From photogs to artists to current players, we’ve covered a bevy of areas through which doers and thinkers are making waves to grow the game in their own unique way. In our latest spotlight, we highlight a 16-year-old, soccer-loving content creator from North Carolina who is helping brands showcase new products in fun and engaging ways that are uniquely him. As you’ll read, consistency, originality, and enjoyment are the winning recipe for this influencer.
Ian Greene, captivated by soccer at an early age after an introduction by his parents, is a great example of a Gen Z creative type who continuously develops content based on the things he loves – in this case, soccer. As a result of this and as a result of Gen Z (and in broader terms, Millennial) hunger for content from people with whom they can identify, Ian is one of a handful of young soccer content creators who have a loyal, soccer-loving audience. Whether he’s creating a video detailing the latest and greatest in cleats from adidas or putting those cleats to the test on the field, Ian is creating content that is authentically him.
Ian’s main publishing platform is his Instagram account and for Gen Z members like himself, Instagram trails only YouTube as Gen Z’s top platform for videos watched and for platforms turned to for entertainment content. It’s hard not to get fixated on Gen Z as it pertains to content and entertainment; not only does Gen Z consume content in large swaths, they also help shape and create its future. Some 30% of people ages 12-24 follow influencers and look to them as sources of digestible content. If you take a closer look at Ian’s audience, the average age hovers around 26 and people ages 13 to 24 make up over 60 percent of his followers (roughly 117,000 people). At the end of the day, people like and follow Ian because he’s just like them – he’s relatable, believable, and authentic.
From his parents camcorder or iPad to his current setup, Ian has been making videos or taking engaging photos for several years. For him, the key to starting, maintaining, and ultimately growing his account comes down to three things: consistency, originality, and enjoyment. In today’s world, one of the most important things for creators is to be consistent and regularly publish content. If you aren’t posting, someone else is. You also have to commit to being original and developing unique ideas to remain fresh and keep your audience on their toes. Finally, you have to enjoy what you’re doing. For Ian, coming up with ideas for the newest cleats or other products is ultimately fun and hip – and his audience agrees.
If you ask Ian where he draws inspiration for his content, his answer is one you’d likely expect. Like other creators, he takes the things around him – brand ads, photos, videos, other accounts – and determines how he can best incorporate their success into his own personal success, while adding his own unique flair. It’s a strategy that works, as it’s not rare for his videos to break 250,000 or even 500,00 views on Instagram (the above post has over 934,000 views). Another key aspect to Ian’s strategy that’s important for his account’s growth is he creates content with a purpose and creates content that inspires people to get out and play the sport. For a brand looking to work with an influencer, content with a purpose – and not just content for the sake of content – is vital.
As someone whose content is largely predicated on showing off new cleats and other products, Ian has worked with a host of brands and outlets, including adidas, Puma, New Balance, Umbro, Soccer.com and other endemic soccer brands. During the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Ian linked up with Coca-Cola and was a soccer ambassador for the brand while in Russia – certainly a memorable experience for someone still in high school.
For brands looking to work with younger influencers, Ian is a great example because he’s relatable, creative, creates purposeful content, and has built himself a loyal audience.