Content creators and influencers are popping up across social-media platforms, but building a successful business model on social media can take 18 months.
- A new study from The Tilt, a newsletter for content creators, revealed that it takes a year for influencers to see profits from their social-media accounts and 18 months to establish a sustainable business.
- The average influencer earned a profit after just 4.9 months of content creation. However, it took 12.7 months for the influencers to commit to a full-time business.
- By 18.4 months, the average content creator could fully support themselves through social-media content, Business Insider reports.
Why it’s news
Social-media influencers are more than internet-obsessed celebrities. If they can build an audience or find an interesting subject matter to discuss, these content creators can snag brand deals, collaborate with major companies, and successfully promote products for advertisers.
There are occasional overnight influencer sensations, like Elyse Myers, but most creators have spent months consistently producing quality content and working to build a platform their audience identifies with. Even creators who achieve sudden success have to work to maintain a platform and audience.
The Tilt’s findings are similar to previous studies the newsletter has conducted over the last several years, indicating that little has changed with the market. The path to success for an influencer is still steady, consistent work over many months.
“If you’re looking at what’s a success factor for content entrepreneurs, it’s resilience,” The Tilt’s founder Joe Pulizzi says. “It’s just continuing to deliver consistent content over a long period of time and focus on whatever your differentiation area is.”
The timeline for success was based on influencers who spent most or all of their time building their brand. “Side gig” creators, or ones who only spent part of their time producing content, took longer to reach profitability.
The study also found that the average influencer has a relatively small audience of 4,000 followers—small compared to top influencers like Instagram biggie Charli D’Amelio, who has 28.4 million followers.
Since influencers can be successful with just a few thousand followers, Pulizzi says that creators should focus on building an engaged audience rather than a large one.
“You don’t have to have a hundred thousand or a million or 10 million followers to make a business out of this,” he says.
Full-time content creation also requires investment. The Tilt found that creators spent an average of $10,700 to start their business and regularly spend $1,000 to $2,000 on tech yearly. Many used their savings to jumpstart their new career.
Successful influencers tended to be in the Millennial or Gen X age demographic, indicating that for many, content creation was not their first job and is likely their second or third career.
Many relied on consulting or coaching to monetize their popularity. Once creators have reached a certain level of popularity, other smaller influencers want to learn from their success. Creators can monetize this desire by offering fees for consulting and coaching services.
Influencers also profited from advertisements and sponsorships, paid memberships, online classes and workshops, and book deals, Business Insider reports.