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How Much Money are the Instagrammers REALLY Making?

You probably won’t be shocked to learn this, but perhaps the biggest marketing tool available for businesses of all sizes these days is completely free, for the most part. It doesn’t really matter what your business is, for the most part, if you’re not taking advantage of social media as a free marketing tool, you’ve lost your mind.

Many business savvy individuals have figured out that they can even pay a little something extra for more exposure, and that translates pretty quickly to the books in terms of profit, making it a very wise investment. On the flip side of this coin are people who get paid to promote, the industry calls them “Influencers”… you may have heard of them, too. But how much money are these people really making when it comes to getting paid to market on Instagram?


Brand, Scope and Bargaining Power Matter

Here’s the deal: do not believe that you can actually make a living getting paid to Instagram for a company unless you’re working for a major brand, helping with a huge project, and you already have quite the following yourself. In other words – the only way to pull in some serious livable income posting on Instagram alone is to be a celebrity with a huge following (think Taylor Swift), hired by a huge brand (think GAP), to promote a big project (think: their new summer line for tall women).

For Swift, all she has to do is don a trendy tall size GAP tunic on her almost six foot frame and reference it in passing in a witty Instagram post about her cat, and boom: she gets paid the big bucks, and nearly every twenty something tall girl will run to the nearest GAP Store looking for that same tunic. Sure, there’s a scope of income to be considered, and that’s not to say that the every day SuzyQ can’t make a little extra padding on the side, but the bottom line is that the only way to pull in a significant income is to be a big deal on Instagram, and to post for a big deal on Instagram.


What About the Rest of Us?

So for all of us who lack that Swift-level celebrity status but still have quite the following on Instagram with our pretty pictures, cleverly relevant hashtags, and many thousands of followers, can we make any money? Sure! Some brands pay between $5 to $10 per thousand followers (per post), and others offer $100 per 100 followers (per post). Even still, some only pay in free goods (tote bags and hats and water bottles).

What does all of this say? The world is your oyster if you want to be an influencer and make at least a little bit of money. We can give you some tips as to how you can get plugged in as an influencer and increase your earnings over time.


Instagram Well

As a general rule, understand that in order to do this at all, you have to Instagram well. What does this mean? This simply means that your posting must be thoughtful and intentional. In other words, companies aren’t looking for people who post once in a blue moon, or once every hour. They’re also not looking for people who don’t take the time, effort, or attention to make sure the photo is actually decent. Companies are not looking for people who don’t regularly interact with their following and use captions and hashtags effectively. Lastly, companies are not looking for people who don’t have a following. Ironically, Instagramming well, over time, should gain you a following.


Be Proactive

Let’s say you have this whole Instagram thing down pat. You post pretty pictures at an appropriate rate, and you are happy with your feed looking like a resume of sorts. Now what? Assume that businesses won’t just come knocking on your door, you must go to them. Brand ambassadors and influencers are a dime a dozen these days, so be ready to approach them and stand out as the best candidate for the job. To that end, make sure that your style matches that of the business or brand itself if you want to even be considered.


Set Your Price

When you become an experienced brand ambassador who’s well known for effective influence posts, and you start to earn a decent amount of money (think: not quite enough to quit your full time job, but close), things will start to work in your favor. This is when you can quit pursuing clients, and simply await their pursuit. If you have a relatively significant online presence – let’s say you’re a fashion blogger with 100,000 followers – you can rest assured that you may have businesses reach out to request you plug their product in a post. In these cases? You set your earnings, you name your price. One well known fashionista charges anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000 for a single branded post.

It’s likely that the wheels of your mind are turning right now… could you make some money as an influencer? It’s entirely possible! Hopefully, though, we’ve dispelled some of the rumor in what it takes, and just how much you’re likely to get.




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