Profiting from your posts: Social media paying big for locals

Most of us share our lives on social media.  But more people in the Boston area are getting paid big bucks to post pictures, and it’s not just celebrities.

It’s people like Aly Webster.

"Getting paid for posts is based off your follower account for the most part," Webster told Boston 25 News.

The 29-year-old Boston-area woman has 151,000 followers on Instagram. Because of her massive following, companies reach out to Webster to push their products, and they pay her, handsomely, to post pictures.

"$2500 was one of the highest ones for me and it was just one post for a couple of hours,"  Webster said.

An influencer is someone considered with credibility the people follow to get recommendations of what's going on by promoting a product or service.

"If you told me like 5 years ago that I’d be running a lot of my business and paying my bills through pictures on social media I would’ve said you were crazy,"  said influencer Madison Ciccone.

She's known as "Maddztaddz" and has nearly 38,000 Instagram followers.

Ciccone started on Instagram about five years ago.  She credits her large following in part on her expertise as a "Soul Cycle" instructor.


But Ciccone says transparency is playing a bigger role now as well.

Instagram is now requiring influencers to be up front when peddling a product.

"Instagram is kind of cracking down on that in terms of you have a certain number of followers, you have to say it's a paid partnership," Ciccone stated.

According to a recent study by "Influencer Marketing Hub," there has been a 325% increase in searches for the phrase "influencer marketing" on Google over the last 12 months.

The study also shows businesses are receiving, on average, $7.65 for each $1 they spend on influencer marketing.

"Social media influencers have become huge in the last two years," said Stefanie Daneau.

Daneau is co-founder of Peppergang, Boston-based digital marketing agency.  She said social media influencers are now a valid marketing tactic for businesses, in part because they are typically more cost-effective and they can reach a specific niche audience.

"They create these situations where they let you into their lives and so what that does is create this sort of environment where people believe them and people want to follow them and they trust what they have to say.  So as a brand when you're using them, you can get into these really trustworthy situations without having to build the trust yourselves,"  Daneau said.

Aly Webster said you don't have to be a rock star to rock it on Instagram.

"There's not a lot of big influencers in Boston, which means there's a lot of different industries for individuals to step-up and to make money and have living off of it that way,"  Webster said.

In just two years, Ad Week magazine estimates influencer marketing will be a $10-billion dollar industry.

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