If you've built any type of social media followers, the thought has probably crossed your mind – what would it take to make money from my accounts?
This is a complicated question to answer. We reached out to some of our favorite content creators for a little perspective. We're going to take a closer look at how much they actually make on Instagram and TikTok and what it took to get there.
How Much Do Content Creators Make?
The amount social media content creators earn depends on the number of followers, type of post, specific niche, and budget of the sponsoring company. Jen Ruiz, who runs the Jen on a Jet Plane blog, has 185,000 followers on TikTok and 25,000 followers on Instagram. She currently makes $ 10,000 a month on both platforms.
She charges between $ 500 and $ 1,000 per sponsored post, and the exact cost depends on the brand and whether or not she gets something else in return, such as a free press trip.
Catherine Alford, author of Mom’s Got Money: A Millennial Mom’s Guide to Managing Money Like a Boss, started Instagram nine years ago. As a personal finance educator, she focuses on helping working mothers manage their money. She has 6,000 followers and her Instagram-branded sponsorship packages start at $ 1,000.
There are several ways to make money on social media:
Affiliate Income: When you post a personalized link about a specific product or service, you earn a percentage on every sale. The range depends on the product, but can be up to 40%.
Sale of own products: If you have your own physical or digital products, selling on social media can be an effective strategy. For example, if you're creating printable wedding invitations, you can share designs on social media and link them to your Etsy website.
Sponsored Posts: Brands can pay you to mention their product or service.
To sue: If you have a YouTube platform, you can make money from advertising revenue.
How to get started
If you are interested in building a business on Instagram or TikTok, there are a few key principles that you should follow. Here are some tips from the experts:
Contact companies first
Alford said once you have 1,000 followers on Instagram, you can reach companies directly. She recommends asking for a free product to promote on your profile.
Once you have a few Sponsored Posts in hand, these can be used as your portfolio when promoting companies for paid sponsorship.
"I wouldn't rely on Instagram to grow and wait for companies to come to you," Alford said.
Influencer Allison Baggerly from Inspired Budget has 121,000 followers on Instagram and 39,000 followers on TikTok. She increased her Instagram followers from 0 to 40,000 followers in just one year. She sells paid memberships to a private Facebook group where users can ask her advice on how to budget, pay off debts, and improve one's creditworthiness. Baggerly uses their social media profiles to promote the group.
She attributes her rapid growth on social media to consistency. If you want the same growth, you should post at least five days a week.
"For years I regularly posted inspiring and educational content and then interacted with my followers," she said. "Commitment looked like replying to messages and comments every day."
She also recommends taking time out once a week to gather ideas for content. Do a braindump and write down every idea you have. Don't delete ideas, get them all out. You can use a Google Doc or a physical notebook.
If you're at a loss for ideas, use websites like NationalToday that list national holidays for ideas for posts. For example, if you're a food blogger and you see National Donut Day coming up in a couple of weeks, you can schedule a post on your favorite donut recipes.
Treat it like a business
Treat your social media work like a real job, even if you only make a few hundred dollars a month. Respond in a timely manner to companies, deliver what they ask, and be professional. Read the contracts carefully so you understand what is expected. Even when you chat on social media, always communicate as if you were writing an email to a manager.
"If you want to make money out of it, pretend it's your job," said Alford.
She recommends having a professional media kit that lists packages with different prices for Sponsored Posts, Videos, TikTok Videos, Instagram Reels, and more. These vary depending on your social media platform. If you have a blog, you can also add a custom blog post to your package.
Master one platform at a time
Alford said it can be tempting to feel like you have to open multiple social media accounts at the same time. She recommends building a steady following on one platform before moving to another.
"I think people underestimate the amount of time it takes to build a quality following on a social media site," she said.
Once you have a few thousand followers, you can create a new profile and ask your current followers to join you. Make sure you post consistently across all of your accounts and don't be afraid to reuse content.
Know your audience
Your audience's trust is more important than making quick money for long-term success. It may be tempting to reach for every opportunity to make money, but it is important to be selective about which brands you work with.
Only promote products and services that you believe in. Your followers are more likely to seek advice and recommendations on a regular basis.
Talk to other creators
Ruiz said it was hard to know what to charge as an influencer because prices can vary so widely. It's also easy to underestimate yourself.
"You should make friends with other YouTubers and ask what they are asking," she said.
Ruiz also recommends following accounts like @influencerpaygap which post real examples of sponsored posts and how much they pay.
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Zina Kumok (140 posts)
Zina Kumok is a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance. As a former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four, and everything in between. It has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth, and Time. Read how she paid off $ 28,000 in student loans at Conscious Coins in three years.