“When a trusted viral voice is now in the pocket of a big company, what’s in it for the audience?” That’s one of the big questions asked by Fast Company writer Adam Popescu in his excellent article, The Fast-Growing, Profitable Market For Kid “Influencer” Endorsements On Twitter, Instagram, Vine, YouTube, And Pinterest. The article explains how teenagers with big social followings are making thousands of dollars pushing brands. It speaks to the issues of trust, authenticity (the lack thereof), and credibility of both brands and the people that are being “paid” to influence their communities.
How does it work? Popescu writes:
YouTube, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Pinterest–these are the platforms where you find young buyers waiting to be influenced. Since Facebook makes users pay to reach target audiences, it’s the only major social network not in the mix. Google+ is reportedly at work on AdHeat, a patented system connecting brands with influencers.
The kind of posts fans respond to may differ from network to network, but what many top influencers have in common is a major presence on most, if not all sites. Trendsetters are capable of migrating followers, which makes them attractive to brands looking to wrap their products around their content. The more of a reach, the more money involved.
These kids drive huge sales–as many as 60% of marketers are investing, according to data collected from the cloud communication company Augure. Judicious estimates could make this a billion-dollar segment of a half-a-trillion industry.
Popescu’s in depth article about influence marketing, the players and the payers is a must read. Go here to read the article.