Social media stars blossoming throughout North Carolina

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- The term 'star' has a very broad meaning ever since social media platforms took off and people were able to build personal brands through them.

Forbes magazine reports, the worlds 10 highest paid YouTube stars for 2017 earned a total of $127 million. YouTube channels and a large social media following can mean big money through advertising revenue or corporate partnerships.

Some of these stars are from Central North Carolina and have built quite a name for themselves online by making their YouTube channels their full-time business.

Here are a few:

Rhett & Link grew up in Buies Creek and host the YouTube show 'Good Mythical Morning' with more than 13 million subscribers and a total of more than 4 billion video views.

Dance prodigy Lilliana Ketchman is from Fayetteville. She was on the reality show Dance Moms. Her YouTube channel has more than 200,000 subscribers and more than 25 million video views. She also landed a part in the Sia music video 'Move Your Body.'

Silly challenges and experiments led Guava Juice from Durham to nearly nine million YouTube subscribers for a total of more than 3.6 billion views.

UNC alum Morgan Yates has racked up more than 265,000 subscribers to her lifestyle channel. She started the channel focusing on makeup tutorials and trends and now lives in Los Angeles working her platform full-time.

Chase Holfelder lives in Apex and quit his job at IBM a few years ago after one of his videos went viral. He launched a YouTube channel of cover songs, from major to minor, which can give songs a more melancholy sound. He now has income through advertising revenue, television shows using his music, and a Patreon account.

"Patreon is sort of a Kickstarter for online content creators," Holfelder explained. "I have over 400 people who agree to give me one to 100 dollars for every video I upload or perks like early access or mp3 downloads and that's been the paycheck I can count on," he said.

Holfelder says a Patreon account is the best advice he would give to anyone trying to do a channel professionally. He also says focus on unique and consistent content. For him, it has also led to some pretty cool gigs.

ABC11 spotlights social media stars in the Triangle.

The last week of February, he's performing in Las Vegas in the One Drop Benefit show for water conservation headlined by Jewel.

"I'm the only other singer in it," Holfelder said. He's singing his minor-key version of 'What A Wonderful World.'

"That's pretty exciting!" he said.
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