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Hi, this is Amanda Perelli and welcome back to Insider Influencers, our weekly rundown on the business of influencers, creators, and social-media platforms. Sign up for the newsletter here.

In this week's edition:

Send tips to [email protected] or DM me on Twitter at @arperelli.

instagram reels influencer growth 4x3
Instagram; Samantha Lee/Insider

Instagram's Reels is the 'biggest opportunity' for audience growth on the app, exec says

Instagram is not the best platform for emerging influencers, but its leadership wants to change that.

Instagram execs say they are prioritizing creators with smaller follower counts and want to help them rise to fame on the app.

One key is Reels, Instagram's short-form video feature that competes with TikTok.

"The Reels Tab is the place where we view the biggest opportunity for creators to find new audience," Jackson Williams, a member of Instagram's strategic partnerships team, told Insider.

Posting a Reel can reach a much wider audience than a standard feed post or Story, Jackson said.

Sydney Bradley broke down how Instagram is pivoting to include better distribution and more money-making tools:

  • Instagram's weekly series "Reels Star Search," which spotlights creators whose Reels have surged, is one way for creators to be discovered by peers or brands.

  • In general, Instagram wants Reels to be a starting point where creators can grow, be discovered, and find new collaborators.

  • Instagram is also working on new ways for creators to earn money, including updates to shopping for creators, affiliate marketing tools, and a creator marketplace.

Check out the full story on how the platform plans to prioritize emerging creators, here.

The 13 leading attorneys and law firms that work with digital creators and influencers

top attorneys that work with influencers 4x3
From left to right: Vejay Lalla, Marcie Cleary, Irene Lee, and Ryan Pastorek
Fenwick & West; Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz; Russ August & Kabat; Hansen Jacobson; Marianne Ayala/Insider

As the influencer industry matures, a growing number of law firms are working with internet stars.

Attorneys help influencers navigate brand deals, IP and trademark disputes, and licensing contracts.

Dan Whateley and Jack Newsham wrote about 13 leading attorneys and law firms who focus on influencers and creators:

  • Vejay Lalla, from Fenwick & West, worked on the launch of Animal Capital, a venture capital firm cofounded by TikTok stars Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson, and Noah Beck.

  • Gary Stiffelman advised the D'Amelio family on sponsorship deals with Spotify, Morphe, Honey, and T-Mobile, as well as Dixie's record deal with HitCo Entertainment.

  • Ryan Pastorek and Adam Kaller helped YouTube star Emma Chamberlain launch her coffee brand, Chamberlain Coffee.

Lawyers also help their influencer clients retain the rights to photos, songs, videos, podcasts, fashion designs and other intellectual property that they create.

Check out the full list of the leading law firms, here.

An investing YouTuber explains what he earns per 1,000 views, for 100,000 views, and from his top video

Griffin Milks
Griffin Milks.
Griffin Milks

Griffin Milks is a YouTube creator who films videos about personal finance and investing.

Milks started posting finance videos to YouTube in 2018 and now has about 80,000 subscribers.

I spoke with Milks about how much money he makes on YouTube videos with about 100,000 views.

Here's a breakdown of three videos:

  • About 114,000 views: $2,400 Canadian dollars (around $1,900 US dollars).

  • About 117,000 views: $1,600 Canadian dollars (around $1,300 US dollars).

  • About 150,000 views: $2,700 Canadian dollars (around $2,100 US dollars).

These earnings are relatively high compared to other creators, likely because his investing content is attractive to advertisers.

Insider previously interviewed five other YouTubers about how much they'd earned on videos with around 100,000 views. Their earnings ranged from $500 to $2,500.

Read more on Milks' YouTube business and how much money his channel earns, here.

Experts shared 5 tips to help creators choose the best influencer agencies and talent managers

TikTok star Benji Krol, who has more than 21 million followers on TikTok.
Benji Krol has more than 21 million followers on TikTok and told Insider his tips for choosing a talent manager.
Benji Krol

Choosing a manager or a talent-agency partner can be an important step in an influencer's career.

Molly Innes spoke with executives from agencies such as Gleam Futures and Fanbytes gave tips on picking the right partners:

  • Influencers should be cautious when approached by managers and, ideally, check contracts over with a lawyer.

  • Look at the talent the agency or manager already works with, and how long they've been working with them.

  • A talent manager should help build an influencer's reach and earnings beyond sponsored posts on social-media platforms.

From talent-management agencies to individual managers and agents, influencers need to distinguish which options will work best for them.

Check out what else a creator should think about when researching an agency, here.

More creator industry coverage from Insider:

Creator economy startup of the week:

Grin, an influencer-marketing company specializing in software for direct-to-consumer brands, announced on Thursday that it had raised $16 million in new funding.

The funding was led by Imaginary Ventures with participation from Good Friends Venture Capital. It comes as an extension of Grin's Series A round from December.

"Grin has been on our radar since 2019 and many of our portfolio companies have benefited through the use of the platform for their influencer-marketing programs," Imaginary Ventures' Nick Brown said in a statement.

Every week, Insider gives a rundown of news on hires, promotions, and other creator company announcements. This week includes updates at LinkedIn, Patreon, Jellysmack, and Apptopia.

Read the full rundown of creator industry moves, here.

YouTube Shorts

Platform updates:

mental health awareness
Screen shot of TikTok #mentalhealthawarenes

This week's top trending TikTok hashtag:

TikTok is where trends often start in 2021. Every week we highlight a trending hashtag on TikTok, according to data provided by Kyra IQ.

This week's top hashtag: #MentalHealthAwareness

  • The percentage uptick for the last 7 days: 2,156%.

  • This trend is centered around checking in on friends and sharing resources to raise awareness throughout May, which is mental health awareness month.

This week from Insider's digital culture team:

James Charles Kelly Rocklein
Beauty influencer James Charles (L) is being sued by his ex-employee Kelly Rocklein (R).
Instagram/@jamescharles, Kelly Rocklein

James Charles' ex-employee speaks out about lawsuit, claiming he didn't pay overtime and asked her to shave his butt

Beauty influencer James Charles has a lucrative career, but he's recently been facing controversy.

Insider reporter Kat Tenbarge wrote that a former employee is suing him, alleging wrongful termination and nonpayment.

Charles' former creative director, Kelly Rocklein, talked with Insider about what she said led to her lawsuit.

Rocklein said she worked 80 hours a week or more and wasn't paid overtime. But in a "perfect world," Rocklein said she'd still work for Charles.

Charles declined to comment on Rocklein's allegations to Insider but filed a response to the complaint that denies all of her claims.

Read more about the lawsuit, here.

More on digital culture:

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