Money for social media influence

The well-followed on social media are cashing in on their influence Jenna Wortham (@jennydeluxe) reports in a New York Times story this morning.

Brands and advertisers, looking for ways to reach audiences beyond television screens and magazine pages, are turning to people with many followers on social media and paying them to pitch products online. The social media stars, in turn, are finding that working as a conduit for a brand can be quite lucrative — sometimes generating more than enough money to live on.

The deals pay from $500 to as much as $50,000, with the average payout for a Vine video campaign in the mid-four figures.

Certainly enough to drop out of law school and forgo becoming a lawyer.

Robby Ayala… dropped out of law school to pursue his career as a full-time video creator on the video service Vine, publishing several goofy six-second movies to his 2.6 million followers each day. Last summer, he got a call from Niche, a company that wanted to hire him to make a short commercial for GroupMe, a messaging application, and post it for his followers to see.

Mr. Ayala, a natural ham, made a short comedy skit of himself using GroupMe to text his friends a selfie photo. He accepted the job, and others like it, which pay several thousand dollars, and he has not looked back since.

I’ve been blogging for going on 11 years, tweeting incessantly for half of that, growing a network north of 10,000 on LinkedIn, and using Facebook for the last eighteen months. Heck, I even have 2,000 followers on Google+.

No celebrity offers yet. But I have received an offer from a major media company who’s interested in sponsoring some of my Beer for Bloggers get togethers around the country.

As Greenfield (@scottgreenfield) would attest, getting someone else to pick up the tab for beer is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

A company called Niche has apparently become the talent scouting service and advertising agency rolled up into one, matching matches social media stars with marketers and advertisers.

Niche told Wortham they have close to 3,000 social media accounts, with a total reach of 500 million followers.

The best I can tell I have short of 50,000 followers. That leaves me a tad short of what appears to be the needed 167,000 I’d need to hawk outdoor grills to lawyers for Home Depot, one of the large advertisers working with Niche.

I’ll confess that blogging and other social media has been pretty good to me. Like many other company founders, I got LexBlog off the ground via my blog. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook came later.

Without blogging and social media, there is no way LexBlog could have built the brand it has and built a world-wide client base without the benefit of outside financial backing — and a lot more.

For lawyers and other entrepreneurs, blogging and social media can help you build strong businesses in a way that’s difficult or impossible to replicate. Hopefully you’ve got a business model which then generates cash.

For now, maybe I’ll follow up on the offer to buy the beer.

And of course, blog, Tweet, share and like to further build LexBlog and help empower lawyers network through the Internet.

Image courtesy of Flickr by implentation