Nechelle Vanias is Chief Strategic Officer of the full-service digital marketing and talent agency, Six Degrees of Influence (SDI). Spearheading the agency, Nechelle looks to elevate professionally managed content. Through SDI’s three curated influencer content houses – The Vault, La Casita, and Twin Flames – the agency looks to offer a unique opportunity to both brands and content creators. 360 Magazine spoke with Nechelle about SDI’s approach to creating viral content, brand campaigns, Gen Z/Millennial trends, and more.
What void do the The Vault, La Casita, and Twin Flames houses fill in the professionally managed content collaboration house industry?
Six Degrees of Influence (SDI) sought to create long lasting brands when developing The Vault, La Casita, and Twin Flames, not just an influencer hang out or Airbnb. SDI likens this approach some of the popular TV shows, like Love Island and Big Brother, where the audience falls in love with the show platform and may have their favorite contestants each season, but still come back to engage with the next season. In fact, SDI runs each of their content houses like a TV show production set replete with the same operations, including call sheets and writers’ room. This ensures a predictable, consistent and timely amount of content is produced for both the house social media channels and brand partners.
Six Degrees of Influence (SDI) uses a multi-channel content approach. What different channels do you use to promote content?
SDI employs social and live channels to promote the house’s content. This includes live streaming fan events and on-site brand activations at the houses. The content houses’ reach is amplified beyond the house channels by hosting daily collaboration days with their influencer and Young Hollywood friends. [These collaborations] then create exposure for the guests’ audiences as well.
Is there a specific media channel that SDI influencers are currently focusing on the most?
SDI knows that content creators can still earn more money that is relative to their follower count and engagement on Instagram and YouTube, than on TikTok. This is because Instagram and YouTube are established platforms from which brands have been able to experience quantitative conversion results over long periods of time. Brands are still figuring out how to best use TikTok, thus while their marketing spends are increasing for TikTok. [However,] you can still earn more on the other platforms with less followers. We have a creator with six five thousand followers on Instagram and earns $1,500 on average for one Instagram post, whereas her following of three hundred and fifty thousand followers on TikTok earns her $750 on average. Now, add in the fact that SDI has never seen followers move to other platforms in the way TikTokers are able to move their followers. Therefore, TikTok is still a large focus as it serves as an advertising tool to drive the growth of Instagram and YouTube. For these reasons, SDI focuses on Instagram and YouTube growth for the housemates, but certainly keeps TikTok front of mind.
What benefits does living in a content house offer influencers, as opposed to more traditional housing arrangements?
Collaboration amongst all creative types is a tried-and-true method of growing and being inspired. Living in a content house offers influencers a tribe to go to for content ideas, support and camaraderie. When run by SDI, that [support] comes with mental health check ins and encouragement. [Encouragement] is very necessary for influencers who are under an immense amount of pressure to maintain their brand. SDI also provides insight on platform growth, relationships with the platforms for exclusive campaign, and event opportunities, and secures brand deals for the housemates. Overall, in SDI’s houses housemates receive the support, resources and tools to grow their social platforms, increase their revenue potential and get a “masters” in the business of content creators.
Is there a formula/process that SDI follows when attempting to create viral content?
In order to achieve viral content you have to put out A LOT of content. It is foremost a numbers game – the more content you deploy the more you increase your chances of going viral. The second most important process of creating viral content is to study data, so that you are putting out a lot of purposeful content with the intent to speak to a generation. Have your content resonate with [viewers] and have them respond with affirmation through their views, likes, shares and comments. SDI is a very data driven agency, so we are looking at what the data is telling us, what the comments of the fans telling us, what is trending in pop culture, what do we hear the talent talking most about, what is getting the views. Once SDI has the “what”, we start looking at the “why” so that we can determine how to leverage the data to create viral content.
SDI creates custom designed campaigns for individual brands. How does SDI go about customizing these campaigns for each brand?
We curate campaigns for brands that align with their overall marketing goals and what we know will be embraced by the creators. We speak the brands language, but live in the creator’s world, so we know how to create a win-win collaboration. We also leverage the unique setting of a content house in our campaigns. Most specifically, the ability to do on-site branded activations and signage at the houses themselves. For example, if it is a beverage brand, we might recommend a branded glass front refrigerator by the pool. If it is a clothing brand, we might recommend a branded master closet with signage that is full of the brand’s clothing. If it were a cereal brand, we might recommend a cereal bar in the kitchen. All of these concepts would include intentional branded content created by the housemates, but also a more subliminal exposure in the background of content. [This subliminal exposure] has proven to be successful in traditional product placement [methods] used in TV and film. The possibilities are endless, and we look to get as creative as we can. [SDI] pushes the envelope [with] of out of the box ideas that deliver conversations and increase brand awareness.
Who are some of the most popular content creators that SDI represents?
SDI works with many creators, and the most popular doesn’t always mean the most follower count.
Rave Vanias with 350k is a brand favorite, doing campaigns for brands such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch, HP and Fenty Skin. She also pulls thousands of views when she goes live on her social channels. Her confident personality and accessibility make her a favorite all around.
Alessya Farrugia has strong numbers on all channels (2M on TikTok, 391k on Instagram, 176k on YouTube) and is another talent. [Alessya is also] a brand favorite for campaign activations on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. She also is one of the few creators that appear on the gossip sites for her great looks, and not for drama.
Joshua Suarez, with almost 13 million followers on TikTok, is one of our largest creators. [He has] has great chemistry with his girlfriend, Star Abelar, who herself has almost 10 million followers on TikTok.
So many influencers audition to join content houses. What qualities does SDI specifically look for when finding influencers to represent your full-service digital marketing and talent agency?
SDI is looking for creators that have a great work ethic and want to be great. If someone is doing this as a hobby, they are not a fit for the agency. SDI is looking to go on a journey with talent that are looking to take their careers to the next level, reach their full potential, and aren’t afraid to do the work that is needed to be great! SDI doesn’t just sign talent with large followings, because we know that doesn’t necessarily translate into big money or meaningful careers. SDI is looking for creators that are coachable and passionate about their art because those are the ones that have the greatest potential impact on the industry!
SDI mentioned that their demographic mainly caters to Gen Z and Millennial fans. Which Gen Z/Millennial trends are SDI influencers currently creating content about?
The Gen Z and Millennial generations are very confident in their self-expression, and SDI looks to amplify those voices. Relationships and connections are a main theme in the content we create – whether that be romantic, casual, family or friendly interactions. These generations are more connected [to each other than ever before] in history, thanks to technology and social media. So, [these elements] play a large part in their lives and create a universal theme with which they can relate and engage.
Is SDI looking to create any more content houses in the future?
SDI does indeed have two more houses in development for 2021, with plans for international expansion in 2022. SDI wants to create an international network of content houses that can incubate future leaders and give brands a platform to weave into the fabric of their customers’ lives.