It’s no secret that the internet has led to a revelation in advertising, and the way consumers can access news and resources. With that, social media has started to determine who gets a space in the spotlight too.
Prior to 2005, companies chose celebrity personalities or fictional mascots to be the ‘face’ of their brand. The rise of social media has democratised influence, and for the first time in history, regular people can create huge followings just by using social platforms. That all began with YouTube, and the rise of video content. This new breed of superstar required a new style of management.
Reelstyle manage PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg), the biggest YouTuber in the world. Suffice it to say, it has unrivalled insight and expertise within the influencer space. We spoke to Kat Peterson, co-founder of Reelstyle, about the minefield that is influencer management, and the exciting opportunities it offers.
IU.biz: Can you give us a little insight into what Reelstyle does, and what services you provide?
Kat Peterson: There are three core pillars to Reelstyle. Brand Marketing, Talent “Management” (I use the term management loosely, I work with influencers who don’t need managing per se, but rather business development and partnership opportunities) and Influencer eCommerce. We work with some of the top media influencers globally to enhance their businesses while strengthening brand marketing through endorsement products. Our solutions for brands range from in-video placements, to sampling opportunities in our eCommerce products to overall social media solutions.
This new breed of influence is still in it’s earliest stage, and there’s no set template on how to manage the talent themselves. Every influencer is unique, and that is reflected in the way they portray themselves to their audience.
What excites you about the influencer space?
The most exciting part about the influencer space is its infancy. I love how young it is, which means that there aren’t any “rules” and things change and move so quickly.
What do you think are the hottest trends in the influencer space right now?
Couples. The last year has shown there is a real thirst from fans to show your other half online. Check out - Felix and Marzia, Arden Rose and Will, Estée Lalonde and Aslan. All of these significant others are spending more time on their other halves’ channels.
Unique merchandise. There will always be room and demand for T-shirts and fan wear but lots of Influencers are taking more time to work on super unique pieces that speak to distinct parts of their lives. Felix just launched a long sleeve shirt with (Swedish) meatballs on it.
What are the most important things to look for from influencers?
I think this might be obvious and perhaps repeated too often but that connection with the fanbase is so key, no matter what you are working on.
Social media influencers tend to be more authentic, and people tend to trust them more than celebrities when they endorse a product. There are some rules that go along with being a social media influencer – you have to make it clear that you have been paid to endorse a product.
What are the big do’s and don’ts of Influencer PR in your opinion?
I think there is only one true “do” and that is be honest. The space has a lot of room for error and fast judgement so just be honest.
What are some of your favourite PR tools?
To be honest, I don’t have any tips, tricks, or tools. I call the professionals when I need help with PR. For the most part our Creators do the best job with their own publicity, their reach trumps most “tricks”.
Do you think the current wave of demonetisation on YouTube will eventually lead creators to move over to other platforms, or is YouTube is too big to fail?
YouTube is huge and great and I think they will always have a place in the space, however I do think they need to figure out their role in supporting their Influencers. The rise of new platforms and resurgent popularity of older platforms is pushing everyone to do better and it’s great for the industry as a whole.