Join Collective Voice

SXSW 2024 Panel Recap: Unlocking the Potential of Rising Creators

clock-ic 5 minute read time

That’s a wrap on SXSW 2024! We had a blast exploring Austin, brunching with local Creator friends, and of course, hosting an enlightening panel on Creator Marketing.

Our panel, called “Fueling Virality: Unlocking The Potential Of Rising Creators,” was an upbeat discussion about micro Creators and their unique value propositions. We dove deep into their crucial role in tapping targeted, engaged audiences and producing innovative, memorable campaigns. 

Our esteemed panel of industry experts included:

In case you weren’t able to join us in Austin, keep reading for the biggest insights and takeaways from the discussion, plus a little fun!

1. On Virality And Finding A Niche

The social media landscape has changed quickly in the last few years with the rise of short-form video and viral content. Our panelists gave their perspectives on how virality has had a hand in shaping the niche Creator economy.

Here are some highlights from our panelists:

  • From Kudzi: “Short-form came along and you have the tools in your hand, on your phone, that can give you the right elements…to create something quickly. You have that ease of creation, so you lower the bar to creation. So you have people that are enabled now with the right tools to create stuff that they love, and hence you find these sort of viral niches.”
  • From Ann: “The emergence of easy-to-use tools, visual effects, and new platforms have really enabled Creators to put their own twist on content and make it their own and really personalize it. I think the world in which we live today is a world in which that perspective is what makes a piece of content go viral.”

2. On The Differences Between Micro and Macro Creators

While macro Creators remain important voices in brand campaigns, some brands are pivoting and expanding their strategies to include more micro Creators. We discussed how each type of Creator can help brands meet their campaign goals.

  • From Ann: “Creators have the ability to really bridge the full funnel. Your top tier Creators are your greeters—they can welcome people to your brand. Your mid tier Creators are your storytellers—they create really great content, but can also drive people to convert. And then you have micro Creators, that are really great at driving conversion. Niche Creators cut through all of those tiers—you get a hyper-targeted audience, but then you can also target macro Creators to get really broad reach.”
  • From April: “Micro influencers are also very collaborative. They’re willing to have conversations with you.”
  • From Kudzi: “Historically, people have looked to macro Creators to drive that awareness and brand affinity, and hopefully it trickles down the marketing funnel to conversion. But I’ve found that niche Creators are the magical thread that can take you all the way through the marketing funnel.”

3. On Niche Creators’ Distinct Value Propositions

Niche Creators have strong connections with their audience, a highly engaged following, and authentic connections with people with similar interests. Our panelists weighed in on the wide range of benefits for brands who work with niche Creators.

  • From Ann: “Most micro and niche influencers are trying to nurture their audience. You’ve curated a community around a specific topic. It’s like being at a party with a group of really good friends where you’re all more connected, you’re all more engaged…because this topic is your passion. I think [these Creators have] a highly engaged community, diverse content, and diverse perspectives.”
  • From Kudzi: “Niche Creators are a treasure trove of insights. Nowadays, in recommendation-driven platforms and short-form video where people are leveraging other content for their own content (basically, you inspire other people to create). You can actually get more brand reach for whatever product by finding the right people.”

4. On Working With Niche Creators For Viral Campaigns

Our panelists shared their experiences with Creator campaigns experiences that went viral, describing what elements contributed to its virality:

  • From April: “I had a long-term partnership with Kate Spade for about a year with a ton of creative freedom. For…Valentine’s Day…[my husband and I] set up a pink seamless in the living room, we got roses, and I just wore the clothes and showed the behind-the-scenes and the results of the photoshoot. So it was like ‘set up a photoshoot with me.’ It really did not feel like a brand campaign at all, and it wasn’t really talking about the clothes—they were just there. And it ended up getting a million views!”
  • From Ann: “Last year, at Wayfair, we began using social listening tools to identify emerging Creators we could potentially partner with. And we came across a piece of content from [a Creator], and she took to TikTok to talk about the fact that she had purchased this chair from Wayfair. She was completely humorous in her approach and the piece of content went viral because of her humor and because of her raw review of the chair. When we looked at the data, we saw an uptick in sales for that chair that we associated with her content.”
  • From Kudzi: “I went to the south of France with Chanel last year…It was Chanel Beauty, and in September, they do the jasmine harvest…for Chanel No.5, and it’s a whole process and they take you behind the scenes…And it was a lesson in the power of community and conversation…Most of the group that went really captured the Chanel lifestyle. I went the opposite route and I showed the making of Chanel No.5, and I had the most comments. There was a conversation of—most people don’t actually know how the things that they love are made. If I were a brand marketer, I think you kind of want more people talking about your product and how it’s made, so that was a great lesson for me.”

5. On Building Long-Term Relationships

Our panelists shared takeaways on how brands can work with micro Creators to foster lasting connections with their highly engaged audiences.

  • From April: “Empower your junior team to wine and dine. Empower your team to really build relationships with people—find them at 50k and grow with them to 500k. The other side of that coin is—it would be a lot harder to approach Alix Earle right now and try to have her ears than it would’ve been two years ago. Every time I’m in New York or LA, I pack my schedule with coffee, lunch, dinner—I really see the value in setting up meetings with PR agencies, with brands, because then you’re top of mind. Sometimes they don’t know what you’re working on, and that’s your chance to really sell yourself early on.”
  • From Kudzi: “I get sent a lot of stuff and I try to review and share [the products] as much as possible. But there are some that appear more often than others. And the reason is I know the brand owners. They’ve taken the time to know me when I had 1,000 followers, and whenever they’re in town, they’ll make sure to say hello. And it was that connection to them, and them valuing me before I had more followers—I feel connected to them. So now, when I look back, I probably posted almost every launch that all those people have done (for free) because they’re my community.”
  • From Ann: “To really connect with somebody, set up a call, walk them through the brief, get to know them, get to know their audience, get to know their priorities. And once you understand that, you can start to map—where do they fit in our promo moments for the year, or where do they align to our priorities for the year? The human touch is really important, especially as you’re building the relationship…At the end of the day, the Creator’s an extension of the team and their content is working really hard for your brand so you want to make sure that connection is pulled through in the actual work environment.”

Listen to the whole panel here!

Collective Voice is a Creator Marketing agency that does it all. With smart strategy, guidance, and a full suite of offerings, we create holistic solutions tailored to your marketing objectives. Sign up to learn more about what we can do for your brand.