Ted Murphy, IZEA Founder & CEO and Influencer Erica Alayne, join Yahoo Finance's Kristin Myers to break down IZEA's new report highlighting the state of influencer equality.
KRISTIN MYERS: We have the second State of Influencer Equality Report out from IZEA. And there remains gaps in pay between genders and races. We're joined now by Ted Murphy, IZEA founder and CEO, and social media influencer Erica Alayne. Thank you both for joining us for this conversation.
Ted, I want to start with you on this report. We're seeing influencers of color getting paid more and an increase of non-white influencers being sponsored. I'm wondering what's driving that change.
TED MURPHY: I think that the events over the past year have really driven a lot of that change. There are a lot of brands that have really looked at what has happened in the political environment, what consumers are looking for in terms of the content that they're looking at on social media. And they're trying to find influencers from all different backgrounds to partner with in order to promote their brands.
KRISTIN MYERS: Now, Erica, I want to turn to you. Your Instagram, mamaincolor, discusses racism and being anti-racist quite a bit. Are you finding that this content that really addresses these social justice issues are getting more popular and also more profitable?
ERICA ALAYNE: I definitely think that it's getting more popular. More people are feeling more empowered and comfortable about speaking out. And I definitely think that there is a lot of room for growth for influencers of color to be able to have room in this market.
KRISTIN MYERS: Now, Erica, looking at the report, and we have some of the graphs, there's still some gaps that remain, at least when it comes to how much is paid, for influencers based on gender-- men making much more than their female counterparts. I'm wondering why you think that is.
ERICA ALAYNE: I think that that's kind of symptomatic of just the world as a whole, unfortunately. And there's definitely so much room for growth with that, and I'm really hoping some of the things that happened over the course of 2020 will help definitely close that gap.
KRISTIN MYERS: And Ted, we're seeing that the average costs of the posts through the years is rising. Do you think that there's something changing about the way advertisers are approaching the content that they're trying to advertise or who they want to see their content that perhaps is driving these changes in price?
TED MURPHY: Yeah, I mean, it's really been remarkable to see what's happened since we first started in 2006. I mean, back then, influencers were getting paid $5 to $10 for a post, and $25 was seen as a real big home run. And now you're seeing that the average post in our platform is more like $1,600. Now that, of course, spans very small influencers to very large influencers.
But advertisers are really starting to see the value in sponsored content, and they're taking that content and they're repurposing it into their other advertising. So it's not just about the reach of the influencer anymore or how many likes or comments they have. They're actually taking that content and they're repurposing it on their own social handles, in their e-commerce experiences, on their websites, and even in television and print.
KRISTIN MYERS: I'm sorry. Did you say that the average Instagram post could make as much as $1,600? Because I'm starting to think that I perhaps am in the wrong profession, and I need to just go out there and try to post as much as I can on Instagram. Because that is absolutely incredible that we can see some influencers commanding that kind of money.
Erica, given that the prices are increasing, are you seeing increased competition? Is it becoming harder, really, to keep up with what the advertisers or what the sponsors want?
ERICA ALAYNE: I really don't think so. There's a lot of talk about how the market is saturated and things like that, but my philosophy is, there's room for everybody. And I think there's so much room for potential with influencer marketing that I think that there's something out there for everybody. So I feel like, you know, the potential is really limitless with it.
KRISTIN MYERS: Ted, I would love to hear your thoughts on that, what you're seeing as more folks get involved in this space, if you think that there is a saturation point when it comes to social media influencer marketing.
TED MURPHY: We think that these are still very, very early days for influencer marketing. We're excited about the progress that's being made on the pricing because a lot of these influencers really put a lot of effort and time into the content that they're producing. The platform that we launched earlier last year, Shake, is actually focused around allowing these influencers to more easily market themselves to be able to connect with advertisers and to be able to set their own prices.
So, you know, we just talked about the average post being about $1,600, but we actually completed a $40,000 TikTok offering just a couple of weeks ago. So there is a lot of money to be made. It's not easy being an influencer, as I think Erica would tell you, but if you put in the effort and you really take some time to build your brand and build your following, it can be a full-time job.
KRISTIN MYERS: I'm going to throw this last question out to the both of you. Perhaps, Ted, you can go first. Erica, I'll give you the last word on this. You know, new social media platforms are coming out every single day. I watch TikTok. I have not even attempted to try to make one. It seems far too difficult.
We have the new social media platform of Clubhouse out, which is an audio-only platform. How do you think that changes the game, some of these new platforms in terms of content creation, but also for some of these creators to monetize what they are doing on these platforms?
TED MURPHY: I think what's so cool about social media is that the world is constantly changing. I mean, when I first started doing this, it was on MySpace and message boards. And I remember when we were doing Vines. These platforms, they kind of come and go over time. Facebook has had some fantastic staying power.
But I think what you're seeing now is that there's some real competition. And a lot of that has been driven by what people are interested in from a content perspective. So, whether that's an audio chat on Clubhouse or creating real fun videos on TikTok, there's a lot of opportunity for people of all types.
KRISTIN MYERS: Erica, your thoughts?
ERICA ALAYNE: Definitely. I think, honestly, the more platforms, the better, just because, you know, what somebody else might relate to, someone else might not. So, like, it is-- like, if you want to go to Clubhouse to, like, learn more, grow more, different things like that, or you do like the fun TikToks, or you're interested in Instagram and things like that, I feel like there's so much room for both creators and for the people who do want to consume content. There's really kind of something for everybody.
KRISTIN MYERS: All right, what I've mainly learned is that I really need to up my social media game, my Instagram game in the coming weeks, months, and years. Ted Murphy, IZEA founder and CEO, social media influencer Erica Alayne, thank you both for joining us for this incredibly fascinating conversation.
TED MURPHY: Thank you.