The last few years have seen a drastic boom in the influencer marketing industry and for many Americans, the thought of snapping some selfies for social media and earning thousands of dollars doing so is an offer worth considering. With the average US employee earning around $48,600 before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s perhaps no wonder why many of us would rather try to become social media sensations than work a ‘regular job. In fact, Instagram influencers with up to 1 million followers can earn around $10,000 per post! Those with more than 1 million may charge $100,000 or more per post. You might be wondering what qualifications you need to become an influencer. Well, here’s the thing… There is no official college degree required!

PR experts, PRFire.com, conducted a survey of 2,600young adults (aged 18 – 24) and found that if given the choice, one third (33%) of Marylanders in this age bracket would rather have a verified Instagram account over a college degree (above the national average of 24%).

Broken down across the country, those in Louisiana were most keen on the prospect of becoming a social media sensation, with 57% saying they would rather have a verified account than a college degree. On the other end of the spectrum, Tennesseans were most in favour of a college degree, with 95% saying they would choose a college degree over a verified account on social media.

The survey also found that more than half (60%)of young people think these days, college degrees are worth less than they used to be. While this may sound like a negative response, it could also mean that people are more likely to become successful despite not having a college degree.

This may be why over 1 in 5 (21%)respondents said they look up to social media influencers more than they do CEOs. Although, this could also have to do with the fact that we spend a large portion of our time scrolling through social media these days, so perhaps many of our role models exist online in a modern society.

It was also found that more than a third (34%)admitted they would rather be successful on YouTube than any other site. In terms of earnings, YouTube pays the most revenue to its creators as compared to other social media platforms – video creators can earn between 6 and 12 cents per view! Therefore, if your video gains 5 million views and you have the right subscriber base, you could earn from $300,000 upwards.

With so many social media users in today’s modern society, the competition is tough and followers may be difficult to gain, especially as an up-and-coming influencer in an online space where the influencer market has been around for a while. A quarter (24%) of respondents say they would only need to gain 5Kfollowers in order to feel successful on social media, whereas 16% say they would need 10K followers to feel this success. Another 7% said they would need 50K followers; 24% would want 100K followers; 11% would need 500K and 18% aspire to achieve celebrity status with 1 million followers. 

Reassuringly, 91%of young people polled say they would turn down a paid offer to promote tobacco products through their social media accounts. This perhaps shows young people are inclined to deliver positive messages through their online platforms.

Lastly, three-quarters (75%) think schools should offer classes on the dangers of social media. Considering many young children are making use of technology in their day-to-day life (such as for online learning and watching videos), it may be beneficial to educate them on social media safety, particularly if gadgets and devices are being used in a school or learning/teaching environment.

‘Although it may sound tempting to quit your job and try your luck at becoming a social media personality, it’s important to know that there is more than meets the eye in the influencer industry,’ says Sam Allcock for PRFire.com‘Although you don’t need an official college degree to blow up on social media, it does require time, effort, dedication and consistency. We are an age of information consumers, meaning there is constant pressure to make sure your content is: relevant to your audience, up-to-date and aligns with your personal values and messages. In my opinion, a college degree sounds more appealing!’


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