These days, it seems like everyone dreams of becoming an Instagram influencer. And it’s no surprise, considering how easy and glamorous the job looks. Once someone who has an original take, good looks (usually), and clever captions can gain enough followers, promoting a brand is one of the best ways for them to help businesses get new customers. In a world where so much is driven by social media likes and shares, being an influencer is suddenly one of the best jobs out there. But is that always the case? Or is influencer success exaggerated? Just because marketers spent $750 million on influencer marketing globally in 2017 doesn’t mean everyone’s making big bucks.

Considering just how popular these Instagrammers are becoming, it’s an important question to answer Whether you’re an aspiring influencer or a business thinking of hiring one for promotions, the answer is: it depends. And here’s how.

The rates

First of all, the number of followers an influencer has is what makes the biggest difference in how much money they’re making. According to an article in The Independent, rates often work like this based on followers:

3K-10K = $75 – $150

10K-25K = $150 – $220

25K-50K = $220 – $350

50K-100K = $350 – $500

100K+ = $500+

So if you’re considering becoming an Instagram influencer, it’s smart to build up your following first. Post consistent, interesting content, and engage with your followers. Using a service like https://www.magicsocial.net/ or Social Rocketer can help you get more followers, which means more money in the long run. Check out what your competitors are doing to find out what’s most successful. Remember too that what matters most is trust from your followers, which means the products you advertise should be ones you trust. There’s plenty of competition out there, and authenticity is something that matters especially with younger generations such as Gen Zers. In fact, 94 percent of marketers believe that “transparency and authenticity are key to influencer marketing success.”

If you’re running a business and looking to work with an influencer, keep these rates in mind. If you can’t afford these rates just yet, think about partnering with someone with a slightly smaller following but who connects well with your industry. Other options are giving some free swag or helping them get more followers (maybe a post in exchange for a post), or finding some common ground with an influencer that’ll get you a discount (maybe you’re selling green products and they’re passionate about the environment, for example).

The content

Second, successful influencers have different rates depending on what service is required. After all, an influencer has a variety of ways in which they can share content with their fans, whether that’s directly on Instagram or via another platform once they’ve already made it on Instagram. In an interview with the BBC, Kat Richardson, the creative director of the influencer marketing agency WaR, explains:

“On Instagram, for example, it’s more expensive if you have a swipe up for the brand’s site. It’s more expensive if there are links to certain products, it’s also more expensive if you’re doing Instagram stories or if you’re writing about it in your blog and your linking to it in your Instagram…It all comes as a package that can be sold to the brand and boost your monetary value.”

As an influencer, once you’ve built up a following, think about the various ways you could sell your presence to business. That way, you can have a sliding scale to connect with as many sponsors as possible. That will help you in the long run, because businesses are likely to recommend you to others and work with you more often as they grow. For example, a growing company like Verma Farms is sure to be a great investment.

As a business, you need to know what your budget and goals are, and how you think customers will best connect with your products. If you’re in fashion, then a simple post of an influencer wearing a dress is enough. But if you’re in another industry, a blog post about your product and detailing what’s so great about it might be better. Remember, when budgeting, that nearly half of respondents in a poll intended to spend at least 20 percent of their marketing budget on influencer marketing.

In conclusion

The Instagram influencer lifestyle can be a great one, and even if you’re only doing it part-time, you can still make quite a bit of money. Considering that there were over 1.5 million influencer posts in 2017, you’d better get started now. As for businesses, it’s the same: however much you end up investing in influencer advertising, you’ll still get a lot out of that investment.