The influencer marketing industry in South Africa continues to show growth. Evidence of this is that more people are turning a side hustle into a full-time gig by collaborating with brand, says Ryan Silberman, CEO of Webfluential.
“Influencers can make anything from a few Rands to hundreds of thousands of Rands per job, depending on the execution, influencer and their audience.
Influencer marketing is defined as the use of an ambassador to help champion or endorse a brand or campaign to a targeted audience. An influencer’s recommended rate is based on the category, audience size, engagement rate, and so on.
Silberman says that how much an influencer can earn on a campaign or brand deal depends on the production, the rights to creative, the duration of a campaign and the audience.
“One of our influencers recently did a campaign for Microsoft, and (one of her) images was used on skyscrapers in Dubai in an out-of-home extension. R100,000 for a single campaign is not uncommon.”
He adds: “Collectively across a year, creators earn good money. Those that have great audiences and work well with brands can earn over a million Rand a year. We’ve helped eight of them last year achieve this milestone.”
The parenting influencer
One of the most influential areas of the influencer market are parenting influencers who create content for the parent market.
In an interview with SME South Africa, Shaney Vijendranath, founder of tech startup, MomSays, a data analytics platform which helps brands engage with new mothers, says this is a very influential demographic.
Vijendranath says the following statistics should be considered, “Bizcommunity.com reported that 60% of the 18 million female consumers in SA are the primary buyers in their households and 83% of new moms are millennials, of which 46% trust the recommendation of other parents above any other channels, according to Forbes.com.
PARENTING INFLUENCER INDUSTRY OVERVIEW
Silberman provides an overview of this niche area.
On size of the industry
The size and growth of this category is significant as the content and first-hand experiences of moms are highly relevant to other moms who actively search out and value relevant topics. Therefore the value of this content surpasses any content that a brand themselves can create.
On target market/audience
We have a target audience of 9.9 million on the Webfluential platform for mommy bloggers in South Africa – this is a significant audience size.
On earning potential
It is becoming more and more lucrative, especially if you have a highly engaged audience – i.e. your degree of influence is high.
On opportunities available
It is difficult to comment on this as each influencer will have their own style, nuance and audience. In general each influencer should gauge the success of their content by the engagement on each piece to figure out what resonates with their audience. They should always stay true to this to ensure meaningful and trusted engagement.
HOW TO CASH IN ON A GROWING INDUSTRY – CASE STUDIES
Two award-winning South African bloggers talk about the business of influencer marketing and provide an inside look into what you need to find success in the industry, advice for running a thriving business online PLUS tips to get you started as an influencer:
Aisha O’Reilly – Aisha & Life
O’Reilly launched her blog, My Fro & I, in 2011. “I’d chopped all of my relaxed hair off and embarked on a natural hair journey. I essentially needed a place to document it all and I figured I would do it online. It was initially private.” In 2012 she made her blog public.
When she became a mother in 2016, she expanded the blog to reflect her motherhood journey as well. Today the blog, which was renamed Aisha & Life (A&L), covers everything from lifestyle to parenting and natural hair.
“What started as a hobby has now evolved into me becoming a digital entrepreneur by blogging and influencing full-time,” says O’Reilly.
Mari-Louise Candiotes – Just a Mamma
Candiotes founded her parenting and lifestyle blog, in December 2016. “I wanted to create a safe space for moms to come and [an] escape (if only for a moment). Motherhood is challenging and we need all the support we can get.
“Just a Mamma has never been a hobby. I sat down with a team of experts before launching our blog to determine a plan of action best suited for what we had in mind. I still work with the same team and it has even grown this past year.”
ON WHAT YOU NEED TO BUILD AN ONLINE BUSINESS
Definitely a website. As much as I’m very present on social media, unfortunately, you cannot own your Facebook or Instagram page, followers or any other elements you share, on [these] platforms. You, therefore, have no control over them and are at the mercy of said platforms.
You also need to have reliable tech support. If you’re not able to do it yourself, you need to hire someone (part time or full time) to make sure your online store or service is always accessible by your customers.
I believe a brand should have a strong brand identity especially in the oversaturated industry of blogging and influencer marketing. This is achieved through good branding. Once again, I’m a team player and believe in using someone far more skilled than I am. Paper Planery is one of the best in the business and I trust them 100% with Just a Mamma’s vision.
Buy your own domain. Decide if you want to be a .com or .co.za. If you don’t understand SEO, coding, hosting and setting up WordPress, pay someone who does. Set everything up correctly from the get-go.
Then, good visuals enhance our ability to tell stories that’s why good photography is a core aspect of our business. I work predominantly with one photographer, Madison & West Lifestyle, collaborating with others on occasion and then also taking my own photos with a professional camera. I do not add filters and try to keep an honest image of parenting even when doing styled shoots.
[Also] invest in yourself. [Improve] your writing and learn about the industry you are in. Taking pretty photos [or] writing a cute caption won’t be enough forever. A sustainable business cannot be dependent on social media alone. The bubble will burst and then you will have nothing left.
Always be a risk-taker … Forget about looking for the next best thing – simply become it!
ON OPPORTUNITIES IN SA’S INFLUENCER MARKETING SPACE
There are so many opportunities available. Aside from the straight forward way of earning an income via sponsored content (which is almost endless) you can use your influence and reach to launch your own brand, service or product.
The opportunities are endless and really depend on the blogger
The most popular avenue is sponsored post creation. Bloggers and influencers are paid (in cash or goods) to post about, or promote a certain brand, product or service.
You also have ambassadorships – these vary. Influencers are expected to create content and promote a brand. This could include product sponsorships as well as ambassador fees. It also, most likely, entails exclusivity although not always. Be very selective when agreeing to be an ambassador. We have only agreed to be ambassadors for brands we have been loyal to for years or brands that understand and promote the same brand values as Just a Mamma.
Partnerships are also a great opportunity for bloggers and influencers to work with brands they adore on a regular basis. Partnership agreements differ and are always dependent on the needs of both parties involved as well as budget available. Partnerships can deal in cash or as trade exchange.
Content creation is also a wonderful path to explore if your strength lies in styling and creating beautiful products and lifestyle photos and visuals. Smaller brands simply don’t have the time or money to invest in expensive photo shoots. This is where they can make use of influencers and bloggers with a strong aesthetic to get beautiful content for their own use. Content creation also applies to talented writers. A pretty picture can only go that far if it doesn’t have strong copy supporting it.
Lastly, a lot of influencers are moving into social media management. This is where they use the skills and knowledge gained through their own blog and marketing channels to manage and grow a social media presence for other smaller brands and businesses.
The opportunities are endless and really depend on the blogger. You may even be surprised to learn how many successful new startups evolved from a blog like the recently launched tech startup, Momsays.
ON BUILDING AN AUDIENCE
Engage with [your] audience or customers. It’s probably the most important thing to do. People want to be seen and heard, preferably by people like them – not with a clinical response. If they try and connect with you, it’s a wasted opportunity if you don’t reciprocate.
- Be consistent.
- Be honest.
- Be transparent with your following as well as your clients.
- Be fair – Being controversial and sensational does not carry longevity.
- Always be professional even in the casual space of online marketing.
- Be loyal.
- Be social and support others too.
ON ADVICE FOR THOSE ENTERING THE INFLUENCER MARKETING SPACE
Courtney Sanders (American podcaster) said in her podcast: “Create before you consume”.
It’s easy to compare and even easier to copy what others are doing. In a world where there are so many influencers and bloggers out there, it’s even more important to find your own voice. It’s also easy to think that everyone who is doing well online is an overnight success, but there’s a lot of work being done, lots of rejection and disappointment happening behind the scenes.
Be ready to do the work.
Know your worth and know what your goals are. You’ll need to hold on to both while facing the challenges and temptations of influencer marketing.