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New York City – At 12:30 PM on Friday 8/4/23, social media influencer Kai Cenat, who has more than six million followers, said he would be in Manhattan’s Union Square that day, ready to give away free PlayStation 5 consoles and other prizes to fans who showed up.

“All trains go here so there’s no excuse,” Mr. Cenat said. “I love you all so much, bro.”

Soon, there were about 6,000 people massed in Union Square. It got out of control. Fans of Mr. Cenat darted in and out of traffic, climbing on the hoods of cabs and other cars. Others climbed up lampposts and traffic signs, toppled trash cans, threw garbage at police officers and set off firecrackers. It turned into a riot.

Mr. Cenat, 21, a live streamer, YouTuber, and social media influencer, has developed a huge following thanks to his videos on YouTube and Twitch, a livestreaming service where he is among the most watched.

Idle teens with no jobs and nothing to do? Dog days of summer? The power of a social media influencer? Or a combination of all? One thing is certain – with this one event alone, social media influencing has reached a new height – or low.

WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCING

Simply put, social media influencing is a relationship between a trusted figure on social media (the Influencer) and a product or service. In Kai Cenat’s case, it was a free console.

Influencers promote products through different media platforms like Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. They typically have a large audience of 10,000 or more followers and have knowledge or appear to have knowledge of what they are promoting. The only requirement for an influencer is “trust.”

influencer marketing is like word-of-mouth advertising gone viral. 92% of buyers turn to their peers for advice and word-of-mouth advertising accounts for a big percent of all purchases – so you can see the “influence” that social media influencers can generate. It’s like a recommendation from a friend.

What started out as a novelty 15 years ago on Facebook and YouTube is now a surging, thriving industry. It has grown from a $1.7 billion business in 2016 to $13.8 billion in 2021, and this year it is expected to hit $16.4 billion. There are anywhere between 5 million up to 20 million influencers on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

WHO ARE THE TOP SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS

As you will see, Kai Cenat is not even in the top 5. But even small influencers with a few thousand followers can persuade followers and provide marketers with key opportunities that reach engaged audiences.

According to HollywoodBranded.com, here are the current top social media influencers. They have millions of followers and in social media marketing, followers mean power.

Lele Pons

Lele Pons is a comedian, actress, and singer best known for her short slapstick comedy skits on YouTube. With 49.2 million followers and counting, Pons has become a powerhouse influencer who makes over $180,000 per sponsored post.

Charli D’Amelio 

The 18-year-old TikToker earns about $172,700 per Instagram post. Considering that she is the most followed person on TikTok (145 million) and that she has 49 million followers on Instagram, these numbers make perfect sense. She has a huge presence on social media and a big influence on Gen Z. 

Huda Kattan

Huda Kattan is a makeup artist, beauty blogger, and entrepreneur. She started her own beauty blog called Huda Beauty and grew it into a huge empire. Her own false eyelash line catapulted her to the mainstream overnight when Kim Kardashian was seen wearing them, and the rest is history. Huda now runs a multi-million dollar makeup company and makes an average of $158,515 per sponsored Instagram post. Her net worth is around $550 million.

Zach King

Zach King is a filmmaker and editing “wizard” whose claim to fame was on the short video-sharing app, Vine. Although that app shut down in 2016, he moved his skills to TikTok, where he has amassed 69.2 million followers, making him the sixth most-followed creator on the app. King shares his videos on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, where he has 24.5 million followers and makes an average of $81,000 per sponsored post.

Addison Rae

The 22 year old from Lafayette, Louisiana earns about $155,800 per post and has about 40 million Instagram followers. Along with being an influencer, Rae is also a singer and actress. Back in March 2021, she made her music debut with her hit single “Obsessed,” and in 2021, she made her way into the movies with her debut film “He’s All That,” which is a remake of the late 90’s classic She’s All That. 

Feel the power? See the money? Don’t hate. You can be a social media influencer too, and you don’t have to be a TikToker or a Gen Zer. We’ll be happy to help you tap into this booming market. Just click here: