Hi, this is Amanda Perelli and welcome back to Insider Influencers – the same weekly newsletter on the influencer and creator economy, but with a new name! This rundown, formerly known as Influencer Dashboard, is still brought to you by Business Insider and if you haven't yet, make sure to sign up here to receive it in your inbox every Thursday!
Now, onto the news.
TikTok runs an exclusive ambassador program for 12 creators at a time, and I spoke with several past members of the program about how they got involved and how it's helped them grow and earn money.
The six-month program was launched in 2019 and is run by Joyce Chun and Emma Gribbon, who are members of TikTok's creator team.
The program ran for the second time in January and some of the members were Alan Chow (2.6 million followers), Sarah Lugor (2.4 million followers), Bonnie Rodríguez Krzywicki (2 million followers), and thisaintjay (4.4 million followers).
To be accepted, the creators applied and went through multiple rounds of interviews with the company, and once in, they were granted access to perks like all-expenses-paid trips, connections with brands, and access to test out new product features.
Chow said the program helped him get partnerships with brands like Adobe, Reese's Puffs, and DoorDash.
"I had a lot of really cool branded business opportunities that came through TikTok during the ambassador program," Chow said, including meeting Alicia Keys.
College student Ashley Jones doesn't have millions of followers like some social-media influencers, but she's still able to earn money from posting content on Instagram and YouTube.
Jones currently schedules her YouTube channel around her college classes. On the days she's not in class, she'll film videos and take pictures.
I spoke with Jones, who has nearly 45,000 followers on her Instagram account and just over 25,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, about how she developed her sponsorship rates for Instagram – like $100 per Instagram Story or $200 for an in-feed post – and for YouTube.
She said she developed her rates by negotiating with brands and seeing what they would offer her.
When the beauty and makeup brand incubator Madeby Collective was scouting for a face to lead a new Gen-Z beauty brand, its data said there was one influencer it definitely had to consider: TikTok star Addison Rae Easterling.
My colleague Sydney Bradley spoke with Easterling, her team at talent agency WME, and Madeby about how it all came together behind the scenes.
"The pitch was really loose," said Alex Devlin, a digital agent at WME who spearheads Easterling's brand partnerships. "It was definitely kind of a skeleton. They wanted to be able to build a brand that reached Gen Z, which is exactly what we wanted to do."
Madeby's data research had found that clean ingredients, "no-makeup makeup," and authenticity were the most important values in a beauty product for Gen Z.
And one of WME's big goals for Easterling — even back in January when it first signed her — was helping her launch her own Gen-Z-focused beauty line.
When Natalie Mariduena's not appearing in David Dobrik's vlogs or TikToks, she is working beside him to help scale his growing business.
I spoke with Mariduena about what it's like to work for Dobrik and how his business works.
Her involvement started a few years ago when Dobrik, who is one of YouTube's most popular creators with 18 million subscribers, asked her to come out to LA and help him out.
"Although I was hesitant at first, I'm so happy I did make the decision to move out here and work with him," Mariduena said of working with Dobrik. "It evolved from it being this internship for credits to this real role that I have in executing whatever business he's in."
More creator industry coverage from Business Insider:
How much money YouTube pays for 100,000 views (by Amanda Perelli)
Behind the scenes of TikTok's in-house music division (by Dan Whateley)
'Micro' and 'nano' influencers make up the majority of sponsored Instagram posts (by Sydney Bradley)
This week from Insider's digital culture team:
YouTuber NikkieTutorials opened up about being robbed at gunpoint (by Margot Harris)
Jeffree Star is releasing new makeup after apologizing to James Charles (by Kat Tenbarge)
TikTok and Twitter activists are making USPS memes (by Palmer Haasch)
Shane Dawson quietly launched new merchandise (by Kat Tenbarge)
Here's what else we're reading:
Creators cut ties with a top influencer management company (by Taylor Lorenz, from The New York Times)
Fanjoy and Mad Engine partner to bring influencer merch to retail stores (by Geoff Weiss, from Tubefilter)
Thanks for reading! Send me your tips, comments, or questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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