Historically, the title of celebrity has described an individual with exceptional admiration from others, and with this attention comes a large degree of influence, which inherently provides privilege. The few who are lucky enough to become famous get to live extravagant lives (at the cost of their privacy), but becoming part of the celebrity community remains as difficult as winning the lottery. However, Instagram has essentially opened up the exclusive celebrity racket, so every day people can now brandish the title and benefits of an influencer.
The main thing that sets celebrities apart from normal people is the amount of people who follow their lives and want to model themselves after them…that sort of attention can only really come from being recognizable, which (previously) could only happen from the military, politics, or more frequently, entertainment, but social media has created a new avenue.
Assuming you have one, I’m sure you’ve seen some people on your Instagram feed who started out as an average person, but has now flourished into an online presence with considerable clout. These individuals have thousands and even millions of followers. Just as celebrities are sought for endorsement deals, Instagram accounts with large followings have a powerful voice and are attractive to advertisers, so often these people can monetize their popularity.
Instagram provides a platform to spotlight artist, musicians, directors, actors, models, and other creators who might not get a chance on a traditional path through the guarded entertainment industry.
Often media corporations can discover talent from social media in this way, which leads an individual to prosper, but people are even able to make money through the app itself.
Making money through advertising revolves entirely behind the concept of influence, so as long as someone has an audience, advertisers are going to be willing to partner. On Instagram you can find companies that are willing to partner despite the size of your following. You will just have to advocate the product/company on your account. The point of advertising is to gain customers to sell to, so an Instagram account with a small number of devout followers will entice a company to collaborate if their product/service has a connection to the audience. Instagram can cater to the most niche of market audiences, so it might even be worth giving your own profile a look…you might be able to build a brand and monetize the results.