With 17% of marketers hoping to invest in influencer marketing throughout 2023, it is vital that content creators continue to find new ways to communicate and collaborate with these brands. As such, many corporations have been promoting influencer programs as a way to help these creators get on board and use their expertise to help generate more sales. To discuss this further, Net Influencer will discuss everything you need to know about the Hot Topic influencer program.
What Is Hot Topic?
First founded in October 1999, Hot Topic is regarded as one of the most popular American retailers of popular culture merchandise and alternative clothing. By capitalizing on the Emo and Goth movements seen throughout the early 2000s, this retail chain has managed to successfully find its niche and discover lucrative ways to retain its customer base.
Alongside their success in this industry, the brand has also managed to merge into an array of other sectors. In 2001, Hot Topic formed Torrid, a clothing brand that focuses specifically on the needs of plus-sized women. This brand was fixed under the Hot Topic umbrella for many years before it became its own independent entity in 2015.
The alternative clothing store is also known for its highly-valued internet presence, particularly the launch of its own social media site back in 2008. ShockHound allowed users to download all of their favorite tracks in an MP3 format, making them suitable for the digital music players of the time.
How Successful Is the Brand?
Despite its somewhat niche audience, Hot Topic is able to communicate with customers from all around the world. A prime example of this is its collaboration with Studio Ghibli back in 2022. This partnership allowed both brands to build a diverse collection of desirable merchandise, featuring some of the studio’s most popular characters. This pop-up shop was particularly successful for Hot Topic because despite not having any stores in Japan, the brand still managed to gain profits through its American audience.
The brand also boasts a wealth of lucrative partnerships with popular bands, mainly due to its wide range of sponsorship deals. In 2004, the brand worked alongside Ozzy Osborne to promote OzzFest, a unique festival that celebrates the artist themselves. More recently, Hot Topic sponsored The Black Veil Brides in 2014, allowing fans to purchase a collection of licensed merchandise.
What Is the HTFANATIC Program?
The Hot Topic influencer program, also referred to as the HTFANATIC Program, gives content creators the opportunity to represent this brand on social media, producing original content as a way to showcase the nuances of this counter-culture retailer. This program also encourages influencers to share their knowledge of elusive franchises and industries such as Anime, popular TV shows, and lesser-known artists.
As part of this program, influencers are also expected to be outspoken and knowledgeable about a selection of important topics, highlighting that content creators must be thought leaders as well as brand ambassadors.
Together with these expectations, content creators will also be rewarded for their work on a number of platforms. Since this program is devoted to helping influencers increase their reach and build their presence, Hot Topic is offering these creators the chance to delve into new industries and seek out more profitable ventures.
How Do I Join the Program?
In order to take part in the HTFANATIC Program, candidates must first complete a simple registration form. This document requires you to offer a few personal details such as your name, address, and diversity details. You will also be asked a few long-form questions, allowing you to express your knowledge of certain niches and how you plan to effectively promote them online.
It should also be mentioned that this program has an array of strict requirements, mainly surrounding the age of influencers. Currently, the brand is looking to work with creators aged 16-17. This means that creators will have to provide the contact details of their guardians so that they can be formally protected during this partnership. Hot Topic is also only recruiting those based in the US and Canada due to its large affiliation and success in these regions.
Finally, this program is eager to work with influencers who are known for their original content, as opposed to those who create memes or other impersonal content. As such, influencers are expected to have at least 5,000 followers on any significant platform like YouTube or Instagram.
What Perks Are on Offer?
Though this program does not offer any monetary compensation, it does offer a range of exclusive benefits and opportunities. Since influencers will be required to promote popular products on their page, they will gain access to exclusive merchandise and even get the chance to access certain products earlier than others. If the brand feels as if you have styled a product exceptionally well, they may also offer you a modeling opportunity. This is particularly useful for those who are known for their alternative look and wish to build a diverse portfolio.
Hot Topic also offers creators the chance to produce their own branded merchandise. Throughout this experience, you will work alongside a plethora of talented artists and designers to craft a garment that reflects the intricacies of your online fan base. Influencers will also gain a small percentage of commission on any of the products sold, making it a great income stream for larger influencers.
Benefits of Joining the Hot Topic Influencer Program
Hot Topic’s elusive relationship with influencers signifies the need for this type of promotion and how content creators can tap into very lucrative ventures through their work. Though many will criticize the brand for not paying its influencers, this can be a great opportunity for teenagers who are looking to break into this dynamic industry. Since this program works to send influencers all of the products they will need, many creators will be able to create deeply engaging content without having to spend their own funds. In turn, this is particularly beneficial for young people who are looking for a low-cost way to produce branded content.
This program is also suitable for micro-influencers since it only requires creators to have a minimum of 5,000 followers. As a result, this is a tremendously accessible opportunity for many influencers as they now have the chance to form stronger bonds with their existing viewers, whilst still being able to tap into new audience bases. Thus, influencers can now start to build an accumulative stream of followers as well as potential brand opportunities.
Despite only wanting to work with smaller influencers, the Hot Topic influencer program does have the capacity to support those with larger followings. By becoming a HT Creator, influencers can now produce high-end merchandise that is specifically directed at their audience. Therefore, these influencers have the ability to promote in a collection of stores across the US.
The Hot Topic influencer program is a prime example of how iconic brands are willing to work with a range of different creators as a way to further promote their goods. By collaborating with a variety of alternative and off-beat creators, Hot Topic can still maintain its counter-culture image whilst reaching out to new customer bases.