I’d say Forbes hit the bullseye with their second annual top creators list in 2023. As someone who blazed the trail by recognizing social media stars way back in 2014 for Variety magazine, continuing to witness influencers evolve always brings a smile to my face.
Amidst the whirlwind of lessons from influencers about aligning core values with brand identity, doing you in everything you do, and being unapologetic – all stemming from The Kim Kardashian Principle – I was keen to seek a unique perspective from the world of fashion.
Who else to turn to?
Model-turned-influencer, Katya Tolstova, who dominates the fashion scene. Katya is a force to be reckoned with. Her insights on what we should glean about personal branding and engaging audiences are not just refreshing; they offer a distinctive perspective that stands out from the norm.
First off, Katya lays it down: real moments forge real connections. In an age still swamped with polished images and carefully crafted personas, authenticity remains the bedrock of any lasting tie with an audience. But why’s it such a struggle for some? Sharing candid moments, peeks behind the scenes, and personal stories doesn’t just humanize influencers; it lets their audience connect on a deeper level. And guess what? Research backs this up. A notable 79% of folks think behind-the-scenes content is the most effective way to get to know a brand.
Then there’s the need for constant evolution, a truth Katya embodies. The fashion world, much like the digital landscape, is always shifting. Adapting and reinventing isn’t just good; it’s essential for staying in the game. For marketing bigwigs, it means ditching comfort zones, keeping tabs on changing audience behaviors, and diving into new strategies. Take video content, for example. A staggering 87% of businesses are using it for marketing. Plus, YouTube’s the second most visited site globally, right after Google. That’s the power of video content, period.
Gratitude, now there’s a lesson Katya’s got down pat. It’s easy to get lost in the glitz and glam of fashion, but recognizing the support of brands, followers, and opportunities? That’s what really shapes a brand’s soul. Remembering where you came from and appreciating those who helped along the way? That’s a practice that should be etched in stone. Brands that show gratitude and appreciate their customers tend to score big points. A whopping 73% of consumers love a brand for its stellar customer service.
And let’s not forget the golden rule: quality trumps quantity every time, just like Katya Tolstova lives and breathes. She’s seen it all, from the runway to curating content for a significant following. She knows that depth packs more punch than breadth. Picking partnerships and opportunities wisely, rather than just saying “yes” to everything, leads to a bigger impact. For marketing big shots, this means building real relationships and creating campaigns that pack a punch. And 90% of consumers insist on authenticity when picking the brands they love and support. This screams that genuine relationships and campaigns with substance are the real deal in influencer marketing.
In a world of trends, Katya Tolstova proves that real influence is born from genuine connections, bold evolution, and an unwavering commitment to quality over quantity. She’s not just changing the game; she’s defining it with fiery finesse.
Named Esquire’s Influencer Of The Year, Jeetendr Sehdev is a media personality, international speaker and the author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Kim Kardashian Principle: Why Shameless Sells (and How to Do It Right).