Many people dream of becoming an Instagram influencer. The idea of being able to earn a living by posting on social media is incredibly enticing. Plus, on the surface, it appears to be incredibly simple. However, top and even middle earning Instagrammers work surprisingly hard to keep their followers engaged and the money rolling in, ensuring that they can continue to score lucrative deals on posts.
The top earners on Instagram easily earn millions from their accounts. The ones that rake in the most are typically celebrities. For example, the cost for a single post from Ariana Grande is just shy of $1 million and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a price tag of about $880,000.
However, these are extreme earnings examples on Instagram. There are plenty of other accounts that earn a respectable income but don’t cross into millions-per-year territory. Usually, these users are dubbed “micro-influencers.” They focus on a particularly niche and are highly engaged with their (relatively) smaller audience, making them attractive options for certain marketing efforts.
Here are five examples of Instagram thousandaires:
1. Emily King and Corey Smith: @wheresmyofficenow
With over 179,000 followers, Emily King and Corey Smith share details about their nomadic lifestyle. They live out of a Volkswagen van with their dog, sharing images from their travels. When approached about a sponsored post, the couple can bring in between $500 and $1,500 for a single image.
2. Jack Morris and Lauren Bullen: @doyoutravel and @gypsea_lust
Together, this young couple earns six-figure salaries from their Instagram accounts. They promote destinations and brands in their feeds, often earning up to $9,000 for just one post.
3. Ross Dickerson: @dickersonross
With over 1.4 million followers, Ross Dickerson earns hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on average each day from his fitness-oriented account.
4. Sam Ushiro: @aww.sam
Sam Ushiro’s colorful images have earned her more than 280,000 followers. Typically, she nets about $1,500 per sponsored post.
5. Shayla Mitchell: @makeupshayla
The beauty category is incredibly popular on Instagram thanks to the platform’s focus on images and videos. Shayla Mitchell has more than 2.8 followers on her Instagram beauty blog and commands up about $7,000 per sponsored post.
Becoming an Instagram Thousandaire
There are a variety of paths a person can take to make money on Instagram. For influencers, cash earning opportunities usually focus on sponsored posts or becoming affiliates for specific retailers or brands. In either case, the size of your following often impacts your success.
As a result, your first goal should be to build your following. Here’s how to get started.
Define Your Account Niche
When companies look for influencer partners, they typically target influencers in a niche that aligns with their business and have a certain number of followers. If making money is your goal, you need to select a niche that you are passionate about and focus your entire account on it. That way, your excitement seems genuine, and you can establish your expertise.
Create a Strong Bio
Having a strong bio is also a must. Your bio introduces who you are, what your account is about, and your perspective. Since you have a limited number of characters in this section, you’ll need to tweak and optimize your bio to make it informative and engaging.
Focus on Storytelling
As you create posts, you are telling a story. Along with the images, you need strong captions that reflect your voice and point of view. When you write captions, work to connect with users on an emotional level. You want to be both intriguing and authentic, allowing you to build a following.
Additionally, make sure to take advantage of Instagram Stories. They are great for increasing visibility and engagement. Similarly, video can be a great addition to your Instagram feed as long as it still aligns with your niche.
Your posts also need to follow an overall theme and align with your chosen niche. This makes your feed more appealing and consistent, so work to keep your composition and color choices fairly uniform and the topics of the images harmonious.
It’s also wise to adhere to a posting schedule. Whether you post daily, several times a day, or on set days every week, this makes your account even more consistent and reliable.
Select the Right Hashtags
As you post, make sure to use hashtags that will help you find followers. You can only have 30 hashtags on each photo, so you want to make them all count.
Combine a few high volume hashtags with those that have respectable, but smaller, search volumes. That way, you can tap into popular categories but align most of your effort toward hashtags where you could be more likely to appear in the top posts.
Social media is all about engagement. Whenever someone comments on your post, take a moment to reply. When you write captions for images, consider asking a question that encourages commenting. Head to other accounts and like or comment on their feed, and considering following those that align with your niche or have something in common with yours.
Start Your Outreach
Companies won’t be interested in partnering with you until you have a reasonably strong following. Usually, this means having at least 1,000 to 10,000 followers, depending on how crowded your niche is at the time.
Once you cross the 1,000 follower mark, you can start with outreach. Now, this doesn’t mean you want to ask companies directly to sponsor a post right away. Instead, begin by tagging relevant brands when you post photos. This helps put your account on their radar and could lead to the brand featuring your post in their feed, something that can boost your visibility.
At that point, you can explore sending direct messages to brands. Have a pitch ready that shows how you can provide the company with value. The goal is to find ways to help them that are meaningful, and that means going beyond the simple, “My followers will learn about you,” approach.
Precisely what your pitch needs to look like depends on your niche and following as well as the brand you’re targeting. It takes time to refine your process, and you’re going to hear a lot of “no” along the way. But, with diligence, you’ll start to land the occasional “yes,” particularly if you keep gaining followers and creating great content.
In the beginning, you aren’t going to make hundreds or thousands of dollars from a single post. Instead, you might make less than $100 each at first or be offered a free product or service in exchange for the post.
You need to be realistic about what you account is worth to brands, especially in the beginning. Nearly everyone has to start small, and the road to thousandaire status and beyond can be long. But, if you offer something unique and engaging, have a strong following, and have reasonable expectations, you can get there. It just takes time, dedication, and just a little bit of luck.
Have you ever made money from an Instagram account? Do you know any Instagram Thousandaires? If so, share your thoughts or comments below.