A new career is opening up but can it be sustainable?
This article is courtesy of MONEYWEB Today – by Prinesha Naidoo
As social media swings the balance of power from brands to consumers, a potentially new lucrative job is emerging in South Africa: social media influencer.
“Influencers are nothing new. Back in the day, only your celebrities and your sport stars could have a reach over a wide audience, now we’ve seen that anyone with data and a phone can actually build a large following by creating beautiful content,” said Thozi Sejanamane, an account manager and influencer marketing strategist at Webfluential.
According to Kwanele Nomoyi, a youth insights specialist at Student Village, social media influencers are the new reference points for cool in a youth market with spending power in excess of R30 billion per year. And being cool pays.
Although there are no industry-wide rates, social media influencers with around 10 000 followers can expect to earn between R50 to R150 per tweet while celebrities with more than one million followers can fetch anything from R20 000 to R30 000 per tweet. Depending on the reach of videos, some brands are willing to pay in the region of R10 000 to R20 000 per video.
Sejanamane said one well-established Instagrammer charges between R5 000 and R10 000 per post, depending on reach and the brand specific requirements. “We’re not paying him to just post a picture and write a little blurb, we’re paying him for all the years that he has worked to actually have that engaged audience. Compared to traditional marketing, it’s a fraction of the budget for a much greater engagement and a much better result in terms of how the audience perceives your brand after engaging with the content on his Instagram timeline,” he said.
While the rise of social media influencers doesn’t necessarily translate to sales, it does succeed in creating brand awareness among targeted groups of people. Unlike traditional television, radio or print adverts, using social media and social media influencers to promote products allows brands to measure the reach of posts as well as consumer engagement, said Sejanamane.
The popularity of a social media advertising campaign for a perfume launched in mid-May, which used 20 influencers and a series of on-campus activations, resulted in reviews in several glossy magazines without the brand having to pay for the reviews, added Nomoyi.
That brands are using and paying influencers to punt their products across social media platforms doesn’t appear to affect the credibility of influencers. But if social media influencers don’t properly manage their accounts, interactions that were once perceived as genuine could be viewed as advertising ploys and erode the “power” of influencers, warned Nomoyi. “You need to understand that you are now a marketing tool, you need to understand that you are now a business,” he said.
While still in its infancy in South Africa, being a social media influencer is likely to come with pitfalls. “Is this social media influencer craze going to end up equipping young people? Is it going to end up becoming a job opportunity? Is it going to end up destroying young people? Is it going to end up exploiting them?” asked Nomoyi.
He also wondered about the effect that living a “social media influencer life”, a life filled with weeknight events and open bars, is having on the studies of young social media influencers. Speaking on the difficulty to find and get influencers to play along with a social media campaign around circumcision, Nomoyi said a lot of influencers aren’t signing on for the money but rather for the status that comes with being associated with certain brands. He said there is scope for brands to harness the growing power of social media influencers to highlight important, socially responsible issues.