Social media stars with varying degrees of “clout” have been encouraging followers to “shop small” this holiday season, but few have such a large audience, or as many Gen Z fans, as Addison Rae Easterling, 20 years old. Among his 70 million followers on TikTok, 32 million on Instagram, and 4 million on Twitter and YouTube each, Easterling is uniquely positioned to influence followers to support small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) this December.
Todd Williamson | AND! Entertainment | Getty Images
Naturally, to do this, it partnered with … Amazon? It sounds strange, but it’s part of the mega-retailer’s Support Small initiative, which highlights small business owners who use its platform to sell. In addition to Easterling, Amazon recruited celebrities like Chance the Rapper and Charles Melton from Riverdale to highlight your favorite small businesses on Amazon in a campaign that runs through December 11.
Easterling’s post highlighting her favorite products racked up an impressive 21 million views and 2.6 million likes on TikTok alone, and the featured brands have seen an increase in sales as a result.
Here’s my holiday gift guide featuring small businesses on Amazon! Duet this with ## supportsmallchallenge for a chance to win all of my picks. ## ad
You Think You’re – Alex Aster
In an email interview, Easterling shared with Entrepreneur why he chose this partnership, how he chose the gifts in his guide, and how some of the brands have reacted.
The responses have been edited for length and clarity.
ENTREPRENEUR (ENT): I’m sure brands approach you with partnerships all the time. Why did this particular one appeal to you?
ADDISON RAE EASTERLING (ARE): COVID-19 has made it difficult this year for many people, but especially for small businesses. I love the heart and passion that comes from small businesses and how careful they are with their customer service. Amazon has made it very easy for customers to support small businesses, while also making it a breeze from the comfort of their phone or computer.
ENT: How did you choose the Amazon companies and products to highlight?
ARE: I chose these products based on the types of gifts I love to give and receive, and many of the small business owners have amazing stories too. For example, I love tea, so Tea Drops was a natural choice. It is a women-owned company that sells a wide selection of teas in fun forms that dissolve quickly in water. Very funny!
ENT: You could argue that making small purchases through Amazon is something of an oxymoron. Why do you encourage people to do that instead of just buying directly from small businesses in their cities?
ARE: I totally understand it. I don’t know where it is in the county, but I’m in Los Angeles and the COVID-19 numbers here are extreme. All of my shopping is done online, and Amazon just makes it really easy to do. Although Amazon is a big business, many small businesses sell their products through their platform. Amazon just makes the buying process easy.
ENT: Have you heard of any of the brands that you have presented?
ENT: Your sponsored posts on TikTok tend to work in a similar way to organic ones, which is not common. Why do you think your audience interacts with your sponsored content?
ARE: I think my fans trust me and what I share with them, and it’s good to see that reflected.
ENT: As you choose brands to partner with, do you think how these campaigns will come to life on all your platforms? (TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
ARE: I see each platform as a different medium. It is very rare that you see the same content of mine on more than one platform.