My life has changed drastically over the past year after stepping into a career as a content creator as a professional Livestreamer. This experience influenced me to foresee a significant shift in the tea world. In 2023 we will see the evolution of the content creator from influencer to entrepreneur. Last year I predicted that the tea community would be first to dive into the metaverse, essentially our new virtual/real lives, as tea content tends to be at the forefront of new internet trends; first tea blogging, then Instagram, and now Livestreaming. Although you can still see an array of tea lifestyle advertisements through influencer promotion campaigns, we are seeing more and more content creators shifting their audience into their customers and their creative craft into user-generated content (UGC).

What is the strength of the trend of Livestreaming for tea content creators?

Influencers of all niches are questioning the sustainability of their career as incomes are inconsistent, marketing to brands is challenging, and values are often compromised to fit into brand promotion needs. Audiences and engagement are growing, and these self-employed creators are learning through new tools, such as Livestreaming, to create more sustainable careers with the direct support of their followers and their content-creating skills. The metaverse is the decentralization of the internet and social media, ultimately giving power to the creator.

Tools to Monetize Your Livestream Content

The first trend is creators monetizing their audience through premium or exclusive content via tools like Patreon. There are currently several tea-themed creators on the platform, and tea remains a consistent theme in this type of content as lifestyle, and health-motivational content are very popular. Newer to the social media environment is Livestreaming. Tea streamers have been present on Twitch for nearly a decade and now on mobile apps such as TikTok, where supporters can subscribe for exclusive content or community activities and virtual gifts can be purchased. Creators can encourage more gifting through the gamified feature of battles. Creators can engage their community of support in helping produce content, win games and income, and sell products.

Risks & Considerations of Livestreaming Tea Content

Influencers are at risk of unknowingly promoting tea products outside of FDA compliance or overloading a small tea business that is accustomed to only selling a small quantity versus the potential thousands of orders a powerful influencer can inspire. For this reason, more creators are opting to produce and market their products, products that they truly value. White-label production is a mature industry, especially for tea, so don’t be surprised to see more influencer-branded products. We may even see these entrepreneurs insert themselves more into the industries they impact, as the value of an engaged and monetized audience can and will become more valuable than venture or traditional capital. In addition to selling their products, you will see more and more content creators selling their services to brands looking for organic content through UGC contracts. 

My Personal Livestreaming Story

My story of monetizing an audience is unique in that I started as an entrepreneur that became a creator. The pandemic and inability to travel and speak publicly put my work more online and presented the opportunity to become a professional Livestreamer. I stream to a mobile app from Japan called Pococha where broadcasters and viewers play a daily game together to show team pride and increase the earnings potential for the broadcaster. With my tea family on the app, we have won several contests and awards, such as billboards in Chicago, Las Vegas, and New Orleans. From January 24-30, my team will be competing in the app’s Grand Championship, which will crown the #1 family on the app and get the broadcaster posted on a billboard in Times Square. I am not allowed to promote my business on the app, but I teach about tea and give free tea and teaware away to my top supporters. If we win, I will be presenting Gongfu Cha on the billboard and showing the tea world there is a strong place for tea in the metaverse creator space.

These online tea marketing business shifts come at a time when the offline tea business is also shifting with the effects of the economy and the challenge of maintaining a brick-and-mortar store open with increasing rent and other expenses. If you are a tea business seeking how to build online or a tea content creator looking how to expand your income by monetizing your audience, come to one of my streams @peacelyse) and I would be happy to inspire you!