Influencers on Instagram with a strong following are raking in quite a bit of money. These influencers have followings that range from as small as 1,000 dedicated followers to over 100,000. But how exactly are these individuals make money off their Instagram accounts? What does it take to become an influencer? All these questions and more will be answered below.

Becoming an influencer

An influencer is simply someone who has built an online reputation for themselves by creating consumable content. These people are respected by their community and are consulted for opinions on matters within their subject area. Their genuine connection with an engaged audience they have built make them desirable content partners for companies.

How to become an influencer

This is where the hard work begins. To become an influencer, you need to figure out what you are passionate about and what sort of subjects you are knowledgeable about. From there, you can find a niche subject area that you can start creating content for and building your community. You don’t want to pick a niche area that you aren’t necessarily passionate about because it will become harder and harder to create content for it. When you lack passion, motivation to create new content usually becomes a battle, and you need to be creating content regularly to keep your community engaged.

How many followers do I need?

It is not so much about quantity but rather about quality. You could have over 100k followers but not have an engaged community. You can start making money with a community as small as 1k as long as the community is deeply engaged with the content you are creating. That is what you should be concerned with from the beginning—engaging with an audience. The followers will come if you are able to achieve this successfully.

Monetizing your account

Once you have already put in the hard work to build up your community, then you can really start exploring opportunities to make money. Here are the top ways you can monetize your Instagram account:

  • Sponsored Posts: Doing a sponsored post for brands that want to get their products or services in front of your audience.
  • Affiliate Marketing: Making a commission off becoming an affiliate with a company, such as Amazon, by promoting products. (Sadly, you can only include an affiliate link in your bio at this time).
  • Creating and selling a product or a service that you offer.
  • Making money off your photography.

If you end up making money or get free products by creating any type of post on Instagram, you need to disclose this information and be upfront with your followers. This will ensure that you are in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission. Moreover, any money you do make, you need make sure you claim it come tax season.

Be wary of “selling out”

Keep in mind that your audience follows you because you are a genuine voice that isn’t trying to sell them something like so many other voices they come across. If you do sponsored posts or are promoting products, you want to make sure you don’t become another ad channel. You should continue to make content for your audience to keep your followers happy and engaged. After all your hard work, there is no reason why you shouldn’t make money, but at the end of the day, you should remember not to lose sight of why people engage with your content in the first place.