How To Make Money With Instagram Reels: 9 Proven Methods

On 5th August 2020, Instagram introduced a new feature called Instagram Reels. This is the platform’s latest attempt to enter the short-format video industry and compete with its biggest rival right now – TikTok.

Instagram Reels, in turn, opens up a whole new opportunity for entrepreneurs and content creators to make money online. This post will guide you on how to do it.

What Are Instagram Reels?

Reels are 15, 30, or 60-second videos on Instagram. They come with a suite of creative tools to add text, audio, AR filters, or effects and create seamless transitions between clips.

Instagram makes Reels easily discoverable through a featured section in Explore and a new dedicated tab, providing users a fresh way to share their moments and creators a chance to reach new audiences globally.

Instagram Reels example

How To Create Instagram Reels

To start creating a Reel, visit the Reels tab at the bottom of your Instagram and click the camera icon at the top right corner of your screen.

Access Instagram Reels through the reels tab

Another way is to go to your homepage, click on the plus button, and access Reels from the bottom scroll.

Access Instagram Reels through the home page

On the Reels editor, you can select the length of your Reel, add music, adjust speed, change video effects, or set timers by using the left toolbar.

Instagram Reels editor

Start recording by tapping the big circle button in the middle of your screen. Since Reels supports joining multiple clips, you can tap the record button again to stop filming and press it one more time for a new cut. It’s also possible to trim and delete any previous clip if you want to.

Once you have done recording, click the preview button, type in the caption, add hashtags, tag people, etc. Then, tap the share button to publish your newly created Reel.

Publish Instagram Reels

How To Make Money With Instagram Reels

Below are the 9 best methods to make money with Instagram Reels.

1. Create Sponsored Content For Brands

The first and most well-known method to earn money from Instagram Reels is sponsored content.

It’s pretty straightforward. A brand reaches out to you and asks you to promote its product or service. After reaching an agreement on the format, pricing, and publishing time, you create content to spread the product or service to your audience.

Sponsored Instagram Reels example

Instagram has also introduced branded content tools for Reels to help creators clearly disclose when they’re working in partnership with a business.

Regarding how much you should charge for a sponsored Reel, many Instagram influencers adhere to the $100 per 10K followers rule. You could ask for more if you have really good engagement rates (1.22% is the average across all industries).

To increase the chance of brands finding you out, make sure to include relevant hashtags in your bio and your posts. You should also submit your Instagram account to influencer platforms, such as NeoReach or Upfluence.

2. Give Shoutouts To Other Instagram Accounts

Giving shoutouts to others is the second most popular and easy-to-start method to make money with Instagram Reels. They refer to the activity of mentioning another Instagram account (e.g., @the_clever_business) in your caption and ask your audience to check out and follow the account.

Giving shoutouts in Instagram Reels to make money

The price for a shoutout is usually a lot cheaper than a sponsored post since it doesn’t feel as intrusive. According to Influencer Agency, a 100K-500K-follower Instagram account can charge around $250 for each shoutout. For one with over 1M followers, the rate is $1,500.

3. Do Affiliate Marketing To Earn Commissions

Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting a product or a service of other people to earn commissions.

It usually appears in the form of a tracking link. Whenever a person visits the link (also called the affiliate link) and buys something from it, the referrer gets a commission.

Affiliate link example

However, Instagram doesn’t allow users to add clickable links directly to Reels. Therefore, you should use a service like Bitly or Rebranly to shorten your affiliate link (a custom domain name is recommended). In this way, people who watch your Reels can type the link in their browser easier.

Affiliate link shortened with a custom domain name

Another method is to include the affiliate link in your Instagram bio, which people can easily visit and click on.

Using Instagram Reels to do affiliate marketing and make money

According to research, affiliate marketing spending in the U.S alone is estimated to reach $8.2 billion by 2022. Among affiliate marketers, 35% make over $20K annually from their affiliate marketing efforts.

The biggest and most well-known affiliate program is Amazon Associates. You can earn up to 10% in associate commissions for every qualifying purchase. Other huge affiliate networks to find products to promote and make money are Awin, Commission JunctionShareASale, and ClickBank.

Instagram has also just announced its native affiliate marketing program, allowing you to tag affiliate products directly to your Feed or Story post. It’s currently in the testing phase and only available to a few selected creators.

4. Make Money With Instagram Reels Bonuses

By the end of 2022, Facebook plans to invest $1B to motivate creators to create great content across its social media apps. Instagram Reels also fall under the program, called Reels Summer bonus.

Instagram Reels bonuses

You can find it in the new Bonuses section of the Instagram app. Based on your performance, you will be able to earn up to $500 for the Reels you create during a 30-day period.

Note that the feature is slowly rolling out and not yet available to all creators.

5. Sell Your Designs On Print-On-Demand Marketplaces

Print-on-demand platforms like RedBubble, TeePublic, or TeeSpring give you the ability to create art on products, such as shirts, mugs, phone cases, or stickers, set prices, and sell them right on their marketplaces.

By using Instagram Reels to promote your designs and convince customers to purchase them, you can make money through the differences between your listing prices and product costs. The rest of the processes like fulfilling and shipping the items are handled by those marketplaces.

Promoting your designs through Instagram Reels to make money

When it comes to numbers, the print-on-demand industry has grown by 12% over the last 4 years. The advancements in printing technology and the rise in demand for unique and exclusive products are the main factors contributing to this growth.

An interesting income report from RougePixel shows that she made $4041.44 in the first year of doing the print-on-demand business.

6. Create An ECommerce Store To Sell Products

Instead of merely selling your designs, creating your own eCommerce store will help you have more control over your customer journey and make extra money.

On the report of the global eCommerce market, it’s anticipated to reach $4.89 trillion in 2021, accounting for 19.5% of the total retail sales compared to 13.6% in 2019.

A big contributor to this rapid growth is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerating digital adoption and the shift to online shopping.

ECommerce site builders like Shopify, Ecwid, Wix, or ShopBase can help get an online store up and running in a few minutes.

And, if you’re afraid of manufacturing physical items and shipping to customers, starting a dropshipping business will allow you to hand out all of those back-end processes to your suppliers.

Another way is to use print-on-demand services like PrintfulTeespring, or Spreadshirt, which enables you to design products and sell them on your online store.

ECommerce doesn’t only limit to physical products. You can also sell digital products like eBooks, courses, music, photography, web themes, etc.

In addition, with the introduction of Instagram Reels Shopping, it’s now possible to tag products directly on Reels. This allows viewers to instantly click the shopping button to buy or get more information about the products.

Instagram Reels Shopping

7. Provide Online Freelance Services

If you are an expert in your niche, offering online services like freelance writing, consulting, coaching, or coding can generate a healthy income stream.

Using Instagram Reels to promote freelance services to make money

A study by Payoneer shows that the average freelancer in the U.S. earns $31/hour. The market for freelancing also grows at a relatively fast rate, increasing at 7% compared to only 2% of the non-freelance market.

Another noteworthy statistic is that 15% of freelancers land work using social media platforms, behind only 33% from word-of-mouth referrals. So, using a social media tool like Instagram Reels to promote freelance services is the right move.

It’s important to note that your Instagram Reels content should closely relate to your service. Otherwise, it wouldn’t reach the right customers.

8. Drive Traffic To Other Platforms To Earn Money

Instead of making money directly with Instagram Reels, you can use them as a way to engage with your followers. Then, encourage them to check out other platforms such as your website, blog, or YouTube channel for monetization.

Similar to affiliate marketing, you can include a link to your second platform in your Instagram bio. It’s also a good idea to mention it in each Reel you create. But, remember to keep the link short so people can check the platform out easily.

Using Instagram Reels to drive traffic to other platforms to make money

For example, Pinch Of Yum – a successful food blogger – regularly creates Reels featuring her latest treat and tells people to check out the blog for the full recipe.

As stated in one of her blogging income reports, the site generated nearly $40,000 from various sources, including displaying ads, Amazon affiliate programs, ebooks, sponsored posts, etc.

If you’re wondering how to start a blog like that, check out The complete guide to building a successful blogging site.

For anyone wanting to monetize a YouTube channel, we have an interesting guide on How to make money on YouTube without showing your face or voice and How to make money on YouTube without making videos.

9. Grow An Instagram Account And Flip It For Profit

Finally, you can leverage Instagram Reels to quickly build up your followers and sell the account to make a decent amount of money.

As reported by many content creators, using Reels boost their follower counts and engagement rates. Specifically, one creator says she gained 2,800+ followers by posting a Reel on a daily basis for a month.

Although Instagram strictly prohibits users from buying, sell, or transfer any aspect of your account, some flippers still manage to build a thriving business out of this model, generating over $30,000 annually.

How much you can sell your Instagram account for depending on your number of followers and engagement rates. However, the general thumb is 10$ for every 1000 followers.

Once you have grown your account to a decent level, Insta Sale and Social Tradia are the 2 marketplaces to help you sell it.

Tips To Make Your Instagram Reels More Discoverable

The Instagram team provides many best practices you should follow to make your Reels reach more people. Here are the 8 most noteworthy ones.

1. Create Entertaining And Inspiring Videos

According to a survey conducted by Instagram themselves, the majority of users love entertaining, interesting, and inspiring Reels that are delightful, have fun twists, or spark trends that others can participate in. Instagram also said that it has gotten better at recommending these types of content.

Instagram recommends entertaining, interesting, and inspiring Reels

2. Avoid Reposting Or Recycling Content

You might be tempted to reposting or recycling content from other apps like TikTok or YouTube to Instagram Reels to make quick money.

However, in the same survey, people complain to Instagram about low-quality and blurry Reels. In addition, they don’t feel happy seeing logos or watermarks from other apps.

As a result, Instagram updates its algorithm to make Reels like that less visible and discoverable.

Instagram makes blurry and recycled Reels less discoverable

3. Follow Instagram Reels Guidelines

The third tip is to follow Instagram Reels Dos & Dont’s. Some noteworthy rules to remember are:

  • Follow Community Guidelines.
  • Share original and authentic content created by your camera.
  • Stay relavant with cultural moments and topics.
  • Use Reels music and tools. Songs that are outside Reels library must obtain appropriate licenses.
  • Don’t use “dated” references.
  • Avoid the lack of a storyline.
Instagram Reels dos & dont's

4. Focus On The First Two Seconds

All social media algorithms have one identical formula: The more views and likes your content gets, the higher the chance it gets recommended to others.

Hence, it’s important to make the first 2 seconds of your Reels extremely engaging. This is to avoid people just scrolling past your content without sufficient time to be counted as a view or giving it a like.

Make the first 2 seconds of Instagram Reels engaging

5. Use Relevant Hashtags And Popular Songs

As mentioned earlier, Instagram suggests creators staying relevant and up-to-date. And, using hashtags and popular music is a method to signal this to the Reels algorithm and help more people find your content and essentially make more money.

Use relevant hashtags and popular songs on Instagram Reels

6. Keep A Consistent Posting Schedule

Instagram recommends content to users based on their interacting history and activity with the person who posts it.

By keeping a consistent posting schedule, your Reels will appear frequently in front of your followers, essentially boosting their visibility and discoverability to others as well.

Instagram recommends content to users based on their interacting history and activity

7. Create A Uniform Video Style

A uniform style doesn’t affect how the Instagram algorithm distributes your Reels. However, it makes your whole profile look more coherent, professional, and brandable.

Researchers also show that consistency boosts brand trustworthiness, which is particularly helpful for promoting products and monetization.

8. Tell Your Followers To Replicate Your Creation

Virality is the number one contributor to a successful Reel. The more people replicate and attribute your creation, the louder it says to the algorithm: “Hey, I’m a trend creator. Notice me!”

Instagram talks about replicating Reels


With the born of Instagram Reels, entrepreneurs and content creators have new and exciting opportunities to expand their audience base and make more money online.

From publishing sponsored posts, giving shoutouts to others, doing affiliate marketing to selling products, or flipping your account, there’s no shortage of methods to monetize your followers – no matter which niche you’re in.

All that’s left is to be unique, creative, inspiring, and determined towards your journey to success.

Cohee Truong
Blogger | Website

The rightful owner of The Clever Business. I review & curate the leading suppliers so you don't waste time scouring the internet.