Students and a future in digital marketing. 

Entrepreneurship is typically associated with middle aged men and women, who, either joblessness or choice, opt to set up a business venture to make an income.

But the term has taken on a more youthful connotation in recent times as young people turn to the“side hustle” or participate in the act of “securing the bag”, to make some money even before they enter the job market. 

One of the spaces in which younger people have found entrepeneurship opporuntities is online, on platforms like Youtube where digital marketing has taken root.

 Jared Molko, YouTube brand partnerships led at Google South Africa was reported in a Business Tech article as saying that “70% of South African YouTuber users are from the ages of 18-34” and are dubbed the YouTube generation , also known as ‘Generation C’. Among this generation has emerged a group of entrepreneurs known as influencers. 

 Sive Mbono, a third year BA general student and YouTuber who creates fashion content and uses her channel to upload videos about what to wear on campus and seasonal clothing must-haves is an influencer. “I make money on YouTube by consistently uploading videos that are more than ten minutes and allow advertisements. On Instagram and Twitter, I get paid by the post and the rates differ from brand to brand and the type of content they require,” Mbono said.

“The idea came from watching pioneering influencers like Mihlali Ndamase and Jackie Aina turn their passion for makeup into digital careers, so I did the same, but with fashion.

“Influence” is defined by the Oxford dictionary as meaning “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.” On digital platforms, the ability to influence is a marketing opportunity for large companies and big brands and for young people to make some money through entrepeneurship.

Pamela Mtanga, campaign manager at Student Village which is marketing agency that “bridges the gap between brands and students,” said influencer marketing is becoming a huge market in the country and that influencers are competing for brand collaborations. “It is word of mouth that lives digitally and word of mouth is the oldest form of marketing so it has to work,” Mtanga added.

 There are a number of ways in which influencers are remunerated for their work, which is not always monetary form, according to Mtanga. One form is that an influencer can charge a set fee for each social media platform they post to.

The second form is called a trade exchange/incentive, which could be in the form of an experience, products or vouchers. Mtanga says that the second monetary form is the cheapest option brands go for because the product is at their disposal and compensation via a product or experience might actually be worth more than a cash payment.

The third is a combination of both forms of compensation, part cash and part incentive  and is usually done when negotiated due to the influencer needs to make use of resources when creating content.

One trend Mtanga has observed in the influencer space is a shift away from the use of celebrities or high-profile influencers to nano influencers (those with a smaller social media following) .  Mtanga says this is because celebrities are sometimes not relatable to the average person. “People want to feel represented and they want to be able to see themselves before making a purchasing decision,” Mtanga added.

Honours in Architecture student, Siphokazi William said she grew up on the internet where she had more friends online than in real life. “I’d watch other YouTubers, and feel close to them as though they were my friends and I wanted that for other people too,” William said.

According to William, the growth of her channel titled Siphokazi William: This is just how I live, has been the biggest reason why she has been able to turn it into an income stream. She has 15 600 subscribers where she shares beauty tips lifestyle tricks and vlogs (video blogs about her everyday life).

“The amount of interaction as well as the amount of time I put into the channel has allowed me to put a price on my passion and my work; however it was knowing the worth of my work that really allowed me to turn it into a form of income” says.

Thato Fox, a Youtuber with 29 400 subscribers, uploaded a video titled “The truth about making money on Youtube”, where she shared her personal journey with the platform and the ways in which it can make money for you.

“Making money on Youtube isn’t easy” Fox says … In terms of adsense (money earned through Youtube placing ads in your videos), there is very little money to be made, especially if you are starting out.

“To budding youtubers, be realistic about your goals. Like any other business, the first year is definitely not the year where you are going to make money. Time, effort and consistency will see you through,” Fox said.