How many Instagram followers do you need to become a full-time influencer? You can make money off a few thousand followers, but it will depend on a few other things as well — including what your account is about, and your ability to not annoy people by trying to sell products all the time.
How to make money on Instagram
Aside from already having a business to promote, the best way to make money on Instagram is to become an influencer. Marketers pay influencers to promote their brands, paying anywhere from $70 to $1,016,325 per post, although don’t expect to make hundreds of thousands of dollars unless you’re a celebrity like Christiano Ronaldo ($631,612 – $1,052,686) or Ariana Grande ($530,562 – $884,271).
Promotions can take the form of mentions within a post, reviews of a product, or as a partnership that includes a commission, known as affiliate marketing.
The more followers you have, the more likely you’ll be approached by a marketer to sponsor their brands. However, marketers prefer communities that are active and willing to comment or like posts, as they’re more likely to buy a product. This is measured as the engagement rate, which can be an even more important metric to marketers than audience size.
On the plus side, Instagram has higher engagement rates than other social media. In terms of going pro, community engagement is a skill — the average engagement rate on Instagram is 4.7%, but top influencers usually pull in about 8%.
OK, but how much can you make?
There’s a big pond full of influencers on Instagram, with only a few big fish (only one per cent had more than five million followers) among many more minnows. As sponsorship deals are negotiated individually, average rates can vary, per the marketing agency company Influence & Co.:
- Less than 2,000 followers: $70 per post
- 2,000 – 10,000 followers: $100 to $150 per post
- 10,000 – 100,000 followers: $150 to $350 per post
- 100,000 – 1 million followers: $700 to $1,355 per post
- Over 1 million followers: Over $1,355 per post
Since most influencers are “microinfluencers” with an average range of 6,000 to 10,000 followers, let’s look at what the income might be. If you published a sponsored post everyday for $150, that would bring in $49,326 in annual income, before taxes (you could also add the value of free merchandise sent by marketers, but this is highly variable depending on what kind of influencer you are).
That might not be enough to quit your day job, but it ain’t nothing, either. Plus, remember that it’s a long-term game, too, as many influencers take years to build their audiences. If your follower account is growing at a steady clip, you might be on the right track already.
Keep your audience engaged
It’s important to remember that sponsorship opportunities really depend on your engagement rate and the subject matter you post about. For example, a fashion-focused account can be very profitable, as the product is clearly understood to an audience that is already shopping for clothes, so multiple posts a day comes off as less intrusive to the account’s followers. This allows an influencer to maximise income while keeping their engagement steady at the same time. What you choose to post about will be the biggest factor in how much money you can make; unless, of course, you’re a celebrity.