The rise of influencers: can social media content creators do a “job”? – Doha news
While many see social media as just entertainment or even a “waste of time”, some have used the tool to create financial opportunities.
The increasing popularity of social media over the past decade has allowed users to use online platforms as an alternative source of income.
Some bloggers and influencers around the world, including here in Qatar, now earn millions a year with apps like Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and, more recently, TikTok.
But how do they make money online?
Social media influencers are public figures who have gained a huge following online by studying niche topics like fashion, lifestyle, finance, or even health.
Because of their influence and reach, they have become indispensable tools for brands and Companies intent on promoting products to increase sales. Known as meInfluencer marketing has made this strategy one of the most popular blueprints for brands to use to keep up with the increasing surge in digital consumption.
While influencer marketing is considered costly, the average rate depends on the platform and influencer reach.
Macro influencers with 500,000 to a million followers could make up to $ 2,000 per post, while mega influencers with more than a million followers could make more than $ 10,000 per post Influencer Marketing Hub.
More “traditional” international celebrities like singers and actors are also considered social media influencers because of the number of followers they have, but hiring them to advertise costs companies and brands millions of dollars.
Although statistics show that social media could be very profitable, many target the phenomenon, suggesting that it could never be a “real” job.
Doha News reached out to some Qatar-based social media influencers to discuss the global conversation and learn more about their experiences as a content creator.
Well-known Qatari social media influencer and media presenter Mashael Al Naimi said although many brands and local businesses are paying influencers to promote their products, there is no consistent income.
Influencer marketing is seasonal, selective and lacks consistency, she said, noting, “Although certain companies pay influencers to promote their products, it is mostly a one-time deal.”
For Al Naimi, an influencer is unlikely to rely on social media as a one-source income because they are only paid per post – as opposed to traditional jobs that secure a monthly salary.
However, not many people agree with Al Naimi.
Qatar-based social media manager and content creator Abdelaziz Alsafadi believes that “Working in social media can actually be more profitable than a traditional job.
“I’ve been in this field for over 7 years now and can assure you that there is no limit to how many business accounts you can manage at the same time as long as you keep creating and knowing how to manage your time efficiently,” he told Doha News .
“Every company has its own ideas and twists that give me the chance to let my creativity run free.
“The opportunity to work on multiple different projects is very exciting as it continually helps increase bottom line, career growth and build my reputation in the marketplace,” he added.
For well-known publicists Harriet Gyamfuah, the content creators are not respected enough.
“It’s short for digitized television, we don’t look down on the presenters on digitized TV, so why should we look down on those who use their phones – which we use more per second than watching a box?” She said.
Social media “works like anything else, and the bottom line depends on the amount of hard work you put in,” said Gyamfuah, who manages the top content creators in Qatar.
However, Qatar remains a “smaller market” compared to other GCC countries, especially when compared to countries like Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
“I want brands to understand that Qatar is a market in its own right and influencers here have their own audiences and credibility and should be viewed as such. Hopefully we can grow in this market even though it is a very small country, ”she added.
And there is space and potential for that.
“Qatar is a metropolitan hotspot, so it’s not just Qatari influencers, but Qatar-based influencers as well. The majority of the people who live here in Qatar are more expats than locals so we have really great expatriate influencers influencing the market itself as well as local influencers, ”noted Gyamfuah.
Influencing in Qatar
Although Qatar has a large number of local social media influencers and content creators, the Gulf state is a traditional, somewhat conservative country that adheres to strict rules to preserve its religion and culture.
“The idea of blogging in Qatar is not fully accepted by the people because we are a conservative country that wants to preserve its culture and traditions,” said Al Naimi.
“We don’t want to imitate anyone or be compared with others, so many people are still closed to the idea and criticize local public figures heavily on social media.”
However, she stressed that this phenomenon is more accepted and widespread in other neighboring countries such as Kuwait, which she described as the largest hub in the GCC for influencers.
In any case, the market is growing and society becomes more open to the idea.
Speaking to Doha News, Gyamfuah said that “local influencers have their own voice to publicize and market these activities,” especially there Qatar is expanding its sports portfolio and continues to host international events.
Undoubtedly, the Gulf state has grown in popularity in recent years, especially since winning the bid for the FIFA 2022 World Cup – which will be held in the Middle East for the first time in its history.
With less than 500 days to go before the historic tournament, international investors have their eyes cast to business opportunities across Qatar, where millions have been pumped to attract global audiences to the big sporting event.
The social media hype has also sparked intrigue for traditional companies.
“The first thing consumers do when they hear about a company is to search for it on any social media platform,” said Alsafadi.
“CCompanies in Qatar that have been in business for over 15 years now turn to me for help setting up social media accounts. You can see the huge impact this is having on people and how beneficial it is for a company to continue as it is, ”he added.