Tomi Obebe is a micro influencer on Instagram.
A couple thousand followers on Instagram qualifies some users as “influencers.”
But at what point — and with how many followers — can an influencer start making money?
Insider has talked with dozens of influencers about when they started making money, how, and how much.
With a few thousand followers on Instagram these days, it’s easy to ask yourself: When can I start making money doing this?
The good news is, there’s no strict minimum.
Three influencers Insider interviewed — all with under 3,000 Instagram followers — said they got paid by brands to post to their small audiences.
For instance, Kayla Compton became a brand ambassador for jewelry company PuraVida with less than 2,000 followers, she told Insider last year. She said her starting sponsored-content package at the time was $250, and that she also got paid by sharing affiliate links or codes with her followers and earning a small commission.
And now, it’s easier than ever to share affiliate links on Instagram stories since the company rolled out access to link stickers to all accounts in October.
Instagram is also directly paying some influencers through incentive programs like “Bonuses” for Reels, which requires at least 1,000 views on Reels (rather than a follower minimum). On the other hand, other 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, influencers no longer need hundreds of thousands of followers to start earning cash.
Here are a few reasons why:
“Nano” and “micro” influencers (typically accounts with fewer than 100,000 followers) 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 is opening its multi-billion-dollar wallet and paying some influencers, which it announced last year with a flashy $1 billion investment into content creators through 2022.Affiliate links are easier to share now than ever. Some affiliate programs do have their own requirements, however, such as LTK or ShopStyle. Instagram also is testing its own affiliate marketing program, which is available to a select number of creators at the moment. Influencers can get paid a commission on sales driven directly through Instagram. Bethany Everett-Ratcliffe, who’s already enrolled and had 16,000 followers when Insider first interviewed her, earned more than $500 in one month.
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 between 2,000 and just over 100,000.
Here’s a full breakdown of our coverage:
From brand deals:
Natasha Greene, a food and lifestyle creator with 137,000 Instagram followersMacy Mariano, a travel and fashion influencer with 102,000 followersJehava Brown, a travel and lifestyle influencer with 70,000 followersNick Cutsumpas, a plant influencer with 63,700 followersAshley Jones, a fashion and lifestyle influencer with 45,000 followersTomi Obebe, a lifestyle influencer with 40,000 followersEmma Cortes, a lifestyle influencer and podcast host with 47,000 followersBritney Turner, a lifestyle influencer with 27,000 followersCaitlin Patton, a lifestyle influencer with 22,000 followersMary Margaret Boudreaux, a fashion and lifestyle influencer with 20,000 followersGigi Kovach, a part-time lifestyle blogger and mom of two with 13,500 followersTyler Chanel, a sustainability influencer with 12,000 followersKhadijah Lacey-Taylor, a fashion and lifestyle influencer with 9,800 followersTess Barclay, a lifestyle blogger with 5,600 followersLaur DeMartino, a nano influencer and full-time college student with 5,200 followersJalyn Baiden, a skincare influencer with 4,000 followersJen Lauren, a part-time lifestyle influencer with 2,900 followersAmber Broder, a part-time skincare influencer and full-time college student with 2,300 followersKayla Compton, a lifestyle nano influencer with about 2,000 Instagram followers
From Meta Platforms, including Instagram:
Kelly Anne Smith, a personal finance influencer with 12,000 Instagram followers shares how much she earned from Bonuses in MarchJackson Weimer, a meme creator who got paid more than $6,000 for views on his Reels with 114,000 followersSeveral 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 16,000 followers, makes money using Instagram’s native affiliate programVi Lai, a skincare influencer, uses Instagram and TikTok to make thousands of dollars per month using affiliate marketing4 Instagram influencers reveal what the platform’s exclusive affiliate marketing beta test is like — and how much they’re earning