Influencer marketing is a quietly growing trend emerging from the world´s biggest social media platforms, and we find it fascinating.

Much of the younger generation are now addicted to sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Vine; but there are a rare few who have realised the earning potential of spending such a large amount of time online.

These young ´influencers´ – those who manage accounts with large amounts of followers – are being approached by companies on a daily basis, for either endorsements or merchandise. They encourage interaction by creating tweets, photos and videos that their followers will either share or respond to. Some get paid per tweet or post, whereas others work under official contracts.

“Making a thousand dollars a day is by no means unrealistic” claims David Orr, speaking on fastcolab.com. Describing himself as an entrepreneur, the 22-year-old graduate currently manages 12 parody Twitter accounts, spending up to 14 hours a day online, every day of the week.

Another key figure is 25-year-old Taylor Nikolai, who dedicates a similar amount of time to his work. Rather than scheduling his tweets, he feels that his fans respond better to live communication and up-to-the-minute details, forcing him to be online 24/7 across 20 accounts.

16 year-old Lauren Giraldo (pictured), also known as ´Princess Lauren´, is one of the youngest Vine stars making a significant amount of money. She simply has to re-Vine a sponsor´s video for the advertiser to pay her up to $2,000. Speaking on businessinsider.com, Lauren claims that this wasn´t even intentional: “I started Vine as a joke. Just to have fun. I under-thought everything,” she says.

Taking things a little more seriously are brothers Cody and Marcus Johns. 24-year-old Cody tells Business Insider that he paid off his entire university fees from just one Vine ad campaign, whereas younger brother Marcus, with over 4 million Vine followers, is making so much money that he is considering dropping out of university altogether.

So what makes a successful influencer? Both Giraldo and the Johns brothers agree that originality is key, according to Business Insider. Marcus adds: “If you want to do it, you´ve got to do it with everything you´ve got”.

Serious game players get connected with companies such as theAudience, who work across a variety of platforms, or more specific agencies such as Big Frame and CollectiveDigital, which focus on video content. There´s also twtMob for Twitter, theAmplify for Instagram, and HelloSociety for Pinterest.

Facebook is the only platform to buck the trend, as it currently charges user to reach target audiences.

Research from cloud communication company Augure suggests that as many as 60% of marketers are now investing in this area. It seems to be a win-win scenario; teens are getting the opportunity to work with big name companies, whilst brands are able to reach new audiences on a large scale.

So perhaps we ought to sit up and take notice of these kids – or at the very least, be inspired by their dedicated and effective use of social media.

What do you think about this new trend? Would you consider using influencers to promote your business or product?

Image: Princess Lauren/Vine

Ben Hollom

July 3, 2014