By: Destiny Andrade

Right now, there are millions of people on social media- scrolling past picture after picture and post after post. While social media was originally created as a place for people to connect and share their lives with others, it has become a multifaceted tool over the last few years. Nowadays, with people recognizing the increasing opportunity for business on social media, millennials are utilizing social media platforms as their own personal cubicles and offices.Influence marketing is on the rise. New York Magazine’s Intelligencer calls influence marketing a “multi-billion-dollar industry.” Intelligencer also defines influence marketing as a new term “used to describe whenever a popular online figure is paid to promote a product or service within their social media feed.” In other words, young people are using their literacy in social media to promote and represent companies for a profit.

Companies love these endorsements. In fact, Intelligencer reports that in 2016, an endorsement from an influencer would cost around $5000. Today, brands pay well over $100,000 for those same endorsements. A popular example of brands who are endorsed through social media are weight-loss tea companies. Brands like FitTea, SkinnyMe Tea, Your Tea, and BooTea are powered by paid promotions on Instagram and other social media sites. Thought Catalog states that teens with a high social media status make “quite a bit of cash for these sponsorships.” Most promotion prices are said to cover most people’s rent for a year. A tweet posted by YouTuber Arianna Dantone shows a payment of $11,850 by a brand to an influencer in 2016. If a payment was that high three years ago, payments today are almost guaranteed to be as high as $100,000, as previously mentioned.

There are reasons why millennials are choosing this area of employment, and they make sense. Fred Tuffile, director of Bentley University’s Entrepreneurial Studies program, told Forbes Magazine that millennials are eager to make their own pathways because they suspect the traditional ones may lead nowhere.” It is evident that millennials are not interested in working 9-5 jobs. Forbes claims that 37% of millennials who responded to their survey sad that they want to work on their own. Millennial Money, a blog by millennials, says “because so many jobs can be done online, we as a generation are becoming increasingly mobile in our careers.” These millennials even call themselves ‘digital nomads.’ On top of wanting a different lifestyle, Millennial Money reports regarding themselves, “we have unique money challenges.”

Millennials have massive student loan debt and historically low wages. Jobs that allow them to make an abundance of cash in an easy way assist with loan payments and make up for low wages from those 9-5 jobs they are trying to avoid. So, as you along with millions of others scroll through social media today, keep an eye out for those ads. It’s time to think about the posts you see in a different way. While you may use Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or Facebook for fun, you may be looking at someone’s ‘office’ when you access these apps. If you can tell the difference between social media being used for pleasure and social media being used for business, you may be one step closer to becoming an influencer yourself!