Do you ever wonder how much money influencers in the US actually rake in? Over the past few weeks, my Instagram engagement has been increasing thanks to a few Reels that went viral.

Naturally, as a business-minded person living in London during a cost of living crisis, I wondered whether – and if so, to what extent – I could capitalize on my following and make a decent monthly revenue from working as a music content creator.

So, I began doing research on how much influencers charge both in the UK and US (check our blog for UK influencer coverage here). 

Understanding Instagram Influencer Income in the US

With any role in any industry, influencers – like businesses – come in different sizes and therefore bring in different sized revenues. According to Embedsocial, Instagram micro-influencers in the US (those with 10,000 to 50,000 followers) may earn between $200 and $800 per sponsored post, while those with more significant followings (500,000+) can command $3,000 to $10,000 or more per post.

In continuation, let’s break down the different sizes of influencers

  • Nano-Micro, between 1,000 and 10,000 a month 
  • Micro, between 10,000 and 100,000
  • Macro, over 100,000
  • Celebrity, over 1 million or with legacy status as a celebrity (e.g even if James Marsden has only 700,000 followers he is still considered a celebrity influencer seeing that he has held celebrity status for over 15 years)

Calculating How Instagram Influencer Earn Their Income

But how exactly are these influencers capitalizing on their following numbers and turning engagement into cash? 

Brand Partnerships

Well, there are several ways with the most popular encompassing advertisement in the form of brand partnerships. For example, a fashion influencer could film her standard ‘Get Ready With Me’

Reel but incorporate clothes and/or accessories only from the brand paying her to feature the products. Big brands like Zara or H&M would normally pay a micro influencer $1000 for a Reel and a macro influencer around $2,500. Smaller brands often set their own rates dependent on budget. 

To give a rough estimation of how much some influencers could be earning on the app would be difficult as it all depends on the influencer’s Instagram following, niche and overall business model.

For example, Business Insider reported that while Nate White, a comedy creator who had 340,000 Instagram followers has a base rate of $3,000, Jour’dan Haynes, a nano influencer, told Insider she can earn up to $600 per post. 

A way of finding brands you want to partner with is by joining influencer marketplaces like Upfluence. With these sites you can find brands you feel would be a good fit and contact them to organize a partnership.

You also send specific brands your influencer media kit – in other words, an influencer resume – detailing your previous work and insights into your audience, follower count and engagement rate. Sites like Wix have portfolio templates you can use to create your influencer kit.

Sell Merchandise

Similar to celebrities and music artists in particular, another way to earn money as a US based influencer is to sell merchandise. One way to do this is by opening an Instagram shop. Selling items on Instagram is a great way of reaching a broad market of customers. If you already have a business, Instagram is a great way to grow it by promoting items from your shop.

Instagram’s shopping slogan is “Post. Tag. Sell.” and they make it easy to promote items in the content you create. After creating your Instagram shop, you can tag your items in Reels, Stories and by hosting a live shopping event on the app.

After successfully setting up your shop, you can upload images, descriptions and prices of your items which users can discover all while using the app. To enable this feature, Instagram has published a handy step-by-step guide .

Sell Your Art (On and Off the Blockchain)

Similarly, influencers, especially the more creative ones (musicians, painters, designers) can also sell their art via social media. 

Many users also use Instagram to promote their artistic side by sharing snaps of commissioned drawings or paintings, helping you to reach a huge global audience. If you already have a portfolio of work, Instagram can be a great way to share it and attract more potential clients.

More recently, many artists are building followings on X (formerly Twitter) and selling art in the form of NFTs. This goes a step further thanks to blockchain technology with artists like Nashville-based Violetta Zironi having not only made huge revenue for herself but also having made her fans over $1 million collectively through resales. 

Comparing American Influencer Earnings to Global Trends

Of all influencers globally, US based influencers bring in the most revenue followed by the UK and France, according to a new report from Adobe. Adobe’s Future of Creativity study surveyed 9,000 online creators across Britain, the US, Spain, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Brazil. 

How to Become an Instagram Influencer in the US

The Adobe study also found that most creators (69 per cent) and influencers (84 per cent) say coming up with online content is a creative outlet they cannot find elsewhere. And those who share daily content, or spend ten or more hours each week creating, report being happiest overall.

Half of influencers say using social media or creating social content is more important to their mental health than listening to music (31 per cent), exercising (30 per cent) and going outside in nature (27 per cent).

Simon Morris, vice president of marketing at Adobe, added: ‘There’s little doubt that the events of the past two years have influenced this pace of growth, signaling that the democratization of creativity is changing the where, when, how and why we create and draw inspiration.

‘Creators have the power to shape our economy and culture, forging lucrative and successful careers.

Moving forward it doesn’t seem as if the influencer economy is slowing down any time soon with spending on sponsored social media content in the US will grow roughly 3.5 times faster in 2023 than social ad spending will according to Insider Intelligence

If you already boast a following and are looking to capitalize on it, making it a revenue stream, we suggest you reach out to talent agencies and influencer marketplace. In the meantime you can also pitch to brands yourselves with a formulated deck such sent to Business Insider from influencers of various sizes. 

Challenges and Considerations Before You Take the Leap

It is worth noting, however, that authenticity plays a huge part in effective brand partnerships. No matter how tempting the pay check may be, we suggest only taking on brands that align with your ‘brand’ and values. For example, if you’re a vintage fashion influencer, taking your own sponsorship from fast fashion brands like Pretty Little Things could do more damage to your reputation and lose engagement which will cost more in the long run. 

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