Mumbai: Say you just took a wine-tasting tour in France. What would you do next? Let’s take a guess—first click and then post on Instagram? You’d probably do the same for something you just cooked—say, Thai basil chicken and rice. Just saw a beautiful tree on your way to office? Click and post again. Many do this routinely every day to unwind. And then, there are those who use it to make money.

Meet Jyotsna Ramani, 35, who runs a travel inspiration account @wanderwithjo on Instagram. Started two and half years ago, Ramani currently has 38,500 followers and gets paid 15,000 for every static post on Instagram with proper recognition. “I earn differently for Instagram stories depending on static posts or videos," she added. It is not always paid. “When I started my blog and Instagram account, brands mostly engaged in barter exchange and not paid campaigns, unlike now, when brands themselves reach out to me with their paid campaigns," said Ramani, a post-graduate in tourism.

“In fact, for overseas travels, hotels and resorts, it is still barter exchange. They let me stay for a couple of days for free and in exchange, I mention them in my posts," she added. Before trying her hand at Instagram, Ramani worked as an assistant manager at for five years and also did freelance writing.

Ranveer Allahbadia
Ranveer Allahbadia

Some only consider paid campaign and stay away from barter deals. Ranveer Allahbadia, 25, a self-improvement Youtuber and Instagrammer, is an example. “I only do paid campaigns as we are against the barter concept," said Allahbadia, who runs the account @BeerBiceps on Instagram and has 2.82 lakh followers. Beer Biceps charges 80,000 to 1 lakh for a photograph and 1 lakh to 1.5 lakh for a video, says Allahbadia, an electronics and telecommunication engineering graduate. Ramani and Allahbadia do this as a full-time job.

Rukmini Kadam
Rukmini Kadam

However, for Rukmini Kadam, 32, it is a hobby that she started monetising on while she continues to work as a community manager at Faasos, a food-tech startup. What started as a hobby to decorate her house, eventually got recorded on her Instagram account.

For brand collaboration, Kadam through her Instagram charges anywhere between 15,000 and 18,000 for every post, depending on the requirement of the brand: story, post, picture or video. Apart from the money she makes through brand collaboration, she also runs a shop on her Instagram account that caters to handmade products. The shop, which is about two months old, has done a business of 38,000 so far.

The back-end process

If you are not social media savvy, you may not know that this concept is called influencer marketing and people such as Ramani, Allahbadia and Kadam are called influencers. An influencer could be anybody who has an impact on your daily life through various genres such as travel, lifestyle and clothing. And it becomes influencer marketing when brands monetise this influence and advertise their product through such posts.

Kadam believes that brands have understood the importance of collaboration and don’t weigh content against followers when they are spending marketing money. One such brand that she worked with is furniture and home accessories brand, Ikea, which opened its first shop of India in Hyderabad on August 9.

“We believe in ‘brand building’ and are more bent towards the interest of the influencers than the money. Even when Kadam had just begun her journey with far lesser followers than she has right now, we still worked together," said an Ikea spokesperson. Ikea does not use paid influencers.

The primary step that brands take is to finalise the objective of the campaign. “Most influencers are excellent at creating content for their target audience. So, if we are clear with the objective, the output we expect from them is precise," said a spokesperson from Skechers, a footwear manufacturer, a brand that Allahbadia collaborated with. For Skechers, influencer marketing ranges between 8% to 10% of the entire marketing strategy.

The process of brand collaboration with influencers is not always direct. “Some brands go to PR firms or influencer marketing agencies and give them their money. The agency then decides which influencer to get in touch with and what will be the payment," said Allahbadia.

According to a spokesperson of Galleri5, an influencer marketing agency, average influencer fees vary based on actual performance of influencers. “But, on an average, it can be assumed that influencers get paid 300 for every 1,000 impressions (measured in terms of views a post gets through data analytics) and or 10 for every unique lead (measured in terms of unique clicks or walk-ins)." An influencer who is generating 1 lakh impressions consistently could earn 30,000 or more and an influencer generating 10,000 impressions could earn around 3,000 or more per post," the spokesperson added.

The way ahead

Influencer marketing is a ‘here-to-stay’ model. According to a study done by investment firm Omidyar Network, in December 2017, Indians spent 200 minutes a day on mobile apps, 38% of which went into Facebook and the applications it controls: WhatsApp and Instagram. With increased dependence on such platforms and the need for an influencer for streamlined guidance, the influencer marketing space will not lose out on customers and hence won’t disappoint the influencers too, at least right now.