This past weekend I was in Orlando, FL speaking at IZEA Fest, a 3-day interactive event designed to educate, inform, and connect social media enthusiasts. I was alongside some of the biggest brands and social media influencers including EXTRA TV host Mario Lopez, Vine star Andrew Bazzi, Youtube sensation Olga Kay, global head of social media for Paypal and Kellogg’s, CMO of Blue Man Group, and digital marketing expert Joel Comm, just to name a few.
The weekend was nothing short of amazing. I enjoyed after parties with So You Think You Can Dance winner Fik-Shun, a Hollywood Studios takeover where we were able to ride the Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Roller Coaster as many times as we’d like after the park closed, and tons of panels and speakers where I learned about the future of sponsored social.
One of the things I enjoyed most was moderating the GOING LIVE panel. Panelists and I discussed the future of live-streaming and how Periscope has been an integral part in growing my brand and spreading my message. If you missed the live-stream, you can watch it here!
Another highlight was when Ted Murphy, the CEO of IZEA, announced the new features they are rolling out on their platform called IZEA X. IZEA X features everything from a share monitor to influencer ranking, and an easy-to-use portfolio builder for influencers! The best part, engagement rules. Influencers are now ranked based on engagement versus just the number of followers you have.
This past weekend was filled with valuable tips, tools, techniques, and lessons on how brands are working with social media influencers and vice versa. Below I consolidated everything into a top 10 list of what I learned at IZEA Fest.
1. “Rejection doesn’t mean no forever, it just means no for right now.” –Simon T. Bailey, author of Shift Your Brilliance
- Don’t let rejection determine your future. If you want something, go after it! You’ll receive tons of rejection from brands, media, and companies but if you stay true to who you are, the right people will come along.
2. Take the FTC rules seriously!
- If you receive coupons, money, free items, or experiences from brands it is considered sponsored. Make sure to disclose all sponsored social in your posts, videos, blogs, Instagram photos, etc.
3. Brand are looking for unique content.
- Just because everyone else is posting about the Super Bowl doesn’t mean you have to. Brands want to work with influencers who stay true to their brand. Be as unique as possible and create content that’s out of the box!
4. Pick one platform and be great on it.
- It’s easy to get overwhelmed with social media nowadays. There’s so many platforms out there and most people think they have to be on every single one of them. That’s not the case. Pick a few platforms where your target audience spends time and work on spreading your message and content there. From those few platforms pick one you love and that works well with your brand and be the best on it. Brands look for influencers who excel on a certain platform versus influencers who are just okay on all of them.
5. “Everything is in preparation for the opportunity.” –@Momables when asked what it was like being on The Food Network.
- I thought this was a really interesting and valuable comment. Working in social media, anything can happen! We must be prepared for when opportunity strikes.
6. Create your activation calendar.
- The Blue Man Group is known for their viral videos where they use pop culture to create entertaining videos that are on brand. They use an activation calendar to plan this content out; divided by cultural moments, organic moments, and opportunistic moments. Cultural moments can be planned. They are moments like holidays and pop culture trends (i.e. when new popular tv shows premier). Organic moments feel right with the brand. These moments can be things that are trending on Twitter for example. Opportunistic moments can be press opportunities or if a pitch comes there way that feels on brand. This calendar is definitely working for them as they have hundreds of thousands of hits on their YouTube videos. If you’ve never seen one of their videos, this is a great example for when The Hunger Games came out. Watch here.
7. Secrets of sponsorship success.
- Anything over a 1% engagement rate on Twitter is considered ‘really good’ in the industry.
- Always over deliver when working with a brand. If a brand asks for one Instagram photo, give them two to choose from.
8. Create once, publish everywhere!
- If you have a piece of content that is super successful, continue using it! Don’t be afraid to recycle content.
9. “Content is STILL king.” –Joel Comm
- Don’t just post self-promotional content.
- Choose relevant topics to talk about.
- High quality is key.
- Frequency is important.
- Answer the questions that people are asking!
10. We share emotion.
- Tons of people always ask how things go viral and unfortunately there isn’t a cookie cutter formula to follow but there is a key trait in all things viral. They elicit emotion.
The Creator Economy is the way of the future where creators are no longer criticized for not having a “real job” but forging their own paths based on their passion… and making a killer living on it. I hope this content helps you embrace the wave of the future of social media and provides some insight on how to implement these strategies within your own brand.
Oh, I forgot to mention one other highlight of the weekend. I was voted as the top content creator for Twitter under the education category! Thank you to everyone who voted for me for this Content Creator Choice Award!!
As always, if you have any questions or comments please leave them below in the comment section!