HomeRule BreakersIn Conversation With Maggie Reznikoff: Vice President of Open Influence

In Conversation With Maggie Reznikoff: Vice President of Open Influence

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Maggie Reznikoff– a key authority in the influencer space, Maggie oversees Open Influence’s Global Account Management team, leading client services and program execution across a broad portfolio of Fortune 100 brands. She has produced award-winning campaigns for over 1000 top brands (Amazon, Disney, Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, Netflix, L’Oréal), and Open Influence has been recognized as one of Inc.’s 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America for three years in a row. 

Here’s what we found out about Maggie‘s work routine, followed by an exclusive Q+A.

What is your morning mood?

I’m a morning person and always have been. Let me clarify: I’m not the type of morning person who wakes up every day, does yoga and journals, and makes an acai bowl before 8 am. If you are one of those rare birds, bless you. I’m more of the “first person to be awake at the sleepover” type. My one morning must-have is the sun. Sunlight directly impacts our circadian rhythms and tells the body it’s time to wake up. I try to start each day by getting outside, even if it’s just for a quick 10-minute walk. After that, I react to the day ahead – which could mean answering emails, working out, or scrolling on social media. I forgave myself a long time ago for not being a “strict routine” kind of gal. 

Which is your favorite meta character from our NFT collection, ‘WomanInMetaverse’?

I like the Party Night character – specifically this one wearing a hoodie in the club. That is my gal. I strongly believe that the best nights happen when you are the most comfortable in what you’re wearing, whether that’s an oversized hoodie or a slinky little black number. 

What made you smile today?

Today I smiled because I learned about donkey nannies on Twitter. I won’t do them justice so give ‘em a Google, especially if you need a palette cleanser for the incredibly emotional and heavy current events. 

What fascinated you about this career path?

My interest in communications and advertising didn’t happen until college, but social media has been a passion of mine for more than 15 years. Fun fact: I grew up without regular access to traditional forms of media and entertainment like TV, movies, computer games, and even battery-operated toys like Furbies and Tamagotchi. I went to a Waldorf school from pre-k through 8th grade, where curriculums are based on developmental stages and are tailored to shape the way children feel about and approach the world—intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It wasn’t until high school that I got my first cellphone (and eventually, a laptop). Although it didn’t become a career focus of mine for many years, I became fascinated with the power of social media pretty quickly – starting with LiveJournal and Tumblr, and eventually, Myspace, followed by Facebook. In my junior year of college, I changed my major to New Media & Communications instead of the pre-law track I was on. Working in PR after graduation is where I was first exposed to the early days of influencer relations – earning coverage from bloggers, editors, and journalists. That quickly expanded into more traditional influencer partnerships, and I realized I could blend my personal passion for social media with my professional excitement to do more.

How did you kick start your professional life?

I started my career at Ketchum Public Relations. Being accepted into the agency’s competitive Fellow’s Program was not only a huge honor but also a career kickstart for me. After landing a full-time position at the end of the summer program, I quickly began to immerse myself in the fast pace of agency culture and the world of communications. I learned a lot of lessons very early on, especially the importance of three skills: relationship management, strategic problem solving, and showing up to tables where important decisions are being made. In 2017, I was a client of Open Influence when I decided I was ready to make the jump to influencer marketing full-time and applied for the account manager position. Now, over the course of five years, I’ve had the privilege of watching the agency go through tremendous growth in tandem with the influencer industry as a whole.

Social media has become an addictive platform designed for viral content, especially TikTok. And despite this vast reach, many brands often fail to see TikTok as legitimate; what do you think could be the factors holding these brands back?

There are several factors holding some brands back, all of which fall into a fear of the unknown, or at least a hesitation to dive into it. TikTok has seen faster growth than any other platform, and keeping up with the nimble habits of audiences has forced brands to be nimble, too. Some brand hesitations include:

Brands may assume that TikTok audiences are too young: 

Although TikTok is a very Gen-Z-oriented domain, audiences diversified quickly over the last two years, with 18+ users and creators flocking to the For You Page. According to a recent report, half of the platform’s audience is 18-34 years old, with only about 20% under the age of 18. 

Brands need to give up some creative control for creator content to work with the For You Page algorithm: 

The TikTok algorithm rewards one key thing: keeping audiences entertained. User actions like watching a video twice, liking, commenting, and sharing are all rewarded with more exposure. The number of followers amassed by a creator is less important. Creating thumb-stopping content that does not feel overly advertorial is the key to success on TikTok’s FYP. For that reason, hyper-prescriptive briefs or scripted creator assets can impact the success of a campaign. While this can be intimidating for brands, the reward of potential virality is much higher when creators are empowered to… well, create! 

Organic performance can be less predictable:

With the powerful algorithm, it’s harder to predict how a specific piece of content will perform organically on the “For You” Page. But that shouldn’t stop brands from testing and learning where audiences are spending their time. A lot of their time. By layering TikTok SparkAds against the asset, brands can give the content more legs and target specific audiences to supplement organic performance with data-informed strategies. 

How to build creator relationships on TikTok? What are some ways to find the best TikTok talent?

If you look back at the roots of influencer marketing or creator content, you’ll discover it all started with public relations. Building and maintaining relationships with journalists, editors, talent agents, and other key opinion leaders was critical to brand advocacy. Enter: social media influencers. Relationships remain a key component and establishing mutually beneficial partnerships with creators who love the brand has turned traditional advertising on its head. Brands lean on creators because of the trust they’ve built with their audiences and the creativity they infuse within their content. For this reason, brand-to-creator relationships should empower the creator to tell the brand’s story in their own voice. Selecting talent that ladders back to brand goals is an important foundation to the success of any campaign, and the criteria may look different for each brand – some may look for creative storytelling, others may seek specific expertise, and almost all look to find the creators that are best at converting and influencing audiences. At Open Influence, we vet creators across an array of layers, including content quality, brand safety, and historic performance stats such as average completion or engagement rate.

What are some advantages of TikTok when it comes to content creation over Instagram influencers?

It’s difficult to recommend one platform over the other, as it depends on brand goals and audience. Content strategies should be data-informed – where is your audience already engaged? What type of content do they already consume and enjoy? TikTok is a place where audiences come to be entertained, informed, and inspired. The biggest advantage is the robust and finely-tuned FYP algorithm. Content is served to audiences that are most likely to be interested in it, and when done right, videos have the ability to go viral overnight. TikTok has captivated audiences and has set the standard for how an entertainment-driven algorithm can drive platform adoption. We can see other platforms following suit by pushing vertical video and an increased emphasis on discovery. The biggest example of this right now is Instagram’s emphasis on IG Reels as they push users to the Discovery Page versus the comfort of their home feeds. 

What is your latest project?

I’m proud that we have officially announced Open Influence’s partnership with TikTok. This partnership has been in the works behind the scenes and will not only enhance our team’s ability to build and execute on TikTok in a bigger way for our clients but will also enable us to usher even more brands onto TikTok’s powerful “For You” page.

What are some ways to get brands the most views on TikTok’s “For You” page?

Integrate, don’t interrupt. The best performing content is the most thumb-stopping. The most thumb-stopping content doesn’t feel like a commercial. Sponsored videos should feel just like the other videos we see on our FYP. Relatable, digestible, and entertaining from start to finish. Keeping audiences engaged throughout the video is a critical element of success for the TikTok algorithm that heavily rewards video replays as the platform weighs content more heavily than name & likeness. 

Lastly, what do you think this world needs the most?

Empathy and action. Emphasis on the second part. Social media has created a global stage for us to share our thoughts, opinions, and stories. It’s important we don’t stop after we hit “share,” and we take our compassion off screen to show up and create real tangible change where it’s needed. And since you’re asking – I’d also love wider nacho plates. We need to better distribute the chips to ensure each layer gets full coverage of cheese & fixings. It’s time we all boycott the tall nacho stack.

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