How Social Media Influencers Make Money — and How You Can Get the Ball Rolling

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Global marketing agencies categorize social media influencers into nano (1000-10,000 followers), micro (10,000-100,000), macro (100,000-1 million) and mega (over 1 million) based on the number of followers. Read on to learn about the funding dynamics of each group and get some handy tips on how to start your journey.

Instagram, Facebook, YouTube are full of social media influencers. The reach of these influencers continues to expand, with events, brand deals, TV shows and magazines covering their playing fields. Where the savvy social influencer goes, the big money follows.

According to an influencer marketing report, the Indian influencer industry is expected to be worth Rs 22 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 25%, underscoring the fact that the influencer business is getting serious.

But the layman might still wonder if social influencers can be a lucrative career option, since it’s just a hobby after all. Well, apparently, that’s not the case. For those who master the art of influencing, earnings can go far beyond hard-earned corporate jobs.

According to a survey released by iCubesWire in March this year, when the COVID-19 pandemic led to a 20% drop in India’s advertising business, social media influencers saw a 46% increase in advertising revenue.

“I did it out of sheer passion, not knowing where it would take me or if it would be any reliable source of income at some point. I try to do it as cheaply as possible and with what I have on hand Create content from any resource, such as filming on my phone and using the basic editing skills I learned on YouTube, without having to hire anyone,” says Anisha Dixit, who started her influencer journey in 2013 and now has more than 3 million subscribers.

Dixit adds that initially, the finances start to flow when platforms like YouTube or Facebook pay you based on the views your content generates — but it’s not a reliable source of revenue. This is where the main source of money for influencers — brand collaborations — comes in.

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“Brand partnerships can include barter deals that include product showcases, promotions, ambassador programs, advertising, meetups and sponsorships,” explains Aashutosh Katre, director of content marketing firm Yellow Seed.

Like any other job, being a social media influencer requires passion, strategy, and dedication to get the most out of it. Aanchal Agrawal started her journey in 2020 and now has over 300,000 followers on Instagram. She believes that as an influential brand, integration is an integral part of the finances.

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“You can make content that you think your brand can easily access, that is also loved by your audience. When I started creating content, I started a series called Dating App Etiquette, I thought if dating apps It would be nice for the program to want to work with me, and that’s exactly what happened,” Agarwal suggested.

Arushi Gupta, head of business at Influencer.in, says that after this, once the influencer has gained a loyal fan base, another popular way for influencers to make money is to run paid courses, fan memberships, Licensing of content, becoming a consultant and offering career courses or building your own brand.

How Much Do Influencers Earn?

Based on the number of followers, global marketing agencies categorize influencers into nano (1000-10,000 followers), micro (10,000-100,000), macro (100,000-1 million) and mega (over 1 million).

According to a report by hypeauditor.com, micro-influencers in the 5,000-20,000 group accounted for 54.3% of Instagram users in India in 2020. On Instagram, influencers with more than 1 million followers, also known as super-influencers, only have a 0.41% share.

According to marketing experts, influencers can earn Rs 15,000-500,000 from a single brand deal, depending on the category, niche and deliverable they cater to.

Gupta gives us a breakdown of currency dynamics:

  • Nano: Rs 3,000-4,000 per post on average, depending on deliverables
  • micro: Rs 40,000-60,000 depending on the category of the influencer. Niche markets like finance may charge more because the creator community is relatively small compared to those in the fashion/lifestyle community.
  • macro: Rs 1.5-35 lakh, depending on deliverables and type of influencer. Likewise, niche markets like finance may charge more because the creator community is relatively small compared to those in the entertainment community.
  • Mega: Rs 4 lakh and more.
  • “I can say for sure that being an influencer today is as lucrative as being at the top of most corporate sectors. If the audience is relevant to what you’re posting, and if you manage to really Build a community and it will be worth it,” added Aanam Chashmawala, social media influencer and founder of beauty cosmetics brand Wearified.

    What do brands look for when investing in influencers?

    Since brand integration is so important to an influencer’s finances, it’s imperative to understand what brands want and how influencers can target them.

    According to Arihant Jain, CEO of meme marketing agency Wubbalubbadubdub, each brand has a specific strategy, personalized and driven by the need to build a robust product portfolio that can cater to any type of target audience.

    Brands do, however, focus on three core factors—whether the influencer is “authentic,” whether the influencer fits the brand’s niche, and whether they’re ready to go offline for a remake.

    Balasubramaniam, AGM – Digital, brand-comm says that for brands, there are usually two priorities, the first includes follower count, demographics, context and engagement rates, and the second factor is quality, editorial content and personality .

    Social media influencers and technology go hand in hand, so the technology the influencer uses also matters.

    “While screening influencers for a campaign, brands are also keen to have good video quality and an aesthetic output that will showcase the brand well. The video should engage the audience and reach the appropriate target audience.

    They also focus on how innovative creators are when it comes to interacting brands with their own content. Timely delivery of content is also a key factor for brands to work with creators,” added Gupta.

    Are you an aspiring influencer?

    Statistics and research firm Statista reported that in January 2020, YouTube had the largest number of professional content creators in the world at 1 million, meaning that more than 1 million of them make a living entirely from publishing. content on the platform. With 30 million amateur creators monetizing content on the Facebook-owned platform that year, Instagram is the most popular platform among creators in 2020.

    How does one actually start the journey?

    While brand integration is important, Dixit advises up-and-coming influencers to produce content and storytelling because they like to do it rather than put their money to heart. “If you’re just starting out as a content creator, don’t over invest in equipment or hire a team. We have great phones and great cameras on the market right now, use that as a starting point, and once you see more stabilization You can start investing more and more slowly,” she said.

    In the meantime, Agarwal’s advice to budding influencers is to not go “crazy” and always keep investing.

    “The world is changing rapidly, advertising paradigms are changing every day, and you don’t know if the inflows will stay the same. Invest your money in things that will also bring money; at least until you’re in a stable place.

    They go up and down all the time and you don’t want to be in a position where you’re stressed about money because when that starts it’s reflected in your content which can hurt your growth so use yours wisely money. ‘ Agarwal added.

    “It’s easy to get lost in the noise and calm down,” advises influencer and mentor Anudeep Reddy Mannem, who owns a food and lifestyle YouTube channel.

    Google-owned YouTube had more than 265 million monthly active users in India as of January 2022, of which 1,200 creators have crossed the 1 million subscriber milestone. Five years ago, only two creators crossed this milestone.

    Marketing experts advise budding influencers to:

  • Watch out for barter partnerships as they help influencers connect and grow.
  • form a niche market.
  • Be creative, authentic and clear about their content.
  • Be responsive and stay engaged with your audience.
  • As you start making money and keep up with trends, upskill yourself and your tools so you never lose control.
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