- There are different categories of influencers based on how many followers they have.
- These include nano influencers and micro influencers, who typically have under 100,000 followers.
With a few thousand followers on Instagram these days, it's easy to ask yourself: When can I start making money?
The good news is, there's no strict minimum.
Five influencers Insider previously interviewed with under 6,000 Instagram followers said they got paid by brands to post to their small audiences.
For instance, Tess Barclay, a Toronto-based nano influencer who creates lifestyle content, started earning money with a few thousand Instagram followers. Last May, she told Insider that she charges brands upwards of $154 for an in-feed Instagram post.
"I always thought you needed a million followers, or a hundred thousand followers, to make money on social media," Barclay told Insider. "But that's really not true. There are so many ways that you can make it a business, even if it is part-time."
Meanwhile, may other influencers start making money by earning a commission from sales via affiliate marketing.
Instagram is also directly paying some influencers through incentive programs like "Bonuses" for Reels. Some Instagram monetization features like "Badges," Instagram's tipping tool for IG Live, require that creators have at least 10,000 followers. Many of these programs also are limited to certain countries, have an age minimum of 18, and require accounts to be registered as business or creator accounts on the app.
While the doors have opened for many more creators on Instagram to start making a living, often they don't start making full-time incomes immediately (although a fair number of micro influencers with under 100,000 followers work full-time as influencers).
Today, Instagram influencers no longer need hundreds of thousands of followers to start earning cash.
Here are a few reasons why:
- "Nano" and "micro" influencers (who typically have followings of up to 100,000) are being hired by many brands across industries. These smaller influencers have demonstrated the power of niche and engaged communities on Instagram, where fake followers and disproportional engagement have flooded the platform. Influencers can earn hundreds to thousands of dollars from these deals.
- Meta-owned Instagram opened its multibillion-dollar wallet and paid influencers, which it announced in 2021 with a flashy $1 billion investment into content creators through last year. The platform also introduced a creator-brand marketplace for sponsorships in 2022.
- Affiliate links are easier than ever to share now that Instagram widely rolled out the link sticker in 2021. Some affiliate programs do have their own requirements, however, such as LTK or ShopStyle.
So, how much money are these influencers making on Instagram?
Insider interviewed over two dozen Instagrammers about how much money they make, with follower counts from 2,000 to over 250,000.
Here's a full breakdown of our coverage:
From brand deals:
- Natasha Greene, a food and lifestyle creator with 266,000 followers
- Jehava Brown, a travel and lifestyle influencer with 197,000 followers
- Kara Harms, a full-time lifestyle blogger and influencer with 77,000 followers
- Jon Seaton, a college football star and creator with 83,000 followers
- Tomi Obebe, a lifestyle influencer with 38,000 followers
- Emma Cortes, a lifestyle influencer and podcast host with 73,000 followers
- Aisha Beau Frisbey, a lifestyle creator with 40,000 followers
- Manasi Arya, a Gen-Z artist with 19,000 followers
- Alexa Curtis, a lifestyle influencer and entrepreneur with 22,000 followers
- Mary Margaret Boudreaux, a fashion and lifestyle influencer with 90,000 followers
- Reni Odetoyinbo, a personal-finance and lifestyle creator with 28,000 followers
- Gigi Kovach, a part-time lifestyle blogger and mom of two with 12,000 followers
- Tejas Hullur, a personal-finance creator and entrepreneur with 17,000 followers
- Tyler Chanel, a sustainability influencer with 13,000 followers
- Jour'dan Haynes, a lifestyle creator with 6,000 followers
- Tess Barclay, a lifestyle blogger with 7,000 followers
- Laur DeMartino, a nano influencer and full-time college student with 7,000 followers
- Jalyn Baiden, a skincare influencer with 7,000 followers
- Jen Lauren, a part-time lifestyle influencer with 6,000 followers
- Kayla Compton, a lifestyle nano influencer with about 2,000 followers
From Meta Platforms, including Instagram:
- Kelly Anne Smith, a personal-finance influencer with 13,000 Instagram followers shares how much she earned from Bonuses in a month
- Jackson Weimer, a meme creator who got paid more than $6,000 for views on his Reels
- Several influencers reveal the different 'bonus' payments Instagram is offering, with some stretching up to $35,000
From affiliate links:
- Bethany Everett-Ratcliffe, a lifestyle micro influencer with 64,000 followers
- Vi Lai, a skincare influencer, uses Instagram and TikTok to make thousands of dollars per month using affiliate marketing
A popular strategy that many influencers employ to land lucrative paid opportunities with brands is to create a media kit, which is a document showcasing the potential value an influencer can bring to a company. This usually includes a short biography, social-media engagement analytics, past collaborations, and any other relevant information. Most influencers have a template they use, which they customize according to the brand they're reaching out to.
Here are media kits influencers on Instagram have used to successfully land brand deals:
- Kayla Compton, a lifestyle influencer with about 2,000 followers
- Jorge Alvarez, a mental health influencer with 2,000 followers
- Stacy Kim, a travel and lifestyle influencer with 3,000 followers
- Jen Lauren, a lifestyle influencer with 6,000 followers
- Jour'dan Haynes, a lifestyle influencer with 6,000 followers
- Laur DeMartino, a lifestyle influencer with 7,000 followers
- Tess Barclay, a lifestyle influencer with 7,000 followers
- Paulina Perez, a lifestyle influencer with 7,000 followers
- Joseph Arujo, a fashion and lifestyle influencer with 14,000 followers
- Bri Seaberg, a travel and lifestyle influencer with 18,000 followers
- Blake Newby, a beauty, fashion, and lifestyle influencer with 25,000 followers
- Gigi Robinson, a body image and mental health influencer with 38,000 followers
- Macy Mariano, a travel and style influencer with 184,000 followers
- Joel Bervell, a health education influencer with 194,000 followers
- Natasha Greene, a food and lifestyle influencer with 266,000 followers
- Eric Stoen, a travel influencer with 372,000 followers