This is the age-old question of time vs. money vs. passion vs. drive. Is it worth your time to write/ Vlog/ capture your passion? Are you driven enough that in a decent amount of time, this passion will make you profitable? These questions are asked on a regular basis not only of individuals wanting to break into the influencer marketing industry and become social media influencers, but of current influencers who wonder if they should keep going, and brands whose job it is to have a sense for influencer salaries so they can pay them properly.
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Many different metrics tell us about the actual impact a persona of influence can have in social media.
Number of followers
The first way to measure influence is a person’s number of followers, and naturally this since you were drawn to read this article; this is the metric you are most interested in. An influencer with 200 followers is likely to have less influence than someone with 100k followers, although that is not always the case.
Engagement can be evaluated a number of different ways. You can use common sense and ask questions like, “Does it seem like people are liking and commenting on this persons’ posts?” An influencer with 100 followers will generate far lower engagement than someone with 100k followers, naturally.
Reach is another important metric to consider. Reach and engagement should be evaluated together; each piece of content has the potential to reach the eyes of active, interested, open-minded consumers. For example, given campaign that reaches 10,000 people may only generate 10 clicks, while one that reaches 500 people might generate the same 10 clicks if it is highly engaging content that lands in front of the right target audience.
Influencer Marketing Defined
Let’s take a moment and define influence/ influencer marketing, because that may help you understand just how many followers it takes to become profitable as an influencer.
Influencer Marketing = People on social media gain influence over their followers when they are able to sway purchasing power. Influencer marketing is a form of marketing when brands collaborate with said influencers to spread word about their products. We cover the advantages of social media marketing here.
Influencers, Followers, and Profitability
So how to become an influencer and be effective with it? What does it really take to become profitable as an influencer? In other words, how many fans and followers does it take for a person to have the power to sway the buying decisions over their followers? If you think about this concept very simply, it may take far fewer than you think. See the most popular fitness influencers for an example.
Example A: The unintentional friend influencer.
You have many friends on Facebook, a lot of whom posts pictures of themselves traveling the world, wearing different ethnic clothing from different countries. Some of your friends are yogis – my favorite example because this has happened to myself and others I know – and they post images of themselves doing cool yoga poses in some sleek yoga gear. You comment on their picture asking where they got their fabulous yoga tights, and next thing you know, you and 20 other friends are online buying the same pair. Boom! Influencer marketing at work.
Pay expectations – Expect to be paid with complements for your awesome inspirational posts, but that’s about all.
Follower stat tendencies (across all platforms) – more than one, likely closer to 1,000.
Example B: The up-and-coming influencer.
This is the category into which most people fall, influencers working on growing a fan-base. Your intention is almost always multi-dimensional, with one of the main purposes focused on profit – from brand sponsorships, from web sales, from advertisements, and so on. Of course it’s awesome to finally be sharing your passion and brilliance with the world. You want to feed yourself and your family at the end of the day, so monetary gains are a driver.
Pay expectations – The pay varies in this category as followers, influence, reach, relevance, and so on vary, but you can expect anything from payment in the form of trade for product to fees of $50-$1,000 and up.
Follower stat range tendencies – 1,000-100,000
Example C: The popular influencer.
Popular influencers are golden. Once they gain traction, their follower count racks up by the tens of thousands, and really having 20k is no different than 120k at some point. What starts to matter, particularly for brands and monetary gain for influencers, is the appeal an influencer has to their niche audience, if that influencer has built good rapport with their followers (aka. engagement), and if the influencer’s audience is relevant to the brand’s message lest the products go unnoticed and campaign fail.
Pay expectations – When you become a popular influencer, what you are paid depends on you, your influence, your client portfolio, and your negotiating ability (or your agency’s negotiating). In general you can expect anything in the range from what Up-and-Coming Influencers receive, to what Celebrity Influencers receive. Your pay is in your (or your agency’s) hands, because you wield that much influence.
Follower stat range tendencies: 100,000+
Example D: The celebrity influencer.
Celebrity influencers are as influential as they come. Think: Beyoncé, Obama, Kylie Jenner, and so on. It should go without saying that as a society, we have a tendency to listen to the suggestions from celebrities, however subtle – or not. One says to drink the latest fancy water drink because it is simply divine; we are out buying it the next day. Another tells us about the coolest new tech gear and we find ourselves checking it out online in a matter of minutes.
We have been conditioned this way. This is the reason that the top 2% of influencers bring in an average of 250k per sponsored post.
To say it another way, if you want to make a quarter of a million dollars per post, become an uber-famous celebrity, gain hundreds of millions of followers, and then you might be in a position to negotiate serious cash.
Follower stat range tendencies: 1 million +
Our Take on Followers at HireInfluence
Influencers and agencies alike are willing to cheat the system by building fake audiences; buying cheap followers who amount to worthless, filler spam bots by the numbers. People are ok with this because uneducated brands – and agencies that are unwilling to educate their clients about the truth of the numbers – manipulate numbers in their favor. Read our guide for small businesses here.
We are not about that at HireInfluence. We evaluate all of our influencers’ followers for authenticity, engagement, unique and valuable content, in order to determine the true influence potential they can have in any particular campaign.
If you are an influencer hoping to join a growing, successful influencer community in order to share content and be the first to know about influencer opportunities, connect with our Advowire Platform.