Instagram is no longer just a platform for sharing photos. In fact, getting paid to share posts on Instagram has become one of the most sought-after jobs in recent years. The rise of the influencer has inspired people to make careers out of their Instagram accounts in pursuit of what has been so heavily romanticized as the "millennial dream."
Many people believe that the number of followers one possesses is the most important part of being an influencer. However, this is usually not the case - most companies are more interested in how much engagement an person's account receives. This means getting a high number of likes and comments on one's posts, on top of having a decent follower count.
A person may have 100,000 followers, but if those users are not actively engaging with that person's posts, the account becomes significantly less attractive to a sponsor.
That being said, it still helps to have a larger following for higher engagement rates, but those followers actually have to be real and not just bought off an app. According to the mastermind @thattravelblog, who has had experience getting paid for his posts, most companies start considering influencers with over 9,999 followers. Something as simple as seeing the "K" beside one's follower count makes a huge impression to potential sponsors.
Next, most companies will examine the quality of the posts, as well as how far they reach and how much engagement they receive. Instagram accounts dedicated to a particular genre (travel, fashion, etc.) or theme (pastels, rooftop shots, etc.) also have a greater chance of being noticed, especially if those genres and themes are in line with a particular company's industry.
Mobile Media Lab, a new marketing agency, revealed to Peta Pixel that they have paid people with more than 100,000 highly-engaged followers anywhere between $700 to $900 per photo. For people with around 500,000 followers, that rate could get as high as $3,000 per photo. Some high-profile fashion-focused Instagram influencers have even been able to command $8,000 prices for a single sponsored photo.
Most sponsored Instagram influencers will tell you not to concern yourself too much with your follower count, especially when you're just starting off. Instead, they advise that you simply focus on doing what you love, making quality posts on a consistent basis, and sharing the hell out of them, despite any fears of being judged for your persistence.