The #Kidfluencers, Not kidding Around
By Harvey Schwartz
As the #kidfluencer market inches to the $1.7 billion mark within the next couple of year, brands have the opportunity to team up with incredibly talented and professional creators under 18-years-old with a dual talent: performing and being experts at content marketing.
I had the recent opportunity to moderate one such multi-talented creator during a panel at The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Influencer/UGC Marketing Day at Viacom, where I was joined by the 15-year-old Sissy Sheridan, host of Nickelodeon’s DYI with Me and star of Brat’s Chicken Girls.
Sissy’s exposure on DYI with Me inspired her to go from posting only sporadically on social media to design and execute her content marketing growth strategy. After a compelling PowerPoint presentation telling her mom why she should “totally” be on Instagram, too, she got approval to start building her following. “For me, social media is a business,” a determined Sissy told the IAB audience of brand marketers. Fast-forward a year, and Sissy has over 60K followers (and counting).
Successful kidfluencers are also keenly aware of the platforms’ ever-changing algorithms and how these would affect their content marketing strategy. When discussing Instagram’s recent test of hiding likes “to remove pressure” in some markets, Sissy shared she thought the policy would be a “bummer for creators with a high engagement like her,” adding that she counts on her high engagement (sometimes as high as 50%) to pitch herself to brands. “I can only say, “My engagement is great. I’m reaching a lot of kids, teens, and people that would buy your product. However, if Instagram hides my likes, the brand would be, ‘Oh, but she only has 60 thousand followers.”
Although there might be a workaround by accessing analytics, screenshot them, and sharing them with brands, Sissy is concerned that by hiding likes Instagram may end up involuntarily rewarding users who buy followers. “Some people have 1 million (bought) followers, and each post may have only ten likes, but you wouldn’t know if Instagram hides the likes.”
As far as strategy, Sissy is also well aware of the platforms’ differences. “I just got verified on Snapchat, which means I can get on the news page and get as many as 200 thousand views per story,” she said. “Sometimes, I think that did well on Snapchat and could do the same on Instagram, but they all have a different business to them.”
For instance, Sissy shared that it is “a lot harder” to get YouTube subscribers than Instagram followers. “I don’t feel like I have to subscribe to someone on YouTube to watch their videos. On Instagram, you want to follow them and see what their feeds look like,” she explained.
However, when it comes to finding trends, YouTube takes the lead. “When you follow the main trends, the YouTube algorithm may boost your videos,” explained Sissy, adding that she once uploaded a video that got 10 thousand views from an equal number of subscribers. “I just wanted to have 5 thousand views,” Sissy said of a music video, ‘Most Girls’ she uploaded onto YouTube. The current count? One hundred and twenty-seven views and counting!
Aside from being a great performer and influencer who adjusts to the different platforms’ analytics and algorithms, Sissy also looks at the big picture for establishing her uniqueness. “All of my Instagram photos have to have something yellow,” she explains about her most recent motif. “When I started doing Chicken Girls, I wanted to have something that people could identify me with. So, right now, it’s the color yellow, which creates anticipation (what is she going to post next?).”
Lastly, this kidfluencer has a long-term vision. Sissy is aware that what she has with her followers is an ongoing, engaging relationship that can make an impact. Moreover, as an activist, she’s open to partnerships that make a difference for kids. “To make a change in the world is also super important to me.” So that’s a trend that we can all get behind!
Harvey Schwartz is Viacom Ad Solutions SVP of Talent