Hi, this is Amanda Perelli and welcome back to Insider Influencers, our weekly rundown on the business of influencers, creators, and social-media platforms. Sign up for the newsletter here.
In this week’s edition:
- The top 18 investors and VC firms for creator economy and influencer startups
- TikTok has trouble moderating eating-disorder content
- An influencer-marketing playbook to help college athletes work with brands
- How Victoria Paris became a sudden TikTok sensation and gained 1 million followers in five months
- And more including creator economy startup news, an upcoming webinar on TikTok and the music industry, and how much money dozens of YouTube stars earn.
Interest in creator startups is on the rise, and some investors and VCs have taken note.
Startups are popping up left and right to help creators make money and turn digital content into a viable business.
Dan Whateley, Sydney Bradley, Margaux MacColl, and I compiled our second annual list of the top venture capital and investment players who are funding startups that are shaping the creator economy.
Here are a few of the investors highlighted:
- Atelier Ventures: Li Jin (founder and general partner) is supporting companies that are building products for creators who may not be famous – what she’s referred to as the creator “middle class.”
- Ludlow Ventures: Blake Robbins (partner) has invested in the gaming organization and lifestyle brand 100 Thieves and the collectible figures company YouTooz.
- Night Ventures: Focuses on early stage investments and is part of Night Media, a talent management firm for creators across YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok.
“It’s just evolved as this massive new industry and new form of gig economy, particularly for content creators,” said Caroline Jacobs, an executive at UTA Ventures, the investing division of United Talent Agency.
Molly Innes found videos and hashtags on TikTok with millions of views promoting harmful eating-disorder content.
TikTok said it has banned certain search terms and removed some videos that Insider identified.
The number of videos on certain eating-disorder hashtags was up 253% from last year, an analysis found.
Here are some takeaways from the investigation:
- Some of the videos Insider discovered had hashtags with misspelled words and other related keywords such as “ed” and “ana.”
- Insider presented TikTok with 44 videos discovered by entering 17 eating-disorder-related hashtags into its search function.
- Searches by Insider found that looking up hashtags such as “anorexia,” “eating disorder tips,” and “bulimia” diverted users to support resources.
“The safety and well-being of our community is a top priority,” a TikTok spokesperson said. “Our community guidelines make clear that we do not allow content depicting, promoting, normalizing, or glorifying eating disorders. If someone tries to search for content related to eating disorders, we do not show results in search.”
College athletes could soon make money as influencers. The University of Arkansas partnered with a marketing firm to teach its students about the creator economy.
Captiv8 created an influencer-marketing playbook to help college athletes work with brands.
The guide outlines topics including best practices for negotiating brand deals and future trends.
The University of Arkansas is the first institution to partner with Captiv8 to help its student-athletes manage their brands and personal partnerships.
I broke down key takeaways from the guide for student-athletes entering the creator economy.
Here are some of them:
- Captiv8 broke down five different campaign types: sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, competitions and giveaways, long-term ambassador, and product collaborations.
- There are a variety of rules and regulations to adhere by, like to make certain that you and the brand are aligned on deliverables.
How a TikTok star gained 1 million followers by vlogging about her New York City life and posting up to 100 videos per week
Victoria Paris became a sudden TikTok sensation in 2021, gaining 1 million followers in five months.
Paris has flooded TikTok with daily vlogs, and she earns income from revenue streams including brand deals, TikTok’s Creator Fund, and consulting.
Sydney Bradley spoke with Paris on how she quickly gained 1 million followers:
- Non-stop content. Each week, Paris would post up to 100 TikToks and rakes in millions of views and likes.
- Flooding her TikToks with engagement. Paris likes nearly every comment on her videos and used to respond to each comment, she said.
- Strategically working with brands. In the early months of her budding influencer career, Paris was hesitant to post sponsored content.
But even with all these strategies at play, Paris said becoming an influencer sensation is to some degree a matter of luck – and privilege.
More influencer industry news:
How much money YouTube stars earn, according to dozens of creators
A UTA Ventures exec breaks down what’s underrated, what’s overhyped, and top trends in the creator economy
- Personal-finance influencer Tori Dunlap explains how her first podcast shot to No. 1 in the podcast charts
YouTubers Joe Sugg and Caspar Lee share 5 tips for creators hoping to get spotted by talent agencies
My colleague Dan Whateley is hosting a webinar featuring execs from TikTok, Universal Music Group, and UnitedMasters for a conversation about TikTok’s role in the music industry, and how social media is slated to make an even bigger impact on popular culture in 2021.
The 30-minute chat is scheduled for July 8 at 1 pm ET/10 am PST. If you’d like to submit a question to be answered, please fill out this brief form.
TikTok’s top trending hashtag of the week:
Every week, we highlight a trending hashtag on TikTok, according to data provided by Kyra IQ.
This week’s hashtag: buffering
- The percentage uptick for the last 7 days: 3,858%
- This uptick is centered around a viral TikTok challenge where creators use a new effect to show what happens when they are “buffering.”
Every week, Insider gives a rundown of creator economy company announcements. It was a busy week for podcasting startups and influencers looking to break into the format.
This week’s news includes:
- New funding for the podcasting startup WaitWhat and Spotify buying Podz, a podcast-discovery platform.
- New content deals and talent signings at UTA, Studio71, Spotify, Amazon, and Audible.
- A new product launch from Famous Birthdays.
Here’s what else we’re reading:
- TikTok owner ByteDance finds game success through influencers (Juro Osawa, from The Information)
- How do retailers know what will sell out? They check TikTok (Leticia Miranda and Kalhan Rosenblatt, from NBC News)
- Patreon CEO Jack Conte on why creators can’t depend on platforms (Nilay Patel, from The Verge)
- David Dobrik was the king of YouTube. Then he went too far. (EJ Dickson, from Rolling Stone)