The job of an influencer might seem like it’s not a lot of work. Based on what you see on social media, most of their day seems to revolve around being pretty and taking photos. Hence, the question: how does an Instagram influencer make money?
Well, there are different options!
Option 1: Collaboration posts with brands
Influencer marketing is one of the fastest-growing fields of marketing. Brands have understood that by leveraging influencers’ audience and credibility, they can reach their target audience and skyrocket sales. Thus, they are also willing to pay influencers.
Usually, there are three main ways how influencers find brands to work with:
a) An influencer approaches the brand themself. This way, the influencer can contact exactly the brands they’d like to work with – resulting in meaningful and authentic collaborations. However, the success rate with that kind of cold reach-outs is often pretty low: if the brand already has its pool of influencers in place, they might not accept any further collaboration offers.
b) Brand or agency is approaching the influencer. From the influencer’s perspective, this is a much better option: if the brand reaches out to an influencer, they are already interested in working with them. However, that option doesn’t give much power to the influencer – if you don’t have your favorite brands approaching you, there’s not much you can do about it.
c) Using influencer marketing tools to connect with influencers. This is the most convenient option for both parties. Every influencer platform works slightly differently – for example, Promoty gives marketers access to a global database of Instagram and TikTok influencers.
Searching for SA-based TikTokers on Promoty Discovery
Collaboration posts have become the main source of income for many influencers. However, here’s a danger: if an influencer does too many collaboration posts and their feed turns into an advertising catalog, they might lose their credibility and thus, not bring any results to the brands they work with.
That’s why it’s important to look at some other ways to make money on Instagram!
Option 2: Creating visuals for brands
Generally, there are three ways how brands get their social media visuals: taking photos themselves, using stock images, or sharing user-generated content.
Meanwhile, more brands are tapping into leveraging user-generated content. 93% of marketers agree that consumers trust content created by customers more than brand-created content: when a consumer sees there is someone like them in the picture, they are more likely to relate to it than to a photo with a regular model.
That’s why images taken by “real” people have a more authentic effect than content created by a company’s marketing department – especially compared to stock photos that often give a fake impression and tend to be seen on various brand accounts.
This trend has also led to a change in influencer marketing: whereas before the focus of influencer collaborations has been on posting the created content to the influencer’s own profile, more and more marketers are now using content creators to get visual material for their brand’s social media channels. The reason for this is simple: content created by influencers is authentic and “real” while being high quality and eye-catching.
P.S. When creating visuals for brands, you can use our free Lightroom presets for professional and instagrammable photo editing!
Option 3: Offering services
As an influencer, you have your audience – and that gives you a great advantage when it comes to starting your own business! If you figure out something you can do very well, you have an audience who trusts you and would rather buy services from you than from an unknown person.
Therefore, think about your skills and talents. If you can take outstanding photos, you could earn money as a photographer. If you’re precise with details, start offering your services as a virtual assistant. If you’re a personal trainer, you can offer online classes. If your passion lies in helping others, why not start a consulting business?
As influencers are social media natives, they often offer social media management for brands. If that’s something you’d like to do, find a cool brand with a poor Instagram page and reach out to them! If you don’t have much experience yet, you can start by offering them social media management services for free for a month. If they can see results from that, they’d probably be ready to hire you!
Starting your own business might seem scary at first. On the other hand, we all have our skills and talents – why not share them with others!
Option 4: Selling your merch or products
The next option to make money would be creating and selling products in your field: it could be your own merch, fashion collection, training programs, or online courses.
Again, think about your talents here. If you can take outstanding photos, you could create a photography course! If you know how to edit photos, launch your own presets. If you love fashion, why not start with a clothing brand!
For sure, digital products are easier to create and distribute. Usually, they are also more scalable: producing and selling another unit of a digital product won’t create significant extra costs. That gives you the opportunity to earn passive income.
You can also start a business with physical goods. That requires figuring out production, storing, and shipping, but hey – there’s nothing cooler than having your first physical product in your hands!
Sintija Sušina (@sintijasusina) x AVON collaboration photo
Social media is offering us a wonderful opportunity to make a living with what we love the most. By doing collaboration posts and creating content for brands, you can earn money while traveling around the world, without any limits on working time or place. That’s the work of the future, isn’t it?