Influencer marketing is steadily gaining popularity as more brands realize its effectiveness in increasing sales. Ninety-two percent of marketers who used influencers in 2017 found it to have an impact on sales growth.
A survey by Leading Global Influencer Marketing Agency revealed that 79% of companies are willing to use funds on influencer marketing in 2019, with 47% of the companies dedicating a team to the sector.
This numbers can only mean that brands have embraced the importance of influencers in achieving growth and creating brand awareness. The survey indicated that over 90% of the respondents believe that this marketing strategy works.
Small companies can comfortably take personal direct loans with bad credit for business and invest it in influencer marketing with the confidence that it will expose their brand, bring in returns, and earn them a sizeable share of the market.
Who is a Social Media Influencer?
This is an individual who possesses the power to influence others to make a purchase decision due to their authority and credibility in a niche or their relationship with their followers. The influencer can be a celebrity, thought leader, blogger, micro influencer, or industry expert.
The individual poses as a buyer of a brand’s product and markets this product to followers with the intention of motivating them to buy the product, visit a website, or use a service.
The influencer community is mostly made up of women who account for 77%, while men take up 23%. This numbers should be good news, except that women receive less pay than men.
Statistics from Klear influencer platform indicate that while men receive an average of $ 459, women make an average of $ 351, which translates to earnings of 77 cents by women for every dollar earned by men.
Pay Gap by Channel and Industry
The pay gap in YouTube is the largest with 38%, followed closely by Instagram with 32%. Female travel influencers thrive and earn $45 more on average than their male counterparts while the lifestyle industry has more female influencers but make $206 less per post than men.
The difference in the pay gaps is astonishing. Men can earn as much as $200 more than women, but the only time when women earn more than men – it is by $45.
Travel is the most expensive industry given the complexity of its nature. The influencer has to travel, shoot videos, and take pictures which consume more time and effort. YouTube, on the other hand, is the most expensive medium of influencer marketing, which also uses videos to pass on promotional messages.
Reasons for the Wage Gap
Here are two ways we can try to explain the gap.
Overpopulation of women in the industry
The high saturation of women influencers in the industry makes it competitive, causing the prices to go down. The explanation may not be plausible considering that women have always earned less even in male-dominated industries.
Women are poor salary negotiators
In the influencer marketing industry, the influencer sets their price, which the company in need of services can accept, reject, or negotiate.
Women are known to be poor at negotiating salaries and with the high competition in the industry, they quote less, negotiate less, and thus get paid less than men.
Possible Solutions to the Problem
To close this gap between the earnings of men and women, both women and brand owners have a part to play.
There should be a standard rate of pay
There is no fixed pay for influencers. Each has a different price which they then negotiate with the brand owner. However, most companies are willing to take a higher rate from men than women. It gives men a higher starting point during negotiations.
So, although women in every field of work are poor salary negotiators than men, women in the influencer marketing world generally have a lower starting point and no matter how good a negotiator they are, they can hardly get to an equal payment with men. A minimum price should be set, which can increase depending on the negotiations and value of the influencer.
Brand owners have a duty to offer fair compensation to the influencers regardless of their gender. They should be more flexible in negotiations and look at what the influencer is bringing to the table.
Compensation should be determined by the number of the influencer’s following and the level of engagement among these followers. The fame of the influencer is no longer a sole determining factor. A celebrity may have a large audience with most being fake or automated bots.
Any woman influencer out there should be bold enough to ask for what they deserve, and this is compensation that matches that of men. As long as you are delivering on your part of the contract as expected, you should confidently bargain for a fair compensation depending on your worth.
However, this can only work when all women influencers work in unity. As much as women flood the influencer community, they should not provide cheap options.
There should be awareness
Most people assume that fields populated by women have no wage gap. Without the statistics that reveal the pay gap in the industry, most women influencers remain unaware of the situation. With the ever-rising cost of living, they are just glad to be making some extra dollars.
There cannot be a change if those affected by the problem remain unaware of it. If we are to slay the pay gap giant, we have to tackle it in every industry, and this includes the influencer marketing field.
The Issue of Sexual Objectification
As a woman, to earn close to what men get, she has to portray sex appeal in almost every promotional post. She has to display a perfect body, skin, and hair and wear a barely there outfit.
Look at the many Instagram models today. Anastasiya Kvitko, for instance, a Russian model who does not shy away from flaunting her curves has amassed over nine million followers.
Despite bending over backward by using sex appeal to create a brand for themselves, women have been on the receiving end of a new kind of harassment from ‘exposer’ pages.
The pages, some with thousands of followers, expose pictures of top-earning female influencers and accuse them of plastic surgery and using Photoshop. Some go to the extent of distorting the influencer’s photos.
The “exposer” page’s followers spew hatred on the influencer. They magnify and ridicule the victim’s weaknesses and tear them down with insults. This only makes the industry harder for female influencers.
If only women in the industry were compensated as well as men, there would be less need for them to use their sexuality to attract a massive following that demands higher pay from brand owners.
Big, small, and medium-sized companies have discovered the importance of the influencer marketing industry in beating the competition and promoting their products to millennials and generation Z.
The industry, dominated by females, has one major flaw – gender wage gap. Women are earning significantly less than men and have to use unconventional methods to get ahead.
If any success is to be achieved in closing the gap, policymakers have to play their part in creating a standard rate of pay. Women and brand owners should then use this minimum pay as a starting point for negotiations. By using this strategy, we can achieve some equality in earnings between male and female influencers.