How Do Instagram Models Make Money?

Since everyone has an Instagram account these days, why not make some money from it?

If you’ve ever wondered if you can monetize your social media following, the answer is yes. In this article, we’re going to look at exactly how do Instagram models make money.

Below are 6 ways Instagram models make money, as well as some answers to the most important questions.

6 Ways Instagram Models Make Money

How Do Instagram Models Make Money

Sponsored Posts and Stories

One of the most common ways influencers get paid on Instagram is through sponsored posts and sponsored Instagram stories.

The way this works is brands reach out to influencers (or vice versa) and discuss rates for a sponsored post and/or story.

Typically, brands will purchase multiple posts, a video, or multiple stories at a time. 

The brand and influencer negotiate prices depending on the package and budget of the brand. Once a price is agreed on, the influencer creates a post or multiple posts highlighting a product submitted by the brand.

There are usually strict guidelines established by the brand as far as what the influencer can say in the post. Once it is posted, the brand pays the influencer. 

Brand Ambassadors

Becoming a brand ambassador is like sponsored posts and stories, but it’s a more long-term relationship.

A brand ambassador partners with a brand for a set amount of time or posts and shares their products. Typically, this type of deal is more for someone who has a strong following in the brand’s niche. 

When an influencer becomes a brand ambassador, they basically become the face of the brand.

They market a product (or products) to their audience consistently. Depending on the brand and how large the audience is, the influencer may get paid by free products, affiliate commissions, or just a set amount of money. 

Marketing Their Own Products

Surely, you’ve heard of Kylie Jenner and her Lip Kits. Even non-makeup gurus typically know about it.

This is a prime example of an influencer marketing their own product. People with a large following of people who love them just based on who they are doing very well selling their own products. 

The traditional influencer route involves partnering with a brand and launching its own line. This may be a line of shoes with Nike or a brand of makeup.

Influencers can also create their own products from scratch. Another form of a product in the digital sense used today is online memberships and courses.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is widely used with Instagram influencers today. It is a way for influencers to talk about products they love and get paid for them.

When you tell your mom about the pair of shoes you love, wouldn’t you like to get paid for it?

How it works: an influencer applies to become an affiliate partner with a brand. The brand gives the influencer trackable links that show exactly how many clicks and sales he or she gets.

When a sale is made through that link, the influencer makes a small commission. The typical rate is anywhere between 10%-20%. 


OnlyFans is used as a way to provide exclusive content. Influencers set up their page to be paid, with OnlyFans keeping 20% of the earnings fee.

Each person’s content is protected so that it cannot be shared outside of the platform. 

OnlyFans sets their subscription rates: their range is $4.99-$49.99 per month. Creators also can get tips starting at a minimum of $5.

OnlyFans also offers a referral program where influencers can earn up to 5% of the referred creator’s earnings in the first 12 months. 

Directing traffic to another income generator

Influencers on Instagram often have other social media or places to find them online such as a blog, YouTube channel, etc.

They often have a social media marketing strategy where one source gets redirected to another.

For example, an influencer may announce on Instagram that her newest YouTube video is live. Her Instagram audience goes to YouTube to watch the video. She makes money off of the ads on the video as well as any affiliate links listed in the description (as well as other ways that they may be monetizing their YouTube channel).

Influencers often drive their traffic from site to site. An example would include traffic being taken from Pinterest to a blog, from the blog to Instagram, and Instagram to YouTube.

With ads and affiliate links on every platform, this is another source of income for many influencers.

Final thoughts on making money as an Instagram model

There are many different ways to go about making money as an Instagram model. We’ve covered the most popular and effective ways including:

  • Sponsored posts
  • Sponsored stories
  • Brand Ambassadorships
  • Marketing your own products
  • Affiliate marketing
  • OnlyFans (or Patreon)
  • Directing traffic to other income generators (like a website)

If you’re looking to build your Instagram following and monetize it, you should definitely incorporate multiple streams of income into your planning.

If one source disappears for whatever reason, you then won’t be out of an income because of your other income streams.

I hope this article has been helpful in answering the question of how Instagram models make money.


How much does an Instagram model make?

This varies depending on how well-known the influencer is and how large the audience is.
Celebrities such as Kendall Jenner may earn well over $100,000 for one sponsored post.
Some popular models who aren’t as well-known may make $10,000 – $50,000 per post still though! 
Since most people aren’t celebrities, you might be wondering how much a micro-influencer might make. This again varies based on follower count but is typically around $1,000 per 100,000 followers. 

How much money does someone with 1 million Instagram followers make?

According to USA Today, an Instagram influencer with up to one million followers can expect to make $100,000 per post or more.
The most popular influencers typically bring in $250,000 to $500,000 per post. 
Different sources give very different numbers as far as payment for these types of posts.
Regardless of what numbers may be found, you can be assured of this: the more followers you have, the more money you make.

How many followers do you need to make money on Instagram? 

The number of followers needed to make money on Instagram truly depends.
Most brands require you to have a few thousand followers for collaborations.
If you’re a very small influencer, you might try reaching out to smaller brands. They typically don’t have a large budget, but it’s a start to getting paid while building an audience.
You can make money without thousands of followers if you choose to do something other than sponsored posts.
You can make money with just a few hundred followers if you choose to promote your own product.
Digital products such as online courses and e-books are great ways to get started with making money with a small following.

Is the influencer lifestyle for you? 

The influencer lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but if you love social media and creating a community of people, it might be for you.
You’ll need to be comfortable with sharing your life publicly, but what better way to earn money while doing something you love? 

David Woutersen

Article by

David Woutersen

David is the founder of and has been in the social media industry since 2017. Since then, his mission has been to help others take control of their online presence. For some, this has been earning an income online, while for others, it's teaching how to use social networks more effectively. And each year, he continues to help millions with strategy, troubleshooting, and inspiration.

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