Follow the money- The earning potential of social media for entertainers
Popcaan and Spice created history by becoming the first male and female Jamaican dancehall artistes to get to the one million followers on Instagram.
Although the feat has undoubtedly granted the entertainers some amount of bragging rights, the accomplishment has led to many questions about what the capital 'M' on Instagram means.
Persons are intrigued and have started to think about what this means in real terms for the artistes' careers. Will corporate Jamaica and companies abroad pay them big bucks to endorse their brands like they do with international celebrities Rihanna, BeyoncÈ and Kim Kardashian?
The Sunday Gleaner spoke with entrepreneur and creator/executive producer of The Innovators TV series, Yaneek Page, about the possibilities that could be birthed from gaining a million followers on Instagram. She revealed that while getting to the million mark is an achievement for any public figure, there are opportunities to capitalise on even before getting to that mark.
"Once you have a large following, in some cases you could have over 10,000 (followers). Depending on your target audience, people start paying attention because you start becoming a social media influencer," she explained.
"Corporate companies may start to pay you some attention because you are generating content and interest that a large number of people find useful or choose to engage with. The issue around whether you are going to get endorsements, and whether you're going to make money from your Instagram account has less to do with numbers and everything to do with your brand."
Page went on to say that for opportunities to start coming from the number of followers one has, a legitimate brand has to be established, and that brand has to resonate with a company's target audience. "So, the people who would have reached that million following, the corporate companies are going to ask questions like, 'Who are the people who follow this account? Why are they there? What values does this account represent, and is that consistent with the core values of my company?' If the brands align and these companies think that there is a way that they can leverage the engagement that they have with this particular person, then the endorsements will come," she said.
"The problem that brands always have is risk; the risk of associating your corporate brand which has certain values with persons who may compromise those values. People take endorsements very serious, so at the end of the day numbers matter, but brand matters more."
Page urged entertainers and other persons from the creative industry (whether they have 100 followers or 100,000) to start thinking of social media platforms as a tool to further maximise their earning potential rather than just as an avenue to showboat and vent.
"They must remember that social media is just a tool that can help them advance their careers. The key is, before you go online, look at all the possible sources of income from social media, and look at the income you could generate from the industry you're in, and build your brand," she said. "It will mean that when you build your brand you have to have some discipline because then you cannot post any and anything. You have to remember your core values and your brand, and if you do that, opportunities will come one million followers or not."