Instagram: Basics, When to Post & How to Monetize




Updated 5/19/2024

Instagram is a popular social media platform with many features and ways to monetize content. This guide covers the essentials.

instagram cover

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a social media platform owned by Meta on which users can share photos, videos, and stories with their followers.

Instagram is used by individuals, influencers, and businesses to share content, connect with others, and promote products and services. It is known for its strong visual appeal and is a significant platform for digital marketing and influencer collaborations.

Who Uses Instagram

Instagram has over 2 billion active users, with its most active users ranging from ages 18-34. Many individuals and organizations use it, each leveraging the platform for different purposes.

Key Features

Here are the core features and aspects of Instagram:


Posts allow users can upload photos and videos to their profiles, which can be edited with creative tools and shared with followers.


Stories are temporary posts that disappear after 24 hours.

Stories can include photos, videos, text, and interactive elements like polls and questions.


Reels are short videos that loop, similar to TikTok or YouTube Shorts. They appear in the app’s main feed, with a special icon in the corner.


Live Broadcasts allow users to stream their activities. These feature additional income streams like Live Badges.


Direct Messaging (DM) is a private messaging functionality that allows users to communicate directly.


Explore is a curated feed of content customized to users’ interests based on their activity and interactions on the platform.


Shopping allows businesses and professionals to tag products in their posts, allowing users to shop directly through the app.

When to Post on Instagram

The best time to post on Instagram can vary based on your audience and their behavior, but here are some general guidelines based on Sprout Social’s research to help you post at optimal times:

Best Days to Post

It’s best to publish new posts in the middle of the week:

  • Tuesdays
  • Wednesdays
  • Thursdays

Best Times to Post

These are the best timeframes to post for each day of the week:

Monday11 AM2 PM
Tuesday10 AM4 PM
Wednesday9 AM4 PM
Thursday9 AM2 PM
Friday11 AM12 PM
Saturday9 AM12 PM
Sunday10 AM12 PM
Best times to post on Instagram for each day

Additional Considerations

Weekdays vs. Weekends

Weekdays generally see higher engagement, especially Tuesday through Thursday. Weekends can be hit or miss, depending on your audience.

Time of Day

  • Morning (8 AM – 9 AM): People often check their phones when they wake up.
  • Lunch Time (11 AM – 1 PM): Users frequently browse social media during lunch breaks.
  • Evening (7 PM – 9 PM): Engagement is high when people relax after work or school.

Insights Analytics

Use Insights to understand when your specific audience is most active. This tool provides data on the days and times your followers are most engaged.

Time Zones

If you have a global audience, consider the time zones of your followers. Post when it’s most accommodating to your audience’s time zones.

Niche-Specific Trends

Different niches may have different optimal times. For example, a fitness account might see higher engagement early in the morning or late in the evening, aligning with common workout times.

Special Occasions and Events

Adjust your posting schedule to align with relevant events or holidays when your audience might be more active or interested in specific content.

Combining these guidelines with insights from your own account analytics can optimize your posting schedule for engagement.

How to Make Money on Instagram

People make money on Instagram through various methods, leveraging the platform’s reach and engagement to monetize their content. Here are the most common methods:

  • Sponsored Posts: Influencers and content creators partner with brands to promote their products or services in their posts. They get paid for featuring the brand in their content, including photos, videos, Stories, and Reels.
  • Affiliate Marketing: Users earn a commission by promoting products from other companies and directing their followers to purchase through unique affiliate links.
  • Selling Products: Many businesses and individuals use Instagram to sell their products directly. This can include physical goods, digital products, or services. Instagram’s shopping features allow users to purchase items directly through the app.
  • Brand Ambassadorships: Long-term partnerships with brands where influencers represent the brand over an extended period, often featuring its products regularly.
  • Live Badges: During Live sessions, followers can purchase badges to support their favorite creators. Creators earn money from these badge purchases.
  • Selling Photography and Art: Photographers and artists use Instagram to showcase their work and attract buyers. They can sell prints or digital downloads of their art directly to followers.
  • Courses and Workshops: Experts and educators use Instagram to market and sell online courses, workshops, and coaching sessions.
  • Subscription Services: Some users offer premium content through subscription services, providing exclusive content to paying followers. Instagram is developing features to support this more broadly across the platform.

Monetizing Instagram requires building a substantial and engaged following, high-quality and consistent content, and strong relationships with audiences and potential brand partners.

Bottom Line

Instagram is a social media platform with many features and content types. There are multiple ways to monetize content on Instagram, but like any successful content strategy, it requires consistent work over a long period of time.

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