Dominic Smales on social talent – a new lifestyle?

Dominicdownload Smales is Managing Director & Founder of Gleam Futures, a talent management agency that was initiated in 2010. Managing the likes of Zoella, Pointless Blog and Thatcher Joe, I think it’s fair to say that Dom’s business has been an absolute success, and it was another brilliant experience for us at the PR Fraternity to be able to meet him.

We talked this week about the types of employees Dom’s looking for, and what their role at Gleam Futures actually is, as well as how to actually manage social talent, and the branding complications that come with it! (I know, important and exciting stuff right?!)

So, let’s get you all filled in…

At Gleam Futures, they’re all about

“hiring amazing people”

and so finding the right people that totally get all aspects of the job, and who have an amazing work ethic whilst being intelligent, creative and resourceful is difficult, as I’m sure we can all imagine! This outlook that they’ve adopted is inspiring and motivational, and something we should all bear in mind!

Before we move on to talk about social talent and how it’s managed, its important to understand that at Gleam Futures there is no puppetry – their jobs are simply welfare roles, providing support and guidance for all of their talent! (and yes, all of their talent run their OWN channels, no help provided!)

Starting their careers with tutorials and hauls on YouTube, people like Zoella have built an audience primarily on social media, focusing on making their every day lives their careers – and it’s gone down a storm! Their audiences are real people, watching real people, who have a real relationship – they’re interested in them as people, not products.

Talking to Dom, it’s apparent that this has become the case because of one simple characteristicAUTHENTICITY! They’re navigated by what feels right for them, and have their personalities firmly grounded – as they’re so much closer to their ‘consumers’, its the relationship between them that’s their main focus, and is perhaps why they’ve become such highly influential people, evolving into professional media entrepreneurs as their careers develop.

Dom also enlightened us on some other characteristics of this new social talent:

  • They have an enormous, loyal and engaged audience
  • Their content can drive huge media coverage, resulting in more and more exposure of their talent
  • They’re high production, dedicated professionals with a growing multi-platform businesses
  • Audiences will follow them through to different channels (trust me, Zoella got more 16 year olds watching Great British Bake Off than ever before!)
  • They have a full demographic of followers – everyone loves to watch/read them!
  • They love trying to entertain new audiences on new platforms
  • Vlogs have stepped into the spotlight for a great way to expose their talent, and integrate brands
  • It’s not all about endorsement!

This last point is particularly important… because the talent on social is so authentic (after all, it’s their personality we’re drawn to!) its so so crucial for brand integration to be seamless. Dom adopts a ‘no scripts’ policy, saying that talent will communicate with brands on their own terms, and it must fit the natural content of their channel.  Gleam Futures also suggest a ‘360 Social Media Campaign’, whereby the brand must interact with the talent on all of their channels, creating a community.

We also discussed the new belief system around celebrities and brandsdo we really, always believe certain celebs like certain brands? (Come on, does David Beckham really wear £9.99 H&M boxers) I think not.) This highlights the importance of authenticity, and making sure the brand partnerships are transparent and genuine!

When asked what he thinks is coming next for social talent, Dom answered…

  • Less brand deals – there will be a deeper and consolidating brand involvement with talented individuals, formed of real time opportunities.
  • Online videos will be an important medium for you clients in the future – remember that!

The final thing I wanted to leave you with was the idea that these individuals who have become socially talented have created themselves real fame – they have personal security concerns and hundreds of social media notifications every day, all because their personalities are so endearing! (What a life – they’ve turned what they love into a career!)

If you liked this blog, and are interested in following some of the aforementioned talent, take a look here…


Gleam Futures Website







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