Our team at Konnect Agency loves attending events to meet and learn from experts in their respective fields. Earlier this month we attended the 2019 Teen Vogue Summit in Los Angeles. The summit took place November 1st through 3rd and included panels, workshops and performances all designed to inspire young attendees to think about their professional futures and aspirations. Panelists included celebrities and activists such as Evan Rachel Wood, Busy Phillips, Sophia Bush, Sophia Carson and Joey King, as well as social media influencers Aimee Song, Tess Holiday, Nabela Noor, Ricky Thompson and more.
The Konnect team attended the main event on Saturday and sat in on panels that featured valuable lessons – here are a few of our favorites:
Lesson 1: BE PERSISTENT
PANEL WITH AIMEE SONG
Aimee Song is a social media influencer, fashionista and New York Times Best Selling Author listed on Forbes‘ 30 Under 30 list. During the panel she talked about her start in the fashion industry and the challenges she had to overcome to get where she is now. She shared that as one of the first “official” Instagram influencers, it was difficult to get people to take her seriously – a decade ago, people had a hard time understanding what she was doing, what she thought she’d accomplish with her blog and Instagram and what/who gave her the authority to attend some of the hottest fashion shows. She had to work hard to create a brand for herself, working long hours at her “real” job and still finding time to work on her then blog to show everyone she was passionate and deserved a seat at the table. It was her persistence and willingness to put in long hours that led to her ultimate success as a fashion influencer and author.
Aimee’s journey can serve as inspiration on how to grow within your desired field. I started at Konnect as a PR intern from a foreign country years ago and worked hard to grow into my role within the agency. Starting in a new job, in a new country, in a new role is challenging – but if you are willing to take it day-by-day and learn from the people around you, success will eventually find you.
Panel with Evan Rachel Wood
LESSON 2: UTILIZE YOUR PLATFORM TO RAISE AWARENESS
Evan Rachel Wood is an actress known for her role in movies such as Thirteen and, more recently, the TV series Westworld. She is also an activist involved in the #MeToo movement – she came forward with her story of abuse when other women started sharing their stories with the world. She also founded the Phoenix Act which was approved in California. During the panel she openly talked about the abuse, the trauma that came following her realization of what happened and how she coped and eventually overcame. She shared that she understands that her position gives her a unique platform to talk about important issues and empower others around her. She also explained that this extends beyond #MeToo as we live in a world of comparison thanks to social media.
Celebrities are not the only people with platforms for connecting and inspiring others. Brands can also motivate their followers via social media and curated content to instill trust in them and provide a reason to act/purchase.
LESSON 3: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Panel with Tess Holiday, Nabela Noor, Ricky Thompson, Nakita Dragun and Denzel Dion
This panel provided attendees with insider intel about how the “influencer” world works. Since Konnect also handles digital marketing, it was a valuable refresher course in who teenagers look up to and respond to today. While all the panels were extremely interesting, the audience went absolutely crazy for these five influencers. Tess, Nabela, Ricky, Nakita and Denzel all shared insights about how they got their start in the industry, highlighting that their success did not happen overnight. They also discussed their paid collaborations with brands, elaborating on how they choose the brands they work with and the difference between unpaid and paid collaborations. They also shared information about analytics and the importance of knowing what to post, how often and when to make the biggest impact with their followers.
If you are a brand that is looking to work with influencers to build and bolster awareness, it is essential that you identify appropriate individuals who have an audience that aligns with your target demographic. For example, if you are a food brand that wants to bring attention to a new product, you need to identify influencers who usually cover food trends and the ~foodie~ lifestyle because their audience will consist of your target consumers.
Overall, this was a very interesting summit that recognized the changes happening in the social media landscape, the print industry and society overall. As women continue to become increasingly more empowered to take on leadership positions and stand up for themselves, events with strong female representation provide everyone with the space to learn from others and live up to their fullest potential.