One of the by-products of the rise and proliferation of social media platforms in today’s world is the emergence of the social media influencer; a term that is nowadays erroneously used to describe just about any individual who is capable of getting a significant number of people to pay mind to just about anything — from the essential to the plain stupid.
In Nigeria, for instance, “social media influencer” is commonly used to refer especially to anyone who has some clout primarily due to the fact that they have managed to amass a huge following, with little regard for all else.
In fact, there’s a certain “demigod” status that is attached to the followership-based influencer classification in Nigeria these days.
In today’s social media era where it’s common to see people do just about anything for clout, there are just way too many individuals masquerading as social media influencers when they are, in fact, just feeding off of inherently vain metrics like “Likes” and “Followers”.
This has resulted in a scenario where the real definition of a social media influencer and the true essence of influencer marketing face erasure.
These days, it matters very little if you actually know your onions or if you have a pedigree. Just have the right amount of sass, savagery, and perhaps sexual appeal, plus a huge fawning following who will hang on your every word and even see your smelly dung as pure gold, and you can call yourself social media influencer.
With the coming of influencer marketing and the possibility of monetizing social media fame, it’s easy to see why many people are tripping over themselves to become popular on social media by any means, even though it means putting up cringeworthy spectacles just for clout.
What Makes A True Social Media Influencer?
The “obsession to trend” is an ugly trend that is getting uglier by the day. It’s a trend that popular Nigerian influencer and convener of #LagosDigitalSummit and #ProjectHumanityNG, Adewale Adetona (AKA ISlimFit), knows all too well and is quite disturbed by.
Adetona who is a digital communications specialist tells WeeTracker that the misconception that the number of followers is what determines who is a social media influencer needs to be addressed.
He also maintains that while having a significant following may be part of it, it is not all of it and certainly not among the key determinants of an influencer.
“Social Media influencing is not about asking lame questions like ‘Eba or Semo’, or playing stunts for clout,” he says. “A social media influencer is someone who is well experienced and has authority on a particular subject area of interest or niche.”
Adetona’s definition of a social media influencer finds great examples in a good number of people who rose to fame and became influencers in their own right on the backs of their continued creative efforts in areas like comedy, music, business, choreography, health and fitness, politics, cookery, travel, sports, and others, on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
“These are people who picked a niche or an area of interest and owned it,” says Adetona, who maintains that creating actual value is an important aspect of being a social media influencer, as opposed to just being thirsty for likes, comments, and followers.
How Much Do Social Media Influencers Earn In Nigeria?
Gloria Olurontobi (AKA Maraji) is one of Nigeria’s most popular social media influencers who rose to fame and acclaim on the backs of comical ingenuity.
Maraji, who found Instagram and to a lesser extent, Twitter, to be great vehicles for her craft has over the years built a loyal fanbase across both platforms; currently with 1.1 million followers on Instagram and 108,000 followers on Twitter.
In 2018, Maraji shocked many when she revealed in an interview that she went from earning NGN 10 K (USD 28.00) per Instagram post in 2016, to somewhere between NGN 500 K and NGN 1 Mn (USD 1.4 K to USD 28 K) per post. With those numbers, she’s easily one of Nigeria’s best paid social media influencers currently.
— Ebuka Obi-Uchendu (@Ebuka) October 9, 2018
Adetona, who has been involved in digital communications for the better part of a decade, says reach, influence, brand, and budget are the some of the factors that determine how much Nigerian influencers earn and that the figure varies, though he maintains that social media influencers are well underpaid in this part of the world.
“From my experience, micro-influencers make NGN 30-60 K per campaign while macro-influencers make between NGN 150-300 K per campaign,” he says. “Again, it varies on the brand involved and their budget too.”
What’s The Fate Of An Influencer Without Vanity Metrics?
In recent times, social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter have hinted at incorporating a new feature that would hide likes and view counts on posts. Twitter is even talking about hiding the number of followers.
According to both Instagram and Twitter, these moves are aimed at curbing unhealthy social media competition and its inherent evils. But there is no doubt that it would also force a rethink of the tenets which currently govern influencer marketing.
In the absence of vanity metrics and the current obsession for numbers that don’t really mean much, we could see a separation of the true influencers from the half-baked likes-junkies.
And that’s because the influencer marketers that would thrive would be the ones that are thorough and bullish about actual engagement as against the reliance on vanity metrics in deciding which ones should push what brand campaigns.
The focus will be shifted to actionable metrics instead of vanity metrics. Influencers will have no choice but to put in the work and create valuable content in order to deliver tangible results to brands. Anything less and they’re just dead weight.