NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Those adorable pictures and videos of your children may hold a key to Internet fortune.
Siblings Jaylin Fletcher, 9, and Jade Fletcher, 4, love getting their picture taken And mother Liz Fletcher is using social media to brand her children as a way to gain followers on social media.
“On a scale from one to 10, one million,” Jaylin said.
And Jade likes the free clothes – of which there are a lot.
“It’s helping brand my children,” Liz Fletcher said.
But if branding children sounds a little calculating, Fletcher notes that there is more to it.
“Every day we post another picture and we accumulate another 30 or 40 followers,” Fletcher said of her child’s widely popular Instagram account @official_jaylinfletcher
As those followers add up, they attract the attention of sponsors — who pay these new social media super stars big bucks in cash and merchandise to promote their products to followers.
“He’s definitely stacking up for college,” Liz Fletcher said. “He told me I can take the money and ship us all out of here to LA, and I said, ‘OK, we can do it.’”
Photographer Daisy Beatty says she’s seeing more and more parents positioning their kids to capture corporate attention.
“It changed my business just in that posting has become a big part of marketing,” Beatty said. “And it’s been fun.”
It has also been lucrative. Top earners like these kids bring in thousands, even millions, for their coveted insights — and precious popularity — whether they’re modeling or reviewing toys or video games.
Tyra Booker, 20, is a YouTube veteran. Booker started out posting fashion tutorial videos in high school. Now, shoe desigenrs, cosmetic and other companies are sending merchandise and gift cards so she’ll post about their brands.
“The real money I found comes from is sponsorships,” Booker said.
She estimates she has made over six figures.
Ken Courtright is an expert on how to make money from the Internet. He said there is potential to make income for some.
“You can make millions if you have a very large email list,” he said.
But it’s not for everyone.
“I certainly wouldn’t promote that as a business model,” Courtright said. “But boy oh boy, it does add a lot of revenue to a lot of businesses and households.”
And for anyone who wants to become a social media money maker, you should know it’s actually pretty hard work. It takes time and commitment — not to mention the look or talent to attract the all-important followers.