The demand for influencers in the marketing industry has steadily increased, driving a lot more people into building a career in influencing.

On social media, attention is currency. In 2018, when Edmund Oris, a medical student, tweeted about football that went viral, he quickly realized that the kind of outsized attention he got was monetizable. “I’ve tweeted daily since then, and Twitter is now my full-time job,” Oris told TechCabal. In the five years since his tweet first went viral, Oris has worked with Coca-Cola, Guinness and even Tiwa Savage; he also has 69,000 followers, significantly improving from the 2,000 followers he had in 2018. 

What’s often missing in “how-to stories” is how much rigour is needed. Oris says that being an influencer requires more planning than most people believe; every influencer must find their niche, that small area of focus where they can show expertise and build a loyal band of listeners. Such loyalty means influencers can recommend brands or products to their audience within their niche and encourage buying decisions. Per Twitter’s marketing team, about 49% of users rely on recommendations from influencers on the platform.

In the third quarter of 2022, Jumia spent $57.4 million on marketing; 60-70% was on influencer marketing. But influencers aren’t the only players in the value chain. Big companies work directly with agencies to manage the influencer marketing process, which involves contacting and negotiating with influencers. Influencers’ fees vary depending on their impressions, followers, and negotiating skills. According to Oris, negotiation skills are the most critical tool for influencers.

“Sometimes you can earn even more than another influencer with more followers if you know how to sell your brand. If you don’t, you’ll likely be shortchanged by the agencies,” he shared over a call with TechCabal.

Twitter influencers typically earn less than influencers on other platforms as they mainly tweet or repost already-designed content, unlike Instagram or TikTok, where influencers have to create this content from scratch—often shooting videos or taking product photos.

While the global average cost of an influencer tweet is about $1,643 for a mid-tier influencer (50K-200k followers), the amount for Nigerian influencers is much less. In Nigeria, mid-tier influencers typically get offered about ₦50,000 ($66) for a tweet. This amount can go up as high as ₦500,000 ($656) for global brands. 

Brand promotion is not the only way to make money as a Twitter influencer. Having an audience means that you can convert them to podcast listeners, YouTube viewers, or even people who buy your course, like Oris. He uses Twitter to promote his courses and e-books targeted at new influencers. His course, How to Grow Like a GOAT, promises one million impressions in 30 days. It costs ₦50,000 ($66), and he’s sold about 300 copies.

Community is critical for visibility on Twitter. The platform revolves around conversations and the most important trick for aspiring influencers is to be plugged into the right ones. According to Oris, The route to your first one million impressions is engaging in relevant conversations within your niche community.

“Create a list with about 100 influencers in your niche and engage with them constantly. Constant engagement increases your visibility and depending on the value of replies you leave, can translate into followers,” Oris said.

Beyond helping you gain visibility, constantly engaging with people doing well in your niche gives you a blueprint for the content that performs well. 53% of Twitter users prefer relevant and informative content, compared to 24% who want trendy content. There’s a science to content on various platforms, and just as reels have become critical to growth on Instagram, informative content keeps Twitter going. Users who share knowledge and information or opinions that spark conversation do better on the app.

Building a following on Twitter requires some degree of luck and a lot of experimenting. According to Victoria Gwaza, a Twitter influencer, one helpful tool for influencers is to be willing to experiment with different platforms and types of content. Many factors affect how well your tweets do, including the time posted, the day posted, and other conversations happening on the timeline. Sometimes, your message works better with images or videos attached. Other times, texts alone work best. 

“If you’ve tried everything and it doesn’t work, maybe consider another platform. Twitter is not the only place to be an influencer,” she said. While Oris has over 60K followers on Twitter, he has less than 1K followers on Instagram. He shared that he hasn’t been able to grow much of an audience there as it requires a lot of photos and videos, which are just not his forte.

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