All of Us Have Heard the Buzzword “Influencers” but Not These Surprising Facts About The Digital Marketers.
The one question that influencers get asked ad nauseam is, “is this even a real job?” And if you’ve attempted to become an influencer, you’ll know how much work is involved in getting it right.
If it was easy, you wouldn’t have companies paying as much as they do to have influencers promote their products.
So, Aluxers, it’s time to #begin and delve into the world of Instagram and TikTok influencers.
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Most of these influencers understand that video is a more powerful medium to convey a message. Here’s one from us too, you can switch to the video version of this article:
With that said, let’s get right into the article.
The History of Influencers
Aluxers, if you had to go back in time – who do you think would be considered an influencer? Pope Francis believes it would have been the Virgin Mary. He tweeted his thoughts along with an encouragement to follow her example. His tweet was also a gentle reminder that influencers don’t only have to get people to buy sh*t, but they can have a positive influence on others, which we’ll go into more detail about later.
A company called Grin, put forward their ideas and mentioned that the first influencers were the Pope and the Queen, who were responsible for endorsing medicine way back in the day, and what about Nancy Green? The famous face behind ready-made pancake mix, Aunt Jemima.
Others lean towards Josiah Wedgewood, who gave a hand-crafted tea set to Queen Charlotte of England in 1760, knowing that if the Queen loved it, others would too. And they did! Wedgwood is a reputable brand still making beautiful tea sets, and other pretty things, to this day.
It’s hard to pin down an exact moment in history, but suffice to say, influencers have been around for a long time.
Influencers Are an Important Part of Marketing Strategies
At it’s basic level, influencer marketing is defined as the following by sprout social, “a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers–individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche.”
Companies and businesses are seeking not only influencers who have a strong following, but people whose values align with their own.
This is what markets have to say about the effectiveness of influencer marketing:
- 80% claim influencer marketing is effective
- 89% believe it works better than other marketing channels
- 71% say the quality of customer is far better than other platforms
- 49% of customers rely on influencer recommendations
- On Google Search, “influencer marketing,” has seen an increase of 1500% over the past 3 years.
What do businesses hope to achieve by using an influencer?
85% = brand awareness
71% = reaching new customers
64% = increasing sales and conversions
However, Aluxers, it’s not just about making a sale as we’re about to find out.
Influencers Change Opinions, Not Just Consumer Behaviour
It’s easy to get caught in the thinking that being an influencer is all about having a certain look and living a certain lifestyle, it isn’t.
There are so many influencers making a huge difference to their followers’ lives.
Megan Crabbe – @bodyposipanda whose main message to her followers’ is that they “deserve better than hating their body.” Her goal is to ensure her followers learn to have body peace, just like she has.
Then there’s Dan Richards – @theonearmedwonder, who encourages body confidence and reminds us that it’s not just women that struggle to accept themselves for who they are, but men too.
Greta Thunberg, who introduces herself as a, “17-year-old climate and environmental activist with Asperger’s,” has moved mountains thanks to her influence and social media.
Influencers Are Not Just Making Pocket Money
TikTok has been installed on devices over 2 billion times worldwide, and influencers are earning well. Here’s how they make their money:
Gifting – Tik Tok has its own virtual currency that influencers can convert into real money. We’ll explain how that works momentarily.
Brand partnerships and marketing activations – these are no different to other social media platforms. A successful activation can earn a Tik Tok influencer between $50,000 and $150,000.
Attending sponsored events brings in extra earnings and many influencers sell their own merch.
Much the same for Instagram, although at this stage, Instagram influencers are earning substantially more than their Tik Tok counterparts.
This is just one way teenagers are earning top dollar. Here are “15 Ways Teenagers Can Make Money”.
Influencers on Tik Tok Make Money Through Gifting
Previously we mentioned that Tik Tok influencers earn money through gifting. Gifting is when a fan purchases virtual currency and gives it to their favourite Tik Tok influencer.
You can buy digital coin bundles starting from 100 coins for $1.29 or 500 coins for $6.49. These prices do fluctuate.
Tik Tok content creators need a minimum of 1,000 followers to receive the gifts. The virtual currency takes the form of emojis and each emoji has a different value, for example, the “rainbow puke” emoji is worth 100 coins.
Influencers can then cash their money out into a linked PayPal account.
Influencers Are Their Own Brand
Influencers are literally a walking billboard, advertising themselves. Not only do influencers have to be put together 24/7, but they also need to be skilled in marketing, brand awareness, business ethics, etc.
Networking is key, and it’s not a skill that just anybody has. It’s one that needs to be fine-tuned and once that’s fine-tuned, the landscape changes, and skill sets need to be adjusted.
But Aluxers, it’s totally worth it. It’s projected that by 2022, Instagram influencer marketing alone with be worth $15 billion. And that’s just Instagram!
So, if you’re considering the move but think the market is saturated – think again. As long as you play with your own strengths and don’t copy anybody else, you’re on the right path to getting your influencer journey off the ground.
Highest Paid Instagram Celeb Influencers
There’s no denying that celebrity influencers will earn significantly more than non-celeb influencers, and here are the highest earning Instagram celeb influencers.
According to livemint.com, Dwayne Johnson earns the most at $1,015,000 per sponsored post. Just behind him is Kylie Jenner who receives $986,000 per post, Cristiano Ronaldo gets $889,000 per sponsored post, Kim Kardashian at $858,000 and rounding off the top 5 is Ariana Grande at $853,000 per sponsored post.
Aluxers, even though these celebs are earning top dollar, regular influencers are also earning well and using their influence to drive virtual and real-life traffic to places they may not have gone before, like you’ll see in our video How Instagram Influencers are Driving Tourism.
Aluxers, it’s all good and well being paid huge amounts of money to endorse a product, but what happens when the influencer doesn’t genuinely advocate that product?
Let’s find out
The Negative Side to Influencer Marketing
Cara Delevigne found herself being ridiculed by followers when she posted an image of herself on Instagram stating that she was a “signed up earth protector.”
That sounds quite admirable and the post received hundreds of thousands of likes.
Fast forward a little and we hear news about a Nasty Gal and Delevingne collaboration, and guess what… Nasty Gal is known for causing significant environmental problems.
Same with Billie Eilish, who created a PSA on climate emergency titled “Our House Is on Fire” and then went on to collaborate with Bershka, another fashion brand known for fast fashion who burnt $40-million worth of clothing to ensure the exclusivity of their label.
Brands are also disassociating themselves with influencers that don’t behave. Case in point, New York City parenting blogger Naomi Davis escaped NYC with her family, which was in violation of CDC recommendations during Covid. She posted an image of her family standing in front of their hired RV, ready to hit the road.
Her parenting blog, Love Taza, received plenty of backlash with raised concerns that her followers would follow suit. Health technology Ritual had teamed up with Naomi but have since distanced themselves from the blogger after her road trip was branded “selfish” and “irresponsible.”
There Is No Such Thing as a Natural Shot
Aluxers, there is no such thing as a candid shot on Instagram. So, when you hear of stories like the one about Naomi you know that everything about the photograph posted was thought out, right to the minor details.
It leaves little room for error by posting something you didn’t think through properly and then regret afterwards.
It’s not all doom and gloom and many influencers are all about posting more natural shots of themselves and showing their “normal” body shapes. If influencers had to change their body according to what every troll suggested, you can imagine what kind of bizarre looking bodies we’d have amongst us.
Take to heart what American writer, Steve Maraboli, once said, “Most haters are stuck in a poisonous mental prison of jealousy and self-doubt that blinds them to their own potentiality.”
Employees of Brands Are Being Used as Influencers
When it comes to knowing a brand intimately, who better to consider being an influencer, than someone working for the brand?
This is becoming quite the norm when it comes to influencer marketing, because not only does the influencer know the brand intimately, but it also costs the company a lot less to advertise their products.
It’s easier for the business to keep tabs on how their marketing is doing and allows them the space and freedom to work with their employee to overcome hurdles and make changes. Customers also have more trust in an employee because they have direct insight into the company.
Social Media Today further confirms that “content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels.”
Micro-Influencers Are Making a Significant Difference on the Marketing Platform
Aluxers, let’s first look at the definition of a micro-influencer. A micro-influencer is someone who has between 1,000 and 10,000 followers. These influencers usually have a specific niche which advertisers like to tap into.
Research has shown that micro-influencers receive likes at a rate of 4% compared to accounts with over 10,000 followers, which was 2.4%. Big celeb accounts with over a million followers received a rate of 1.7%.
82% of consumers say they trust the recommendations of micro-influencers and their audiences are actively engaged, which brands love!
There’s a Rise in the Political Micro-Influencer
Now that you know what a micro-influencer is, there’s a new trend for the kind of influence these micro or nano-influencers are having over their influencers, and that’s a political pull.
Take Lauren Hanson for example. She’s a micro-influencer with 12,300 followers. She posted a picture of herself in front of an open field and captioned it, “Seven weeks of social distancing. I know we’re all getting fatigued. I know I personally get really frustrated by the amount of misinformation out there.” She adds, “We need to tune out the noise coming from those who believe we need to sacrifice lives and stay the course and #stayhome.”
What you skip over when you read the post is the spot where it says, “Paid for by Defeat DisInfo.” Defeat Disinfo is a Political Action Committee or PAC leveraging artificial intelligence to defeat the disinformation coming from Donald Trump.
Some worry that this type of paid posting blurs the ethical lines, especially when those reading the posts are unaware, they’ve been politically targeted, which brings us to our next point.
Influencers Have to Play Open Cards
In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission released guidelines requesting social media influencers become more transparent when they are being paid to endorse a product. They requested that influencers avoid vague or ambiguous disclosures, such as #thanks, #collab, #sp, #spon, or #ambassador.”
In the UK, it is illegal for influencers to not mention if the content they release is sponsored. It’s part of the Consumer Rights Act.
Regardless of whether it’s legal or illegal, influencers who reveal they are getting paid are deemed more trustworthy than those that do it underhandedly.
Influencer Culture Is Changing
As we just said, influencers who reveal they’re getting paid to post something are deemed more trustworthy. And there is a trend that is seeing organic influencers growing exponentially. Those that are staying true to their values, who are authentic and have a genuine love for the brand or product they are using.
Organic influencers can highly benefit a business especially those with limited resources. The influencer is already in love with the brand or product, so half the work is done. And when a business and an influencer have the same values and vision, it can lead to more sales, trust, and mutually beneficial long-term working relationships.
Influencers Can Join a Union to Protect Themselves
Aluxers, we know that being an influencer is a full-time job, and like any job, influencers also need protection.
Fashion blogger Nicole Ocran and influencer expert Kat Molesworth collaborated to form the first union for digital content creators called The Creator Union or TCU.
Talent management agency, Speaker, came into the spotlight when it was revealed they hadn’t paid their influencers, and they were taken to court and lost. And this happens often. Another incident involved Stephanie Yeboah, a black plus-size blogger who has 179,000 followers. She accidentally discovered that a white influencer with fewer followers and engagement than she had, was being paid over $1,000 more for the same campaign. Having nobody to stand up for her, she left it.
Another area of major concern for influencers is their accounts are being hacked, and hackers are demanding huge sums of money to release their accounts and return all their followers.
So far, more than 400 influencers have joined the TCU and it is growing quickly.
Aluxers, do you think it’s ethical that influencers get paid to post political content? We’d love to hear your thoughts below!