Big Read: How your social media followers can make you rich
Dr Sommer Kapitan a Senior lecturer in marketing at Auckland University of Technology talks about the influencer marketing industry and how does it compare to the US, UK markets
Lighting on, adjust the object, smile, click.
Uploading a photo to Instagram can be the first step in putting a product, and a brand, centre stage on social media – particularly if you’ve got thousands or millions of followers.
With the average consumer streaming through 3000 messages a day on social media, brands are increasingly catching on to how they can profit from exposure on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
In the process, many advertisers are using “influencers” – people who already have a big social media following.
Influencer marketing isn’t new – celebrities have been endorsing products since the dawn of advertising – but with the rise of social media, it has become more sophisticated.
Auckland-based influencer marketplace The Social Club defines influencer marketing, or social media marketing, as: “Any time a brand engages with somebody on social media who has a large following to push out a message – it could be on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, any social platform, generally in exchange for some sort of compensation; with us it’s generally money but for some people it could be product or service discounts.”
United States research has found influencer marketing generates 11 times more return on investment than traditional marketing.
It’s big business and an emerging market in New Zealand, says Georgia McGillivray, co-founder and chief executive of The Social Club.
New Zealand influencers can earn anything between $50 and $50,000 per post, depending on how many followers they have, engagement levels and reach, McGillivray says. The average amount paid per social media post in New Zealand last year was $500, and almost double that for a YouTube video.
“Generally, a brand will be running a traditional advertising campaign maybe on TV, digital, radio … and add an influencer component to that.
“A brand will reach out to, say, five influencers, and they’ll send them a brief which will say; ‘On X day we’d like you to do X and post it on to X’. The content always gets approval from the brand before it goes live, and then the influencer will say: ‘Okay, I’m interested, my price to complete this is X.”
The average campaign spend by a retail brand through The Social Club is still modest by the standards of conventional advertising – about $8000 per campaign, though it often reaches $12,000 – but that amount is rising.
“That average has been doubling every six months for the last two years,” McGillivray says. “Some influencers are making hundreds of thousands of dollars individually while some are making thousands or tens of thousands.”
Compared to influencers in established markets such as Europe and the US, the value of an influencer is higher here but the income is less consistent, as relationships aren’t as well-established.
“In New Zealand, our influencers are more expensive as there are less of them and they are more in demand, but also the standards haven’t been fully set yet in terms of what the value of an influencer is.”
Kiwi YouTube star Shannon Harris – known for her beauty channel Shaaanxo, and assumed to be the most popular and best-paid influencer in New Zealand, started making YouTube videos, experimenting with makeup in her bedroom.