Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Active Instagram users and influencers can earn thousands of dollars per post. But some users struggle to see their follower count grow each day. Indeed, Instagrammers want to sign big, sponsored deals that can help them put in their bank account, eat the best-looking food or travel around the world. However, brands measure your account influence based on both your follower count and engagement rate.
Because of that, well-known celebrities with huge followings grab those big deals while others struggle to build their follower count, reputation, engagement and much more. But many wonder: How much money can you actually make on Instagram? And what factors affect how much can potentially earn?
How much money can you make on Instagram?
The first question that most Instagram users ask is how much money they can make on this platform. Frankly, there is no direct answer to this question. According to Instant Famous, several variables influence the amount of money you can get per post on Instagram. Some of these include your niche, follower count, the method of monetization, engagement rates and quality of posts.
Sponsored posts are one of the most popular ways of making money on Instagram. The industry ranks influencers based on their follower counts and sets the prices for publishing sponsored posts based on the number of followers. For instance, the nano category has influencers with less than 10,000 followers, the micro category has up to 100,000 followers, the macro category has between 100k and a million followers, and influencers in the mega category have over a million followers. The lower-level influencers, like nanos, earn $10 per 1,000 followers, micros earn $100, and macro earns $1,000.
On the other hand, influencers have the right to set their own price, and their charges are mostly outside these guidelines. For instance, less famous influencers with up to 10k followers may set their rates at $25-$50 per post, an established one with 30-80k followers may charge $ 150 or $350 a post, while a celebrity with over 100k followers can charge between $1000 and $500,000 a post. They use other factors when setting these figures.
The engagement rate is one factor that influences how much money one can make on Instagram. Based on this, lower-level influencers with a high engagement earn more when brands pay based on the number of engagements. As a result, companies use a different pricing model, which is $250 to $750 per 1,000 engagements.
Although your Instagram follower count is important, a lower-level influencer with a higher engagement rate may earn more than another with a huge following but few likes and comments on their posts. Followers that engage more are more likely to purchase in the near future, and that’s what brands are looking for.
How many followers do you need to make money on Instagram?
It depends. Many believe that follower count is the only factor brands look at when paying you on Instagram. However, that is not true. They also look at your niche, the quality of your posts, reputation and follower engagement, because these factors influence their product awareness and sales. To prove that, let’s review three big factors that can affect your earnings on Instagram, even if you have a substantial following:
1. Engagement rate
The engagement rate on Instagram is a percentage obtained by dividing the total number of likes and comments by the number of posts and multiplying that by 100. You can use a few online tools to do the calculations quickly. Instant Famous states that 4-6% is a high engagement rate, 2-3% is average, and above 10% is viral.
A high engagement rate tells brands that their followers listen to what you say or accept your recommendations. This encourages them to invest with you, because many of your followers will buy their products. Therefore, whether you have 1,000 or a million followers, you can make money on Instagram, as long as your account has a high engagement rate. The rate shows that your followers see and interact with your content. It also means your followers pay attention to what you say, and a couple of potential buyers are among them.
2. Your niche
Social media has become part of people’s daily lives. In fact, seven out of 10 people turn to social media networks when deciding what to buy. Most of them make purchase decisions based on the opinion of those they trust. Therefore, you can give your followers the reasons to follow and listen to you if you’re knowledgeable and passionate about a particular niche. Promoting brands and products in the niche you already love can earn you money even if you don’t have a ton of followers.
This leads to the question: Which are the most profitable niches on Instagram? Beauty, fashion, health, fitness, wellness, travel, business, finance, lifestyle and luxury are some of the most popular niches on Instagram. Further, there are many brands in these niches that help you create a lot of content for them and successfully monetize them. Therefore, opt for a niche with a lot of followers, so you can easily land sponsored posts. In fact, most brands work with micro-influencers with a more engaged, targeted following in these specific niches to promote them and their products.
3. Your overall reputation
Some Instagram influencers are famous on Instagram and other social media platforms as well as in their industries. They include well-known athletes, scientists and other subject matter experts. These individuals have both excellent online and offline reputations. Brands want to work with such individuals even if they don’t have a huge following on Instagram.
It’s always great to have many Instagram followers, because brands are drawn to users or influencers with a huge follower base. On the other hand, the follower count is not the only factor needed to start earning on Instagram. Your niche, engagement rate and reputation also greatly affect your ability to earn on this video-sharing platform.
As a result of these factors, there is no explicit answer to the question of how many Instagram followers you really need to start making money in the future. Even so, you can start making money even with 1,000 followers by exploring various revenue streams. Social media promoters like Instant Famous encourage active users to leverage their influence on Instagram and search for opportunities to publish sponsored posts, engage in affiliate marketing, sell their own digital and physical products, serve as brand ambassadors or offer social media marketing services.
The article has mentioned a couple of influencers that make money on Instagram with or without a large following. This is clear proof that the number of Instagram followers doesn’t count, but a high engagement rate of 2,000 loyal following can earn you decent cash on this platform.