Why More Celebrities are Getting Intimate with Their Fans

I'm often asked what makes digital influencers such affective marketers.

A big piece is their connection to their fans and how that relationship develops through like backs, surprise comments, live chats, shoutouts, and appearances.

So much can be said lately of the power of these talents, but how will their impact on millennials change how traditional celebrities connect to their fans?

A recent read by Samuel Yam of TechCrunch shed some light on the new intimacy being formed between celebrities and their fans.

I'm definitely looking to apply some of these principals to my own growth as an influencer, as I feel I'm gravely behind in my own personal growth. Celebrating 20k fans on Instagram seems slightly less exciting when some of the talents we've fostered and helped grow are hitting the 2M mark. 

In the world of internet celebs, one fact rings true, they get more audience attention than some of pop culture's most defining moments. 

The most-watched Game of Thrones episode ever, this past season’s finale, had 8.11 million viewers. Meanwhile, Pentatonix, a musical a capella group on YouTube since 2012, gets 10 million views each week. The most watched episode of 30 Rock on NBC — its series finale — had 4.8 million viewers, while Ryan Higa, a comedian on YouTube, averages more than 9 million views each week.

Then there’s PewDiePie, one of the top YouTubers who makes the most awesomely odd gaming videos, drawing almost 90 million views each week. - d.s. This one is a little beyond me. I honestly don't get the appeal of watching someone else play video games, but there's an audience so more power to ya PDP. 

My point isn’t that these personalities will eventually replace premium content — there will always be a place in audiences’ hearts to watch someone’s eyes getting gouged out in Game of Thrones — but rather that YouTubers and independent artists have been commanding comparable audiences to premium content for a while now, and via a vastly different approach where intimacy with audience matters more than staged performances. 

It’s About How Much Your Fans Care

When Alex Day — whom you probably still haven’t heard of — released his album on the same day as Justin Timberlake’s latest album, 20/20 Experience, Alex debuted higher on the iTunes charts than Justin Timberlake.

Timberlake isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but Alex was able to dominate the charts because, despite not having as large a fan base as Timberlake, Alex’s fans care deeply about him. They have a frequent window into his life via YouTube. So when he asked them for support by downloading his album, their response was immediate and immense.

Stories like Alex’s are not rare these days, and individuals amassing fanatically passionate audiences are occurring internationally, across cultures and market verticals.

YY, a more than $3 billion market cap company built on live-streaming karaoke personalities and gamers, regularly sees fans donate hundreds of dollars for a virtual car or rose to appear onscreen.

Twitch, now owned by Amazon, allows fans to subscribe, but streamers actually go off-site to find tools to allow their fan bases to donate one-offs and put messages onscreen.

YouTube — huge props for this — is standing up for creators by finally highlighting them to their subscribers on the mobile app after crushing it in the last earnings report on watch time and mobile growth.

Reddit’s recent mishap was in a large part because of opposing views on how to take AMAs — when fans ask direct questions to high-profile figures, from Snoop Dogg to President Obama — to the next level.

The common thread among all these companies is a recognition that fans respond better to genuine and direct connections to artists and celebrities.

With numerous services available — Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Vine, Periscope — that enable artists to share more frequently the inner workings of their lives and minds, fans are savvier than ever, and they expect authenticity from those they adore. And they revolt spectacularly when this authenticity is absent.


Why Direct Intimacy Is The Future

When artists and celebrities directly interact with fans, audiences respond with higher support (in the case of the data below, financially) and exponentially higher engagement levels.

We did a study among our top creators and found that — as expected — financially supportive fans engaged up to 100x more. What was interesting, though, was when creators made more posts and comments than the median, they received more than 200 percent more financial support.

At the end of the day, the ability for artists and celebrities with staggering audience reach to be able to directly connect with their fans truly opens a new level of interactivity and intimacy.

What’s really exciting, though, is how this enables myriad sustainable niche creators who have fanatical supporters that are deeply passionate about whom they support.

I’ve seen this unfold over the past several months as more and more financial support is pouring in for artists and creators who make educational content, comedy videos, music, web comics, gaming reviews, furry-friendly animation (!) and everything in-between.


1. The social web allows for more intimacy. If you have a fanbase, build it through constant interaction and communication through the ones that get you closest to your fans. 

2. We're heading to a future of celebrity content overload. If everyone's following the practice, there will be a lot of noise.

3. Expect niches to grow. To cut clutter people will become more focused on subject leaders or personalities which most reflect the life they want to live, with the interests they find most rewarding. 

The Marketing Style We've Pioneered Earns $9.80 per Dollar Invested

For years I've been able to keep our company at the forefront of the influencer marketing movement, developing technology and relationships which keep us a few steps ahead of what's next. A big part of this drive was because of how much we fully believed in the talents we were helping to make into businesses of their own. Well now after over a decade in the field it looks like our efforts truly are changing the industry. 

In a recent deep dive into the influencer marketing space, new data proves what we've already known; influencer marketing is the most effective way to reach and sell to the millennial consumer-base. Check out this recent study done by influencer research group RhythmOne.

Dive Brief:

  • Influencer-based campaigns are proving to be a win for marketers, earning $9.60 for every dollar spent in the first half of this year.
  • Research from RhythmOne found earned media value from influencers was 1.4 times higher the first half of 2015 compared to the yearly average from 2014.
  • Instagram led all other social media platforms in social amplification rate.

Dive Insight:

Marketers are looking to influencers to base campaigns around, and according to research from RhythmOne, the tactic is effective and becoming more so. 

Social media platforms are where marketers make the best use of influencers and Instagram blew away its competition in the amplification rate metric at 1.77% compared to Facebook’s 0.21%, Google+’s 0.15%, Twitter’s 0.13%, and Pinterest’s 0.11%.

Publishers are also taking note of the trend, such as online publisher Refinery29 providing access to social media influencers via its new Here and Now network. Here and Now has signed Smashbox Cosmetics as its first marketing partner, and it’s likely that other publishers will create similar platforms to tap into influencers. 

Using influencers to reach the millennial audience is a growing trend and was the focus of a recent Capital One campaign on Instagram, which ultimately helped lift the financial company's ad recall 16%. Through influencer campaigns, brands and marketers are able to engage consumers less obtrusively than with blatant advertising.


1. Influencer Marketing has proved to offer the highest return for marketing spend. 

2. More media brands are offering some level of influencer services, so it's important to choose where you spend wisely. 

Messiah Fantasies Run Rampant So I'm Stalking 50 of My Competitors

It's my goal to get to a point where I'm paid to give speeches and travel the world doing so, spreading my gospel on the selfie generation and it's growing impact on the industry I hold dear. Basically, become the millennial marketing messiah. 

The launch of this site is one way I'm working toward that, but I've always found that the best way to win is to stalk your competitors, learn from their ways, imitate, and eventually innovate so it looks like their ideas are your own. Nearly every talent I work with who have been successful at amassing massive followings grew theirs by studying those who came before them, copying their style, and then modifying it so that they didn't look like a total copycat.  

Below is a list of 50 top influencers in the world of social media who get attention from the people paying attention to the budgets of the companies who spend the most in "speakers and workshops". I'm gonna be following each of these people and will spend the next few weeks analyzing their content style to help in developing my own voice. Not really looking for changing my voice, which for the most part is crass and full of hard, ugly truths, but instead in modifying that voice so that occasionally I bestow a bit of knowledge that's share-worthy. 

This list was created using Cision and a research team which pulled various social media mavens on Twitter using an algorithm which looked for contextual relevancy, engagement, key terms and reach. So basically, these fuckers got the game on tap and need to be paid attention to. Be sure to follow along with me. 

1. David Armano – @armano 

Global Strategy Director at Edelman Digital

2. Jay Baer – @jaybaer

New York Times best-selling author, global keynote speaker, and digital media entrepreneur. President of Convince and Convert – a strategy consulting firm

3. Jeff Barrett – @BarrettAll

Co-Founder of Status Creative, a leader in social media engagement

4. Renee Blodgett – @MagicSauceMedia

Branding, Social Media, Marketing, PR & Professional Coach

5. Andre Bourque – @SocialMktgFella

Editor Emeritus at Technorati, writer for Entrepreneur, HuffingtonPost and SocialMediaToday. Tech evangelist covering high-growth industries

6. Jeff Bullas – @JeffBullas

Content marketing influencer, social media marketing strategist & speaker

7. Ted Coiné – @tedcoine

Coach and author on #SocialCEO. Guiding leaders into the Social Age one keynote at a time. CMO of Meddle.it 

8. Mack Collier – @MackCollier

Founder of #Blogchat

9. Juntae DeLane – @JuntaeDeLane

Digital Brand Manager for USC, digital strategist, marketing consultant, public speaker 

10. Jason Falls – @JasonFalls

A leading digital strategist, author, speaker and thinker in the digital and social media marketing industry

11. Steve Farnsworth – @Steveology

Demand generation content marketing for B2B high tech industry. CMO at The Steveology Group

12. Mark Fidelman – @markfidelman

CEO of Evolve! Digital Marketing Agency. Award winning digital campaign experts. Forbes Columnist

13. Robert Fine – @bobfine

Founded The Social Media Monthly, in 2011 as the first and only print magazine devoted exclusively to unlocking the power of social media for its readers 

14. Kim Garst – @kimgarst

Social selling strategist, First Lady of Periscope, best-selling author & speaker

15. Glen Gilmore – @GlenGilmore

Digital Marketing Strategist, author, lawyer & Rutgers Business School instructor.

16. Seth Godin – @ThisIsSethsBlog

American author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker

17. Ann Handley – @MarketingProfs

Managed by Ann Handley, Head of Content at MarketingProfs; author of the WSJ bestseller, “Everybody Writes”


18. John Haydon – @johnhaydon


Digital marketing and fundraising expert for nonprofits. Author of “Facebook Marketing for Dummies”

19. Kristi Hines – @kikolani

Freelance writer and business blogger

20. Douglas Idugboe – @douglasi

Founder of Smedio and Digital Marketers Academy. He helps businesses grow their revenue

21. Mathew Ingram – @mathewi

Senior Writer at Fortune

22. Beth Kanter – @kanter

Author of “Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media,” one of the longest-running and most popular blogs for nonprofits

23. Guy Kawasaki – @guykawasaki

Silicon Valley marketing executive. He was one of the Apple employees originally responsible for marketing the Macintosh in 1984

24. Dave Kerpen – @davekerpen

CEO of Likeable Local. He is also the co-founder and chairman of Likeable Media and the New York Times best-selling author of “Likeable Social Media” and “Likeable Business”

25. Shelly Kramer – @ShellyKramer

Co-CEO of V3 Broadsuite, a marketing agency specialising in the digital space

26. Aaron Lee – @AskAaronLee

Social Media Manager and Entrepreneur hailing from Malaysia. Grand Master of Customer Delight at Post Planner

27. Eve Mayer – @LinkedInQueen

Eve Mayer is CEO of Social Media Delivered. Author of “The Social Media Business Equation” and “Get It Girl Guide to Online Dating”

28. Pam Moore – @PamMktgNut

Social Media Speaker, Consultant, Trainer, CEO of Marketing Nutz

29. Lee Odden – @leeodden

CEO at TopRank Online Marketing. Author, speaker & consultant for B2B content marketing, social media, PR & search

30. Jeremiah Owyang – @owyang

 Founder of CrowdCompanies.com

31. Christopher Penn – @cspenn

VP Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications, Marketing Over Coffee co-host

32. Amy Porterfield – @amyporterfield

Social media strategist and co-author of “Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies” 

33. Brett Relander – @BrettRelander

Founder at TribeMedia & Launch & Hustle. Contributor at Huffington Post & Entrepreneur

34. Chris Rauschnot – @24k

Blogger at Huffington Post, Mac Trast & more. Speaker, award winner & social media consultant

35. Steve Rubel – @steverubel

Chief Content Strategist for Edelman PR host of the “Content Convergence” podcast

36. Ted Rubin – @TedRubin

Social marketing strategist, keynote speaker, brand evangelist and Acting CMO at Brand Innovators

37. Chris Sacca – @sacca

Super angel investor; Investor in Twitter, Uber, Instagram, kickstarter & other startups

38. Bonnie Sainsbury – @bsainsbury

Founder and CEO of Social Media Smarter. Co-host of “Women Talking Tech” webcast 

39. Mark Schaefer – @markwschaefer

Acclaimed college educator, author, speaker, and social media strategy consultant who has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the CBS NEWS 

40. Neal Schaffer – @nealschaffer

Social media speaker, social media strategy consultant, author of “Maximize Your Social” and founder of Maximize Social Business

41. Jeff Sheehan – @JeffSheehan

Influencer, marketing & social media pro, social selling expert, speaker, author, radio show host

42. Mari Smith – @marismith

Hailed as the premier Facebook marketing expert and one of the most influential and knowledgeable new media thought leaders in the world

43. Michael Stelzner – @Mike_Stelzner

Founder of Social Media Examiner, host of “Social Media Marketing” podcast, authored “Launch & Writing White Papers” 

44. Scott Stratten – @unmarketing

 President of Un-Marketing. He is an expert in viral, social and authentic marketing which he calls “Un-Marketing”

45. Liz Strauss – @lizstrauss

Founder of SOBCon, the high-touch business summit, social web strategist, and one of the most thoughtful, prolific bloggers on the planet

46. Danny Sullivan – @dannysullivan

Founding Editor at Marketing Land & Search Engine Land, covering Google, Facebook, Twitter, SEO, SEM & all things digital marketing, search marketing and search  

47. Ann Tran – @AnnTran_

Luxury travel & marketing strategist, speaker, #InfluencerChat co-founder and entrepreneur

48. Gary Vaynerchuk – @garyvee

Entrepreneur, investor, author, public speaker, and internet personality. Host of #AskGaryVee & CEO of VaynerMedia

49. Ekaterina Walter – @Ekaterina

Business and marketing innovator an author of the WSJ bestseller “Think Like Zuck”

50. Warren Whitlock – @WarrenWhitlock

 Influencer, business consultant, radio host, best-selling author, speaker, blogger `

And for a personal shoutout 51. Daniel Saynt - @DanielSaynt

Influencer marketing pioneer and owner at of Socialyte and NYLON Media.

And yes, I plan to follow myself. 

The Sayntly Sentiment

1. Stalk your competitors. Some people will say you're only racing yourself. As much as I'd like to fully believe this ideal my internal bunny is always energized and racing to the next goal.

2. Copying is the sincerest form of flattery, until you get big enough and then flattery from your fans feels so much more sincere. 

3. Write a fucking book. Nearly everyone of these people have written books. Who the fuck has time for that?! Impressed, but definitely in need of better time management to even make an attempt at this. 

Where Can You Find Ganja Yoga in NYC?

Where Can You Find Ganja Yoga in NYC?

I was recently thinking about the spiritual nature of yoga and how it's been booty banged with no lube by the commercialistic hard on that's calling the shots in current day New York City. The healing of the practice has been replaced with high intensity interval practices for building muscle, sauna style classes which leave third eye seekers drenched, and things like downward dog for your dog and high-priced private classes for the better than you's, some which I've discovered include clothing optional one-on-one instructions from off duty models.