Social Media Influencing & Marketing

Is it a real career, is it not a real career?

That all depends on what your definition of ‘real’ means – and if it’s about making a financial income, working with a wide range of people, and using entrepreneurial skills to achieve business goals, then yeah – we’d say that’s pretty real!

A social media influencer has an influential audience of online followers and usually some form of credibility within an industry, which might be beauty, finance, gaming and sport, fashion, photography – you name it!

Social media influencers leverage their audiences and credibility to partner with brands who pay them to promote, advertise or talk about their products and services to their audiences. This could be via social media posts, YouTube videos, or other promotional content.

Influencers fit into one of five categories based on their follower count:

  • Nano influencers: between 1,000 and 5,000 followers
  • Micro-influencers: between 5,000 and 20,000 followers
  • Power or mid-tier influencers: between 20,000 and 100,000 followers
  • Mega influencers: between 100,000 and 1 million followers
  • Celebrities: more than 1 million followers

Becoming a social media influencer involves creativity, proactivity and establishing your credibility within your niche.

Social Media Influencing is one of the fastest-growing industries to emerge in recent years – and it’s not just influencers themselves that form a part of this industry. Other career areas to explore include:

  • Marketing & Public Relations for Social Media Profiles
  • Talent Management
  • Ad Revenue Management
  • Personal & Executive Assistants
  • Online Community Management

There’s no clear-cut way to build a successful career as a social media influencer – it’s a real mix of strategy and luck! But thankfully, there are lots of pathways to explore and many existing influencers to learn from.

What You Could Do

As mentioned, there are other career paths to explore outside of being an influencer that all build the industry.

Here’s a look at some of the jobs you could explore:

PR and Outreach Manager

Public relations (PR) and outreach managers are specialists in connecting brands with their audiences in practical and creative ways. They supervise activities that promote and sell a brand for increased awareness and visibility among selected audiences. In this role, they might work with social media influencers to help connect them with relevant brands or work for a brand, seeking appropriate social media influencers to partner with.

Influencer Marketing Manager

Influencer marketing managers manage the creation of social media strategies and the planning and execution of successful social media and influencer campaigns. They ensure that they have the right content needed to deliver a campaign and liaise with influencers and outreach managers to secure the materials they need.

Influencer Relationship Coordinator

Some brands may have numerous partnerships with a wide variety of influencers – Influencer relationship coordinators are the people who look after these partnerships. Similar to an account manager role, they ensure that paperwork and compliance agreements are in place, that influencers deliver required content on time and that it meets agreed-on KPIs. They’re the point of contact for all influencers engaging with a brand.

Social Media Community Coordinator

When influencers have large followings across multiple social media channels, it can be hard to keep up with requests, comments, and engagement from their followers on these platforms. Maintaining a strong relationship with followers is key to the success of an influencer, so many may hire a community manager who keeps everything flowing smoothly, responding to queries quickly, flagging issues and being the point of connection between an influencer and their community. They may help arrange giveaways, live chats, and other online activities an influencer engages in to build positive relationships with their audiences.

Personal Assistant

As a social media influencer gains popularity and receives more requests, they may take on a personal assistant to help them manage their commitments and stay organised. Personal assistants can help with anything from managing calendar appointments, and emails to taking telephone calls or assisting with other daily tasks such as coordinating post, collecting parcels, arranging dry cleaning, and anything else required and agreed on as part of their role with the individual they assist.

Photographer or Videographer

More serious and branded influencers will want to deliver highly stylised and polished content – which often means hiring a professional to help them catch images and media to meet the demands of the brands they’ve partnered with. Photographers and/or videographers partner with influencers to help them deliver high-quality products/content to keep the brands they work with happy. They’ll need great experience and skills in capturing imagery and editing, as well as being highly organised and able to deliver a product with short turnarounds.

Social media influencing is a growing industry, so it’s highly likely we’ll see more roles emerge in the years ahead!

Graduate Employment and Gender Split

A degree isn’t necessary for many of the roles in the sector, but having a degree can be a great way to boost your knowledge and promote to audiences that you know your stuff.

Some popular degree choices might include:

  • Social Media
  • Marketing & Communications
  • Public Relations
  • Photography

Or you could specialise with a degree in the niche you want to explore influencing in, such as:

  • Fashion
  • Nutrition & Fitness
  • Travel

The Graduates Outcome Survey tracks graduate employment across different industry sectors.

Here’s the most recent data for this industry:

  • Culture & Social Sciences Graduates in full-time employment: 59.7%
  • Creative Arts Graduates in full-time employment: 49.2%
  • Communications Graduates in full-time employment: 55.2%

Keep in mind this doesn’t account for graduates who freelance or may have continued to higher studies,

*Figures from 2020 survey results.

Gender Split

The gender split is based on the type of influencing you to want to do, but there’s also a split in the roles that support influencing as an industry.

For social media influencers themselves, reports indicate that there are more women than men:

  • Males: 16%
  • Females: 84%

It may be worth noting that more men seem to work as photographers and videographers within the sector, and more women seem to work as community managers and personal assistants.

At Explore Careers, we’re actively working with employers to help them promote Gender Diverse & Gender Positive workplaces.

Average Salary

As a social media influencer, your earning potential is largely based on your follower count.

Influencers charge based on the type of content they’ll share to promote the product, brand or organisation.

Average fees could look like:

  • Between 100,000 and 1 million followers: $80 – $1,590 per post.
  • Between 20,000 and 100,000 followers: $33 – $330 per post.

For other roles in the industry, median salaries range around:

  • PR and Outreach Manager Roles: $50,700-$69,500
  • Influencer Marketing Manager Roles: $55,000-$65,500
  • Influencer Relationship Coordinator Roles: $56,500-$72,500
  • Social Media Community Coordinator Roles: $58,000-$93,700
  • Personal Assistant Roles: $60,800-$85,000
  • Photographer or Videographer Roles: $54,400-$70,500

Salaries can be pretty varied, with lower expectations for entry-level roles.

Salaries are also determined by several factors, including:

  • The segment of the industry you work within.
  • Your job title and seniority.
  • The amount of experience you have.
  • Any additional qualifications or certifications that give you a specialist skillset

Industry Growth

While social media influencing isn’t formally identified as an economic market in many circles, there is lots of data about the impact this career sector is having – both on the economy and job creation.

Let’s take a look at some key data:

  • Data from Statista found the entire industry was worth almost $14 billion in 2021.
  • This is a 42% year-on-year increase from $9.7 billion in 2020.
  • The industry is projected to exceed $16 billion in 2022.
  • 97% of marketers consider Instagram the most important influencer marketing channel.
  • Social media influencer has become a target career for 86% of young people.

Social media influencing remains a relatively new industry, and it has grown enormously – especially during the pandemic.

It’s definitely one to watch and explore, but remember that personalities and celebrities – even influencers – tend to have a relatively short career.

If you’re looking for a career path with longevity and opportunities to diversify, this might not be the right path for you.

Qualifications and Entry Pathways

Entry pathways are varied and will depend heavily on the type of role you want to get into.

You’ll typically need at least your high school education certificate for most roles and learn on the job while you gain industry-relevant qualifications.

As mentioned, if you want to become an influencer in a specific niche, you could explore a degree in that area to help boost your knowledge, such as:

  • Bachelor of Fashion Design
  • Bachelor of Nutrition
  • Bachelor of Creative Arts

Alternatively, degree programs related generally to the field of marketing and media could also be helpful:

  • Bachelor of Creative Media
  • Bachelor of Marketing and Communications
  • Bachelor of Public Relations and Management

Even for influencers who do hold qualifications, many have found that hard work, commitment and strong knowledge for how the social media industry works overall have set them up well.

You could look into professional or vocational qualifications in business management and entrepreneurship qualifications to help with this.

Requirements will depend on the type of role you want and the company – so make sure you research.

Whatever your circumstances, grades, or preferred way forward – there’s a qualification pathway that will work for you

Best Places to Study

Where you choose to study will depend on various factors, but some top institutions to study social media, marketing, and related subjects include:

  • University of Melbourne
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Sydney.
  • Deakin University
  • Monash University
  • University of Queensland
  • Macquarie University
  • Australian National University

Your local TAFE and vocational education providers are also excellent places to reach out to explore vocational qualification options

Top Skills You’ll Need

Some of the key skills identified to be successful in the industry include:

  • Relationship Building
  • Communication
  • Organisation
  • Negotiation
  • Decision Making
  • Social Media
  • Problem-Solving
  • Creativity
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Analytical

Where to Learn More

To find out more about careers in social media marketing, you should consider the type of influencing you’d like to be involved in and research other influencers in the sector to help give you an idea of what the role could look like.

If you’re interested in the business and entrepreneurship side of things, some great places to explore include:

If you’re interested in exploring social media and marketing more generally as an industry, you could take a look at: