South African kidfluencers are dominating on social media, even stealing the spotlight from their famous moms and dads.
A dash of cuteness, just the right combination of famous parents and a sprinkle of perfectly posed pictures to upload on to social media - mix it all together and you have a winning recipe for a booming career as a "baby influencer".
Fat thighs, chubby arms and anywhere from half a million followers and upward, these babies have barely started pre-school and already have budding careers as brand ambassadors.
Before they can even learn to say “mama” and “dada”, or be birthed for that matter, celebrity parents create Instagram accounts for their babies that fans and the media flock to, gushing over every update.
The role these children play has been dubbed "kidfluencer" and it stems from the title "Influencer", which is bestowed upon individuals who harness the power of social media and their own celebrity status to affect the purchasing decisions of others.
Although it took some time for people and businesses to grasp the power of influencer marketing, the role has developed into a fully-fledged career that doles out a massive return on investment for influencers and brands alike.
Whether it’s because of the thriving digital marketing industry or our ever-growing obsession with celebrity culture, South African’s are fast catching on to the trend.
At just four years old, the daughter of DJ Zinhle and AKA, Kairo Owethu Forbes has already garnered enough popularity to trend on Twitter in SA on her birthday (July 9) with the hashtag #KairoTurns4. She’s also amassed an Instagram following of over 500 000 and is verified with a highly coveted blue tick.
The iStore, Office London, Earth Child Kids and Disney Africa are just a few of the brands associated with the tot. In one post shared via @kairo.forbe’s Instagram account, she shared: “I’m surprising Mommy and Daddy with gifts from @istoreza because they are the best and I love them soooooo much! #istoreza #GiftsDoneRight #PaidPartnership.”
Of course, at such a young age she’s unable to manage her own account which is why her grandmother, "Glammy" or Lynn Forbes, is her brand manager and is tasked with populating the account with pictures and videos.
Apart from the sponsorships and adorable snaps, Kairo engages with her followers online, answering their questions through filmed Q&A sessions saved in her "highlights" section on the app. She also has a "look book" that documents her ventures in kiddie fashion - we’re talking manis, pedis, bags, hats, hairstyles - everything from top to toe.
@BakedTheBaby isn’t the personal Instagram account of one-year-old Khalid Parnell, son of lifestyle blogger Aisha Baker and South African cricketer Wayne Parnell, but it’s pretty close. It’s devoted to being, “an interactive space dedicated to everything surrounding parenting our little guy”, as per the Instagram bio.
Although, it’s not quite like other influencer accounts, it’s certainly getting the toddler ready to grow up in the public eye. And with a increasing number of followers, he’s nearly at 10k, brands are sure to come knocking at their door very soon.
Also reaching social media stardom is Sbahle Mlungu, daughter of actress, Ntando Duma and DJ Duma De Rocka, who has close to 200 000 followers on Instagram at two years old.
Whether she’s donning a puffy tutu or matching with her mama in striking bold prints and a head tie, this little fashionista is soon going to be scooping up brand endorsements one could only dream of.
And, if her fabulous first and second birthdays are anything to go by, her Instagram page is only going to get more glamorous as she ages. Expect a ton of visually stunning lifestyle content in the future.