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Many "micro" influencers with under 100,000 followers are landing brand deals and building significant businesses across social media.
My colleague Sydney Bradley broke down 15 top talent management companies that are helping to shape the careers of micro influencers in 2020.
Talent managers help influencers with their growing businesses, but not all managers will take on clients with smaller follower counts, since it's more of a gamble to sign an emerging star than one with a massive audience. These 15 companies do.
They work with their micro influencer clients on all aspects of the business, like building relationships with brands, creating media kits for talent, managing incoming opportunities, negotiating rates, and reviewing contracts for clauses like "usage rights" or exclusivity.
Several managers said that it's the negotiating and contract side of management that is most important business element for micro influencers who are looking for representation.
But when does it make sense for a micro influencer to start considering a manager?
"The right time to get a manager is when you are consistently getting approached by brands or agencies to work on brand deals and you're ready to elevate," said Jess Hunichen, a cofounder of the talent agency Shine Talent Group, who manages over 47 micro influencers.
A viral TikTok on body positivity helped Sienna Mae Gomez get the attention of celebs like Lizzo and build an influencer career
Sienna Mae Gomez has over 7 million followers on TikTok, and her online fame started in August when a video of her dancing in her kitchen was widely shared.
That video, which now has over 18 million views, as well as other body-positive dance videos she posted, helped her create a following on TikTok, Instagram (870,000 followers), and YouTube (140,000 subscribers).
I interviewed Gomez who described her plan to turn her love of dance and entertaining into a long-term career.
"I get recognized, I think, probably every time I go out now, which is literally just crazy," she said. "When I'm meeting people and networking with people who I've looked up to for so long, I'm honestly just trying not to fangirl over them."
Similar to other famous TikTok creators like Charli and Dixie D'Amelio or Addison Rae Easterling, Gomez said her family has supported her rise to fame, especially her mom, who helps manage her business.
More than 50 execs at public companies have mentioned influencers in investor calls this year, with topics ranging from Charli D'Amelio to micro influencers
Influencers have become a key talking point for some CEOs at publicly traded companies.
Once viewed as an experimental marketing category relegated to the world of direct-to-consumer startups, CEOs at small- to large-cap companies are now regularly fielding questions about influencer marketing from investors.
My colleague Dan Whateley reviewed hundreds of company transcripts and found that executives at dozens of companies have boasted to investors about the benefits of working with creators this year.
CEOs have described the positive impact creators have had on sales, discussed social-media ambassador programs, explained why influencers aren't a fit for their brand, and even called out individual creators like Charli D'Amelio as partners.
How an influencer is using TikTok and Instagram to make over $5,000 per month after the pandemic 'ruined' her real-estate career
Vi Lai was working full time as a realtor until March when the pandemic upended her career.
Now, she is earning money as a skincare influencer on TikTok and Instagram, where she has hundreds of thousands of followers and posts content about skincare routines and product reviews.
"I would not have survived" without TikTok, Lai said.
The skincare industry has seen a surge in social-media content and engagement since the start of the pandemic, as more people spend time at home and spend money on self-care.
Sydney interviewed Lai on how she's been able to earn over $5,000 per month using affiliate codes and how she's navigated brand sponsorships.
More creator industry coverage from Business Insider:
This week from Insider's digital culture team:
A thriving YouTube community of people with multiple personality states went viral. Then controversies fractured it down the middle.
Dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder, is a psychiatric disorder in which a person has distinct identities or personality states, called "alters."
Margot Harris and Lindsay Dodgson reported on a YouTube community centered around the disorder, which just a few months ago was thriving, until popular creators placed a spotlight on the community.
Earlier this year, creators were making educational videos about living with DID. In March, the community reached a new level of internet fame when YouTuber Anthony Padilla (4.8 million subscribers) interviewed a creator living with DID for his "I Spent a Day With" series. The interview covered the basics of DID and showed the YouTuber switching personalities three times.
The segment caught the attention of another YouTuber Trisha Paytas (5 million subscriber) and she posted a video, which has gotten 1.7 million views, in which she said she had multiple personalities. She mentioned DissociaDID and said the YouTuber "seemed crazy."
Paytas' videos were met with intense skepticism from the DID community, which has struggled to legitimize treatment of the disorder. The attention from these videos spurred louder allegations from commentators that they were faking the disorder and manipulating followers.
More from Insider:
15 QAnon influencers sue YouTube for removing their content from the platform (Rachel E. Greenspan)
Here's what else we're reading:
YouTuber FaZe Rug on his career, business, and why he regrets spending $1 million on cars (Joshua Ocampo, from Men's Health)
Actor Noah Centineo opened a pop-up in Los Angeles to get influencers and their audiences to vote (Taylor Lorenz, from The New York Times)
Invisalign sales jump after hiring TikTok influencers like Charli D'Amelio (Emmy Liederman, from Adweek)
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