How to Monetize Your Social Media Influence

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The surge in the influence wielded by social media personalities has become increasingly apparent with the expansion of digital platforms. This phenomenon has solidified the capacity of influencers to shape the perspectives, actions, and, significantly, the purchasing decisions of their followers.

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Sibu Mabena, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of the Duma Collective

Despite this exponential growth, the pursuit of transforming into a monetarily successful content creator remains an elusive goal for many aspiring individuals. Appealing to would-be side hustlers, small business owners, SMMEs, and entrepreneurs, the Science Of Success Festival was a day of inspirational presentations and master classes on growing wealth in a variety of ways.

Becoming a social media influencer has proved to be extremely lucrative whether you are a celebrity or a previously unknown personality who has carved out a niche for themselves promoting sponsors’ products and services.

According to Momentum and UNISA’s SMME and Side Hustle Insights Report, the top five needs of small businesses are continuous learning, marketing strategies, funding or access to capital, expansion opportunities, and access to market and clients.

How many followers does an influencer need?

Influencers are tiered as:

  • Nano with one to ten thousand followers
  • Micro who has 10- to one hundred thousand followers
  • Macro with one hundred thousand up to one million followers and
  • Mega with one million plus followers

They are measured by the amount of engagement and not simply the number of followers they have, with as few as one thousand potentially qualifying them to represent a brand. 

Know your audience

Knowing your target audience, demographics, and the most appropriate platform to reach them is essential when establishing yourself as a social media influencer as well as being able to provide analytics from each platform:

  • WhatsApp is the most used social media platform at 93% usage
  • Facebook 83%
  • This is where you get to know your audience and create a community
  • Instagram 70.5%
  • For stories and paid promotions
  • TikTok 60.3%
  • Don’t be pressurised into becoming a Tik-Toker, if you’re not comfortable with this medium
  • X is a place simply to ‘post and go’ and is more conversational than visual
What do you need to portray and convey as an influencer?

Being authentic, representing values to which followers can relate will solidify your position as a brand representative with a product whose values align with your own.

  • Keep your bio short but tell your story
  • Use your real name in there somewhere, not just your social media handle
  • Don’t be afraid to use emojis
  • Have a call to action and a link to your website
The Pitch

Most brands prefer you to have a business, rather than a personal account profile, and make sure you have a professional email address

  • Research the brand you are pitching to and ensure that what you represent aligns with their messaging
  • Make sure your pitch is flawless and has no typos or spelling mistakes
  • Set your rates and be realistic about expected engagement levels, impressions, click-throughs, and ultimate conversion rates which will give the client the maximum return on their investment (ROI)

Becoming a money-making influencer is within the realm of possibility for anyone who puts in the effort, creates a credible biography and brand identity of their own, quality content with excellent visuals, and can prepare a professional pitch or proposal. “Success is a science for which there is a formula when it comes to social media influencers,” concluded Maben.