The word “influencer” is tossed around lightly these days but what do influencers really have to do? An influencer is someone who has the power to affect other people’s buying decisions based on their online presence. They have this effect on other people because of their skills, experience, knowledge or popularity in a particular niche.

Industry leaders, bloggers, and curated content creators are examples of social media influencers. The products/services that are endorsed by influencers will be purchased by their followers should they need or desire them. For example, if a blogger swears about the benefits of a particular makeup product, some of their audience members may decide to follow the recommendation and buy the product.

The influencer gets paid a commission for every sale that comes from their recommendations. This is an example of an influencer marketing campaign, and one way influencers make money. There are other ways to make money as an influencer, and this guide highlights some of them.

The truth about getting paid as an influencer

There is no set budget for influencer marketing services. What you as an influencer can charge depends on a variety of factors including:

Your reach

Reach is the number of people an influencer has access to from their social media platform. This doesn’t mean just the number of followers or subscribers an influencer has, but also how many they can potentially reach with their content using search functions, hashtags and sharing. Influencer marketing trends reveal that the bigger the influencer’s community on social media, the higher their rates.

Number of followers

It pays to be popular. As influencers climb the social ladder, it’s common for them to get paid more per post because of their higher follower count. Brands are willing to pay more to have their content viewed by many people and influencers with huge followings guarantee this.

Influencers fall into different categories based on the size of their audience, and you may see various follower counts across different resources. We define it as the following:

  • Nano influencers: less than 1,000 followers
  • Micro influencers: 1,000 – 50,000 followers
  • Macro influencers: 50,000 – 500,000 followers
  • Mega influencers: 500,000 – 1,000,000 followers
  • Celebrity influencers: 1M+ followers

Money graphic

Figure 1: Source – Captiv8

Research found that Instagram influencers with between 100,000 and 500,000 followers get an average of $5,000 per post, while those with between 3 and 7 million followers command fees of about $75,000 per post. 

Your engagement rates

The success of an influencer marketing campaign depends greatly on its viral nature and the likelihood of the social community interacting with the content shared by the influencer. As an influencer, you need to ensure your audience engages with the content you publish in the form of clicks, likes, shares, and retweets. You can achieve this by publishing content that resonates with them and staying true to the values that made your audience fall in love with you in the first place.

Your relevance to the brand

Brands will pay you more when you specialize in their industry because they know customers value your opinion, making your endorsement a valuable asset for connecting with the audience. Companies get the needed social proof to penetrate niche markets when they work with influencers who are relevant to their brands.

The kind of content you post

The content you are creating will also impact how much you charge for your services. This is because different content formats require different things, and you'll have to spend time, energy, and resources to create the content.

Posts that require more work like Instagram and YouTube videos cost more. However, campaigns that only require you to share content that has already been prepared by the brand you’re working with don’t require large budgets. Engage an influencer marketing agency to help you determine how much to charge for your creative campaigns.

If you’re managed by a company

Influencers earn more when an influencer marketing agency manages them because they are presented with a lot of money-making opportunities in the form of campaigns that match their style and goals. You will get notified when a company that fits your audience comes up, and this saves you the trouble of responding to partnership requests and negotiating contracts. You'll get more time to create awesome content that will help grow your audience and qualify for high-paying campaigns.

Woman wearing white shirt with hands crossed

How to make money as an influencer

Here are some of the effective methods influencers use to make money on social media.

Sponsored content

Publishing sponsored content on your pages is one of the most popular methods for making money on social media. This is when an influencer is paid by a brand to publish sponsored content on their social media pages.

When a brand approaches you for this sort of campaign, they will give you the type of content or promotion they require. You could write review posts, informational content to educate the consumers or simply feature or tag a brand’s products in your posts.

The cost of a sponsored post on IG ranges from $100 to several thousands of dollars. The exact amount you can charge will depend on several factors such as those we listed above.

Average sponsored instagram graphic

Figure 2: Image via Influence.Co

This means that if you want to earn more as an influencer, you need to increase your power on social media. You can achieve this by posting engaging content and hosting giveaways that require participants to follow you.

Affiliate links and promo codes

Affiliate marketing is another strategy you can consider to boost your income streams. With this method, an influencer recommends a product to their audience and gets compensated when they make a purchase using their link. Your earning depends on how much a customer spends. Most programs run on a percentage basis where influencers earn a commission of between 5 and 30 percent for every sale. However, the commission may be higher or lower than this in some cases.

Other than a link, you could also be issued with a unique code that customers can add at checkout to get a discount. You will earn a commission for conversions resulting from your code. The commission could be a small percentage of the sale or a fixed amount agreed with the brand.

Affiliate product sales

This tactic requires influencers to create and sell their own products on their social media pages or blog. You can sell downloadable content, eBooks, printables, or physical products online. When it comes to time investment, this method requires the most by far, but it also promises the most significant returns.

The internet has created a lot of opportunities for those who are smart enough to identify the right resources they can use for their advantage. A good example is how on-demand printing company Zazzle allows users to design and sell clothes, bags, hats, stickers etc. without any investment or overhead costs. You can then promote your products on social media and create a steady income stream for yourself.

To get started with this tactic, open a targeted online store and create an Instagram account built around that niche. Feature your products on your Instagram page and start earning money.

Instagram pug profile

Figure 3: Image via Instagram

A great example of an Instagram page that’s killing it with this tactic is Doug the Pug. The page chronicles the life of one of the internet’s coolest pugs and takes followers along his adventures. Doug the Pug has 4 million followers, his own book, and an official store that contains shirts, hats, mugs, and more.

This is an example of a template you can use to launch your own brand and sell from your online store. Get creative and find an interesting angle that will make people excited to buy from you.

Merchandise

Once you’ve built a significant social following, you can partner with brands to co-create product lines that you will promote on your channel. When influencers get into this sort of arrangement with a brand, they get paid large sums and a small percentage of the profits from product sales.

The compensation plan is also affected by the influencer’s level of involvement in the product creation exercise. The higher your input, the more you will get paid when the product gets launched.

If you are a big-enough influencer, you can choose to forgo partnerships with brands and create your own line of products. Sure, you'll have to make a significant investment at first, but if you want to monetize your social influence better, this form of investment could become very beneficial in the long run.

Identify the things your followers are interested in and start a unique product-line. Your influence alone isn't enough to get them to make a purchase, so make sure your products are of high quality and the right price.

Banner ads

Influencers can also earn a passive income through display advertising. Typically, bloggers sign up with third-party networks like Google AdWords to have ads displayed on their websites. With significant traffic, bloggers can earn decent amounts of ad revenue.

There are two ways influencers can earn from display advertising. First, they could get paid through cost per click (CPC) ads where a blogger receives a small payment when a visitor clicks on an ad displayed on their site.

Influencers could also join a cost per mile (CPM) network where they earn a fixed amount of money for every 1,000 ad impressions. This arrangement is all about displaying ads to website visitors, and it doesn't matter if a visitor clicks on the ad banner or not.

Influencers with a lot of traffic can forgo the ad networks altogether and make money selling advertising space on their websites. With this approach, you can set your own rates and have more control on the placement of the ads.

Brand ambassadorship or partnerships

Influencers also make money by becoming brand ambassadors. The good thing about this form of partnership is that the arrangement is long-term, lasting a long period of time instead of a one-off engagement. The contract may even last for several years with the influencer getting higher compensation for the additional time and effort.

When you get selected to be a brand ambassador, you'll receive free products from the company in exchange for promoting them on social media. Some brands offer additional payment for every piece of content the ambassador creates or a small percentage for every conversion they drive.

Finding a brand ambassador role is not easy because brands are cautious on the influencers they work with to ensure they offer their clients authentic marketing experiences. Some brands have ambassador programs you can sign up for, but they are not highly rewarding. Work with an influencer marketing agency to find a brand ambassador role that matches your values and is suitable for your audience.

Paid content

Influencers also earn money from social media by directly appealing to their followers. If you are a talented content creator, you can set up a Patreon account that allows you to offer exclusive experiences to your followers at a small fee. The experience could be something like a detailed version of your content or early access to your social media content.

The subscription model gives users access to additional material that isn’t available for free. Through this “paywall” approach, premium services and content are hidden from the public unless one signs up and pays the subscription fee. A system like Patreon is used to support the payments and release of content to the subscribers.

Patreon influencer profile

Figure 4: Image via Patreon - RoomieOfficial

For instance, influential YouTuber Roomie has a Patreon account that he promotes through his videos. His followers can get extended versions of his songs and access to exclusive streams when they become a patron of him. Membership fees range from $1 per video to $15 per video with the highest tier allowing subscribers to decide what content he should create on his channel.

Use this approach to get paid by your fans for exclusive content and experiences. You don’t need millions of followers to make a decent amount of money. The most important thing is having a few loyal fans who genuinely value your content.

Guest appearances

More and more commonly, influencers are getting paid to attend events and speak at conferences. Many influencers have fans that are eager to meet them in person and jump at the chance to attend an event where the influencer would be making an appearance. This could be at an industry event, training convention, or as a guest speaker at a private function.

Such events can be very lucrative with some influencers charging as much as $100,000 for a 1-hour speech. One of these gigs can really boost your income and free you up to do the things you love.

To qualify for such opportunities, you need to be popular or an expert in a particular industry. This will help you build an audience both online and offline. Event organizers will invite you to attend their events to boost attendance rates, and you'll get paid when you make an appearance.

You could also be invited to teach other people what you know as a real-life coach and not as an online course. People pay huge sums for coaching in different aspects of life, and this is another money-making opportunity available to you as an expert in your field. Spending time with an expert helps people improve their lives, and people are willing to pay for such experiences.

Influencers with a low number of followers may receive gifts from brands rather than monetary payment

Sometimes a brand won’t give you money to promote their products on social media. Instead, you’ll receive gifts from the brand for promoting their products on your social channels or blog. You could receive branded items, or exclusive content offers to promote a brand to your audience. If you are a travel blogger, destinations can bring you on board to promote their locations and cover the cost of the trip.

The arrangement varies depending on the brand you’re working with and the product getting endorsed. Marketers tend to extend such partnerships to influencers with a low number of followers as they gauge their ability to drive conversions.

Blonde influencer holding money in her hand

So where do you have to be to start being an influencer?

Becoming an influencer and monetizing your influence is not as easy as it appears. A lot of effort goes into developing a community of devoted followers that look forward to your expert advice and recommendations. Brands want to collaborate with influencers to expand their reach and drive conversions.

To get started along this path, you need a platform, content, and a following. Start by choosing a niche that allows you to show your expertise on a particular issue. Choose something you are passionate about since you’ll spend a lot of time creating content on that topic.

You will then need to choose a platform where you’ll post your content. Your niche will determine the right media for you since individual content formats perform better on specific platforms. A fashion blogger should choose Instagram as their leading influencer platform since it works better with visual content than other avenues like Twitter and LinkedIn.

Publish fantastic content on your online pages to educate and inform your followers. Videos, blogging, social posts, and live streams are the content that works with influencing. Actively engage your audience to connect with them and grow your audience. With time, your audience will grow, and you have millions of dedicated fans following you.

With these simple measures, anyone can be an influencer and be their own boss these days.

Instagram platform

Being an influencer isn't easy – unless you've got some help

Succeeding as an influencer isn’t easy. It requires hard work, upkeep, time, and even some of your money. Many people also want to become influencers, and this has increased competition within the industry. It takes time to grow your following, and keeping them on board can be very difficult.

Earning the trust of your audience is even more challenging. You'll have to consistently create authentic content to grab your followers' attention and establish yourself as an authority in a particular niche.

Once you've done all this and earned yourself a sizable following, the next step is to try and monetize your following by finding appropriate brands to work with. You have to be cautious about the companies you are working for since a change in style can harm your reputation and disengage your followers.

It’s for these reasons why you should choose an influencer marketing platform that pairs you to brands that suit your style and audience. At atisfyre, we have a new-to-the-world platform that can help you be your own boss.

From one centralized location, our sophisticated AI can connect you with brands in your niche, create a detailed resume for you, ensure you get paid and help you grow. You'll get notified when jobs become available, thus opening a lot of money-making opportunities for you. Sign up today!

Little boy walking in a branch of tree


Influencers are all the rage right now since brands want to collaborate with them to improve their reach and make more people aware of their products. Influencer marketing provides you with the chance to get paid for recommending products to your audience, but you’ve got to learn how to be an influencer before you can start.

Engage an influencer marketing agency for guidance on how to build a devoted following and earn from your influencing activities. Joining an influencer platform is a great way to connect with brands that match your style and are suitable for your audience. Sign up with atisfyre to get started.

Are you finding it difficult to monetize your influence? Join our AI influencer platform and connect with brands in your niche.