In this day and age we hear a lot about social media influencers - but what does the term really mean? There’s a lot to uncover and way too many layers to count, but here are the basics.

Simply put, social media influencers are people with large (but more importantly, loyal) audiences who get paid to post stuff. That’s our short and sweet oversimplification, but the industry spans a wide range from “nanoinfluencers” to some of the most prolific and persuasive voices out there.

Social media took the whole notion of influence to a new level, but when you think about it, people have always persuaded us to buy into things. Tony the Tiger convinces us to buy Frosted Flakes, Santa convinces us to buy into Christmas, and hey, Flo convinces us to buy insurance.

As humans, it’s natural to be influenced by someone whom you admire, are entertained by, and/or related to. When you look at it that way, social media influencers make perfect sense.



How Much Do Social Media Influencers Make?


Influencer @jacimariesmith paid partnership with First Aid Beauty.

Once you hit the 100K mark - which is a big goal for many aspiring influencers - it’s possible to begin making around $1,000 per #sponsored post. But trust us; that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are social media influencers who rake in much, much much more per sponsored post.

Be honest: If you heard that some people make $25,000 for ONE sponsored post, wouldn’t you be tempted to hop on the influencer train too?

It’s easy to look at social media influencers with rose-colored glasses and start seeing dollar signs, but those statistics aren’t realistic for everyone. In fact, less than 0.020% of Instagram accounts have over 100,000 followers. That’s not to say, however, that there isn’t a lot of money to be had as a social media influencer, because by all means there is. That’s where micro- and nanoinfluencers come in. Brands are willing to work with accounts as low as 1,000 followers if the engagement is there.

Key word: Engagement.


@krista.horton's posts regularly exceed 5k in comments, showing a highly engaged audience.

Brands have become really good at sniffing out accounts that have fake followers and fake engagement. In fact, fake followers will prevent a deal much quicker than a small audience ever will. So start from square one, be patient, and make sure that the content you are writing is content that you’re interested in. If not, you’ll become bored and miserable before you can even see the fruits of your labor.



How Do You Become A Social Media Influencer?

View this post on Instagram

Don’t know what to give to your loved ones this Christmas? Here’s the most cliché list of gift ideas: 🎁 A perfume (Tommy Girl from @tommyhilfiger is my fave right now) 🎁 A watch (@danielwellington is obviously a good choice. Right now There’s a 10% discount on all gift boxes + you get an extra 15% discount if you use my code ‘sophier15’ 🎁 A christmas sweater (mine is from @opus_fashion) 🎁 A (big ass) teddy bear 🧸🧸🧸 • • • #amsterdam #outfitgoals #ootdmagazine #christmassweater #styleblogger #luxurylifestyle #discoball #debijenkorf #nubikk #girlswhotravel #prettylittleiiinspo #blondesandcookies #christmas #teddybear #perfume #watch #tommyhilfiger #giftguide

A post shared by Sophie | Fashion | Travel (@s0phieramaekers) on


Even with a more modest following of around 20k, @s0phieramaekers receives impressive engagement ratios in comments and likes, and as such, has been able to branch out into sponsored posts and partnerships.

The first step is to start creating. Once you start, don’t stop. One of the keys to success on social media is creating quality content that is consistent. Without consistency, your followers will get bored and forget about you.

If you’re being consistent and creating content that offers value, you’ve got to go the extra mile to engage. Just as you want companies to engage with you, you must have followers engage with you first. And to have followers engage with you, you’ve got to begin making genuine connections.

When people comment on your photos and reply to your stories, respond in a timely manner. Building relationships is the key to success in any industry; being a social media influencer is no different. Don’t wait for people to reach out to you, by the way. Always go the extra mile to forge relationships by reaching out yourself. As your engagement grows and you build a loyal following, you can begin to monetize.

There are organizations you may join, like Social Native and AmbassadHer, that will partner you with companies for sponsored campaigns. While joining these groups can have major perks - Social Native has some really high profile clients, for example - nothing beats having companies reach out to you on their own accord. That’ll feel really darn nice - and the paycheck will too.



With great power comes great responsibility, and by all means the “power” of social media influence can come with many benefits. But, it’s also more important than ever to use your voice wisely (so the ghosts of your Internet usage don’t come back to haunt you). That being said, if you’re motivated to join the ranks of your industry’s biggest influencers, with hard work you absolutely can.