Oct 6, 2020

What Exactly Does It Take To Become A YouTube Influencer?

Kristin Kerr

ver several years, influencer marketing has skyrocketed and if you’ve ever been scrolling through Instagram or YouTube, you’ve probably at some point wondered how such an average person became a famous social media star. According to Traackr, an influencer management platform, 72% of large companies dedicate a hefty portion of their fiscal budgets to influencers with hopes to sway public opinions and purchasing habits. It’s without a doubt that influencers are the new fad of advertising. Compared to traditional advertising tactics, like commercials, and print media, influencers have a special way of creating trust, ultimately making them more successful when it comes to their social impact. What started off as an extra cash side-gig for many, has now turned into an entire career path for some. The life of a YouTube influencer looks pretty glamorous from the outside, but is that really the case? How do YouTube influencers manage to make a living off of videos and how much work goes into creating that seemingly perfect image?


What Do Influencers Charge?

The answer to this question varies because each YouTube influencer commands a different price. The rate an influencer might charge is largely dependent on their following, their content, and how much work goes into creating the content, as well as the number of existing partnerships/sponsorships they may have. A micro-influencer is someone with 10,000 to 50,000 subscribers, and those with a larger subscription rate are considered macro-influencers. Believe it or not, YouTube influencers with up to 1 million followers can earn up to $10,000 per post. If the influencer happens to be in the gaming industry, their fee can be even higher. 

PewDiePie is a well known Swedish gamer who has been a YouTube influencer since 2010. With over 90 million subscribers, he earned $15.5 million playing video games online in 2018. 


Why Are YouTube Influencers So Valuable?

It's the influencer type of marketing that creates that bond of trust between an organization and its customer. Influencers that have made their way into celebrity territory have incredibly engaged audiences and have the ability to push really big numbers. It’s often argued that influencers are more impactful than athletes and big-name TV stars because they can relate more with their audience. 

How Do I Become An Influencer?

If being an influencer were easy, everyone would be doing it. It’s kind of luck of the draw when it comes to becoming recognized on YouTube or other social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok. Being an influencer is also a lot of work, time, and dedication. It’s a full-time job and you could spend years building your business before you actually start making any money.

In addition there is also the public-facing part of the job. Living in the public eye opens up avenues of constant criticism and the spreading of false information, of which you publicly have to acknowledge.

An Influencer’s Opinion

Famous Instagram and Youtube influencer, Mallory Brooke was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called Bechet’s and immediately thought her dream of becoming a hair and makeup artist was over. Fast forward 10 years and she has worked with celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, and won second place in the 2014 Allure Beauty Blogger Awards. Over the years she’s built her social following and now has over 121,000 YouTube subscribers. 


In a recent HuffPost interview, Mallory claimed the income she’s earned from social media makes the work feel somewhat thankless, considering she spends 8 hours a day creating content, editing, and doing administrative work like responding to comments and emails. She also added that even if the pay isn’t exactly what she would hope for, the opportunity to do work she loves makes it worth it. She also brought up that being a YouTube influencer has become more difficult over the years because of the changes to the YouTube algorithms. 

Influencer Entitlement

It would seem as though some of the influencers out there have forgotten the definition of vanity and entitlement. While many influencers are genuinely interesting and well mannered people who bring value to those they promote and the content they create, there are always those out there ruining it for everyone.

Take for example the countless influencers who demand vacations, meals at restaurants, or products for free. Completely disregarding the people who work for these businesses and the hard work that goes into creating something from nothing.

Social Media's Impact

Of course many good things have come from social media. Many businesses rely on it for their success, as well as individuals. Many people have learned new things, started new hobbies, and connected with new groups of people through social media. While the positive aspects of social media and its use are apparent we are still confronted with a large negative aspect of social media that everyone can agree the world could do without.

It could be said social media has created a worldwide platform for the ugliness of human behavior. We are talking about the types of people who perform curel or inappropriate "pranks" for their followers. Or people who try to capture their latest selfie at a concentration camp. Or those who use social media as a soapbox for hate. We can all agree that these types of people and their actions are reprehensible, but never the less, they are free to express themselves how they choose.

Influencer Responsibility

At the end of the day it all comes down to the individual. If an influencer wants to bring positivity to the world, help other people, and explore their passion - great. It would seem most individuals fail to reflect on the impact of their influence and are more concerned about how much money they can make rather than what kind of message they are sending to the world.

If influencers are a phenomenon that will continue, let's hope that things will chagne for the better.

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