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Are social media influencers the new entrepeneurs?


Social media entrepreneurs make seriously high amounts of money. It could be seen as ‘easy’ money as it’s a rapid result and significant financial gain, once you have established logistics in place, a laptop, a lifestyle, and a large adoring online audience. With many achieving financial success on par with more traditional investors and entrepeneurs, but in less time.
Some social media accounts can become 1 million followers richer within hours, and we’ve all heard about videos going viral overnight online. From internet sensations to reality TV stars, latest trends, and everyday Vlogs, the current hot topics are big business. In business terms, each time someone likes a photo, there is money to be made.
In short, you stand to earn serious income from one social media post if you have a long line of followers. All of which increase your earning potential though pay per click links, or a set fee to post a photo, of say a few thousand, or millions dollars, if you are the lucky owner of a social media account with a few million followers.

The art of listening

High earning wealthy individuals use social media, so it’s a no brainer for brands to advertise online and select social media sensations to collaborate with. There is a lucrative art of listening! Sharing stories from around the world and a large online social media community involving blog platforms, YouTube, Podcasts, reviews, livestreams, reels, Instagram stories, photos, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Tik Tok. The list is vast and still growing.
Brands can target genres, eg a high end designer paint brand will sponsor a podcast that focuses on interior design, and get a mention in the opening of the podcast with millions of listeners.
Hashtags and influencer marketing is a form of social media advertisng involving endorsements and product placement from online stars and organisations who have an expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field.

Influencer marketing

Mark Zucker and Elon Musk are two of the best examples of high flying social media entrepreneurship. With a previously unimaginable worldly success of internet takeover between the two of them. The internet has changed the overall structure of advertising as we knew it before.
Today’s mainstream social media influencers are high earning entrepreneurs. Many whose earning potential is sky high from promoting products and services on their platforms by simply sharing or mentioning products in a Vlog. Their personality and opinion almost becomes a brand in its own right and once they gain followers, they monetise partnerships with brands, earning from likes, links and affiliate marketing.
Cristiano Ronaldo makes $2,4 million per sponsored post and Kylie Jenner earns nearly $1,8 million per sponsored post. Of course, we couldn’t mention social media millionaires without mentioning the Kardashians, and Kim Kardashian-West, is said to make $1,6 million per sponsored post. Not just a pretty face then, but no doubt one of the factors, as well as personality, that influence the ways they’re perceived and what other people think.
Spanish singer and actress Selena Gomez, has a massive fan following worldwide with 397 million followers, and is often seen endorsing fashion, lifestyle, and beauty brands. She makes about $1,7 million per sponsored post.
The 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Media list reports that social media stars are building businesses that transcend the internet itself, including food, finance, politics, gaming, Web3 and beyond. The 2023 list includes Akash Nigam, founder and CEO of Genies, the company behind avatars used on iMessage. Along with God-is Rivera, former global director of culture and community at Twitter, and Jerry Lu, principal of consumer venture capital firm Maveron.
Among the finalists is artist Zachary Hsieh, 23, known to his 50 million followers as ZHC. He uses social media to spotlight his art-related philanthropic projects, such as painting school and hospital wings or homes for the unhoused in Los Angeles.
And actress and social media personality Addison Rae was ranked as the highest-earning TikTok personality by Forbes on the same list in 2021 for social media influencers.
Fashion brands are working more and more with pop stars and influencers, although they always have. With Ariana Grande raking it in with 1.7 million per post. A simple mention from her on her Instagram feed can help you reach her 354 million followers. And, let’s face it, where is a brand going to get that kind of outreach in other areas of advertising.
American rapper Nicki Minaj, who has over 200 million followers, released a capsule fashion collection in collaboration with the luxury label, Fendi. A total of 127 pieces of ready-to-wear, swimwear, handbags, sunglasses, and footwear, in her signature bubblegum pink monogram, and aluminum foil-like metallics, designed by Minaj in collaboration with Fendi creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi.
Advertising her affiliation with Fendi on her Instagram accounts, is not only adding to her audience, but will also ensure 200 million people will see Fendi’s advertising.
It’s a savvy business model, about 70 percent, and rising, of high-net-worth individuals are users of Facebook and other social media sites.

Generation Z like to spend

Generation Z spend more time on the internet than watching television or going to sports or movies, they are the immediate satisfaction ‘I want it now’ generation. Great for links to item sales, limited edition must haves and special offers.

Social media, the niche and micro-influencers

The internet has actually led to the fragmentation of the media into many small niche topics. Even if you are into something relatively obscure, you are likely to find an Instagram or Snapchat focused on it. Nowerdays, almost anything you are interested in, the internet likely has a Facebook group or Instagram story about it. There are your regular mainstream lifestyle social media stars and influencers, and then there are micro influencers.
Micro-influencers (accounts with one thousand to ten thousand followers), earn about $1-2,000 per month, and mega-influencers (accounts with over one million followers) earn about $15,000 per month.
Established within a certain niche, eg in the lifestyle sector, household cleaning, or how to take care of your Aga oven. Some charge a fee for exclusive content only available to subscribers. Including newsletters and bonus content, promoting digital content and having charisma to engage with an audience.
Social media influencers are capable of generating sales from posts, which don’t have a shelf life. Once posted they continue to be viewed and seen. Passive income at its finest. So, get it right and you are a few hashtags away from global, internet domination. From an entrepreneurial point of view, it’s an exciting sector as the start up costs are low and rewards are phenomenally high if you happen to strike gold.

Nicola Ferlei Brown