By NICO GOUS
Global Business Journalism reporter
Part 2 of a 3-story special report
CAPE TOWN, South Africa – If TikTok is closed down tomorrow, Amron Siebritz will have to find a new job.
“I would have to think of another job,” she joked in a recent interview with Caxton with her and her twin sister Geo in Cape Town.
They are known on social media as the Siebritz twins and are social media influencers who are passionate about fashion.
“I don’t think people think it’s a real thing," being an influencer, Amron says. "They’re like, ‘What? A job? Is that a job?’"
They may make it look easy, but the Siebritz sisters work hard at being social media influencers.
“Some people feel like it is so easy, like you’re just taking a photo, it’s so easy,” Amron adds.
TikTok recently named them as one of the top 10 most popular creators in the country in their
2020 year-end rewind.
They are earning a good income from social media, charging R5,000 to R10,000 per post on social media. Their rates differ according to how big and established brands are. For smaller brands, it will sometimes be for product exchanges, but for bigger companies they charge more. They charge about R50,000 for a full campaign, which includes photos and videos.
“Influencers are making more money than what someone who works a 9-to-5 normally makes. What we make in a day would be someone’s monthly payments,” Geo adds.
According to the Quarterly Employment Survey for Q2 2020 by Statistics SA, the average income in the country is R21,455 per month.
They have worked with brands such as Mr Price, Nivea, Puma, Converse, Old Khaki and more. In June 2020, they used their social media presence to launch their own clothing brand, G & A Couture.
“Your passion becomes your profession,” Amron says.
They inherited their love for fashion and performing from their parents, and performed at family get togethers, singing, dancing and acting, since they were children. The tipping point for them when
they started taking their social media accounts more seriously was when brands became involved.
Brands often email them about an ad campaign they want the twins to promote, ask what their rates are and how many posts they want. Brands offer guidelines on what they want, allow the twins to execute in a way they want, but the brands have to approve the posts.
“A lot of them want us to be ourselves. They don’t want it to be too commercialized,” Amron says.
According to technology research firm World Wide Worx and brand intelligence company Ornico’s ninth annual study on the South African social media landscape published in June 2020, TikTok has about six million users in South Africa.This means it only lags behind messaging service WhatsApp (10.1 million users), Facebook (9.1 million users) and YouTube (9.1 million users). TikTok was released in the country in 2018.
According to the latest estimates by Statistics South Africa, the country has a population of 59.62 million people. According to DataReportal, South Africa has 38.19 million internet users, so about one in six local internet users are using TikTok.
They twins have almost 195,000 followers on TikTok (@siebritztwins), making them part of a s
elect group. According to influencer marketing analytics tool HypeAuditor, only 3.43 percent of South African users on TikTok have over a 100,000 followers. Most local TikTok users are between 13 and 34 years old.
When the twins first used TikTok, it was before the surge in popularity the app saw in 2020, spurred on by the coronavirus lockdown, which led to more people downloading the app.
For some, the app is still mostly dancing or lip syncing videos, but the twins say more creators are showing off their talents to a worldwide audience.
“It helps you to become more confident and creative,” Amron said.“TikTok allows you to be creative, because it’s like these short films, but they give you so many editing features."
While some scoff at influencers, the twins said it’s hard work.
“Our schedules are intense,” Amron. “When it’s not just a hobby, but part of your career, it becomes more intense.”
This means backlogging content, which they can stagger over a few days.
“We have to kill a lot of shoots in one day. And consistency is key,” Amron said.
“In order for us to get paid work all the time, we have to be consistent and relevant all the time,” Geo added. “But then also be authentic and not lose ourselves.”
They have reached a point where they are receiving enough offers that they can turn down work from which they feel does not align with their image.
The twins said they find most of their ideas on Pinterest and try to keep their social media consumption to a minimum.
“There are some people I choose not to follow, because I feel like my style is very similar, so I don’t want to seem like I’m copying them,” Amron says. “If I don’t know what they’re doing and I’m doing my own thing, it will never feel that way.”
Their tips for newcomers:
Find your niche;
Showcase your talent;
Follow your passion;
Be true to yourself; and
Do the TikTok trends and challenges when you are starting out.