In a world dominated by social media, influencers are celebrities in their own right. It is not uncommon to see Instagram influencers with hundreds of thousands — or even upwards of one million — followers. How do influencers make money with their large followings?
Also, how can you be sure you are following ethical influencers rather than those who are just in it for the money? This post, in three parts, covers what influencers are and how they make money.
An influencer is someone who makes money by influencing the buying habits other people. You probably know influencers as people with large followings on social media who make money by promoting certain products through sponsored posts, affiliate links, and more.
Being an influencer has become a career over the past decade, thanks to social media platform like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. And influencers with large followings can make far more than the average 9-5 job would pay.
Influencer incomes can span a huge spectrum. Someone who is just getting started might earn €100 here and there. While some of the influencers with the largest followings can earn millions of dollars. According to data from Vox, a micro-influencer, or someone with between 10,000 and 50,000 followers, can expect to make between €40k to €100k per year.
Influencers with millions of followers can earn tens of thousands of € per post. Some of the top influencers earn hundreds of thousands to millions of € per year. For instance Kylie Jenner pulls US$ 1m per post. So it is not uncommon to see some influencers raking in a 6 figure income or more if they do it right!
So how do influencers make money? There are actually many different ways. These different ways allow influencers to have multiple streams of revenue. Here are the first 3 ways how influencers make money!
Sponsored content is one of the most common ways influencers make money. A sponsored post is when a company pays an influencer to feature their product or service on the influencer’s social media pages.
They might share the product on an Instagram post or story, a TikTok or a YouTube video, a Facebook post, their blog, or all of the above. In general, the more followers someone has, the more they can earn per sponsored post.
As brand ambassadors
Being a brand ambassador is another way how influencers make money from their relationship with a brand. A brand ambassadorship is similar to sponsored posts but with a few differences.
First, sponsored posts can be one-offs, while brand ambassadorships are usually longer-term relationships. For example, an influencer might sign a 6-12 month ambassador deal with a brand. Ben Camille over the past 12 months was ĠEMMA’s brand ambassador.
Another difference is that when an influencer is a brand ambassador, they do not just share about the brand on their social media channels. They also often appear on the brand’s social media channels or website as a model or spokesperson for the product.
Affiliate marketing is when influencers share a link to a product and then receive a percentage of the sale if a follower buys an item from that link. It has become one of the top ways how influencers make money.
For example, a fashion influencer is likely to share links to the clothing they are wearing in their daily social media posts. Their followers purchase the items, creating a stream of revenue for them.
Depending on the item, the affiliate commission might be just a few percent. But for influencers with many followers who buy what they recommend, the income can really add up.