• ZigZag Team

How Much Money does an Instagram Influencer Make?

Wondering how much money an Instagram influencer makes? Curious if you can make a living off your Instagram account? Here's our guide on all things making money with IG.

How do I make money on Instagram?

Great news - there are lots of ways to make money on Instagram, using your account! Here are three of the easiest ways.

Sponsored Posts

  • What is it? You’re paid to post about a thing/brand or share pictures of product(s).

  • Best for: Mid size influencers who like free stuff

A sponsored post is essentially when you are paid to post a particular type of content on Instagram. Sponsored posts can be commissioned by everything from clothing and skincare brands to local restaurants and hotels looking for some more social clout. These sorts of posts are typically a one-time gig with a flat rate, and often come with fun perks like free apparel or a free night’s stay. Depending on your following, you can make up to thousands of dollars on these sorts of posts - especially if you don’t do them often.

We don’t recommend cranking out a ton of sponsored posts just to pay the bills, because then your feed starts to look like Instagram’s shopping feed. The one exception to this rule, however, is for influencers who build a brand around product reviews. (@ssssamanthaa is the perfect example of this, and now she’s even built her own product line!) If you like to post content about going on cool vacations, you can probably casually squeeze in a ton of sponsored hotel posts. BUT - if you’re working to build your following around cool skateboarding tricks, and you post a ton of reels of skateboarding tricks, beware of becoming a skate apparel feed. It’s tempting, but can totally de-value your brand as a content creator if you overdo it.

Sponsored posts should reflect what you're passionate about.

Affiliate Marketing

  • What is it? You rep a brand on your page, and every time someone uses your code or link, you make a % of their sale.

  • Best for: Up and coming + micro influencers w/ lots of engagement

Affiliate marketing is a super common way for creators with 5,000 - 20,000 followers to make money off of their feed. If you’re a creator with a smaller following but get a ton of likes and comments, you’re the perfect type of influencer for brands that offer affiliate marketing. Typically this involves posting about the brand/product, and frequently sharing your discount code or sharing your referral code via swipe ups or bio link.

Affiliate Marketing relies on your relationship with your people, because they need to trust or admire you so much that they want to by whatever you're using/wearing/eating, etc.

Brand Merch

  • What is it? You design and release some sort of merchandise related to you or what you post. For example, our influencer partner Michael Zeidel has his own line of clothing called “Know Your Worth”!

  • Best for: Creators with 100K+ followers and a super dedicated fan base

Once you’ve got a dedicated following who cares a lot about you or the stuff you post, you can start making your own money! Start by releasing something cheap - like stickers with your logo or a phrase you say a lot. Put the link in your bio to sell these stickers, and talk about them all the time. See how many people buy them, and if people seem on board (and you make more money than you spent to make the stickers), it’s time to scale up. Lots of influencers are making $$$ right now by selling marked-up hoodies or t-shirts with their slogans on them.

Michael Zeidel's created a brand merch collection!

How Much Should I Charge for an Instagram Post?

Another great question - and kind of a tricky answer. Your pricing is based off of what you post, how many followers you have, and how much they like/comment on your posts.

For example - an influencer with 150K followers but only 50 likes on each photo is not that impressive. That person’s audience isn’t super dialed in, so paying that influencer to post probably won’t result in the person paying making many sales. In order to be most attractive to the people willing to pay you to post, you want to have a dialed-in content type and a following that loves to like and comment on your photos, and/or swipe up on your stories. There isn’t an official formula for how much you should make based on your following, but generally the more your followers like and comment on your stuff, the more willing to pay you brands will be. This is an indicator that your followers really trust you, so if you post about your new favorite chocolate bar, they’re super likely to go out and buy that chocolate bar right away (or grab it when they’re already out).

When you’re thinking about how much to charge for an Instagram post, here are the questions you should ask yourself:

How many followers do you have?

  • Up-and-coming influencer: <5K followers; stories and feed posts are typically mid $$’s.

  • Micro influencer: 5-10 K followers; stories and feed posts are $$ to low $$$’s.

  • Mid-size influencer: 10 - 75K followers; stories and feed posts are typically low to mid $$$’s.

  • “Official Influencer” status: 75K+ followers; stories and feed posts are typically high $$$’s.

  • Big Time influencer: 100K+; stories are usually $$$, feed posts can be $$$$ if your audience is engaged.

  • "Famous" influencer: 1M+; at this stage, you should definitely be charging $$$$ to posts long as your followers are real people (and not bots).

What is your content type?

  • The more particular, the better. The best way to get a super-engaged following is to pick something really particular that people are REALLY passionate about. Here are some examples: organic small business skincare, skateboarding in Detroit, wild colored eye makeup, or breakdancing in beautiful tropical places.

  • Your content doesn’t always have to be expensive - your niche could even be making Target brand eye makeup look amazing! There is definitely a large population of folks interested in following the uber-rich, but it’s okay if you’re not ready to build your brand on being rich just yet.

  • Pick something you feel like you could talk about forever, because you’re going to have to post about it a lot to build a brand around it.

How many likes, comments, and swipe ups do you generally get on your posts?

  • If you’re hoping to make money off of your Instagram, you’ll need to hit at least 10% engagement. So, if you have 5,000 followers, at least 500 people should be liking your posts. If you have higher than 10% engagement rate, you’ve got a DEDICATED following, and your content will be worth a lot more money.

OK, but how do I get more Instagram followers?

Make sure you love what you post about.

  • If you want to be an influencer, be an influencer that posts about something you love. When you pick a content type that you love, you’ll post more, have more content ideas, and generally do a better job. Your content will be more authentic, and people who care about whatever you’re posting about will notice. They’ll love your content too.

  • Don’t try and pick a certain type of content because it seems “easier” or “more interesting”. The best thing you can be online is yourself. Show up for what you care about.

Pick a specific type of content, and stick to it.

  • Pretty much everyone that’s risen to Instagram fame started with getting really good at posting about one thing.

  • Really into skateboarding? Traveling? Skincare? Wearing the color pink? Start with making really good, visually interesting photo or video content about that thing. You can branch out later.

  • Here's an example of an emerging creator we have our eye on, who posts incredible vintage thrift hauls! (@ebc.jpg)

Build a relationship with your followers.

  • Reply to DM’s, comments, and follow people back if you like their page. Be more than just a poster - instead, build a community around what you post.

  • Like other people's post and comment on their content, too! They'll be more likely to support you, and Instagram determines how "quality" your account is by how much people interact with your stuff.

You don’t need to build a new Instagram account.

  • TONS of creators think they need to build a scratch Instagram account for influencing. This is actually totally a mistake. Instead, use your existing following of friends and family and build off of those followers.

  • Generally, people like to follow creators who already have a lot of followers, because that shows they consistently post good stuff. Getting your first 1,000 followers on a brand new account is the hardest part.

Post consistently, and don’t do it on the fly.

  • The best way to do this is to batch content (take a bunch of pictures or videos) to post later. That way, you're never scrambling to get a good shot at the last minute.

  • Next, build traditions around your brand. For many creators, this looks like sticking to a pattern of regularly posting super-juicy content such as "new what I eat in a day reels every Friday!" or "new clothing hauls every Sunday!"

Stay away from fake followers!

  • It’s tempting to pay for something that guarantees you 100,000 followers in a day, but Instagram knows what’s up. They won’t feature you on the discover page if you’re into some shady business. Skip the fake followers.

Try to make viral content at least once a week.

Slow and steady wins the race.

  • The most popular creators had a long pathway to fame (unless they went viral; see above). Take your time and accept that you can’t magically gain a hundreds of thousands of followers in the blink of an eye.

So, How much money does an Instagram influencer make?

As you can see from everything above, it depends on your following and how people interact with your content. Instagram influencers can make anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to tens of thousands per month, based on how intense their following truly is!

If you're looking to join a community of influencers and emerging creators, download ZigZag here.

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Los Angeles, California, United States