Influencers in South Africa can get paid anywhere between R500 and R10 000 or more, depending on what kind of influencer they are.
One of the marketing avenues that became even more popular with the introduction of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country is influencer marketing. This is partly because at the time of social distancing, when everything moved online, companies needed to find ways to promote their brands.
Influencer marketing garnered popularity as YouTubers, bloggers, and influencers alike continued to produce content that they marketed to their existing niche markets.
However, payment was dependent on factors like the influencer’s following, engagement, and interactions with brand-related content, which could have them earning anywhere between R500 and R10 000 per post.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is one of the newest terms in marketing, especially locally, since previously, brand marketing was limited to media personalities and traditional advertising methods.
However, in the 2010s, there was a rise in the number of influencers in the global west promoting brands and products. A trend which is growing in popularity locally.
The term ‘influencer marketing’ refers to the use of social media marketing. Brands and companies work with influencers to endorse their products and brands on their social media platforms.
This type of marketing hinges on companies or brands recognising influencers with a purportedly expert level of knowledge and social influence in a field that aligns with the brand or product, to yield revenue.
How much do influencers make in South Africa?
At the time, influencer marketing was still a niche market without as many household names as there are today.
Currently, the local influencer industry is slowly becoming a formalised industry with leading names such as Kay Yarms, Naledi M, Sni Mhlongo, and Xoli Gcabashe. Along with influencers that have transitioned to celebrity status like Mihlali Ndamase and Lasizwe Dambuza.
With the formalisation of the industry in recent years, there are newly established guidelines that dictate how much one should be paid for a post and a short or long-term campaign, as well as which platforms you will post on.
The details are shared in what is called a rate card which details the number of followers you have, your level of engagement per post, the impressions your posts get, and the amount of views and shares they get.
However, a distinction that will determine how much you can ask for is based on what kind of influencer you are, dependent on your numbers as shared below.
The highest paid influencer is a mega-influencer. The term refers to influencers or media personalities with large followings, often in the tens or hundreds of millions of followers.
Most commonly, in this category, you will find celebrities that are paid by companies to endorse their products or services, knowing that the post will garner engagement, interaction, and traffic.
Often, followers of mega-influencers do not buy (into) the product or service because they believe that the influencer has in-depth knowledge about it, but because they carry influence gained from their known professions like actors, musicians, and media personalities.
As such, mega-influencers are for an overall campaign rather than based on a single post. An example of this is when, in 2017, Lerato Kganyago reportedly charged R500 000 for posting campaign work on her social media platforms.
Macro-influencers are influencers with a social media following of over 100 000 followers or subscribers on their commercial social media platforms.
These influencers are mostly chosen by companies because they believe that their product and service aligns with the brand identity of the influencer and their following. Macro-influencers hinge their success on promoting brands that they have knowledge about and vouch for.
An example of an instance like this is the recent viral campaign by Kay Yarms with Hyundai, promoting the Hyundai i30N.
Macro-influencers can earn anywhere from R10 000 to R25 000 or more. In 2019, it was confirmed that Mihlali Ndamase, on average at the time, earned R25 000 for a sponsored post.
Micro and nano-influencers
Micro influencers in South Africa have over 10 000 followers or more but have not broken the 100 000 followers or subscribers mark. Micro-influencers mostly promote local companies, looking to target the “normal, everyday consumer.”
Therefore, micro-influencers are chosen based on whether the brand would like to seem understated, in a sense, and portray their products or services as used by the normal, everyday person.
For example, Sabelo The Kreator, and his recent announcement of partnering with clothing brand, H&M, as a male micro-influencer.
Micro-influencers can charge businesses anywhere between R5 000 and R10 000 or more depending on their niche and the commerciality of the product or service.
Lastly, nano-influencers. These are influencers that have yet to break the 10 000 followers or subscribers mark.
Furthermore, for nano-influencers still trying to break the 5 000 followers mark, some of their influencer posts could be free, in order to build the relationship with the brand, so that as they grow their following, and when they start charging, they can increase their rates because they have already established brand-partnership identities.
Their starting price can range anywhere from R500 per post to R2 000 or more depending on their niche and the commerciality of the product or service.
In the past three years or so, influencer marketing in South Africa has become a wide net filled with niche influencers that, though they may not be household names, earn a living through posting on social media. As the market becomes more saturated, there is a gradual formalisation of the industry.
As much as the industry has begun to formalise, there is still no standardised pay barometer in this newfound career. This is as matters of rate cards, with guidance on how much influencers should charge, are still exchanged in secrecy.
Therefore, it is not uncommon for some influencers, despite their ranking, to get paid more or less than the standardised amounts for a post.
Ultimately, it is about sharing knowledge with fellow influencers in order to advance a standardised rate for companies to pay influencers per post.