The adventure and travel influencer JJ Yosh and his cat Simon have 2.8 million followers across Instagram and TikTok. The duo became popular on social media after posting photos and videos of their hiking trips in Colorado and other outdoor destinations. Yosh and Simon often sell sponsored content on their social channels as a package, attracting five-figure deals with brands, Yosh said. The pair have worked with a variety of companies, including Procter & Gamble, Intuit, and Petco. Click here for more BI Prime stories.
When JJ Yosh adopted his cat Simon in 2016, he regretted it at first. "I took Simon very reluctantly because I was traveling a lot and I really didn't think I could have a pet," Yosh said. "He wouldn't let me get near him. He was very vocal and would not stop meowing." But eventually the cat became more comfortable in his new home and the pair began bonding by going on hikes together. "We live in the mountains of Colorado," Yosh said. "I wanted to get him used to the outdoors, so I started taking him on supervised hikes." Yosh began posting photos and videos of their expeditions in 2016 and the unconventional adventurer pair became popular on social media. Yosh had joined Instagram in 2014 as a way to promote his work in commercial modeling and acting, but his account saw a jump in followers once Simon showed up. "When I got Simon, everything kind of took off from there," Yosh said, adding that he hadn't originally intended for Simon to become an internet celebrity cat. "Adventure cats" have become popular on platforms like Instagram, with the hashtag #adventurecat appearing in hundreds of thousands of posts on the app. Yosh now runs a full-time business around the influencer pair's adventures, filming and photographing camping trips where they swim, kayak, and climb up rocks in settings like Lake Tahoe and the Rio Grande in New Mexico. Their unique content attracts a wide range of sponsors who cater to both human and feline customers. Procter & Gamble, Petco, Intuit, Planters, PetSafe, and Samuel Adams brewery are just a few of the companies that have hired either one or both of the pair to promote their products. The pair have a combined 2.8 million followers across their Instagram and TikTok accounts. Their largest account is Simon's @backpackingkitty channel on TikTok. Yosh's manager often sells Yosh and Simon as a combo package. If they want to utilize both creators, they pay for Yosh's content creation and then separate talent fees for him and Simon. A single sponsored photo on Instagram with no brand exclusivity and limited usage starts at around $5,000, Yosh said. If a brand wants to be the exclusive advertiser for a particular category on Yosh or Simon's channels, the price jumps to between $10,000 and $50,000 depending on the terms of the deal, he said. A sponsored video that involves shooting and production starts at around $10,000, but can go up to $60,000 depending on the level of effort involved. Yosh has a background in media production and a passion for the outdoors Before taking off on social media, Yosh worked as a commercial model and actor. He paid for his outdoor adventures by drawing in sponsors who would cover the cost of his startup film and documentary production company, Higher Earth Entertainment. Yosh now manages a five-person production studio with three full-time assistants and two part-time employees, creating commercial content that airs on and off social media. "In college, I really learned that media was a good tool to be able to get people in the outdoors if you can't take them out on actual physical trips," he said. "It wasn't until 2014 that I started to actually utilize social media as a way to showcase my media and get brands involved. It was initially through Twitter, and then right around 2016 we were focusing more on Instagram." Yosh switched to focusing on being a social-media influencer in 2018 when it became more lucrative than commercial modeling and acting. "The thing about being a content creator and having your own distribution is you're carrying way more hats," he said. "You're not only talent in your photos and your videos — you're also producing, editing, and creating. You're going to get paid a lot more than you would just from a talent fee." Yosh's biggest social-media following lives on TikTok, but he's hoping to draw some of those fans to YouTube Yosh began posting videos of himself and Simon on TikTok in the summer of 2019 and he now has more followers there than on any other platform. Simon's TikTok account, @backpackingkitty, took off in just six months, with 2.1 million followers and over 45 million likes to date. Simon often participates in livestreams on TikTok, one of the built-in features of the app that helps creators make money from their content. During a livestream, TikTok users can send a creator virtual "gifts" using a TikTok-specific currency called "coins." Creators can then convert these "gifts" into "diamonds," and eventually cash them out as real dollars. Yosh said he earns very little money from Simon's livestreams — enough to buy lunch for the day — but the live platform offers an easy way for the cat to engage with his audience. "We also utilize TikTok lives to help move our audience to our other platforms because we're getting into YouTube now," he said. "Our audience is very hungry for knowledge on how Simon has become the way he is. Where do I get his clothes? How do I feed him? How do I train him? They're looking at me as kind of a cat expert, so we're going to be creating a cat series now on YouTube which we're starting next week." Simon eats well — smoked salmon and Ahi (yellowfin) tuna, Yosh said. "How else am I going to reward him for what he's doing?" Yosh said. "He's treated really well. I obviously want to give him the best life that he can have." For more on how influencers and brands are interacting on TikTok, check out these other Business Insider Prime posts:
TikTok star Charli D'Amelio gave Dunkin' 294 million free video impressions in under 2 months and got her own cold-brew tap as a thank-you: Brands are taking over TikTok, making appearances in both organic (unpaid) videos and sponsored posts created by influencer marketers. Leaked campaign brief shows the video ideas Cash App pitched to TikTok influencers, including 'when you win a bet by doing something dope': Cash App paid dozens of influencers to promote its app on TikTok. Here are the content ideas the company shared with creators for sponsored posts. A milkshake brand blew up on TikTok, and its 460,000 followers have changed how it approaches marketing and its target audience: With 460,000 TikTok followers, the milkshake maker F'real has built a larger following than national brands like Chipotle, Walmart, and Burger King. How TalentX plans to rule TikTok, starting with 32 influencers and a Los Angeles mansion: TalentX Entertainment is eyeing brand partnerships, merchandising, live events, and television and film development for its roster of TikTok stars. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns explains why country music is universal
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Gen Z influencers are settling into life in a shuttered Los Angeles.
A new survey of 389 influencers shows how much engagement on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok has increased in recent weeks
As consumers spend more time online during the coronavirus pandemic, engagement and views on social-media platforms...As consumers spend more time online during the coronavirus pandemic, engagement and views on social-media platforms have jumped. Influencers are seeing dramatic increases in engagement across platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok, according to a new survey of 389 digital creators run by the influencer-marketing firm Influence Central. 26% of respondents reported seeing an increase in views and engagement on Instagram, 9% saw an increase on TikTok, and 37% reported a jump on Pinterest. 33% of influencers surveyed said they've had a boost in views and engagement on their personal blogs. Click here for more BI Prime stories. As more people spend time at home in an effort to curb the coronavirus outbreak, engagement and views on social-media platforms are spiking. In a new survey of 389 digital creators conducted by the marketing firm Influence Central, creators reported seeing increases in audience engagement across social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest, and their personal blogs. Influence Central's survey focused on the period of time from mid-February to mid-March when states and local governments first began implementing stay-at-home orders in response to the pandemic. 26% of respondents reported seeing an increase in views and engagement on Instagram, 9% saw an increase on TikTok, and 37% reported a jump in engagement on Pinterest. 33% of those surveyed said they've had a boost in views and engagement on their personal blogs. Other influencer marketers have also seen engagement bumps in recent weeks, especially on sponsored posts. The influencer marketing agency Obviously told Business Insider that it saw a 76% increase in daily accumulated "likes" on sponsored posts for its influencer campaigns on Instagram in the first half of March. The company also observed a 27% increase in engagement on sponsored posts on TikTok between February and March. Engagement on TikTok is calculated by combining likes, comments, and shares and dividing by total views. "On the influencer side, on social content, what we've seen is they're hitting upwards of 25% more views than they normally would," said Vickie Segar, the founder of the influencer-marketing firm Village. "We're seeing an extreme increase on the consumption of social content." The recent spike in social-media views and engagement hasn't necessarily translated into more earnings for influencers, however. Many digital creators have lost revenue this month as travel and events-based opportunities are shut down and brands cancel sponsorship deals as they attempt to cut costs during a slumping economy. Influencers are interested in posting 'feel good' and 'philanthropic' content on social media For influencers who are able to continue to earn money from sponsored content, many are looking to work on campaigns that are positive in tone and tied to charity and relief efforts related to the pandemic. 89% of respondents to Influence Central's survey said they wanted to work on "feel good" brand campaigns and "philanthropic efforts," a desire that falls in line with how brands themselves are approaching influencer marketing during the coronavirus crisis. Last week, the backpack company JanSport ran an influencer-marketing campaign focused on its charitable giving to the nonprofit World Central Kitchen. In other categories of advertising like traditional TV commercials, brands like Toyota have been leaning into "feel good" messages of unity in place of more transactional messaging. "Influencers are really talking about the relationship they have with a brand," said Daniel Schotland, the chief operating officer of the influencer firm Linqia. "It's more than a sponsored post. [There's] some sense of common value or bond and pride in working together at this time." Most digital creators are talking about coronavirus and the 'stay-home' economy Creators who responded to Influence Central's survey also said that they aren't shying away from speaking about the current public health crisis in their social-media posts. 73% of respondents said they have "addressed COVID-19 and the new 'stay-home' economy" instead of just focusing on their regular content. The United Nations recently encouraged creators to post about the public health crisis in an open brief, asking influencers to "use any creative medium" to educate followers on topics like the importance of physical distancing and hand washing. "We're watching influencers live their daily lives like we always do and that includes now working out from home and eating at home," Segar said. "They're not pretending like this isn't happening." Here is the full breakdown of what influencers are seeing in terms of increased engagement and views across digital platforms, according to Influence Central's survey: Pinterest: 37% of respondents saw an increase in views and engagement in the month leading up to March 18th when the survey was conducted. 18% of all 389 respondents said that increase was "dramatic" (15% or higher). Instagram: 36% of respondents reported an increase in views and engagement. 12% of all respondents said that increase was dramatic. Facebook: 35% of respondents reported an increase in views and engagement. 11% of all respondents reported a dramatic increase. Personal blog: 33% of respondents reported an increase in views and engagement. 11% of all respondents said the increase was dramatic. Twitter: 22% of respondents reported an increase in views and engagement. 6% of all respondents said the increase was dramatic. YouTube: 12% of respondents reported an increase in views and engagement. 4% of all respondents said the increase was dramatic. TikTok: 9% of respondents reported an increase in views and engagement. 3% of all respondents said the increase was dramatic. For more information on how brands, creators, and marketers are adjusting to new consumer behavior during the coronavirus outbreak, read these Business Insider Prime posts: 7 key lessons for brands that want to run sponsored social-media posts during a crisis without appearing tone deaf, according to an influencer-marketing exec: Business Insider spoke with the influencer agency Linqia about how the firm was guiding brands and digital creators during the coronavirus pandemic. JanSport hired a Gen-Z 'think tank' to help launch a TikTok influencer campaign during the coronavirus pandemic without appearing tone deaf: The backpack brand JanSport hired 10 TikTok creators to generate buzz around its donations to the nonprofit World Central Kitchen. A top social-video data firm made a 22-page report on how the coronavirus has changed viewer habits on YouTube and other platforms. Here are the 5 takeaways: Tubular Labs put together a 22-page report on YouTube and Facebook video consumption during the coronavirus outbreak. Influencer marketers say sponsored Instagram posts have had views, likes, and comments sharply increase the past 2 weeks: As the coronavirus outbreak increases social isolation, influencer marketers are seeing greater user engagement on apps like TikTok and Instagram. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns explains why country music is universal
Some fitness influencers say a surge in sales of direct-to-consumer workout services has protected their incomes, as brand deals slump amid the coronavirus pandemic
As more people seek at-home workout alternatives amid the coronavirus pandemic, fitness influencers on Instagram and...As more people seek at-home workout alternatives amid the coronavirus pandemic, fitness influencers on Instagram and YouTube have seen a spike in engagement and in direct-to-consumer sales. These membership-based programs don't require fancy equipment and are offered in the form of an app or virtual program online. Business Insider spoke to some top fitness influencers on how their businesses have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Click here for more BI Prime stories. Fitness influencer Katie Dunlop — who created the at home-workout program and app, Love Sweat Fitness — has been filming live content on Instagram for her 392,000 followers almost every day this past week. Usually, Dunlop only goes live once or twice a month, she told Business Insider. But as more people seek at-home workout alternatives amid the coronavirus pandemic, fitness influencers on Instagram and YouTube like Dunlop have seen a huge increase in demand for their services. "There's been a really interesting shift with people being forced to workout at home who maybe aren't used to it," she said. "We've seen a huge growth in the consumption of our content, downloads of our mobile app." Dunlop's program has always focused on workouts you can do anywhere, with a YouTube channel (573,000 subscribers), mobile app, and website. Traffic and views have surged this month across these platforms, said Katie's husband Ryan Dunlop, chief operating officer and cofounder of Love Sweat Fitness. "I would say website traffic has been up over 50% since this started week-over-week," Ryan said. "We are growing a lot on Instagram right now, and we are seeing organic views of all of our content and engagement on our content up a lot right now." Fitness creators are an anomaly in the influencer business right now, as they often focus on direct-to-consumer services that can directly benefit from the increased demand. Other categories, like fashion and travel, have seen their businesses upended as brand partnerships and paid events have been canceled. Fitness-related brand partnerships have declined as well, Ryan said, but since they are supported by DTC revenue, the overall business model hasn't been impacted as much. "We don't have to do some crazy shift in our business to make it work right now," Katie said. Hanna Coleman has seen a 62% spike in sales for her $30.00 at-home workout guide During the coronavirus pandemic, the Dunlops have offered a free 30-day trial of their mobile app online. The app is free to download, and the premium version costs $13.99 for one month, $35.99 for three months, and $99.99 for a yearly subscription. "We've seen thousands of sign-ups for that app, which has been driven off of [the free trial]," Ryan said. The Dunlops aren't the only ones to see an increase in demand. Hanna Coleman, an Instagram and YouTube influencer based in New York City who shares fitness tips with her followers, said she's seen a 62% spike in sales for her $30.00 (usually $60.00) at-home workout guide this month. "I put my guide on sale so it's more accessible to everyone," she said. "If anyone donates — even $1 — to any foundation helping the coronavirus or the people affected, and sends me a DM @hanna.coleman, I send them a 50% off code on top of the general discount of the guide." Due to popular demand through direct messages on Instagram, Coleman said she's releasing an "at home plant-based cooking guide" in April on what to cook and how to eat healthy while under quarantine. Tobi Pearce, the CEO of the at-home fitness program Sweat, told Business Insider in an emailed statement that the program had seen a spike in app membership across countries like the US, UK, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, and Greece in the past few weeks. The app costs $19.99 monthly and $119.94 annually. "It's definitely caused a massive surge in my seven-day free trial offer," said Melissa Wood-Tepperberg, a fitness influencer on Instagram who runs the account Melissa Wood Health with 344,000 followers. "I'm sharing as much free content as possible [on Instagram]." Her online fitness program costs $9.99 a month and $99.99 for a yearly subscription. More free content, discounted programs, and extended free trials With this spike in interest, fitness creators are offering more free content to followers, and they are discounting paid programs and extending free trials. For instance, Wood-Tepperberg said she's been sharing workouts and meditations for free on her website and sharing content for free on IGTV. "Showing everyone that even with 20 minutes you can shift your mindset exponentially by adding some movement and mediation into your day," Wood-Tepperberg said. Influencers who create content for the Sweat program — which has over 150 weeks' worth of content available across its five at-home programs within the app — have taken steps to provide minimal-equipment alternatives, knowing many people don't have access to basic gym equipment, Pearce said. The fitness influencers also said that, throughout this month, they had been mindful that their businesses were surging as other influencers categories — and business categories generally — were hurting. "It's a weird feeling when people ask us how the business is doing," Ryan said. "It's a weird thing to say actually, it's doing great. It's awful what is going on and I think our only intention was to try to find out ways we could help." Sign up for Business Insider's influencer newsletter, Influencer Dashboard, to get more stories like this in your inbox. For more industry updates on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, check these posts on Business Insider Prime: Rihanna's Fenty Beauty house, where 5 TikTok stars were staying and making videos, is shutting down temporarily due to the coronavirus pandemic: Rihanna's new TikTok collab house is temporarily closing out of caution due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a spokesperson. An influencer-marketing agency made a 68-page report on how the coronavirus could change the industry. Here are the 5 key takeaways.: The average cost of sponsored content may drop, according to a recent report, depending on the length of the coronavirus and its overall impact. Instagram and YouTube stars are shifting strategies as some influencer-marketing sectors hit a 'standstill,' focusing on income streams like directly selling products and online coaching: We spoke to several influencers and industry experts about the impact of the coronavirus on the industry and what new strategies they are applying. Coronavirus is 'impacting all talent' on Instagram as brands cancel influencer-marketing deals and paid events get put on hold: We spoke to several bloggers, travel influencers, and industry experts about the impact of the coronavirus on the influencer industry. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A top economist has a radical plan to change the way Americans vote: weighted voting