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How influencers are navigating the actors strike

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How influencers are navigating the actors strike

We all know it’s been a tough summer for Hollywood actors and writers, who are currently in the midst of their first double strike since 1960. But in a perhaps surprising twist, many social media influencers — namely those who have built their following on the promotion and discussion of film and television content — are also taking a significant hit, torn between their financial livelihoods and supporting a union they’re, in most instances, not even a part of.

How do influencers contribute to the entertainment economy?

Today, the creator economy is worth $250 billion; by 2027, Goldman Sachs estimates that number will reach half a trillion. And Hollywood has certainly cashed in — influencers and online creators “have become crucial to the entertainment industry in recent years,” in some cases racking up five-figure deals in exchange for promotional videos that build online buzz for upcoming film and television projects, The New York Times reported. Much of studios’ reliance on online creators spawned as a result of the pandemic, when actors couldn’t get together for junkets and audiences were stuck at home. But it’s also in response to a changing industry, wherein young consumers are less likely to watch traditional TV and are more apt to tune into YouTube or TikTok, where creators can sell them (directly or otherwise) on a hot new show or studio tentpole. 

“Traditional studios have really noticed how big influencing and content creation is and how valuable it could be to them in terms of marketing,” one creator, Riddhi S., told Rolling Stone. “There [has] definitely been an increase in involving influencers, whether that be a promotion or going to something as big as a premiere and interviewing actors and actresses as official press.” 

Why is the strike a problem for influencers?

Under guidelines outlined by the union SAG-AFTRA, online creators are being asked to stand with actors and writers in solidarity and refrain from working with any of the struck studios — think Disney, Amazon, Netflix, etc. — for the remainder of the strike, unless they are honoring contracts that were finalized before the walkout. That presents both a moral and financial problem for non-union Hollywood-focused creators, in particular, who rely on film and entertainment content to pay the bills and retain a following. 

What content is off-limits?

Any sort of promotional content, paid or unpaid, as it relates to any of the struck studios. Should an influencer cross the digital picket line, “even if it’s as a fan and not as a sponsored partner,” NBC News noted, he or she could be deemed a “scab” and will be blackballed from joining SAG in the future. For some, that might not be a big deal; but for others, content creation is just a stop on the way to Hollywood, where they hope to eventually join the guild and make it big. “That’s a lot of influencers’ goal and aspiration and why they do it,” TikTok comedian Mario Mirante, who has been open about declining studio offers to show support for the strike, told the Times. “We love to entertain and express ourselves, and that’s the Super Bowl, that’s the ultimate, being in a movie or a TV show.”

So what can influencers post?

They can still make “self-produced sponsored content,” The Verge explained, so long as it is for “non-struck companies.” For example, entertainment TikToker Joe Aragon, who goes by the name @cinema.joe and posts primarily movie reviews and other film-focused content, is filling the void left by the strike with videos “ranking French fries, chips and dog breeds,” said The Hollywood Reporter. “Ultimately my love and my career, in a sense, is built off of their art,” Aragon told the outlet, referring to industry writers and actors. “Strikes are supposed to be inconvenient; I am inconvenienced but so are the people who are making these movies. It only feels fair that I’m with them and trying to get things done with them.”

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Still, there is the fear that, as a Hollywood-focused creator, Aragon’s audience could abandon him while this all unfolds, he added. Meanwhile, Brandi Marie King, who describes herself on TikTok as “the girl who’s at every movie premiere,” worries that the impact on her career could also stretch long beyond the end of the walkout (which she nonetheless supports). “If I’ve turned down these premieres and screenings during this time, are [studios] still going to invite me when things go back to normal?” she told The Hollywood Reporter.

How is this affecting influencers’ wallets?

Deanna Giulietti, a 29-year-old TikTok creator with 1.8 million followers, told the Times she is living at home with her parents and delaying plans to rent an apartment in New York City while waiting out the financial storm. In addition to an offer to promote the new season of Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building,” Giulietti also turned down a $5,000 offer to promote the new movie “Theater Camp” from Disney-owned distributor Fox Searchlight.

“I want to be in these Netflix shows, I want to be in the Hulu shows, but we’re standing by the writers, we’re standing by SAG,” she said. “People write me off whenever I say I’m an influencer, and I’m like, ‘No, I really feel I could be making the difference here.’”

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

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This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

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“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

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Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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