2024 is shaping up to be even bigger as more brands than ever turn to the power of influencer marketing to pour rocket fuel on their campaigns with the faster turnarounds, massive built-in audiences, and greater cost-effectiveness that influencer marketing brings compared to traditional marketing efforts.
This article is the perfect cheat sheet for brands looking for influencers to reach social-first consumers in new and exciting ways, creators looking to keep up with trends and rising stars, and anyone interested in seeing what the best creators have to offer.
So let’s check out some of 2023’s standout creators and their biggest moments as we cover everything from comedy, beauty, and music to cooking, fashion, and education.
5 creators who rocked in 2023
These inspiring influencers and compelling content creators had a huge 2023 that took their reach and audience to new levels by hitting career milestones, collaborating with some of the world’s biggest brands, and getting featured in the mainstream media.
So make sure to shortlist, subscribe, and follow them because they’re perfect examples of influencer marketing done right.
1. Steven He: The maverick
If you’re into YouTube and comedy, you’ve probably heard of Steven He. Even if you don’t recognize his name, there’s a good chance you’ve come across his popular catchphrase/meme without even realizing it — “Emotional Damage” — which has broken outside the YouTube bubble and gone viral on TikTok.
With over 11.3M subscribers on YouTube, He is one of the biggest comedy creators on the platform. This year, Steven launched Ginormo! – an ambitiously hilarious sci-fi web series inspired by classic Japanese monster shows from the 60s and 70s like Godzilla, Ultraman, and the Power Rangers – which racked up over 4.6M views across six episodes and a Streamy nomination.
He also launched new merch such as his Failure Management Sweater and Costume T-shirt from Ginormo!, and he even turned himself into a collectible with the Steven He YouTooz (which are kind of like Funko Pops for internet personalities). All 3 of these items are currently sold out, which not only reflects Steven’s popularity but also his fan’s eagerness to support their favorite creator.
Yuri Lamasbella’s had a huge year with explosive growth across all of her social channels. Since signing with Viral Nation in February, Yuri’s gone from an impressive 4.37M combined followers across TikTok, Instagram, [Facebook, and YouTube to a whopping 7.82 million – an almost 80% increase! This only goes to show that her mix of comedy, beauty, and fashion deeply resonates with her audience while making her one of the biggest creators in those spaces.
In October, Yuri attended the 2023 Billboard Latin Music Awards in Miami as a ‘VIP Influencer’ invitee. She was there during the lead-up to the event, building hype and making content with Billboard, and on awards night, she got all glammed up and walked the red carpet
Yuri also leveled up her brand partnerships this year with some big-name collaborations. First, she teamed up with Disney to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and traveled to Disney World, where her ‘Acting like a Kardashian at Disney’ post got over 4.6 million views. Then, she partnered with Apple for the iPhone 15 launch, where she flew to Mexico City to capture the sights, sounds, and culture of the historic city — all #shotoniphoone, of course.
Connor Price is a Canadian actor and independent rapper who blew up in 2023 with the release of his debut album Spin the Globe. But his album title is more than a simple statement about his love of travel and touring – it perfectly captures the concept of his album which went insanely viral across social media to the tune of 100s of millions of views and streams in a single year!
The idea behind Spin the Globe was brilliant in its simplicity and execution with an undeniable hook that immediately captures your attention (which not only shows Connor’s creative vision but also his ability to bring his vision to life for a social-first audience).
Basically, Connor spun a globe and wherever his finger landed, he found an artist from that country to collaborate with on a new song.
His “Spin the Globe” playlist on TikTok has over 217M views across two seasons and he’s worked with artists from all around the world, including Zambia, the Netherlands, India, Japan, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, and more. The viral success of this series also helped him earn a 2023 Streamy Award nomination for Short Form content and he also played two sold-out, back-to-back shows in Toronto and Chicago.
Trisha Paytas is a veteran content creator and influencer who’s never been afraid to speak her mind – and she’s been both celebrated and called out because of it. But her ability to stir the pot and give her honest and sometimes outrageous hot takes has built her a dedicated following no matter where she goes, whether it’s her own podcast, YouTube, or in the mainstream media.
This year saw Trisha launching her new podcast, aptly titled Just Trish, with help from Viral Nation’s new podcast division. The podcast features Trish and her friend and co-host Oscar Gracey – an Emmy-award-winning entertainment journalist – as they dish on the latest gossip and social media trends. Since launching in July, the Just Trish podcast has quickly garnered a massive following with over 700K listens per episode and more than 5000 5-star reviews on Spotify. Trisha has interviewed a number of well-known figures on her podcast such as Dr. Drew, Carrot Top, and Donny Osmond – the last of whom was her #1 dream guest.
Nowadays, Trisha has been moving away from being the center of controversy and drama, becoming less of an active participant and instead, being a commentator who offers her unique insight and perspective like only she can, drawing from her almost two decades of experience under the spotlight. Maybe some of that shift has been driven by her focus on her family and being a mom as she and her husband recently announced they’re expecting their second child.
She’s got a huge reach and a massive audience – some of whom have been following her for decades – with a hard-earned reputation for telling it like it is, which makes her a perfect partner for brands in the health, beauty, family and lifestyle spaces – especially if you’re not afraid to be bold or spill the tea.
Steph Grasso is a registered dietitian with over 2.2M followers on TikTok and 264K followers on Instagram. Her bio simply says ‘your TikTok dietitian’ and that’s an accurate description as her audience loves her videos on healthy eating, along with her tireless dedication to educating people on the benefits of nutrition while demystifying it at the same time.
Steph’s ‘lazy dinner’ post in particular was a huge success as she not only showed her audience how to cook a fast, no-prep, nutritious black bean fajita pasta dinner in under 30 minutes, but she also gave her brand partner, Bush’s Beans, a huge boost in awareness and they were overjoyed that Steph introduced them to 9.6M potential customers.
2023 also saw Steph branching out and embracing the creator side as she spoke at VidCon Anaheim and her relatable content makes her an ideal collaborator for any brands in the health and food space and she’s partnered with other high-profile brands such as Hint Water, Orgain, and Aldi’s.
NO PREP one pot black bean fajita pasta #BushsBeansPartner @bushsbeans will bring the flavor, you just need to pour it in a pot Plus, check out the Bush’s Beautiful Bean Sweepstakes! Between now and March 14th, post a photo or video featuring Bush’s Beans can on Instagram or TikTok with #BushsBeautifulBeanSweepstakes for the chance to win $10K and a year’s supply of Bush’s Beans. For full sweepstakes rules and regs, please visit BushsBeans.com/BeautifulSweeps FULL RECIPE: Ingredients: -1 ½ cup dry pasta -2 cups frozen bell peppers and onions -1 cup frozen corn -1 can Bush’s Sidekicks (Taco Fiesta) -1 cup chicken stock -mozzarella cheese, shredded (used as topping) Directions: 1. In a medium pot, combine all ingredients including the pasta and stock 2. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring every couple minutes 3.Top with mozzarella cheese #lazymeals#wieiad#dinner#beans
The creators featured in this list had an outstanding 2023 but that doesn’t mean they’re taking a break to rest on their laurels – far from it! Each and every one of them are busy planning how to best capitalize on their successes for next year and we can’t wait to see what they do next. From brand deals to new content and platforms – the only guarantee for these creators is that 2024 will be better than ever as they’re constantly on the lookout for new opportunities.
As Content Manager, Mike brings over 10+ years of content marketing experience to the Corporate Marketing team. He is a veteran writer who specializes in engaging, well-written, and accessible content, and he’s covered a range of verticals including SaaS, marketing, entertainment, journalism, and cannabis. At Viral Nation, he’s handled technical writing and copywriting, in addition to owning the blog and creating numerous case studies that showcase some of Viral Nation’s best work. In his off-time, Mike dabbles in music, rap, and spoken word poetry, and he excels at making his friends and colleagues roll their eyes at his cringe-level puns.