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There was a time when the word businesswoman conjured up images of power dressing, corporate lunches and dull offices. But thanks to social media, successful businesswomen these days are just as likely to be snapping selfies, drinking green smoothies and travelling the world.
Instagram has 600 million monthly users and around 60 per cent of those are female. One in five ns use the powerful image-sharing platform, and this reach means many brands pay popular users, or “influencers”, big bucks to endorse products. Some influencers have thousands or even millions of followers.
“Influencer marketing has exploded because [influencers] have a very intimate relationship with their audiences,” says Anthony Svirskis, chief executive of Tribe, a company that brings influencers and brands together. “That [relationship] is hugely valuable for brands that want to tap into these conversations.”
While celebrities tend to be the most followed people on Instagram, a 2017 study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior found non-traditional celebrities such as bloggers, YouTube personalities and the Instafamous have more influence on young females when it comes to purchasing decisions.
Influencers must clearly identify sponsored content, according to a new provision in the n Association of National Advertisers Code of Ethics, but Svirskis doesn’t think this will have a big impact.
“They’re just guidelines that require #ad to be placed on influencer posts which are paid for by brands,” Svirskis says. “The reality is the best influencers have been doing this for a while. “Our data shows it makes very little difference to engagement or audience sentiment when an influencer discloses a sponsored post.”
If a sponsored post can earn an influencer anywhere from $200 to $15,000, who could blame them for ditching the corporate dream and going after #Instasuccess?
We meet three business-minded n women whose Instagram accounts have given them financial freedom beyond their wildest dreams. SJANA EARP Yogi, digital influencer, 22 1.2 million Instagram followers @sjanaelise???
The glamorous life of Sjana Earp as seen by her Instagram followers. Photo: Instagram/ Sjanaelise
???”When I was in year 10, I went through a rough patch with depression and had a few stays in psychiatric wards. I dropped out of school at the end of that year. I did a Certificate III in fitness training and studied photojournalism, but stopped my studies because I started to earn an income through Instagram.
I used Instagram for self-expression and as a creative outlet, then I was asked to photograph an event in Perth. That job led to me being invited to Bali as an influencer for a yoga retreat. If someone sees your content and they like it, they’ll invite you somewhere else.
It was never my intention to achieve a certain number of followers. I remember reaching 10,000 and I couldn’t believe it. I think my following comes down to timing, luck and passion.
I can’t remember the first time I posted about my mental health issues. I started by saying little bits about how I was having a rough time. Instagram has provided me with an outlet – there’s nothing worse than bottling up your emotions – and my followers accepted me being open about my feelings.
Three years ago I was approached by an agency who wanted to manage me. My reaction was, ‘What? Really? I could get paid for doing this?’
I don’t do sponsored posts if I don’t use the brand or product myself, and I limit myself a lot more than many other influencers because it works better for my personal brand. It’s good to come forward and acknowledge when you have been sponsored.
I have a contract with yoga wear brand Alo Yoga. I became an ambassador for them because it’s my favourite yoga brand anyway.
As your following grows, opportunities grow and so does the price tag associated with posts. It’s a very spontaneous life. I don’t know what’s next but I do know how lucky I am to do what I do.”
I have a contract with yoga wear brand Alo Yoga Photo: Instagram/ SjanaeliseCHLOE MORELLOBeauty blogger, 26 853,000 Instagram followers @chloemorello???
Chloe Morello has a huge following on Instagram and Youtube. Photo: Instagram/ Chloemorello
???”I was only 16 or 17 when I found make-up tutorials on YouTube, but I became obsessed. Mum used to yell at me for using all the dial up [internet]! I learnt so much from social media and YouTube.
I was 20 when I decided to do my own online tutorials. My following grew quickly but I didn’t plan for it to become my full time job.
I use Instagram to post about makeup, but also my personal life, travel, relationships and fashion. Instagram is great because people can find you easily and it’s a way of sharing my knowledge.
I’ve been uploading make-up tutorials for Muslim women for about four years. It started when a Muslim friend asked me to do a tutorial to coincide with Eid al-Fitr [a celebration to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan].
The tutorial had more than double the usual number the comments of other videos I’d done, and all were positive, so I kept it up.
I’ve received thousands and thousands of requests from Muslim women [for] those videos, but last year I got some negative comments. The majority of criticism came from non-Muslim women.
When someone enquires about working with me on Instagram, my manager gives me the details and I decide whether I am interested. Usually I am not, because I am very picky. A sponsorship is not worth it if all it does is annoy your followers.
If it’s a make-up brand I already use and love, then the decision is super easy. I’ve worked with brands like Bobbi Brown, Smashbox, Dior, Benefit, Sephora, Givenchy and Coca-Cola.
It’s surreal because they’re brands I have used and loved for years.
Often a sponsored opportunity is not booked as a sole Instagram post but as part of a broader campaign, so the fee I am paid includes a YouTube video.
YouTube videos pay at least four times more than an Instagram post. Each post is definitely worth the money, but I only do one or two sponsored posts a month.
It is not enough to live off, but combined with YouTube I’m making much more money than I ever dreamed of: a strong six-figure income.
It is hard to keep up with posting to Instagram and to create quality pictures. Finding someone to take the photos of me is the hardest thing. I’m engaged but it is a long-distance relationship, so usually all I have is the length of my arm to take pictures. There’s only so many selfies I can manage to take.”
Chloe Morello. Photo: Instagram/ChloemorelloLAUREN BATH Travel photographer, 36461,000 Instagram followers @laurenepbath
Lauren Bath Travel photographer. Photo: Lauren Bath
???”When I was 26 I came back from my first overseas trip and decided I wanted a new direction in life. I left my partner of 10 years and moved back to my hometown on the Gold Coast.
I had been a head chef but I took a casual cheffing job so I had more time to pursue a new hobby, and that hobby became Instagram. I downloaded it purely by chance and had no idea Instagram was about photography.
In 2011 I went to Zimbabwe on holiday and started taking snaps, which I uploaded to Instagram. That was during a huge period of growth on Instagram. People were finding me through the Popular Page [now called Explore]. It was purely algorithmic: if you had a high number of likes per minute for 15 to 20 minutes after you posted, then you would go to the Popular Page.
My content was different to the pictures that were popular at that time – nail polish, cats and Justin Bieber – and my following grew by about 1000 each day.
There was a time when some Instagrammers didn’t want anyone else to do well and reported my pictures to be “inappropriate”, which meant my images were automatically taken off the Popular Page.
I didn’t grow a single follower for at least a month and I got really upset, but I knew it was so ridiculous because it’s just an app on my phone.
I was crying but at the same time I remember thinking, ‘I feel like Instagram is leading somewhere for me.’
On New Year’s Eve in 2012, I was washing dishes in the restaurant and I thought, ‘This isn’t what I want out of my life’. So I made a pact to quit my job and see if there was any potential to make money from Instagram.
I was not aware of anyone in the world making money from Instagram. But the universe had plans for me: I told my boss I was quitting and two hours later there were three opportunities in my inbox. All were paid and all were photography- and travel-based.
As an influencer you generally start out earning nothing but have all of your costs covered. As your influence grows, you start earning $100 a day and that quickly works towards $500-plus a day.
For the first two years I was pretty much the only person making money from Instagram in the tourism scene in . These days, it’s hectic. I earn six figures and hope to build on that. I know a day will come when someone will usurp my crown, but I work incredibly hard.
Landscape shooting in Japan. Photo: Instagram/ laurenbath