In today’s digital age, harnessing the power of social media isn’t just about gaining followers—it’s about turning that influence into tangible income. Becoming a social media influencer offers a platform to share passions and connect with audiences and presents lucrative opportunities to monetize one’s online presence. Dive into this comprehensive guide and discover how to transform your digital footprint into a side income or a full-time career.

What is a Social Media Influencer

A social media influencer leverages their online presence to affect their followers’ perceptions, opinions, and behaviors. Think of them as the digital age’s version of a celebrity endorser with a twist.

Instead of solely relying on their fame, these influencers often build their reputation by sharing knowledge and personal experiences or curating content in a particular niche—be it fitness, fashion, food, or any other field.

Their impact is measurable; a recommendation or endorsement from a trusted influencer can drive sales, shift brand perceptions, or even spark new trends. This ability to influence decisions is how many make money on social media.

As intermediaries between brands and consumers in the virtual space, they play a pivotal role in the digital marketing ecosystem.

Influencers are powerful because they’re perceived as authentic and relatable; they’ve cultivated a relationship with their audience, making their endorsements more personal and believable.

Types of Social Media Influencers

Now, not all influencers are painted with the same brush. Depending on their reach and focus, they can be categorized into different types:

  • Micro-Influencers: Typically having fewer than 10,000 followers, micro-influencers may seem like small fish in the vast digital pond. However, what they might lack in sheer numbers, they make up for in engagement and niche-specific authority. Their audiences are often highly dedicated and interactive, making micro-influencers ideal for businesses that target a specific demographic or interest group.
  • Macro-Influencers: Boasting follower counts between 10,000 and 1 million, macro-influencers have broader appeal. They often cover a variety of topics and have a diverse follower base. While they might not have the same tight-knit community feel as micro-influencers, their word carries weight due to their perceived expertise and larger reach.
  • Mega-Influencers: With over a million followers, these are the digital superstars. Think of high-profile celebrities or individuals who’ve gained significant fame primarily through social media.

Collaborating with a mega-influencer can mean massive brand visibility, but it often comes with a hefty price tag and may not offer the same engagement levels as those with smaller, more niche audiences.

Understanding these categories can help aspiring influencers set realistic goals, make money on social media, and provide clarity for brands looking to collaborate for maximum impact.

How Much Do Social Media Influencers Make

The world of social media influencing is as diverse as the content creators who inhabit it. Just as no two influencers are the same, the methods and rates at which they make money on social media can vary enormously.

Several factors come into play when determining an influencer’s earning potential:

  • Platform Choice: Different social media platforms have different monetization models. For example, YouTube shares ad revenue, while Instagram’s earnings often stem from sponsored posts and partnerships. TikTok has its Creator Fund, and influencers on Twitch primarily make money through subscriptions, ads, and donations.
  • Follower Count: As a general rule, the more followers or subscribers an influencer has, the more they can charge for sponsored content. However, engagement rates (likes, comments, shares) are equally crucial. An influencer with 50,000 highly engaged followers might earn more than someone with 200,000 less active followers.
  • Niche & Audience: Brands are willing to pay more for influencers whose audience aligns closely with their target demographic. For example, an influencer focusing on luxury travel might earn more per post than someone in a broader lifestyle niche due to the high-value products and services they can promote.
  • Geography: An influencer’s location and the primary location of their audience can significantly influence rates. Brands might pay more for influencers targeting audiences in high-income countries or major metropolitan areas.
  • Consistency and Quality: Regular posting of high-quality, engaging content can boost an influencer’s value in the eyes of brands. This consistency can lead to higher engagement rates and more long-term brand partnerships.

Now, to paint a clearer picture, let’s touch on some figures. A report from InfluencerMarketingHub suggests the following:

  • Nano influencers (1000 – 10,000 followers) can make up to $100 per post.
  • Micro influencers (10,000 – 50,000 followers) can make up to $500 per post.
  • Mid-tier influencers (50,000 – 500,000 followers) can make up to $5,000 per post.
  • Macro influencers (500,000 – 1,000,000 followers) can make up to $10,000 per post.
  • Mega influencers (1,000,000+ followers) can make more than $10,000 per post.

To truly understand one’s earning potential, an influencer must consider all the above factors, conduct thorough market research, and perhaps most importantly, remain authentic to their audience and themselves. Building a trustworthy brand is the cornerstone of successful influencer marketing.

How to Become a Social Media Influencer

Choosing Your Niche

Embarking on the journey to become a social media influencer starts with a crucial decision: determining your niche. This foundational step will guide your content direction and play a pivotal role in connecting with a specific and engaged audience. Your niche isn’t merely a topic—it’s the bridge between your passion, expertise, and the audience that craves your insight.

The Passion-Expertise Intersection
  • Your niche should be a harmonious blend of what you love and know about. Why? Because authenticity shines. When you’re genuinely passionate about a topic, your enthusiasm becomes contagious, drawing followers to your content. Meanwhile, expertise ensures that your content has depth and value. Think about what you could talk about for hours, what hobbies you’re deeply immersed in, or where your professional skills lie. That sweet spot is where your niche awaits.
Conducting Niche Research
  • Once you have a few ideas, it’s time to put on your detective hat. Start by exploring existing content in those areas. Is there a saturated market or a gap waiting for you to fill? Use tools like Google Trends, SEMrush, or Ubersuggest to gauge the popularity and trajectory of topics over time. Additionally, delve into the demographics. Who is engaging with this type of content? Understanding your potential audience’s age, location, interests, and behavior will allow you to tailor your content effectively.
Drawing Inspiration from Success Stories
  • Fitness: Take, for example, Kayla Itsines, who transformed her passion for fitness into a multi-million dollar brand, beginning with Instagram workouts and culminating in her Sweat app.
  • Travel: There’s also the case of Murad and Nataly Osmann of ‘# FollowMeTo’ fame. Their unique hand-holding travel photo concept went viral, turning their love for travel into a successful career.
  • Food: Or consider J. Kenji López-Alt, who combined culinary skills and scientific curiosity to carve a niche in food blogging, providing readers with meticulously tested recipes and techniques.

By anchoring your influencer journey in a niche that aligns with your genuine interests and expertise, you pave the way for more meaningful connections, consistent growth, and long-term success. Remember, specificity can be your biggest strength in the vast digital landscape. Don’t aim to appeal to everyone; focus on resonating deeply with someone.

Building Your Brand and Audience

Successfully navigating the world of social media influencing demands more than trendy posts—it requires the intricate dance of personal branding and audience growth.

In this journey of becoming an impactful influencer, understanding the bedrock of branding and mastering the art of content creation can lead you to a devoted audience that clicks ‘follow’ and truly resonates with your message.

Essential Elements of Personal Branding
  • Uniqueness: Identify what sets you apart. Is it your distinct voice, eye-catching style, or perhaps your unparalleled expertise in a niche? Pinpoint that uniqueness and let it permeate your online persona.
  • Consistency: From the tone of your captions to the aesthetic of your photos and videos, maintaining consistency ensures your brand is recognizable and reliable. This doesn’t mean you can’t evolve, but any evolution should be gradual and communicated with your audience.
  • Value Proposition: Clearly convey the value you offer. Are you providing education, entertainment, inspiration, or a blend? Make it evident so potential followers immediately understand why they should engage with you.
Strategies for Engaging Content and Growth
  • Content Calendars: Planning with a content calendar ensures regular posting and allows for a balanced mix of content types, from tutorials and Q&As to personal stories and behind-the-scenes snippets.
  • Engage with Followers: Respond to comments, discuss, and even consider hosting live sessions. The more you interact, the stronger your community becomes.
  • Collaborate: Partner with fellow influencers or brands for shout-outs, takeovers, or joint content creation. Such collaborations can introduce you to new audiences and add variety to your content.
  • Analyze and Iterate: Use platform analytics tools to understand which content performs best. Adjust your strategy based on data-driven insights, ensuring you’re always aligned with your audience’s needs.
Maintaining Authenticity and Trust
  • Transparent Partnerships: If you’re promoting a product or service, be clear about any affiliations. Platforms like Instagram have built-in features for tagging sponsored content. Embrace them.
  • Stay True to Your Brand: While experimenting is great, avoid veering too far from your established brand voice or promoting something that doesn’t align with your values.
  • Open Dialogue: Occasionally seek feedback from your audience. Their insights can help you stay grounded and ensure your content remains relevant and relatable.

Remember, your brand and audience are symbiotic entities in social media influencing. Nourish your brand with diligence, and you’ll find an audience that doesn’t just view your content but values and trusts your voice in the vast digital landscape.

How to Make Money on Social Media

Embarking on the journey of becoming a social media influencer promises not just a spotlight but also tangible financial rewards. As platforms evolve and audience behaviors shift, the potential avenues to make money on social media have expanded.

Let’s delve into the mechanics of monetizing your influence.

Diverse Income Streams for Influencers
  • Sponsored Posts: When figuring out how to become a social media influencer, you’ll find that one of the most popular monetization methods involves collaborating with brands to promote their products or services. The key here is alignment: your followers should genuinely benefit from or be interested in what you’re promoting.
  • Affiliate Marketing: Think of this as a commission-based sales role. You earn a percentage of every sale made through your unique link by sharing links to specific products and services. Websites like ClickBank or CJ Affiliate connect influencers with brands looking to promote their products.
  • Product Collaborations: Many influencers co-create products with established brands, leveraging their personal brand’s strength. Whether it’s a skincare line, a capsule clothing collection, or a digital course, this partnership often resonates deeply with followers.
Mastering the Art of Paid Partnerships
  • Craft a Convincing Media Kit: As you aim to make money on social media, consider your media kit as your professional CV. It should highlight your demographics, engagement statistics, past successful collaborations, and testimonials. This is your chance to make a strong impression.
  • Know Your Worth: Before you jump into negotiations, research what others in your niche and follower range are charging. This not only prevents you from undervaluing your services but also from overpricing and scaring potential partners away.
  • Transparent Communication: Outline your deliverables clearly (e.g., the number of posts, type of content, etc.). Discuss payment terms, deadlines, and any other expectations. Remember, a successful collaboration is built on mutual understanding and respect.
Diversification: The Secret to Financial Stability
  • Spread Across Platforms: As you learn how to become a social media influencer, you’ll realize the importance of branching out. If Instagram is your primary platform, consider exploring Pinterest, YouTube, or TikTok. Different platforms can tap into various audiences and offer unique monetization methods.
  • Passive Income Streams: Create digital assets like eBooks, courses, or photography presets that followers can purchase. Once created, these products can be sold repeatedly with minimal upkeep, generating consistent income.
  • Stay Informed and Flexible: Social media is a dynamic landscape. What’s trending today might be obsolete tomorrow. Regularly update your strategies, embrace new platforms, and experiment with different income streams to ensure financial stability.

Best Social Media to Make Money

When diving into how to make money on social media, it’s vital to identify which platforms align with your brand and content style while offering the best monetization opportunities.

Here’s a breakdown of the top contenders:


This photo-sharing platform is a titan in the influencer realm. With its focus on visual content, Instagram is ideal for niches like fashion, travel, beauty, and fitness. Monetization strategies include sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and selling products through Instagram Shops.

The introduction of IGTV and Reels also offers more dynamic ways for creators to engage with audiences and promote brands.


Another top contender for those exploring how to make money on social media is YouTube. The video-sharing giant allows creators to earn money through AdSense, where you get a share of revenue from ads displayed on your videos. Moreover, with the ability to post longer-form content, influencers can engage in comprehensive product reviews, tutorials, and partnerships, often commanding higher rates than platforms with shorter content forms.


While newer on the scene, TikTok‘s virality potential is unmatched. Creators can tap into the TikTok Creator Fund, earn through brand partnerships, and leverage live streams for donations via TikTok’s virtual gifts. Given its rapidly growing audience, brands are more eager than ever to partner with TikTok influencers.

X (formerly Twitter)

While perhaps not the first platform that comes to mind for influencer marketing, Twitter‘s strength lies in real-time engagement, especially for niches like news, sports, and entertainment. Sponsored tweets, brand ambassadorships, and affiliate marketing are common monetization avenues here.


For those in the DIY, fashion, home décor, and recipe niches, Pinterest is a gold mine. The platform’s shopping-focused audience means that sponsored pins and affiliate links can be incredibly effective.


While sometimes overlooked in the influencer conversation, Facebook‘s vast user base and features like Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Shops, and Watch make it a noteworthy contender. Influencers can benefit from sponsored posts and collaborations, especially if they have active and engaged community pages or groups.


LinkedIn offers a unique opportunity for influencers in the business, tech, and professional services. Sponsored posts, affiliate marketing for professional tools or courses, and even premium content can be monetized effectively on this platform.

In selecting the best social media to make money, it’s crucial to consider where your target audience spends their time, the content you’re most passionate about creating, and the monetization strategies that align with your brand.

Remember, while jumping onto every platform is tempting, mastering one or two of the best social media to make money can often lead to more substantial and sustainable income.

Challenges You Might Face as a Social Media Influencer

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Navigating the waters of social media influencing isn’t just about content creation and monetization; it’s also imperative to tread carefully on the legal and ethical frontiers. Being an influencer comes with responsibilities that, if overlooked, can lead to backlash, loss of credibility, or even legal consequences.

Here’s what you need to be aware of:

Transparency and Disclosure in Sponsored Content
  • The Power of Trust: Your followers trust your recommendations, and maintaining this trust is paramount. When you’re being compensated to promote a product or service, it’s ethically important (and often legally required) to inform your audience.
  • Clear Disclosures: Using tags like #ad, #sponsored, or #partnership provides clarity. These tags shouldn’t be buried in a sea of hashtags or hidden in a location where followers are unlikely to see them. They should be prominent and clear.
Legal Obligations and Guidelines for Social Media Influencers
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Guidelines: In the U.S., the FTC requires influencers to disclose any “material connection” with brands they promote. This isn’t limited to monetary payments but includes free products or any other kind of incentive. Failing to comply can result in substantial penalties.
  • Contractual Agreements: When partnering with brands, there’s often a contract involved. Ensure you understand every clause—especially exclusivity terms, content ownership, and deliverables. Consulting with a legal professional when dealing with complex contracts might be wise.
  • Use of Copyrighted Material: Be cautious when using music, videos, photos, or other content you didn’t create. Infringing on someone’s copyright can result in your content being taken down and, in severe cases, legal action.
  • Product Claims: If you’re promoting a product, ensure any claims (like “this cream will remove all wrinkles in a week”) are accurate and can be substantiated. Misleading your audience can have both ethical repercussions and potential legal consequences.

Fluctuating Income

In the glitzy world of social media influencing, where curated feeds and glamorous lifestyles reign supreme, an often unspoken challenge exists – the unpredictability of income. Like actors, writers, or artists, influencers navigate a terrain riddled with financial ebbs and flows. Here’s a deeper dive into this challenge:

  • Changing Brand Budgets: Brands set aside a specific budget for influencer marketing each fiscal year. Economic downturns, changing marketing strategies, or even seasonal shifts can influence how much they’re willing or able to spend. An influencer might land a lucrative deal one month and face a dry spell the next.
  • Trend-driven Niches: If your content revolves around trending topics or fleeting fads, you might experience boom periods followed by lulls. For instance, an influencer specializing in a specific diet trend may see decreased demand once the trend fades.
  • Audience Dynamics: The preferences and behaviors of your audience can change. A demographic shift, changes in consumer habits, or even global events can influence how often your followers engage with monetized content.
  • Platform Popularity: The popularity of platforms can wane. While MySpace and Vine were once giants in their respective eras, influencers relying solely on them had to pivot quickly when user numbers dwindled.

Navigating the Tides

To combat the uncertainty, influencers should:

  • Save During Booms: Adopting a frugal approach during profitable times can create a financial buffer for leaner months.
  • Diversify Platforms & Revenue: Relying solely on one platform or income stream is risky. Broaden your horizons to include multiple platforms and monetization methods.
  • Stay Adaptable: In the ever-evolving digital space, adaptability is key. Whether learning new skills, exploring different content types, or venturing into new niches, staying flexible ensures longevity.

Algorithm Changes

Among the multifaceted challenges faced by influencers, navigating the whims and changes of social media algorithms stands out prominently. Understanding these algorithmic shifts and their impacts is pivotal for anyone aiming to sustain and grow their influence.

What are Algorithm Changes?

Social media platforms use algorithms—complex sets of rules—to decide which content appears on users’ feeds and in what order. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok continuously tweak these algorithms to optimize user experience, often to keep users engaged for longer periods.

As a result, once highly visible content can suddenly take a back seat to other types of posts or videos.

How Do They Impact Influencers?
  • Visibility and Engagement Drops: A minor algorithm change can mean that your posts, which previously garnered significant attention, now receive significantly less visibility, leading to reduced likes, comments, and overall engagement.
  • Shift in Content Strategy: With each algorithm update, influencers might find that the content type, posting times, or engagement tactics they’ve been using no longer yield the same results. This necessitates frequent shifts in content strategies to align with platform preferences.
  • Monetization Impacts: Reduced visibility often translates to fewer views on sponsored posts, potentially affecting the influencer’s credibility with brands and the return on investment for those partnerships.
Navigating Algorithm Changes
  • Stay Informed: Actively follow official announcements from social media platforms. Platforms like Instagram and YouTube occasionally share insights into how their algorithms work, providing invaluable guidance for content creators.
  • Diversify Your Presence: Don’t rely solely on one platform. Building an audience on multiple platforms safeguards against significant impacts from algorithm changes on any single platform.
  • Engage with Your Audience: Algorithms favor engagement. Promptly responding to comments, creating interactive content, and fostering community can signal to the platform that your content is valuable and should be shown to more users.
  • Analyze and Adapt: Use platform analytics tools to monitor post performances. If there’s a dip in engagement or reach, it might be an indication to adjust your content strategy.

Trolls and Haters

When diving into social media influencing, the sunlit world of engaged followers, positive interactions, and brand partnerships is often punctuated by the shadowy presence of trolls and haters. Understanding this challenge and how to navigate it is essential for mental well-being and maintaining a positive online brand.

Who Are They?

Trolls and haters engage in deliberate acts of online provocation, aiming to upset, offend, or criticize without constructive intent. Their motivations can vary—from seeking attention and deriving amusement at others’ expense to projecting personal insecurities or disagreeing with a viewpoint.

Effects on Influencers

While some influencers develop thick skins over time, consistent negative interactions can lead to stress, self-doubt, and anxiety. Trolls can detract from meaningful engagement on posts, discouraging genuine followers and potentially dissuading potential brand partnerships.

Navigating the Troll-infested Waters
  • Don’t Feed the Trolls: Engaging with or responding to a troll often exacerbates the situation. They thrive on reactions. By ignoring them, you deprive them of the attention they seek.
  • Use Platform Tools: Social media platforms offer a range of tools to help manage negative interactions. This includes blocking, muting, or reporting abusive users and filtering or moderating comments.
  • Create a Support System: Building a community of supportive fellow influencers or friends can be invaluable. They can offer advice, share their experiences, or simply listen during challenging times.
  • Stay True to Yourself: Remember why you started your influencer journey. While it’s essential to be open to constructive criticism, it’s equally vital to distinguish between genuine feedback and baseless trolling.
  • Consider Periodic Digital Detoxes: If negativity becomes overwhelming, consider taking short breaks from social media. This allows you to recharge, gain perspective, and return with renewed energy and focus.
  • Seek Professional Help if Needed: Persistent online harassment can affect mental health. If you find yourself struggling, there’s no shame in seeking counseling or therapy. Mental well-being should always be a priority.

Privacy Concerns

The road to becoming a social media influencer is paved with opportunities but presents certain challenges. One of the more pressing concerns that influencers often grapple with is privacy preservation.

The Double-Edged Sword of Visibility

As your follower count rises, so does the spotlight on your personal life. While a broad reach can amplify your influence, it can also mean that aspects of your personal life — from family members to your favorite hangout spots — might be thrust into the limelight.

This heightened visibility can sometimes lead to unsolicited attention or breaches of personal boundaries.

Data Breaches

With their high follower counts, influencers can become prime targets for hackers. A single breach can lead to the exposure of personal data, conversations, and more. Such incidents not only violate personal privacy but can also harm your reputation and relationship with followers.

Branding vs. Authenticity

The line between one’s personal life and online persona can sometimes blur. Influencers might feel pressured to share more than they’re comfortable with to maintain an image of “authenticity” with their audience. Deciding what to keep private and what to disclose becomes a daily juggling act.

Addressing backlash

Sharing opinions or taking stances on certain topics might invite scrutiny or backlash. In such cases, influencers often face public criticism and deep dives into their past, personal lives, or family, further eroding the boundaries of privacy.

Physical Privacy Concerns

Geo-tagging locations, showcasing routines, or even mentioning future plans can sometimes inadvertently give away your location or schedule. For high-profile influencers, this can lead to concerns about stalking or unsolicited physical encounters.

Navigating the Privacy Maze

While these challenges can seem daunting, there are strategies influencers can employ to safeguard their privacy:

  • Limit Location Sharing: Be cautious about geo-tagging in real-time. If showcasing a location is essential for content, consider posting after leaving the site.
  • Enhance Digital Security: Use unique passwords for each social media account. Enable two-factor authentication wherever possible.
  • Set Boundaries: Decide early on what aspects of your life you’re comfortable sharing. It’s okay to keep certain things private, regardless of external pressures.
  • Educate Close Ones: Ensure that family and friends are aware of privacy concerns and are cautious about what they share concerning you.
  • Engage with Constructive Feedback Only: While addressing concerns and criticisms is part of the influencer journey, it’s essential to discern and avoid feeding into intrusive or harmful narratives.

Tips for Managing Your Social Media Side Hustle

Diving headfirst into the world of social media influencing while juggling other commitments can feel like a tightrope walk. Yet, with the right strategies, it’s possible to maintain a harmonious balance and ensure that both your influencer career and other responsibilities flourish. Let’s unpack some tried-and-true tips to streamline your side hustle:

Segment Your Day

Divide your day into blocks dedicated to your full-time job, education, and influencer tasks. For example, if you work a 9-to-5 job, consider dedicating early mornings or evenings to content creation and engagement. This approach ensures that each role gets its deserved attention without overlap.

Leverage Your Breaks

Got a 15-minute work break or a gap between classes? Use this time to engage with your followers, reply to comments, or brainstorm content ideas. These small increments add up and can substantially reduce the workload later on.

Prioritize Tasks

List out tasks based on their urgency and importance. Tackle high-priority tasks first, ensuring deadlines, especially those involving brand collaborations, are met on time.

Develop a Content Calendar

This is a game-changer. Plan out your posts for a week or even a month in advance. By visually representing what content goes live and when, you can ensure a consistent posting schedule, making it easier to slot in time for content creation, editing, and promotion.

Batch Content Creation

Instead of shooting content daily, dedicate specific days to creating multiple pieces of content. For instance, if you’re a fashion influencer, you can have one day dedicated to shooting various outfits. This approach saves time and allows for a more cohesive content flow.

Utilize Scheduling Tools

Platforms like Buffer, Hootsuite, or Later allow you to schedule posts in advance. By setting aside time each week to schedule your posts, you can ensure consistent engagement with your audience, even during your busiest days.

Learn to Say No

It’s tempting to jump on every collaboration or content opportunity. But remember, it’s essential to ensure quality over quantity. Only take on what you can realistically handle without compromising other commitments.

Seek Support

Consider outsourcing tasks that might not require your direct involvement, like editing videos or managing emails. Hiring an assistant or collaborating with peers can free up more content creation and strategy time.

Regularly Evaluate and Adjust

The digital world is dynamic. Regularly check in with yourself. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Is your content receiving the desired engagement? Adjust your strategies based on feedback and personal well-being.


Navigating the vibrant maze of social media influencing is more than just amassing likes or followers; it’s about leveraging these digital connections into a tangible income stream.

From understanding the most lucrative platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok to mastering the art of sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and product collaborations, the journey to monetization is vast and varied.

However, amidst the glamour and allure of the digital limelight, one must not forget the importance of meticulous planning, whether through content calendars or strategically segmented days, especially when juggling other life commitments.

But remember, every digital giant today started as a fledgling, finding their voice, their niche, and their audience. You, too, can transform your passion, creativity, and digital savvy into a side hustle and potentially a full-blown career. The social media realm is a goldmine awaiting your unique touch.

So, what are you waiting for? Embark on your influencer journey today. With a fusion of dedication, strategic planning, and authentic engagement, the dream of making money as a social media influencer isn’t just achievable—it’s right at your fingertips. Dive in, stay authentic, and watch the digital realm reward you in ways you’ve only dreamed of.

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