How To Make Money On Instagram With 500 Followers: Best 10 Strategies

Even if you don’t have thousands of followers, it’s possible to start generating income on Instagram with just 500 followers. The key is to create high-quality content, interact with your audience, and use creative monetization strategies.

We have good news for you! We have compiled 10 strategies that can work best if you have few followers, so that you can implement them in your account and start generating income. If making money with Instagram has always been your dream, now is your time to make it come true. Read our article and start putting it into practice.

We have seen on other platforms how they indicate that with only 500 followers, methods such as “become a brand ambassador” or “Drive traffic to your monetized accounts” are possible, but the reality is that with so few followers, it is not possible to generate substantial traffic to your website that generates profits or when promoting products, the reality is that brands are hardly interested in people with such little impact. Therefore, here we will detail real methods for you to generate your first earnings.


1. Affiliate Marketing

Despite having just 500 followers, there are effective strategies that can be implemented to leverage Affiliate Marketing and generate income.

In fact, a 2022 study found that micro-influencers (between 1,000 and 10,000 followers) have higher engagement rates than larger influencers.

  1. Choose Niche-Relevant Products: As a micro-influencer, focus on products or services that align with your niche and audience interests. For instance, if your Instagram account revolves around fitness, promote fitness equipment, supplements, or apparel.
  2. Create Compelling Content: Although your follower count may be modest, engaging content is key. Craft high-quality posts featuring the affiliate products in an authentic and appealing manner. Use captivating visuals, persuasive captions, and personal experiences to entice your audience.
  3. Disclose Affiliate Partnerships: Transparency is crucial in Affiliate Marketing. Clearly disclose your affiliate partnerships within your posts or stories. Use hashtags like #ad or #affiliate to indicate sponsored content, ensuring compliance with advertising guidelines and maintaining trust with your audience.
  4. Utilize Story Links and Swipe-Up Feature: Even with a smaller following, Instagram’s Story feature offers valuable opportunities. Utilize the Swipe-Up feature (if available) to direct followers to affiliate product pages. Alternatively, include affiliate links in your Story captions to drive traffic and potential conversions.
  5. Engage with Followers: Foster genuine connections with your audience by actively engaging with comments, messages, and DMs. Building a loyal and interactive community can enhance trust and increase conversion rates.
  6. Track Performance Metrics: Monitor the performance of your affiliate links using tracking tools provided by affiliate programs or third-party platforms. Analyze metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and earnings to assess the effectiveness of your promotional efforts.
  • The global affiliate marketing market is expected to reach $18 billion by 2025.
  • 81% of advertisers use affiliate marketing.
  • Influencers with 1,000 to 10,000 followers have an average engagement rate of 2.4%.

Example of a fitness influencer

A fitness influencer with 500 followers on Instagram could promote protein powder, workout clothes, or fitness equipment. They could share photos or videos of themselves using the products, along with a link to the seller’s website. They could also collaborate with other fitness brands to run contests or giveaways.

Affiliate programs that a fitness influencer could join

  • Amazon Associates
  • ClickBank
  • ShareASale
  • CJ Affiliate


2. Sell Digital Products

And what can you sell with 500 followers? The answer: digital products.

Why sell digital products?

There are many reasons why selling digital products is a great way to make money on Instagram, even with a small following. Here are just a few:

  • There are very few costs associated with selling digital products. You don’t need to worry about things like inventory, shipping, or customer service.
  • Once you create a digital product, you can sell it over and over again with little to no additional effort. This means you can earn passive income while you sleep.
  • You can sell digital products to people all over the world. This is a great way to tap into a larger market and make more money.

Here are some statistics to help you set realistic expectations

  • The average Instagram user follows 600 accounts.
  • The average Instagram user has a 13% engagement rate.
  • The average Instagram user spends 25 minutes per day on the app.

This means that if you have 500 followers, you can expect to reach about 65 people with each post. And if you have a 13% engagement rate, you can expect about 8 of those people to like or comment on your post.

If you can sell just one digital product to each of those 8 people, you’ll make $8. And if you can do that every day, you’ll make $240 per month.

What kind of digital products can you sell?

  • Ebooks: guides, tutorials, manuals, etc.
  • Online courses: on any topic you’re an expert in.
  • Templates and presets: for graphic design, photo editing, etc.
  • Music: songs, beats, etc.
  • Photography: high-quality stock or personal use photos.
  • Videos: tutorials, courses, vlogs, etc.
  • Webinars: live online workshops.

How to sell digital products with 500 followers:

  1. Create a high-quality product that solves a real problem for your audience.
  2. Define your target audience. Who do you want to sell your product to? What are their interests and needs?
  3. Create engaging content on Instagram that will pique your audience’s interest in your product.
  4. Use relevant hashtags to get your content in front of more people.
  5. Offer discounts and special promotions to your followers.
  6. Collaborate with other influencers in your niche to reach a wider audience.
  7. Use marketing automation tools to automate tasks like email marketing and order fulfillment.
  8. Be patient and consistent. Results don’t happen overnight.

Examples of success

  • @the_happy_sleeper: This account with 44,800 followers sells ebooks and online courses on infant sleep.
  • @foodwithfeeling: This account with 112,000 followers sells ebooks and online courses on vegan cooking.


  • 71% of online consumers have purchased a digital product in the last year.
  • The global digital product market is expected to reach $348.8 billion by 2025.
  • Micro-influencers have an engagement rate 6 times higher than influencers with over 1 million followers.


3. Offer Freelance Services

With the rise of social media, it has become easier than ever for people to connect with others and share their talents. For those with a creative skillset, Instagram can be a great platform to showcase their work and connect with potential clients.

If you have a skill that you can offer as a freelance service, there are a few things you can do to get started on Instagram:

  1. Create a business profile
  2. Optimize your profile
  3. Post high-quality content

Benefits of Offering Freelance Services on Instagram

There are many benefits to offering freelance services on Instagram, including:

  • Reach a wider audience: Instagram has over 1 billion active users, so you have the potential to reach a large number of people with your services.
  • Build relationships with potential clients: Interacting with potential clients on Instagram can help you build relationships and trust, which can lead to more work.
  • Set your own rates:As a freelancer, you are in control of your own rates, so you can set them based on your experience and skill level.

Data and Statistics

  • According to a recent study, 70% of freelancers found their first client through social media.
  • The average freelance rate is $60 per hour.
  • The freelance market is expected to grow to $1.7 trillion by 2024.

In addition to offering your freelance services directly on Instagram, you can also use freelance platforms to connect with potential clients. These platforms can be a great way to find new work and build your business.

Some popular freelance platforms include

  • Upwork
  • Fiverr
  • Freelancer
  • Guru
  • PeoplePerHour


4. Become a Micro-Influencer

Even with 500 followers, you can be a valuable asset to local businesses!

Take Action

  1. Research Local Businesses: Look for businesses you frequent and admire. Consider their target audience – does it overlap with your followers?

  2. Craft Your Pitch: Don’t just ask for free stuff! Develop a proposal outlining how you can benefit their business.

  3. Highlight Your Audience: Showcase your follower demographics and engagement rate.

  4. Offer Creative Ideas: Suggest unique ways to promote their offerings (e.g., product reviews, discount codes for your followers).

  5. Be Flexible: Discuss various collaboration options, like sponsored posts, product giveaways, or brand ambassador programs.

  6. Negotiate & Deliver: Discuss compensation (free products, discounts, or a flat fee) and ensure clear deliverables (e.g., number of posts, types of content).

Examples of Local Collaborations

  • Foodie: Partner with a local bakery to highlight their latest pastries. Offer a discount code for your followers.
  • Fashionista: Collaborate with a boutique to showcase a new clothing line. Feature yourself wearing the clothes and tag the store.
  • Fitness Enthusiast: Partner with a local gym to offer a workout challenge on your Instagram. The gym can offer a free week trial to your followers who participate.


5. Sell Physical Products

Can you make money on Instagram with only 500 followers? The answer is a resounding yes. While you won’t become a millionaire overnight, with a well-defined strategy and consistent effort, you can start generating income from selling physical products.

Why sell physical products?

  • High demand: There is a global market for almost any product imaginable.
  • Total control: You decide which products to sell, how to sell them, and at what price.
  • Profit potential: Profit margins on physical product sales can be substantial.
  • Income diversification: Don’t rely solely on brands for income.

How to start?

1. Find reliable suppliers:

  • Look for suppliers that offer high-quality products at competitive prices.
  • Negotiate prices and shipping terms.
  • Request samples to verify product quality.

2. Create an online store:

  • You can use platforms like Shopify, Etsy, or WooCommerce.
  • Choose an attractive and easy-to-use design.
  • Offer different payment and shipping methods.

Data and examples

  • According to Socialinsider: 70% of consumers buy products they have seen on Instagram.
  • The Instagram account “@the_cozy_corner” has around 500 followers and sells handmade scented candles. The account owner uses high-quality photos, videos, and relevant hashtags to promote her products. She also offers discounts to her followers and runs contests to increase engagement.


6. Receive Tips or Donations

Set up a tip jar

There are several services that allow you to do this, such as Ko-fi: URL Ko-fi or Buy Me a Coffee: URL Buy Me a Coffee. These services make it easy for your followers to send you small amounts of money, usually as a way of showing their appreciation for your content.

Promote your tip jar

Once you’ve set up a tip jar, make sure to promote it on your Instagram account. You can do this by adding a link to your bio, mentioning it in your posts and stories, or even creating a dedicated post about it.

Offer exclusive content

One way to encourage people to tip you is to offer exclusive content to those who do. This could be anything from behind-the-scenes photos to early access to new products.


  • Artist: URL Artist who sells prints of their work. They offer exclusive prints to those who tip them on Ko-fi.
  • Musician: URL Musician who releases new songs on Patreon. They offer a tier where patrons can tip them directly.
  • Comedian: URL Comedian who posts funny videos on Instagram. They have a tip jar on Buy Me a Coffee where fans can support their work.


7. Participate in Contests and Giveaways

While it may seem like you need a massive following to make money on Instagram, that’s not always the case. One of the most effective ways to do this is by participating in contests and giveaways.

How it works

  • Find relevant contests and giveaways: Look for contests that are targeted to your niche and audience. You can find these by searching hashtags, following relevant accounts, and joining online communities.
  • Enter the contests: Follow the instructions carefully and complete all the requirements. This may involve following the contest organizer, liking and commenting on posts, tagging friends, and sharing the contest on your own account.
  • Win prizes: If you’re lucky, you’ll win a prize! This could be anything from a free product or service to cash or gift cards.

How to make money

  • Sell your prizes: If you win a product or service that you don’t need or want, you can sell it online or offline.
  • Use your winnings to promote your own products or services: If you win cash or gift cards, you can use them to invest in your own business or to promote your products or services on Instagram.
  • Build your audience: Every time you enter a contest, you’re exposed to a new audience. This is a great opportunity to gain new followers and grow your Instagram account.

Data and examples

  • According to a study by Socialinsider: The average Instagram user follows 605 accounts. This means that if you can win a contest with 100 entrants, you’ll have the potential to expose your brand to over 60,000 people.
  • A study by Influencer Marketing Hub: Found that 86% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product after seeing it recommended by an influencer. This means that if you can win a contest and get your product or service featured by an influencer, you could see a significant increase in sales.


8. Make Money with Surveys and Opinions

One of the best ways to make money with a small Instagram following is by participating in online surveys and opinion panels. These companies are always looking for people to share their opinions on a variety of products, services, and topics. In exchange for your time, you’ll be rewarded with cash, gift cards, or other prizes.

How to Get Started

There are a number of different survey and opinion panels that you can sign up for. Some of the most popular include:

  • Survey Junkie
  • Swagbucks
  • InboxDollars
  • Vindale Research
  • Opinion Outpost

Once you’ve signed up for a few panels, you’ll start receiving invitations to participate in surveys. The frequency of these invitations will vary depending on the panel, but you can expect to receive a few each week.

How Much Money Can You Make?

The amount of money you can make from surveys and opinion panels will vary depending on a number of factors, including the number of panels you sign up for, the length of the surveys you complete, and the topics you’re willing to share your opinion on.

In general, you can expect to earn anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars per survey. However, there are some surveys that can pay upwards of $20 or more.

Tips for Maximizing Your Earnings

There are a few things you can do to maximize your earnings from surveys and opinion panels:

  • Sign up for as many panels as possible. The more panels you’re signed up for, the more invitations you’ll receive.
  • Complete surveys as soon as you receive them. The sooner you complete a survey, the more likely you are to be rewarded.
  • Take advantage of bonus opportunities. Many panels offer bonus opportunities, such as signing up for their newsletter or referring friends.


9. Offer Online Classes or Workshops

If you have expertise in a particular area, you can use Instagram to offer online classes or workshops and generate income. By following the tips below, you can attract and retain students, even with a small following.

Here are some tips for offering online classes

3. Use social media to promote your classes.

Instagram is a great platform for promoting your online classes or workshops. Share snippets of your content, testimonials from past students, and behind-the-scenes photos and videos.

4. Offer free trials or discounts.

This is a great way to get people to try your classes or workshops and see for themselves how valuable they are.

5. Partner with other influencers.

Partnering with other influencers in your niche is a great way to get your classes or workshops in front of a wider audience.

Here are some examples

  • @the_balanced_blonde is a food blogger. She offers online cooking classes and workshops.
  • @jessicamendozaa is a fitness instructor with over 300,000 followers. She offers online fitness classes and workshops.


10. Monetize Your Videos with Ads

While it’s true that having a larger audience opens you up to more opportunities, you don’t need to be an influencer with millions of followers to start monetizing your videos.

This method is an excellent option to begin generating income on Instagram, even with a small account. Here’s how it works:

Requirements for video monetization:

    • Meet Instagram’s monetization policies: Ensure your content complies with the platform’s guidelines.
    • Have a business account: Switch your account to a business profile.
    • Link a Facebook account: Connect your Instagram account to a Facebook page.
    • Reach 10,000 followers: This is the minimum requirement to access the in-stream ads feature.
    • Meet ad view requirements: Your videos must have a minimum duration of 1 minute and generate a minimum of 30,000 views in the last 60 days.

How much can you earn?

Earnings from video monetization depend on several factors, such as:

  • Number of views: The more views your video gets, the more money you’ll earn.
  • Market niche: Some niches are more lucrative than others.
  • Cost per click (CPC): The CPC is the amount an advertiser pays you each time a user clicks on their ad.

Generally, you can expect to earn between $0.05 and $0.30 per ad view.

Example: If your video has 10,000 views and the CPC is $0.10, you would earn $10.

Tips to increase your earnings

    • Use relevant hashtags: Hashtags will help your videos be discovered by more people.
    • Promote your videos on other platforms: Share your videos on other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.
    • Be patient: Don’t expect to earn large amounts of money overnight. It takes time and effort to build an audience and generate income.



While 500 followers on Instagram may seem like a modest number, with a solid and creative strategy, it can become a significant source of income. Data shows that even micro-influencers with small communities can generate earnings.

Through authentic content, genuine interaction, and strategic collaborations, it’s possible to maximize earning potential. So, don’t underestimate the power of your 500 followers! With dedication and creativity, you can turn your passion into a sustainable income stream on the platform. It’s time to think big, regardless of your audience size!

If you want to delve into more detailed strategies on how to make money on Instagram, we have a list of articles that might interest you:

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