When the term "influencer" first surfaced on the internet, it was met with skepticism and a degree of uncertainty. Yet, as social media grew and infiltrated every aspect of our lives, influencers carved out a space for themselves, going from an uncertain career choice to a lucrative profession. As we navigate the digital age, influencers continue to redefine the boundaries of marketing and public reach. With their extraordinary influence over vast audiences, they've transformed the way brands advertise, and in turn, have seen their earnings skyrocket. But how much do influencers really make? The answer might surprise you.
As we dive deeper into this article, we aim to explore the earnings of influencers across different platforms and follower-count categories. From nano-influencers with their intimate communities to mega-influencers boasting millions of followers, the world of influencer marketing holds a spectrum of earning potential. This exploration is not just about figures, but also about understanding the dynamics of this digital profession. Moreover, for those considering a career in influencing or for freelancers looking to expand their reach, we'll introduce you to Indy, a platform that can help you manage your professional life more efficiently.
Why Has Influencer Marketing Grown So Quickly?
With the advent of Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok, short video formats quickly grew in popularity, along with the social media that went with them. Advertising on these platforms rapidly followed, using complex algorithms for the collection of data.
Influencer marketing was an offshoot of this new stage, which was catapulted into the mainstream as the COVID-19 pandemic focused attention on social media.
So influencer marketing has been partly driven by changing tastes in technology but also by the unexpected arrival of a global pandemic. In 2022, influencer marketing grew to a $16.4 billion industry.
The success of these various influencer marketing platforms and campaigns is such that 63% of marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing campaign next year.
What Is an Influencer?
An influencer has the power to change the buying decisions of others as a result of his or her knowledge, authority, or relationship with their target audience. An influencer also usually has a following in a specific subject area that they actively engage in and promote.
The social relationship that the influencer builds with their followers is a fundamental part of any successful promotion. So, the influencer must portray themselves as a dynamic force that helps achieve that success rather than just being a passive, two-dimensional cutout.
The whole market of influencers is in a constant state of flux and never static. Of course, short-term fashions and trends are significant factors that dictate successful promotions. However, sometimes new responsibilities in buying, such as ethical concerns, become a powerful part of the mix.
Influencers that are enthusiastic about the ethical considerations of their products will create an even stronger bond with their followers.
What Are the Different Types of Influencers?
Influencers are often classified purely by the number of followers they have. However, the most significant number of followers doesn't always equate to being the best, and this can be a misleading way of calculating influencer career success.
For example, influencers with millions of followers, mega-influencers, probably won't be desired influencers who have specialist knowledge in a particular niche. So their influence in narrow niches may be more limited.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, influencers with a few thousand followers, nano-influencers with a clear insight into their niche, will be able to exert a much more profound influence on their followers.
Marketers need to classify influencers in all sorts of different ways, for example, by the content they produce, how influential they are, and the niche they best represent. Choosing the right amount of influencer marketing dollars to spend comes down to understanding the dynamics of these different measures to optimize their influencer marketing budget.
As the newest classification of influencers, nano-influencers have limited followers, often less than 1000, but because of their specialist knowledge, they command respect from their followers. They can be very persuasive for specialist product markets, but for most brands, they won't have enough reach to create adequate sales.
Micro-influencers typically have a following of between 10,000 per social media channel and 50,000, on a single platform. As individuals, they will have built up that following themselves, so they will be cautious about any approaches they receive from a client company.
Creating a following of nano- and micro-influencers is slow and arduous, and it can be badly damaged by choosing to work with the wrong client and promotion.
To fit into the classification of macro-influencer, you need to have a following in the range of 500,000 to one million followers on at least one platform. Typical personalities that inhabit the world of the macro-influencer are either successful online entrepreneurs who have built up their own following or sometimes lower-grade celebrities.
Macro-influencers have the advantage of a high-profile online image, which marketers can use to their advantage. Additionally, the pool of macro-influencers is much larger than the pool of mega-influencers, which means brands will find it easier to source an appropriate partner.
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As a rule of thumb for ethical influencers, you must have more than one million followers on one social media platform to be classified as a mega-influencer. A typical mega-influencer will generally have found celebrity outside of social media.
They may be celebrities from sports, music, movies, TV, or be a fitness or beauty influencer, although a few mega-influences have managed to build a following purely online.
With the power of their following, mega-influencers can command fees of up to $1 million per sponsored post. With so much at stake, an influencer marketing agency will generally work on their behalf to negotiate the best deal and to ensure the proposal is a suitable fit for the mega influencers' image.
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How Much Money Do Influencers Make?
The revenue influencers generate from their online activities often comes from numerous sources (see below How Do Influencers Make Money?). The rates they are paid vary according to the social media sites they use, their following, and the niche they work in, among others.
However, average influencer earnings are illustrated for the following top 5 social media sites below. These show how much influencers earn for the different ranked influencer groups.
- Nano-influencers $10–$100 per post
- Micro-influencers $100–$500 per post
- Macro-influencers $5,000–$10,000 per post
- Mega-influencers $10,000+ per post
- Nano-influencers $5–$25 per post
- Micro-influencers $25–$125 per post
- Macro-influencers $1,250–$2,500 per post
- Mega-influencers $2,500+ per post
- Nano-influencers $25–$250 per post
- Micro-influencers $250–$1,250 per post
- Macro-influencers $12,500–$25,000 per post
- Mega-influencers $25,000+ per post
- Nano-influencers $20–$200 per video
- Micro-influencers $200–$1,000 per video
- Macro-influencers $10,000–$20,000 per video
- Mega-influencers $20,000+ per video
- Nano-influencers $2–$20 per post
- Micro-influencers $20–$100 per post
- Macro-influencers $1,000–$2,000 per post
- Mega-influencers $2,000+ per post
Some of the highest-paid Instagram influencers make colossal revenue from their social media channels. However, it's important to remember these celebrities are rare and the exception to the rule.
Cristiano Ronaldo – $1,604,000 per post – 387M+ followers
Dwayne Johnson – $1,523,000 per post – 287M+ followers
Ariana Grande – $1,510,000 per post – 240M+ followers
How Do Influencers Make Money?
In influencer marketing, there are several different ways of creating revenue. It's common for an influencer to use multiple methods to maximize influencer marketing ROI.
Choosing the best influencer marketing costs and pricing methods comes down to identifying the best fit for any specific promotion. These are a few of the most popular ways to generate income from influencer marketing.
One of the most popular promotions in influencer marketing is creating an influencer partnership for a sponsored post about a product or service. The client company approaches the prospective influencer with their expectations for the promotion, which are discussed, and payment is agreed upon.
In the discussions for the content, the client will specify which social media platform is to be used to create content and which format on each platform. For example, content could be posted to Instagram or Facebook or a video created to be shown on YouTube or TikTok.
One of the most simple, low-risk, and effective influencer marketing hub tools is affiliate marketing. Influencers share a link with their followers, which may have a promotion so they can buy the goods being promoted.
When a follower makes a purchase, the link tracking will generate a payment for the influencer, usually a percentage of the transaction.
So, for the client company, it is low risk. The influencer only receives a payment if the purchase is completed. The influencer often receives a small percentage, but if many thousands of purchases are made, the revenue soon builds up.
Being a brand ambassador has some similarities with creating sponsored content, but the relationship with the client is usually over a longer term. The client company works with the influencer using their follower count, personality, and image to promote products and services.
Influencer partnerships with a client brand typically last for 6 to 12 months or longer and often involve personal appearances, in the role of a model or spokesperson, on the company's social media channels.
eBooks and digital content
Influencers usually are experts in their chosen subject area; this level of knowledge provides them with a valuable resource that they can readily turn into a new and lucrative revenue stream.
Passing on their knowledge and experience in the form of eBooks or video courses often finds a ready market, as followers already have confidence in the influencer's abilities.
For an influencer working in Food & Drink, a specialist low-carb diet eBook will help followers explore how they can lose weight from someone they trust. eBooks and digital content are ideal for selling online and are more profitable than products.
With no shipping costs involved, the selling price can be marginally increased. In addition, customer service is simplified as the products are emailed or downloaded without needing a postal address.
Off-site website advertising
With off-site website advertising, the influencer promotes products on their website, marketing channel, or platform that isn't the product manufacturer's homepage. The most common forms of off-site website advertising are:
- banner ads
- sidebar links in a blog
- sponsored posts
Many influencers are paid by charging for the ads placed on their website or by affiliate commission generated each time a follower clicks on an advertisement and makes a purchase.
Influencer partnerships with endorsed product collaborations
Influencer marketing also extends beyond brand partnerships to endorsement collaborations with client companies. A new product or service a company wants to promote is affiliated with the right influencer first, where they endorse its benefits via social media platforms.
Occasionally, with the highest-paid Instagram influencer, the product may even be rebranded personally as the influencer’s, adding kudos to the influencer tier promotion. This creates a powerful tool for marketers when they are devising their influencer marketing strategy. The specialist knowledge and trust followers have in the influencer are transferred to the product, making it particularly desirable.
Product endorsement via influencers is a successful form of promotion, which is reflected in sales. It can be effectively applied to many product niches such as health and beauty, food and wine, gardening, and DIY, among others. These niches are all close to the followers' hearts, and their closeness to the influencer makes him or her a powerful force in the endorsement.
Indy Helps You Organize Your Social Media Platforms
As part of their earning strategy, influencers often partner with brands for sponsorships, product placements, and endorsements. Managing these collaborations can be a challenging task, and that's where Indy comes into play. Indy, an all-in-one freelancing app, can help influencers streamline their brand partnerships, including those on platforms like Snapchat, enabling them to focus on creating engaging content.
- Proposals and Contracts: Whether you're negotiating terms for sponsored posts or story takeovers, Indy's Proposals and Contracts tools can aid you in creating professional, robust agreements that clearly define your collaboration's scope and terms.
- Invoices: Time is money in the influencer world. With Indy, influencers can promptly create and send invoices, facilitating efficient payment processing via platforms such as Stripe and PayPal. This efficient system ensures influencers are compensated in a timely manner for their hard work.
- Tasks and Calendar: Keeping up with deadlines, posting schedules, and collaboration details can be overwhelming. Indy's integrated Tasks and Calendar tools can help influencers stay organized, ensuring that all deliverables and commitments are met.
While influencers' earnings can vary dramatically based on follower count, engagement rates, and niche, the tools they use to manage their business can significantly impact their overall profitability. By consolidating all business-related tasks in one place, Indy saves influencers time and energy they can invest back into their content creation, thus maximizing their earning potential. With Indy, influencers can not only simplify their business operations but also get access to free essential tools and the option to upgrade for enhanced features, making it an invaluable asset in their income-generating toolkit. With Indy, influencers can truly own their craft and their earning potential.
Understanding the dynamics of influencer marketing and earnings is crucial not just for those working within the industry but also for brands looking to collaborate. One key takeaway from this article is that earning potential in the influencer industry varies significantly. It depends on a range of factors, from follower count and engagement rates to niche and platform of choice. Nevertheless, influencers' income can be substantial, especially for those at the top of the industry.
For freelancers and budding influencers, navigating the world of brand partnerships, content creation, and administrative tasks can be daunting. That's where Indy comes into play. As an all-in-one freelancing platform, Indy can streamline your operations, allowing you to focus more on your content and less on paperwork. From creating proposals and contracts to managing invoices and tasks, Indy provides a comprehensive toolkit for managing your professional life. So, as you consider your journey into the world of influencing or freelancing, remember to check out Indy as your potential partner in success.