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How social media has turned attention into money

Social media trends lead to influencers making money from companies capitalizing on their growing fan base.

People are literally dying because of social media.

People are doing dangerous stunts for a chance of becoming famous. Some stunts are pranks, shoving pie into people’s faces. Others are more dangerous such as squeezing lemon into one’s own eyes or rolling down a flight of stairs in a trash can. In some instances the dare devil actually dies. 

Wu Yongning was a famous Chinese daredevil known for getting on the rooftop of tall skyscrapers and either standing on the tallest point, or hanging off the edge. But one day he was hanging off the edge of a skyscraper to shoot a video when he couldn’t climb back up. He lost his grip and fell to his death.

These extraordinary acts are successful at grabbing attention online, and that attention translates to money. Instagram stars know that if they make an attention grabbing post, advertisers will value that attention. An attention grabbing post would get at least 1 million views. 

One influencer, Supreme Patty, in his first viral post ate 3 hot dog sausages in 5-6 seconds. This post would get 1.6 million views and be reposted by many including actor Orlando Bloom. Supreme Patty is also famous for doing stunts that lead towards the dangerous side. In many of his viral posts, he likes to squeeze lemon juice into his eyes and follows it up with him snowboarding, doing a skit, or doing a dangerous act.

Acts like these can lead to sponsorship deals. Companies will sponsor influencers that have a follower demographic that matches their retail demographic. Some companies like to do long term deals. This means they will grow with the influencer. If the influencer gains 10 thousand followers, then the company is getting exposure from 10 thousand more people.

For content creators Instagram is a source of revenue. They get sponsored by all sorts of companies that are willing to pay the creator In exchange for the promotion of their products. As of 2020, Instagram has around 6.12 million brand-sponsored posts on their platform. Vox claims that influencers with a small following can make anywhere from $30 000 to $60 000 a year while those with up to 1 million followers can make $10 000 per post. 

Marketing professor J. Scott Armstrong says, “The basic idea here is that companies are trying to tie into the mere ‘exposure’ effect [which is] a well documented phenomenon.”

YouTube has seen as much attention grabbing content from its creators as Instagram, if not, more. Youtube has around 50 million active content creators compared to Instagram’s 500 thousand. 

In the video, he showed the relative valued he puts on his safety as compared to his content.  “My life is over, my life is over,” he lamented “I can’t film videos anymore.”

This is proven to be helpful for both parties according to Later and The Balance Small Business. Later states that “collaborations and sponsorships are a huge part of social media strategies today.” They show examples of how much influencers make coming straight from them. They can make from $10 per post, all the way up to $1500. The Balance Small Business goes more into the business side and explains that there are many benefits of sponsorships. This includes building brand awareness, increased reach, generating media exposure, and distinguishing yourself from other companies, etc.

An Instagram influencer with 300 thousand followers, Dan the Meme Man, is widely known as the guy who gets in a trash can or sleds down dangerous down slopes.  In one instance, he got on a sled and slid down a flight of stairs. The sled got rocked over and Dan fell off. He broke his jaw, wrist and lost some teeth. 

Image Credits: PhotoMIX-Company

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