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Influencers take a stance, brands stop ad campaigns, and protests dominate social media

Eva Gutowski instagram
Hello, this is Amanda Perelli welcoming you back to Influencer Dashboard, our weekly rundown of what's new in the influencer and creator economy.
In response to George Floyd's death after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, many social-media stars have spoken out online demanding change.
This week, I spoke with YouTube star Eva Gutowski, who is urging her fellow creators to use their platforms to build a conversation and take a stance.
"Not only do I feel like it is my responsibility to speak out, it's also just a no-brainer because I was given this platform," she said. "I'm in the position that I am because I am good at public speaking, so it would be the biggest injustice to not use the one thing that I am good at, which is talking to people."
Gutowski shared an informational video on IGTV on black history, and she included a moment of silence for the lives lost due to racism mid-way through her recent YouTube video, as well as sharing resources on Instagram Stories and other platforms.
Many brands and influencers are stopping ad campaigns this week, but Gutowski wants them to do more:
  • She has long spoken up for issues she is passionate about (like environmentalism) and she urged her Instagram-famous friends who have stayed silent to speak out: "On Instagram we are all paying attention to what is going on and we see the silence, it speaks volumes."
  • Her message to brands: "It's just totally embarrassing to not speak out about this, no matter what your reasoning."
  • But more than a statement or post on Instagram, she wants fair representation across brand campaigns and photoshoots, she said.
"Right now is an important time to have conversations that we can be thinking about next year, the year after that, and for future generations," she added.
Read the full story here for her message on how influencers and brands can support Black Lives Matter. 
You can read most of the articles here by subscribing to BI Prime. And if this is your first time reading Influencer Dashboard, subscribe to the newsletter here.

Many brands and influencers have stopped their marketing campaigns to focus on messaging around the George Floyd protests

george floyd protest
My colleague Dan Whateley and I teamed up this week to catch up with influencer-marketing agencies on how brands are focusing on protest messaging.
Companies like TikTok, Spotify, YouTube Music, and Amazon all participated in "Blackout Tuesday," a campaign to draw attention to issues of social and racial justice.
We spoke to five influencer-marketing firms that all said they'd delayed paid influencer work this week. Some digital creators have also paused their typical posting style and cadence.
While many brands and influencers have chosen to pause paid campaigns to avoid tone deafness, they're also under pressure from fans to speak out in support of protesters and the racial-justice movement on social media.
  • Timothy Armoo, the CEO of the TikTok agency Fanbytes, said that his company paused all marketing communications this week and he had donated his last month's salary to charities supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • Some other agencies that work with influencers and digital creators like CAA and Select Management Group have also issued statements of solidarity with protesters and the black community.
Social-media conversations have shifted quickly in 2020. Read more here.

What else happened on BI Prime:

  • The top brands buying YouTube sponsored videos: I looked at a new report on the state of the influencer-marketing industry and which brands spent the most on sponsored YouTube videos last quarter.
  • An MIT economist teams up with TikTok influencers: Dan wrote about a volunteer organization encouraging social-media users to share data on whether or not they've lost their sense of smell – one possible coronavirus symptom.
  • How a media company helps songs trend on TikTok: The Gen-Z media company Flighthouse works with record labels and artists to promote tracks through influencer marketing on the app. Dan spoke with Flighthouse to learn more about the company's strategy for making a song trend on TikTok.
Epic Games

This week from Insider's digital culture team:

  • Teens confront their parents on TikTok about race: Hanna Lustig wrote that many Gen-Z kids have found themselves clashing with parents over racial justice issues.
  • TikTok apologizes for #blacklivesmatter glitch: Margot Harris reported that the company had issued a statement apologizing for a glitch applied to a wide range of hashtags, including #blacklivesmatter and #georgefloyd.
  • #isoverparty becomes a routine part of cancel culture: Palmer Haasch wrote that the hashtag itself has become a meme as its use has ramped up.
  • Fans urge influencers to speak out about Black Lives Matter: Kat Tenbarge reported that the online response to Floyd's death included influencers promoting bail funds, petitions, and more.
  • Activists ask people to stop sharing George Floyd video: Rachel Greenspan wrote that some activists and mental health professionals say the viral clip is traumatic for the black community and are calling for people to stop sharing it.

Here's what else we're reading:

  • The people behind the Black Lives Matter art on Instagram: Rosemary Donahue from Allure talked with some of the artists behind whose illustrations on the movement are being widely shared online.
  • Influencers of color speak out against LiketoKnow.It: Stephanie McNeal from BuzzFeed News spoke with bloggers who are calling for change from companies like RewardStyle.
  • Snap will stop promoting Trump's account: Casey Newton from The Verge reported that Trump will keep his account but it will no longer appear in the Discover tab.
  • People want Instagram to let them share links: Lauren Strapagiel from BuzzFeed News wrote that users are calling on Instagram to change its policy. Right now, only verified users with 10,000 followers can link in their stories.
Thanks for reading! Send me your tips, comments, or questions: aperelli@businessinsider.com.

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