From the Influencers

There's Big Money in Social Media, Just Ask an Influencer

September 01, 2016

The next time you get an urge to slap a smartphone out of some kid's hands and tell him or her to experience the real world instead, reconsider. That kid might be building the next great marketing empire, built around social media and a thing called “influence marketing.” Just ask some of the biggest names on Twitter or YouTube how big it is, and prepare to be astonished.

The numbers are staggering; those involved in the Captiv8 social media management platform with over seven million followers on YouTube can see as much as $300,000 from just one campaign. That kind of influence carries over into Twitter, with lesser numbers, as one tweet from such a user can go for $60,000. Captiv8 represents an array of influencers, from celebrities involved in television or movies to those who got their start just making particularly exciting YouTube videos.

Lest anyone think that influencers can only make big money with huge numbers of followers, that's just not so. Even those in the 50,000 follower range are making some decent post dollars; a YouTube campaign can run $2,500, while a Twitter post can represent $400.

What's driving those kinds of dollars? The idea is simple; it's substantially less expensive than advertising time on a major network's television broadcast, though the reach is often lesser. That decreased reach, however, is compensated by impact. We all know that broadcast television has a very difficult time with people evading or otherwise ignoring advertising; who doesn't use the commercials as a convenient time for a bathroom break?

People want to hear what an influencer has to say; that's why these people are called influencers, because they hold a certain degree of influence. Thus, seeking out an influencer means being voluntarily exposed to a certain degree of marketing, and that's better than just about any other form of advertising out there. It's not a quid-pro-quo, but even if it works in a percentage of cases, it still beats many common forms of marketing.

It's also leaving open some possibilities for cheating. It's comparatively easy to get new Twitter followers or YouTube subscribers. A Google search for “buy Twitter followers” turned up around 469,000 results. One result made it clear it could provide 500 followers for a mere $7, which theoretically means that that Twitter user could be making $60,000 a Tweet just by spending $70,000. At that rate, it would take two whole Tweets to be profitable, and that means a potential disaster for influencer marketing.

There's a lot to consider when it comes to influencer marketing, and more than just numbers. The end result is that businesses wanting to use it may have a great new opportunity afoot for gains, but there are some pitfalls that newcomers may not consider. Keeping these facets of the field in mind may mean the difference between successful marketing and disaster afoot.

Edited by Alicia Young

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