Kid Influencers: How Kids Are Becoming Famous on Instagram
Last week, Kim Kardashian’s five-year-old daughter North West, outlined her desire to become a kid influencer. Fresh off the cover of WWD and with rumours of a video collaboration with teen sensation Jojo Siwa in the works, the online future for North looks bright if somewhat unpredictable.
North’s desire to become a social media star is just one example of a new generation of kids who don’t aspire to be astronauts or ballerinas, but instead to become online sensations. But what is a kid influencer and how are they changing the way that brands market to a younger demographic? Plus, with the nature of the internet, is there a darker side to letting a younger age group have free reign online?
What is a Kid Influencer?
Their social accounts may contain the disclaimer ‘ran by guardian’ but these pint-sized stars are firmly in the driving seat.
A kid influencer can operate a YouTube channel, Instagram account or pretty much on any other platform but the premise is pretty much the same. Kids share their hobbies and lives with other kids and also market them stuff that may be of interest through various paid partnerships with affiliate brands. It works very much like the traditional influencer modus operandi, except that most of those involved are technically too young to even have an account on the platform that they are prominent across. From reviewing toys to gaming and even fashion inspiration, children can develop a virtual connection with influencers of a similar age who provide entertainment akin to watching television or reading their favourite book. Think of them as storybook characters for digitally savvy children.
How Does It Work and What Does Their Role Entail?
Essentially, most of the content produced by these children influencers is relatively organic as they will have shown an interest in their particular field from a relatively early age. However, once prominence begins to increase, brands will often approach kids and offer, via their parents, differing sums of money for a particular partnership. These partnerships can be incredibly lucrative with some influencers charging up to $20,000 dollars for a collaboration and fame can be pretty much instant. With over 53% of the modern world having access to the internet, if someone develops presence or notoriety, they can become a household name overnight. Famous examples of this include Jojo Siwa, Sophia Grace, Matty B raps and the Momo twins.
Why Do Brands Want to Work With Kids?
The rules of advertising to children are complex and murky. Television Ofcom places very strict regulations on what is and isn’t allowed and it is deemed questionable to market directly to children via social media. However, brands realise that kids watch material from those of a similar age, meaning that these influencers can often be an implicit marketing tool for pushing products into young and impressionable minds.
Although the ethics of this are hotly debated, essentially the organic integration of brands into a child’s online life and presence are a key way of tapping a young audience into a particular product. Children like to mimic and copy, so seeing an individual that they admire using certain toys or items is often a sure fire way to switch them on to a brand.
What Are The Benefits… and The Dangers?
As aforementioned, the life of an influencer is every child’s dream. From more free toys than they could ever play with to the chance to make sums of money that will go on to help immensely in later life e.g. paying college tuition fees.
There can be little doubt that the life of a popular child influencer is filled with success, excitement and reward. However, there is a darker side to it, as is the nature of the web. Social fame is often quick and children can be unaware and unprepared for the real world implications of this. Whether they are being stopped in the street for photos or becoming the talk of their school and peers due to their prominent presence, it can be difficult to deal with this level of attention and the unflinching scrutiny of the public eye.
Furthermore, with the saturation of social sites such as YouTube, the toast of today can quickly become irrelevant by tomorrow meaning that many will experience crushing lows when they least expect it. Factor in the usual issues of internet safety, coupled with the lack of experience or understanding to comprehend such large sums of money and you have a recipe for a potentially very damaging sequence of events.
So, What is Expected in the Future for Kid Influencers?
There can be no doubt that the exposure and chance to partner with big brand names can truly set up a kid influencer for life and they in turn, can bring a breath of fresh air to any ailing brand. However, this is only the beginning for this new marketing phenomenon and there can be no doubt that there will be more celebrity kid influencers over the upcoming years as social media becomes more and more important to brands.
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