Home / Blog / Digital influencer: what is it, how much can you earn and how to become one?

Digital influencer: what is it, how much can you earn and how to become one?

Learn what Jenna Marbles, NigaHiga and many other have done to attract thousands of followers.

Digital Influencer

With the evolution of the web and the changes in the way people consume information and products, the digital influencer has emerged.

A digital influencer is a content producer who uses his/her channels to influence behavior both online and offline.

The term has become so common that it is likely that even before you started reading this post, you have probably already seen Facebook, YouTube or Instagram profiles where they describe themselves as digital influencers.

And unless you’re not connected to any social media, you have probably heard of names such as NigaHiga, Jenna Marbles, Zoella and Jen Selter, right?  

But after all, what did these web personalities do to attract so many followers? Is it REALLY possible to use your influence on the Internet to generate income?

Learn the step by step to become a digital influencer and much more in the most complete content you will read about the subject!

Post index MenuIndex
Digital influencer: the early days of the market The Pros and Cons of being a digital influencer How much does a digital influencer make? How to make money as a digital influencer How to become a digital influencer How to speed up your network’s growth Influencer agencies Conclusion
Back to index

Digital influencer: the early days of the market

Influencers have always existed on the internet on pages such as Friendster, MySpace and Second Life, but only gained the status they currently have after brands began to use social networks as strategic advertising channels for their products and services.

In 2005, Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla – or “Smosh”, two of the pioneering influencers, uploaded their first video online. Their channel currently has approximately 22 million subscribers.

Print of the first video of the channel Smosh

But you will be surprised to learn that, despite these numbers, they’re not even close to being the best-known YouTuber in the world.

This position belongs to PewDiePie, who has over 57 million subscribers on his channel, and has been mentioned in several lists as one of the most influential YouTubers in the world.

But YouTube isn’t the only place where influencers can be found.

With the growth of Instagram another category of digital influencers, focused on niches such as sports, fashion, beauty and behavior, gained strength.

This is the case of Jen Selter, who shares her daily diet and fitness routine with more than 11.4 million Instagram followers.

Another example of an influencer who emerged outside YouTube is DJ Khaled, who became an internet hit because of his short videos on Snapchat and currently has over 2 million views on his Snapchat stories.

Image of Dj Khaled's Snapchat

All examples above drew the attention of major brands not only because of the number of followers they have but also because they target a segmented audience; therefore, they yield a type of advertising that is more assertive than billboards and TV commercials.  

According to a study conducted by SocialChorus, campaigns with influencer can engage 16 times more than advertising in other media.  

Another survey conducted by Nielsen, a company specialized in consumer behavior, showed that 90% of clients trust the recommendation of other people when buying a product, while only 33% say they are influenced by ads.

Because of this potential to generate business, digital influencers gained independence to negotiate values and make money from the content they were already producing.

Not bad, considering that they used to do it as a hobby.

The Pros and Cons of being a digital influencer

As like any other profession, being a digital influencer also has its pros and cons. We have listed a few below:



One of the greatest advantages for those who work online is the possibility of working remotely, whether at home, in traffic or anywhere in the world. All you need is an internet connection, a smartphone, a camera and/or laptop to be connected to all of your followers.

Editorial freedom

Another positive factor of being an influencer is that they can produce the content they want to about subjects in which they have most interest, except in cases where this editorial freedom is negotiated with the company that hired the service.

Access to experiences

Nowadays, influencers are one of the most sought after professionals to endorse products and services. Because of this they obtain certain contractual advantages that go beyond their fee, such as trips, access to events and even products.

This type of reward is common especially at the beginning when the influencer still hasn’t built up its expertise in that niche, and exchange his/her influence for the advertiser’s products or services, the so called barter.

Flexible schedule

Since most of the influencer’s work can be done at home, he/she also has more freedom to organize his/her schedule and divide his/her day between personal and professional appointments.

But it is important to pay attention to this point and not be too flexible with your hours, because you will need to constantly produce content for your channels if you wish to keep your audience engaged.


Spending less time with your family

As demand for your work increases, you might have to take a few trips and attend events to promote products and services, which means spending more time away from home. This can be a major setback for those who are very attached to their family, especially for influencers who have children.

But don’t get discouraged! Think of it this way: the more value you generate for the companies who hire your services, the easier it will be to negotiate conditions, such as requesting that your family travel with you, as is the case of Chloe and Lily, from the famous internet meme.

Picture of Chloe and Lily with their dad on Instagram

Lack of Privacy

Because of overexposure many followers feel as if they knew you and might become invasive during your moments of leisure. It is common for these people to want to take a selfie with those they follow on social networks, but it is important to establish limits to preserve your privacy and those who are with you.


Haters are users whose greatest hobby is visiting profiles of well-known people to make mean comments. According to the number of comments this person makes, and the level of the offense, the best thing to do is to ignore them.

In cases of bigoted comments or threats to your safety, print the posts and call the police department specialized in virtual crimes.

Companies reneging on payment

The notoriety of influencers does not make them immune to people and companies that default on what was agreed. Therefore, before entering a partnership, search for information on the advertiser, check customer comments and whenever possible, formalize your agreement in a service contract.

If you don’t have a contract, make sure you document the emails and messages you exchange with the company.

How much does a digital influencer make?

But after all, how much does a digital influencer make?

There isn’t a precise number; it all depends on the number of followers you have on your social networks.

However, there are a few studies that show the average amount these professionals are paid per partnership.

With this information in hand, you can decide if leaving your conventional job to dedicate more time to the internet and your followers is worthwhile.


YouTube is the income champion.

An influencer with over 7 million followers on the video platform can earn up to US$ 300k per campaign, far higher than the amounts generated in other channels, such as Facebook or Instagram. The information is from the Captiv8 platform and takes influencers round the world into consideration.  

A recent news story on Business Insider showed that a major digital influencer in the world makes between US$ 2M to US$ 78M a year.

Where does this amount come from?

When you opt for monetizing your videos on YouTube, the platforms transfers between U$ 0.04 to U$ 0.15 per viewing, and may vary up to U$ 0.25 depending on your niche.


On Instagram fees are negotiated based on the CPM (cost per thousand impressions). A user with over 100k followers can receive between 5k and 10k per sponsored ad.

This amount can be incremented if the influencer posts more than once, use hashtags, record videos in the stories feature, etc.

Twitter e Facebook

Bloglovin, an advertising agency in New York, conducted a survey with 2,500 North-American influencers and found that:

– 90% of the respondents charged less than US$ 250 per Facebook post.

– On Twitter, 96% of the influencers charge less than US$ 100 per post.

Consider your number of followers and the engagement of your audience on your page (likes, shares, etc.) to find an amount that is attractive to you as well as to the advertiser.


According to website Dummies, digital influencers can make between U$175 and U$ 5,000 + per sponsored post.

As in social networks, the amount varies according to the volume of visits to the blog, as shown below:

Graphic of the cost of sponsored posts vs number of visitors per month

10,000 to 50,000 visitors per month: U$175 to U$250 per post

50,000 to 100,000 visitors per month: U$250 to U$500 per post

100,000 to 500,000 visitors per month: U$500 to U$1,000 per post

More than 500,000+ : U$1,000 a $5,000+ per post

How to make money as a digital influencer

There are several forms of generating income with your online influence, either directly or indirectly.

Learn about the most common:

Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts work in the following manner: a company pays an amount and in exchange, you recommend its product or service.

The text of the post or the script of the video can be written by the advertiser, but we recommend that you actively participate in the process so that it will sound more personal and genuine as possible.

Sponsored post values must be defined by the digital influencer according to his/her audience, i.e., the more followers you have, the more you can charge.

Despite sponsored posts being a common practice it is necessary to be careful when recommending products and choose only those that you know and trust. It is also good to include hashtags to identify this type of content such as #sponsoredpost, #paidad, etc.

Attending events

Attending events is another form of making money with your social networks, although it is less common.

At first, most events that you attend will in the form of swaps, but when you become known, you presence will become an asset for companies and brands, which means that you can charge for it.


If you are already an expert in your niche, you can also offer consultations and lectures on the subject you master.

These events are also a good opportunity to connect with other people in your market and establish business partnerships with brands.

Affiliate Marketing

Another business model that can yield good results for digital influencers is Affiliate Marketing, which consists of advertising third-party products on your blog, channel or social networks in exchange for commissions.

The difference between Affiliate Marketing and sponsored posts is that with the former, the revenue is recurring; each new sale made through one of your ads generates a commission while with sponsored posts, you receive a one-time payment.

>> To learn more about Affiliate Marketing, click here.


Many influencers are registered on Google AdSense to post ads on your pages.

Each time someone visits your YouTube channel or blog and clicks on the Google ads, you will receive a small amount.

This is one of the simplest forms of monetizing accesses to your website or blog, but in order to make it worthwhile, you will need a lot of traffic.

Important tip: excessive ads might compromise user experience so be careful not to place too many banners on your blog and scare off our followers.

Online courses

In the digital market it is common to hear that influencers who don’t create their own products are “leaving money at the table”.

Think about it, you already have in-depth knowledge about the subject, an interested audience and experience in talking to people.

Why not use these features to create your own online course?

Another important question: will you still be working as a digital influencer in a few years? After all, we are talking about the internet, a “place” where everything changes constantly.

An online course isn’t only an alternative to stay relevant in the market as a scalable business model, in other words, you can sell the same product forever without spending more money on production.

Learn about other advantages of selling online courses:

Variety of formats

When you create your online course, you choose how you wish to transmit knowledge to your audience. Your product can be a video, an e-book, an audiobook or even a subscription service.

The choice of format may or may not be aligned with the work you already do as a digital influencer, but ideally it shouldn’t be too disruptive so as not to surprise the audience that is already following you.  


Unlike physical products, delivery of online courses is much simpler and, best of all, immediate! At the same time that payment is approved, the buyer has access to the course that was purchased, which means less expenses and especially, less bureaucracy in the process.  

This is possible thanks to the platforms that host digital products such as Hotmart, which offer the tools needed to make your online course available. This technical support frees you up to focus on your efforts to create and advertise your product.  

Low Investment

Producing an online course is exponentially cheaper than those with physical materials; not to mention the ease of distribution, since digital products can be produced only once and accessed by thousands of people around the world.

Here on the blog, we have prepared a super complete tutorial on how to create an online course.

How to become a digital influencer

If you’ve read this far, you are certainly considering the possibility of working as a digital influencer.

You should know that this career isn’t as simple as it sounds; you will need to create relevant content and win over many people until the brands start noticing you.

Unlike what many people imagine, being a digital influencer does not depend on luck, but on dedication and wisdom to exploit good opportunities.

In order to do so:

Be yourself

This might sound like a cliché but this is the main step towards becoming a digital influencer.

Consider that you are transforming your personality into a brand; therefore, it must be different from all others out there.

Even in niches such as beauty and makeup it is possible to innovate and make personalized tutorials for your audience.

And believe me, people engage more with content that they perceive as being genuine.

Choose a niche that is aligned with your skills

With increasing numbers of influencers, choosing your niche is the best way of being successful in this market.

It may seem counterintuitive; after all, you are limiting your audience. But choosing a subject to in which to specialize helps create a more assertive and personalized content.  

The choice of niche also allows for you to be approached only by brands who are interested in your work.

The ItsMommysLife channel is an example of a channel created for a specific audience: people who wish to learn more about the challenges of motherhood.

Homme page of ItsMommysLife channel

ItsMommysLife channel

Create quality content

Taking pretty photos isn’t enough to become an influencer

Of course that well-produced images and videos get the audience’s attention but if you don’t deliver any value in your posts, over time people will stop following you.

Be consistent in your posts

On the internet everything changes all the time.

So you can’t count on the content you posted today being relevant for a long time.

You need to create something new constantly so that people don’t forget about you.

Consistency in your posts is also essential to meet the demands of your audience when it manifests problems, and with this, build a relationship of trust.

This trust will be useful later when you advertise a product or service.

Contact local brands

Large companies won’t always find your profile. Therefore you must create a business relationship with local brands to strengthen your service portfolio.

Take at least thirty minutes of your day to contact these advertisers and propose partnerships.

These companies will often like to learn more about you.

Always have an updated media kit to send, including the partnership formats and the amounts you charge per post. This will give you a more professional image.  

And speaking of professionalism, it is important that your contact with these brands also be appropriate.

Check which means of contact the brands makes available, if there is an email address for contact, use it and avoid sending instant messages (IM’s) to their social networks.

Remember: show them that you take your job seriously.

Be patient

Although everything happens faster on the internet than in the offline world, you need patience to build a solid connection foundation.

Media professionals are not stupid; they know when an influencer can bring financial returns to the brands they represent.

Therefore, don’t use features such as buying followers and the exchange of likes; this type of practice is frowned upon by the market and can make you lose several work contracts.

Don’t concern yourself with only increasing your number of followers, but focus on building connections with these people, eventually your work will be noticed.

How to speed up your network’s growth

Becoming an expert doesn’t happen overnight, but there are certain actions you can take to speed up the process.

Collaborate with influencers

Collabs are an excellent option to attract visibility to your channel and find followers that are interested in the subject you address and vice versa.

A collab is when two or more digital influencers join forces to carry out a collaboration action together, through a video, photos or a post in order to generate more exposure for each of them.

Find YouTubers, Instagrammers or bloggers who talk to the same niche as yours, and propose to create content together.  

You can record videos for both channels, create photo editorials, exploit new formats and test the reception of each one’s audience.

Magician Pyong Lee, who was one of 2017 FIRE lecturers, said that he had a growth of over 100% in his channel’s audience in one month by using this strategy.

When you create collaborative content, make an agreement with the other influencer that they will recommend each other’s channel or will insert cards into the videos so that your joint efforts can generate results in numbers.

We’d like to emphasize that you can join other influencers that are also starting out. Creating this type of partnership doesn’t require millions of followers.

Remember, when you are starting out in this business, minimum exposure is already good.

Collaboration of Yellowpaco with Nigahiga

Participate in Tags and Challenges

Tags generally work as a type of virtual game of questions and answers, as for example: “50 facts about me”, “Confessions of a girl who loves shoes”, among others. They are created by a specific user but can be answered by anyone.

Video with the tag mom

Why is participating in tags a good thing?

This way your video may appear on the search box related to a major influencer. The tagged video is also easier to be located by users who have searched about the subject on the YouTube search box.

Make your call-to-action clear

All content is created with a purpose: attract visibility, strengthen expertise, attract more followers, sell a product, and so forth. But in order to do so, your followers need to know what your call to action is.

Are you familiar with this concept?

A call to action is the text that summarizes what you expect from your audience after they watch your video or read your post.

If you intend to increase the visibility of your YouTube channel, you need to ask people to subscribe, click on like or activate the notifications on the right corner of the screen.

Although it seems annoying, it is this type of engagement that will generate income for you.

But remember to generate value before making this request and be careful not to be perceived as inconvenient by your audience.  

Become solely dedicated to this activity

At first, your social networks might be a hobby, but as they begin to generate income, you will need to be fully dedicated to this activity.

Producing content and posting it on the networks isn’t enough, the following will also become part of your duties: answer comments, conduct trend surveys, analyze the market, make business partnerships with stores and brands, record videos, edit content, in other words, a lot! And if you don’t take these activities seriously, the end result will be compromised.

Start paying attention to major influencers’ older posts.

Do you notice how they improved a lot over time, either by the quality of the photos or the type of content covered?

This type of continuous work is what will ensure your longevity as a digital influencer.

Influencer agencies

Depending on the size of your base you will need help to carry out your job.

Nowadays, there are companies dedicated solely to promote and represent digital influencers.

The work of these agencies consists of mediating the relationship between brands and influencers, take care of the bureaucratic aspects involved in the business partnerships and provide media relations.

They can be hired for a specific demand or to handle all of the digital influencer’s professional appointments.

Regardless of the term of the contract, the role of these professionals is to ensure that the commercial relationships established between the brand and the influencer are beneficial for both parties and will provide both financial return as well as visibility.

Hiring an agency can be a good thing for influencers who already have over 100k followers on the networks, and recurring demands for partnerships and participation in events.

Before that, following our tips carefully will help you a lot!


The evolution of the smartphone radically changed the way we communicate and consume information.

Nowadays, people are more impacted by internet videos than by traditional marketing, and brands are increasingly looking for digital influencers to become ambassadors for their products or services.

While this growth is good, it also means increased competition.

That’s why it is essential to think of new ways of attracting a qualified audience to your social networks, and that allow you to generate income from your work.   

The challenge here is to find a balance between a subject that you enjoy and one that is interesting to several people, and transform it into content that creates positive impacts on the network you’re building.  

There is no readymade answer, but investing in content quality and maintaining daily contact with your followers are essential for those who wish to become a digital influencer.

We hope that this content has cleared your doubts about the subject!

Are you thinking about starting a career as a digital influencer right now? Learn some tips for success to sell on Instagram.