Making an internet celebrity-the economy behind it

For most of us, Instagram is not only a way to share and post filtered photos of important subjects of our life like Sushi ate for dinner, friends’ cute cats and dogs as well as selfies, but also a procrastination tool to enjoy the eye candies from internet celebrities, i.e. posted pictures, meanwhile some are making real cash out of their influential photos. In case you are curious on how to make money like an internet celebrity, hope the following tutorial can help and it all comes down to a combination of product placement, endorsement and followers who gradually become consumers as well, since they are the target market of the internet celebrities they follow.

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Law 1: Instagram Endorsement

According to Forbes Magazine, Kylie Jenner who ranks the second on 2016’s Top-Earning’s Reality Stars list, earned $18million in 2016 (Robehmed, 2016). Among which, nearly 20% of the income came from endorsements on social media for promoting other brands’ products. She shilled for at least eight different brands through her Instagram page. It is said to have your product shown on her Instagram, each picture charges at least $300,000 (Lester, 2016), due to the fact that these internet celebrities have considerable audience to broadcast to and easily gather at least one million “likes” on Instagram. The actual advertising effect is also surprising. The year before a noteless make-up brand (Nip Fab) reached out to Kylie Jenner with a hefty bonus. Now that brand is gaining its popularity with a boost from her Instagram endorsement, the market value of the company has reached $100 million (Lankston,2015).

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Another example is from Selene Gomez who sits on 110 million followers on Instagram. Last year she broke a record of asking $500,000 for an endorsing photo from Coca-Cola. The picture is such a huge success that harvest of 6.5 million “likes” on Instagram immediately, which became the most “liked” Instagram in history.Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 17.55.06

Law 2: Dress with product placement

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Kendall Jenner, sister of Kylie Jenner, who also attracts almost 76 million followers on Instagram, was spotted wearing a certain brand clothes for a long time when appearing in front of paparazzi or casually shot off pictures with the brand’s clothes on and posted on Instagram. While she was paid to by this newly set-up, yet no-fame Australian brand. Most importantly, sales revenue of the brand rocketed thanks to her implied efforts. Consequently, by partnering with Instagram influencers that have thousands or even millions of followers, brands can reach loads of consumers with a single post. Nowadays, many marketing agencies have turned to devote to pairing Instagram accounts that have sizable followers with companies looking for advertising or exposure aiming for certain target market.

Law 3: Establish own brand


Seeing their promotion of other products sales went so well, Jenner sisters rushed to develop their own clothing line, but this brand is quite controversial. Followers who bought complained that regardless of style, the material or cutting are inferior, nevertheless the retailer prices are not cheap.

The economy behind it

Concerns are often raised whether buying products that recommended by internet celebrities is trustworthy or not as products that internet celebrities promoting are not supervised by any regulation as long as they are complied with law. Moreover, they do not have clear responsibilities for consumers who made purchases as a result of their product placement post. Nevertheless, these influencers still make certain impacts on their followers to help either brand build their business or discover their own selling opportunities.

Given the fact that internet star’s every move comes with commercial incentives driven by huge business interests, it is up to followers to identify contexts and contents on Instagram at the moment. Interestingly, followers are willing to invest their time and attention in the absence of interaction with the influencers, as Bateman et. al (2011) discovered that continuance community commitment (i.e. followers have adopted the habit to check on their following influencers’ posts) and affective community commitment (i.e. followers find intangible rewards as browsing pictures are enjoyable) were the form of commitment that have stronger impact on participants’ reply-posting behavior except that normative community commitment in the context of Instagram does not make every participant obligated to post pictures. Therefore the last piece of advise to become Instagram celebrity is to keep followers come back for more and new content of pictures and to sum up, as the internet celebrities mentioned above, they have leaned to what their audience is asking for and show them what they want, and they will become loyal.



Bateman, P. J., Gray, P. H., & Butler, B. S. (2011). The Impact of Community Commitment on Participation in Online Communities. Information Systems Research, 22(4), 841-854.

Robehmed, N. (2016). Kylie Jenner’s Earnings: $18 Million In 2016.Available: Last accessed 8th March 2017.

Lester, T. (2016). T The industry that has erupted within the modeling industry. Available: Last accessed 8th March 2017.

Lankston, C. (2015). ‘Using Kylie in a campaign was risky, but it paid off’: Beauty guru reveals how celebrity fans like Kylie Jenner and Elle Macpherson helped her to build a $100 MILLION brand. Available: Last accessed 8th March 2017.

Morrison, L. (2015). How Do Instagram Stars Make Money? Here’s What Goes On Behind All The Valencia. Available: Last accessed 8th March 2017.

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