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By Vukosi Maluleke

Digital Journalist

‘Being an influencer is a business’: Turning your followers into cash

The estimated value of influencer marketing was $21.1 bn in 2023 – Statista

Gone are the days when social media was mainly about perfect pictures and spicy posts.

Social media platforms have become money-making opportunities for those who’ve managed to crack the algorithm and leverage its power.

While scrolling through content might be a convenient distraction for some, others have found a way to turn those likes into rands. So, why aren’t you?

The influencer marketing industry has grown rapidly in recent years, amassing an estimated $21.1 billion in 2023 globally.

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‘Find what you like’

Sibu Mabena, founder and Chief Creative Officer at Duma Collective said, “being an influencer is a business, requiring as much thought as any other”.

During her masterclass at the recent Momentum Science of Success Festival, Mangena advised prospective influencers to self-introspect as a starting point.

“Find what you like and what you want to be known for,” she said.

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Know your audience

Building a sustainable social media following requires consistency and relatability, and authenticity is key.

“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,” Mabena said.

It’s equally as important to choose the right platform based on the kind of content you’re planning to create, as well as your end goal.

“Knowing your target audience, demographics and most appropriate platform to reach them is essential when establishing yourself as a social media influencer,” Mabena said.

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Pitching for success

If you’re looking to enter the influencer marketing space, you must be prepared to deliver convincing pitches to win over potential clients.

Mabena shared some useful tips to get you started.

  • Research the brand you are pitching to and ensure that what you represents 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, clickthroughs and conversion rates.

“Becoming a money-making influencer is within the realm of possibility for anyone who puts in the effort, creates a credible biography and a brand identity of their own, quality content with excellent visuals and who can prepare a professional pitch or proposal,” Mabena said.

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