How to Make Money on Instagram Reels

Have you ever caught yourself, phone in hand, endlessly scrolling through the addictive loop of Instagram Reels, marveling at the creativity? And as a small business owner, you also probably wondered how to make money on Instagram Reels.

Here’s a staggering fact: As of 2023, Instagram boasts over 1.35 billion users, with Reels rapidly becoming a central feature of content consumption. For many, it’s not just about likes or comments – it’s about finding ways to monetize those 15 to 30-second clips. And nearly anyone can learn how to make money on Instagram reels.

In this guide, we’ll break down the strategies and steps to monetize your passion for Reels and transform your Instagram into a lucrative endeavor.

What Is Instagram Reels?

In the dynamic world of social media, adaptability and innovation are key, and that’s where Instagram Reels comes in – the feature is a testament to this very evolution. But what is this buzzing feature, and why is it so crucial for digital content creators?

Instagram Reels is the platform’s answer to the burgeoning popularity of short-form video content. Launched in August 2020, Reels offers users the chance to create, share, and explore 15 to 30-second multi-clip videos set to a vast library of music or user-generated audio. Think of it as Instagram’s twist on the TikTok formula – bite-sized, engaging videos designed to entertain, educate, or inspire.

Navigating Reels is easy. On the Instagram app, a dedicated space showcases the trending Reels, allowing users to discover diverse content from a global community. The possibilities are vast, from dance challenges to life hacks, comedic skits, and micro-tutorials.

The Importance of Instagram Reels for Business

In an era where digital real estate is paramount, Instagram Reels is emerging as prime property for businesses and influencers. But why is this short-form video feature gaining such traction, especially in the commercial realm?

  • Staggering Reach and Engagement: As of 2021, over 200 million users visit at least one business profile daily on Instagram. With the integration of Reels, businesses can tap into a more extensive audience base. The algorithm of Reels also boosts discoverability, often pushing popular or relevant Reels to the forefront, thereby increasing the chances of content visibility.
  • Authenticity and Creativity: Reels offer a platform for brands to showcase their more human side. Whether it’s a behind-the-scenes look, a quick tutorial, or a fun challenge, businesses can engage with their audience more authentically and creatively.
  • Increased Dwell Time: The captivating nature of video content, especially the bite-sized versions on Reels, means users tend to spend more time on the platform. This added ‘dwell time’ benefits brands as it translates to prolonged exposure and, potentially, enhanced engagement.
  • Direct Integration with Instagram Shop: Integrating Reels with Instagram Shop is a game-changer for businesses selling products. It turns entertaining content directly into potential sales, bridging the gap between fun and function.
  • Comparison to Other Platforms: While platforms like TikTok pioneered the short-video format, Instagram Reels benefits from being a part of an already established ecosystem. Businesses and influencers who have already cultivated a following on Instagram don’t need to start from scratch. Instead, they can seamlessly integrate Reels into their existing content strategy.
  • Versatility of Content: From showcasing product launches to sharing customer testimonials, conducting mini interviews, or even quick DIYs, the spectrum of content that businesses can create on Reels is vast. This versatility means that irrespective of the industry or niche, there’s potential to leverage Reels effectively.

Instagram Reels Monetization Requirements

Monetizing any social media platform requires a thorough understanding of its guidelines and prerequisites. Despite being a relatively new feature, Instagram Reels has rapidly gained attention as a lucrative avenue for creators and businesses. But how do you ensure your account is set up for successful monetization? Let’s delve into the essential requirements and how you can meet them:

  • Instagram Partner Monetization Policies: Before diving into Reels monetization, familiarize yourself with the Instagram Partner Monetization Policies. These guidelines ensure that the content on the platform is authentic, respectful, and adheres to community standards. Some pointers include avoiding misinformation, hate speech, and explicit content.
  • Follower Count and Engagement: Currently, Instagram hasn’t set a specific follower count as a prerequisite for Reels monetization, but most accounts can monetize after reaching 100k followers and up.
  • Professional Account: To access monetization features and analytics, switch your personal Instagram account to a Business or Creator account. This gives you insights into post-performance and allows potential collaborators to contact you directly.
  • Original Content: This is paramount. Ensure that the content you post is original and not repurposed from other platforms or creators. Brands and sponsors value authenticity and are likelier to invest in creators who produce unique content.
  • Stay Active and Consistent: Consistency is critical in the digital realm. Regularly posting and engaging with your audience can increase your visibility on the platform. Plan a content calendar, experiment with posting times to find your audience’s peak activity hours, and engage with comments and direct messages to foster community.
  • Diversify Content Types: While Reels is your focus, don’t neglect other Instagram features. Integrating Stories, IGTV, and regular posts can boost your profile’s overall engagement and appeal to a broader audience.
  • Engage with Brand Collaborations: Once you have a notable presence, you can pitch to brands or wait for them to approach you. Initially, consider partnerships that offer products or services in kind. As your influence grows, you can negotiate paid collaborations.
  • Join Instagram’s Affiliate Program: If available in your region, the Instagram Affiliate Program can be an excellent way for creators to earn commissions on the sales they drive through the platform. Research its terms and conditions to determine eligibility and potential benefits.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Reels on Instagram

Dipping your toes into the world of Instagram Reels might initially seem a tad overwhelming. With a multitude of features, editing tools, and endless creative possibilities, where do you start? To help, we’ve crafted a comprehensive, easy-to-follow guide to help you navigate this vibrant realm of short-form videos.

Step 1: Log in to Your Instagram Account and Navigate to Reels

how to make money on instagram reels

Starting your Reels journey is as simple as accessing the feature on your Instagram app. Here’s how to kick things off:

  • Log in to Your Account: Input your credentials and log in to your Instagram account. If you’re already logged in, you’ll land on your main feed.
  • Accessing the Reels Camera:
    • Swipe Right Option: From anywhere in your feed, swipe right. This will open the Instagram camera.
    • Camera Icon Option: Alternatively, locate the camera icon on your screen’s top left corner and tap on it.
  • Once you’ve accessed the camera, you’ll see several options at the bottom. Swipe through them until you land on “Reels.” And voilà, you’re now in the Reels recording mode

Step 2: Explore the Reels Features

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Once you’ve navigated to the Reels camera, you’ll be greeted by various features tailored to enhance your video creation process. Each feature brings its unique flair to the table, allowing you to customize your Reels perfectly. Let’s delve into the primary features and how you can utilize them:

  • Speed:
    • Purpose: This feature allows you to speed up or slow down a portion of your video. Whether aiming for a slow-motion aesthetic or a rapid sequence, this tool is your go-to.
    • How to Use: On the left side of your screen, you’ll find a speedometer icon. Tap on it, and choose your desired playback speed from the options presented.
  • Effects:
    • Purpose: Instagram offers many effects to add flair and creativity to your Reels. From augmented reality filters to color adjustments, the possibilities are vast.
    • How to Use: You’ll notice a smiley face icon next to the shutter button. Tapping on this will open the effects gallery. Swipe through and select your preferred effect. Some effects even allow further customization, so feel free to explore!
  • Timer:
    • Purpose: Want to record hands-free? The timer feature lets you set a duration, giving you a countdown before the recording begins.
    • How to Use: On the left side, find the stopwatch icon. Select it, set your desired duration using the slider, and press ‘Set Timer.’ When you’re ready, tap the record button, and after the countdown, the recording will start automatically.
  • Align:
    • Purpose: This tool is convenient for seamless transitions. It allows you to line up objects from your previous clip before recording the next, ensuring smooth visual continuity.
    • How to Use: Tap on the ‘Align’ button after recording a clip. Your previous clip’s last frame will appear as an overlay, helping you align your next shot.
  • Audio:
    • Purpose: Soundtrack your Reel with Instagram’s vast library of tunes, or use your original audio.
    • How to Use: Tap on the music note icon to the left. Here, you can search for and select your desired track. Once chosen, you can pick the specific part of the song you want to feature in your Reel. If you’re using your sound, simply record your Reel as is, and your original audio will accompany the video.

Step 3: Record Your Reel

how to make money on instagram reels

Now that you’ve grasped the myriad of features at your disposal, it’s time for the main event: recording your Reel! Whether aiming for a one-take wonder or a meticulously stitched masterpiece, Instagram Reels offers the flexibility to bring your vision to life. Here’s how you can get rolling:

  • Continuous Recording:
    • How to Use: Press and hold the central record button (it’s the big white circle at the bottom). As you hold, the video will be recorded. Release the button when you want to stop. This method is perfect for capturing uninterrupted moments or continuous actions.
  • Segmented Recording:
    • How to Use: Tap the record button once to start recording and tap it again to stop. This allows you to capture multiple separate clips that Instagram will automatically stitch together into a single Reel. It’s ideal for scenes with transitions, changes in setting, or varied content segments.
  • Uploading From Gallery:
    • How to Use: Below the record button is a small gallery icon. Tapping on this lets you access your device’s media gallery. Select the video clip(s) you wish to use from here. Once uploaded, you can trim and adjust the buckle as needed before integrating it into your Reel.

Pro Tip: Plan ahead if you’re crafting a story through your Reel. Sketch a rough sequence or storyboard. This helps ensure smooth transitions, especially when stitching multiple clips together.

Recording your Reel is all about capturing your narrative in its most authentic, creative form. Whether filming on the go or curating a well-planned story, each approach offers its unique charm. So, lights, camera, action – your Reel stage awaits!

Step 4: Edit Your Reel

how to make money on instagram reels

You’ve captured your moments, but the journey to crafting a standout Reel doesn’t end there. Enter the editing phase – where you refine, decorate, and perfect your content. With Instagram Reels’ suite of editing tools, you have all you need to transform raw footage into engaging narratives. Here’s a walkthrough of the available editing arsenal:

  • Adding Text:
    • Purpose: Convey messages, add context, or even throw in some humor with customizable text.
    • How to Use: Tap the ‘Aa’ icon at the top of your screen. Write your desired text, then choose color, font, and alignment. You can adjust the duration for which each text element appears on your Reel by tapping on it and setting the display start and end times.
  • Stickers and GIFs:
    • Purpose: Amplify the fun quotient of your Reel with a plethora of stickers or GIFs.
    • How to Use: Click on the square-faced sticker icon at the top. You can browse and choose from trending stickers or search for specific ones. Just drag and adjust them to your preferred spot on the video.
  • Drawing:
    • Purpose: Add a personal touch by drawing or highlighting areas in your Reel.
    • How to Use: Tap the pen icon at the top. Pick your desired color and brush style from the options below. Once chosen, use your finger to draw or sketch directly onto the video clip.
  • Adjusting Clip Length:
    • Purpose: Ensure your Reel fits within the desired duration or emphasize specific segments.
    • How to Use: On the editing screen, you’ll see a trim option (usually represented by a slider). Here, you can adjust your video clip’s start and end points to achieve the desired length.
  • Using Multiple Clips:
    • Purpose: Merge multiple moments or scenes to create a cohesive narrative.
    • How to Use: After recording a segment, you can immediately record another by pressing the record button again. Instagram will automatically stitch them together. To adjust the length or order of these segments, use the trim option and drag the clips to rearrange.
  • Deleting Clips:
    • Purpose: Did you make an error or captured an unwanted segment? No worries; you can easily remove it.
    • How to Use: In the clip preview at the bottom, select the clip you want to delete. An option to discard or delete (usually represented by a trash bin icon) will appear. Tap on it to remove the segment from your Reel.

Editing is all about refining your storytelling, ensuring every second of your Reel is engaging and aligns with your vision. So, flex those creative muscles and let your Reel be a reflection of your unique style and message!

Step 5: Share Your Reel

how to make money on instagram reels

The final curtain call! You’ve conceptualized, captured, and crafted your Reel. Now, it’s time to unveil it to the world. Sharing your Reel is more than just a click – it’s about maximizing its reach and resonance. Here’s how to effectively share and optimize your Reel:

Choosing Where to Share:

To Your Feed: After finalizing your edit, you’ll be taken to a sharing screen. Here, you can choose to post the Reel to your main Instagram feed, ensuring all your followers can see it directly when they scroll.

To Your Stories: Want a 24-hour showcase? Opt to share your Reel to your Stories. Remember, this will display just a segment of your Reel, so viewers must tap on it to watch the full version.

To the Explore Page: By default, public accounts will have their Reels eligible to appear on the Explore page. This vastly increases its discoverability and can help garner views from a broader audience beyond your followers.

Crafting a Captivating Caption:

Purpose: Your caption should encapsulate the essence of your Reel, intrigue viewers, or provide context.

How to Use: Think of your caption as a headline. It should be concise, catchy, and relevant. Pose a question, use a witty statement, or share a fun fact. The aim is to complement your Reel and encourage user interaction.

Harnessing the Power of Hashtags:

Purpose: Hashtags act as content anchors, connecting your Reel to specific topics, trends, or communities.

How to Use: After writing your caption, add relevant hashtags. Consider using a mix of broad (#DIY, #Foodie) and niche (#VeganDessertIdeas, #IndieMusicCovers) tags. Research popular hashtags on Instagram or use Instagram’s suggestion feature to maximize reach.

Tagging Relevant Users or Brands:

Purpose: Tagging can acknowledge collaborations, give credit, or draw attention to specific profiles or brands featured in your Reel.

How to Use: Use the ‘@’ symbol followed by the username in the caption or directly on the Reel. This notifies the tagged account and can foster interactions or resharing.

Final Checks: Give your Reel one final watch before hitting that share button. Ensure the audio syncs, the edits are smooth, and the overall presentation aligns with your intent.

Engage with Your Audience: Keep an eye on your notifications after publishing. Engaging with comments, answering questions, or simply thanking viewers can boost the Reel’s visibility and foster community.

Every share is like casting a net in the vast ocean of digital content. The more thought-out and strategic it is, the better your chances of reeling in a bountiful catch. Happy sharing!

Top Ways to Make Money with Instagram Reels

As of March 2023, the Instagram Reels Play Bonus program is no longer an option for those in the United States looking for new or extended deals. However, this development doesn’t mean the end of monetizing your Instagram Reels. Plenty of creative and strategic ways exist to convert your Reels into a solid income source. Here’s how:

Sponsored Content

how to make money on instagram reels

The classic yet effective route: create content that a company pays you for. Businesses are always on the hunt for influential individuals who can portray their products or services in a positive light. The key here is to maintain authenticity. Always choose to partner with brands that resonate with your image and audience. A sponsored Reel should benefit the brand and offer value to your followers.

Look into Affiliate Marketing to Make Money From Instagram

how to make money on instagram reels

Affiliate marketing involves promoting a product and earning a commission per sale made through a link you share. You can seamlessly incorporate these affiliate links into your Reels by either mentioning them verbally or adding them to your caption. Ensure that the products you endorse fit your brand and are genuinely useful to your audience.

Partnering with Brands for Branded Content

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Branded content goes beyond a mere shoutout or feature; it’s a collaboration where you work closely with a brand to create a entertaining and subtly promotional Reel. The best part is that Instagram allows you to tag businesses in your branded content, providing transparency for your audience and added exposure for the brand.

Explore Influencer Marketing

how to make money on instagram reels

Brands may pay you to leverage your influence and promote their products or services if you’ve built a substantial following. Unlike sponsored content, influencer marketing is often a more extended engagement and may require multiple posts, including Reels. It’s crucial to select partnerships that align with your brand image and can offer genuine value to your followers.

Create a Themed Reel in a Popular Niche

how to make money on instagram reels

Carving out a niche can be a game-changer. For example, if you’re an expert in plant-based diets, a series of Reels featuring quick vegan recipes can attract a targeted audience. Once you’ve amassed a following in your niche, brands related to that sector are more likely to seek partnerships with you.

Sell Your Own Products or Services

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Use Reels to showcase your products or explain your services. Whether it’s a digital course, handcrafted jewelry, or consulting services, a well-crafted Reel can serve as a dynamic advertisement that reaches a broad audience.

Offer Paid Reel Tutorials or Masterclasses

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If you have expertise in a particular field—be it digital marketing, dance, or cooking—you can offer specialized Reel tutorials for a fee. Tease your audience with a free Reel showcasing what they’d gain and direct them to a paid platform to access the full content.

Leverage Reels to Drive Traffic to Other Paid Platforms

how to make money on instagram reels

If you have a monetized YouTube channel, blog, or podcast, use Reels to funnel Instagram traffic to these platforms. A catchy, high-quality Reel can pique interest and guide viewers to your other revenue-generating channels.

Fan Contributions and Tips

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Some social platforms like TikTok have introduced the concept of fans being able to tip creators for the content they love. While Instagram hasn’t rolled out this feature for Reels yet, keep an eye out for such updates, as it could become another income stream.

Sponsored ContentContent paid for by companies to promote their products or services.• Direct payment from brands
• Authentic content offers value to followers
• Can be seen as inauthentic if not aligned with personal brand
Affiliate MarketingPromoting a product and earning a commission per sale made through a shared link.• Passive income
• Control over what to promote
• Need significant traffic for substantial earnings
• Dependence on affiliate rates
Partnering for Branded ContentCollaboration with a brand to create entertaining and subtly promotional Reels.• Enhanced brand collaboration
• Transparency with tagging feature
• Requires maintaining a balance to avoid over-promotion
Influencer MarketingBrands pay for leveraging your influence to promote their products or services.• Long-term engagements
• Potential for higher earnings
• Multiple posts may be required
• Necessitates alignment with personal brand
Themed Reel in a Popular NicheCreating content in a specific niche to attract a targeted audience.• Attracts targeted followers
• Potential brand partnerships in the niche
• Requires expertise in the chosen niche
• Might limit audience reach
Sell Your Own Products or ServicesShowcasing personal products or services through Reels.• Complete control over pricing and promotion
• Direct income
• Requires inventory or service management
• Investment in product/service development
Paid Reel Tutorials or MasterclassesOffering specialized Reel tutorials for a fee.• Income from expertise
• Attracts followers interested in the topic
• Requires in-depth knowledge and content creation
• Platforms for hosting paid content might be needed
Drive Traffic to Other Paid PlatformsUsing Reels to guide viewers to other monetized platforms.• Diversifies income streams
• Expands overall online presence
• Dependence on the success of other platforms
• Requires consistency across platforms
Fan Contributions and TipsAccepting tips from fans for the content (depends on platform features).• Direct appreciation from fans
• Can be a significant income source for popular creators
• Reliant on the generosity of followers
• Platform must support the feature

FAQs: How to Make Money on Instagram Reels

When Did The Instagram Reels Play Bonus Program Stop?

The Instagram Reels Play Bonus Program was halted on March 23. This means that from this date forward, new or extended deals through this specific program are no longer available in India and the United States.

Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to make money on your phone and online. If you’re interested, consider researching how to make money on social media sites outside of Instagram. For example, here’s our guide on how to make money on Snapchat.

Will Existing Instagram Reels Play Bonus deals be Honoured?

Yes, existing deals under the Instagram Reels Play Bonus Program will be honored according to the original terms until they expire.

Does Instagram Have a New Invite-Only Bonus Program?

Instagram Reels Play is an invite-only bonus program that lets content creators earn money on their reels.

How do Instagram Creators qualify to get paid for reels on Instagram?

Even with the discontinuation of the Reels Play Bonus Program, there are multiple other new tools for creators to make money on Facebook and Instagram. The general prerequisites usually involve having a certain follower count, a track record of engagement, and adhering to Instagram’s community guidelines. Read the list above for a guide on how to make money on Instagram and a rundown of Instagram Reels new features.

Image: Depositphotos

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Myra Nizami Myra Nizami is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 3 years. She is also a freelance writer and researcher with a Bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a Master's from Kings College London.