Transcript for Inside the big business of being a social media influencer
Reporter: Selena Gome promoting coach handbags to her Instagram followers. Kim Kardashian has pushed everything from perfume to vitamins and Fendi. Little sis, kylie Jenner in on the action, too, hawking her makeup on YouTube. I made this the perfect palette. Reporter: Now your next door neighbor could be cashing in on being an influence. The 27-year-old is a beauty and lifestyle social media influencer, paid by companies like Maybelline and estee lauder to promote their products on her social media. I can't believe this is me. I can't believe this is going to be in stores. Reporter: She has more than 5 million Instagram followers and 15 million subscribers on her three YouTube channels. A native of Venezuela she launched her first channel nine years ago on a whim. I decided to post my first YouTube video. Reporter: What were you studying? Biology. But I always loved makeup. In biology, there weren't a lot of people that loved makeup. So I said, you know what? I'm going to post a video online and find people who love things I so I have a screen and I flip it and talk. Reporter: We visited her at her home in Los Angeles that doubles as her studio. What do you get paid per post, and what ihe most you've gotten paid? I wouldn't be able to give you an exact number. Reporter: Ballpark? I have a college degree, my husband has a college degree. We can make a good living from it. Reporter: Mariela and her husband moved to the U.S. To go to school. I'll talk to the camera. Reporter: The YouTube videos were an outlet for to you practice your English? Yeah, I was like, I have no friends, so I'm going to find some online. Reporter: Did it work out? I think it did. I have a few million. Reporter: What makes your account unique? I ask that all the time. Why do you follow me? I'm just me being silly. I don't feel there's anything special about me. Why? And I mess up. I'm not perfect. But sometimes I feel like that's why people follow me, because I'm me. I'm real. Reporter: Today it seems like everyone is in a battle for the most clicks. Because a big social media following can mean big money. The very first hurdle is hitting 10,000 followers. But you're a certified, if you will, at 100,000. Reporter: Chamberlain was a typical teen when she took YouTube by storm two years ago. Right now we are driving around the DMV. Reporter: Posting videos like this one. For my freakin' test. Reporter: She's partnering with teen fashion chain Hollister. I am Jasmine brown. Reporter: She started working for Walmart and lady footlocker after being noticed. And sandy ball now works with sephora and mattel. ? They have agents like Hollywood. They have managers and publicists. Because the best people are making tens of millions of dollars a year. Reporter: It's not just fashion and beauty influencers cashing in. Take the doctor who promotes his healthy and germ-free life on his page. And this top dog social media teaching pages. When you follow an influencer, you're not just following for the content but her opinion. These are her ten favorite products. These are also your ten favorite products. Reporter: There's also a dark side of online influencing. Take the large number of fake accounts that some have following them. It's a shortcut that plenty of people are tempted to take. So they're tempted to do it, but it's always a bad idea. Reporter: A recent report reveals companies paid out $744 million to Instagram influencers last year alone. But 102 million of that money meant to reach legitimate followers was actually spent on fake accounts. The whole point of being an influencer is that you have influence. If everyone following you is not a real person you don't have any influence. You just have a bunch of followers. Reporter: And buyers beware. Being a fitness influencer is my full time job. Reporter: Critics accuse her of charging hundreds without getting anything for the promise. Oh, girl, you're doing great. How am I doing great? I'm not losing weight. Reporter: Brittany dawn posting an apology on her YouTube channel. I make mistakes. I am sorry. Reporter: But Marielle says the key to success is working hard. I always wanted to do something where I could have fun and be creative. Reporter: You're getting paid to be yourself. It's a dream job. It truly is. Next, remembering a mop top monkeys musician who made us
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