Gen Z knows what they want to be when they grow up. Content creators and by-extension entrepreneurs. Roughly 86% of young Americans want to become a social media influencer, a career choice with an earning potential far beyond traditional paths. Kylie Jenner (365M Instagram) became the youngest self-made billionaire thanks to the incredible success of Kylie Cosmetics (26M Instagram). As social media evolves and new platforms emerge, the creator economy rapidly grows. Seemingly overnight, personalities like Khaby Lam rise to fame and fortune.
Gen Z influencers are cracking the code on how to put their success, influence, and wealth to work. They are becoming the business moguls, the face, media property, and creative agency behind their presence and growing their empires outside their social media presence.
Gen Z values authentic content, with 82% saying they trust a company more if it uses actual customers in its advertising. Influencers have this advantage when building businesses because they have spent significant time cultivating trust with their audience.
BeReal, an unfiltered media platform that allows users to be ultra-candid content, is ranked #1 in the Apple App Store for social networking. Influencer-owned brands can integrate their products into daily lives, furthering the authentic connection that Gen Z craves.The younger generation favors recommendations from their peers over Google or Bing. As many as 40% of Gen Zers prefer social media over traditional search engines for help with purchasing decisions. If a creator leaves positive reviews for a brand, Gen Z believes it is a quality product or service.
Gen Z’s interests are vast, ranging from cooking to cryptocurrency. Their unlimited ability to access information has broadened their array of topics. Let’s take a look at a few of the industries this consumer is interested in:
The finance industry has seen a boom in the interest of the younger generations and influencers, specifically regarding crypto and NFTs. Over the past two years, there has been a rise in finfluencers. Biaheza (1.2M YouTube) is a 20-year-old that teaches audiences how he earns money online. He went viral in 2021 for making $15M by creating the “fluffy coin” cryptocurrency. Given that Biaheza documents his success, he has gained the trust of his subscribers. They are willing to shell out hundreds of dollars to take his online courses.
Once you’ve acquired your millions, you better know how to manage it! Taylor Price (1.1M TikTok) is a financial activist that promotes financial literacy products that teach Gen Z through workshops, community chats, daily lessons, and market insights. Price has been a guest speaker at Google and runs ad campaigns for the fintech brand Credit Karma.
Gen Z is transforming pop culture with conversations, memes, and discussions on norms and trends. Favorite topics include viral videos, new songs, and celebrity scandals. Mina Le (1M YouTube) is a cultural analyst who dishes on the latest trends, hit movies, and societal issues facing her generation. Her investigative and opinion-based videos focus on rewriting the status quo. Her videos “why TikTok is bad for fashion” and “confidence is a cult” speak to the contrarian perspectives of her generation.
My Therapist Says (7.6M Instagram) is a relatable comedy-based page that speaks to the struggles of young women. Founders Lola and Gina Tash have leveraged their loyal following and roughly 1B monthly impressions into a best-selling book, a soon-to-launch weekly interactive podcast, and an upcoming television show. Podcast guests include Paris Hilton, Steve Aoki, Emma Roberts, and more!
Gaming is one of the most significant industries to Gen Z, and brands are making sizeable investments. Ludwig (3.38M YouTube) is an esports live streamer and competitor who gained celebrity status on Twitch and later signed an exclusive deal with YouTube gaming for $30 million.
Brands have been eager to connect with women gamers. Tampax made headlines for sponsoring the shooter game Valorant esports tournaments. Pokimane (9.2M followers) is a broadcaster/Valorant gamer and the most followed woman on Twitch. The 26-year-old is an investor in Therabody and promotes wellness to her Gen Z fans. In July, Pokimane announced taking a break from gaming to concentrate on her mental health.
Gen Z cares deeply about wellbeing, so influencers that openly share candidly about mental health have gained dedicated and loyal followers. Victoria Paris (1.4M TikTok) is beloved for sharing her mental health journey. From conversations around body image and self-love to the difficulties of filling medication prescriptions, she’s adamant about creating a deeper connection with her audience. Mai Pham (2.59M YouTube) is a vlogger who shared about the internal struggle she faces when creating authentic content. The comments offer words of encouragement, furthering the connection between Pham and her audience.
Gen Z is health conscious and loves sharing new recipes and ways to improve kitchen skills. A quick search on TikTok reveals #FoodTok‘s 28B views. Eitan Bernath (923K Snapchat) is a 20-year-old chef best known for re-creating TikTok recipes. His videos are fun which appeals to Gen Z’s curiosity. He recently began deep frying everything from the world’s most expensive beef to a birthday cake. He was a featured guest on The Drew Barrymore to promote his new cookbook, Eitan Eats the World.
With their audience’s desire for trusted recommendations and authentic content, it’s no surprise that Gen Z influencers are jumping into the world of entrepreneurship. They have found the sweet spot between influencers and founders that will allow them to thrive long-term outside their social media careers.
Jimmy Donaldson, aka MrBeast (100M YouTube), is the 5th most subscribed YouTuber worldwide and is known for his stunt videos, charitable giveaways, and influencer events. This year he launched Feastables, a brand of chocolate bars made with plant-based, gluten-free ingredients. To support the launch, Mr. Beast created a $1 million sweepstakes with prizes ranging from Teslas to merch. To further promote his brand, he hosted a competition at a replica of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, with the winner keeping the factory. The video gained nearly 100 million views and heavily improved brand recognition among his audience.
TikTok stars Charli and Dixie D’Amelio are experts at building a brand in conjunction with their social media presence. With 203M combined TikTok followers, they have a loyal and active audience to promote their Gen Z fashion brand Social Tourist. The apparel design fits the sister’s unique interests and dynamic personalities. The brand has been so successful among its audiences that they’ve opened a pop-up store in LA.
Erick “Airrack” Decker (8.89M YouTube) is a comedy content creator and co-founder of Creator Now, a series of guided videos and workshops that teaches creators how to plan out ideas and improve content distribution. The platform recently introduced a new program that pays creators to promote indie artists and musicians, giving back to the creator economy.
Another name we can’t leave out is Addison Rae (88M TikTok). When it comes to entrepreneurship, she has done it all, from starting her makeup brand Item Beauty to developing a line of toys at Walmart. Item Beauty is a brand built around trends, of which Addison is no stranger. One of their staple products is the Sunburn blush, which allows consumers to get the skin kissed look without having to harm their skin. Her line of toys with Walmart centers around body positivity, a message that Addison has been adamant about spreading on her socials since she found fame.
We can’t talk about influencers turned entrepreneurs without mentioning Emma Chamberlain (11M YouTube). Emma is a beloved influencer among Gen Z for her endearing personality and high energy. And what does Gen Z love more than anything? Coffee. Emma built her brand around being a coffee addict and capitalized on it with the launch of her coffee brand Chamberlain Coffee. Some have speculated that Emma has made $32M selling coffee.
It’s no surprise influencers are building successful and iconic brands. Their influence and connection with audiences provide trust in their product and allow them to sell at an incredible pace. This extension of their brands transcends their work on social media and creates longevity in their careers.
The Social Standard is a full-service influencer marketing agency driven by setting the standard for the industry and then reaching even higher. Our team is obsessed with finding the right influencers for our partners. But we are way more than just matchmakers. We are strategists that develop effective campaigns to delight, inspire, entertain and hit business goals. From concept to seamless execution, we work with clients such as Adobe, FiatChrysler, L’Oreal, Motorola, and others, positioning them as pioneers in innovative influencer marketing and helping talent thrive in the creator economy. Want to learn more about our agency’s work? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to collaborate!