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Each day, millions of users visit Instagram to see the latest photos and/or videos posted by friends, family members, and of course, the photo-sharing platform’s top Instagrammers. The aspirational content created by these social media stars has garnered the attention of engaged audiences (especially among teenagers who, according to a Piper Jaffray study, prefer Instagram to all other social media platforms/networks) and attracted sponsorship opportunities with today’s most notable brands, often leading the app’s top Instagrammers to launch lifestyle businesses and brands of their own. Read on to discover how Instagram’s brightest stars have leveraged their popularity and status as taste-makers to earn six-figure salaries, worldwide fame, and more.
Since its launch in October 2010, Instagram has grown exponentially—the social media platform now boasts over 4 million active users (the most of any social platform/network save for Facebook and YouTube) who publish over 40 million photos or videos each day (Instagram). In the wake of this growth, thousands of Instagram’s most magnetic content creators (who are called, appropriately enough, “Instagrammers”) have built large social followings by posting content that is beautiful, empowering, inspirational, or just downright cool (from authentically-staged images of the latest fashion trends to photos snapped from the top of the world’s tallest buildings).
Because their photos and/or videos are seen, liked, and commented on by thousands or millions of engaged, interested followers, top Instagrammers, much like traditional celebrities, are in a unique position to influence the decisions of consumers by posting branded or brand-sponsored content. Top lifestyle Instagrammer Caitlin Covington, for example, has inspired large retailers like Nordstrom to sell out of items simply by posting photos of herself wearing a particular outfit.
“That is so unbelievable to me,” Covington, a North Carolina native, told the Charlotte Observer’s Cristina Bolling. “I’m watching it all happen […] It’s definitely out of stock because of my post.”
For their ability to reach millions of Instagram users and drive sales, the platform’s most popular social media stars are paid handsomely for influencer marketing collaborations with big-name brands, often making hundreds or thousands of dollars for a single post, event appearance, or cross-platform promotion (like doing a Snapchat Takeover). Top Instagrammers can generate six-figure incomes through brand sponsorship opportunities alone, though as Covington points out, social media influencers must be careful to remain authentic, lest they alienate fans.
“I try to stay really true to my brand. If a [company] wants to do a collaboration and they don’t represent my style, I just don’t work with them.”
For more on how top Instagrammers develop their aspirational lifestyle businesses, see our article here.
Companies in almost every genre—beauty, fashion, hospitality, food, fitness, automotive, and banking, just to name a few—have discovered that collaborating with top Instagrammers to develop, create, and promote engaging and aspirational photos and videos is one of the most effective ways to target interested demographics and spread branded messaging to millions of attentive consumers. Sponsored Instagram posts (like product placements amongst the different types of influencer marketing campaigns with social media influencers), documenting an experience through photos and/or videos, or appearing at/hosting an event (such as a grand opening) are some of the most popular ways that businesses work with inspiring social media stars.
For more resources on how brands are partnering with top Instagrammers to reach new audiences and engage Instagram’s 400 million active users, see our articles here: