Influence Weekly #266 - How a TikTok SEO Strategy Helped an Influencer Get New Brand Deals

Influence Weekly #266
January 6th, 2023
Executive Summary
  • How a TikTok SEO Strategy Helped an Influencer Get New Brand Deals
  • The Great Podcasting Market Correction
  • Amazon and Adobe among brands influencers like working with most
  • Chipotle targets Gen Z with wellness Snapchat Lens, menu items
Great Reads

The Instagram Reels Gold Rush
Koch, who is twenty-five, had been promoting his solo music on Instagram for years. By October of 2021, he had more than twenty thousand followers, an audience that was large enough for Instagram to select him for the Reels Play Bonus, a new program that paid creators for the views they got on short-form videos known as Reels. Koch ignored the offer at first, but changed his mind and looked at what others were posting on Reels. The answer, in large part, was face-filter videos. Countless clips of people gazing at the camera as a question floated above their heads: “What Disney princess are you?” “How many children will you have?” “What astrological sign is your true love?” A few seconds later, the filter reveals a randomly generated answer (“Snow White!” “Twelve!” “Sagittarius!”) and those in front of the camera react as if they had won the lottery or sprained an ankle.

After spending a few minutes one night making face-filter videos, Koch woke up the next morning to find money waiting for him in his Instagram account. “I was, like, Oh, my God, I made ten bucks for doing that?” he recalled. “That’s awesome.” He began posting six to eight face-filter videos a day, and, weeks later, after receiving advice from mentors in the music industry to post more, upped his daily production to between sixteen and thirty. The Instagram algorithm rewarded this extraordinary proliferation of content. A filter that covered half his face with his random celebrity twin (Margot Robbie) got nearly forty-eight million views. During his second month enrolled in the new bonus program, he hit his maximum monthly allowance—a thousand dollars—and watched his follower count climb by thousands. When he and Andersen began churning out face-filter videos for their new band, Instagram granted them a maximum monthly bonus of thirty-five thousand dollars. For good measure, Andersen began posting face-filter videos on his personal account, too.

How Much Do Social Media Platforms Pay Out Creator Funds?
Creator funds, where social media platforms set aside money to pay creators per video view, are no longer a viable source of income for most online creators. TikTok's Creator Fund, which boasted $200 million when it launched in 2020 and has since grown to $2 billion, now only pays creators between two and four cents per 1,000 views. 

Snapchat's creator fund has also decreased, with the company promising millions per year to creators in October, following a disappointing Q3 earnings report. Pinterest's Creator Rewards program, which launched with $20 million, also ended in November " to focus on other creator programs and features."  YouTube's $100 million Shorts Fund is scheduled to end by 2023, but YouTube's ad revenue sharing program offers creators 45% of ad revenue from Shorts and 55% of ad revenue from traditional videos.
Campaign Insights

Chipotle targets Gen Z with wellness Snapchat Lens, menu items
Chipotle is targeting Gen Z and millennials this month with a new Snapchat Lens and lineup of Lifestyle Bowls, which are designed to promote wellness and are only available through its digital menu. The Snapchat Lens will include meditation prompts and exercises, making it the first wellness-themed lens from a restaurant brand. Chipotle will reward 100,000 lens users with free guacamole. 

" The lens and new Lifestyle Bowls are inspired by contemporary wellness habits that emphasize healthy eating over diet culture,"  according to details shared with Marketing Dive. The lens will launch on January 13, also known as Quitter's Day, a day when many people give up on their New Year's resolutions. By making the new bowls digital-only menu offerings, Chipotle continues its efforts to promote its app and loyalty programs.

Social media influencers paid nearly €300,000 to promote Irish tourism
Fáilte Ireland, the Irish tourism authority, has spent nearly €300,000 ($360,000) on 46 social media influencers over the past two years to promote Irish tourism. Fees for the influencers, including TV presenters, sports personalities and influencers, ranged from €800 ($965) to €15,000 ($18,250) for campaigns such as " Make a Break for it,"  " Keep Discovering,"  and " Come Here to Me, Dublin."  

Some of the most popular influencers included former Miss Universe Ireland and travel blogger Roz Purcell, who received €60,000 for four different trips as the campaign ambassador for Fáilte Ireland's " Keep Discovering"  initiative, and Virgin Media presenter Greg O'Shea, who received €11,635 for a two-day visit to Ireland's Ancient East. A spokesperson for Fáilte Ireland said that its use of influencers was " highly successful"  in engaging with targeted audience demographics and increasing the propensity to travel in Ireland.

Interesting People

Sports Influencer & Entrepreneur Jack Settleman on Partnering with MSG Networks
Jack Settleman, a 26-year-old creator, entrepreneur, and investor in the media, sports, and technology space, founded Snapback Sports and recently co-founded Snapback Agency, a full-service management agency representing digital creators, athletes, entertainers, and other talents. He grew Snapback Sports to become the #1 Sports Snapchat Account with over one billion views and 2.5 million total followers, and now works with MSG Networks to host exclusive digital shows for the company. 

Jack believes that creators are the future of marketing and can bring a lot of value to brands, especially in the sports space, stating " creators have dedicated audiences. They’re super powerful in everything they do. We’ve seen influencers be super effective over the past five years. I don’t want to just look at a pretty face or anything like that. I want you to bring value to me."  He also discusses the importance of authenticity and the need to bring value to audiences, stating " It's super important to be authentic and to be yourself because that's what people follow. That's why they follow you. They're not following you because you have a million followers. They're following you because they like you and they like what you stand for." 

Summer Fridays' Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Ireland on entering the retinol category
Summer Fridays, a beauty brand co-founded by influencers Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Ireland, has launched Midnight Ritual Retinol, a new serum, at Sephora. The brand has enlisted the help of six dermatologists to create content about the product on TikTok and Instagram, as well as to answer users' questions about retinol. 

Summer Fridays has relied on influencer marketing from the beginning, with Hewitt and Ireland relying on friends like Kim Kardashian, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Jessica Alba to help promote the brand when it launched. The brand's PR and influencer director, Kristin Patter, said that the brand sought out dermatologists who had already organically posted about the brand in the past to create content that would educate the brand's community about the product. The brand also conducted a clinical study of the product, in which 88% of participants showed improvement in fine lines and wrinkles, 91% showed improvement in facial skin redness, and 82% showed improvement in facial skin brightness after using the product for four weeks.

How Text-To-Image AI Is Impacting The Creator Economy
Lightricks, a company that specializes in building creative tools for photographers and creators, has added motion editing tools and text-to-image AI technology to their suite of tools in the Photoleap app. The text-to-image feature allows users to describe an image and generate it using AI technology in seconds. The AI model trains on a database of images from the internet and learns different concepts, such as what a cat looks like, in order to generate an image from words alone. 

This technology is useful for businesses creating product imagery, as it eliminates the need for traditional photoshoots and saves time and money. In addition, it allows users with limited sketching skills to create unique, whimsical imagery by describing it to the AI. Brett Welch, Vice President of Product Management at Lightricks, said " The main change for creators is that the starting point can change. Rather than exploring by taking lots of photos and then seeing what works, you can start by asking AI to give you some ideas. Then, that’s a new starting point that you didn’t have before that can then spur on new ideas and boost your creativity." 
Industry News

GEN Agency Helps College Athletes Grow Their Influence With “Athletes Turned Creators”
Rachel Maeng Brown is the Founder and CEO of GEN Agency, a multi-channel network with over 66+ million followers across its social media platforms. GEN Agency's " Athletes Turned Creators"  NIL Education program helps college athletes make viral content and find paid opportunities with local businesses. The program offers custom education and programs to athlete organizations, athletic departments, and local businesses to create sustainable marketing campaigns, allowing athletes to monetize themselves in their local communities. It includes education on building a personal brand, negotiating brand deals, and understanding usage rights. 

Rachel shares, " We're actually giving them and local businesses education as well, where we're teaching them how to take athlete content and use it for their social media pages or use it for ads to get a really good ROI back on their marketing and that's a really big deal because that hasn't really been done before and it's something that's always created the gap between student-athletes using their content and local businesses being able to use it."  Rachel adds, " We've grown it [GEN Agency's program] out where it's more workshop intensive and a two-sided system, so we do a lot of workshops with different universities. We can also go in person and do workshops on top of the virtual." 

TikTok begins rolling out the ability for creators to restrict videos to adult viewers
TikTok has announced that it is expanding its audience controls feature, which allows creators to restrict their videos to adult viewers. Previously, the feature was only available for TikTok Live, but it will now be rolled out to short-form videos too. The feature is not meant to allow creators to display adult content, as it is still subject to TikTok's policies. Instead, it is intended to prevent minors from encountering content that may be uninteresting or aimed towards an adult audience. TikTok has also said it is launching the next iteration of its borderline suggestive model, which automatically identifies sexually explicit, suggestive or borderline content.

Amazon and Adobe among brands influencers like working with most
According to a report from influencer pay transparency platform F*** You Pay Me (FYPM), Adobe is the brand that influencers most enjoy working with. The report was based on reviews of 9,578 brand collaborations submitted by influencers for 5,045 different brands, and combines data submitted by 7,285 influencers globally. 

Following Adobe in the top 10 list of brands influencers like working with are: Amazon, Michaels, BioGaia, Empress 1908 Gin, Hero Cosmetics, Bob's Red Mill, Samsung, CurlSmith and Fera Pet Organics. FYPM's CEO, Lindsey Lugrin, said that the best brands " treat influencers like humans. They invest in their relationships with these people."  FYPM is set to roll out a new platform for brands, using its roughly 10,000 influencer reviews to help brands evaluate whether they are paying influencers below, on par with, or above the industry average.

Dear Media podcast is focused on women and has attracted millions of downloads
Dear Media is a podcast network that has gained popularity among women. The company was launched in 2018 and its combined audience on social media is over 120 million. Its podcasts have been downloaded over 200 million times in 2022. Dear Media has also launched over 50 lines of influencer merchandise and doubled its annual revenues in the past four years. 

The company is known for its chat shows, which are hosted and produced by publishing houses and feature free-form conversation between hosts and guests. Dear Media has also produced limited series and announced a new series called " I Am America"  hosted by Tracee Ross, which highlights everyday Americans and their " transcendence."  According to Pia Baroncini, host of the popular podcast " Everything Is Better,"  the appeal of Dear Media is its ability to understand and monetize the podcast host. Nicholas Quah, a podcast analyst, noted that the success of Dear Media is dependent on its ability to continue producing shows and expanding its audience.

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The Great Podcasting Market Correction - Bloomberg
Sirius XM Holdings Inc. has slowed down its dealmaking, and Spotify Technology SA is freezing its US budget for new podcasts, according to people familiar with the situation. Amazon Music has pulled back on new deals and instructed its team to reduce offers that were already on the table but unsigned, said two people who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. In some cases, all three companies are offering smaller upfront payments to new shows and seeking to keep more of the resulting advertising revenue, according to several people familiar with the matter. Shows that used to be able to claim 80% of advertising sales are now often forced to settle for 50%, two people said.

Representatives from Inc. and Spotify declined to comment. Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s president and chief content officer, said the company feels “very good” about its podcast slate and looks forward to “growing it even further next year” with the launch of several new shows. 

“A lot of these platforms acquiring and spending big dollars in the podcast space have made those bets and are putting those businesses to work,” said Chris Peterson, founder and CEO of Modish Media, an audio advisory firm. “This is a little bit of a slowdown period, but we will continue to see more M&A as more companies and money come into the space.” 

How a TikTok SEO Strategy Helped an Influencer Get New Brand Deals - Business Insider
TikToker Nadja Marrero has implemented specific techniques to strengthen the search engine optimization (SEO) of her videos, which has helped more brands find her through TikTok's discover page and reach out to collaborate on skincare and beauty-related content. Marrero changed her social media handle to include what her content is about and added keywords to her bio, turned on auto-captions for her TikToks, and moved away from using general hashtags toward more specific hashtags. 

As a result of optimizing her SEO, Marrero has made $7,350 through seven brand deals in the past four months, half of the $14,000 she earned in her first year after becoming a content creator, and she expects to double that amount in the next year. " Brands used to tell me they just randomly found my page, but that's not the case anymore,"  Marrero said. " One of them said they're always typing in the name of the industry when scouting influencers, so this could really help people get spotted."

Librarians Are Meeting Younger Readers Where They Are: TikTok - The New York Times
Librarians are using TikTok to connect with young readers and promote reading in their communities. Many librarians have joined the platform, creating content that includes costumes, dance routines, book recommendations and other resources, and events. The content is aimed at showcasing libraries as welcoming spaces for diverse communities and engaging young people in reading. 

According to Katie Elson Anderson, a reference librarian at Rutgers University-Camden, there are at least 85 library TikTok accounts. " On library TikTok, there is chatter about books, but librarians also post about resources and events, showcasing libraries as welcoming places for diverse communities,"  wrote Lora Kelley in The New York Times. " Making the effort to show up on TikTok tells young people that “we’re here, we hear you, we feel you,” said Celia Greer, a teen coordinator at the Kankakee Public Library in Kankakee, Illinois. " The TikTok videos are also a blast for the staff, who are often dealing with burnout and stress after serving their communities throughout the pandemic,"  added Kelley.

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