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Social-Media Influencers Aren’t Getting Rich—They’re Barely Getting By

[Sarah E. Needleman and Ann-Marie Alcántara at the Wall Street Journal]

"Earning a decent, reliable income as a social-media creator is a slog—and it’s getting harder. Platforms are doling out less money for popular posts and brands are being pickier about what they want out of sponsorship deals."

For many kids, becoming an influencer has become the new becoming a sports star: in enormous numbers, it's what they want to be. More broadly, if you dare to say that it's not a real job, you're likely to be drowned out by complaints and contradictions.

But it isn't, and this article makes it clear:

"Last year, 48% of creator-earners made $15,000 or less, according to NeoReach, an influencer marketing agency. Only 13% made more than $100,000."

Of course, some people really did shoot to fame and have been doing really well. But there aren't many Mr Beasts or Carli D'Amelios of this world, and the lure of being famous has trapped less lucky would-be influencers in cycles of debt and mental illness.

This is despite having sometimes enormous followings: hundreds of thousands to millions of people, with hundreds of millions of views a month. The economics of the platforms are such that even at those numbers, you can barely scrape by.

I like the advice that, instead, you should cultivate a genuine expertise and use social media to promote offsite services you provide around that. It might be that a following can land you a better job, or help you build up a consultancy. Trying to make money from ads and brand sponsorships is a losing game - and thousands of people are losing big.


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