Online and Making Thousands, at Age 4: Meet the Kidfluencers of branding

From today’s New York Times:

Samia was an influencer before she could talk.

Her parents, Adam and LaToya Ali, are influencers themselves and began chronicling Samia’s impending arrival on YouTube and Instagram in 2014, once Ms. Ali learned she was pregnant.

“Samia’s birth video is on YouTube, so she’s pretty much been born into social media,” Mr. Ali said.

Samia is now 4 and has 143,000 followers on Instagram and 203,000 subscribers on YouTube. Her feeds are mostly populated with posts of her posing and playing, but they also feature paid promotions for brands like Crayola and HomeStyle Harvest chicken nuggets.

There are instances when “Samia can’t verbatim get the message out,” Mr. Ali, who lives in the Atlanta area, said of the promotional posts. “Sometimes, their talking points are not kid talk, so LaToya would need to appear, or myself, to relay those because those are key deliverables that the brands want.”

Welcome to the world of kidfluencers. Brands have flocked to influencers — individuals, famous or not, with large followings on social media — for years, hoping their online popularity will prompt their fans to buy the products they vouch for. Then child influencers started appearing on their parents’ profiles, a surreal but seemingly harmless offshoot of this phenomenon.

Now, advertisers like WalmartStaples and Mattel are bankrolling lucrative endorsements deals for toddlers and tweens with large followings and their own verified profiles on YouTube and Instagram. As a result, children too young to make their own accounts on the platforms are being turned into tastemakers.

Read the complete article here.