When your family is your brand: parents as social media influencers
Marielle Altenor didn’t set out to be a social media influencer. The young Quebec mom was simply looking for a creative outlet.
“I used to be on Facebook a lot to share my recipes, and I used to get a lot of comments on my recipes,” Alternor says. “So I decided to start blogging. That was back in 2013.”
Altenor established Lady Marielle, a blog sharing family life, recipes and do-it-yourself projects. Within a couple of years, she realized she could make money if she added product reviews to her website.
“The first time I did a review was for five dollars. It was for a protein shake. A good shake!” Altenor says. “I did a recipe, I did a full blog post, I promoted it.”
Today, she makes much more for a lot less work, cashing in on as much as $600 for a single blog post about a product. Her audience has grown too. Lady Marielle boasts 14,000 followers on Instagram, 10,000 followers on Twitter and 14,000 Facebook followers.
“[It’s] definitely the best job. I make my own hours. I decide if I want to work with a brand or not. I get to stay home! I love it.”
Social media professor Karen Freberg says influencers in the parenting sphere originated with bloggers but now they exist on numerous new platforms.
“They are successful since they come across as individuals like everyone else – and they appear to be more trustworthy, authentic and real compared to a paid spokesperson,” Freberg wrote in an email.
“As far as price range, this can vary based on the size of the audience. However, if they have an audience in the millions, they are making serious money because they have the attention of an audience [that] brands [and others] want to capture.”
While it can be a lucrative and flexible way to earn an income, Freberg wonders about the long-term consequences.
“There is certainly a cost to the families. No one is talking about the future ramifications of the children involved [have they given their own permission to be marketed and displayed for the world to see?]. What are going to be some of the things they have to be aware of as they grow up? How long will this trend last?”Freberg asks.
“There is a lot of financial, time and emotional investment involved, and those who are successful are willing to do all three of these things.”
When Altenor first started blogging, she omitted her children’s names from blog posts – calling them “little man” and “little lady” – but she now includes them. Her son is so involved, he even jokes that his mom needs to pay him if she wants him to pose in a picture with a product.
“I’m comfortable showing my kids,” Altenor says. “I’m comfortable with the world knowing them and they get to be in their life in a way that they wouldn’t if I wasn’t on social media. I’m not worried.”
As far as her longevity is concerned, Altenor doesn’t see the demand for her influence slowing down anytime soon and she plans to ride the trend as long as it lasts.
“It’s a dream,” she says with a laugh. “It’s a dream.”
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