Influencer Marketing on Instagram: How Many Followers Do You Need?

Here’s what you need to know about audience size and pay when it comes to influencer marketing on the Instagram platform.

Dylan Duke · 8 Oct 2020
Influencer Marketing on Instagram
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Becoming an Instagram influencer is a lucrative opportunity for people who want to be self-employed on a full-time basis or make some extra money in their spare time. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, there was over $6.5 billion spent just on influencer marketing in 2019 alone. Many people who are thinking of getting into influencer marketing wonder how many followers they’ll need and what kind of money they can make based on the size of their audiences. Keep in mind, if you are new to this then the number one tip is to craft a unique personal brand online. This means that when someone visits your social accounts, they should be able to identify your interests, understand the types of things you find important, and see a value in following you. Here’s what you need to know about audience size and pay when it comes to influencer marketing on the Instagram platform.

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Starting Out as a Micro-influencer

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need tens of thousands of followers to start making money on Instagram. In fact, many brands prefer working with small-scale promoters because they typically have higher levels of audience engagement. These micro-influencers typically have between 5,000 and 30,000 followers, though companies tend to prefer people with at least 10,000. While prices vary based on niche and engagement rates, the average micro-influencer with 5,000 followers can reasonably ask for $100 or more per paid post. A user with 10,000 followers can see anywhere from $200-$500 per sponsored post depending on their engagement. As you move up toward 20,000 followers and above, you can start charging more to reflect your larger audience and reach. While you grow from micro influencer to full-fledged influencer, remember that it is vital to continue keeping your followers engaged and happy by continuing to provide content that fits your personal brand identity online. This way, as you grow, you don’t lose out on high engagement rates that will look promising to brands willing to pay you to advertise.

Achieving Full-Scale Influencer Status

By most metrics, people who have more than 30,000 followers are no longer considered micro-influencers. If you have between 30,000 and 250,000 followers on Instagram, the amount you can charge for a single paid post can go well up into the high hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Many influencers in this range adopt a rule of thumb of charging one penny per follower to keep their pricing simple. Under this model, for example, an influencer with 55,000 followers would charge $550 per post. Once you reach this level, you should also expect to start having more paid promotion offers, as companies will have an easier time finding and recognizing you as an authority in your niche. With growth of this scale, oftentimes you are going to experience an influx in comments and direct messages from your followers. This can make it more difficult to identify which brands are engaging with you or trying to partner with you for a collaborative advertising campaign. Make sure to add an email into your bio for business opportunities, and sort through your direct message box periodically for brands trying to pitch you for new campaigns, contracts, and deals.

Moving Into the Pre-Major Leagues

Once you have amassed over 250,000 followers, the ball is really rolling. If you get to this intermediate level between entry-level full-time influencer and major league internet figure, you will see how thrilling a ride it can become. This pre-major level of influencer ranks between 250,000 and 500,000 followers. In this range, you should be expecting anywhere from $2,500-$5,000 per post depending on the brand, your engagement rate, and the amount of posts/story features included in the campaign. Remember, this is a time where you must continue to churn out content and keep your followers engaged, even on this large scale level. Paid ad posts should not flood your feed as you will come off as a “sell out” to followers, especially those who have been with you from the start. Continue to express yourself online, keep up with your DMs from blue check “verified” brands and companies, and never let potential campaign-based emails slip by you. A missed inquiry message at this level may mean a missed couple thousand of dollars!

Moving Into the Major Leagues

While it is definitely a grind and can be as time-consuming as a full-time job or more to grow a social media page to over 500,000 followers, those who do are presented with incredible money-making opportunities. Using the one penny per follower rule, the minimum price for influencers in this range is $5,000 per post. If you do gain this kind of following, you can expect to have a very steady flow of offers from companies willing to pay you for promotions. At this point you can be selling promotional posts on your page and your story as well as adding product links in your bio for a certain period of time. With a large audience of this caliber, you have the ability to take products and put them on the map for hundreds of thousands of eyes to see. At this level, make sure to be working with brands that fit your personal brand identity online. Find the perfect balance of never selling yourself short when working with brands while also not selling out to your followers.  In addition to selling paid posts on their feeds, many influencers who have reached this level of popularity choose to launch their own products to generate additional revenue from their fan bases.

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As you can see, Instagram influencers can make money with practically any size of audience. Even if you only have 1,000 followers, you can start getting paid to recommend valuable products and services on your platform. To get started as an influencer, you can sign up with one of the many influencer marketplaces that help social media personalities connect with brands. These platforms make it simple for you to find paying customers and start making money from your social media know-how.

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