There’s no denying the power of influencers in our current marketplace. Long ago were the days brands used film, athletes, or even celebrities to influence the behavior of consumers. Thanks to the accessibility of social media and cameras, pretty much anyone can be an influencer. And that is both great for brands and scary at the same time. But the potentiality of becoming one and actually making a great living out of it is now more than ever within anyone’s reach.
What Defines an Influencer?
In recent years, the term “influencer” has become one of the most buzzed-about topics in the world of marketing and social media. But what exactly is an influencer? An influencer is someone who has the power to impact the buying decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience. In other words, an influencer is someone whose opinion carries weight.
The Mayor Type of Influencers
There are several different types of influencers, but typically they fall into one of two categories: thought leaders and trendsetters. Thought leaders are experts in their field who are respected for their insights and opinions. On the other hand, trendsetters are early adopters who are often ahead of the curve when it comes to new products and ideas. While thought leaders tend to have a more modest following, their influence is often more deep-rooted and long-lasting. However, trendsetters often have a much larger following, but their impact is more superficial.
How Do Influencers Work?
In a nutshell, influencers are people with large followings on social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, or the like. Brands often partner with influencers to promote their products or services to a wider audience. This creates tons of value for the brand because they can reach a particular demographic through the influencer that is laser focused. In return, the influencer gets paid.
The influencer will typically create content that features the brand in some way, whether using the product, wearing the clothes or simply mentioning it in a post or video. This type of marketing can be highly effective. Why? Because it allows brands to reach a vast audience, they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get. Plus, people tend to trust recommendations from others they know and follow. An endorsement from an influencer can go a long way.
Deciding on the Channel
There are so many nowadays that it is essential not to be all things to everyone. The influencer should decide on what channel they will start with and pour all the energy of creation into that channel. Keep in mind that the channel format dictates how the contact should be expressed. You would not be posting just pictures on TikTok, for example, because short, attention-grabbing videos are the preferred format for that platform.
Defining Before Starting
Before anything can happen, the first step for the influencer is to define a particular niche they want to focus on. This could result from expertise from something they are already skilled at or an area of interest they know they can contribute to. Once that is defined, content creation is paramount. Consistently creating content that addresses the needs or interests of that niche.
The Tipping Point
Not everyone that sets out to be an influencer makes the cut. Consistency and narrowing down the niche are key. But there is a tipping point. Usually, it is around 10K followers when they will start to reach out to brands for collaborations, or brands will find them for their marketing efforts.
The brands will not notice them on a scale of less than 10K because of their reach. From 10K to 100K, there is a sweet spot since they are large enough to have a good spread and still small enough for engagement to be high.
Banking Their Way One Post at a Time
There are multiple ways that the influencer will be able to generate money. Here are some of the most popular:
In long-format platforms such as YouTube, brands will pay the platform to advertise there. In turn, the venue pays the brand to the influencer depending on the product type and the channel’s focus and reach. The more the brand gets exposed through ads, the more revenue they bring in. The influencer will be paid a portion of the income, usually between 45% to 55%. The more views the influencer generates, the more ad revenue they will be able to collect.
This is a very common income-producing method since the influencer has complete liberty with their content. They can get a link to a product/offer and create content around there, driving traffic to it. For every sale generated through their link, they are able to collect a commission. There are so many income brackets for this because it will depend on the offer, whether a low-level offer or a high-end product offer or service. The pricier the product, the higher the commission.
It is a type of income opportunity where the brand provides the product, and the influencer has to include it in their standard content creation. Usually, brands will give away the product or allow the influencer to test the service in order for them to have first-hand knowledge of what they will be promoting. The influencer usually gets to keep the product and has total liberty to incorporate the promotion within the content. Usually, the payout is for a set number of placements in a given time within the different format of whatever channel the influencer works within.
The subscription model is another method of monetization for influencers. The bigger the community and its following will yield the highest probability of success here. As customers are more willing to pay a monthly subscription for people, they have created a “social” relationship. Here, the sky’s the limit, as the influencer sets the price and is in complete control of the decision and profits.
This type of monetization would be the most traditional of the ones mentioned. Here the influencer has a very limited say on the actual content that the brand provides, and they just have to follow the guidelines. Everything is scripted, and the payout is per branded content originally. If, after that, the brand wants the influencer to promote it within their community, additional payments are made. The rate depends on the frequency and placement options.
The “Mecca” of monetization would be the self-branded offers. This is where the influencer takes a product or service and self-brands it with the name of the community. I say “Mecca” because they are in total control of the product, the content, the distribution, and the pricing. What can be better than that? This method works when the influencer is well-established and has an active following.
So, What’s the Number?
As I mentioned before, the number can be so widely varied it’s not like searching “glass ceiling” for the figure. When the number of followers is 10K or less, the reality is that there is not much being monetized. The difference starts with a community of 50K followers or more, which is an average, depending on the offers and niche they are in. It can average $2K to $5K per month. Once you reach the major leagues, they can gross $15K or more monthly. Keep in mind that they can make money from different avenues.
Room for Negotiation
As you can see, the world of influencer marketing is so big, and there are so many variables that nothing, absolutely nothing, is written in stone. Some options and platforms connect influencers and brands. Analytics helps determine whether what the influencer is showing is actually true, as far as the number of followers and how engaged their audience is.
The higher and more engaged, the more leverage the influencer has to set the price and rules. For a brand going at this for the first time, it would be best to start with a newbie and test the waters. Why? Because money can go down the drain pretty quickly if choosing the wrong partner. Make sure to analyze the data before pulling the trigger and like with anything affiliate marketing related: pick, test, analyze and evaluate. It is a learn-as-you-go process; what works for you is not necessarily what works for the next. But consistency will yield results.