Megan, a Texas high school student, scrolls through her Vine feed on a summer afternoon. Ben, a young trendy businessman, is headed to work on the Subway, checking that morning’s newest pics on Instagram. You, after a terrible day at school, head to YouTube, searching for a pick-me-up. What do you and these people have in common? You all probably follow someone young who’s made it big on social media.
Over the past few years, young adults have started to create their own forms of success through social media. Shawn Mendes, Adam Gallagher, and Jenna Marbles are three perfect examples of young social media stars that have discovered this unexpected success. From music to men’s fashion to comedy, each of these influencers has their own interests and has appealed to various people alike.
Two years ago, Shawn Mendes, age 16, had no clue that he would develop an international fan base. His music career launched after he started posting covers of popular songs on his Vine account, a social media platform consisting of six-second videos. After posting a cover of Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me”, he woke up the next day with 10,000 likes. This success exponentially grew, as he currently has 3.7 million Vine followers, a new album coming out on iTunes, and has toured nationally. Who would have thought that a simple, six-second video posted by a 14-year-old would launch an international music career?
Adam Gallagher – IAMGALLA
Adam Gallagher’s career followed a similar path but in a different way – blogging. In his second year of blogging, he realized that he had a men’s lifestyle brand that people wanted to follow. In an interview with clothing brand Topman, Gallagher (IAmGalla), 22, continued,
“Originally, [five years ago], it was all just about creating cool pictures, . . . [but] since then I’ve moved the blog on further – it now represents a lifestyle, and I cover travel, grooming and food. I think guys need to read about more than just fashion, otherwise they’ll get bored.”
Since Gallagher’s start at age 17, he had built a loyal audience through strong customer segmentation and targeting. He knows his audience and his fans’ loyalty proves that. Only a few months ago, Gallagher notched 1.1M followers on Instagram – his main platform – and is continuing to build trusting relationships with some of the best brands in fashion (Zara, J. Crew, Mont Blanc, and Gucci – to name a few!).
Jenna Marbles (last name: Mourey) gained success through another popular video platform: Youtube. In 2010, after getting her B.S. and M.Ed. in Boston, Mourey released her first video “How To Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking”. In it’s first week, the video was viewed over 5.3 million times. Since then, Mourey has released comedy videos bi-weekly. Through this creative outlet, Marbles reportedly makes over $350,000 off her channel in various forms, including appearances across the nation. As of today, February 4th, 2015, Mourey has 14.6 million YouTube subscribers and her videos have been viewed over 1.675 billion times. BILLION!
(Fair Warning: Jenna Marbles’ comedy includes some inappropriate comments and actions)
So, what can we take away from the stories of these famous social media stars? I think there are a few things. First, don’t underestimate the power of social media. Each of these people never expected to become well-known. Individual “likes” built momentum to create the recognition for their brands to be seen and to have their content viewed. Through unique and quality content, viewers, and even international companies, have latched on to each of their brands. These connections have provided a future and financial success for Mendes, Gallagher, and Mourey alike. The only challenge for them will be to stay relevant as trends and technology change. Second, as students, I think they provide a positive example of doing what you love. Each of them took a risk to post videos or photos of their singing, modeling, or comedy monologues. If you want to do something in life, take the risk and do what you love, because you never know what you future may hold. And finally, for all of us #IS662 bloggers, don’t second guess your writing/creativity. Who knows, maybe the next star will be one of us!
http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6165603/shawn-mendes-vine-magazine-story, http://syndicate.details.com/post/boss_1383082074, http://galleryhip.com/jenna-marbles-nose-job-before-and-after.html, http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/can-6-seconds-launch-a-career-a-generation-of-vine-stars-sure-hopes-so/2014/08/14/0fcaa3bc-2254-11e4-8593-da634b334390_story.html, http://us.topman.com/en/tmus/category/i-am-galla-3513306/home, http://www.businessinsider.com/top-20-most-popular-youtube-stars-2014-11#15-jennamarblesjennamarblesblog-6