Personal Reflection:

This course has been extremely interesting and educational. I’ve got to learn so much about social media development, ways to tell stories effectively, how to properly analyze and find your target audience, and most importantly, the major difference between a corporate and personal brand image.

Retrieved from Wikipedia.

I think storytelling and how to properly tell a story is vital to creating digital content, because it allows users to trust you, it helps get your point across effectively, and it engages the audience. Following an inverted pyramid approach by telling the most important information first, and descending in order of importance, it draws the reader in initially, and gets your most important point across. From there, it’s the readers choice whether they want to keep reading or not. All of these help establish the structure of your story, which allows audiences to trust your writing style, and eventually come back for more.

I think turning content into a story, like we’ve learned in this course, not only helps humanize a company, but it gives a certain flow to what’s being told. I think the difference between content and a story is that a story is what’s being told, the message, the point you want to get across. Content is the form in which you’re translating it to your audience. Therefore, first establish your story or message, then see how you can tell it to your audience effectively.

Personally, the stories I like to tell are about my own journey and experiences because they’re real and often relatable. I also find myself to be a very self-analytical person who is able to tell a story with meaning, have a point to why I’m telling the story, especially if it has to do with myself. This helps me find reasoning for why I’m telling the stories I do, it’s all about finding the right medium to tell them in.

Overall, I’ve not only enjoyed this course but the entire program and I’m super looking froward to continuing my studies by completing my BA! I’ve learned so much through this program and will take these skills wherever I end up in my career.

What did you find to be the biggest thing you learned in this course that will always stick with you? Let me know below!

Who Am I & What Do I Do?

I want to answer the question “Who am I?” and “What do I do?”. I think this is an important place to start because of my age and the fact I don’t know exactly what I want my future career to look like.

TMU Student Learning Center. Retrieved from BlogTO.

I am half-way through my BA at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson), studying Film and Media Business. Simultaneously, in about a week, I will have completed my Algonquin Certificate in social media. This summer I am also enrolled in a full course load between TMU and Algonquin this summer. After woking in the service industry since I was 15, all I’ve wanted this past year is to land a job in my field of interest. Anything to do with creativity, digital content, graphic design, social media marketing, etc. From March to early June I was trying to apply to two jobs daily, just to keep options open. It’s a very competitive field and I didn’t know who I was up against. Through perseverance, “going with the flow”, and stepping out of my comfort zone, I just recently got a summer job in social media marketing at a local hospital. I couldn’t be more grateful for such a wonderful opportunity. I was finally able to get my foot in the door, and because of all the work I put in the last few months, I have two interviews set up for the following school year about possible part-time jobs in my field.

Retrieved from Transition Resource.

Currently, I am turning twenty years old, a student in two different programs, and am attempting to channel my inner drive to be successful at a young age. I live in Toronto throughout the school year, but I’m from Ottawa. I love hanging out with family and friends, working out, and doing great things to help myself and others. I recently discovered how much I enjoy learning about things that interest me, taking care of my body and mind, and surrounding myself with uplifting, positive people.

On top of that, I was granted the opportunity to go on exchange to Germany in 2023, and study abroad. This was a huge accomplishment in my eyes, because this past year I really started taking my future seriously. In high school, I never was passionate about any subject because they never interested me. However, once I got to University, I started getting great grades because it reflected the effort I was putting into what I was learning, because I was actually enjoying it. Because of this, I started to realize different career paths I would be interested in and wanted to expand my certifications and knowledge. I finally took the reign’s of my career path head on and am making a future that I’m so excited about. I have the drive and passion to be successful and it’s like I did a full 180.

Therefore, I don’t want anything to come off as bragging about my career path or anything. But it is motivating to hear how other people got their drive and are putting it to good use! That is how I would describe who I am and what I do!

Personal Brand

I think my personal brand revolves around a youthful perspective in regards to technology, with an emphasis on helping businesses achieve marketing objectives in a timely manner.

Retrieved from Forbes.

Characteristics that separate me from competitors is my personal ambitions and reasonings behind the jobs I seek. Being born in 2002, I’m apart of Gen Z, a generation that are experts with technology by nature. I’ve realized how many older businesses typically run by Baby Boomers are slowly declining. This could partly be because of the pandemic, but it’s also because when the businesses originated, traditional marketing techniques worked. Today, everything is digitalized and if you want business, it’s done through social channels. Therefore, I try to target my skills and knowledge to Baby Boomer businesses because once they understand the potential growing an online platform can have, I’m able to bring their business more attraction (in every sense).

That being said, those aren’t characteristics or qualities that may set me apart from competition. In that aspect, I think my determination, need of work validation (unhealthy but it’s true) and my eagerness to succeed would be primary characteristics. While a lot of people my age have very similar traits, I am well versed with everything about social media, I’ve have studied in this program at the same time as completing my Bachelors degree, and I will go the extra mile to ensure every need is exceeded. I’m a very hard worker and have maintained a job simultaneously while completing school since I was 14. I’m very capable of efficient time management, I work well under pressure, I always take initiative and I enjoy presenting new creative concepts and ideas to suggest different ways to approach each situation.

Retrieved from Dice.

I’ve realized in my BA program, a lot of students are trying to get into social media marketing once we graduate. Through my BA, I’m studying Film and Media Business just like a lot of my competition. However, I’ve been able to complete this course at Algonquin slowly at the same time as managing my BA. Therefore it gives me a boost towards anyone else looking for similar jobs. On top of that, I’ve found an amazing program through BrainStation that offers a Digital Marketing Online program as well. This is something I’d be looking to complete throughout the upcoming school year while continuing on my BA. As well, prior to this summer, I’ve only been able to land jobs in the service industry because my resume was lacking experience in my field. However, back in April, I begun applying to two jobs every single day in a field I was interested in. With only unpaid internship opportunities, and almost no replies I was finally able to land a paid job in Social Media Marketing. This is what I needed to get my foot in the door and to finally build my resume properly. Since I’ve begun this summer position, I’ve already had two opportunities arise for the upcoming school year in jobs related to my field. While this may come across in a boastful manner, that is not my intention at all. I’m just trying to do what I can to stand out from competition, and work my hardest to successfully build my resume.

In terms of my best traits in the eyes of my colleagues, I would think they’d say I’m respectful, a good listener, kind, genuinely wants to help, shy but not afraid to ask for clarity, and that I’m curious about people and theirs opinions.

Overall I have so much still to learn and accomplish, but I think I’m at a great point in my life currently as a student wanting to explore new opportunities and challenges! What do you think your unique qualities are to offer at a new job? Let me know below!

B2C Case Study – GymShark

GymShark is a prime example of a business to consumer company that is consistently active online, engaging with its audience, and making constant sales (enough to the point where they’re always sold out of inventory).

Retrieved from GymShark website

Although the online company began in 2012, they hadn’t made a name or reputation for themselves that they have today. Back in 2015, on Black Friday, GymShark decided to outline their priorities which then were; refocus on tech to create growth, and start with a blank space, in other words, from start. Here they wanted to simplify search ability for consumers, showcase the right products when you first enter the site, and use algorithms to personalize products for consumers. They even went so far as to monitoring synonyms for words to ensure customers were able to properly find what they were looking for. Instead of “sweatpants” they had items listed as “joggers”, therefore, making sure multiple items come up no matter what search is typed in was a successful move on their part.

From then until now they’ve done a lot of successful marketing to get the reputation they have today. First, they utilize influencer marketing to promote their products in exchange for money. This really helped GymShark for 3 reasons;

Retrieved from GymShark website
  1. Created a Relevant Audience: allows them to instantly gain access to a large and relevant fitness audience.
  2. People trust influencers: when an influencers talk highly about a company product, their followers are more likely to buy it.
  3. Early moves advantage: social media influencers was a new thing, which means less competition.

GymShark also uploads fitness advice, tips and tutorials on TikTok and YouTube to their loyal and genuine customers who appreciate this type of content. This drives traffic to their social channels and even gets the word out for people who might not be familiar with GymShark yet.

The best part about GymShark and a huge reason for their success is their creation of good quality and a wide range of products. The main purpose for creating GymShark was to make clothing that compliments the fitness figure, at an affordable price. Everything comes back to their great quality product. Fitness influencers want to promote a good quality product, and customers will return if their product is reliable and proper quality.

Therefore overall reasons for GymShark’s success as a B2C company;

  1. Collaborate with the right influencers
  2. Focus on growing social media channels
  3. Focus on value rather than sales
  4. Solve a problem: good product to solve a genuine problem
  5. Engage with your audience
  6. Work hard and smart

Let me know your thoughts below! Do you think GymShark successfully utilized their social media to their advantage? How could they have done better?

Strong vs. Weak Organizations

Today, thought-out social media strategies are the key to success for any type of company. While some organizations recognize traditional marketing initiatives are on the decline, others don’t. Therefore some organizations have an impressive social media plan that creates retention, drives traffic, engagement and meets marketing objectives put in place, while others lack these resources. Others sometimes don’t realize the importance of having a strong social presence and could benefit in many ways by outsourcing this work or by learning how to do it in house

Fitness brand Gymshark’s early Black Friday sale starts today. Image via Gymshark.

An example of a strong organization in regards to their social media strategy, would be GymShark. While using Instagram as a primary platform, they’ve recently begun expanding their accounts on Tik Tok, Facebook and even Twitter. I picked GymShark because recently I’ve enjoyed working out but struggle in finding comfortable, cute gym attire. While I haven’t purchased anything from GymShark as it’s constantly sold out, I hope to soon! They recognize their audience is people who enjoy working out and need good, comfortable, well-fitting clothing to do so in. They do a great job of social listening to hear what consumers want. Not only do they promote their products on social accounts, but they post workout tips, fitness influencer content, inspirational gym quotes, and the odd meme to be relatable. After understanding their target audience, this is the perfect content to post, on the perfect platform. In fact, Instagram is the best platform for fitness brands. Not only does it offer instant gratification, but it builds communities, capitalizes on influence and seems to promote a lifestyle more than a product. Therefore, GymShark is killing it in the social media world, and will continue to stay relevant as it grows!

Retrieved from Naked Juice website.

An example of a weak organization in regards to their social media strategy would be Naked Juice. While the company recently started to post every so often on their Instagram, in 2021 they had not posted for an entire year on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Naked Juice didn’t even let consumers know they’d be taking a social media leave, but all the products were still being sold. Unfortunately, Naked Juice is not well known enough as a company like Apple, who could afford a social media marketing leave. I think Naked Juice needs to find a consistent schedule that works, define their marketing objectives, and find out how they can translate those into their social media presence. Whether they hire a new marketing team or start from square one, I think it will impact sales and get the name circulating.

Overall these organizations are successful in their own aspects. While I do believe it’s vital for a company to have a strong social media presence, it’s a huge commitment and takes time. I think GymShark is on the right path and should continue to follow their excellent social media strategy they’ve implemented. Naked Juice on the other hand, needs to adopt a social strategy that works for their company, objectives and they’ll notice a huge difference in business.

What do you think? Do you know of any brands that have a weak social media presence? How do you think they can improve it? Let me know below!

Video Edits – Target Demographic

In terms of a personal interest, I enjoy making video edits and curating video content. Whether this be music videos, travel videos, or even pre-filmed content by someone else, I have a passion for putting my own creative spin on the project. I find editing really brings the project to life. You can have every person in the world sit down with raw footage, and every single person (let’s say they know the basics of editing) will create something totally unique. Each project they create will have a different feeling, different look, and tell a different story. That’s a huge reason I find so much creativity and drive in the editing process, it’s all up to my creative freedom and discretion. 

Gabriel Conte Video Edit

Therefore, after doing some research, not only would my target audience be creative individuals but those with a passion for quick visual effects. While editing can encompass so many things and most predominantly is known for editing feature films, that’s not the audience I want to attract. I think my target demographic would be similar to that of Cole Bennet and Gabriel Conte. While Cole focuses on Rap music videos, Gabriel does more travel style editing videos. These are both huge areas of interest to me. Based on what I’ve gathered and through personal experience, I would say my target demographic is Generation Z, approximately ages 14-25. Both male and female, but predominantly males as they are a bigger consumer of the Rap music industry. 

I think characteristics they’d hold would be a huge interest in the Rap music industry, music videos, and Tik Tok edits. They would be well versed with social media and consistently on top of new trends. I think some effective ways to communicate to this target demographic would be through Tik Tok and Instagram accounts. Both of which promote short videos, a perfect way to get my projects out while monitoring the received engagement. I would also research similar creators and influencers my target demographic enjoys watching and see how they communicate with their audience. I think primarily social media that pushes short form videos are the best platforms to communicate with my audience.

What do you think? Do you have any experience in video editing? How would you communicate with this audience? Let me know below!

TIPS to Write a Successful Article

This weeks’ module focused on communication, storytelling and encouraging interaction with the targeted audience. Although I’ve learned a lot of useful information from this week, several things stood out to me.

Primarily, it’s vital whatever pieces you’re writing or the messages you’re trying to get across, you always must be clear, concise, have proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. I also learned the difference between having a passive writing voice versus an active writing voice. Finally, the last bits of information I found incredibly useful were that practice makes perfect and the infamous inverted pyramid structure of telling a story. Another interesting link I enjoyed learning about was the adaptation of storytelling from the primitive ages until now. How we’ve evolved, how technology has updated, and how there are still similarities.

Clear and Conciseness:

Here, I was able to learn from Brian Clark about the different stages of readers and how they analyze text. Dealing with the Elementary, Inspectional, Analytical and Synopsis phases of everything they encounter. Synoptical being able to draw conclusions and truly absorb the information they’ve read. The inspectional phase would deal with merely skimming the content quickly. Next, the analytical stage would allow the reader to fully absorb the content they’re reading and even critiquing or commenting on the subject. Finally, is the synoptical stage where the reader is building new ideas off of the topics you’ve suggested. You’ll know your article is engaging if you’re able to hit the analytical or even synoptical stage with the majority of readers.

TIP: Another way to be clear and straightforward with your audience is to use headings, like I’ve done in this blog post!

Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation:

This is a vital part! If your blog is lacking proper punctation, misspelling words or even not sounding like an academic wrote it, it will immediately turn an entire audience away. The issue here revolves around the audience assuming you’re not credibly if you’re lacking professionalism in regards to not spelling things correctly.

TIP: Proof read your articles many times, maybe even get a new pair of eyes to review your work!

Passive vs. Active Voices:

The difference between having a passive voice and active voice is very simple. An active voice deals with putting the subject of the sentence in an active role. This small adjustment makes the biggest difference, it actually makes your piece more engaging, clearer, and more enticing to the reader.

Example of Passive Voice:

“The ball is being chased by the dog.”

Example of Active Voice:

“The dog is chasing the ball.”

It’s a small difference but it truly makes all the difference, see if you can correct this in your writing. Watch your writing go from a 9 to a 10!

Inverted Pyramid Structure:

This writing style deals with ensuring the lead of the article is prominent and clear. Refer to an upside down triangle. On the top would be the most important information and gradually gets less important yet more detailed. Therefore the reader can choose to feel satisfied after just reading the first paragraph, but if they’re interested they can continue still reading for more detailed information on the topic.

Example of the Inverted Pyramid Writing Structure.

Overall, this weeks’ content was very informative, interesting and provided me with a lot of helpful tips on how to structure pieces I’ll be writing in the future.

What are your thoughts? Did you know about the Inverted Pyramid Scheme before this? Did you know the difference between a passive and active voice? Let me know below!

Tools and Sources

With social media being at everyone’s fingertips, sometimes it’s hard to refine key things you want to research, or stay consistent with the latest trends. Personally, my favorite social media trend listening/monitoring tools include Google Alerts and Hootsuite. I find Google Alerts to be an excellent social monitoring tool as it allows you to monitor specific online content, while allowing you to track specific keywords that in turn will help your business. This can be used for any topic, even not related to business objectives, it’s a great tool to refine your searches when using the Web. An example of this could be searching keywords about your business, or even to track your favourite sports team. 

Hootsuite on the other hand, lets you track clicks and interactions across many different social media platforms. The best part about this, you don’t have to spend hours trying to learn how to understand analytics, because Hootsuite automatically enters the data in an easy-to-read chart. An amazing feature about the data Hootsuite provides, is the multiple customization options there are. For example, you’re able to create professional-looking reports about your business’ social progress. 

In regards to the best sources of news and updates that interest me, I enjoy reading Twitter for any information needed about my community, the political state of the world, and any breaking news. Twitter is the perfect platform to digest everything from news, to funny memes that lighten the atmosphere. Plus, among my age group not only am I able to communicate with my peers, but those of older generations. It’s truly a platform that brings everyone together. 

My second favorite news source is CTV, because from a worldwide perspective it covers everything of interest to me. Plus, it covers many topics surrounding social media apps, issues going on with them, and the latest buyers. I think having an actual news station as a favourite source of information is important to base financial, marketing, and overall public image decisions off of.  

What are your favourite social media monitoring/listening tools? What are your favourite news sources? Do you have a specific story of how these helped you? Let me know in the comments!

COM0014 – Blog #1: The Most Full-Circle Trip…Possibly Ever.

Last Thanksgiving break (2021), in the middle of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to risk it all and travel to Los Angeles, California with my old roommate to go visit an old friend. Besides all the COVID-19 documentation, expensive testing and long airport lines, this was a trip one I’ll never forget.

Retrieved from Wikipedia by Unknown.
Example of the videos I was trying to recreate…we all know and love Bethany Mota. Retrieved from Youtube by Bethany Mota.

Since I was a child I’ve always had a fascination with California. Growing up in Ottawa, California obviously looked like a dream. I was heavily into the influencer YouTube scene and loved to spend hours re-creating makeup tutorials, doing hauls, and mimicking my favourite YouTube’s in the 2012-2016 Youtube era. From this and making home videos with my cousin, I developed an interest and love for social media and filmmaking.

My friend Mackenzie I met from NYFA who now lives in Hawaii!

In July of 2018, after just finishing Grade 10, I decided to travel alone to California to attend New York Film Academy’s 1 Week Summer Filmmaking camp. While this was totally out of budget for my parents, I had never been so excited to do anything in my life. And my intuition was right, because it was truly one of the best, most surreal weeks’, and I’ll always remember it. Here, I got to meet people from all over the world, some my age, some older, all interested in the arts. Coming from a rural high school, where everybody wanted to study business or science, I felt like I finally found my people. Little did I know this week I got two meet two people that would continue to be a huge part of my life today, and this most recent trip to LA, became the most full circle moment possibly ever.

On the left, myself. In the middle, Jack and on the far right Cam. (We end up recreating this picture multiple times). This was taken in 2018 at NYFA when we all had a sleepover.

During this summer camp, I met one of my closet friends named Jack, he was from Vancouver, a year older than me, and was very interested in attending Ryerson (X) University for school. I then got to meet Cameron, also a year older than me, but he was from Chicago, and had such a talent for filmmaking, and we clicked almost instantly.

Fast-forward to today, Jack and I both ended up attending the same University, and became roommates last year. We are so close to this day and hangout almost every weekend. Cam on the other hand, had an entirely different life experience. He attended NYFA later on for college and decided to start posting Tik Tok videos as the application first surfaced. With a lot of dedication, and the emergence of Snapchat Spotlight, he blew up on the platform, and is now living his best influencer life in LA. Even having the New York Times write an article about how this 19 year-old made over $3 million in two weeks for posting on Snapchat’s Spotlight app.

Cam Casey Profile Picture. Retrieved from YouTube by Cam Casey.

Now finally the Thanksgiving break trip:

After planning to visit Cam in LA and see his lifestyle since his entire career took a 180, Jack and I travelled there this past October (2021). This trip was one for the books, we were experiencing the LA influencer lifestyle, as two young University students, something I always dreamed of as a kid. We were meeting famous influencers, riding in supercars, and going to the prettiest sights in LA.

This trip was so memorable and the entire time I was trying so hard to stay in the moment, and be grateful to have this opportunity as I knew it would fly by. We even went back to the college we all met at several years ago, and had some laughs about how great the week was. In fact, we even decided to all get tattoos, breaking my tattoo virginity an LA logo…one that my mother cannot know about.

Being in such a beautiful State, surrounded by people that love you, and listening to good music, it was truly such a full circle moment in my life, and a trip I will never forget. The best part? Between the 2018 trip to now, we had visited Cam in Chicago a few times, but not since his entire life changed. What was so refreshing was he was still the same person I had met in 2018, none of this fame or money had gone to his head at all. It was so heart-warming to see someone you care about doing so well, and getting to piggy-back on that lifestyle, even if it is just for a week!

While Jack and I are currenlry overwhelmed with school, we cannot wait until our next trip back, and have made several different lifestyle changes since visiting… it was very motivating. Thank you so much for reading this essay of a story. Let me know where your favourite place is to travel and when you’re planning on going back!

Jack, Cam and I in 2019 visiting Chicago.
Jack, Cam and I in 2021 LA.

Influencers = Entrepreneurs?

In the ever-changing, fast paced world that is social media, we are seeing regular people becoming ‘influencers’ constantly.

Before I begin, it’s important to define what an ‘influencer’ is. The term influencer is a spin off idea from the term entrepreneur in the sense that they’re not necessarily creating a company, but a brand or online persona that generates income and success. A formal definition would be

“A person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media” 

This definition, while suggesting influencers’ sole purpose is to influence followers to buy a specific product from a paid sponsorship, isn’t always the case. Sometimes influencers will post content to generate more impressions and engagement to their social channels but do so without promoting a product. Don’t be fooled however, the only reason they’re posting useless videos is to 

1) generate more of a following to reach a larger audience when it’s time to promote a product, 

2) because applications pay you for getting views. 

While one might assume this is a phenomenon that happens over night, one evening you post a video, and the next morning you wake up to millions of views. And while this is incredibly common with applications like Tik Tok including complex, updating algorithms that allow random people to ‘blow-up’ easily, that doesn’t necessarily mean the followers, and overnight ‘fame’ will stick. 

Photo of ‘Alex from Target’ on the Ellen Show.

While in the past we’ve seen situations where this theory is proven wrong, for example, ‘Alex From Target’. In this case, a male teenage cashier at Target was photographed without his knowledge as he was bagging items for the customer. This picture was tweeted and blew up overnight, resulting in Alex’s social media being discovered and even him being a guest on the Ellen Show. History demonstrates ‘overnight’ virality can result in 10 seconds of fame, or a little more considering the Ellen Show gets around 1.5 million viewers, however, who knows what ‘Alex from Target’ is up to now? Nobody, because the fame didn’t stick. 

Originial Photo posted to Twitter from customer of ‘Alex from Target’.

On the other hand Tik Tok and similar applications are a successful medium for consistent fame, but it’s harder than it looks. Going viral once is one thing, but it’s another thing to keep those followers interested, stay consistent, interact with your audience, and find out what they want to see. Recently, we’ve seen an uptick in the social virality of influencers primarily from Tik Tok and although they’re young and sometimes controversial for the reasons they’re ‘famous’ (aka cringey Tik Tok dances), it’s undeniable they are entrepreneurs. If you think about the thousands of viral videos you’ve watched in the past, out of all of them, do you even know the name of the creator? What they are up to now? Anything relevant? No. The difference between ‘overnight’ virality and this new wave of Tik Tok influencers is the entrepreneurial characteristics they hold. Not only do they specifically target their audience, but they know how to market, advertise, stay relevant, and make millions of dollars….which they flex and show off to their followers…the ones who….um….got them there? It’s a complicated and strange relationship these influencers have with their young fan bases, but they know what works.

So what does work? How do regular people become influencers? We’re so quick to mock these cringey Tik Tok dancers, and ‘thirst traps’ but who really has the last laugh (if you’re talking about success and fame, dignity is another conversation) 

GymShark brand promoting athletic war.
Vinne Hacker selling his brand to his young audience.

Well, the whole reason these influencers do so well is because they possess traits of an entrepreneur. Like we learned in class, entrepreneurs obtain characteristics of creativity, planning, knowledge, social skills, being open-minded, having a vision, and knowing their consumers. It’s undeniable that these influencers poses mirror-like characteristics, they know what drives engagement to create retention, they are constantly following market trends (or if successful enough, creating trends), they’re sociable and likable, they constantly research algorithms and expand their knowledge on how their respective application is updating or innovating. They both know what works for them and their business by marketing it for their targeted audience. A brand like GymShark knows they’re primary audience is young adults who enjoy working out, but influencer Vinne Hacker, knows his audience is pre-teens and teenage girls who find him attractive. Therefore, as GymShark markets to fitness lovers, by promoting athletic wear, Vinne uses his body synced with suggestive audios, and markets to teenage girls, both brands resulting in more traffic, more impressions and either buying the product (in regards to GymShark) or buying Vinne’s image or a product he says is cool. 

Sienna Mae promoting her brand for being body inclusivity.

But that’s the other side of the conversation, brands. Influencers, while sometimes actually being innovative and creating a brand or product, are always their own product. Being an influencer is their brand. For example, Sienna Mae, while currently controversial, has a brand to protect, that of being an influencer who used to be known for body positivity and inclusivity. Although she hasn’t physically created a product or label, she is her own brand and the intangible item she promotes was an inclusive body type. On the other hand, we see influencers like Tana Mongeau who (in my opinion thanks to the help of a Tik Tok trend marketer) created an alcoholic cooler. This was a genius and well-thought out marketing move on her part considering her online brand is going clubbing, partying, doing drugs and then doing it all over again. This was a great idea because her fanbase enjoys her crazy stories and partake in similar activities. Therefore, while all influencers are their own brand, we often also see influencers creating a physical product on top of their brand. Often, they leverage this fame and following to eventually create a product, generating more revenue and more followers. It’s really a never ending cycle. You could even take this a step further in researching services influencers provide. For example, internet influencer Jake Paul was offering an online course that will “help you become social media famous”. As controversial as Jake Paul is, he also used his brand to appeal to his target audience. It is deemed so desirable to want to become an influencer, making millions of dollars, hanging out with celebrities, even being a celebrity yourself. Jake knew his followers were interested in fame and how to achieve it. Therefore he used his followers and money to create this online service. Again, his brand but pushing that into an intangible service, but he knew would do well because of his targeted demographic.  

Tana Mongeau promoting her alcoholic coloer ‘Dizzy’.

Influencers really do have a sixth sense if they’re the type of influencer who’s focused on keeping fame. For example, influencers do their research on social media. Examples of this include finding the optimal time of day to post content, (which varies on each platform), discovering applications like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are pushing video content to become more like Tik Tok, seeing as though Tik Tok just surpassed Google for the most used web application. And (if they’re somewhat of an ethical influencer) discovering brands and sponsors to work with that your audience will love and you (meaning the influencer) actually value. Now, some would argue that a trend is considered popular songs or catchy phrases. And while that is true, that’s more of a ‘overnight’ viral characteristic. Actually understanding trends within the market, i.e. apps pushing video content, is a great example of influencers looking ahead and planning to continue to create content that does well. That’s what separates ‘overnight’ fame from fame that sticks. 

Online subscription service Influencers have been recently promoting.

Another layer to influencers includes their ability to promote products and services, the sole purpose of the title influencer, influencing consumers to buy. For example, many companies like HelloFresh, Manscaped, and Ipsy are all subscription based services. They offer subscribers a box or kit typically every month that contains products the ve consumer is interested in. A recent uptick has been influencers promoting Audible, an online program that allows users to have books read to them. Recently, Influencers have begun partnering with these brands, in a business exchange. Influencers agree to promote the brand’s products or services (whether it’s actually a good product or not) resulting in the company getting more purchases, while the company pays the influencer for the ‘shout out’. While the companies being promoted are following a subscription business model, the influencer gets paid both a flat rate and commission based on how many of their followers purchased the product typically with a specific discount code. Therefore there is incentive for the influencer to choose items their audience would actually buy, but if the flat rate being offered is hefty, all bets are off.

Overall there is an established difference between influencers and one time virality. Influencers work hard for their earrings and are underestimated when in reality they are constantly analyzing market trends, targeted demographics, and staying consistent all of which helps them thrive. And while this isn’t the case for every influencer, it’s obvious when looking at an influencer if they’re really dedicated to their fan base, or if they just want to keep generating the income, or maybe both. They are entrepreneurs in almost every sense besides not always having a company or product to sell, they’re constantly selling their brand. They’ve done an incredible job and I’m curious to see how influencers will continue to shape and take over the future of social media. 

What do you think? Are Influencers considered Entrepreneurs? Are they not? Let me know below!