How Much Do Influencers Make? Richest Influencers Exposed!

In a society defined by social media, influencers are celebrities in their own right. It’s not uncommon for influencers on Instagram to have up to a million followers. But how do influencers with such a large following earn money?

And how can you tell if an influencer is simply interested in making money and not acting ethically? 

In this article, we will discuss what influencers are, how they make money, and how to find influencers who share your point of view.

Who Is An Influencer?

Generally, influencers make money by influencing other people’s buying decisions. Influencers are social media stars who earn money from sponsored posts, affiliate links, and other methods.

Since social media sites such as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube have become popular, being an influencer has become a vocation. Influencers with a large following may earn more than people with regular 9-5 jobs.

How Much Money Do Influencers Make?

Influencer earnings can vary widely. Newbies may earn $100 every now and then. Meanwhile, some of the most famous influencers can earn millions of dollars.

The website Vox reports that micro-influencers have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers and can earn between $40,000 and $100,000 per year.

Meanwhile, influencers with millions of followers can earn tens of thousands per post. Top influencers can earn hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars a year.

Kylie Jenner, for example, reportedly earns $1 million per Instagram post. If influencers do their jobs well, it’s not uncommon to earn a six-figure income or more.

The Highest Paid Influencers

With a large following, celebrity accounts can earn well over one million dollars from sponsored posts. Here are the top earners:

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo – $1,604,000 per post – 387M+ followers
  2. Dwayne Johnson – $1,523,000 per post – 287M+  followers
  3. Ariana Grande – $1,510,000 per post – 240M+  followers
  4. Kylie Jenner  – $1,494,000 per post – 238M+  followers
  5. Selena Gomez – $1,468,000 per post – 233M+  followers
  6. Kim Kardashian – $1,419,000 per post – 226M+  followers

How Do Influencers Make Money?

What do influencers do for a living? The options are endless. Influencers can generate multiple revenue streams and select those that make the most sense for their enterprises from these many methods. Here are a few ways influencers can generate revenue.

Sponsored Content

Influencers often earn money by sponsoring content. A sponsored post occurs when a brand approaches an influencer, and the latter is paid to endorse the brand’s products or services on his/her social media pages.

The content can be shared on an Instagram post, a TikTok video, a YouTube video, a Facebook post, a blog post, or all of the above. An influencer can make more money per sponsored post if they have more followers.

As The Brand Ambassadors

Brand ambassadors are another method influencers use to earn money. Influencers are paid for their experience with a particular brand. Although sponsored postings and brand ambassadorships are similar, there are a few differences.

In general, sponsored articles are one-time events, while brand ambassadorships typically last longer. It is possible for an influencer to sign an ambassador agreement with a brand for 6 to 12 months.

Influencers are also known as brand ambassadors when they do more than just promote the brand on social media. Models and spokespersons often appear on social media channels or websites of brands to promote their products.

Affiliate Marketing

Whenever influencers share a link to purchase a product, they get a percentage of the sale if a follower clicks on the link and buys something. Influencers have gained popularity for using it to make money as a result.

Fashion influencers, for example, usually post links to the clothing they are wearing on social media daily. Fans buy the items, making them money.

Depending on the item, affiliate commissions can be as low as a few percent. For influencers with large followings who buy what they recommend, the money can pile up quickly.

Advertising Websites

Advertisements have been used by bloggers for a long time to monetize their traffic. How does advertising benefit influencers?

Depending on the type of ad, bloggers may only make money when visitors click an ad or when it appears on their screen. Advertisement in sidebars and in-content can be incredibly profitable for bloggers whose sites get a lot of traffic.

Digital Products And E-Courses

Some influencers have expanded into education by selling digital products to educate their followers about a particular topic. But how do they do this? As an example, a travel blogger might create a course on how to travel on a budget.

Fashion influencers who write eBooks about assembling capsule wardrobes could be another example. Others may earn thousands of dollars each month from selling online courses.

Donations, Tippings, And Subscriptions

Contributions and tips are another way influencers make money. Some influencers make it possible for followers to donate money to them on their websites, for example. Others include a link where followers can buy coffee from them.

As another option, you can use services like Patreon as a form of tipping. Using a membership model, followers are able to donate a set amount each month to influencers. It is possible for the influencer to create content that is only available to Patreon contributors under other circumstances.

Reselling Of Clothing

Reselling the products they promote is becoming more and more common for fashion influencers. Additionally, these influencers often purchase far more clothing than they need in order to show off a diverse range of outfits to their fans.

Then, many people use a separate Instagram account or Poshmark to sell their lightly used items. This is an excellent way to make the most of your dollars if you are considering becoming a fashion influencer.

Sales Coming From Live Events

Whether live or online, live events offer influencers another way to earn money. Travel influencers, for example, might earn money by booking vacations for a limited group of followers.

Fashion influencers, on the other hand, might make money by hosting live sales of the products they’ve showcased on their social media channels.

Product Lines Created Particularly For Influencers To Profit From

Creating product lines is also a way for influencers to generate income. Creating product lines from scratch is something some influencers do. A number of influencers leverage their following to launch beauty lines, apparel lines, and other products in partnership with businesses.

How Much Do Influencers Make On Instagram?

Influencers and Instagram are inextricably linked.

It has emerged as a critical platform for influencers just starting out. They can earn money without having millions of followers on Instagram.

As more firms look to smaller producers like “nano” or “micro” influencers with fewer than 100,000 followers, becoming an influential creator isn’t just a dream. Making money on Instagram can be difficult, though.

YouTube’s Partner Program is different from Instagram’s current payment structure. Influencers typically rely on sponsored content to make a living. The forms of sponsored content vary, from posting a picture to the main feed with a #ad to sharing swipe-up links. 

The prices for these types of brand bargains vary.

When Insider spoke with Alexa Collins last year, she charged upwards of $1,000 for a sponsored Instagram story, despite having more than one million followers. Tyler Chanel, a micro-influencer, charges $100 for an Instagram story, with costs increasing with the topic and the deliverables.

These figures are often calculated using algorithms, such as charging $100 for every 10,000 followers. The formula isn’t universally accepted, though.

As part of any influencer transaction, it is wise to consider the influencer’s following, engagement metrics, and niche, in addition to factors like exclusivity, usage rights, and timing.

If influencers negotiate well, brand partnerships can yield huge payouts as well. Influencers have already booked $700,000 in brand partnerships halfway through 2021, according to Insider.

Sponsored content isn’t the only way for these influencers to earn money, but it’s usually the most rewarding. Instagram also allows influencers to earn money by selling items and direct-to-consumer (DTC) products, as well as monetizing their accounts. One influencer, for instance, earned an average of $5,000 per month solely from affiliate connections in 2020.

Let’s look at some statistics.


A micro-influencer has between 6,000 and 10,000 followers. In contrast to your cool friend who has amassed this many followers by posting cool stuff, the people behind these handles are vying to expand their page around a particular niche.‍

This type of account can earn up to, on average, $85.00 per post, according to a recent survey. Most micro-influencers do not charge upfront in order to garner a larger, longer-term presence first.

With this level of followers, your Instagram handle can be seen as an enthusiast for future collaborations and sponsored posts, and receive some free perks along the way.


With that number of followers, brands send direct messages like clockwork asking for recommendations in exchange for freebies: Think designer clothes, monthly health and wellness packages, or free meals from restaurants that want to get noticed.

Occasionally, money comes into play, but most influencers are still hesitant to ask for money because it could delegitimize their growing success.

One self-proclaimed “foodstagrammer” has 72,000 followers. 

Although he receives hundreds of likes for each post, he waits to monetize until he reaches at least the 100,000 mark – that’s the “socially acceptable” mark. 

Influencers can expect to earn $10.00 per 1,000 followers once they reach 100,000. This is an unwritten rule. If you try to charge for posts before you reach this threshold, you may end up with less money or you may end up closing your account before it is fully mature.

It is estimated that influencers with 50,000 to 80,000 followers receive about $200.00 per post, but the price varies by advertiser. Some accounts contract with brands to post promotional codes in their feed, and a portion of the revenue is theirs if someone uses the code. Some accounts participate in giveaways just to increase their follower count.

Even if these mid-level accounts maintain their presence on the side or work diligently to turn their accounts into full-time careers, their followers are impressive.


Jumping from 100,000 followers to MILLION is quite an undertaking, to say the least because there is no standard manual or rules for what to post and how much to charge.

Accounts of this type (think 250,000 to 500,000 followers) have hit the Instagram influencer jackpot, with potential earnings averaging $670.00 per post.

But it does not even have to be an image in their feed that makes money.

Accounts of this size have several features that lower-tier handles do not yet have access to, such as a verified account (blue checkmark) and the ability to swipe up in the Instagram story. Brands and businesses can use these features for more effective influencer campaigns.

Once an account reaches more than one million followers, there are no limits to what can be charged.

Learn more about how much YouTubers make.

Stories And Earnings Of Some Influencers

1. Valeria Hinojosa 

Number of Followers: 204k+ followers on the Instagram account @waterthruskin

It is estimated that social media income ranges from $150,000 to $200,000 per year on average (all of it coming from Instagram-sponsored content).

Four years ago, she started using Instagram to make money. Hinojosa writes articles for ethical and environmental products that earn her from $1,500 to $3,000 per article. Not only was she able to support her family financially when they needed it, but she was able to donate money to NGOs as well. 

The most recent time she helped fund more than $200,000 in just 30 days in order to fight wildfires in Bolivia, helping to provide uniforms for firefighters, tanks, and transportation for volunteers, as well as medical assistance.

2. An Nguyen

Number of Followers: Instagram has 110k+ followers on the Instagram account @phithegoldenskin

Location: Evansville, Indiana.

  • Social media revenue averages $40,000 per year (past three months only)
  • $24,000 for Instagram sponsored content (past three months only)
  • $12,000 for content production (past three months only)

When Nguyen left her teaching career, her husband became the only source of income. However, now that her Instagram is gaining traction, she can contribute once more. In the last three months, she has begun earning money, earning between $1,000 and $4,000 per month, depending on the number of advertisements she takes for brands.

3. Sarah and Safiyah Mahamadeen

Number of Followers: 28.5k Instagram followers

Location: Orlando, Florida

  • Average annual income from social media: $5000
  • Instagram sponsored content: $1000
  • Affiliate links: $400
  • Photography: $3,600

Wouldn’t it be better to consult two bio students for skincare recommendations? Sarah Mahamadeen earned a biomedical science degree from the University of Central Florida, while Safiyah Mahamadeen is in college studying biology. Their first month of business was profitable.

Sarah and Safiyah not only split the earnings 50/50, but they also invest a significant amount of the earnings back into the page through props, merchandise, cameras, and equipment. While they attend school and maintain their Instagram accounts, they live with their parents and work part-time.

4. Alexa Johnson

Number of Followers: 121k+ Instagram followers

Location: Bellingham, Washington

  • Average annual income from social media: $18,000 (past 6 months only)
  • Instagram sponsored content: $18,000 (past 6 months only)

Thanks to her mother, an esthetician and salon owner, Alexa Johnson grew up surrounded by skincare. Johnson understood she needed to connect with herself outside of being a mom and make time for self-care after having her child and battling postpartum depression. She decided to join the Instagram beauty community and launched @glowopedia, a nearly 20,000-follower account where she posts product photographs and reviews.

Her husband’s job as a structural engineer provides most of the family’s income, but Johnson also works part-time at her family’s self-storage business.

5. Ava Lee

Number of Followers: 246k+ Instagram Followers

Location: New York City

  • Average annual income from social media: N/A

Only a few months after launching her Instagram account, Ava Lee has already seen month-over-month increases in revenue. 

Her goal with @glowwithava was to escape the monotony and challenges of a male-dominated profession. In no time, she found that she enjoyed her business on Instagram and that it expanded faster than expected.

Lee would not provide her actual annual earnings (she has only been doing this for a year, and the figures vary widely), but she makes roughly 75 percent of her money from sponsored posts on Instagram, which pay between $1600 and $4000 each. 

Lee’s YouTube revenue has increased by $60 in the past two months. As her income and job as a beauty influencer grow, her fiancé supports her.

How To Find An Affordable Influencer?

1. Start with the small fish.

All social media platforms are full of people with large followings. However, working with them can be quite expensive. Spending such money until you are sure of your market and message is simply not a good idea. 

Instead, approach people with smaller YouTube and Instagram accounts (Facebook can work, but organic reach is harder to come by these days) and ask if you can work with them. 

To find out more about your industry, you’ll need to do some research. But even smaller accounts that have dedicated followers can be effective. Plus, you’ll spend a lot less money promoting your products.

2. Identify influencers who are hyper-relevant to you.

When an influencer is closely related to your brand, your chances of success are greater.

You should stick with fitness influencers instead of dog influencers, for example, if you have a fitness brand. Make sure you contact Yoga influencers, not CrossFit influencers if you have a Yoga brand. It’s better to target yoga influencers specifically.

Influencers with audiences similar to your target customers are the ideal people to reach. 

3. Reach out to your influencers directly with a compliment.

Identify at least 25 influencers and reach out to them via email or a private message, depending on what you have available to you.

Compliments go a long way here. Your product would be a good fit for their account, so tell them that you like their account and ask them about their rates. If you can find a good match, the effort pays off handsomely.

In addition to money, you can also give away products. This depends on the influencer.

4. Keep in mind that this is a numbers game.

It’s imperative to understand that contacting influencers to place your product is a numbers game. Among 25 influencers you contact, one to four may respond and work with you. That’s normal. It won’t seem so intimidating if you prepare these numbers in advance.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Much Do Instagram Influencers Earn Per Post?

It isn’t set in stone how much money Instagram influencers make per post. Influencers and brands reach their own agreements regarding remuneration. Those who work for a product exchange, for example, and those who earn commissions through affiliate marketing are paid a fixed price for sponsored pieces. 

Marketers use Instagram calculators to calculate how much influencers are worth based on their following, engagement rate, and other factors.

What is the minimum number of Instagram followers you need to get paid?

On Instagram, getting paid is not always based on how many followers you have. Engagement can assist brands in achieving both product recognition and potential sales. You are judged by how well you engage your audience, not how many followers you have. 

Therefore, you should create high-quality content relevant to your niche on a regular basis and increase your engagement rate.

Which Instagram influencer is the highest paid?

Currently, Hopper HQ’s Instagram Rich List shows Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the highest-paid Instagram influencer in the United States. An Instagram post from him costs $1,015,000. As of April 2021, he had 230 million followers on Instagram. Kylie Jenner, the cosmetics mogul, is the second-highest-paid Instagram influencer after Dwayne Johnson with $986,000 per post.

Are Instagram Users Compensated?

It is possible to compensate Instagram users. There are several ways for Instagram users to make money. Users can promote their accounts and grow their following. They can also become Instagram influencers. This provides the opportunity for collaborations, nurturing of products and services, and affiliate marketing. If you are a photographer, you can also sell your images.

Is TikTok A Money-Making App?

It is true that TikTok accepts payments. Recently, TikTok launched a $200 million Creator Fund to promote and reward the platform’s content creators. Creators must receive at least 100,000 genuine video views in the last 30 days to be considered for the Creator Fund. 

As a part of its community guidelines and terms of service, TikTok will also evaluate the engagement level of a creator’s content.

What Should You Be Aware Of About An Influencer’s Income?

Getting paid as an Instagram influencer is harder than it sounds because accounts need thousands of followers before they begin to earn money.

Instagram influencers with less than 10,000 followers can earn an average of $88,000 per post. On average, accounts with fewer than 100,000 followers spend $200.00 per post, though this can vary significantly from account to account. In exchange for posting, most accounts at this level receive free products or discounts.

If you upload brand-related content on your account, whether it’s a static image, a video GIF, or an Instagram story, you can make a lot of money. Influencers with one million followers make a good living and work hard to keep it.

What Are Some Negative Aspects Of Being An Influencer?

It is not uncommon for devoted followers to turn against their leaders. Your career will end instantly if you say something bigoted. Platforms are powerful because they allow you to build up quickly, but you can also lose everything because many of these interactions are digital.

Final Words

How do influencers make a living? As you can see, they have multiple revenue streams. Over the past several years, influencer careers have gained popularity for a variety of reasons.

Influencers can earn a lot of money through sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and even developing their own product lines. Despite the fact that the influencer marketing sector has its share of celebrities, most of these people will need additional employment. 

It’s easy to see why most influencers look at their businesses as side hustles: making a living often requires a lot of posts. In addition to creating content, you also have to interact with followers, try out new things, and negotiate transactions. You won’t get rich overnight.

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