By Crescent Seward
There’s a cool phenomenon happening where experts in their field are becoming mini celebrities – brand ambassadors, influencers, call them what you will. I think it’s one of most culturally interesting and valuable things coming out of social media usage in business today. Savvy marketers know the return on investment in social media is limitless, so they know turning customers and employees into brand ambassadors is always good business.
I recently sat down with Kelcey Rodriguez, the social media manager at iHeartRaves, to discuss this very aspect in managing a brand. Better known as Tiny Dancer to her followers, we’ve danced the night away together but have never talked about her career and how relevant building a personal brand is in the current digital landscape.
Crescent Louise: As the social media manager at iHeartRaves and the leader of the company’s social success, what made you decide to focus on your own personal brand as well?
Kelcey Rodriguez: I work with many influencers at iHeartRaves. They bring our brand a lot of credibility because people trust the products they use over products a brand tells you to use. I also saw my boss build herself as an influencer and someone who stands behind the brand. By building ourselves as influencers we can also give our brand more credibility and put a face to the name iHeartRaves. When I decided to do this and embrace Tiny Dancer – being Tiny Dancer on the iHeartRaves Snapchat, making my Instagram all about me as a raver – I noticed people knew who I was and followed and trusted iHeartRaves because they saw I was just like them! It propelled my passion for the brand and our customers.
CL: So it was a natural fit to expand your online persona, but who is Tiny Dancer? How did you come up with her?
KR: In everyday life we can’t wear glitter, booty shorts and pasties. Raves are an escape from the norm and Tiny Dancer is basically who I am when I enter a rave. She is an energetic, trance-loving, dancing machine who is extremely social and wants to share everything she loves about rave culture with those around her. She is a bit of a party animal but also very kind and never treats anyone like they are beneath her.
CL: I wish I could have more glitter in my life but I don’t think my corporate job would understand, ha! It’s been well documented by influencers that as follower count rises, so too does the financial enticements of ads, sponsorship and promotions. How do you stay authentic as you gain even more Instagram popularity?
KR: Integrity is everything! The promos I do are only for products I’m extremely enthusiastic about. People follow you because they like who you are and what you’re about. If you compromise that for money then you’re letting your followers down.
CL: You have nearly 14k followers double tapping your every move. How do you stand out?
KR: By being genuine, making genuine interactions with people and remembering them. Also by not taking yourself too seriously and being a bit silly. Being cute helps, too, but there’s a lot of narcissism in social media today. It’s best to not let Instagram fame get to your head. Be human because that’s what people can relate to.
CL: Instagram Stories just hit 200 million daily active users, surpassing the 161 million Snapchat users. How do you use the two?
KR: It’s all about storytelling. Snapchat is my safe haven and something I use daily to connect with my close friends. I also enjoy using it on behalf of iHeartRaves. It’s probably what most of our customers recognize us from. I have a pair of Snap Spectacles that I use to document our festivals as well. Instagram Stories seem to be more popular, but I’m frustrated with the limitations it has in terms of filters and stickers. Though I feel like I get more engagement from friends and iHeartRaves followers on Snapchat, I know that more people are shifting over to Instagram Stories so I will have to adjust to the change.
CL: That’s good you recognize that and continue following the trends. What other kind of technology or apps do you use to manage social for iHeartRaves and Tiny Dancer?
KR: I use Latergram for scheduling and I actually use notepad on my phone to take notes. When I’m at an event, I’ll take down names of people I meet or have them message me so I can make sure I have the right information for a future post. I think people appreciate that I take the time to remember them, and in turn, they value not only me but the brand too.
CL: It definitely adds a personal touch that consumers crave. What would you say are the three most important things someone should do to build a strong personal brand and promote growth on social?
KR: First, choose a theme for your page and be consistent. Next, try to create relationships with other pages like you. Ask for a feature or collaboration and tag other profiles in your posts when it makes sense. Third, choose your posts wisely. Be selective and make sure it’s the best image to convey the message or idea that you want.
Rodriguez has a jam-packed calendar of festivals and shows in the coming months: Middlelands in Texas, REZZ at the Exchange in L.A., Dreamstate San Francisco, EDC Las Vegas, Electric Forest in Michigan and Above and Beyond Group Therapy 250 at the Gorge in Washington. Tiny Dancer will be there – inspiring others digitally – and with glitter.
[Featured photo via Kelcey Rodriguez]
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