Nobody knew that one-day internet sensation Kylie Jenner would become one of the iconic “Instagram Influencers“. Kylie Jenner was born to celebrity parents in 1997 and went on air with the famous show, “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, at a time when most children were learning to read and write.

She later underwent multiple plastic surgeries to look like her famous celeb sister Kim and replicate her success.  Kylie started a clothing line at the age of 15 with her sister Kendall and even endorsed a few brands on the way. Unfortunately, she was still struggling to make her place in the ever-famous clan of popular Kardashians.

A few years later, Kylie was declared as the youngest self-made billionaire by Forbes at the age of 21. She runs the very successful Kylie Cosmetics business and her net worth today is $900 million. Credit goes to her status as one of the legendry Instagram Influencers and as a result a strong influence on the purchasing decisions of her followers.

Kylie is a modern-day icon, with an incredible sense of the beauty consumer

Coty chairman, Peter Harf

We have always been hearing that success doesn’t come easy, it needs a lot of hard work and patience. But Kylie’s success has completely changed the rule of the game. So can you be successful overnight?

The answer is a resounding yes! Some have actually built Rome in a day.

Emily Roberts (@thelipstickfever), pictured above, is a fashion and beauty Instagram influencer with over 57k followers.

In today’s Instagram era, people like you and me can become celebrities overnight. Just by choosing a niche and becoming Instagram Influencers. Instagram has a massive reach. It has 1 billion+ monthly active users and 68% of people come to Instagram just to interact with creators. Let’s discuss some other time how we can do it 🙂

And businesses understand the power of Instagram Influencers. It’s a deeper level of connection on social media. It is a community of content creators who are passionate about creating content for their followers. These followers are not following a brand but a real person behind the Instagram Influencer they look up to.

Now, brands understood this consumer insight very early. They figured out that if people really believe in what these content creators are saying, then they would also prefer to buy a brand these creators are endorsing. With that knowledge at hand, an era of brand associations began.

Why Brands are eager to do business with Instagram influencers?

Brands would strike deals with these content creators and pay them for endorsing their brand. It wouldn’t be like a typical TV commercial but a much more natural endorsement. For example, won’t you be excited to sport the same pair of Adidas sneakers that David Beckham wears? Or even more natural, won’t you be excited to go to a restaurant that Amitabh Bachchan went to in Mumbai.

“All insta celebs had to do was, to visit a place, talk about which phone they are using to make this post, the car they are driving, and these brands would see an instant spike in sales.”

Brands started getting immediate results of these associations with Instagram Influencers that translated into sales. Meanwhile, Instagram’s community exponentially rose to a billion+. The entire ecosystem became an extremely profitable business for content creators and brands alike. Brands started chasing the top content creators and these content creators kept increasing their association fees as their followers grew. This is actually how Influencer Marketing came into limelight.

It reached a point where Instagram got its own ‘Instagram Rich List’. The 2019 rich list featured Kylie Jenner as the #1 Instagram Influencer making Rs9.6 Crores or $1.4Mn for every post. For most celebrities, Instagram became their #2 or #3 source of earning, if not the #1.

Some celebrities built an entire business empire online (read: Huda Kattan). Many Instagram Influencers who are not as big as the likes of Kylie Jenner, David Beckham, or Beyonce, maintain an extravagant lifestyle that is funded by these brands. They sport these brands whenever they can.

Like all of us, the fate of these Instagram Influencers celebs has been drastically affected by Covid-19

People around the world are staying indoors, working from home, and having a much less social life. This shift in consumer behavior has led to much less spending on non-essential objects like branded clothes, restaurants, salons, theaters, and other luxury items. Brands are now looking for ways to slash their advertising budgets.

In general, the Instagram Follower fraternity is not so inspired by the rich and lavish lifestyle of their favorite Instagram Celebs anymore. You would not want to see sunsets, travel pictures, and bungee jumping videos of these celebs when you are stuck in your studio.

What remains to be seen now is that how will these Insta Rich Celebs adapt to a post-COVID reality. Brand associations are disappearing from Instagram for a while. An interesting aspect would be to see if these Influencers reinvent themselves and survive or disappear into oblivion.

The community creating content on lavish lifestyles has taken the hardest hit. These are genres like fashion, beauty, and luxury travel. A lot of these Instagrammers have already started repositioning themselves. They are either creating a different type of content or taking up an alternative line of income. For example, Chrissy Rutherford, a Manhattan-based influencer and writer is planning to give away her clothes online to her 80,000+ followers. This will help her sail through these times, while still staying in news on Instagram.

Not all business category of influencers are losing money..

Not every influencer is doomed. Some are surprisingly witnessing a boom in their number of followers. Categories like health and fitness, wellness, interior design, and cooking are seeing a sudden uptake, fueled by the interest of people staying indoors. Increased time spent by home stuck users on Instagram has acted as a silver lining for some.

Fitness enthusiast Kayla Itsines now boasts a community of 12.5 million fitness enthusiasts. The Fitness empire of Kayla is now reportedly valued at over $450 million.

Instagram is also leaving no stone unturned to keep engaging these Influencers to drive more business

Instagram announced “Given the uncertain circumstances many are facing today, that commitment is more important than ever. Today we’re announcing new ways for creators to make money”

  1. Instagram Badges in Live: Fans who would purchase badges during a live video get additional features. Creators have another source of revenue.
  2. IGTV ads: Advertisement revenue earned in IGTV ads will now be shared with creators.

As digital celebs, probably the biggest skill that these creators need to have is adaptability. After all, they are putting themselves out on a medium that is changing dramatically every single day.

Did I just generate your interest in becoming Instagram Influencer?

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A Black Coffee Nazi, working as a digital marketer with nearly 8 years of marketing experience across top brands. I like addictive conversation, ramblings on human psychology, and look forward to writing my book someday. Connect with me on LinkedIn for all things digital and marketing.

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