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Opinion

Kidfluencers: Q&A With Laura Edwards of Viral Talent

Laura Edwards, the MD of Viral Talent UK and member of the Business of Influencers, chats about the realm of kidfluencer marketing, including the moral issues, parental control and working relationships she fosters.

Kidfluencers are, by a definition, influencers under the age of 13 who create content for brand awareness and advertising purposes across a variety of social media channels. In recent news, we’ve been amazed by the scope of these networks and the financial impact these careers can have on children and families.

As with the heyday of Hollywood, concerns rise around the activities of child stars, and social media kidfluencers are the next incarnation.

I chatted to Laura Edwards, the managing director of Viral Talent UK and member of the Business of Influencers to learn more about the world of kidfluencers. 

How does Viral Talent ensure the children that work in the influencer sphere are protected?

We work very closely with the parents, mentoring them and preparing them for fame.  We advise the parents on how to keep their social platforms secure, how to interact with their fans both on and offline, and what type of content to upload according to their age group and social media policies and guidelines.

When we do events with the Tier 1 talent, we employ security to make sure everyone is safe, and all of our staff are CRB checked. We also advise the parents that the children’s education and wellbeing are of the utmost importance. We take child safety extremely seriously this includes the creators and their fans.

How do you decide which channels to use?

We work closely and directly with the brands, their media agencies and PR agencies to ensure we understand their products and objectives, demographics, the type of creator they are looking for, and on which social media platforms they would like to promote their brand.

Once we’ve gathered this information, we put together a proposal and present it to the agency. When the brand approves the concept, we take the brief to the creator’s parents and discuss with them. Each creator is a different character and personality, and we know which creator compliments a particular brand and could become a brand ambassador. This is important because we would never recommend the wrong creator as this could be detrimental to the brands’ campaign.

How do you and brands adhere to common moral codes?

We adhere to moral codes and guidelines as laid out by all social media platforms and are fully compliant with all ASA and CAP rules. We provide specialist knowledge so that the brand is fully compliant, and we ensure that all content is safe and child-safe.

How do you create a campaign? To what extent is the talent involved in content planning?

We are still educating brands that are working with kidfluencers to generate sponsored content is very different from creating a TV advert. We send a brief to the brands to complete and discuss it in detail with the parents, and they come up with a creative idea or brainstorm ideas with the parents. We then seek approval from the brand and agree when it will be filmed and sent back for approval or upload.

To what extent are the guardians in the loop regarding child exploitation and contractual obligation?

The guardians are 100% in the loop we work directly with them, not the kidfluencers. If the guardians are not happy with the briefs from the brands, then we go back to negotiate and reach a mutual agreement.

How do you measure ROI?

It is against the law to capture data on kidfluencers. All we offer are reports and stats from the creator’s social channels, which shows geos, views, likes, engagements, and watch time. We also look at comments and the number of comments, which provide valuable feedback.

How much has the industry grown in the last five years?

2019 is all about creative content and I think businesses are becoming more aware of how effective and engaging content can be. Also, all children now want to be YouTubers and we are inundated with requests asking us to help them become famous influencers. Kids as young as one and two are now on mobile devices.

Furthermore, there has been a massive shift in viewing habits; daily TV viewing time has halved in the last five years because kids love watching their favourite YouTubers.They can relate to the content and kids trust kids. They also want everything on demand.

What advice would you give to the children and parents of looking to enter the industry?

I would advise parents and children that it is hard work being an influencer; you have to be 100% committed. Therefore, I would suggest that they think about whether they have the time to adhere to deadlines and meet brands requirements.

Working with kidfluencers

I think it’s fair to say that the choice to take to the spotlight is one that requires insight and clear, honest responses and should seek to assuage the majority of concerns a parent or guardian might have regarding the potential fame and success their child might achieve.

Dedication is key to success and if you wish to take this step, a team of reassuring and supportive professionals is something you can’t do without.

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