Influence Weekly #239 - How Retail Workers Can Be Leveraged as Effective Brand Influencers

Influence Weekly #239
July 1st, 2022
Executive Summary
  • What's hot at VidCon
  • Gen Z's new favorite app
  • Emma Chamberlain Returns to Youtube
  • How Retail Workers Can Be Leveraged as Effective Brand Influencers
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Great Reads

Snapchat officially introduces its paid subscription at $3.99 per month
Snapchat officially launched its paid subscription plan called Snapchat+ today that will offer exclusive features like the ability to change the app icon and being able to see which people have rewatched your Stories.

Earlier this month, the firm confirmed that it’s testing this feature, without giving out many details. Now, it has made Snapchat+ official. The new subscription plan will launch in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with more countries to be added soon.

“Today we’re launching Snapchat+, a collection of exclusive, experimental, and pre-release features available in Snapchat for $3.99/month.  This subscription will allow us to deliver new Snapchat features to some of the most passionate members of our community and allow us to provide prioritized support,” the company said.

How YouTube's brewing TikTok rivalry could impact mobile video strategies
As brands pour ad dollars into short-form video, marketing strategies are emerging to optimize each platform’s strengths. Some of the differences will be geographic: India’s ban on TikTok for political reasons has opened a huge market for YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels, the short-video section of the photo-sharing app owned by Meta Platforms. In the United States, the contrasting demographics of TikTok and YouTube users are more apparent.

“YouTube Shorts currently has a slightly older demographic and larger user base than TikTok, particularly in the U.S.,” Lauren Zoltick, director of performance marketing at stock-footage provider Storyblocks, said. “Unlike Instagram Reels, which often feels like a stream of repurposed TikTok videos with a worse algorithm, YouTube Shorts feels like it has its own identity separate from TikTok.”
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Campaign Insights

Meet HeyPal, the Language App Using Social Media Influencers To Spread the Word
“I urge you to learn a new language,” the model has told her fans, noting how locals in the foreign countries she has visited appreciate the effort. “It’s essential to be able to connect with people as much as possible while I travel,” she wrote in another post last month. Johnson, a former contestant on the TV show “Joe Millionaire,” has repeatedly suggested one particular way to study a new language:

“Today I wanted to work on some Arabic slang, so I literally can pull out the phone and use the app anywhere, anytime!” read a caption to one photo of Johnson sitting near the Indian Ocean with a smartphone in her hands and a cocktail nearby.

At first glance, her casual endorsements may look like mere tips from a travel expert. But the Instagram posts, sprinkled between photos of the model posing in exotic tropical locations, are part of a paid campaign by HeyPal, which is owned by Beverly Hills-based digital app developer ClickStream.

HeyPal—which promises to help users learn new languages through social media posts and online chats with native speakers—has made content creators like Johnson a key part of its marketing and growth strategy. The app is currently paying three influencers, including Johnson, to spread the gospel by showcasing glamorous real-life examples of how people can benefit from the platform.


How Retail Workers Can Be Leveraged as Effective Brand Influencers
The key to empowering frontline sales teams and steering their influence to serve your business’ growth lies in proper incentivization. Fortunately, there are many ways a business can implement an incentive program to encourage sales teams to upsell, cross-sell and drive sales in-store.

Sales games are a great way to not only engage and encourage employees to sell more, but to have fun at work as well. Working as a frontline sales associate doesn’t have to be boring, and implementing creative team and individual games that also drive sales is a great way to keep employees motivated, engaged and focused while on the floor.

A commission model, paid for by either the manufacturing brand or the store, can also be tremendously motivating. Aligning incentives for your team and business will result in employees seeking out product education on their own time. After all, if there’s money on the line, you can be sure that employees are going to put in the work necessary to speak intelligently and convincingly about those products. Ultimately, this results in greater customer satisfaction and higher average baskets — a rare win-win-win for your business, your team and your customers.


ColourPop Taps TikTok Influencer Jasmine Chiswell for Collection
ColourPop Cosmetics has tapped TikTok influencer Jasmine Chiswell for its next collection.

The cosmetics brand is teaming with the influencer for its upcoming old Hollywood glamour-inspired collection, leveraging Chiswell’s vintage style for an old school ad campaign.

The collection includes seven products: the Hello Hollywood eyeshadow palette, the Such a Starlet eye shadow palette, two shades of the brand’s Lux Lip Gloss and three shades of the brand’s lip kits. The collection is meant to mimic the makeup styles of the old Hollywood glamour era, with the products offering gold, pink and neutral eye shadow shades and pink and red lip colors.

Chiswell appears in the ColourPop Cosmetics ad campaign in a ’50s-esque pink and yellow house channeling Marilyn Monroe. The TikTok influencer sports a light smokey eye makeup look paired with a red lip, furthering the homage to the iconic actress.

 
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Interesting People

Beloved L.A. Influencer Emma Chamberlain Returns to Youtube
One of Los Angeles’ most most popular Youtubers, Emma Chamberlain, finally returned to the platform last week after a six-month hiatus that was harrowing for her fans.

Chamberlain’s last post was on December 14, 2021. While did address her noticeable absence from Youtube on a February episode of her podcast Anything Goes with Emma Chamberlain, it was hardly a satisfying alternative for the clips her followers have come to adore. In the episode, “the truth about youtube,” Chamberlain,21, described the pressure behind posting content each week, as well as the negative impact on her mental health caused by critical comments and a her self-imposed lack of privacy.

“I never see myself leaving Youtube for good,” she said on the podcast. “But, I definitely see myself leaving the way I used to do Youtube.” 

In her nearly 18 minute-long triumphant return video, titled “what’s good in new york,” Chamberlain is in Washington Square Park holding a microphone and a sign reading, “PLEASE let me ask you just ONE question for my cute little youtube video.” She then befriends locals and lets their recommendations on lunch spots, coffee shops and sightseeing guide her through the city. 



VidCon: Even Top Creators Find That Star Power Is Fleeting
Being platform agnostic is especially key to diversifying followings and revenue, with creators like Katie Feeney and Alyssa McKay telling THR that they post across YouTube, YouTube Shorts, Instagram, Reels, TikTok and Snapchat. But being flexible with the type of content they post is just as important, too.

“You have to just constantly be ready to evolve as a creator,” McKay says. “I started doing [point-of-view videos] and then I started rapping and then I started noticing, OK, my audience isn’t resonating with this anymore. So now it’s all about lifestyle, but I’m sure within six months I’m probably going to be on to something else. You can’t try and force something that just isn’t working anymore. … That’s hard because that could lead to burnout, trying to constantly think of the next thing, but that’s one of the biggest parts of the job.”

Brittany Tomlinson, a TikTok creator and podcaster who goes by Brittany Broski, also noted during a panel discussion with fellow creator Kris Collins (aka Kallmekris) that the job of a content creator can be all-consuming. “I’ve hit burnout a few times — and that sounds so navel-gazing, like, ‘Oh, poor me.’ But when you think of it, this isn’t a nine to five,” Tomlinson said. “This is an ‘all the time.'”

Hank Green, the co-founder of VidCon, also pointed to the “struggle” that creators face when keeping up with changes in the industry. “I feel like the way that YouTube disrupted television, TikTok has disrupted all of these big incumbents, and it’s so weird to have had VidCon around for both of those events now, to some extent,” Green said in his opening remarks. “Things have changed a great deal and, for better or for worse, there’s a lot of struggle that comes along with a disruption of that size. But that also means there’s lots of opportunity. There’s lots of time to figure it out.”


Karlie Place, a Utah TikToker gets paid to travel
“We were some of the first people to take a realistic approach to couple’s travel, and travel in general,” she says. “We only filmed content where we were being our genuine, goofy selves. Nothing was stiff or formal, and that’s what really struck a chord.”

But that doesn’t mean she was making money back then—or being taken seriously at all, really. Her first viral TikTok was her pole vaulting for the University of Minnesota. While the clip raked in over 10 million views and helped her hit 300,000 followers, Place says the responses from her friends and family were mixed.

“I knew that something was happening,” she says. “I could feel this shift, but for most people, it didn’t feel real or substantial. Of course, I get that—you have to think back to what TikTok was like in 2019. No one knew what it was…I think the consensus was that it was a dancing app for kids.”

But public opinion didn’t deter Place. Instead, she continued to pursue digital marketing, scoring a position as a content creator for the Minnesota Vikings right out of college.

“At the time, that was the highest goal I had for myself,” she laughs. “To work for a professional sports team in some creative capacity. And then it was my first job.”

Two years in the position helped her garner more marketing, social media, and design skills, which she, in turn, applied to her personal accounts. As the end of 2021 neared, Place’s TikTok following had more than tripled, and she knew she had a decision to make: pursue content creation on her own terms or stay in the office.


Khaby Lame: This wordless comedian is now the most-followed person on TikTok
With more than 142.9 million followers, Lame has dethroned teen dancer and content creator Charli D'Amelio to become the most-followed person on the platform.

Lame, 22, who was born in the West African nation of Senegal and now lives in Italy, creates videos in which he reacts wordlessly to absurd life hacks, racking up millions of views and likes with each post.
In the past few weeks, his fans launched a social media effort to push him past D'Amelio on TikTok. On Instagram, Lame has 78.3 million followers compared with D'Amelio's 48.8 million.

Lame, (prounouced Lah-MAY), started posting videos after he lost his job as a factory worker in Italy in the early days of the pandemic in 2020. He spent his days holed up at his parents' home in the Italian city of Chivasso, looking for jobs. One day, he downloaded TikTok and started tinkering with it in his bedroom, posting videos of himself under the name Khaby Lame.
"
Industry News

Pro gaming tools are helping streamers get paid
Earlier this year, Aim Lab brokered a sponsorship with Activision’s Call of Duty League, joining it with previously established deals with Riot Games and Ubisoft for Valorant and Rainbow Six Siege, respectively. The company has partnered with a number of high-profile Twitch streamers, like LuluLuvely and Ethos, as well as promoting full-fledged esports teams that use the service. (ScreaM, a Valorant player for Team Liquid, has proudly showcased his Aim Lab routine on his YouTube channel — his click fidelity is simultaneously inspiring and terrifying.)

Taken together, these sponsorships represent one of the core lines of demarcation that separates professional gaming and professional sports. It’s hard to imagine ever matching Giannis Antetokounmpo’s ability without freakishly long arms and a 40-inch vertical, and the NBA doesn’t want you to believe otherwise. (In fact, one of the most famous Nike ads of all time is about how you won’t be able to dunk after purchasing a pair of Jordans.) But to become as good as Ninja? That’s in sight, so long as you have the right tools. Aim Lab has been downloaded 25 million times, according to the company. And all of those people are hoping to finally, definitively, get good.


Jellysmack Welcomes TikTokers to Its Creator Program
The creator economy startup Jellysmack is expanding its platform to include TikTokers, the New York-based company announced Wednesday.

Jellysmack’s A.I. technology, proprietary data and video editing tools had been limited to long-form YouTubers. The new initiative is meant to help TikTok creators spread their content across multiple platforms and explore long-form content creation. Additionally, creators already in their program can now explore short-form content syndication.

Jellysmack will distribute TikTok creators’ content across platforms such as Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts, TikTok and Snapchat Spotlight. Short-form creators with at least 50,000 followers and 500 videos are eligible to apply for the program. So far, 30 high-profile TikTok creators, including Nick Smithyman and Lindy and Jlo, have joined the program.

“TikTok’s explosive growth has fostered a new crop of incredibly talented creators, but TikTok alone isn’t enough to make a living,” Jellysmack President Sean Atkins said in a statement. “Creators who can expand onto multiple platforms have a massive growth and earnings opportunity, and Jellysmack enables creators to do it all—with no extra work.


Influencers peddling medical, financial advice now need certification, China says
Influencers and livestreamers distributing “professional” content in fields like medicines, finance, law and education must have the relevant licenses for their regarding fields, said a set of new provisions announced by China’s National Radio and Television Administration, which issues permits to content providers, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which oversees internet culture.

Platform operators should be responsible for reviewing broadcasters’ certifications and subsequently putting the relevant information in the official records. Artificial intelligence-synthesized presenters and content are subject to the same set of requirements as human broadcasters, the rules say.

The new policy will inevitably raise the bar for grassroots, independent content creators but can be good for tackling disinformation, especially when their opinions can potentially have effect on individuals’ healthcare and financial decisions.

Online live broadcasting has boomed in China over the last few years and become the default way for many to consume information and shop for clothes, produce and more — sort of like TV shopping in the mobile internet era. As of December 2021, over 700 million people in China were livestreaming users, 68% of the country’s entire internet population, according to official data.


BeReal is Gen Z's favorite new social media app, for food and more
BeReal, which has been called “Gen Z’s new favorite social media app,” launched in January 2020 as a response to the polished, hyper-curated feeds on Instagram and TikTok. In the past year alone, BeReal has amassed more than 7.5 million users, which accounts for 75 percent of the app’s total downloads.

Students — some experiencing campus life for the first time since the pandemic — are especially eager to document their life experiences on BeReal. In early February, the app hosted parties on several American college campuses through its ambassador program and offered free admission to students who downloaded the app and added five friends. Marketing blitzes aimed at college students have helped BeReal climb the App Store’s top charts and into the public eye.

The app is simple to use. Once a day at a random time, BeReal sends you a push notification to post a photo. The BeReal photo — both a selfie and a frontal photo with no filter or edit options — must be taken within two minutes or else the post is tagged as “late.” To scroll on the BeReal feed, you must post once and only once each day. Surprisingly, retakes are allowed. When you first join the app, you can only follow accounts linked to your phone contacts and react to BeReals with a RealMoji, an emoji picture of your face in that moment. You can also swipe through the Discovery feed, a collection of random BeReals from around the world that anyone can post to.
Registration Required
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What’s Hot at VidCon; How Creator Diversity Programs Compare (Chart) — The Information
The biggest announcement from the major tech companies at the conference has been Snap’s first accelerator program focused on Black creators. Through an application process, the Snapchat parent company will select 25 emerging Black creators who will receive $10,000 per month during the 12-month program. 

These creators will also have mentoring and educational sessions from Snap’s talent partnership team and outside groups including Google’s Pixel team, talent agency UNCMMN and Westbrook Media, including their executives in the film, TV, music industries. 

Snapchat is the latest company to launch a program for creators from underrepresented groups. Pinterest launched its first $500,000 creator fund for underrepresented creators in April 2021 and expanded it with an additional $1.2 million investment in March. Participants in the program receive $25,000, which includes cash, ad credits and a stipend to buy equipment. 
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