A decade or two ago, there was no such thing as a social media influencer, but because of the rapid growth in social media engagement, there has also been a level of respect and importance afforded to social media influencers.

There are currently 3,484 billion active users on social media according to the January 2019 “We Are Social” report, which is 45% of the world’s population. Therefore, the social media influencer plays a huge role in society and has an impact on people all around the world.

What is a social media influencer?

Influencers in social media are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. This includes beauty, music, arts etc. There is no limit to the topic one can talk about to be an influencer. They create regular content about their chosen topics in their field of interest and according to their target audience. They have a large following of enthusiastic, engaged people who pay close attention to their content.

Because influencers have such a huge impact on thousands and even millions of listeners, readers or viewers, big companies make use of their names and use them to promote their brands and set a certain trend. That is why we see influencers such as Nadia Japtha, Youtube blogger, who is now the face of the Canal Walk shopping mall.

How do I become a social media influencer?

1. Blogging – this is by creating your own website and writing about a chosen topic that influences people. With blogging, you need to have regular content ready at least on a weekly basis and know what you’d like to write about and who your target audience is.

2. YouTube – this is by creating your own video content. It is similar to blogging except it is in video format. This can be done on a weekly basis as well. There are hundreds and thousands of YouTube influencers with thousands and even million subscribers. YouTube is a very popular means of gaining followers.

3. Podcasts – Podcasts are a series of spoken word clips created by using digital audio. This can include teachings, preaching, life lessons or talk shows. They are easy to download to your phone and you can chose of a variety of different topics to listen to.

4. Social media posts – this includes Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and Twitter. Most influencers who blog, YouTube and podcast also make use of Facebook to promote their work and gain more followers. TikTok on the other hand, has become relatively popular with more and more users, especially those of the younger generation.

Can I earn money as a social media influencer?

The majority of influencers earn money through brand sponsorships. Another way of earning money is through paid ads. Brand sponsorship involves the clothing you wear and the items you use in your videos, such as promoting the Iphone or Samsung. Whereas, paid ads are when you break the stream of content and bring attention to whatever it is you are advertising.

For you to earn money on YouTube you need a minimum of 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours in the last year. It is based on the type of content you do; you earn a different number of views depending on your content and viewers. For every thousand views, you get around R40. This is also dependent on your channel.
Recently, TikTok, formally known as Music.ly, has become exceedingly popular with 500 million active users. To make money on TikTok, you must have 500 000 followers and you need to come up with bulk video content. The more videos you upload, the greater your chances are of gaining followers. Once you gain popularity, you can get approached by famous brand companies who will pay you for promoting their products.

In recent years, social media has taken the world by storm which is highlighted by the rise to fame of the social media influencer. If you’re thinking of becoming an influencer, remember that although it sounds like fun, it is not all glitz and glam. It takes a lot of time and effort to create content for viewers, especially content that viewers are interested in. It is not simply “easy” money, as one needs to earn one’s followers.

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Tell us: After reading this would you consider becoming a social media influencer?