In an exclusive interview, influencer marketing expert Sammy Hauser provides valuable insights into the evolving landscape of the creator economy. As the founder of Viral Action, Sammy discusses the agency’s mission of transparency, action, and collaboration, highlighting their strategy-driven approach to driving positive outcomes for both creators and brands. Gain a deeper understanding of the trends, values, and strategies shaping the future of influencer marketing in this engaging conversation.
Who is Sammy Hauser?
Sammy Hauser, an influencer marketing expert, entered the scene just before the onset of COVID-19, recalling how he initially organized an influencer event akin to Playlist Live or VidCon. However, the pandemic halted those plans, leaving Sammy with valuable influencer connections.
During the pandemic’s midst, he embarked on a modest $75 campaign that ignited his interest in the field. This led him to freelance work, aiding creators with deals independently.
Around a year and a half later, Sammy Hauser established Viral Action, an agency that now boasts an expanded team and roster, collaborating with brands and record labels and managing exclusive content. When asked about their influencer network, Sammy confirms, “We have our own exclusive roster that we’re very selective of. We also have a much bigger network of creators that we’re always helping out for campaigns and bookings.”
Could you introduce Viral Action and share a brief overview of its mission and goals within the creator and influencer marketing landscape?
In explaining Viral Action’s mission and objectives in the creator and influencer marketing landscape, Sammy shares that the agency’s name, Viral Action, reflects the commitment to taking impactful and actionable steps towards achieving viral success.
He emphasizes the agency’s focus on executing plans rather than just discussing them, describing a motto of taking action, going viral. Sammy observes that many agencies and creators tended to overpromise and underdeliver, which inspired him to establish an agency that prioritizes transparency and action.
Sammy Hauser elaborates on the agency’s approach of nurturing both creators and brands. He highlights the agency’s dedication to fostering growth in creators, not solely focusing on securing brand deals. The goal is to build sustainable long-term success by helping creators thrive on various platforms.
Sammy also discusses how the agency works closely with creators on strategy calls, content creation, and tapping into trends while emphasizing the importance of letting their unique personalities shine through. He explains that the agency serves as a supportive backbone, guiding creators to exceed expectations and maximize their potential for growth.
As a founder, what key values or principles have guided Viral Action’s growth and success in the influencer marketing space?
As the founder of Viral Action, Sammy underscores transparency as a vital value driving the agency’s success in influencer marketing. He believes in open communication, whether it’s good or bad news, building trust and long-term relationships.
The agency’s selective approach ensures individualized attention for clients, emphasizing genuine connections. Sammy recognizes transparency and authenticity as crucial in shaping the agency’s growth and reputation.
How does Viral Action foster an environment of collaboration and authenticity between creators and the brands they partner with?
Viral Action promotes collaboration and authenticity by aligning creators and brands in meaningful partnerships. Sammy explains that the agency’s focus is on establishing long-term projects with a transparent approach. Instead of pitching all creators to brands for a quick gain, the agency selects creators whose demographics and values align with the brand’s identity.
Similarly, creators are matched with brands that complement their content and values. This approach ensures organic collaboration and prevents creators from appearing as mere advertising pages. The agency also emphasizes fair pricing for both brands and creators, building authentic and lasting relationships based on shared values and mutual benefit.
Sammy, could you highlight a standout campaign or project that exemplifies Viral Action’s approach to driving positive outcomes for creators and brands?
When asked about a standout campaign, Sammy Hauser highlights a successful collaboration with CapCut back in June. He explains that the project started as an idea for a booth at VidCon. He recounts, “It all started as a little idea. We had this idea for a booth at VidCon.” Instead of a conventional approach, they crafted a unique booth concept; as Sammy puts it, “We kind of gave them a little detailed idea for the booth, and they love the idea and brought it to life.”
The campaign involved around five to ten creators and even included a trip to an LA house, fostering both collaboration and content creation. Sammy considered this project a significant highlight that exemplified Viral Action’s approach to driving positive outcomes for both creators and brands.
Creator Economy Insights
From your vantage point, how has the creator economy transformed over the past few years, and what do you believe are the driving factors behind its rapid evolution?
From Sammy’s perspective, the creator economy has evolved significantly in recent years. Brands have shifted their strategies, with some reducing spending while others increasing their involvement in influencer marketing. Sammy believes this evolution is due to the industry’s maturation and brands’ growing selectivity. He notes, “Influencer marketing’s been around for quite a few years now… it was a lot of trial and error in the beginning.”
As brands gained experience, they adopted more targeted approaches, driven by both newfound tools and accumulated insights. The availability of analytics tools has provided brands with audience insights, contributing to their strategic decision-making.
Ultimately, the combination of experience, data-driven insights, and refined strategies has led brands to be more discerning in their influencer partnerships.
What trends within the creator economy do you find most exciting, and how does Viral Action embrace these trends to provide unique value to its clients?
Sammy Hauser finds the emergence of new revenue streams within the creator economy to be highly exciting. He highlights the Snapchat Creator Hub and TikTok’s Creator Fund as notable trends. Sammy believes that these trends enable creators to diversify their income sources beyond traditional brand deals. He elaborates on the exclusive content paywall platforms that Viral Action embraces, which allow creators to generate income through exclusive content. These trends demonstrate the evolving landscape where creators are no longer solely reliant on brand partnerships.
In an era of content saturation, how can creators distinguish themselves and maintain meaningful connections with their audiences while working with brands?
To stand out in a saturated content landscape and maintain meaningful connections with audiences while collaborating with brands, Sammy emphasizes the importance of showcasing authenticity and personality. Creators should focus on being genuine and bringing their unique voice to their content rather than solely relying on trends or dances.
Sammy suggests creating a get-to-know-me type of content and engaging in Q&A sessions to let audiences connect on a personal level. He believes audiences are increasingly seeking relatable influencers who share their real selves. This authenticity also aids in securing brand deals, as brands prefer to work with creators who naturally integrate their messages rather than appear forced or inauthentic. By prioritizing authentic interactions and conversations, creators can forge stronger connections and resonate more effectively with their audiences.
As someone deeply involved in the creator economy, what shifts or trends do you believe are reshaping the traditional definitions of fame and success, and how do these changes impact both creators and their audiences?
Sammy observes shifts in fame and success definitions, particularly with the rise of TikTok. He notes that creators now focus on being popular rather than traditional fame. The accessibility of TikTok enables rapid popularity.
Sammy Hauser emphasizes that success lies beyond the initial burst, urging creators to showcase their personalities and sustain engagement. He states, “Once you get that following… What are you doing for that next step? Identify your uniqueness.” This approach prevents accounts from fading after a viral moment. The emphasis is on consistently evolving to maintain audience connection.
Advice for Creators
What advice would you offer to aspiring creators who are just starting their journey in building their personal brands and navigating the influencer marketing landscape?
Sammy advises aspiring creators entering the influencer landscape to overcome the fear of judgment and start taking action. He highlights the importance of authenticity, suggesting they blend trends with their unique personality. Consistency is crucial to align with algorithms, but Sammy underscores the essence of making entertaining videos that captivate viewers from start to finish. He emphasizes, “From a viewer standpoint, what makes someone watch your video from the second they see it to the second they end it… Make your videos entertaining, make them amusing, but at the same time, be yourself.”
Collaboration with brands is a crucial aspect for creators. What strategies should creators adopt to ensure that collaborations are authentic and mutually beneficial?
When collaborating with brands, creators should focus on authenticity and personal connection to ensure beneficial partnerships. As Sammy puts it, “Always bring your personality out. Don’t only be a trend follower.”
Creators can engage their audience by discussing daily experiences and even mentioning favorite products, even without a brand deal. This authenticity resonates well with brands as they seek creators who genuinely connect with their audience through meaningful interactions rather than mere trend participation or lip-syncing.
Predictions and Hopes
Looking ahead, what are your predictions for the creator economy for the remainder of the year? Are there any emerging trends or shifts that you anticipate?
Sammy predicts an increase in brand deals during the holiday season, citing the high shopping activity as a driver for creators’ collaborations. In terms of emerging trends, he believes social media platforms will continue evolving and introducing new features, as evidenced by recent updates on platforms like Instagram and Twitter.
As for positive changes in the creator economy, Sammy emphasizes the importance of transparency. He hopes to see improved communication between brands and creators, encouraging open discussions about reasons for booking or not booking deals, as well as timely updates on deal progress. Transparent communication, according to Sammy, is crucial for the industry’s growth and effectiveness.
Lastly, can you share your thoughts on how Viral Action aims to contribute to the positive development and growth of the creator economy in the coming years?
In the context of Viral Action’s contribution to the creator economy, Sammy discusses the importance of their strategy-based approach. The focus is on providing creators in their network with valuable insights and information about new platforms and opportunities, fostering their growth both financially and in terms of audience engagement. They prioritize long-term collaboration and authenticity, helping creators set up collaborations, content trips, and beneficial partnerships. Transparency is a key aspect of their work, as they aim to provide brands with valuable insights and ensure a positive return on investment.
Sammy’s philosophy centers around taking action, staying proactive, and delivering results in a dynamic and ever-evolving space.