Influence Weekly #236 - How Best Western Built a Creator Program to Hire Travel Influencers

Influence Weekly #236
June 10th, 2022
Executive Summary
  • Cannes X TikTok Short Film Festival
  • How Best Western Built a Creator Program to Hire Travel Influencers 
  • As TikTok popularity swells, Silk looks to tap growth
  • Creators of Facebook, Instagram Reels Get Several Updates

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Great Reads

Cannes X TikTok Short Film Festival
The Cannes Film Festival has consistently welcomed a wide variety of writers, directors, and producers, praising their efforts and influence on the wider film industry. As part of the most recent festival, Cannes paired up with social media giant TikTok, creating the TikTok Short Film Festival. Influencers had the opportunity to submit their own short films for the chance to win a range of prizes and have their film presented to an audience at the Cannes Film Festival 2022. 

With Cannes celebrating its 75th anniversary, the festival decided to work alongside TikTok to help lesser-known short filmmakers make their mark on this lucrative industry. Previously, the festival had banned any sort of social media footage, highlighting just how important this collaboration is for modern filmmaking. 

TikTok launched a hashtag for the TikTok Short Film Festival, compiling a plethora of films from around the world. These films could be from 30 seconds to 3-minutes long and could be created around any topic or style. Users also had to complete a submission form to ensure that their video was compliant with standard formatting guidelines. The aim of the competition was to allow creators from around the world to gain access to high-profile contacts and show off their skills using all of TikTok’s features.

Net Influencer lists 2022 winners in this article

State Of Influencer Marketing Report 2022 By Meltwater

The findings from the State of Influencer Marketing Report were collected by Meltwater, a media monitoring, and social listening platform. Meltwater is best known for its work with iconic brands such as Google and H&M

This report explores how brands from around the world were using influencer marketing between 2020 and 2021, with a sharper focus on the effects of the pandemic. Meltwater aimed to unpack how modern consumers feel about brands and whether influencers can help to better manage their overall marketing strategies.

Three Key Findings from the report include
  • Instagram remains the most popular platform for brand campaigns.
  • Micro-Influencers are more prominent on TikTok than on any other platform.
  • TikTok has surpassed YouTube in popularity for sponsored influencer campaigns. 

Meet the Creator Middle Class: Turning Side Hustles into Full-Time Businesses

The creator middle class is on the rise. This industry outlook paper provides a glimpse into how this will affect future brand partnerships with creators and influencers. Learn about this industry shift and the new and emerging opportunities that support a growing creator middle class. Get it now!

Campaign Insights

As TikTok popularity swells, Silk looks to tap growth
Plant-based food brand Silk is pouring efforts into TikTok for the first time, as the 45-year-old brand looks to refresh itself and appeal to younger, more diverse shoppers. 

As TikTok grows in popularity, the short-form video app is quickly becoming a staple in advertisers’ social spend. This year in the US, TikTok is expected to hit $5.96 billion in net ad revenue, to rake in 2.4% of the country’s nearly $250 billion in digital ad spend, according to eMarketer. 

“To tap into culture, you’ve got to be where culture exists. And TikTok is one of the places where culture is created,” said John Starkey, president of plant-based food and beverages for Danone North America. 

This foray into TikTok is Silk’s attempt at getting in front of more Gen Z shoppers, while also tapping into cultural moments and trends that happen on the app, Starkey said. He added that the platform will become a larger part of the brand’s media mix and ad spend as the Silk team sees its impact and effectiveness grow. (It’s unclear how TikTok affects Silk’s ad spend, as Starkey declined to provide details.)

Fenty in Africa: What's next after shunning makeup influencers?
On Friday, May 27, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty officially launched in Africa. Fenty’s launch was a series of invite-only events held at popular hangout spots in Lagos (WBar), Nairobi (Social House), and Johannesburg (Monarch restaurant). But it did not entirely sit well with some beauty enthusiasts.

“A beauty brand launched in a new country and you could count how many [makeup artists], skincare, and beauty influencers and creators that attended the launch party,” said Golibe Nwigwe, a Nigerian makeup content creator with 10,000 Instagram followers. 

There were other complaints like hers. In Nigeria and Kenya, makeup influencers said Fenty’s Africa launch was subdued. Some comments from people in Zambia and Zimbabwe suggest that Fenty—or its country-specific public relations partners, who planned the events and created the guest lists—could have done more to lean into existing goodwill and generate excitement.

Most complaints about Fenty’s launch were by makeup content creators who were not invited to launch events. “Fenty beauty is a skincare and makeup brand. By not inviting beauty and skincare influencers, the publicity wasn’t channeled in the right direction, to the right audience,” Onaopepo Babarinsa, who vlogs to 30,000 Instagram followers, told Quartz.

“I believe it was a huge oversight on the part of the Fenty team because it cost them an important opportunity to build goodwill,” Edward Israel-Ayide, a public relations consultant in Nigeria who was not involved in the Fenty event, said of the failure to include makeup influencers.

Daym Drops (now Emmy-nominated) and Hartford Athletic team up for signature concessions
The Hartford Athletic soccer team on Monday announced a partnership with Netflix-YouTube food influencer Daym Drops for concessions and special food events at Trinity Health Stadium.

Daym Drops (real name Daymon Patterson) lives in New Britain. He also works with the Hartford Yard Goats for concessions in the Daym Drops Diner kiosk at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.

The first signature concession item will appear on June 15 at the game against the Memphis 901 FC: the “Daymtasm” pizza.

“It’s from Randy’s Wooster Street Pizza. Staci [Hope, owner of Wooster Street] and I were going back and forth with ideas. I went to Manchester, where it’s located. We sat down with different pies. I needed something both spicy and savory at the same time,” he said. “At base it’s a chipotle sauce instead of pizza sauce, with jack and cheddar along with mozzarella and American cheese, caramelized onions, smoked bacon instead of regular bacon and meatballs.

“When you take a bite, it’s a pure flavorful explosion inside the mouth. Every single bite the heat level goes up just a little bit. It’s the type of pizza that will continually engage you as long as you continually engage the pizza.”

How to get TikTok stars to hype your products, without paying influeners
One big advantage of brands using the Creator Marketplace is that they can easily discover up-and-coming creators who are growing quickly on TikTok and are new to working with advertisers. It’s an arrangement that can be beneficial for both parties: An endorsement from an advertiser will likely help the creator attract other brand deals, and these early sponsorships are often much more affordable.

That’s what has worked for Scrub Daddy. The cheerful brand of sponges, which gained a following after its Shark Tank appearance in 2012, has grown its TikTok following to 1.7 million, partly by partnering with creators early in their rise to fame. “We had to find someone who was up and coming that wouldn’t break the budget because this was an experiment for spending money,” says Will Augenbraun, chief strategy officer at Scrub Daddy. “And we wanted it to be natural and not forced.”

The right match turned out to be TikTok’s self-dubbed “queen of cleaning,” Vanesa Amaro, a housekeeper who now has more than 5.4 million followers on the platform. She’s known for her lighthearted tutorials and product recommendations for cleaning everyday items like ovens and kitchen drawers. The partnership with Scrub Daddy was her first, and she frequently featured Scrub Daddy products in her videos, often earning millions of views. The products were a natural match with her audience and content.

“I would say it has benefited me in so many different ways,” says Vanesa Amaro. “It was more of a learning experience at the beginning. So, learning how to work with companies. Scrub Daddy gave me my first intro to the actual influencer world.” Offering a monthly retainer in return for approximately three posts per month, Scrub Daddy increases this fee based on her follower growth, given the company stands to reach more people as she grows. Amaro found this arrangement more attractive and lucrative, since there’s more opportunities to grow together in the long term as well as earn recurring income compared with a typical one-off dea
Interesting People

Silicon Valley Foodies: Using Localization To Find Success On Instagram
After embarking on a career in tech, the owner of Silicon Valley Foodies, Rachel, decided to create an Instagram page dedicated to some of the best food spots in the area. Since creating the account five years ago, Rachel has managed to accumulate over 23,000 followers and has published over 500 posts. She describes how she came to create the Silicon Valley Foodies account as a way to overcome her issues with self-esteem.

‘I have always loved food. I have always loved taking photos of food and finding new places but I was also very self-conscious and paranoid about how people would perceive me. I think that was just like professionally and even now it’s something that I struggle with a little bit, like how I’m perceived by my colleagues. I’m going to be presented in a certain line, especially as a woman of color. So that is just something that I struggle with.’

Silicon Valley Foodies: Using Localization To Find Success on Instagram
She goes on to explain the origins of the account.

‘But then at some point, I was just like, you know what, I’m going to do this. I kind of just applied the same psychology of what I would like in a food Instagram with recommendations in the area that were location-specific, which is why I started with Silicon Valley Foodies.’

The owner of Silicon Valley Foodies also explains how she maintains a high level of engagement and traction on her Instagram account. 

Gaming Management Firm Loaded Signs Twitch Streamer QTCinderella
Gaming management firm Loaded has signed streamer QTCinderella to its talent roster. The agency will grow and manage her brand, while exploring business and investment opportunities.

QTCinderella’s content on YouTube and Twitch includes streaming games such as League of Legends, Fortnite, online chess and poker, as well as live vlogging.

She is the founder and host of The Streamer Awards, an event birthed this year to honor the performances and achievements of live streamers. She also founded ShitCamp, where Twitch streamers come together to participate in challenges and create content that is distributed to fans. Participants have included Myth, HasanAbi and xQcOW.

“I always appreciate when I’m invited to things, but I know that it’s hard for streamers to organize events, so I decided I would just do it myself and invite them instead,” said QTCinderella in a statement. “I’m excited to work with Loaded because they really believe in me and want to ensure I can stay focused on what I do best. I want to be able to put on a ton more events this year so having the right team around me is super important.”

Jake Tran’s Rise to Power - From a Web Developer to Popular Social Media Influencer
YouTube content creator and social media influencer Jake Tran has been basking in glory with the magnanimous success of his unique “blue ocean strategy” that revolves around creating viral video essays around all things political, social, historical, and business-related.

The incredible journey of the 23-year-old content creator is a breath of fresh air as he continuously shatters stereotypes and soars to new heights. Jake fulfilled his dream of making a lucrative living being a “YouTuber.”

Though the road of success had a fair amount of setbacks and failures, Jake ultimately made his Youtube dream a reality. Today, the talent powerhouse stands tall as one of the most significant and recognized YouTubers in the US with 1.23 M subscribers and has got 51.6k followers on Instagram.

Needless to say, his spectacular foray into creative content creation has propelled him to unprecedented fame. His entrepreneurial video essays on subjects ranging from “How The Ultra Wealthy Evade Taxes” to “The Economics of the Mafia” have been creating an uncontrollable frenzy.
Industry News

Amazon's been offering fat paychecks to attract live shopping influencers
Those TikTok users Insider spoke to each had around 100,000 followers on the platform. Amazon offered one of them up to $9,000 per month if they livestreamed at least 300 minutes of content over five occasions in a single month and drove $22,000 or more in revenue. Anything less than $11,000 in revenue and they’d end up with $2,100 per month. Two other TikTok creators, meanwhile, were offered $2,000 per month for 90 minutes of content, or $4,000 for four hour-long livestreams per month.

A YouTuber with about a million subscribers, meanwhile, was offered the same $9,000 deal. That person was also offered $5,000 per month if they did five hour-long livestreams per month.

These offers were made on top of Amazon Live’s typical commission rate, which ranges between 1 and 10 percent. One creator told Insider they took the gig for the “guaranteed money,” but that they didn’t see a point in staying after those funds had been exhausted.

TikTok is launching a $5 subscription comedy series
TikTok is joining forces with Pearpop to launch a comedy docuseries hosted by creator Jericho Mencke, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It's cost $5 for all eight episodes, each 30 minutes long, with the first two running for free for all TikTok users. 

Called Finding Jericho, the series will feature Mencke doing comedic interviews with characters like a clown from Craigslist. It'll be executive produced by Pearpop executives Zack Bernstein and Austin Sokol, along with Mencke. 

Last month, TikTok unveiled the Live monthly subscription tool for creators on an invitation-only basis, after unveiling the service in January 2022. It allows creators to ""increase their earnings while continuing to grow their communities"" with perks like subscriber badges, custom emotes and a subscriber-only chat. 

Creators of Facebook, Instagram Reels Get Several Updates
New tools will be added for Facebook Reels and Instagram Reels in the coming weeks.

For Facebook, creators can now create, edit, publish and schedule Reels on their web browser via Creator Studio. Those capabilities were already available on Android and iOS.

Meta is also rolling out video clipping tools on desktop that will enable creators who publish live, long-form or recorded videos to test out different formats, including editing content seamlessly into a Facebook Reel via Creator Studio.

Creators of gaming videos will get editing tools that enable them to generate short-form Facebook Reels from their Facebook Live content, cutting Live clips down to vertical-friendly, 60-second formats, with dual views for gameplay and creator cam.

New audio tools for Facebook Reels include voiceovers that let creators narrate their Reels, and Sound Sync, which lets them automatically sync video clips to the beat of a track.

TikTok launches custom avatars to rival Snapchat’s Bitmoji and Apple’s Memoji
TikTok is launching a new feature that lets users turn themselves into custom animated avatars in the style of Apple’s Memoji, Snapchat’s Bitmoji, and Meta’s Avatars.

The feature is rolling out globally today and is accessible from the app’s camera alongside TikTok’s various other effects. To use the feature on yourself, open the app, flip the camera to selfie mode, tap effects, and select the avatar effect. You can then either use a preset look or hit “new” to create a custom avatar. This lets you customize your avatar’s face shape, skin tone, hairstyle, and accessories, including makeup and piercings. You can then record a video with the avatar following your movements and facial expressions.

TikTok says it wants to make the feature as inclusive as possible and will continue to “improve and innovate to make sure the experience is truly representative of all who are on TikTok.” News of the feature first leaked earlier this year.

We Are Social Acquires Singapore Based Marketing Agency Kobe
Socially-led creative agency We Are Social has acquired a majority stake in best-in-class influencer marketing agency Kobe, growing its position in the region and further strengthening its influencer marketing offering.

Founded in 2016, Kobe engages celebrities, Instagrammers, bloggers and YouTubers to deliver award-winning work for a large regional client base, including PepsiCo, Logitech, Suntory, United Overseas Bank, and local Singapore clients such as Suntec City and Genki Sushi Singapore.

With a team of over 20 talented individuals, Kobe is enabled by its own patented Artificial Intelligence technology. The agency will continue operating as an independent brand under the leadership of Evangeline Leong, Founder and CEO and Co-Founder Cha Lin, while taking advantage of We Are Social’s global ecosystem and sharing their expertise in influencer marketing with the network. Evangeline will report to Christina Chong, CEO of We Are Social Singapore.

Evangeline Leong, Kobe founder and CEO, commented, “We are very excited to join forces with We Are Social, who will help supercharge Kobe with data, insights, strategy and creative expertise. Access to We Are Social’s global capabilities will enhance our existing services, creating opportunities for our amazing team and our valued clients.”

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Great Paywalled Content

Can You Make a Living in the Creator Economy? - The Washington Post
The creator economy has undergone a serious evolution. Social media and the rise of sites to paywall or sell work has enabled anyone to become a creator. It’s difficult to truly understand how much the sector is worth, but some estimate it to be around $20 billion, and growing rapidly. 

Yet given the amount of work it takes to build and monetize a community online, it’s worth asking: Is it possible to make a sustainable living in the creator economy?

Before we go further, it’s important to differentiate between the creator and the influencer. Of course, there’s overlap between the two — both post content on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and other platforms. But creators are typically more aligned with artistic interests. They’re primarily making a good, a service or content for their audience. An influencer meanwhile aims to influence their audience through content, as they often earn money through brand partnerships or by referring followers to certain products.

In the last decade, it’s become far easier for creators — visual artists, writers, musicians, comedians, crafters — to connect directly with consumers who want to support their work. (Full disclosure, I’ve been a combination of influencer and online creator for nearly a decade. It started as a blog, which led to four book deals, speaking engagements, courses and a newsletter.)

How Best Western Built a Creator Program to Hire Travel Influencers - Business Insider
Travel influencers have become a key way that some hotels can market themselves globally in a cost efficient way.

And some chains like Best Western have even begun to build out official creator programs to help foster these relationships.

Marissa Daniela is a brand manager at Best Western who was one of two employees hired in 2021 specifically to help formalize the process around how the company works with influencers. Daniela told Insider that hotels like Best Western are no longer interested in taking deals with anyone with clout, but thinking more strategically about the types of travel creators who are in good brand alignment with them.

"Before, it was who was influential, we'll give you free hotels for content," Daniela said. ""Now, it's more thoughtful: What influencers do we want, who can be highlighting the 18 Best Western brands. We need influencers who can storytell.""
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