Instagram is a great platform for creators to monetize their content. There are many ways to earn money on Instagram such as collaborating with brands or building a loyal following. However, the question is not about “how many followers you need on Instagram to get paid”, it’s more about the engagement levels from your community and the relevance of your niche.
Introduction to Making Money on Instagram
As an Instagram influencer, you make money by promoting products, services and brands to your audiences. Brands reach out to you due to your influence and pay you to get exposure in front of your audiences. The good news is that you don’t need millions of followers to make money on Instagram.
The creator economy has matured and audience targeting has become very precise on social media platforms. This is not only due to advanced algorithms but also thanks to niche influencers. A niche influencer is someone who has a highly engaged community in a particular segment. Their opinion is valuable and people are highly likely to listen to their advice.
Debunking the Myth: How Many Followers Do You Need?
When you’re a niche influencer, you are not going to have many followers because your audiences are highly specific. However, that does not mean you are not able to monetize Instagram. In fact, niche influencers sometimes tend to earn more per post than generic Instagram profiles with over a million followers.
That’s because brands who are looking to promote their products and services are likely to get better results promoting their offering on a niche influencer’s page (than on a celebrity page with millions of audiences with conflicting interests). That’s why marketers tend to favor nano or micro influencers with a relatively smaller following to narrow down their target audiences.
So, your number of followers is not the only factor that determines whether or not you can earn on Instagram. In fact, in many cases it may not even be the most important factor. Your earning potential depends on how engaged your audiences are. Marketers determine this by evaluating comments, likes and overall engagement on your posts.
The Golden Number of Followers
Tess Barclay, a nano influencer, started earning money for her lifestyle content when she had just a few thousand followers. According to BusinessInsider, she earns over $154 per feed post for promoting brands that are in line with her niche.
"I always thought you needed a million followers, or a hundred thousand followers, to make money on social media but that's really not true. There are so many ways that you can make it a business, even if it is part-time,” Barclay told Insider.
A nano influencer is someone who has 100 to 10,000 followers. When you’re starting out, aim to get at least 2,000 up to 10,000 followers. However, there are nano influencers who have made money with an even smaller follower base. It all depends on how engaging your content is.
Pro Tip: Make Money Using Instagram’s Partner Program
If you think you want an additional source of revenue, you can get paid by Instagram’s monetization features. One such program is called “Bonuses” for Reels, which compensates you for total views on your Reels. Additionally, there’s also another feature called “Badges,” that allows followers to tip you during live videos. To be eligible, you must have at least 10,000 followers.
So if you’re looking to earn some extra revenue, try getting to at least 10,000 followers. This can also be a good starting point if you’re looking to earn using subscription platforms and monetization services similar to Badges.
Earn Money on Instagram Using Monetization Services
Instagram is great for collaborating with sponsors or building a loyal community. However, it doesn’t offer subscription features or additional monetization features to everyone. For example, to use Badges, you must be from certain countries and have at least 10,000 followers.
To have a steady stream of income to support your creativity, you need a monetization platform like Paysenger. Paysenger can easily be combined with Instagram even if you have under 10,000 followers to turn your creations into instant revenue.
It’s a social marketplace with payment features where you can earn money for:
- Taking content requests from your followers: People can pay you to create videos based on their ideas or pay you for shoutouts on Instagram.
- Replying to direct messages: People can easily reach out to you and get your attention by sending paid messages to you. You get paid each time you respond to their DMs.
- Collaborating with others: Brands, marketers and other creators can easily sponsor you to produce content in collaboration with them.
Monetization features like these make it easy for you to grow as a creator. You get the financial support you need to grow your following and improve the quality of your content. There are also other subscription platforms such as Patreon or Ko-Fi that allow you to earn money directly from your patrons.
Factors that affect your earnings on Instagram
Several factors can affect how much you can earn on Instagram. These include:
Brands yearn to collaborate with Instagram users who can amplify their message to their target audiences. The size of your following carries weight in the decision-making process of brands. As a rule of thumb, the greater your followers, the higher the asking price for a sponsored post. However, if your audiences are not engaged or don’t fall into a particular niche, then the size of your following becomes irrelevant.
Marketers use a number of tools to evaluate your engagement rate. The engagement rate determines how much your audience connects with your content. Brands typically seek influencers with a higher engagement rate because it determines how likely audiences are to take an action after interacting with your content.
Your niche is the segment in which your content falls. Certain niches are more lucrative than others. You are likely to earn more if you have a highly targeted niche and have a strong opinion in this segment (even if you don’t have a lot of followers). This is why it’s important to produce content in one niche to establish yourself as an expert. If you try to enter multiple segments you’ll confuse your audiences as well as brands looking to partner with you.
Type of Content
The form of your content can also impact your earning potential on Instagram. For instance, influencers generally charge more for video posts in the feed as compared to 24-hour stories. Also, you’re likely to earn more for detailed videos than quick image posts.
How to Monetize Your Instagram Account
Though there are many ways that you can generate a revenue stream from Instagram, the most prominent ways to earn include these:
- Sponsored posts: Sponsored posts are a popular medium for monetizing on Instagram. Brands offer a gratuity to you for promoting their products or services to your followers.
- Affiliate marketing: Affiliate marketing is a promotional strategy that involves endorsing others' products and receiving a commission for every sale you trigger.
- Product sales: If you have a product or service that you've created yourself, Instagram can serve as a powerful marketing tool to endorse it and boost your sales.
- Brand deals: Brand deals are an alliance between you and a brand for a prolonged duration to market their products or services.
Some Tips to Help You Grow Faster
Growing your Instagram following takes time and effort. Here are some tips to help you grow your following:
Have a Consistent Content Calendar
When it comes to expanding your following on Instagram, consistency is key. Use tools like Buffer to create a content calendar in advance. Then, use it to consistently post content on a daily basis. When you run out of content, you can always recycle some of your previous work.
Collaborate with Other Influencers
Join forces with like-minded creators to amplify your impact and grow your brand. Remember: followers on your profile are something that you gain as a result of your social media efforts. Collaborating with others is a great way to get access to new audiences and a lot of marketers primarily use shoutouts for new accounts to grow them. Have a consistent shoutout strategy and you’ll snowball your Instagram growth.
By the way, it can sometimes get hard to reach out to and collaborate with other people (there’s just way too many options). On Instagram, you have to reach out to hundreds and then manually talk to each one of them to discuss a collaboration proposal. You can save time by using tools like Paysenger to instantly request shoutouts from other creators without any back-and-forth communication.
Simply go to their profile on Paysenger, and request a paid shoutout. You can make payments directly from within Paysenger as well. If you’re looking to run mass influencer campaigns, then use Influencer Marketing Hub instead.
Engage with Your Audience
Give your audience a way to have a personal connection to you. In addition to responding to comments and direct messages, host events and contests. Giveaways are one of the quickest ways to grow and reach your follower count. This also puts you on the radar of potential sponsors.
Invest in Paid Advertising
Don’t run paid ads just for the sake of getting more followers. The campaigns should have a purpose. For example, you can run paid ads to promote your giveaways or new social media contests. As a consequence of these campaigns, you will get more followers. However, always keep in mind that clever giveaways or marketing tactics are never a substitute for quality content.
Conclusion: Go From Zero to Paid
While Instagram offers a lot of tools and features to many to make a living, most small-to-medium size creators are not able to earn a full-time income especially in the beginning. Instagram is a highly competitive place and finding your niche audience is harder than ever. That’s why you should combine it with other monetization platforms such as Paysenger, Patreon and Ko-Fi.
Subscription platforms allow you to earn money in the beginning to support your content creation. This improves the quality of your content and allows you to gain more followers – effectively, allowing you to earn money on Instagram as well. While the competition on Instagram is intense, Paysenger is offering new creators extra exposure by becoming early adopters. The platform is in its early growth stages and creators who are starting now will become the trendsetters of tomorrow.