Entrepreneurship, Marketing

The Instagram Entrepreneur: How To Make Money With Sponsored Posts On Instagram

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Creating sponsored posts for brands is a great way to monetize your Instagram account once you have built a small following. 

Why would brands want to partner with you?

Here’s the thing, big companies have a big disadvantage when it comes to engaging an audience that thinks of them as a corporation. Corporations also know that it’s easier to pay someone who already has a following than building one themselves.

The Hierarchy of Influencers

The word influencer has grown in popularity due to the rise in social media. An influencer is anyone who has built an organic following on social media by posting share-worthy content.

Influencer’s fall into 3 categories:


Don’t let the word micro mislead, brands are seeking out micro influencers and for good reason.

Believe it or not, micro influencers have a high engagement rate and they’re cheaper.

Experticity conducted a study and found that 82% of consumers are “highly likely” to follow a recommendation made by an influencer”.

How many followers does a micro-influencer have?  According to Socialmediatoday, anyone who has less than 10,000 followers is considered a micro-influencer.

Your job as a micro-influencer is to show the human side of the sponsoring brand. 

Power Middle Influencers

The next level in the influencer hierarchy is the power middle influencer. To become a power middle influencer you must already have a catalog of brands you’ve represented in the past. Power middle influencer usually have between 10,000-250,000 followers.

Since power middle influencers have more followers and a resume with other brands they can charge more than the micro-influencer.


The highest level in the influencer hierarchy is the macro-influencer. Macro-influencers have a least 250,000 followers and can have followers in the millions. This is by far the most profitable influencer on this list.

Some influencers charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single post. In order to reach the macro-influence stage, you must first go thru the micro and middle influencer stage.

RELATED: How To Make Extra Cash Capturing Pictures on Instagram 

What is a Sponsored Post

A sponsored post is when a brand pays an influencer to post their product or service.

A sponsored post can range from a single post to an entire Instagram story. The 4 most popular ways to run a sponsored post are:

    1. Single Post (Picture and Videos )
    2. Series of Post (also known as a campaign)
    3. Instagram Story
    4. IGTV (The new addition to Instagram)

Things You Should Know Before Getting Started

There are certain rules set by the FTC( Federal Trade Commission) you must abide by if you want to make money through a sponsored post.

Below I have listed 6 important guidelines you should be aware of before creating your first sponsored post.

    1. You must disclose the relationship you have with the brand.
    2. If you have a bad experience with a product or service you can’t give a good review.
    3. Don’t endorse products or services you haven’t actually haven’t used yourself.
    4. Brands can’t pay you to perform an act that wouldn’t disclose your affiliation with the brand. (Example: Paying you to like or comment on their content)
    5. Your disclosure must be very evident to followers so don’t hide the fact that someone is paying you to promote their brand.  
    6. Your disclosure should be above the fold and if you’re not using the sponsored post tool, your affiliation should be in the caption.

RELATED: Why College Is The Best Time To Start Your First Business

How Much Should You Charge?

Before partnering with brands you must consider 3 factors:

    1. When and where are you going to post?
    2. How many times are you going to post that brand’s product or service?
    3. How will you get paid and how much?

Most of your deals will be negotiable between you and the brand you are promoting, unless you are using an influencer marketplace. A deal can include a mix of pictures, videos, or live streams so the prices will vary. 

Remember that you are selling access to your followers so make sure the products or services you’re promoting is worth the purchase.

There are 7 factors that will influence how much you will charge as an influencer

    1. How many times will you post their product or service (# of post)
    2. What type of posts will be included in the campaign (Photos, Videos, Live Stories)  
    3. If you will be providing the media (photos, videos) for the promotion
    4. Your # of followers
    5. Your engagement rate
    6. Cross-promotion (Will you be posting on your other platforms) (Ex: Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat)
    7. Usage Rights (Can the sponsor use the photo or video on their website or social media page

(Tip: Before approaching any brands make sure you have at least 5,000 followers)

RELATED: Step-by-Step Guide: To Launching Your First Blog In College 

Prices Influencers Charge Around Instagram

Although prices can vary depending on the influencer and the campaign, looking at what other influencers charge and what brands are paying influencer can help you set your prices.

An interesting blog post published on Digiday stated: “one social media agency pays influences $1,000 per 100,000 followers”. The article also states that if you have less than 100,000 followers your best bet is to charge $250 per post.

Another study done by blog.influence.co found that “influencers with 2,000-5,000 followers charge on average $93” compared to “influencers with 5,000-10,000 charge on average $137”.

Where To Find Brands To Sponsor You

Once you’ve built a small following on Instagram and you’re ready to start making money you have two options:

    1. Wait for brands to contact you
    2. Contact brands using an influencer marketplace

Contacting brands have become easier due to the increase in marketplaces dedicated to connecting brands to influencers.

Below I have listed 6 of the best influencer marketplaces you should check out:

    1. Shoutcart
    2. JumpFame
    3. Upfluence.com
    4. HyprBrands
    5. Hypefactory
    6. Openinfluence

Key Takeaways 

  • A sponsored post can range from a single post to an entire Instagram story
  • Before approaching any brands make sure you have at least 5,000 followers
  • There are certain rules set by the FTC( Federal Trade Commission) you must abide by if you want to make money through sponsored posts.
  • You can reach out to brands on influencer marketplaces when you’ve built a small following 

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