If you've ever wondered if you have what it takes to make a living as an Instagram influencer, there's now an app for that. Inkifi will calculate how much money you can earn from your Instagram profile but, for most of us, it's probably not a lot. All you have to do is enter your Instagram handle into the box provided on the Inkifi website to see how much each post could earn you if you partnered with companies and brands to post content. But, before you quit you day job to become Taylor Sloane in Ingrid Goes West, it's important to know that most people likely won't make big bucks.
I entered my Instagram handle, and Inkifi calculated that I could earn $3.24 a post, which is actually more than I thought it would be since I only have 575 followers. I suppose if I got a lot of brands to give me that $3.24, and posted multiple times a day, I could earn some extra spending cash. However, I'd also probably annoy my real friends into unfollowing me.
While I thought my piddly $3.24 was a win, big-time Instragram influencers like Elma Beganovich, a 31-year-old influencer who has more than 735,000 followers on Instagram, earns almost $20,000 for a single post, according to Business Insider. Can you imagine getting a $20,000 paycheck for posting a single picture? First of all, how is this a job, and second, how can you make it your job?
Becoming An Instagram Influencer
Inkifi notes on its website that even micro influencers, aka those with less than 3,000 followers, can still get in the game because it's about engagement and conversion versus followers. This means that if your posts have reach, and brands can trace a sale back to your post, you're a good risk for brands to take on, according to the State of Influencer Marketing 2017 report from Linqia, which offers turnkey influencer marketing programs to companies.
But, for fledgling companies, it still helps if you have a big name attached to their brands. A good example is the latest season of Girlfriends Guide to Divorce, when Abby and Barbara are struggling to launch their new website Lady Parts, and they're desperate to find an influencer who will promote Lady Parts for free. Once Abby's ex-boyfriend Will takes his megastar girlfriend's phone at a party and tweets about Lady Parts from her account, the website takes off. While professional influencers and celebrities can dictate trends and behavior on social media, for us regular folks, the average amount each of your Instagram posts are worth is just one cent, according to the State of Influencer Marketing 2017.
For influencers, personalization is what increases the chances of getting exposure. For example, because your phone is pretty much spying on you, all you have to do is say something out loud, or sometimes even just think about it, to see that brand or product pop up in your Instagram or Facebook feed, kind of like your own super creepy personal shopper. This smartphone technology, coupled with our society's obsession with people who we think are cooler than us, has turned influencer marketing into a booming business.
The Business Of Being Social
Content marketing company Later posted a blog about how to become an Instagram influencer, and interviewed health and fitness influencer Cassey Ho about how to turn your digital addiction into a full-time gig. Ho told Later that finding a niche and treating yourself like a brand with a compelling story to tell is key to success. "Authenticity is what keeps my brand alive. I view my fans as my friends and I would never want to lie to them, trick them, or use them," Ho told Later. "I create meaningful content that I am proud to share."
Some people also scam their way into becoming influencers by creating fake accounts and buying followers — because in many ways, the parallel universe of social media is still a wild west where perception is reality. Less savvy companies and brands might see someone with a beautifully curated account and tens of thousands of followers and pursue a partnership with them.
However, in some cases, the account is made up entirely of stock photos, is managed by a bot, and the followers are fake. Influencer marketing agency Mediakix conducted a two-month study to show how easy it is to create a fake Instagram influencer account, and even secure lucrative brand deals based on the profile of influencer that doesn't actually exist.
If you want to become a real Instagram influencer, Later noted that there is no substitute for actually putting in the work. The good news is that for those who are committed to working their way up to a full-time influencer life, it can be done. Personally, I think it might take some of the fun out of Instagram because what was once fun turns into an obligation. But, you probably get over that when you're cashing a $20,000 check.
Using Instagram To Launch Your Business
Other people are launching their business through Instagram itself. In fact, this has become so prevalent that Instagram hosted a School of Hustle workshop in August for those looking to leverage social media to turn their passion into a paycheck.
For Patty Delgado, it all started as an expression of personal identity that quickly turned into the colorful business pursuit Hija de tu Madre. After finding a sequin design of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Delgado sewed it onto her denim jacket. The response from her friends and strangers on the street was so overwhelming that she decided to start a website and design more jackets to post on Instagram.
And, here's where the magic happened. While Delgado started off making her jackets on the floor of her parent's living room while working a full time job, within a couple of months, the leads she was getting from Instagram — she gets 80 percent of her leads from the platform — allowed her to run her own business full time, according to a press release. So whether you want to be an influencer, or launch your own gig, it's totally possible if you put in the work. Basically what I'm saying is, don't let that one cent average get you down because you are in charge of your own story, on social media and IRL.