The rise of social media has introduced incredible ways for you to connect with audiences all around the world. As fewer people read physical magazines and more people are cutting cable TV out of their lives, brands are also having a harder time reaching their target audiences, especially among younger demographics. This presents a ripe opportunity for you to make money online if you’ve got a social reach worth mentioning.
The question is then how much money you can actually make with sponsored content and native advertising, not only on your blog, but across your more popular social channels like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. More and more, the bigger bucks are also turning to Instagram, partly because of increasing growth, partly because of the visual appeal, and partly because it’s where a lot of target demographics are spending an increasing amount of time.
And brands know it. And the right ones are willing to pay for it. And you can sell your digital currency to your benefit as a result. But how much should you charge?
Paying for Instagram Exposure
As of this writing, the #ad hashtag on Instagram has over three million posts. This doesn’t include influencers who are offering sponsored content without disclosing the paid arrangement they have with their advertisers. Some influencers might use the hashtag #spon or #sponsored instead too. So this three million is really only the smallest tip of what is likely a very large iceberg.
So, let’s start at the top. According to an AdWeek article published back in July 2016, the highest paid influencer on social media is pop star Selena Gomez. Based on that report, they’re saying that the young singer and actress is worth over half a million dollars ($550,000 USD, to be exact) for each social media post. That post is then shared across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so it’s relaly more than just one post.
Obviously, it wouldn’t be realistic for *you* to turn to Coca-Cola and demand half a million dollars for an Instagram post, but it gives you some idea of how high this ceiling can go. And the ceiling keeps getting higher. That same report says that Gomez would have only charged about $250,000 in December 2015. As we keep moving forward, the figure will keep going up.
Size Matters (Your Following, That Is)
Assuming you don’t have millions and millions of rabid fans with open wallets following you on social media, how much can you charge for your Instagram post? An article in the UK’s Daily Mail asked the people at the influencer app TRIBE how much influencers should charge.
As can be expected, the rate depends heavily on the size of your following (but also on the extent of their engagement). Converted from Australian dollars to American dollars, they say that a following of 3-20k yields a ballpark rate of about $55 to $220. If you have between 20k and 100k followers, you might get $220 to $440 per post. If you have 100-250k followers, you might demand $400 to $600. And so on.
Who Pays Influencers?
But all of those rates are theoretical and don’t necessarily reflect what a real person really received from a real brand in the real world. For that, the remarkably minimalist Tumblr blog Who Pays Influencers? is a tremendous resource. We do have to take some of these submissions with a grain of salt, as they are provided anonymously, but if we accept them in good faith, they can be very illuminating.
They can reveal not only how much the influencer got paid and for doing what, sometimes with a mention of how many followers he or she had at the time, but also what it was like working with that particular brand on that particular campaign. You might find that XYZ brand promises a lucrative payout, but they were hard to get in touch with and payment wasn’t ultimately issued until months later. That’s very valuable information.
So, if we were to go all the way back to the beginning and address the question that serves as the title of today’s blog post, what is our answer? By now, you’ve probably already guessed it. It depends. It depends on a lot of things, from the level of your reach, to the demands of the campaign, to the level of engagement of your followers, to how often you publish sponsored content.
After all, if your Instagram feed is constantly flooded with sponsored content from competing companies, many brands may be less interested in working with you, even if you boast hundreds of thousands of engaged followers.