LINK Agency, a creative shop specializing in TikTok advertising, has launched a "scholarship program" to train creators in optimizing the platform.
The six-month program will school three “budding ‘TikTokers’” on the state-of-the-art expertise developed by LINK.
LINK founders Francisco Lopes and Francisco Schmidberger, along with an industry leader committee, will select three winners based on the applicants’ needs, their passions, and their commitment to content creation.
According to Lopes, the ideal candidate will “have ambition to get to the next level” and will be “putting all their focus on social media.”
“We’re a creator-first company and believers in the long-term potential of the creator economy,” said Lopes. “As someone that works with creators daily, we want to empower them and continue to increase their access and ability to be successful entrepreneurs of their own content.”
Scholarship winners will take part in weekly one-on-one meetings with Lopes and Schmidberger to help develop their career opportunities, negotiate brand deals, and retain ongoing advice and resources.
Having worked closely with content creators in the past -- part of an app they had developed that linked creators with one another -- Lopes and Schmidberger observed some major issues.
Newfound influencers were highly vulnerable in Los
Angeles -- having left home, or having dropped out of college to pursue their dreams of social media stardom.
A lack of emotional support, business education, or experience made newfound influencers easy targets for companies looking to take advantage of young talent.
“Many of them got screwed by different situations,” says Lopes. “By managers -- by going into business with the wrong people -- by not having the right access or guidance.”
Influencer burnout is also a factor that prevents creators from having a fruitful long-term career.
“There are creators that come here and especially on TikTok, they get very famous very quickly,” adds Lopes. “Then they have a lot of pressure to keep posting content, and at some point their engagement will start decreasing -- it happens to everybody on TikTok sooner or later.”
Lopes and Schmidberger have both seen creators turn down brand deals due to mental breakdowns.
Still, they want to make it clear that while they are not licensed therapists, and are only providing career support, they hope the scholarship program raises awareness for the creator economy industry as a whole.
Along with avoiding burnout, the main topics that Lopes and Schmidberger will cover are maintaining consistency in creating content, connection with other creators, how to successfully transfer to a different platform, and seizing potential opportunities outside of the direct social media space.
Lopes and Schmidberger believe TikTok is worth their focus because of its unique capability to entertain people. “It’s all about making entertaining content,” says Schmidberger, “and we believe we’re blurring the lines between entertainment and advertising.”
Lopes adds that “there’s still a lot of potential to develop in terms of marketing, paid ads, performance-driven initiatives. They’re also launching the Shopify integration.”
“Touching base on our initial vision of empowering creators,” says Lopes, “we thought that now that we have a marketing agency, and we're working with bigger brands, maybe now we can share some of our insight with creators, completely pro bono.”
Lopes and Schmidberger anticipate that this initiative will be the first of many, and already have views to expand and develop the program in the coming years.