Live video could make the influencer landscape unrecognisable in the coming months

Last week, the Economist published a handy little chart to show just how much money social media influencers can make just by posting to their social channels.

Quite a lot of money, in fact – and a huge difference between what an influencer with a few thousand followers can expect to earn, versus an influencer with millions of followers. It’s exactly what you’d expect.

The chart also sort of hits home the fact that over 7m followers is quite a lot. It makes you stop and think about the fact that we see someone with 20k followers as an influencer: in the face of over 1m followers, that’s very small beer indeed.

More to the point though, it matters which platform you use: if you have over 7m on Twitter, you can expect to earn as much per post as someone with a paltry 1m likes on Facebook. And even Facebook pales in comparison with YouTube.

I get that there are discrepancies in what advertisers are looking for when it comes to engagement on social media. Personally, i’d want to pay less for a tweet than an endorsement on YouTube or Facebook, too – a tweet gets lost in the crowd and seen by only a fraction of the user’s following, if it’s an endorsement wedded into a YouTube video, that will stay there, easily searchable forever.

It can’t just be ease of access, though.

YouTubers, according to the chart, make the most money from their sponsored posts, but presumably that has something to do the loyalty of their fans. A YouTuber with over 7m followers is, presumably gold dust to marketers and advertisers simply because of the fact that such a large proportion of those subscribers will tune in to watch most of the posts every week. There’s something about the medium that feels more personal than all the others – probably because seeing and hearing someone speak, noticing their movements and their quirks, just feels much more personal.

But, as always, there’s surely a caveat. Whilst YouTubers might have a large and loyal following, that doesn’t necessarily make YouTube the best place to sow advertising seeds for your product. Obviously you wouldn’t just approach any old influencer with a large following and wave money at them without doing some sort of research, and so an advertiser is surely unlikely to use an influencer without first deciding exactly which audience they want to reach. But with something that changes in real time like sport, a faster-paced medium would probably be better.

But having said all of that, and after the Economist – via analytics platform Captiv8 – has put all that effort into finding out the data and presenting it so handily, we might actually be looking at a huge change in the coming year or so.

Although it is in its infancy, Facebook and Twitter’s live streaming services could be a game changer for influencers on those platforms.

As we said, YouTubers can gain a large following because of the personal nature of their platform, but live streaming on those other platforms – and Twitter especially, given its use for fast-paced, instant reaction to currently-happening events – will add an immediacy and an urgency to video-based influencers on social media, not to mention a real time relevancy to their content.

It seems like a bit of a gimmick right now, and not everyone, really, has the capability to use it to its full potential, but live broadcasting through Twitter and Facebook could see a huge change to the influencer landscape in the coming months.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 232 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and a regular contributor to Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan91

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