Influence Weekly #277 - Will the dad of the D'Amelios be the one to rescue TikTok?

Influence Weekly #277
March 24th, 2023
Executive Summary
  • MLS strikes TikTok partnership as threat of US ban looms
  • Finance YouTubers sued over promotion of FTX
  • StreamElements renews Creator Diversity Program for 2023
  • Will the dad of the D'Amelios be the one to rescue TikTok?

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Great Reads

Will the dad of the D'Amelios be the one to rescue TikTok?
Marc D'Amelio, father of popular TikTok stars Charli and Dixie D'Amelio, has announced his plans to lead a group of investors in a joint bid for TikTok ownership. ByteDance, the parent company of the popular video-sharing app, may be required to divest TikTok to continue operating in the United States. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) has been urging ByteDance to spin off the app to avoid the bipartisan RESTRICT Act becoming law. 

Though TikTok has preferred to sign the security deal proposed through the Project Texas initiative, it may need to consider other options if a divestment is required. D'Amelio is well-versed in politics and has been actively keeping an eye on the Capitol Hill drama surrounding the app. He plans to put together a group of investors who will make a joint bid for TikTok ownership. The D'Amelio-led acquisition offer would be a tempting option for the app's creator community, which could use allies as it faces ongoing challenges in the US.

How Esther Brzezinski Became A Successful Content Creator In Her 60s
Esther Brzezinski, a 64-year-old content creator, has become a social media sensation, inspiring people of all ages with her positive messages about aging. After posting her first TikTok video, which received 150,000 views in just a few hours, Esther began sharing her journey as a content creator with over 100,000 followers on TikTok and 90,000 followers on Instagram.

Esther's content focuses on the message that "age is not my cage," resonating with a community of viewers who feel that their lives are not over despite their age. She frequently talks about her experiences with aging and how to age gracefully, addressing topics such as beauty products, menopause, and staying active.

As her following grew, brands began to approach Esther for collaborations, and she now monetizes her content. Esther's favorite collaboration has been with iLac, with whom she is now working on her third campaign.

Despite her success, Esther faces challenges as a content creator, including keeping up with changes on different platforms and engaging with her followers. She encourages aspiring content creators to be consistent, engage with their followers, and create content that grabs attention in the first three seconds.

In the future, Esther hopes to be represented by an agent or manager and to work with brands that are aligned with her values. She also wants to put the spotlight on smaller creatives who deserve more attention in the content creator space.

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Campaign Insights

Kimpton Hotels Launches 'Plant Pals' Program Ahead of Earth Day
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has launched a new "Plant Pals" program in preparation for Earth Day next month. The global guest amenity program offers guests locally sourced plants to brighten up their rooms during their stay. The program is based on research that shows having plants in the environment can improve mood and increase productivity.

The company partnered with Brooklyn-based influencer Plant Kween to curate unique selections of plants indigenous to each property's location. Guests can request a plant off their Kimpton hotel's native plant menu, complete with care tips and a unique name tag. The program is complimentary, and guests can request a Plant Pal by calling the front desk before or after check-in.

Finance YouTubers sued over promotion of FTX
Several finance YouTubers, including Graham Stephan, Andrei Jikh, and Jaspreet Singh, are facing a class action lawsuit alleging that they should be held responsible for promoting now-disgraced cryptocurrency exchange FTX. The lawsuit’s plaintiff, Edwin Garrison, alleges that the YouTubers did not adequately disclose their sponsorships and/or endorsement deals, payments, and compensation related to FTX. 

The lawsuit also claims that the YouTubers misled customers with the false impression that any cryptocurrency assets held on the FTX Platform were safe and not invested in unregistered securities. SEC chair Gary Gensler has asserted that existing securities laws apply to cryptocurrencies, which could potentially make these YouTubers liable for not disclosing how much FTX paid them if FTX accounts are considered securities.

Using TikTok creators as a marketing tool, Panera Bread tries to rise buzz with millennials, Gen Z
Panera Bread is using TikTok creators as a marketing tool to attract millennials and Gen Z audiences. The brand has partnered with five TikTok influencers to make short-form videos that showcase the new look of Panera Bread on the platform. Instead of using Instagram and Facebook, Panera chose TikTok because it aligns better with its younger target audience's viewing habits. 

The brand is also using a limited edition baguette-style handbag to promote its new sandwich on the app. Additionally, Panera is bringing its new look to digital ads and connected TV, more specifically on Hulu’s pause TV screen. The brand's approach takes a generational truth that aligns with its target audience's interests and values. According to experts, partnerships between brands and social media influencers can be successful if the creators' values and interests align with those of the brand.

StreamElements renews Creator Diversity Program for 2023
StreamElements, the streaming tool platform, has announced the renewal of its Creator Diversity Program (CDP) for a third year. The program aims to support Twitch streamers from under-represented backgrounds including Black, People of Color (PoC), Women, LGBTQAIS2+, and individuals with disabilities. StreamElements will select 15 applicants who will receive various benefits including a $3,000 grant via PayPal, educational resources from StreamerSquare, and other professional and technical support from StreamElements and Razer. Applications for the 2023 Creator Diversity Program are open until March 31, 2023.

According to Taylor Shields, CDP co-director, StreamElements, marginalized content creators face many challenges including access to mentors and support, opportunities, and equipment. Shields believes that the program can give creators an extra boost they need to move up to the next stage of their journey. The Creator Diversity Program started in 2020 and has returned for its second iteration in 2021. StreamElements' renewed commitment to the program shows its continued investment in up-and-coming marginalized creators.
Interesting People

Leslie Green Of Shopmy: Bridging The Gap Between Brands And Creators
Leslie Green, the VP of Content and Communication of ShopMy, recently shared details on how the platform is bridging the gap between brands and creators in performance marketing and brand collaborations. ShopMy is a premium affiliate and influencer marketing platform that simplifies the monetization process for creators who share their product recommendations over social media. Its product catalog has over 50,000 merchant partners to choose from, with industry-leading commissions. 

The platform allows creators to link to anything, even if it’s non-commissionable or on a different affiliate network. ShopMy also provides access to data that allows creators to make deeper collaborations, beyond just being affiliates. ShopMy measures success with the amount of money brands earn, allowing them to see exactly who drives purchases and how much they earn. ShopMy envisions brands to have an affiliate-based strategy, putting products in the hands of individuals who are giving recommendations, allowing them to generate new revenue streams and have a plan in place if brand collaboration budgets shift or dwindle.

Fashion Influencer Erika Of Erika_r__ - Balancing A Full-Time Job With Content Creation
Fashion influencer Erika_r__ is balancing a full-time job with her content creation career on Instagram and TikTok. With over 32,000 followers on Instagram, Erika shares her day-to-day outfits and recently started creating color-coded Instagram posts for a more organized feed. Erika is also pivoting to video content by mixing reels with her fashion pictures and creating content on TikTok.

However, one of her biggest challenges is managing her time between her full-time job and growing her content creation career. Erika hopes to turn content creation into a full-time job and business, and she's working with Sintillate Talent to achieve this. They have helped her land more brand opportunities, gain confidence, and establish a support system.

Erika wants to see Instagram revert to being a picture-first platform and stop competing with TikTok. Her biggest goal is to transition her content to focus primarily on fashion and build paid brand collaborations to create more substantial revenue streams for her business.

The Importance Of Short-Form Content As Told By Matt Stait, Founder Of Different Think
Matt Stait, the founder of Different Think, has become an expert in short-form content and has helped numerous businesses and creators harness its power. In a recent interview, Stait shared his entrepreneurial journey and insights on how short-form content will change the business landscape.

Stait started Different Think after leaving his martial arts gym business and realizing that there was a lack of experts in short-form content. He believes that short-form video content, like TikTok and Facebook reels, is the most effective medium for businesses and creators to grow organic content.

Short-form video content has many benefits, such as a low barrier to entry and the ability to quickly produce content that doesn't require a lot of time and effort. It is also a powerful tool to engage audiences and build communities.

Stait advises anyone looking to create effective short-form content to start with a powerful hook, commit to delivering value, and end with a strong call to action. He also encourages businesses and creators to avoid common mistakes, such as using short-form content as a direct sales tool and rushing out content without a clear strategy.

Different Think works with a variety of clients, but Stait particularly enjoys collaborating with people over 30 who are unsure of what they need to do but know they need to do something. He emphasizes the importance of commitment and investment, both in terms of time and money, in order to succeed in short-form content.
Industry News

New Creator Pay-Per-View Platform Zarta Announces $5.7 Million In Funding
Zarta, a new pay-per-view video platform for creators, has announced $5.7 million in funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Founded in 2021 by former Airbnb software engineer and YouTube content creator Luba Yudasina, Zarta aims to connect creators and their fans directly through its ad-free platform. Creators can upload a video, set parameters for a free preview, and charge viewers for access to the entire video. The pay-per-view model is a response to the ad-driven and subscription models that currently dominate the creator space, allowing viewers to support their favorite creators and pay only for the content they want to watch. Most of the funds go directly to the creator, with Zarta taking a cut to cover operational costs.

Zarta is focused on serving a category of creators producing value-driven but entertaining content with an established loyal audience. The platform has community guidelines that give creators control over their content and what they charge, while keeping the content appropriate for the platform. Luba Yudasina, Zarta's founder, is excited to see more platforms putting creators first, as this is also a huge goal for Zarta. In the short-term, Zarta is focused on expanding its creators while maintaining its laser focus on the United States, with long-term plans to expand to other categories and niches. Zarta is currently in private beta but is always looking to speak with more creators interested in creating content for the platform.

MLS strikes TikTok partnership as threat of US ban looms
TikTok has announced a multi-year partnership with Major League Soccer (MLS), which includes in-app programming, exclusive content, and in-stadium activations. The ByteDance-owned social media platform will also introduce a Club Creator Network, which pairs content creators with different teams. The partnership covers 29 clubs across the US and Canada, and as an official partner of MLS, TikTok will be integrated into every game throughout the season and serve as co-sponsor of the league’s esports tournament, the eMLS Cup. 

This latest deal expands on an existing relationship that began in 2020 when MLS first joined TikTok. The new Club Creator Network will partner different social media personalities with teams to generate content during the regular and off seasons. TikTok is estimated to have over 150 million active users in the US, and many individual clubs, including the LA Galaxy and Inter Miami CF, operate their own official accounts. TikTok building a closer association with MLS comes as the app is again threatened by an outright ban in the US over national security.

The Creator Economy Is the Economy for 2023 and Beyond
The creator economy is rapidly gaining momentum, with influencers and online content creators becoming an essential part of the economy. According to Chrissy Werner, who advises companies on the use of social media influencers, it is essential for brands to make informed decisions based on data that goes beyond vanity metrics such as likes and views. With influencer-created content watched 13.2 times more than media and brand content combined, social video has emerged as the place where trends originate. Werner suggests that to thrive in social media in 2023 and beyond, brands need a proven, data-driven way to quickly sort through shifting trends and easily apply insights to their goals.

Werner recommends focusing on quality over quantity when evaluating influencers, uncovering quality metrics to save money on influencers that seem "smaller" but pack a bigger punch when it comes to ROI. In addition, driving growth with influencers from adjacent categories can help brands reach their existing consumers while also exposing their brand name to new consumers. Werner also notes that some creators are building their own income streams through merch deals and their owned media brands. Consumers and marketers alike agree that influencer marketing is here to stay, with 78.6% of marketers projected to incorporate it into their strategies in 2023.

Net Influencer Surpasses 100k Monthly Visits, Cements Its Place as a Leading Resource for the Creator Economy
Net Influencer, the companion website for Influence Weekly, has announced that it has surpassed 100,000 monthly visits. The milestone cements the website's place as a leading resource for the creator economy and influencer marketing. Net Influencer offers in-depth articles, guides, and resources on personal branding, content creation, social media marketing, and more. 

The website's team of experts provides insights and advice that help creators and marketers build their influence, grow their audience, and succeed in the competitive world of online content creation. Looking ahead, Net Influencer is excited to expand its coverage and provide even more value to its readers in 2023. The website plans to feature more in-depth case studies and interviews with successful creators, marketers, and industry experts. The site will also launch new sections devoted to emerging trends and topics, such as platform comparisons, creator monetization strategies, and influencer partnerships.

Veronica Ferrari On The Present And Future State Of Brand-Ambassador Relationships
Veronica Ferrari, Head of Insight at InsightX, a due diligence agency, has released a report on the present and future state of brand-ambassador relationships. The report highlights that many brands have faced controversies due to what their ambassadors have said or done in the past. The report aims to help brands navigate risks while selecting ambassadors for their brand.

Ferrari emphasizes the importance of brands selecting ambassadors who reflect the values of their brand, truly love and enjoy their product, and have a long-term association with the brand. She also stresses the need for brands to differentiate between influencers and ambassadors, as the two have different impacts on brands.

The report advises brands to conduct background checks on ambassadors and highlights the importance of knowing an ambassador's connections with other brands, financials, and their past social media history. It also recommends that brands prepare to react immediately to issues with their ambassadors to show that they stand with their values.

In the future, brands will pay more attention to who they partner with and will become more cautious. Brands will move away from focusing too much on actors and actresses and work more with ambassadors from other industries, such as K-pop stars and young athletes.
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This NYC-based TikTok creator built a following of 7 million and became a modern-day 'MTV Cribs' - Fortune
Caleb Simpson, a New York City-based content creator, has gained close to 7 million followers on TikTok alone for his series of quirky apartment tours. His content not only takes viewers inside apartments across New York City, but also sheds light on how much they’re paying for the adobes. Simpson fills a gap in the home tour genre, playing on the fact that most people can relate to his curiosity and that there are already enough celebrity-focused shows. Simpson's content ranges from $650-a-month rentals to a $6.5 million home in Miami and a $10,000-a-month rental in Manhattan owned by Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran.

Simpson's videos are lighthearted and entertaining, partly because seeing the inside of someone’s home makes you feel like an outsider looking in and partly because of Simpson’s persona that seems to instantly make his hosts comfortable. Simpson makes himself at home, and his hosts seem to be all for it, showing him around, letting him mess with their things or even try on their clothes. His videos also touch on deeper issues, such as affordable housing and social inequality, while promoting charitable causes. Simpson's videos are successful because they connect with his audience by showing that everyone lives inside a box, and he's still amazed at the small size of some apartments.

5 Beauty Trends Changing the Industry, Per an Adviser to Brand, Investors - Insider
Beauty influencer and scout for investment fund BrainTrust Founders Studio, Blake Newby, shared her insights on the five beauty trends that are shaping the future of the industry in 2023. She advised brands to focus on cyclical and long-term themes instead of fleeting trends on social media platforms. Newby emphasized that bold blush looks, for example, were popular on the red carpet at the 2022 Met Gala and still resonate with consumers. She also encouraged beauty brands to embrace more color, which has become a trend that will reach women of color, who prefer bolder makeup looks.

Newby also noticed that Black skincare brands are evolving their formulas and will lead the clinical skincare industry. These brands are creating advanced formulas like retinol and Vitamin C serums that are backed by science because of the Black chemists in their labs. In addition, Newby advised beauty brands to put the people developing the product at the forefront of the brand, as consumers want proof that the products work, and brands' relationships with beauty influencers will change as inorganic content does not perform as well with audiences these days.

Snap wins over creators like David Dobrik, Hannah Stocking with high payouts for easy content - Fortune
Snapchat is becoming a new favorite for creators as the platform's advertising revenue share program, currently in beta testing, turns Snap Stories into gold mines for top stars. The program motivates big creators such as David Dobrik, Hannah Stocking, and Charli and Dixie D'Amelio to make specialized content just for Snap. In Stocking's case, she made $30,000 in 72 hours by exclusively posting content to the platform, while on another day, she made $14,000. Snap's advertising revenue still under pressure from Apple's iPhone privacy changes. However, the company pointed to the creator revenue-sharing program as an important tool to open up new advertising inventory on its platform.

Snap acknowledges it hasn't always been top of mind when people think of the creator economy. However, with Snap's ease of use, high payouts, and support from the platform, creators are drawn to the app. If Snap can continue to win over creators, it could inspire its enormous audiences to expand their Snap usage. With 375 million daily active users and $17 billion market cap, Snap hopes that the advertising revenue share program for Snap Stars, public figures with mass appeal, could be a powerful equalizer in its competition against larger social media rivals like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

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