How Much Can You Really Earn as a Social Media Influencer

How Much Can You Really Earn as a Social Media Influencer?

We all love posting on social media; the likes, comments, and impressions give us a shot of dopamine. In many cases, this dopamine comes with a hefty paycheck. Yes, I am talking about social media influencers, and we all want to be one. After all, who doesn’t like the fame and the money? But there is an ever-occurring question around social media influencer salary.

In this article, I’ll explain the nuances of social media influencer salary, job traits, how to become one, and more. To get your undivided attention, let’s talk about an example. Achieng Agutu, a 26-year-old influencer, has about 500,000 Instagram followers, and she earned over $1 million in her first year as a full-time creator (Source: Business Insider).

Let’s face it, this number is more than you and I could ever earn with a traditional job. But we can become one, for sure! Now, sit tight, and let’s roll in:

Understanding Social Media Influencers

Let’s start at the starting point: what defines a social media influencer? As we all know (right?), they’re individuals who have picked a niche, amassed a dedicated audience, and possess the power to influence their audience’s opinions and actions. This audience, or followers, can be on one or more social media platforms.

To get an idea of the popularity of this ‘career option’, here’s a study: 86% of young Americans wish to become social media influencers. 12% of those 86% already consider themselves one.

Now, to be clear, social media influencer is a generalized term. The term ‘influencer’ can be divided into four types:

  • Nano: These are the small-scale influencers, often with a modest but highly engaged follower count. They’re like the local heroes of the social media world.
  • Micro: These influencers have a bit more reach, with followers typically ranging from a few thousand to around 100,000. They’re known for their niche expertise and relatable content.
  • Macro: Moving up the ladder, macro-influencers have a substantial following, often in the hundreds of thousands. They’re the household names in certain niches.
  • Mega: At the top of the pyramid, mega influencers boast follower counts in the millions. They’re the celebrities of the digital age, influencing trends on a massive scale.

Factors that Impact Influencer Earnings

We all know the earning potential of an influencer and we just saw an example above. But what shapes an influencer’s earning potential? Obviously, there’s no earning benchmark like the ones we have in traditional jobs.

Each influencer earns different and the pay scale can vary a lot. Here’s a breakdown of some factors:

  1. Follower Count and Engagement Rates: The larger your follower base and the higher the engagement, the more attractive you become to brands and marketers. One thing to note here is – a large following doesn’t always mean better engagement. You could be at 100K following and have better engagement than a 500K account.
  2. Niche and Industry: Certain niches, like technology, fashion, or lifestyle, tend to offer more lucrative opportunities for collaborations and sponsorships. Consider you’re a Twitter/LinkedIn influencer in the tech space, and your friend works as a dental space influencer. Who do you think can have better deals?
  3. Platform and Monetization Methods: Each social media platform offers various ways to monetize content, including sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and direct ad revenues. Although each platform and content type has its significance, your earnings as an influencer vary a lot based on the platform you choose. For example – As video is in demand, YouTube and Instagram are the platforms with the highest potential.

Well, these are the top three factors that will decide your social media influencer salary. Let’s now talk about different ways of monetization:

5 Ways to Monetize Social Media Audience

The job of an influencer is an unconventional one. Hence, the ways to monetize vary unconventionally, too. However, there are 5 conventional ways in this career that every influencer relies on:

  1. Sponsored Content and Brand Partnerships: Collaborating with brands to showcase their products or services to your audience can be a significant income source. Just to give you an idea, Instagram influencers between 500K-1M+ followers, charge somewhere around $5000-$20000 per reel. Crazy, right?
  2. Affiliate Marketing: By partnering with companies and promoting their products or services through unique affiliate links, influencers earn a commission for the sales they generate. The income through affiliate marketing depends upon the number of clicks on your affiliate link and the level of influence you have on your audience.
  3. Ad Revenue: Some platforms, like YouTube and certain blogs, allow for monetization through ads and sponsorships based on views, clicks, or engagement. If you’re big on YouTube and don’t do any brand deals, you can still earn thousands of dollars every month only through ad revenue.
  4. Product Sales and Merchandise: Many influencers create and sell their own products, merchandise, or courses, leveraging their brand and the trust of their audience. You must have heard of influencers like Tech Burner, who started as a tech reviewer on YouTube. Today, he earns several thousand dollars through his clothing brand.
Product Sales and Merchandise
  1. Speaking Engagements and Events: Opportunities to engage in public speaking or host events can also be lucrative income sources for influencers. Vedika Bhaia, for example, started as a content creator on LinkedIn. Once she achieved 100K followers, she went on to start her agency. Today, she gets invited to colleges and institutions with travel and accommodation fully funded!

Also Read: Why Influencer Culture is a Scourge on Society?

Social Media Influencer Salary Based on Platforms

Determining social media influencers per post or per platform is a bit complex. But I’ve done the research for you.

Various factors come into play, such as the type of content, industry averages, the size of the influencer’s reach, engagement rates, and the effectiveness of past campaigns. In the following sections, we’ll talk about the average earnings of influencers on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, considering different size tiers.

(I’ve specifically picked these three platforms because these are booming, pay the best, and are easiest to grow on)

Average Instagram Influencer Earnings

Instagram dominates the influencer marketing world, securing the highest percentage of marketing dollars. According to a study by EmbedSocial, the average price per post for an Instagram macro-influencer ranges between $1000 and $5000.

Remember, I’m talking about posts here, which include visuals, reels, and carousels.

However, exceptions like celebrity influencer Cristiano Ronaldo can reportedly earn over a million dollars per post. On the micro-influencer level, Obebe claimed $3,000 for a single Instagram carousel post with two photos.

General Averages, According to Statista:

  • Nano-influencer: around $300 per post
  • Mid-tier influencer: around $1,221 per post
  • Macro-influencer: around $2,000 per post

Instagram influencers commonly post sponsored feed posts, stories, and reels and use features like Instagram Shopping, affiliate links, and the Reels Bonus program for additional monetization.

Average TikTok Influencer Earnings

TikTok, although banned in India, will surpass Facebook and YouTube in influencer marketing spending share. As of October 31, 2023, the average salary for a TikTok influencer stands at an impressive $121,765.

However, this figure can be misleading due to mega-influencers, often termed “TikTok royalty,” earning seven or eight-figure salaries.

Typical Earnings, Based on NeoReach’s Report:

  • 48% earn less than $15,000
  • 9% earn $15,000 – $25,000
  • 7% earn $25,000 – $35,000
  • 5% earn $35,000 – $50,000
  • 11% earn $50,000 – $75,000
  • 5% earn $75,000 – $100,000
  • 6% earn $100,000 – $150,000
  • 7% earn $200,000 or more

While top TikTok creators can make millions, the majority fall within the $15,000 to $25,000 range. Key revenue streams include sponsored posts, the TikTok Creator Fund, affiliate marketing, and TikTok Live Gifts.

One exciting example is TikTok Sleepfluencer Jakey Boehm, who reported making $34,000 in one month from TikTok Live, gamifying the experience by livestreaming himself sleeping and engaging with fans through different prompts triggered by gifts.

Average Twitter Influencer Earnings

Twitter, comparatively less lucrative for influencers, sees nano-influencers earning around $65 per post, while micro-influencers and above can make $125 per post, according to Statista. Twitter influencers commonly utilize sponsored posts, brand-specific hashtags, and Twitter takeovers for potential revenue.

Being a nano-twitter influencer myself (with 14.7K followers), I get offered $100-$300 per tweet. Note that this is about promoting tech products and technologies. A friend with 65K followers gets offered an average of $500 per tweet.

It’s worth noting that these figures are general averages and can vary based on industry, engagement rates, and the influencer’s unique brand appeal.

Note: Twitter is now X and has the visionary Elon Musk at its front. X is claimed to be ‘an everything app’ soon and will likely surpass all other social media platforms in the next 5-7 years.

An advice from me: Start posting on Twitter NOW!

An advice from me: Start posting on Twitter NOW!


Many question if they can truly earn a substantial income as a social media influencer. Absolutely. But it’s not an overnight feat. To get to the numbers you see for others, you need to work hard consistently. Yes, the trends seem cringe at times, but this is a requirement of being an influencer. Plus, the pay is super-lucrative, so why not?

Remember, your journey as an influencer is uniquely yours. Although the numbers I dig up are pretty good, you can charge half or even double that. The point is that your social media influencer salary depends solely on you. Nothing is generalized in this space.

Sushrut is the key content strategist and writer for FuelEd Community. He is a content writer and content strategist with experience in domains like technology, freelancing, and side hustles.

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