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'We deserve what we're paid': TikTok influencers justify earnings, say content creation is hard

'We deserve what we're paid': TikTok influencers justify earnings, say content creation is hard
PHOTO: YouTube/HeyKaki

It's easy to assume that influencers are raking in big bucks, especially since they are so often seen with sponsored products.  

But are they really earning that much? 

In a video uploaded on April 20 by HeyKaki, three TikTok influencers — Tan Jie Hao, Cavin Chua Kar Shin and Ong Yi Ting — reveal more about the work they do, and why they think they deserve their pay for the content they create.  

Starting off the discussion, HeyKaki's host Xi Ying said that in a survey of 300 youths conducted by that media platform, about a quarter, or some 27.8 per cent of them, estimated that influencers earn about $4,000 to $6,000 a month. 

And a good chunk of them — 21 per cent, to be exact — believe that influencers can earn $6,000 to $8,000 a month, while 13.2 per cent of them thought that $8,000 to $10,000 was a reasonable amount. 

In fact, nine per cent of the surveyed youths even thought influencers can earn even more than $10,000 a month.  

"So, is this accurate?" the Xi Ying asked while the three influencers burst out into nervous laughter. 

"I'm trying to avoid that question!" said Chua, who makes dance and satirical content under the username Cayydences. @caydences almost fell for a scam?! 😱 Watch him, @yitinggoyt, @Dysfunc_t and @zoey (xiying) discuss about the untold stories of content creators! . . . #singapore #influencer #contentcreator #genz #tiktoksingapore #heykakisg #genzdecodes ♬ original sound - HeyKaki 嘿卡奇

How much should influencers earn?

In another survey, the youths were asked how much influencers should earn in a month. 

While 38 per cent of those surveyed felt like a good range would be between $4,000 and $6,000 a month, some 5.3 per cent of them felt this amount should be less than $2,000 a month. 

Influencer Ong, who specialises in videos done in Hokkien on her page Lashyoyt, pointed out that in the past, the budget for traditional advertisements would be between $40,000 and $50,000.

This is because the company would have to hire or engage people to settle the lighting, copywriting and post-production editing. 


"But now, all the jobs are done by one person. We come up with ideas, shoot, edit and post on our own platforms. So, we deserve what we're paid," she justified. 

She added that even while they may not have professional lighting or cameras, they may have a greater reach.

Chua chimed in to say that it also takes time for influencers to grow their following and this affects how much money one can make.

"Companies will only approach you when you have a following, when you have audience engagement. And the engagement to grow requires time," he said. 

Apart from creating content, influencers also have to deal with clients and this can be quite taxing. 

Chua revealed that there are usually a lot of back-and-forth discussions. 

And sometimes, after all that, the client can just drop them at the very last stage without paying a single cent. 

The pay varies 

Tan, who goes by the TikTok username Dysfunc_t and makes comedic skits and personal story videos, admitted that when it comes to influencers' pay, there is a lack of transparency in the pricing. 


"The offers you receive range," he explained, adding that some clients would give them a specific price quote, while others would request barter trades. 

Chua chimed in and said that there are dry periods as well where they don't have any business. 

"Some months, we earn zero dollars," he said bluntly. 

He even revealed that there are people out there who try to scam influencers. 

Speaking from experience, Chua said that a client had wanted to send him clothes to promote, but the items were allegedly stuck at Thailand customs. 

To retrieve the clothes, Chua was asked to fork out $300, which he almost did until his friend stopped him.

How much influencers actually earn 

Influencers can be categorised into different tiers according to their following. 

According to SEO agency Firstpage on April 5, micro-influencers have a following of between 10,000 and 100,000 followers, while macro-influencers typically have around 100,000 to 1 million followers.

There are also mega-influencers who are usually celebrities or public figures with over 1 million followers. 

A survey by HypeAuditor revealed that micro-influencers can earn between $50 to $500 per sponsored post, while macro-influencers can earn between $500 to $10,000 per post. 

And then, there are those mega-influencers who can rake in as much as $30,000 for a single post. 

"It’s worth noting that these are just averages, and how much earnings can vary greatly depending on various factors," reported Firstpage. 

ALSO READ: Zoe Tay tells son who wants to be an internet influencer: 'Only a few make money'

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