Social media is social. It’s a way to connect with friends, real and cyber. A way to communicate what’s going on in our lives. And we love to follow our favorite celebrities. It’s like their lives are part of our lives. And it’s great advertising for the celebrities. It is, in fact, a way of putting out the image they want to project, whether that be wholesome, raunchy, or kookie. Then, there are those celebrity pictures. Beyonce and her daughter, Miley Cyrus in various states of undress, Selena Gomez simply sipping on a Coke, Rihanna mostly undressed, and celebrities can rack up millions and millions of followers. Aha! That’s why companies are interested in securing those all important celebrity social media endorsements, subtle or not so subtle. It’s like cozy advertising, doubly effective because fans follow celebrities they like, and presumably trust. If a Kardashian uses a certain kind of vitamin, we do too. If Selena Gomez likes Coke, so do we. Plus, there’s an outfit called Bre.ad that, according to adage.com, “can show a full-page ad to users upon entering or exiting a site”. Nevermind the endorsement money, some celebs make up to $20,000 per month with the ad scheme.
It’s not always possible to pin down exact figures, but we’ll tell you what we know. And a cool half a million for a certain endorsement or picture is not the norm, but some have achieved it. Here are 15 celebrities who have made millions and millions from their social media accounts.
15. Selena Gomez – Girl Next Door And That Coke Picture
It’s the most liked picture on Instagram. Gorgeous Selena Gomez, simply and beautifully, quietly sipping on a Coke which just happens to contain “You’re the spark” lyrics from one of her songs. Reports are that she can get up to $500 thousand from Coke for one picture like this one. See, unlike some female celebrities, Selena’s image is pretty ‘girl next door’ and clean. She appeals to the G-rated everyday products like Coke, with her iconic most liked Instagram post of gorgeous Selena just sipping the stuff through a straw. You probably won’t see the likes of Miley Cyrus or Rihanna endorsing Coke because their “brand” is in-your-face and sometimes raunchy. They sell the “bad” girl. Selena sells Coke. As does Taylor Swift and the kittens that keep appearing when she sips a Diet Coke for an ad.
14. Kim Kardashian – Not Subtle, But Rich
Kim Kardashian West is a social media storm all of her own making with nearly 30 million Instagram followers. Some say she makes around $30 million per year from her activities, such as TV, endorsements, and having her name attached to products. In fact, to get her to attach her name to a product could cost you up to $1 million. When she married Kris Humphries (for like ten minutes), she dropped names on social media and got free things for her wedding. Some say she made tens of millions of dollars on the wedding, the result of doing things like selling presents and endorsing products on her social media pages. But she and the pharmaceutical company responsible for the morning sickness medication she endorsed got into a bit of hot water when the Feds slapped their wrists for not warning people of the side effects associated with the medicine.
13. Kendall Jenner – The Face And Estée Lauder
According to hollywoodlife.com, model face of the moment, Kendall Jenner is one of the highest paid social media models out there, making up to $300,000 for a single (as in one) post to her Instagram account. What? How can that be? Well, look at it this way: The iconic picture of her with her hair arranged around her face was the most liked picture on Instagram for a time. Most liked means lots of followers. Lots of followers means when she endorses something, like Estée Lauder for example, women connect looking like Kendall with Estée Lauder, and the rest is history. There are even agencies out there that help people like 20-something Kendall “manage” her social media presence. So, if all goes well, she can make more than a million a month for four posts.
12. Chiara Ferragni – Got In Early And Makes A Mint
Forbes.com raved about the girl, saying “Italian millennial Chiara Ferragni became a social media breakout“. She’s a fashion blogger and does The Blonde Salad blog. Early on, when social media was just getting started, she began posting to fledgling social media sites. You know the kind of thing: pictures of her looking gorgeous, suggestions on what to buy and use, and style and makeup tips. And she built up a massive following. One look at her will tell you part of the reason she racked up the followers. According to blog.thesocialms.com, the girl makes around $8 million a year on her Instagram account alone from endorsements. When Forbes did the article on her at the end of 2015, she had launched her own totally fun shoe line and started law school. Law school? Like designing shoes, it’s just always been on her bucket list. And she’s not even 30 yet.
11. Miranda Kerr – The Facebook Post That Outraged Some
Let’s take a step back from A-plus models like Kendall Jenner and look at Victoria’s Secret model and Angel Miranda Kerr. A star for certain, but perhaps not “mega”. She can get up to $50,000 for one post. So maybe one a week for a beauty product. Or, with a pre-schooler son called Flynn in tow, appearing to endorse a book on raising well adjusted kids. Say one a week. That’s $200,000 a month and over $2 million a year. Only thing is, sometimes it backfires. According to The Daily Mail, “Kerr made headlines after appearing to endorse the book Well Adjusted Babies, written by Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani, a chiropractor who has a pro-choice stance on vaccinations”. Seems some schools won’t let kids in if they haven’t had the jabs. To jab, or not to jab? That is the question.
10. Eva Longoria – Look, I Own The Picture
OK. Here’s another way celebrities rack up dollars via social media. They retain the rights to pictures of themselves that they post. Doesn’t sound like much? When the former Desperate Housewives’ star Eva Longoria posts a picture to, say, her Twitter feed, she retains the rights to the picture. So, if anybody wants to use it, they pay. Or say Tom Hanks posts a message to Twitter, a candid moment on a movie set or the like, he retains the rights to the picture. Not only do they make money, but they retain the right to say how the picture is used. A double whammy. This whole idea comes from a newish company WhoSay. Think it amounts to chump change? Well, think about this: If Scott Disick, a former boyfriend of Kourtney Kardashian, gets $20,000 for a picture, imagine what someone like Tom Hanks or Eva Longoria can pull in.
9. Blac Chyna – Up And Coming? Depends.
Remember how we said that fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni started small and reached mega-big? Blac Chyna is just beginning to build her own ‘in your face’ brand. She’s a model and entrepreneur who is the girlfriend/fiancé and baby mama of Rob Kardashian. A while back, Jezebel.com asked celebrities how much they made via social media, what they charged, say for one post. Blac Chyna’s response? She gets $3,000 for three posts. Now, she’s got nearly 8 million followers on Instagram. But is she poised for the big time? After reality show Rob and Chyna hits in September, and if (very big if) it is a success, expect that figure to keep going up and her $500 thousand net worth to blossom. People magazine has said her potential could be upwards of $7,500 a post if (another big if) she can pull in more likes per post. It’s a complicated social media world out there. It’s called an “engagement” rate. So, if at least 5 percent of your followers like your post, you can cash in.
8. Gigi Hadid – Maybelline, The Model And Mascara
Let’s get back to the A-Listers with Gigi Hadid. Gigi is a super model. She’s all of twenty-one and worth millions already. And she’s got over seventeen million followers on Instagram. That’s why Maybelline pays her $125,000 (or more) per post like this one. It’s pretty easy money. She is shooting a commercial for them and is pictured using their mascara. Then comes her post of a short video or picture showing the drop dead gorgeous Gigi using the product and sales skyrocket. The beauty of her approach is that, unlike some celebrities who will endorse just about anything for anybody, super stars like Hadid stick to the beauty and fashion basics, making her endorsement appear totally real. Even if it’s not, it seems like the real deal.
7. Beyonce – Would You Love Pepsi For $50 Million?
Pepsi signed a $50 million deal with Beyoncé that included commercials, but also access to her fan base in her social media feeds. More than that, she is worth that much because pretty much everything she does is covered in both regular and social media. So, her fans are posting that adorable Pepsi picture. Her sweatshirt post had 13 million views, with nearly 400,000 shares. Which leads to more shares, and into infinity. And Taylor Swift made a deal with Coke that involves commercials and plugs on her social media sites. As some have said, Swift’s life is like a Disney movie already. She is a perfect match (as is Selena Gomez) for Coke’s family image. While Beyoncé’s Pepsi deal was sweet on all sides, the reportedly $1 billion (yes billion) phone giant HTC paid to Robert Downey, Jr. led to something of a marketing meltdown disaster.
6. Ellen DeGeneres – That Selfie That Made Millions
Most re-Tweeted picture ever: Ellen DeGeneres‘ Oscar selfie with half of Hollywood was posted to her Twitter feed. Samsung sponsored the show and got plenty of bang for their buck, including that selfie that nearly broke Twitter. How much did Ellen get? Well, technically, they didn’t pay her anything for posting the most retweeted picture. How can that be? Wait. What they did do is pay over $3 million dollars ($1 for every re-Tweet) to some of Ellen’s favorite charities because it showed that our Ellen was a Samsung fan. What they didn’t mention was that off camera, she was using her iPhone.
5. Rainn Wilson, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, And The Kardashians On YouTube
Rainn Wilson was the egomaniac Dwight Schrute on the American version of The Office. Sometimes celebrities who aren’t doing much by way of current movies or TV, are translating their popularity into YouTube videos. You know the kind of thing where you liked the guy, but haven’t seen him around much. Well, Wilson’s thing was Soul Pancake, a series of inspirational and funny videos that had 1.3 million followers and 150 million total views on YouTube. That’s translated into a lucrative deal with The Hub Network. Even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has cashed in on his image with workout videos that have pulled in over a million subscribers. Less subtly, Kim K. did the odd “commercial” on YouTube. Including that awkward chit chat with mom and sister on Kotex brand sanitary products. Yuk.
4. Cara Delevingne – 10 Million Followers And Climbing
Cara Delevingne, together with Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, are in model social media heaven. She’s young. She’s beautiful. And, oh yes, she is rich and getting richer every minute. Like her two model pals, she gets between $100,000 and $300,000 per post. And most of the posts are part of campaigns where she will do a certain number of posts endorsing a project per week or month. Those contracts can be worth millions on their own. When she got to ten million followers on Instagram, she did a spoof and jokey ‘thank you’ campaign. What marketing experts say about quirky Cara’s media presence is that it is particularly appealing to advertisers because she has a high level of “engagement” with her fans, leading to lots and lots of likes for her posts. She, more than many other celebrities, actually enters into communication with her fans. She’s actually second behind Kendall Jenner as the highest paid social media model.
3. Kevin Hart – Say Something Nice About My Movie
Back in 2014, comedian and Ride Along actor Kevin Hart had nearly 15 million followers on Twitter. As part of the Sony hacking scandal, The Daily Mail managed to get its hands on an email from a producer saying that Hart had been paid $2 million for a Tweet about thriller No Good Deed (2014) and was in negotiations to do a positive Tweet about the Denzel Washington action movie The Equalizer (2014). Apparently, Hart was totally hacked off about the leaked email. But we bet he kept the money. A nice Tweet about a movie is worth millions? That’s more than any legit film critic can ever hope to make. His rates have probably gone up since he now has around 30 million Twitter followers.
2. Justin Bieber – And Calvin Klein Underwear
It’s not clear how much he was paid by Calvin Klein, but way back when, Kate Moss got a $4 million ‘thank you’ from the underwear brand. So, add in Justin Bieber and the stratospheric growth of social media, and the sky’s the limit. But wait. As of August of 2016, it seems Bieber has quit Instagram after an ongoing feud with Selena Gomez. The guy’s only 22 and has a lot of growing up to do. We’re betting that with the revenue earning potential of his 76 million followers, he’ll be back before too long. See, it’s not just the commercials and photo ads Calvin Klein is buying, but they also put down millions to get access to those 76 million Beliebers. Our favorite? It has to be the spoof Miley Cyrus posted to her Instagram account.
1. When Just Looking Like Rihanna Is Enough
No, it’s not Rihanna. It’s Andele Lara, a Boston student. She grew up a shy girl, but as Ri-Ri rose to fame, people started stopping her and asking her for pictures. Screaming fans run after her and mob around her. Currently, she gets paid $20,000 by clothing companies to endorse their products. “I know I could happily give up my part-time job and studies to have a career as a Rihanna lookalike,” Lara told The Daily Mail. Worth considering a temporary detour, we think. Nicki Minaj has her own lookalike, one Ashlea Sherman Wyzard. Unlike Lara, Ashlea’s goal in life seems to be making a career as a Minaj lookalike. Unsteady career path, we think.