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How Many Instagram Followers You Need to Make Money in 2021

For beginner Instagram influencers, a question they think about a lot is, “How many Instagram followers do I need to make money?

It’s a tricky question. Different industries have different views on how much an Instagram follower is worth. And, followers are not the only factor that companies look at when deciding whether to collaborate with a certain influencer.

In this post, we’ll try to answer the question thoroughly. We’ll also provide you with information on how much an Instagram influencer expects to earn across different follower sizes in 2021. It’s not always 100% accurate, but it’s a good estimation for anyone that is about to start a career as an internet influencer.

How You Can Make Money on Instagram

Before diving into How many followers to make money on Instagram, you should have a general idea of how Instagram influencers monetize their content.

Here are some of the most popular methods.

Sponsored Posts

The most well-known way to make money on Instagram is to help companies promote their products or brands. They’re called sponsored posts, which you usually get paid per post or based on the contract between the two.

Instagram sponsored post example

So, how do you get sponsored?

If you are an established name, relevant brands will automatically contact you and ask for sponsorship. However, with only a few Instagram followers, there will hardly be any company willing to spend money on you. The best thing to do is to grow your Instagram accounts to at least 1,000 – 2,000 before reaching out to brands for sponsorship opportunities.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the process of earning commissions by promoting a product or a service of other people.

Normally, affiliate marketing appears as a tracking link. Only when a person clicks on the link (also called the affiliate link) and buys stuff from it, you get a commission.

In the case of Instagram influencers, they usually publish a post about an affiliate product they’d like to promote and put the link in their bio.

Instagram affiliate marketing example

The biggest and most well-known affiliate program is Amazon Associates. You can earn up to 10% in associate commissions for every qualifying purchase. Commission JunctionShareASale, and ClickBank affiliate marketing are also good networks you should try out.

Another method to find affiliate marketing opportunities is to go to the website of a company you’re interested in. Then, look for the “Partner” or “Affiliate” section and apply to its program.

affiliate marketing program example

Online Store

This next way is pretty straightforward. You open an online store, promote products to your Instagram followers and make money.

An Instagram account that sells online products to its followers

If the idea of producing or housing items sounds a little bit intimidating to you, don’t worry! Nowadays, you can start a dropshipping business or print-on-demand store, which allows you to sell products online without owning inventory or managing the shipping process. All you need to do is to find suitable products, promote them to your followers, and let third-parties handle all the remaining operations.

EBooks or online courses are other products you can consider selling. They are not complex to make but can bring you a significant income source.

Instagram Shoutout

An Instagram shoutout refers to when one Instagram user promotes another one in their posts. Unlike sponsored posts, instead of promoting products or brands, a shoutout’s goal is to grow the number of followers.

Instagram shoutout example

Freelance Services

Finally, we have freelance services.

If you are confident that you can deliver good stuff to other people, offering online services like freelance modeling, writing, blogging, consulting, or coaching can be a stable monetization model for your Instagram account.

Freelance services example

It’s important to note that the services you offer should closely relate to your Instagram content. Otherwise, it would be tough for you to find suitable customers.

Which Factors Besides Followers Can Affect Your Instagram Earnings?

The number of followers is not the only factor that decides how much money you can make on Instagram. Below are some others that have significant impacts on your earnings.

Engagement Rates

Even with millions of followers, you won’t make a single dollar unless you have real and engaging fan base.

As you might have already known, buying fake followers is a common thing on Instagram. These fake followers can either be bots or inactive accounts. Another problem is unengaging followers. They bring no monetization value to your accounts.

As a result, brands closely look at your engagement rates to avoid wasting unnecessary money.

An Instagram account with good followers' engagement rates

So, how do you calculate your Instagram engagement rates?

First, let’s talk about your post engagement rate. It is calculated by taking the total number of likes and comments on a post, then dividing it by the number of followers.

For example, you have 1,000 followers, and one of your posts gets 5 likes and 5 comments. The post engagement rate is 10/1000 = 0.01 = 1%.

Now, to calculate your account engagement rates, take your 10 – 20 latest posts, sum their engagement rate, then divide it by the number of posts. For example, if you take 15 latest posts, you should divide the sum by 15.

On average, a good engagement rate on Instagram is anywhere between 1% and 3%. If yours is below this range, don’t hesitate to remove fake or unengaging followers from your Instagram account.

Niches

Your niche has a big impact on how much money you can make on Instagram.

For example, the beauty and fashion niche are more profitable than the food niche. It largely attributes to followers’ spending behavior and how much money brands are willing to pay for Instagram influencers in the niche.

If you’re about to start your influencer career, you should conduct thorough research on your niche to find out how much you can expect to make.

Revenue Channels

Replying only on sponsored posts is not a good idea to make money on Instagram.

Since you cannot always find good sponsorship opportunities, diversifying your revenue channels like promoting affiliate products or doing shoutouts can create a much more consistent stream of income for your Instagram business.

How Much Money Exactly Can You Expect to Make on Instagram?

Suppose all of your Instagram followers are real and engaging. On top of that, you have picked a good niche with multiple revenue channels. How much money can you expect to make on average?

Generally speaking, the more followers you have, the more people and brands are willing to spend money on you. It’s because they see you as more credible and authoritative. For example, between an influencer with 1,000 followers and 100,000 followers that put out opposite opinions on the same topic, which one are you more likely to trust?

According to Influence.co – a global influencer marketing community, average earning rates are estimated as below:

  • 0 follower: $0. Of course!
  • 100 followers: Still $0. Having 100 followers still says nothing about your Instagram profile.
  • 1,000 followers: You can start making $10/monetization post. Remember, these are monetization posts like sponsored posts or product-promotional posts, not regular posts. Suppose you plan to put out 1 – 2 pieces of monetization content per week. You can make about $40 – $80/month.
  • 10,000 followers: At this point, you have become a micro-influencer. Brands are willing to pay you around $75 – $100/sponsored post. You can also think of posting more monetization content to make a decent amount of money.
  • 100,000 followers: You are now a macro-influencer and can expect to make $250 – $1,000/monetization post.
  • 1,000,000 followers: You are now a mega-influencer and can make over $1,000/monetization post.

In Conclusion, How Many Instagram Followers Do You Need to Make Money?

You need at least 1,000 real and engaging followers to start making money on Instagram in 2021. However, don’t expect to earn much at this point (only around $10/monetization post). Try to grow your Instagram followers to 10,000. Then, you can start seeing a decent and steady stream of income flowing into your pocket ($75 – $100/monetization post).

If you’re a beginner Instagram influencer, you should limit the number of monetization posts you publish each week (only 1 – 2 posts). It’s better to create content that aims to strengthen the relationships with your followers. Remember, money can wait, but customers can’t!

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