Is 30k followers all you need to be a social media influencer?

UK’s independent industry self-regulation group Advertising Standards Authority recently said anyone with 30,000 followers should be considered a celebrity on social media

e4m by Shreshtha Verma
Updated: Jul 10, 2019 8:56 AM

Everybody wants to enjoy that celebrity status on Instagram, no? But did you ever think what does it take to become an influencer on social media and get brands to reach out to you to market for them? Well, the UK’s independent industry self-regulation group Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has come up with a new parameter that can make you an Instagram celebrity with less effort. According to ASA, anyone with 30,000 followers should be considered a celebrity on social media.

Agreeing with ASA on the numbers, brand guru Harish Bijoor, Founder of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, says 30K is a reasonable figure. “But it is not only about the numbers, but it is also about the quality of those numbers, the cohesive feel of those numbers, and the call-to-action response that the celebrity influencer is able to create with a post,” he adds.

However, Advith Dhuddu, CEO of digital marketing & creative tech agency AliveNow, doesn’t see 30,000 followers as a relevant number to call somebody a celebrity. According to him, accumulating 30k followers nowadays is quite easy, especially if you invest in ads.

“More importantly, the quality of a social media influencer should be measured on other parameters such as credibility, the authenticity of their endorsements and quality of their followers. For example, if I get 20-25k followers from Bangladesh or Nepal but my brand and consumers are based in India, the number of followers doesn't mean anything,” argues Dhuddu.

Dhuddu says that brands focus on various parameters before hiring a social media influencer. We cannot call somebody a celebrity just on the basis of the number of followers they have, he reasons.

Similarly, Sanjay Vasudeva, Founder & CEO of Buzzone, also thinks that, in the age of the internet, having 30,000 followers is not a big deal.

"30k is a very small number for anyone to qualify as a celebrity. But of course, someone who has a large following on social media platform is essentially a celeb on the platform and also a subject specialist. My fear is that it would lead to Instagrammers using uncanny means to gain followers. I also see the prices of these influencers going higher,” says Sanjay.

On the other hand, Shibani Bedi, a popular social media influencer with 51.2k followers on Instagram, feels that a having 30k follower is good enough as it makes you a micro-influencer. Bedi says that she started making money as a social media influencer when she had just 10k followers. So, according to her, one can start earning as a social media influencer easily. All it takes is it to have a strategy, a team of people and regular content.

“But to consider somebody as a celebrity, 30k followers alone is not really a parameter, as there are lots of other elements too that play a major role. These include the quality of content, credibility, etc.,” says Bedi.

When asked what brands look for while choosing an influencer, Bedi says the expectations vary from brand to brand. In general, most of the brands see influencer’s organic engagement, revenue turnover, credibility, and whether his/her content matches their ethos.

Talking about the competition in this field, Bedi says there is no such direct competition because here influencers purposely don't compete with each other. There is a strong competition like every other field, but it’s not direct, she says.

While brand gurus and market experts talk about there being a significant competition among social media celebrities, bloggers believe that there is no such competition and everything is easy there.

"I’ve never seen myself as anything else than a writer," says Tushar Mehrotra, an Instagrammer with 205K followers.

"Even after having an honest reader base of over 200K+ followers. I genuinely just hate the concept of celebrity," adds Mehrotra.

According to Mehrotra, brands, while choosing somebody as their face, primarily see their engagement, interaction and relation with the audience. This is, in turn, helps them in predicting the scope of their product.

Mehrotra reveals that he started earning from Instagram after achieving around 80K followers. “But today, becoming a star on Instagram is not a big deal. “But if you wish to earn, it will truly depend on your interaction with your audience and your marketing strategies,” he adds.

Well, despite bloggers refuting any rivalry, when it comes to brand endorsements, we just cannot ignore the indirect competition among them. After all, in the end, they all are running in the race of being the best! And if not much, the new ASA’s new guideline that anyone with 30,000 followers will be considered a celebrity on social media, will surely strengthen the competition on Instagram and other social media platforms.

While followers are one of the important parameters while choosing an influencer but that is not the only thing, says Ramesh Kaushik, VP Brand Experience at Blackberrys Menswear.

“Before establishing an association, it is very important to understand and consider other things like the influencer personality matching to brand persona, type of content/language being used/ target audience, reach and engagement of influencer with the followers while evaluating the same with your brand/product proposition,” added Kaushik.

In most of the cases, it is seen that nano influencers or influencers with less number of followers are more trustworthy and promising. According to Kaushik, “micro influencers are a promising bet as they generally seem more trustworthy, authentic, and relatable than those with huge followings. Their focused and limited following also means the potential engagement will be a lot stronger because these influencers will be much more aware and in tune with their immediate following since they've grown them and the following is still small enough to be able to engage well.”

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