Indy’s social media influencers on Instagram and TikTok

INDIANAPOLIS– How much time do you spend scrolling social media each day?

Chances are, it’s a lot more than you’d like to admit. Indeed, according to Forbes Americans spent more than 1,300 hours on social media last year.

People are turning to Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok for the latest trending topics and even trending products. It’s a big business that just keeps getting bigger.

But these days, it’s not just big-name celebrities selling these must-have products or hair vitamins online.

It might be your neighbor.

Photo credit: @ josie.bullard Instagram

Indiana has a budding influencer scene, where ordinary people have become social media stars with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of followers. And that translates into a lot of money.

CBS4’s Rachel Bogle sat down with some of Indy’s biggest influencers to learn the ins and outs of bustling social media activity and the reality behind their seemingly perfect newsfeeds.

Four years ago, Josie Bullard, from Noblesville, told her parents that the mainstream path of education just wasn’t for her.

“I saw other people fly away [on social media] and be really successful, ”she recalls. “And I just had this instinctive feeling that I had to pursue this and take a huge leap of faith… And I left college.”

During this time, Bullard’s number of social media followers was increasing and she saw an opportunity as an influencer and content creator.

“I feel like I finally took the plunge and gave up because when things really started to take off for me and it was the best decision I’ve ever made,” she said. declared.

Today she has over 173,000 Instagram followers, more than 4 million likes on TIC Tac, her own Blog, a new Behind the Feed Creator course (a bit like “Influencer 101”), a business leader, a line of presets, and his Podcast.

And she is only 22 years old.

The big influencer marketing firm is expected to be worth over $ 15 billion by 2022.

So where does all the money come from?

“Most of the money you make comes from collaborations with brands,” Bullard noted. “Many influencers make thousands of dollars with just one ad they publish”

She also says that there is a substantial amount of money in the exclusivity and the rights of use.

“[Brands] will pay you a certain amount to just post a photo, but if they want to use it on their own channels to make money with their own ads, you can charge a monthly fee for it, ”she explained . “I’ve made several five-figure deals for stuff like that already.”

To find out why so many brands are turning their attention – and their budget – towards influencers rather than more traditional business strategies, we spoke to Duncan Alney, founder of the Indy-based social media marketing agency, Belly of fire.

Photo credit: @wearefirebelly

“The reason brands get involved with influencers is to gain access to a new market that overlaps with what they’re looking for,” said Alney. “So you use the influencer’s audience, their trust and credibility to communicate with that audience and you go from there in terms of what you want them to do. “

And there’s a specific reason why non-traditional celebrity influencers seem to be reaching their audiences so effectively.

“We trust people who look like us or who look like us. Who we can identify with, ”he added. “So Kanye West can say something and his fans are interested… but it might not be as interesting as someone who lives in Carmel and you can relate to them. Maybe they drive a van like you and go to the same places as you and maybe you have a little more emotional connection with that person.

Alney basically says when it comes to brands if it makes money, it makes sense. Businesses don’t need a traditional advertising campaign.

Influencers are their own content creators: they introduce themselves to brands, run and edit their own campaigns, and generate measurable sales for partner brands.

Photo credit: @ josie.bullard Instagram

But there is one important factor for brands to consider: more followers doesn’t necessarily mean better results.

“What people usually think of is that it’s kind of the Kardashian effect. It’s like, ‘They’ve got a huge following… it’s going to be great for your business.’ And that isn’t always the case, “Alney said.” It’s really about that pairing process. “

And the right match starts with understanding the different types of influencers.

  • There are mega influencers, who have over a million followers
  • Macro-influencers with 100,000 or more subscribers
  • Micro influencers with 10,000 to 100,000 subscribers
  • And nano-influencers with less than 10,000 followers

Known online as @bighairandfoodiefare, Kelli Bastin has been successful as a micro-influencer, finding higher engagement due to the size and focus of her followers.

“Micro-influencers in general have more local followers than if you are one of the mega-influencers, because you know that if you have more followers, you have more. [followers] spread out, ”she explained.

Duncan Alney added another added benefit to using micro-influencers or nano-influencers.

“A lot of brands prefer to work with micro-influencers who are this because it’s easier to work with them and you don’t work with an agent and the legal requirements can be a lot less,” he noted, “Also, the actual influencer may actually be a bit easier to work with and their passion level is very high.

Bastin’s channeled her passion for cooking early in her influencer career, when she launched her Blog.

“I would post something on Facebook and then a whole bunch of people would ask me for a recipe. So I was like, “I’m going to post it in one place so I can share the link,” she recalls. “Then there was a time when I shared an outfit with my hair and makeup, and they got about 300% more views than all of my recipes. So I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to give people what they want to see.’

Since then, Bastin has been able to leverage his social media presence as a springboard for his full-time real estate job. She even received the title of Indiana’s Number One Real Estate Agent on Social media.

Photo credit: @kellisellsindy

“Most of my business… comes from social media,” she shared. “Instead of cold calling, which I don’t like to do… I get phone calls and a direct message in my inbox saying, ‘Hey, we want to sell our house. And that’s a beautiful thing.

So, with so much competition already in the influencer sphere, is there room for more?

“We always talk about community rather than competition. So… there is room for everyone at the table, ”Bastin said.

Alney agrees – with a caveat.

“I think the influencer model is solid. I think there is a way forward for this, ”he said. “But I don’t think everyone who wants to be an influencer will be. As if not everyone is trying for a great sports team to approach it, right? “

For more:

Check out the exclusive web extras of this story, where Indy’s biggest influencers speak candidly about sanity, transparency, and why it is vital for influencers to get real on social media if they are to be successful in the long run.

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