In March, BigCommerce merchants were among the first to gain access to Instagram’s new product tagging capabilities — built specifically for ecommerce brands — which significantly enhance product discovery on the platform.”

Like Shopify, BigCommerce offers a free trial period, so you can try it and see if it’s the right builder for you. Hit the button below to get started.

BigCommerce Review – check out our expert review weighing up all the pros and cons of using Shopify.

BigCommerce Pricing Plans – browse all of Shopify’s plans and decide which one works best for you.

5

Set Up Your Instagram Shop With Squarespace

Squarespace is brilliant for lots of reasons and, when it comes to selling online, it different to Shopify and BigCommerce in a few areas:

  • Squarespace offers far more design flexibility than Shopify or BigCommerce with world-class, customizable templates.
  • It also has less ecommerce features making it a more basic but also simpler platform to use.

Squarespace’s main difference from Shopify and BigCommerce is that it’s a website builder first, and an ecommerce platform second. Don’t follow? Allow us to explain.

Not all website builders are designed to sell online. Some offer a more basic service where you can create a website for advertising your business services, showcasing a portfolio of work, or simply writing a blog.

These website builders tend to offer more creative control than ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce but lack the powerful management tools. Something you might look for if you wanted to build a massive ecommerce store and sell en masse.

Squarespace is one of those neat platforms that lets you do both. It may not have the power of Shopify or BigCommerce, but if you only need an ecommerce site to sell a few products and want lots of say over the website’s design, then Squarespace is the perfect choice.

Squarespace is also the only non-ecommerce specific website builder that can currently connect with Instagram. This makes it a no-brainer if you already have a Squarespace website and want to start selling through social media.

To connect Squarespace to Instagram shopping, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

  1. After setting up your Squarespace products within your Facebook Business Manager Account, you’ll need to create a new ecommerce category and import your products — see here for further details on how to do this.

2. Now, click on Marketing from the Home Menu and select Products on Instagram which will generate a link you need to copy.

Product URL link for Instagram

3. You can then copy this link into your Facebook Business Manager Account under Add Data Feed URL and it will import up to 2,000 of your products.

Instagram URL link for Facebook Business

4. After that, all you have to do is sit back, relax, and wait for Instagram’s approval. Once this has been confirmed, you’ll see the Tag Products option appear when you go to upload a new photo.

Tagging Products on Instagram

Here’s what Squarespace themselves have to say about it:

“Reaching your customers across multiple channels is more important than ever, and now you can reach an even larger audience with shopping on Instagram. Make an impact by visually showcasing your products. Shoppable posts give Instagram users another avenue to discover your brand and your products.”

As with both Shopify and BigCommerce, you have the option of a free trial on Squarespace before you commit to paying for their services.

Squarespace Review – see our full, comprehensive review of Squarespace here.

Squarespace eCommerce Review – find out what we thought about Squarespace’s capacity to sell online.

6

Should I Choose Shopify, BigCommerce Or Squarespace For My Online Instagram Store?

Overall, Shopify, Squarespace, and BigCommerce offer a similar service when it comes to selling on Instagram.

They all have a free trial, and their basic monthly plans start at $29 and $29.95  and $26 respectively.

So, let’s dig a little deeper and really find what’s best for you.

As Squarespace is predominantly a website builder, it offers a different experience to website creation than the others.

If you need complete control over aesthetics, or even have other uses for your website beyond selling products, Squarespace is the platform for you.

Now for the key differences between Shopify and BigCommerce:

Shopify’s themes are better designed as they have a larger ecosystem of designers, with a theme collection 2 times larger than BigCommerce.

Shopify themes and templates
Shopify offers loads of stunning themes

Shopify also offers you over 1,400 apps. They have a much larger app store to help you build your business and, as your store grows, they have more tools to scale with your business with.

On top of that, Shopify has 4 times more paying customers than BigCommerce but in fairness, Shopify did start before BigCommerce.

BigCommerce offers you over 250 apps – a lot less than Shopify. It’s important to note, though, that BigCommerce does have more “out of the box” tools.

By “out of the box” we mean helpful and practical tools. These include integration with email newsletter tools, unlimited product variation (e.g. different colors and sizes of clothes), plus shipping and tax configurations.

With all that in mid, it’s no surprise that Shopify is growing their paying customer base at a faster rate than BigCommerce.

This is not to say that BigCommerce can’t do a great job in helping you build your online store.  As mentioned, it’s apps are all helpful and easy to use. Shopify have the larger customer pool but bigger isn’t always better!

If you’re looking to sell a few products here and there and need a creatively designed website, Squarespace seems the obvious pick. However, if you want to scale, sell in bulk and have powerful management tools, then it’s a two-horse race between Shopify and BigCommerce.

If you’re unsure, spend a few hours playing around and experience them for yourself.  Both are top tier ecommerce builders in the market, and for good reason too.

Squarespace vs Shopify – learn more about the differences between website builders and ecommerce builders to find out which one suits you.

BigCommerce vs Shopify – find out once and for all which one’s best for you with our comprehensive comparison.

BigCommerce vs Shopify Chart – see how this pair stack up against each other when we put them side to side.

7

How To Make Money On Instagram: Conclusion

While most social platforms tend to have a sell-by date, Instagram isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The userbase is growing, interaction is growing and Instagram keeps on innovating.

A lot has changed with Instagram over the past few years and, for selling, it’s a virtual gold-mine..

The latest addition of the Instagram shop, which allows sellers to integrate with online stores is by far the most exciting and will revolutionise how you can make money through social media.

Instagram has already proved its worth as a selling platform. It sits second for AOV (average order value) at $65 amongst its social competitors.

Average order prices on social media platforms
Image supplied by Shopify

By integrating your ecommerce site with Instagram’s new shop, you’ll have a fantastic opportunity to make money on Instagram.  

With more and more people opting to shop online over the high-street, shopping on social media is the next big online trend, and one your competitors may not be doing yet!

So what are you waiting for? Saddle up and hop on that Instagram bandwagon!

8

FAQs

What’s the easiest way to sell on Instagram?

There’s a few different ways to sell on Instagram but the easiest by far is through the new Instagram shop. Just set up an online store with Shopify or BigCommerce, follow the steps in this article and you’re good to go!

How do you increase your conversions from Instagram ecommerce?

To increase your conversions, you’ll need to grow your Instagram following. This can be done through promoting Instagram posts. If you don’t have the budget for this, simply engaging more with your Instagram community can go a long way.

Try liking and sharing accounts that showcase your products and run competitions asking your audience to hashtag your brand and tag your account in their photos.

The more eyes on your account, the more likely you are to increase your following. And the more people following you, the bigger audience you have to promote your products to.

Do Instagram take a cut of your sales?

No! Instagram won’t take any money off you from the transaction process. You can also track sales that come directly through Instagram.

Having this knowledge will give you a good basis to decide on how much to invest in Instagram. If you’re seeing handsome returns from the platform, it may be worth investing in to get your posts sponsored, or reaching out to influencers to help plug your products!

Will my Facebook store and Instagram work together?

If you put new products on your Facebook store, they will automatically sync with your Instagram shop. This is great not only for continuity, but also for cross-channel marketing.

If users see your product while scrolling through Facebook, and then again when looking at Instagram, it’s more likely to push them into a buying action should they not have been totally convinced the first time around.   

Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight.

The purpose of this study was to identify what the preventative barriers are to getting online. We surveyed a total of 1,881 individuals – the majority of which resided within the US, while additional results were captured from a global audience.

Please note: the insight contained within this article is for general information purposes only. For further information regarding the study, please contact Website Builder Expert directly via email at info@websitebuilderexpert.com

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Charlie Carmichael

About Charlie Carmichael

It's my job to research website builders and find out which one's really are best for your specific needs. Having tested numerous builders, I'm in a great position to help you guys not only get online, but have great success once there.

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Charlie Carmichael

About Charlie Carmichael

It's my job to research website builders and find out which one's really are best for your specific needs. Having tested numerous builders, I'm in a great position to help you guys not only get online, but have great success once there.

Leave a Reply

7 Responses to How to Make Money on Instagram: A Guide to Selling

  1. #

    You don’t have to be an influencer to make money from Instagram actually. Anyone creating good content should be eligible for some sort of rewards. One App that allows everyday people with few following to monetise their Instagram profile is Pukket.
    Showing love to our favourite brands should be rewarding for all.

    • Fred Isaac
      #

      Thanks for the tip Fred!

  2. #

    Thanks for the useful article, I don’t have a sufficient knowledge about selling products on Amazon, this article helping me a lot make money, keep doing this great work and keep sharing.

  3. #

    What about shipping? How do you figure shipping?

  4. #

    Great article! Never had much luck with inst, might have to give it another shot! Right now I’m making 2 to 3 grand a week trading bitcoin from my smartphone.

    The window of opportuntiy is closing but you can still profit if you act fast. Good luck! 🙂

    Keep up the great content! 🙂

    • Fred Isaac
      #

      Thanks for the comment Ryan. Good luck selling on Instagram!