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How These Entrepreneurs Made Millions Exclusively on Social Media

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Social media is a must for any business looking to get off the ground and sometimes it’s the first stop before opening brick and mortar or launching a website. Social media has made it easier to get to more customers fast — with Facebook ads and subscription groups, Instagram shopping, What’s App checkout and more helping brands go from local to global. Bottom line: There are many ways to monetize your talents without having to literally open shop. Here are a few inspiring entrepreneurs who got their start on social media — and how you can too.

Get Behind a Purpose

Three months before launch, the sisters behind LA-based fashion brand Doen, Margaret and Katherine Kleveland, took their brand to social media with shot-on-film, vintage-inspired photography and luxe, modern, boho dresses and blouses any woman would covet, and word-of-month spread fast. Through DMs and tags, the brand grew organically (and internationally) and their mission of female empowerment — a women-run fashion business with women-run factories in a male-led industry — became a story to tell. Three months later, at launch time, they were featured in the NY Times’ T Magazine.

“We use our social media platforms to hear from and engage with our customers in order to know what people are loving, how items are fitting, thoughts on fabric and so on. It’s important for us to be open with our customers and it’s allowed us to build trust with our community. Our customer knows they can email or message us online and receive a quick yet personal response,” they told Harper’s Bazaar UK last May. Last summer the direct-to-consumer brand partnered up with Net-a-Porter and recently opened shop in Brentwood, nearly five years after launch.

Partner Up

What started as a social action campaign for International Women’s Day in 2017 became a powerful digital movement that has impacted countless women and girls worldwide. Meena Harris, founder of the Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign, used her super skills in grassroots organizing (she is the niece of Senator Kamala Harris and was an organizer for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign) to sell ‘Phenomenal Woman’ T-shirts that would benefit causes close to her heart: educational and healthcare equity; criminal justice reform; gender parity in STEM; reproductive health; and political representation. She talks about how she used digital platforms to spread the word by partnering with several non-profit beneficiaries, getting celeb support (strategically) and thinking like an entrepreneur to grow in this Vogue Australia article. The fundraising initiative has since raised money for the organizations such as Girls Who Code, the United State of Women, the Essie Justice Group, Families Belong Together, Planned Parenthood, Native Voices Rising and the Dr. Maya Angelou Foundation.

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Be an Original

Self-taught artist Jenna Rainey inspired a major watercolor comeback when she started posting time-lapse videos of her bright and colorful floral strokes in 2013. Her refreshingly down-to-earth and quirky personality helped define her brand and her willingness to share how she does it through online tutorials and workshops turned her hobby into a global creative powerhouse. She started up her own design studio in Southern California and became the best-selling author of a series of watercolor books. She’s also a YouTuber, host to several online courses (including three for Brit + Co), and licenses her art to brands like Target, Staples and Papyrus. She shares her licensing secrets in her popular Brand + Brand course.

Turn Followers Into Shoppers

Natalie Ellis and Dr. Danielle Canty, cofounders of BossBabe, a community for women in business, started out posting ambitious quotes on Instagram and turned it into a multimillion-dollar business. How? By cultivating their follower’s buying power. Ellis lays out her secrets to making the most of selling on Instagram stories and Facebook (“Don’t make your audience jump through hoops to buy from you”) in this Fast Company article.

Break Your Industry’s Mold

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I have pink and purple hair! 💜💕💜💕 The other day I realized how different my life is than most people’s now. It didn’t used to be that way. It was such a slow transition that I didn’t even realize it had separated from the norm so much. I’m about to talk about money and if that’s uncomfortable for you, it’s time for you to scroll on. One day Michael and I had finally earned what we inappropriately call, “f@€K you money” (OMG I said it and tell me you watch Billions). That’s the amount it would take for you (specifically you, we are all different), to have enough money to live outside of the social norm — in whatever way brings you the most joy and fulfillment. To be able to use your money to no longer conform to what others want from you. And, dang if it isn’t expensive. Living outside the norm is NOT what most people do so it will invite the worst of others insecurities to come and play. It’s not what our government or society wants because people with their own ideas for their life don’t conform. Make no mistake, it costs money. And I, personally, love that M and I earned it for our family. Yep. I’m going here, too. We earned every single dollar and there’s not a thing that the people who tried to stop us can do about it. Not the people who hurt us in our past. Not those that wish us ill now. That success and mindset are ours to build on. We use our money to provide a lifestyle that feels like pink and purple hair in a blonde and brunette world. Our life looks insane to a lot of people. The way we live makes some (a lot) uncomfortable. We don’t send our kids to school like normal families. We don’t have a stay-at-home parent like normal. We don’t spend or invest like normal people. We don’t make choices based on normal criteria. It looks insane if you don’t know us and what we want out of our life. To us, though, it feels like bliss…even when it doesn’t. So here’s to being a physical representation of how I feel. I reject normal. I resist (not in the modern feminist way, let’s get that straight). If you’re made to stand out, it’s probably about time that you start. Stop wasting your life living by a standard you didn’t choose

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Lindsay Teague Moreno built a seven-figure income selling Young Living Essential oils using only social media (with three little ones at home) and now her sales are projected to bring in $250 million this year. She is the author of the best-selling book Getting Noticed, a road map for building a business from scratch and has a new book Boss Up! coming out in May. In this video on Entrepreneur she talks about how she broke from the mold when it came to selling essential oils in an industry that needed a refresh.

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Behold the Trust Factor

Jenna Kutcher traded her corporate job as a health-and-wellness leader at Target to pursue a passion for photography. After running a wedding photog gig, she moved on to teaching others how to set up a photography business and how to market their business via email and social media. Her digital marketing know-how, never straying from her niche audience, and talking with brutal honesty on social (her heartfelt response to a body-shaming troll after she suffered a miscarriage went viral and her following grew 5Xs). A podcast, courses, and an online shop later, Jenna Kutcher LLC was projected to make $5.5 million in revenue last year.

When Algorithms Change, Try Good Old-Fashioned Email

Emily Ley, founder of the super-popular Simplified Planner, grew her Etsy audience by sharing her products and her personal story on Facebook and Twitter in 2008. She has since grown to 250,000 Instagram followers, 65,000 Facebook fans, and 10,000 Twitter followers but growing an organic audience online (as we all know) has become a challenge. “Social media algorithms have changed, so you don’t always show up in someone’s feed, but if you have someone’s email address, you will always show up in their inbox,” she told Inc. She uses MailChimp to automate her newsletters and set up a monthly coaching program with tips to help customers organize their lives. The win? It has shown to turn one-time customers into forever fans.

Have a social media success story to share? Tell us @BritandCo!

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5 Trends that will Dominate Influencer Marketing in 2022 [Infographic]

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5 Trends that will Dominate Influencer Marketing in 2022 [Infographic]


Is influencer marketing part of your digital marketing strategy for 2022?

With the rise of more creative, more native-aligned platforms and spaces, brands are increasingly relying on influencers to connect with new audiences, while the growing use of AR and other new technologies also necessitates a familiarity with platforms that takes time and knowledge to maximize.

Influencers can be a great avenue in streamlining such process, but you have to know your audience, and what kinds of influencers they’re tuning into, in order to get the most out of your influencer marketing efforts.

To provide some more context on this, the team from SocialPubli has put together this overview of five key influencer marketing trends of note for 2022. And while these notes won’t address all of the info you need, they could help you formulate a better outreach strategy, based on the latest trends and shifts within the creator space.

Check out the full infographic listing below.



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Twitter Publishes New Industry Trend Reports Based on Rising Areas of Tweet Engagement

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Twitter Publishes New Industry Trend Reports Based on Rising Areas of Tweet Engagement


Twitter has published a new range of industry reports, based on rising trends, in order to provide more context as to the key elements of focus among its userbase in each sector.

The new trend reports, which Twitter’s collectively calling its ‘Birdseye Report’, were compiled by Twitter data partners, including Hootsuite, Meltwater, Sprinklr and more. Each partner took on a specific element of expanded Twitter conversation, giving each discussion and industry dedicated focus, providing in-depth insight into the latest key shifts in the app.

You can download all the Birdseye Reports here, but in this post, we’ll look at some of the key highlights.

First off, the reports are based on a range of key tweet trends over the past year.

Those trends include:

  • Digital First – Digital Ethics, Cyber Individuality and Metaverse dominated the technology conversation on Twitter
  • The Crypto Craze – “Crypto” mentions on Twitter increased 549% in 2021
  • Future of Sports – Tweets around the metaverse + sports rose 6,024%
  • Bring the Sweets Back – Conversations around nostalgia for sweets, chocolate and candy grew 55% between January and October 2021
  • Mental Health Matters – Monthly “mental health” mentions from 2019 to 2021 on Twitter grew 44.7%

As you can see here, you can select the specific sector report you want to read, all of which are available via email sign-up – though you can select not to have Twitter or the providing company contact you as a result of your interest.

Each report covers the top trends in each sector, based on tweet discussion, which points to rising areas of opportunity and focus for your tweet marketing.

Twitter Birdseye Report

As you can see here, the reports include both broad trend results, like these, highlighting bigger shifts in each sector, as well as more specific tweet engagement shifts, relative to key focus elements.

Twitter Birdseye Report

Those insights could help to shape your marketing approach, while each report also includes a range of more in-depth pointers and data points to help guide your understanding of what the Twitter audiences is most interested in. 

Twitter Birdseye Report

There are also demographic insights: 

Twitter Birdseye Report

As well as summary points for each, helping to ensure marketers can make the most of each report:

Twitter Birdseye Report

There’s a heap of great insight here, and if you’re working in any of the highlighted sectors, and are looking to improve your Twitter approach, it’s definitely worth downloading the data and checking out the findings.

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Even if you’re not looking to improve your Twitter strategy, it’s likely worth getting access to the insights and seeing what people are most interested in for each segment.

You can download all the Twitter Birdseye reports here.





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92-year-old Malawian music legend finds fame on TikTok

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92-year-old Malawian music legend finds fame on TikTok


Fame at 92: Malawian music legend Giddes Chalamanda has notched up millions of views on TikTok – Copyright AFP Bertha WANG

Jack McBrams

At 92, Giddes Chalamanda has no idea what TikTok is. He doesn’t even own a smartphone.

And yet the Malawian music legend has become a social media star, with his song “Linny Hoo” garnering over 80 million views on the video-sharing platform and spawning mashups and remixes from South Africa to the Philippines.

“They come and show me the videos on their phones, but I have no idea how it works,” Chalamanda told AFP at his home on the edge of a macadamia plantation, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Malawi’s main city Blantyre.

“But I love the fact that people are enjoying themselves and that my talent is getting the right attention,” he said, speaking in Chewa.

Despite his grey hair and slight stoop, the nonagenarian singer and guitarist, who has been a constant presence on the Malawian music scene for seven decades, displays a youthful exuberance as he sits chatting with a group of young fans.

He first recorded “Linny”, an ode to one of his daughters, in 2000.

But global acclaim only came two decades later when Patience Namadingo, a young gospel artist, teamed up with Chalamanda to record a reggae remix of “Linny” titled “Linny Hoo”.

The black-and-white video of the recording shows a smiling, gap-toothed Chalamanda, nattily dressed in a white shirt and V-neck sweater, jamming with Namadingo under a tree outside his home, with a group of neighbours looking on.

The video went viral after it was posted on YouTube, where it racked up more than 6.9 million views. Then late last year, it landed on TikTok and toured the globe.

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Chalamanda only learned of the song’s sensational social media popularity from his children and their friends.

Since then he and Namadingo have recorded remixes of several others of his best-known tracks.

His daughter Linny’s 16-year-old son Stepson Austin told AFP that he was proud of his grandfather’s longevity.

“It is good that he has lived long enough to see this day,” said the youngster, who himself aspires to become a hip-hop artist.

Born in Chiradzulu, a small town in southern Malawi, Chalamanda won fame in his homeland with lilting songs such as “Buffalo Soldier” in which he dreams of visiting America and “Napolo”.

Over the past decade, he has collaborated with several younger musicians and still performs across the country.

– ‘Dance around the world’ –

On TikTok, DJs and ordinary fans have created their own remixes as part of a #LinnyHooChallenge.

“When his music starts playing in a club or at a festival, everyone gets the urge to dance. That is how appealing it is,” musician and long-time collaborator Davis Njobvu told AFP.

“The fact that he has been there long enough to work with the young ones is special.”

South Africa-based music producer Joe Machingura attributed the global appeal of a song recorded in Chewa, one of Malawi’s most widely-spoken languages, to the sentiments underlying it.

“The old man sang with so much passion, it connects with whoever listens to it,” he said, adding: “It speaks to your soul.”

Chalamanda, a twice-married father of 14 children, only seven of whom, including Linny, are still alive, said he has no idea how to secure royalties for the TikTok plays.

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Chalamanda and his wife hope to benefit financially from his new-found stardom.

“I am just surprised that despite the popularity of the song, there is nothing for me,” he said. “While I am excited that I have made people dance all around the world, there should be some gain for me. I need the money.”

His manager Pemphero Mphande told AFP that he was looking into the issue and the Copyright Society of Malawi said it was ready to assist.

Arts curator Tammy Mbendera of the Festival Institute in Malawi credited platforms like TikTok with creating new opportunities for African talent.

“With songs from our past especially, they were written with such profoundness that they still can resonate today,” she said.

“All one has to do really, is get the chance to experience it, to acknowledge its significance. I think that’s what happened here.”



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