CNN recently published a feature on two South African Instagrammers who were making money through the social media platform.
Thithi Nteta and Keagan Kingsley are currently working with both local and international brands to promote certain products alongside their standard lifestyle posts.
Kingsley who has around 6,500 followers works with the likes of Adidas, Ray Ban and Clinique – earning between R1,000 and R2,000 a post. Nteta, who has 32,000 followers works with brands such as Ponds, DKNY and G-Star and can expect to earn substantially more at around R5,000 a post.
Speaking to BusinessTech, Samantha Wright said that the amounts quoted were pretty standard but vary depending on the individual Instagrammer. Wright is a full time blogger and YouTuber and has previously worked as head of global accounts at Webfluential, a South African influencer marketing agency.
“Keep in mind the cost should cover the actual photo (so the time to lay that out, photograph, edit) as well as posting to the platform and accessing the audience,” she said.
“Lots of people think it costs too much but if you compare it to the price paid to an advertising agency to put together a digital image and then the costing to a media agency to place that in specific digital spots, it is actually a drop in the ocean.”
She said that as early as a few months ago follower count was the only thing brands looked at when determining who to work with but moved away from this model as its become clear how easy it is to spoof follower numbers and even engagement.
“We’ve seen a host of people purchasing followers and even generic comments to give the impression that their “fans” are engaging with content. Ideally I think good brands look at the niche you’re targeting, your follower count (to a degree) and the engagement you receive on content, she said.
“Savvy brands are realising this and now look for real engagement, a decent following and good quality content.”
Money to be made in the future?
Speaking to BusinessTech, Arthur Goldstuck of research firm World Wide Worx said that while the growth in the Instagram user base has slowed down compared to previous years, use by major brands is still increasing strongly.
In addition, Goldstuck said that increased penetration does not have a direct impact on earning potential, as one can grow one’s own following substantially even when the user base as a whole is not growing.
“Newcomers will always emerge who become heavily followed, regardless of whether the market itself is growing,” he said.
This also means that the number of followers an account has is also not a critical metric in determining who is an influencer, as some gain a large following simply by following as many in turn, or even buying followers.
“Once someone is identified as an influencer in general as welll as an infleuncer within a very specific niche, the number of followers comes very strongly into play in terms of what to pay ‘influencers’,” he said.
“I do think Instagram will be a big space for brands to spend on moving in to 2018. Influencer marketing budgets continue to increase. However, I think brands will become far smarter and stop falling in to the fake following trap. I also believe we’ll see a far greater push towards video content on the likes of YouTube and Instagram more so than just pretty pictures (in an attempt to try beat the bot buyers).”