If you’ve spent even 10 minutes on Instagram, chances are you’ve come across some form of influencer marketing. It seems like everyone and their mother is promoting a product on social media, but there’s a reason why! It’s one of the most effective advertising strategies out there and influencers can make a lot of money.

There’s a lot of details marketers need to know about the trend so they can decide if it’s right for their brand.

It’s time to take a deep dive into the world of influencer marketing!

What is Influencer Marketing?

fluencer marketing is when brands pay people on social media to endorse their products or services. Some influencers may also endorse certain products on their blog or website in addition to their social media channels.

Influencers are known for having a loyal following, which means they are highly effective when it comes to increasing a company’s sales, brand awareness, or social following. In the 90’s and early 2000’s, traditional celebrities were the ones making product endorsements in magazines and television commercials. These days, just about anyone can become an influencer and start promoting products!

When Did Influencer Marketing Begin?

Modern influencer marketing began around 2004 when Ted Murphy, a marketing executive, started a practice called “eSeeding.” This is what he called the outreach brands made to various MySpace contributors asking them to promote content in exchange for a gift card.

Murphy also created the first influencer marketing program PayPerPost in 2005. This was the first time anyone created a platform where bloggers could create content that was centered around brands or products. Its reception was so-so. Many people felt there shouldn’t be any advertisements on social media, so they were weary of the concept. My, how things change!

How Influencer Marketing Works

The simple explanation of how influencer marketing works is that a person on social media will promote a product or brand in exchange for a commission, gift card, or other monetary benefit. However, there’s a lot more that goes into it!

Here’s how influencer marketing works:

  • An influencer partners with a brand.
  • The influencer promotes the brand on social media.
  • When a follower makes a purchase, the influencer receives a small portion of the sale.
  • The brand has higher sales and more followers as a result!

Here’s a visual look at the process of influencer marketing:

Influencer marketing is a more digestible form of advertising for consumers. People who follow influencers on social media expect to be advertised to, so they aren’t against hearing product recommendations. This is one of the many reasons why influencer marketing is the way of the future for advertising!

How Effective is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing can be extremely effective for brands. In fact, 80% of marketers say influencer marketing is an effective marketing strategy, and 71% say the quality of leads is better than other advertising avenues.

According to MediaKix, the most effective types of content for influencer marketing are Instagram posts, Instagram stories, and YouTube videos. If you’re looking to experiment with an influencer marketing strategy, be sure the influencer you choose will use these social platforms for your promotion!

Brands Who Use Influencer Marketing

There are tons of brands who are known for working with influencers to spread the word about their products. Some are more popular than others, but I’d be willing to bet these ones ring a bell!

Here are some brands who use influencer marketing:

  • HelloFresh
  • Kiwico
  • Audible
  • Quip
  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Vital Proteins
  • Blue Apron
  • Billie
  • Thrive Market
  • Butcher Box
  • Fabletics
  • Chatbooks

Each brand’s strategy is different from the other. Not to mention, influencer A might be great for one brand, whereas influencer B is best for another. It all comes down to how relevant the advertiser is to the influencer’s fanbase and whether there’s an ROI (return on investment) when it comes to investing in them.

How Much Do Brands Pay Influencers?

The amount of money a brand pays an influencer depends on their number of followers, the level of social media engagement, and how relevant the influencer is for their brand.

On average, Instagram influencers who have between 500 and 5,000 followers can make an average of $114 per video post on Instagram. For influencers that have 30,000 to 500,000 followers, they make an average of $775 per Instagram video.

Celebrities that have over 500,000 followers on Instagram can make a hefty amount of money through influencer marketing. According to Klear, an influencer marketing platform, these influencers can make anywhere between $2,000 to $3,800 per social media post!

Who Are the Most Successful Social Media Influencers?

All this talk about influencers probably has you wondering who the most successful ones are. There’s a lot of money to be made in the industry, so it’s only natural to wonder who’s at the top of the charts!

Here are some of the most successful influencers working right now:

  • Kylie Jenner (@kyliejenner)
  • Huda Kattan (@hudabeauty)
  • James Charles (@jamescharles)
  • Kayla Itsines (@kayla_itsines)
  • Lilly Singh (@lilly)
  • Khloe Kardashian (@khloekardashian)

Kylie Jenner

Source: The Verge

It’s estimated that Kylie Jenner makes around $1.2 million per Instagram post. She mostly promotes beauty, skincare, and health products.

Huda Kattan

Source: Business Insider

Huda Kattan is known for charging upwards of $91,000 for a sponsored post on Instagram. While that’s just an estimate, it’s safe to say Huda is one of the pricier influencers to work with!

James Charles

Source: www.tiktok.com/@jamescharles

Word on the street is that James Charles charges approximately $9,000 for a sponsored Instagram post. That doesn’t even count any of his YouTube promotions!

Kayla Itsines

Source: Forbes.com

It’s rumored that Kayla Itsines will charge around $150,000 per sponsored Instagram post on her page. Kayla is a fitness guru, so most of her promotions are health-related!

Lilly Singh

Source: New York Post

Singh has been known to charge around $20,000 for a sponsored post on Instagram, and $15,000 for a sponsored Facebook post.

Khloe Kardashian

Source: Biography.com

Khloe Kardashian makes up to $250,000 per Instagram ad.  She is also known for partnering with brands for pricy marketing campaigns outside of Instagram!

How Do I Become an Influencer in Marketing?

Becoming a social media influencer sounds enticing. You get to promote things you like and get paid for making simple social media posts! However, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Here’s how to become an influencer in marketing:

  • Develop a Loyal Following
  • Be Authentic
  • Engage With Brands
  • Don’t Fall for Engagement Pods

Develop a Loyal Following

The most important step in becoming an influencer is to create genuine relationships with your followers. They don’t want to feel like just another number, so try following them back and engaging in their social media posts too.
Engaging with your followers is crucial because it creates a lasting relationship. Not to mention, when you reply to their comments on your posts, it increases the visibility for your page. It’s a win-win!

Be Authentic

The biggest mistake aspiring influencers make is focusing too much on making a sale or promoting a product and not enough on who they are or other aspects of their life. Your followers don’t want to be constantly bombarded with salesy messaging from you, so you should sprinkle in some tidbits about your life when possible.

Don’t forget to be down-to-earth as well. Your followers should have a solid idea of who you are and what your personality is like. Share your true self with your followers!

Engage With Brands

If there are brands you’d love to promote in the future, you should start out by engaging with their social media profiles. Comment on their photos, tag them in your Instagram stories, and show your genuine interest for their products.

If you simply contact them asking to promote their products, the brand will wonder if you’re just in it for the money. Showing genuine interest in their products or services is a great way to make it clear that you truly love what they do.

Don’t Fall for Engagement Pods

There’s no magic formula for success when you want to become an influencer. It will take lots of trial and error to see if what you want to promote even resonates with your audience. No matter what, just know that it won’t happen overnight. Stick to your strategy and you might become the next big thing!

Final Thoughts

Influencer marketing is the way of the future. Brands are turning to this advertising strategy to get their brands seen, and it works! If you’re a marketer, meet with your team to see if partnering with a social media influencer is worth the investment. You might have to experiment with different influencers to figure that out, but it’s worth trying!

References

How Much Do Influencers Charge? (2019). Retrieved June 10, 2020, from https://klear.com/blog/influencer-pricing-2019

Influencer Marketing Survey Results: 2019 Industry Benchmarks. (2019). Retrieved June 10, 2020, from https://mediakix.com/influencer-marketing-resources/influencer-marketing-industry-statistics-survey-benchmarks/

The History of Influencer Marketing. (n.d.). Retrieved June 10, 2020, from https://izea.com/history-influencer-marketing/

Gross, E. (2018, May 29). How Kayla Itsines Built Bikini Body Training Company Into A Multimillion-Dollar Fitness Empire. Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/elanagross/2018/04/05/kayla-itsines/

Sparks, H. (2019, July 26). Who is Lilly Singh and why should we care if she’s a ‘Little Late’? Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://nypost.com/2019/07/26/who-is-lilly-singh-and-why-should-we-care-if-shes-a-little-late/

Perelli, A. (2019, August 27). Beauty mogul Huda Kattan, who has 38 million Instagram followers, says she turned down a $10 million brand campaign because it ‘wasn’t worth it’. Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://www.businessinsider.com/influencer-huda-kattan-turns-down-million-dollar-brand-deal-interview-2019-8

Alexander, J. (2020, May 29). Go read this Forbes investigation alleging Kylie Jenner isn’t actually a billionaire. Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://www.theverge.com/21274630/kylie-jenner-billionaire-forbes-investigation-cosmetics-coty

Khloé Kardashian. (2019, April 16). Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://www.biography.com/personality/khloe-kardashian

Wiseman, E. (n.d.). This Is How Much The Kardashians Earn Per Instagram Post. Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://graziadaily.co.uk/celebrity/news/kardashian-jenner-instagram-worth/

‘$65,000 per sponsored YouTube post’: Lilly Singh made a ton before her late night debut. (2019, September 17). Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://finance.yahoo.com/news/65000-per-sponsored-you-tube-post-lilly-singh-made-a-ton-before-her-late-night-gig-191144635.html

Truman, I. (2018, October 25). Kayla Itsines 2018 Net Worth Has Been Revealed. Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://www.marieclaire.com.au/kayla-itsines-net-worth

James Charles Net Worth: From Makeup to Millions: NeoReach Blog. (2019, November 25). Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://neoreach.com/james-charles-net-worth-from-makeup-to-millions/

How much does Kylie Jenner earn on Instagram? – CBBC Newsround. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/49124484

Day, E. (2019, July 28). Instagram Rich List: Huda Kattan could charge Dh335,000 for a sponsored post, but she doesn’t. Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/instagram-rich-list-huda-kattan-could-charge-dh335-000-for-a-sponsored-post-but-she-doesn-t-1.891577

About the author

Kelsey Skager

Kelsey is a master of promotional products with over five years of marketing and industry experience. She is proud to have been featured on ABC 7 Chicago News and NPR.