Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has gone from being a simple photo-sharing social media site into one of the most, if not the most important online marketing platforms today. With its 500-million strong active users, it is clear to see why brands and marketers are putting in majority of their efforts into their Instagram campaigns.
And where there are advertising campaigns, there is money to be had. While others are still posting their breakfast selfies and #OOTDs, a few fortunate and Instagram-savvy ones are building financial empires out of their Instagram accounts.
We are not talking about celebrities and reality stars; we are talking about once-regular Joes and Janes who have earned their following on Instagram and are now raking in tens of thousands of dollars with every well-planned, flawlessly-executed photos.
Check out some of the Top Earning Instagram Accounts below.
Top Earning Instagram Accounts
Chiara Ferragni (@chiaraferragni)
Estimated net worth: $8 million
Followers: 6.4 million
The Milan-born fashionista started her online empire in 2009, with a fashion blog called The Blonde Salad. Two years later, she used Instagram to expand her audience and was one of the most followed Instagram accounts with 1.9 million Instagram users by December 2011 - merely a year since Instagram's launch. Today, Chiara Ferragni continues to run her fashion brand, has her own shoe line, has published books, and has collaborated with high profile fashion brands including Guess, Chanel, Max Mara, and Louis Vuitton among others. Her online financial success has been featured in a case study conducted by the Harvard Business School.
Huda Kattan (@hudabeauty)
Estimated net worth: $4.5 million
Followers: 14,6 million
Huda Kattan joined Instagram in 2012. By 2013, she was one of the most popular beauty bloggers and had just launched her own line of false eyelashes. Today, she is one of the richest Instagram icons, amassing not just 14 million followers but quite a fortune (an estimated net worth of $4.5 million) and her own makeup line called Huda Beauty.
Claudia Alende (@claudiaalende)
Estimated net worth: $3.1 million
Followers: 6.2 million
Claudia Alende may have lost the title of Brazil's best derriere contest in 2014 but her Megan Fox-ish features have won her a massive Instagram following and thousands of dollars in revenues for each sponsored post, where a featured product is carefully placed in one of her sexy photos. Her claim to fame may be as a doppelganger of Megan Fox, but the Brazilian beauty clearly has an advantage over Fox: she has more followers at 6.2 million compared to Megan Fox's 3 million followers.
Brian DiFeo (@bridif)
Estimated net worth: $3 million
Compared to everyone else on this list, Brian DiFeo of The Mobile Media Lab does not have as huge a following but he clearly has made a media empire out of his love for photography and deep understanding for the social media platform. His financial success story on Instagram began in 2012 when he was actively participating in Instagram Meets and photographing and publishing events that he'd attended. His posts got the attention of many brands and marketers who then hired his services to help them strategize their own Instagram campaigns - and thus the birth of The Mobile Media Lab - a million dollar earning company designed for Instagram marketing.
Nash Grier (@nashgrier)
Estimated net worth: $3 million
Followers: 9.5 million
Nash Grier has just turned 18 but his net worth and Instagram following are larger than most people twice his age. His fame began on the video looping app, Vine. Like most Instagram celebrities, Grier rakes in thousands of dollars for careful ad placements on his Instagram account.
Cameron Dallas (@camerondallas)
Estimated net worth: $2.1 million
Followers: 14.7 million
Cameron Dallas is popular across many social media sites - from Instagram to Twitter to Youtube to Vine. But his popularity is best measured in the numbers figures he has on Instagram. The 21-year old claims to have been experimenting on social media platforms since 2011 and it seems that his experiments have paid off landing him deals and sponsorships - including being part of the popular #MyCalvins Instagram campaign by fashion giant Calvin Klein. If there is anything that Cameron Dallas knows too well, it's that he knows how what to post to engage his followers. And this special genius of his earned him an estimated net worth of over $2 million and again, he's only 21.
Jen Selter (@jenselter)
Estimated net worth: $1 million
Followers: 9.7 million
With her enviable abs, fit body, athleisure wear, and workout videos, it is no surprise that the fitness blogger from Long Island has become one of Instagram's most bankable stars. A single photo showing her trim waist and washboard abs can rake in tens of thousands of likes; it is no wonder that marketers put her in the upper tiers of Instagram product promotions; a single, innocent looking photo with a strategically placed product or a massive giveaway brings Jen tens of thousands of dollars making her one of the top earning Instagram celebrities today.
Liz Eswein (@newyorkcity)
Estimated net worth: $850,000
Followers: 1.3m followers
Liz Eswein's foray into successful, money-making Instagram marketing began when she was getting offers from advertisers for her page @newyorkcity. Advertisers initially offered her $500 for posting on her hugely popular Instagram account that features scenes and sights of NYC. This made her realize just how little Instagram owners like her are getting compared to the amount that the same advertisers are willing to pay for a magazine spread even though her Instagram reach is much wider. This prompted her to start her own agency that helps bring together advertisers and popular Instagram pages ensuring that the latter are getting paid properly - well into five to six figure fees per product placement. Today, Liz Enswein's Instagram pages have expanded into a lot of other niches including real estate (@realestate) and food (@food).
Danielle Bernstein (@weworewhat)
Estimated net worth: $600,000
Followers: 1.5 million
Like many other fashion pages on Instagram, Danielle Bernstein began with blogging about clothes and Instagram was her avenue to share about her outfits. She was already getting paid as much as $15,000 per product placement post before she hit her 1-million followers mark; currently at 1.5 million followers, we can all only imagine how much she gets for those perfectly staged,enticingly captioned product promotions. Today, Danielle is busy promoting her app, rubbing elbows with celebrities in special event appearances, and posting photos on her Instagram while raking in more dollars. She's not even 24 yet.
Aimee Song (@songofstyle)
Estimated net worth: $500,000
Followers: 3.8 million
Aimee Song is on the Forbes 30 under 30, has a partnership with beauty company Laura Mercier, has had collaborations with Dolce and Gabbana, regularly tours the world for her ambassador duties for global brands (and to take photos in scenic locations to post on her carefully filtered Instagram account), gets featured on high end magazines (including a room tour spread on Teen Vogue no less) and posts a weekly VLOG on her Youtube account. It is not hard to see why she is on this list.
Tips on How to Make Money on Instagram
There really isn't any secrets to making money on Instagram other than posting photos your fans love consistently. But there are some practical tips you can use to jump start your Instagram business.
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Instagram Marketing Tools
Whether you are using your Instagram account to boost your personal brand marketing or you are marketing a shop or a product, these are the tools that will come in handy in every stage of your Instagram marketing efforts:
Allows brands to incorporate customer-submitted images into their websites and webshops.
Popular for both Twitter and Instagram users, Crowdfire allows brands to keep track of their followers and how each post affects follow/unfollow figures.
Schedugram saves social media managers time and effort by allowing them to manage multiple accounts, schedule posts, and manage accounts from the web all in one convenient platform.
Snapwidget allows website owners to automatically display their Instagram activities on their webpages.
Iconosquare lets you manage multiple accounts, track comments, and analyze your Instagram metrics all in one platform.
Afterlight lets you edit your photos, add filters, and even create your own custom filter unique to your brand.