Indian TikTok influencers scramble for earnings, followers after app ban

Indian TikTok influencers scramble for earnings, followers after app ban

NEW DELHI: Gaurav Jain, a TikTok influencer with over 1 million followers, hasn’t been getting the same traction for his educational short videos on any of the Indian social media apps that have shot into limelight after the ban on 59 Chinese apps.

“TikTok had a section called edu talk where creators published educational content in an entertaining way. I was creating content on mental health. Many creators were teaching English, life hacks and skincare. Views on new platforms aren’t the same,” said Jain.

Geet, another TikTok influencer with 11 million followers, has now started using Instagram Reels, but misses the exposure that TikTok provided. Geet is a social worker who works with youth and at-risk teens in India and creates motivational and educational content. “TikTok was an extension of the work I was doing. It allowed me to connect to teens at larger scale. The underprivileged kids I worked with, they were using TikTok more than any other platform,” she adds.

For creators who were more active on TikTok, getting the same number of followers on Reels won’t be easy. Even the top influencers like Riyaz Aly who had 42.3 million followers on TikTok had 8.4 million followers on Instagram.

Geet explains that on a lot of other social media platforms aesthetics is very important. On TikTok that didn’t matter. The community was more accepting and supportive compared to other platforms. Even if you didn’t look like a typical influencer, you could be successful.

After the TikTok ban, other social media networks in the space have been trying to attract influencers to their platform with lucrative deals. Homegrown platform Chingari has announced a talent hunt show which can help top content creators earn up to 1 crore from a prize pool of 2.8 crore.

US-based short form video platform Firework has started a creator challenge offering contracts worth 5 crore and 25 lakh in cash. Firework also shares 33% of its streamshare with its creator community.

Instagram is reportedly in talks with some influencers too.

However, Jain feels that the money making potential on other platforms is less considering the reach and brand deals. Brands are also in ‘wait and watch’ mode, so that they can also figure out their strategies to fully utilise their marketing budgets.

“Brands will not be looking at Reels the way they are looking at TikTok, as the brand story won’t come out in 15 seconds. TikTok had a humongous reach that still hasn’t been matched by any other platform be it Reels, Roposo or Chingari,” said Sanjay Vasudev, founder & CEO, BuzzOne Influencer Marketing.

As far as revenue is concerned, the ban has caused an estimated dent of 120 crore for the top 100 influencers, according to findings of Indian Institute of Human Brands (IIHB). Influencers with 1 million followers could easily make up to 35,000 per month and with twice the following up to 50,000. Some of the top influencers like Riyaz Aly was making 5-6 crore in annual earnings from TikTok and was expected to make 8-9 crore in 2020, according to IIHB.

“It will take long time before any of the new platforms would be able to allow influencers to make the same kind of money. Even in case of TikTok influencers making money is a phenomenon that started only a year and half ago and the platform is five years old. Going to Roposo or Reels won’t get them the same viewership or money for the next 9 months to 2 years,” adds Vasudev.

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