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How many followers will Instagram pay you?

Influencers with large followings on Instagram can make money through brand sponsorships and partnerships. However, Instagram itself does not directly pay users based on their number of followers. So how many followers do you need before you can start earning money on Instagram?

What is an Instagram Influencer?

An Instagram influencer is someone who has built a large, engaged following on the platform. Brands partner with influencers to promote their products and services to the influencer’s audience. There are different tiers of influencers based on followers:

  • Nano influencer: 1,000 – 10,000 followers
  • Micro influencer: 10,000 – 50,000 followers
  • Mid-tier influencer: 50,000 – 500,000 followers
  • Macro influencer: 500,000 – 1 million followers
  • Mega influencer: 1 million+ followers

Typically, nano and micro-influencers are everyday users who have built an engaged community around a specific niche. Macro and mega influencers are celebrities, public figures, and personalities with incredibly broad reach.

How Much do Instagram Influencers Make?

Earnings vary widely depending on follower count, engagement rate, and sponsorship deals. Here are some average earnings for influencers:

Follower Count Average Earnings per Post
10,000 $100
50,000 $250
500,000 $1,000
1 million $5,000-$10,000

Nano influencers generally can’t earn a full-time income from Instagram alone. They may get some free products, services, or commissions on affiliate sales. Once influencers reach about 10,000 engaged followers, they become attractive to small brands and can start earning around $100 per sponsored post.

Micro-influencers make between $250-$500 per sponsored post depending on their niche and engagement levels. At 100,000 followers, rates usually start between $500-$1,000. Macro-influencers with 500,000+ followers can command $1,000-$5,000 per post.

Mega influencers with several million followers have the highest earning power and can make anywhere from $5,000-$10,000+ per sponsored post. Some top celebrities like Kylie Jenner even make over $1 million per sponsored post.

How Many Instagram Followers Do You Need to Make Money?

While there are no strict follower requirements, here are some general guidelines for monetizing your Instagram account:

  • 1,000 followers – You’re unlikely to earn anything at this level beyond free products/services.
  • 10,000 followers – You can start partnering with select brands for $100 or less per post.
  • 25,000 followers – Earn up to $250 per post with a high engagement rate.
  • 50,000 followers – Earn steady income between $250-$500 per post.
  • 100,000 followers – Earn up to $1,000 per post.
  • 500,000+ followers – Earn several thousand per post and land big brand deals.

However, follower count alone doesn’t determine your earning potential. Your engagement rate (likes and comments per post) is equally important. For example, an influencer with 50,000 highly engaged followers may earn more than someone with 100,000 ghost followers.

Consistency also matters. Brands want influencers who post high-quality content regularly. Influencers should aim for at least 1-2 posts per week. Daily is ideal, but 3-5 posts per week tends to be the sweet spot.

How to Make Money on Instagram with Less than 10,000 Followers

Can you make money on Instagram with less than 10,000 followers? Here are some ways to monetize a smaller following:

Affiliate Marketing

Sign up for affiliate programs that align with your niche. Promote relevant products in your content and earn a commission on each sale driven through your custom affiliate link. Great options to check out include:

  • Amazon Associates
  • RewardStyle
  • CJ Affiliate
  • ShareASale
  • Awin
  • Impact

Sell Your Own Products or Services

Use Instagram to promote and sell your own digital or physical products like ebooks, online courses, prints, apparel, etc. You can also promote your freelance services like photography, social media management, consulting, etc.

Launch a Patreon

Patreon allows creators to offer exclusive content and perks to paying supporters. Fans pay a monthly subscription fee to gain access. This can be a great way to monetize a highly engaged, niche audience.

Crowdfund Creative Projects

Use crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo to raise funds for creative projects. Offer backer rewards to encourage donations.

How to Get Brand Sponsorships on Instagram

Once you’ve grown your account to 10,000+ engaged followers, you can start actively pitching for paid sponsorships. Here are some tips:

  • Create an Instagram media kit detailing your audience demographics, engagement metrics, and sponsorship rates.
  • Research brands that align with your niche and pitch them collaborations via email.
  • Partner with relevant micro-influencers in sponsored giveaways.
  • Respond to Instagram and TikTok ads seeking influencer promotions.
  • Join influencer marketplaces like Tribe, AspireIQ and Grapevine to get discovered by brands.
  • Network and connect with PR professionals at events or through cold messaging.

Focus on long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships instead of one-off sponsored posts. Provide detailed analytics to demonstrate your value to brands.

Instagram Creator Accounts

Instagram launched Creator Accounts in 2022. These accounts give creators access to professional tools to track performance, discover brand partnerships, and earn money. To be eligible, your account must:

  • Be public
  • Have at least 10,000 followers
  • Be focused on branded content

With a Creator Account, you can:

  • Access Instagram Trends and Insights to analyze performance
  • Pin content to your profile
  • Filter comments and messages
  • Promote products through branded content tools
  • Discover brand partnership opportunities

So while Instagram doesn’t directly pay creators, the platform is making it easier to earn money through sponsorships. 10,000+ followers seems to be the threshold that unlocks monetization features.


While Instagram follower counts aren’t directly correlated to earnings, they generally dictate sponsor interest and rates. Most influencers need at least 10,000 engaged followers to start earning anything. The big money comes at higher tiers like 500,000+ followers where rates exceed $1,000 per post.

However, smaller nano and micro-influencers can still monetize through affiliate links, selling products, Patreon subscriptions, and crowdfunding. Focus on building a hyper-engaged community first. Work your way up to paid partnerships once you’ve grown your account and proven your value to brands.