Titans of Social Media Unveil Blueprint of Digital Stardom at 1 Billion Followers Summit

Titans of Social Media Unveil Blueprint of Digital Stardom at 1 Billion Followers Summit

On the opening day of the world’s biggest gathering for content creation and creators, the 1 Billion Followers Summit, leading executives and content creators from the major social media platforms and companies - Meta, TikTok and Snapchat, came together to give eager audiences a ringside view and tips into the ingredients that make for a successful social media presence and following on these apps.

Attendees were left riveted at the insights presented by the creators, who took a deep dive into everything from which social platform is the most profitable, how to work the algorithm, the rapid transformation being brought on by AI, and the platforms’ own role in mentoring content creators.

Meta: Creators to the Power of AI

In an eye-opening session, Louise Holmes, Director of Creator Partnerships, EMEA at Meta, shed light on the unprecedented era for creators and unveiled the roadmap for Meta's future in harnessing the power of AI for creators worldwide.

Describing the current landscape as the "golden age for creators," Holmes emphasized the pivotal role creators play in shaping content, culture, and community within the Meta platform. There has never been a better time to be a creator, she noted, highlighting them as the driving force behind engaging content and interconnected communities.

The most interesting part of the session was the reveal of Meta’s vision for the integration of AI technologies, built on the symbiotic relationship between AI and creators. Generative AI, already prevalent in enterprise applications, will exponentially boost content productivity, Holmes said, noting that AI’s role will only enhance creativity, not replace it.

Unveiling Meta's AI roadmap, Holmes introduced groundbreaking innovations like the META headset, offering mixed reality experiences, and the Meta Ray-Ban AI-embedded glasses for immersive live streaming. She also revealed AI Studio tools integrated into WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram, enabling creators to craft engaging content effortlessly.

Holmes said,

“This is a unique moment — a golden time for creators — where the golden age of creators collides with game-changing advances in technology offered by Gen AI."

Meta: Navigating the Creator Journey

This panel discussion, led by Moon Baz, Meta's Creator Partnerships Lead for Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey, featured influential creators who offered their insights and strategies for budding creators striving for social media success.

The discussion kicked off with Alexandra Pereira, renowned Spanish fashion and beauty influencer, who shared her content creating journey of 15 years and highlighted today’s thriving landscape for creators. Establishing meaningful PR connections with brands is as important as content creation, she said, underlining the necessity to humanize oneself behind the profile. Her advice to creators: embrace experimentation, leverage new platform features early, prioritize consistency, and utilize every available tool for optimal content creation.

Lebanese celebrity chef and influencer, Abir El Saghir, shared the challenges of content creation, especially in producing intricate cooking videos. Social platforms should propagate positive messages and advocate for humanitarian causes, she noted, with her accounts showcasing cultural diversity through food as well.

Tom Jauncey, entrepreneur and VP of Content Creation at Beautiful Destinations, encouraged creators to create trends, experiment fearlessly with AI and technology, and differentiate themselves within their peer niche. Embrace tech as a tool for creativity and don’t fear its impact, he said, urging creators to explore new angles and authentic storytelling.

Canadian comedian and musician Dan Shaba discussed the intricacies of viral content creation, highlighting the critical first few seconds of a video that has the power to either retain the viewer’s interest or keep them scrolling.

TikTok: Fueling Transformation in Creative Economies

There’s no doubt TikTok has been the most game changing social media app of recent years, and Kinda Ibrahim, Regional General Manager overseeing Operations Marketing for TikTok in Middle East, Africa, Turkiye, Pakistan South Asia, revealed the platform's pivotal role in shaping the creative landscape and fostering opportunities for creators across regions.

Ibrahim kicked off the session by commending creators' incredible impact on the creative economy, praising their versatile roles as both artists and entrepreneurs. Every TikTok video serves as a building block for a creator's unique identity and TikTok is playing its part by nurturing talent through diverse capacity-building programmes and the TikTok Creator Hub Programme V2 held in Egypt.

Aiming to foster and connect budding creators and entrepreneurs with mentors and skill-building experts, the programme’s annual competition challenges participants to showcase their best work, offering valuable mentorship from esteemed judges across the MENA region, fostering a trajectory of growth in content quality and careers.

Presenting figures to back it up, Ibrahim cited the State of Influencer Marketing Report UAE 2023, which highlighted that 76.9% of marketers prioritise creator marketing. The TikTok Creator Marketplace, enabling hundreds of thousands of creators in the METAP region to collaborate on numerous brand campaigns, has been instrumental in this exponential growth.

Referring to insights from the TikTok Creators Ipsos study, Ibrahim stated that users' perceptions of TikTok creators as exceptionally unique, creative, specialised and informative, significantly impacting the platform's global campaigns.
In closing, she reminded creators of their pivotal role as storytellers in the digital age.

"Every story you tell is a step into a new adventure, and you are the storytellers shaping the world,"

she concluded.

Snapchat Creators’ Secrets

An invigorating panel with prominent creators Eisa Al Habib, an award-winning filmmaker, Sara Alwari the lifestyle influencer, and Yusuf Omar, multi-award-winning journalist threw up unique and even surprising insights on finding success on Snapchat. Led by Sara Abu Zahra, Head of Media Partnerships, MENA at Snapchat, the session kicked off with an engaging Rock-Paper-Scissors game to captivate the audience.

The panel quickly revealed Snapchat's diverse functionalities offer creators ample opportunities to engage, captivate, and monetise their content uniquely, with the app’s versatility and revenue potential making it a “hidden gem” among social media giants.

Al Habib shared his early experiences on Snapchat, noting its significant role in storytelling and diverse content creation opportunities. Of note were the lucrative potential of features like Spotlight, which he likened to Instagram Reels but with exceptional reach and earning capabilities. Al Habib compared his earnings from YouTube ($1000 from 20 videos) shows versus the Spotlight feature on Snapchat (which earned the same figure from one video) proving the platform's advantage when it came to earning potential.

Alwari, who joined Snapchat only 5-6 months ago and amassed over 1.5 million followers, shared her unexpected success story. Using the app to showcase her life in an unfiltered manner, she attracted an engaged audience intrigued by her personal narrative and day-long livestreams.

Omar reinforced Snapchat as the ultimate game-changer in the social media landscape, citing two compelling reasons why the platform is a creator's dreamland. One, the exceptional equilibrium found on Snapchat — teeming with eager consumers but with fewer creators. Second, the revenue per view is substantially higher than other leading platforms.

He highlighted how journalists, particularly those covering intense news events like Gaza, significantly rely on Snapchat for their storytelling endeavors. When comparing video production costs to generated revenue and profit margins, Snapchat is the clear winner, citing the example of one of his videos that cost $1,000 to produce and made a staggering $200,000, turning out a profit margin of $199,000.

He advised creators to see Snapchat as a space akin to Netflix, distinct from YouTube or Instagram, to see what gained traction on it and to push those content genres for more views and engagement.

Organised by the first digital media institution of its kind in the Middle East, New Media Academy, 1BFS, the UAE’s premier hub for content creation is taking place on January 10-11, 2024, at the Emirates Towers and the Museum of the Future in Dubai.

News Source: Emirates News Agency

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