Jessica and Dub McCorkle and their three children

Jessica and Dub McCorkle and their three children

EDITOR’S NOTE: RVBusiness, the sister publication to WOODALLSCM.com, is profiling prominent RV influencers to better understand influencer marketing in today’s environment. This is the fifth installment in the series. 

According to influencermarketinghub.com, an influencer is “someone with the power to affect others’ purchasing decisions because of their authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience.”

Our profiles have highlighted influencers using the familiar digital media of YouTube, blogs, Instagram, and Facebook to date. However, social media is dynamic, and one of the newest outlets influencers use to reach RV consumers today is TikTok.

When Jessica and Dub McCorkle and their three children, collectively known as the Family of Nomads, hit the road in September 2020, they did not intend to become influencers. Instead, they broke away from their careers — Jessica as a small business owner and Dub as a skilled tradesman — to literally live life to the fullest as a family.

After the McCorkle’s oldest daughter recovered from a five-year-long battle with an autoimmune disease called PANS, they “knew they weren’t living their best lives” and decided to hit the road and make the most of every day. While they didn’t intend to be full-timers, they decided to sell their home and take the plunge within two weeks.

Since then, they have traveled to 15 states in their Grand Design Solitude — and have grown nearly a million social media followers. According to Jessica McCorkle, people seem to connect with the family and enjoy following along with their travels.

“We share short video clips about life living in a camper. What it’s like to homeschool our children from the road. Just short videos 15-30 seconds to one minute in length,” she told RVBusiness.

Jessica said they use the standard channels like YouTube, a blog, and Facebook. However, their primary media is Instagram and TikTok. TikTok was thrust into the national news in August 2020 as then-president Trump sought to ban it or force new ownership of the Chinese platform. However, the administration’s efforts were largely unsuccessful, and TikTok remains the sole ownership of Beijing-based ByteDance.

TikTok is unique for several reasons. First, messages on the platform consist solely of videos, with or without sound, usually 15 to 30 seconds in length. Second, TikTok’s unique recommendation algorithm is uncanny in its accuracy as to the way it personalizes your feed based on the kinds of videos you watch and interact with. Jessica McCorkle feels this has helped build their TikTok followers from zero in May of 2021 to more than 800,000 today.

The Wall Street Journal published a video about the algorithm, which explains further.

And before you write it off as the channel for your kids, you might be surprised at the number of RV-related videos posted. Everything from RV cooking to RV maintenance and operation can be found there.

Using TikTok has paid off well for the Family of Nomads. They support their travels through sponsorships and affiliate links and turn what was initially intended as an extended family vacation into a full-time family adventure. Apparently, hundreds of thousands of RVers and non-RVers identify with their lifestyle. Which, ultimately, helps the RV industry grow.

Why do they draw followers? “I think the main reason people follow us,” said Jessica, “is that people get so wrapped up in their lives that they don’t appreciate it — and they know something is missing. It’s easy to fall into the habit of thinking ‘once this gets better, once this project gets done, once this thing gets finished, things will get better.’ But that just keeps happening over and over. Our sharing our lives is a reminder that you don’t have to wait for those things to finish. You can live your life to the fullest no matter where you are at.”

Reach. TikTok, Instagram, blog, Facebook, and YouTube