‘Influencers’ move social media markets

If your business is not on social media, you’d better get your act together.

So says Dan Steele, chief operating officer of Las Vegas’ The Influential Network.

Social media lets businesses connect directly with customers and create conversations around their brands, products or services, he said.

“Digital is growing and it’s important to have net space,” Steele said. “When you create a billboard or television ad, you can’t track who sees it. We can deliver real metrics about who saw the ad and who they are by creating real campaigns for a tenth of the price of traditional media.”

The company works with powerful social media figures, or influencers as they’re called, to promote products and brands to the masses.

“Influencers have to be willing to work with brands,” he said. “We will only connect a brand and an influencer if the pair makes sense. We wouldn’t have a 16-year-old girl promoting pick-up trucks.”

The Influential Network builds social media platforms for influencers, those who have hefty followings on social media sites such as Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook. The company so far boasts 350 influencers, most of whom are based in Los Angeles. A few of the company’s popular influencers are Aaron Carpenter, 16, who built 4.2 million followers on Instagram; Brent Rivera, 16, who boasts 12.5 million followers on Vine, and Matthew Espinosa, 17, who has 12.1 million followers on Vine.

“We pair a brand with the right type of person so they can create a conversation on their social media accounts about that brand,” Steele said. “It becomes an organic viral thing as other accounts start talking about it. It creates a pretty cool affect.”

Steele said many of The Influential Network’s core influencers are 16 to 22 years old. He added that the company monitors influencers’ followers counts and gauge how many followers engage with their posts before reaching out to them.

“The engagement is the most important factor when we contact an influencer,” said Steele, who sold used cars and dabbled in online marketing before becoming a social media guru. “There are people with tens of millions of followers that we don’t work with because they are lacking engagement.”

Steele said he hopes to grow the demographic of influencers.

“We have a great base hitting most of the big target demographics that brands want and now we are starting to bring on influencers to hit really specific niches,” he said.

Steele said his company’s business model is “business to influence to content,” as businesses or brands seek out influencers to share content over social media.

The Influential Network has worked with Red Bull, Monster Headphones, Entertainment Tonight, Vita Coco and Blue Moon to name a few.

An example of pairing an influencer with a brand, Steele said, is when Lokai, sought to hire influencers to tweet pictures of the company’s bracelets, which hold water from Mount Everest and mud from the Dead Sea, the world’s highest and lowest points, and create conversations about them on Twitter.

Influencers are paid by the brands themselves after The Influential Network determines what brands are willing to pay them.

One of those influencers is Jamal Noland, whom The Influential Network hired in July as an affiliate manager. He coordinates campaigns and manages accounts on social media.

Noland, 24, was born in the Caribbean and moved to Indiana at age 16. Three years later, his friend told him people were making money on Twitter, which piqued his curiosity.

“I decided to finally join the platform after being hesitant,” he said. “I observed the way larger accounts were growing and what it took for them to viral or have significant momentum.”

Noland signed onto Twitter in 2010 and has built up more than 3 million followers.

“Twitter is the best social media site in my opinion as it’s the best platform that sparks conversations and keeps the world updated,” he said. “Twitter is the new driving force for trends and is very resourceful for relevant information.”

Noland said he built up his followers by creating niche accounts with relevant content that was based on trends or ideas that he felt would resonate well with a large universal demographic.

“It was difficult at first,” Noland said. “But with the right ideas and promotion, I was able to amass a large following, which made it easier to build more accounts.”

Another part of The Influential Network is hosting events to bring influencers together.

Steele said the company hosted parties during the Coachella and Electronic Daisy Carnival music festivals.

“Influencers were there collaborating and sharing content on social media,” he said.

Alien Tequila, headquartered more than 100 miles outside Las Vegas in Hiko, sponsored The Influential Network’s party during the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas in June.

Alien Tequila CEO George Harris said he sponsored the event to promote his brand.

“It was pretty impressive how many people saw my brand around the world,” he said.

Harris added that his company has social media accounts including Facebook and Twitter.

“You’re not a business if you don’t have a social media presence,” he said.

The Influential Network, which was founded in Los Angeles in October 2013, moved to The Innevation Center on Edmond Street in Las Vegas in March before moving to the Soho Lofts two months ago.

Steele said the company moved to Las Vegas to provide a cheaper cost of living for its staff of about 15.

“I lived here and there’s a quality of life here that for people who make what our employees make, it would be very tough in L.A.,” Steele said. “You can’t go to any city and ask for employees who specialize in social media. Here, we’re able to train them in an affordable city.”

The Influential Network is always looking to provide a good time for influencers when they come to Vegas, Steele said.

“Last time we brought the influencers to Vegas, we took them to VooDoo Zip Line (at Rio) and they were taking pictures and sharing them on social media,” Steele said. “It helps businesses because they become a cool place to go. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship with businesses throughout Las Vegas.”

In the future, Steele predicted, social media and smartphone apps will replace telephone calls and text messages.

“What’s out there now will be around for a little bit but it will become more integrated,” he said. “It’s more about the device than about social media. You can turn on your lights, have food delivered, have a car pick you up … everything will integrate.”

Staying on top of trends is crucial to The Influential Network’s success, Steele said.

“Our staff watches trending topics and they stay on top of those things on various social media networks,” he said. “There’s not a book you can read on how to do this. We have meetings several times a week where we talk about what’s going on and we try different things. If something doesn’t work, we’ll try something else.”

Steele said The Influential Network has yet to turn a profit.

“We took a little over nine months and well over a million dollars to get our product right,” he said. “We just brought on a sales force to begin selling campaigns and we should be profitable by mid-2015.”

The company is raising money through FlashFunders, an online equity funding platform, aiming to find strategic investors.

“The amount of revenue we’ll get from having an investor is substantially higher,” Steele said. “They’ll provide strategic value and capital while helping us grow and scale our business.”

Steele said for The Influential Network to stay relevant, it must stay ahead of the game.

“We have to be on the edge by innovating and building products that are ahead of everyone else,” he said. “By the time people catch up to us, we’ll already be working on the next thing.”

Business Videos
Boxabl official explains the building concept
Boxabl business development manager Galiano Tiramani shows off a room built by his company. (Blake Apgar/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion taking shape
Renderings and actual footage show how the Las Vegas Convention Center is evolving.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA/Boring Company Press Conference
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced a collaboration with Elon Musk's The Boring Company to develop and operate an autonomous people mover system for the Las Vegas Convention Center District.
International Pizza Expo includes green and gluten free
The International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center included companies focused on vegan and gluten free, and plant-based pizza boxes. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
International Pizza Expo kicks off in Las Vegas
The first day of the International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center is everything Pizza. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
T-Mobile program aids guests with sensory needs
A program at T-Mobile Arena is designed to provide a more sensory friendly experience for guests.
Photo Booth Expo
Danielle May talks about how Simple Booth transformed her Volkswagen bus into a business.
Nevada Gaming Commission's highest fines
The highest fines assessed by the Nevada Gaming Commission, according to commission Chairman Tony Alamo: 1) Wynn Resorts Ltd., $20 million, 2019 2) CG Technology (then known as Cantor G&W Holdings), $5.5 million, 2014 3) The Mirage, $5 million ($3 million fine, $2 million compensatory payment), 2003 4) Stardust, $3 million, 1985 5) Santa Fe Station, $2.2 million ($1.5 million fine, $700,000 compensatory payment), 2005 6) Las Vegas Sands, $2 million, 2016 7) CG Technology, $1.75 million, 2018 8) CG Technology, $1.5 million (also $25,000 in escrow for underpaid patrons), 2016 9) Caesars Entertainment, $1.5 million, 2015 10) Imperial Palace, $1.5 million, 1989 11) Peppermill Casinos, $1 million, 2014
Tiny Pipe Home vs Shipping Crate
A Tiny pipe home was displayed at the International Builders Show this week in Las Vegas.
Auto repair shortage affects Las Vegas
The auto repair industry is facing a national shortage of workers.
Franchising industry booming
Experts say Las Vegas is a hotbed for the franchise industry.
Africa Love owner talks about his store in Las Vegas
Mara Diakhate, owner of Africa Love, gift and decor store, talks about his store in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Developer gets approval to build homes at Bonnie Springs
The Clark County Planning Commission has approved a plan to build 20 homes on the site of Bonnie Springs Ranch. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Home Front Page Footer Listing