If you’ve ever built any kind of social media followers, the idea has probably crossed your mind – what does it take to start making some money from my accounts?
This is a complicated question to answer. We reached out to some of our favorite content creators to get a little perspective. We’ll take a closer look at how much they actually get from Instagram and TikTok, and what it takes to get there.
How much do content creators make?
The amount that social media content creators earn depends on the number of followers, the type of post, the specific niche, and the budget of the sponsoring company. Jen Ruiz, who runs the blog Jen on a Jet Plane, has 185,000 followers on TikTok and 25,000 followers on Instagram. She currently earns $10,000 per month on both platforms.
They charge between $500 and $1,000 per sponsored post, and the exact cost depends on the brand and whether or not they receive anything else in return, such as a free press trip.
Kathryn Alford, author of “Mom’s Got Money: A Millennial Mom’s Guide to Managing Money Like a Boss,” started using Instagram nine years ago. As a personal financial educator, she focuses on helping working moms manage their money. She has 6000 followers and her Instagram branded sponsorship packages start at $1000.
There are multiple ways to make money through social media:
- Affiliate Revenues: When you post a link dedicated to a specific product or service, you’ll earn a percentage of each sale. The range depends on the product, but can be up to 40%.
- Sell your own products: If you have your own physical or digital products, selling them through social media can be an effective strategy. For example, if you create printable wedding invitations, you can share the designs on social media and link to your own Etsy site.
- Sponsored Posts: Brands may pay you to mention their products or services.
- advertisements: If you have a YouTube platform, you can earn money with advertising revenue.
how to start
If you are interested in building a business on Instagram or TikTok, there are some basic principles that you should follow. Here are some tips from the experts:
Contact the companies first
Once you have 1,000 followers on Instagram, you can start connecting with businesses directly, Alford said. She recommends ordering a free product to promote on your profile.
Once you have a few sponsored posts under your belt, you can use them as your portfolio when promoting companies for paid sponsorship.
“I’m not going to rely on growing Instagram and waiting for companies to come to you,” Alford said.
Personal financial influencer Alison Bagherley of Inspired Budget has 121,000 followers on Instagram and 39,000 followers on TikTok. She has grown her Instagram 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 debt, and improve credit. Baggerly uses her social media profiles to promote the group.
She attributes her rapid growth on social media to consistency. If you want the same growth, aim to post at least five days a week.
“For years I have been posting constantly inspiring and educational content and then interacting with my followers,” she said. “The interaction felt like responding to messages and comments every day.”
She also recommends setting aside time once a week to brainstorm content. Clear your mind and write down every idea you have. Don’t erase any thoughts, just get them all out. You can use a Google Doc or an actual notebook.
If you’re stumbling for ideas, use sites like NationalToday that list national holidays to get ideas for posting. For example, if you are a food blogger and see that National Donut Day is coming up in a few weeks, you can schedule a post about your favorite donut recipes.
Treat it like a business
Treat your social media work as a real job, even if you’re making a few hundred dollars a month. Respond to companies in a timely manner, deliver what they ask for and be professional. Read the contracts carefully so that you understand what is expected. Even if you’re talking on social media, always communicate as if you were writing an email to a moderator.
“If you want to make money from it,” Alford said, “act like it’s your job.”
She recommends getting a professional media kit that lists different priced packages for sponsored posts, videos, TikTok videos, Instagram Reels, and more. These will vary depending on your social media platform. If you have a blog, you can also include a custom blog post in your package.
Mastering one platform at a time
It can be tempting to feel like you need to start multiple social media accounts at once, Alford said. She recommends building a stable following on one platform before moving on to another.
“I think people underestimate the amount of time it takes to build a good following on any social media site,” she said.
Once you have a few thousand followers, you can launch a new profile and ask your existing followers to join you. Make sure to post consistently to all of your accounts and don’t be shy about reusing content.
know your audience
Gaining your audience’s trust is more important to long-term success than making a quick buck. It can be tempting to run into any money-making opportunity, but it’s important to be selective about the brands you work with.
Only promote products and services that you believe in. Your followers are likely to constantly look to you for advice and recommendations.
Talk to other creators
Ruiz said it’s hard to know what you should be charging as an influencer because prices can vary so much. It is also easy to lower the price yourself.
“You have to make friends with other creators and ask them what they charge,” she said.
Ruiz also recommends following accounts like @influencerpaygap that post real examples of sponsored posts and how much they pay.
Zina Kumok (142 posts)
Zina Kumuk is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. 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 about how she paid off $28,000 of student loans in three years at Conscious Coins.