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  • Look, meetings are in large part enormous waste of time, there's like a whole movement and everything around like killing meetings and not doing meetings, and we have a lot of meetings here for and like we struggle with the same thing. How do you make sure they're beneficial? How do you make sure you're not wasting people's time? How do you make sure your meeting couldn't have just been an email?

    That is a frustration that I don't know that goes away because meetings are in a lot of ways necessary evil, especially as an influencer it's super important to get in front of the brand, be like this is me this is my face this is my personality, this is my vibe this is what I believe in. How do you make it valuable is like, it needs to have a point? I think you need to go into that meeting

    Knowing what you want to get out of it and making sure that there is this temptation to just small talk for a while, let's say your 30-minute meeting, you small talk for 20 minutes of that. That's not super valuable for anyone.

    If you're going to take 30 minutes of someone's life away, 30 minutes that they're never going to get back, even worse, if it's a full hour, you need to have a reason. You need to have a thing and then you have to get to the point at some point. You don't have to sit down and be like, “Okay, here's what I want.” Certainly you have to warm up to it. You always have to ask for the sale and the sale doesn't necessarily mean I have a project I want to pitch and I need money.

    It can be; I want to be on your on Yale’s event list. It can be anything, but think about the point of the meeting and think about that is the sale. Make sure you implicitly ask for it and say, “I want this. I would love this. I want to do this. I'd love to talk about doing this.” You have to have a clear thing that when they leave the meeting, they understood why they had that meeting because you don't want to walk out and be like, “Why the hell did I do that?”

    I meet with influencers as often as I can and sometimes they come in and they just talk, and they tell me about themselves, and I'm like, “That was completely worthless. I got to know you, which is great. There was just no point,” and I'm left now being like, “What the fuck am I supposed to do with this?” Because I met with you, you must have an expectation. I don't know what the expectation is, and I don't know how to fulfill that expectation. I don't know what I'm supposed to do.

    If you leave the meeting being like, “I'd love introductions to your execution team, or I've been trying to work with these five brands and I don't know anyone there. I would love introductions there.” It's now on me to say no or yes, but at least I know what the hell you want from me. Then after the meeting, quick follow up. Try and do it in a couple hours if you can. Do it in the Uber or on the subway after the meeting, sit in the parking lot and write a draft.

    I wouldn't send it two minutes after the meeting, but certainly within 24 hours you want to say, “Obviously great to meet you,” et cetera et cetera. You want to summarize what happened in the meeting so that they remember and there's a paper trail about it. Then you want to summarize what your asks were. If there was any action points where they said, “Yes, I'll definitely introduce you,” say like really “Looking forward to that. Thank you so much. Again, as a follow-up here are the brands that we talked about you introducing me to,” and let's live in that world.

    Let's say we had a meeting and I said I would introduce you to five brands, and you just send an email, you're just like, “Thank you so much. It was great to meet with you.” One, again, I may forget, so you have to summarize what happened, summarize the ask and then go to the next step and be like think about what is that brand? Okay, if I have to introduce you to five people, then do you think it's easier if you give me a paragraph that explains what you do and who you are rather than me having to think that up and write it myself?

    I would be like, “Thank you so much for agreeing to do this. This is such a huge help. I thought it might be helpful for me to just write a little blurb about who I am and what I do so that you don't have to write it.” Little things like that. You want to think about if a brand is doing something for you, how do you continue to make their life easier? We've talked about this when you're working in an activation with the brand about doing your own reporting and things like that that will make the brand person's life easier.

    Same thing after a meeting, how do you start to do their job so that it feels like a really easy thing for them to check off the list after that meeting. That is super important. It's like sending that summary email, summarizing your asks and doing some of the work for them. Then as far as research before the meeting, research who you're talking to. Know if it's a junior person or a senior person, do a little digging about their background. You don't want to be unprepared and you don't want to be left.

    Imagine you are talking about a brand and let's say you bash your brains like, “Oh, this brand I don't like what they're doing or whatever,” and you didn't see that on their LinkedIn, the person you’re meeting with was head of social there for the last three years. The thing you're bashing was actually their project. It's like little things like that that can ruin a relationship can be. You can skirt it one, by not being an asshole and bashing people meetings, but that's hard for me and I understand that could be hard for you.

    Do your research and make sure you’re understanding who you're talking to so you don't get yourself into any trouble, and you can use it. “Oh I saw you into this college. I also went there. I saw you here. I was in that town. Once I drank with my friend there.” You need to try and build a personal relationship and a little bit of research can help do that. Not so much research that you're creeping on them. They're like, “Oh gross.” You’re like, “You know way too much about me.”

    There's a fine line there. I wouldn't go three years back on their Instagram, but I would peek at their LinkedIn, peek at their Instagram, see what their last couple photos are, did they get back from a trip recently? Just something to get the conversation going.
    Episode #143
    - The Importance of Originality, Live-Streaming's Future, Meeting ROI
  • I feel like maybe we've answered this question before, but that was before AOC started live streaming everything that she does. It works for AOC. She does it and it's compelling. I think it's hard to be interesting live. I think that 10, 15, 20, 30 minutes of live content is pretty hard to keep someone's attention. I personally haven't watched that many live streams in my life on Instagram, I'd be interested to know if you guys find yourself watching a lot.

    I think that beauty influencers do a great job. We've done some campaigns where we have Instagram live part of the campaign where they're doing their full makeup look or something, I think that makes sense. I've seen influencers do like a QA type thing. Like ask me, I'm going to be live for 15 minutes on Tuesday to answer your questions, but I think that the question feature on Instagram has solved that a little bit, where you don't need to do that.

    Going live is like assuming that people just have-- let's just like think about Instagram, it is a distraction app, it is an app that you use in between other things, your friends going to the bathroom at a restaurant, what do you do? You take your phone out you open Instagram, you don't type in someone's blog and start reading a blog post. It’s because you can get value out of Instagram looking at it for 10 seconds or an hour straight, and that's what makes the platform so sticky. Is that like, you can just be like, “Oh, I'm just going to like sneak a little thing in here.”

    I just loaded it up, saw if I have any new comments or anything and saw someone's post. It's like in that amount of time, but you can also, as we all have done, waste hours of your life sitting on it. It is this like distraction app. I think thinking that the people who are on the platform, which again they're probably looking for a little hit dopamine something to do for a few minutes, the thought that they're going to sit there and watch your entire live stream, to me, seems unlikely.

    I do think as an influencer, if you can make a more of an event of it or you make it like a normal thing, I go live every second Tuesday and you build up to it so people have some time to plan that like I'm going to be home and focusing on this. I also think that if you’re just like one of those influencers that has like crazy fans, they'll do anything. They'll stop what they're doing, they'll leave their meeting, they’ll tell their friend to shut the hell up and watch your live feed, your live stream, it's rare to have that level of fandom, I think.

    I think it's tough I don't think live-streaming is going anywhere, it seems to be integrated into every new social platform. I'm not sure that it's going to be like the next big thing necessarily, because generally, it's pretty boring for most people.
    Episode #143
    - The Importance of Originality, Live-Streaming's Future, Meeting ROI
  • How do you push back? First, do it early, as quickly as possible. Second, I wouldn't lie. Being people's boss, something that's been really interesting is that the lies that you tell as an employee like when you're hungover, or you just don't feel like going to work, or you forgot to put your vacation request in, and then you say a day before your flight, "Oh, my gosh, last minute, this thing came up and I booked a flight I have to go." All of those little lies that I used to tell as an employee that I thought were so clever are so transparent.

    I know all the parents out there can probably commiserate with me that your kids lying to you about things is very easy to see through. Same for the brand side. If an influencer has some big, huge, excuse about why they didn't do a post or why they screwed something up or why it's late, it's so transparent that you're lying. One is don't lie because it's not doing you any good. Just be honest about what happened and the next is thinking about what are you going to do to make it better.

    Lay out a plan. Excuse me. When we screw something up with our clients which is exceedingly rare, but when we do, we don't say, "Hey, we screwed this up, sorry. Hope you forgive me, bye. I'm going to go hide under a rock." No, you say, "Hey, this happened, here's three things that I'm working on to fix it, and here is exactly when I'm going to update you." You have to think like, "Hey, XYZ happened, and you're not going get what you want. Here's everything I've done to try and fix it and here's what I can do moving forward."

    I can give you two free posts, I can cover this. Whatever it is, you need to to give them something to say, "Shit, that's really bad. That screws up what I'm doing," is their first thought and then, "Okay, but there's a plan here, they've thought it through."

    Even if that plan doesn't make it better because a lot of times it won't, if a brand is launching something on a certain day and they need you to post and you don't, posting the day after isn't really as helpful. Sometimes you can't make up for your screw-up but not presenting an option just says I don't care. I didn't even give a shit enough to think about a way to make this better because this relationship is so meaningless to me that I couldn't be bothered.

    That is what it feels like as a brand person when an influencer is like, "Sorry, that can't happen, my dog was in the hospital for two nights, and I had no internet. Then my phone disappeared, and I'm now deaf, dumb and blind and it's impossible for me to do anything." Whatever the insane excuses that was made up, it just all makes it feel like you don't care.

    I would just say, one, be a decent human and actually care, but make sure that that empathy and the care actually comes through. The best way to do that is to show that you've thought about this. You've also worried about it and you've come up with what you think is a reasonable plan to-- if not fix things, put a little bandaid on it and make it better.

    If you screwed up and you owed them one post, I don't think you make good by giving them one post.

    You can make good by giving them two posts. You have to go above and beyond because it's not like an [inaudible 00:17:32] thing there. Again, I know it's a continuation of the last question, but learning how to tell people disappointing news is a huge life skill and life hack. This is true not just of your professional relationships, but your personal ones as well. People just want to feel like you care.

    We have a shit list in the office. We have a list of influencers that are blacklisted that we will not work with. Idalia and I talked about this on her podcast. Every brand has a blacklist. Every brand has a list of influencers that they will not work with because the experience was bad. People make mistakes and you don't get on the shit list by making a mistake, you get on the shit list by making a mistake and then not trying to fix it and not caring.

    Because people generally are pretty down to forgive you if it feels like you actually care. Again, you will not get on that shit list if you screw up, but make a big effort to make it better. You will by screwing up and not making that effort.
    Episode #142
    - Saves (The New Like), Staying on a Brands Radar, Negotiation Tips
  • We say that saves are like a super like. I love saves. We did a survey, we saw that when people see a product post of a product that they want to purchase, 15% of them will swipe up, and look at the product page to see if they want to buy it. 38% will save the in-feed post for later so that they can either look in-store or online to try and purchase that product later.

    Saves is such an interesting place to look when you're talking about engagement. I think the average generally is about. The average generally is abut 0.1% of your followers should be saving your posts. We can put up the averages for all the following levels so we'll put that up here so you guys can see. Especially on your product posts, watching saves and how many people are saving it is a really interesting thing.

    When you're reporting to brands and you're talking about success saying like, "Hey, 800 people saved this post, and generally, my audience is saving posts because they want to purchase so it's a really good sign this did really well." Also, for us, if we see someone who has great engagement but no saves, those things don't really add up. For us, we start to think, "Was this engagement purchased?"

    If you have people who are really engaged, generally they're also saving the posts, so if they're not saving the posts and you have high engagement, it leads us to think that maybe you've been purchasing engagements. It's definitely something that you want to watch, understand, and look through. Go into your Insights, look at your most saved posts, see what they are, and try and figure out how to optimize for that.

    It is useless if you don't report it back to brands and tell them what's happening and get excited about that. It's definitely a way to separate yourself, and just know it is a metric that we as a company are watching very closely, and we're reporting to our brand partners, so you should start to pull that into your reports as well.

    I haven't heard people talking about saves or how many people sent that post to a friend. You need to be thinking about this. There's only so many metrics that are in your Instagram and you need to be understanding-- Again, ask yourself, "Why would somebody send this post to a friend?" Because they want that friend to see it, because they're interested in it, because they're making fun of you. There's only so many options of why they would send this to somebody.

    If you have a post that has a lot of sends and a lot of saves, you have to ask yourself why, and try and take a guess. Then as you're looking at all of your content, you're seeing the performance of those things, start to try and understand what is happening and understand how to tell that story to brands because I'm not hearing a lot of brands talk about it. I don't think a lot of brands are thinking about it. It doesn't mean they shouldn't be, and certainly, we are banging the drum about it.

    It is a metric that's going to become more important in the coming weeks, or in the coming months.
    Episode #142
    - Saves (The New Like), Staying on a Brands Radar, Negotiation Tips
  • This brings up something I wanted to talk about which we will get to answering that question. Something I've been talking to our brand partners about which I see is a pretty big problem in the space, which is not fully influencers' fault and not fully brands' faults.

    In general, I think that influencer marketing has gotten too transactional in that a brand comes to work with you guys, they do a sponsored post, or they do some gifting-- excuse me. They do a sponsored post or some gifting, and then you just don't hear from them anymore, they just disappear. You're probably left being like, "What the hell? I thought we were going to have this relationship and now you've ghosted me."

    You've told your followers you love this brand, `and this brand is so great, and then they never hear about it again. As an influencer, when you onboard someone to be a brand partner, to do a sponsored post with, you need to be thinking about that as a six month thing. You need to be thinking about how you're going to continue to support the brand. This is something that Idalia talks about in her talks.

    I believe her and I talked about it on her podcast, which I was on, which Tim will throw a link to. When any of her talent does a deal, she always gets them to do some bonus organic posts for the brand after their sponsorship is done. I don't think you do your followers a service by just posting about a brand once and then peacing out. Every influencer I talk to, every influencer panel I've watched, influencers sit up there and they say, "I would never do a sponsored post for a brand that I don't love."

    Then they post about it once and they never fucking talk about it again. I'm led to believe, feels like maybe you guys are doing posts for brands that you don't love and that's okay, like we've talked about that before. The fact that like you can't absolutely love every single brand that you work with, but I do think you have a responsibility to your followers and to your client and to your brand partners to try and integrate that product into your life more.

    I'm not saying you have to give them 10 in-feed posts for free, but if you do a sponsored post for them, try and get them in your stories, try and include them in a "What's in my bag?" post. Try and do something. Then as time goes on, if there's opportunities for you to reach out to try and get gifted products-- Let's say it's a makeup brand, you do a post for their foundation, and you're going on a trip, and they have a new foundation with SPF that just came out, reach out to them.

    Ask if you can get some so that you can post about it when you're on your fabulous beach vacation as I sit in a conference room and bang my head against the wall for 10 hours a day. Get proactive, get creative. We talked about doing newsletters for brands and a lot of you have done that, and a lot of you have told me that you're getting brand deals from your newsletters, and that is working.

    You also need to have some sort of CMS that has all your brand partners, and maybe the last time that you've mentioned them organically. I would have who my brand partner is, how much money to date I have made off of them total lifetime, the last time they've worked with me in an official paid capacity, and the last time I've talked about them organically. If a brand had paid me, I would make sure that no more than three months goes by without talking about them organically because this is a relationship.

    You have to understand the expectation on the brand side when they pay you is that they want this to become part of your life. If you work with that brand, you're like all in on it. You love this product, you think it's life-changing, it's incredible, and they send it to you. Here's an example, I had a meeting the other day with a client-- I'm not going to say who, and they talked about how they paid an influencer to talk about their product and they were happy with the post.

    A month later in their stories, they saw a competitor's product in their kitchen that had replaced their product, and that competitor hadn't paid them, but they just never used the product. The brand was really upset because understandably, they're like, "What the fuck?" Yes, they didn't pay for exclusivity, but I do think as an influencer, you have to try to make the brand a bigger part of your life.

    I think that to have longevity in this space, you need to build great relationships with brand partners that can carry you on for years. I think your audience will start to know you're a fan of that brand, and you love them, and you'll support them. You need to be thinking about those things. Look, I slap brands on the wrists, too. I think brands do a terrible job by continuing to gift the partners that they work with an official capacity.

    It's something that we are pushing pretty hard to say, "If you pay someone, you should be sending them something every month. You should be giving them opportunities to talk about you. Otherwise, what are they supposed to do?" They have to be thinking about what you're launching, go out and buy it, and promote it.

    It is a two sided thing and both sides need to get better. As an influencer, I think you need to be keeping some sort of documentation of the brands that you've worked with, when the last time they paid you was, and when the last time you talked about them organically was, and start to build a system that makes sure you stay on top of that because it's just good business, honestly. End rant.
    Episode #142
    - Saves (The New Like), Staying on a Brands Radar, Negotiation Tips
  • I do swear a lot. I swear a decent amount when I'm speaking and on this show. I almost never swear in writing. I think that cursing in writing is lazy and I don't think it does anything and it feels a lot more aggressive and crass than when you're speaking, personally. I almost never curse in writing. I tried to read, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck, and it was just such an unbelievable piece of dogshit that book.

    The whole time I was like, "This guy is a terrible writer and he's trying to hide that by cursing a lot." That's how he's being cool. Is by saying, fuck, a lot. In writing it's just totally lazy. Some famous writer wrote something about cursing and writing and being lazy. Where to draw the line with brands? Let's say I was an influencer and I'm like, "This is me. I am who I am and I curse." Or if one of my salespeople came and said, "Hey, some of our clients are really conservative and it'd be great if you wouldn't curse in A Drink With James anymore."

    You have to know that those things have consequences. There are brands that won't work with you if you're feed is to risque, if you have too much nudity, and too much sexuality in the feed there are brands that won't work with you. I've been in those meetings where brands have said they didn't want to work with people male and female because they were too overtly sexual.

    Now, that same door that closes there opens other ones where brands are looking for people who put their sexuality out there front, who are really aggressive about it. They want people like that. It all evens out in the end, but I do think that cursing in writing, unless there's a very specific reason, because I do think it's jarring. If you're going to use it needs to be very intentional. The last time I cursed in writing on Instagram, was when I was talking about the new office and I was like, "It has been so fucking hard to build his business," or something like that. I made the choice to say that because I wanted it to jump out and be something that people noticed but in general using it as lazy and terrible. Obviously, never use it in a sponsored post unless the brand is like that's who they are.

    "Too long didn't read," in stories and stuff it's okay. It might throw some people off but written I would avoid it.
    Episode #141
    - Overdelivering Assets, Responding to DMs, Swearing on Instagram
  • Over-delivery is always appreciated. If you've used our new content approval tool at four on campaigns, if the brand is supposed to pick one image we ask influencers to give at least three options.

    If you're sending something through for approval you have to send more than one option. You can't just send the one photo and be like, "This is the photo." It's great for micro influencers to say like, "Hey, here's some extra high-res photos you guys can use on social," or something if you're trying to build your account and not just get paid. If you're a bigger influencer, this question was asked by someone who has about 300K I would probably be trying to charge for that, for additional assets. Because that is work you're doing for a brand.

    If they have the ability to use the assets and you have over 100,000 followers then they should be paying to use those assets. If you are just saying, "I know there's one photo but I sent 10 for approval." That's great. The more choice the brand's going to have, the better. You can never know exactly what somebody wants and giving them options is great. It also makes it feel like you really worked hard and you went above and beyond. You didn't just send one photo.

    Let me just side note here, nothing pisses me off more, and I know my execution team as well, than when we're paying an influencer and they send something through for approval and it is an iPhone photo in the mirror. It's just like, "Are you fucking high? Are you kidding? You're fucking kidding me." I'm paying you thousands of dollars and you took out an iPhone and was like, "That felt like a good hard day's work." That is insane. It is a slap in the face to brands if you do that. Slap in the face. What it says to us fair or unfair is, "I don't give a shit about this and I don't care enough to actually try."

    If you're aesthetic is iPhone photos in the mirror, cool. I would definitely explain that when you send it through to brands. I would say, "Hey. These posts tend to do quite a bit better than my editorial ones. I did shoot some editorial shots but I also included an iPhone one. I just wanted to let you know that those do a lot better in general." Overall, is over-delivery good? Always. Once you get to a certain size should you be charging for people using the assets? Yes, that's your likeness. You don't know if it could mess with another brand collaboration or something you have coming up in the coming months. It's just something to watch out for.
    Episode #141
    - Overdelivering Assets, Responding to DMs, Swearing on Instagram
  • Question number one was actually from a brand and was asking when influencers DM asking for opportunities. If they're not a good fit for the brand, the brand will reply back and say, "Hey. We don't have any opportunities right now. Thanks so much for reaching out. Unfortunately, we don't have any opportunities this season." Then, they're saying, the influencer then reaches out the next season and says, "Do you have any opportunities now?" I'm going to talk to my brand people for a second and we'll bring it back to influencers as well.

    It's a tough one. As a brand, you don't want to put in writing, "Thanks for reaching out but there is no way in hell we would ever work with you." Because obviously they could screenshot that and take it in some way and it could become this whole thing that you just don't want to deal with. There is this delicate balance of rejecting people, but doing it in a way that doesn't feel overly harsh. Also, you don't want to waste their time and you don't want to waste your time. You don't want them sending the same message four times a year asking for an opportunity and you having to, once again, say, "Hey. There's no opportunities."

    I do think one, influencers try and reach out on email, the DM thing is pretty annoying. I don't know any companies that I can think of where the person who handles influencer marketing handles their Instagram account. You're barking up the wrong tree. There's the social team, the social team is the brand's content, and there's the influencer team. Those teams, as far as I can think about right now with our clients, are never the same team. Reaching out and DMing a brand is not the right contact.

    Now, if you're a brand and you're turning someone down via email or on DM, I would just say, "Thank you so much for reaching out. Right now, we don't have any opportunities that would be a good fit. We've taken note of your name and we will reach out if anything changes. Thank you so much." That says subtly, "Thanks but no thanks." This is advice for influencers as well. If anyone reaches out to you and they want to do a collab or something, you don't want to lead people on because that's really annoying. You don't want to say, "It'd be great. Let's definitely do something," and then just make it really hard to schedule with you. That's really fucking annoying.

    You could say, "That's so sweet. Thank you so much for reaching out. Right now, I'm not doing any collabs with other influencers. Or right now I'm really busy. Love your feed, if anything changes, I'll reach out."

    If you're never going to reach out and you're never going to work with that person, you don't want them leaving feeling like you're a jerk. You also don't want them leaving feeling like, well, I could get this, maybe in six months it's going to happen, if it's never going to happen. Because that only causes people to get more angry. Learning how to say no to people in a respectful and kind but firm way is a life skill that is absolutely needed and is hard to learn.

    I struggled with this a lot when I was younger, I was a people-pleaser, I didn't like confrontation, I didn't like to let people down. I would avoid telling them bad news until it was so late that I couldn't possibly get out of it. I really tried now to have this new rule where when I have some news to deliver that I don't want to, I try and give myself 15 minutes. No more, no less. I literally used to hit a stopwatch and say, "I've got bad news I've got to tell my boss." Boom, 15 minutes starting at the end of this I have to have told him. For me, it was the only way to retrain my brain to deliver that bad news quickly and it has made my life exponentially better.

    It's meant that sometimes I can't deliver the news in the way that I want or it's through text when I'd rather it be in person. You start playing head games with yourself like, "I'll just tell him next time. I'm going to tell my friend this bad news tonight when we go out for drinks." Then you go out for drinks and they're like, "Hey, I'm breaking with my girlfriend." You're like, "Well, I can't tell him now. What am I going to do?" Then you wait another week and then you keep putting it off.

    I'm going down another tangent here as far as the question goes, but I do think it is a good life skill and certainly one if you're going to be a manager or work with clients or anything. You have to be able to say no. You have to be able to push back. You have to be able to do it gracefully but firmly. That's a whole other episode we could just talk about. How to push back on clients or how to say no or how to tell people disappointing news.

    If you're an influencer, should you be responding to DMs? If you go back to thinking of your followers like clients, then you should be responding to DMs. I know it's a lot of work and maybe it's not sustainable, but you have to try and figure out a way to continue to be able to have a relationship with your audience as that audience grows and you need to have a way to scale out what you're doing.

    Maybe if you're getting similar questions, maybe you need to be doing live Q&As more or something like that. Again, I say this without knowing much about how many DMs influencers are getting and how frustrating it is to answer them. Maybe you guys can throw in the comments and have a little conversation together about what you do. I'd be interested to hear from you guys in the comments like how many followers you have, on average how many DMs you think you're getting in a week, and what percentage of those you feel like you're answering.

    Because I don't get many DMs. I mostly get people saying, "Your account looks really great and we would love to give it more engagement. Authentic real engagement. Please message back for details." I'm like, "Fuck, yes. Let's do this." Let me know.
    Episode #141
    - Overdelivering Assets, Responding to DMs, Swearing on Instagram
  • Now, it is 100% important for all influencers to have relationships with brands, especially as you get bigger and you're represented. Let's say you have half a million followers and you're paying $5,000 for a post and I reach out to you, and your agent responds, and we negotiate, and you post. Great, cool.

    I've just given you five grand and you can't even be fucking bothered to answer an email and just say like, "This is so exciting. I love the brand so much. I'm going to kick you over to my agent, and hope this works out, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." I think that as an influencer, you need to insist on having the relationship because that is really all you have. Again, as we were talking before about this stuff becoming commoditized, don't fool yourself in thinking that the influencer space is not going to be commoditized.

    As supply rushes into the market as it is right now, individual demand for each individual influencer will fall in accordance with how much the supply is going up. Your ability to continue to do what you do and charge your rates will be predicated on, one, your ability to create action and actually get your audience to do something, and two, your relationship with those brands. You need to concurrently be working on both of those things. It is just so irresponsible to not have a direct relationship with the brands.

    This is the whole joy of having an agent is that they get to be the bad guy who pushes on the contract terms, who pushes on the price, who pushes on the amount of deliverables and how long you have to be at the events and all that stuff. You get to be the final one who, once a year, you go out to dinner or drinks with them. You send them champagne when you see that they got engaged. Again, how many times do we have to say it, follow your brand contacts on Instagram and comment on their shit. This is very simple. This is very, very simple.

    You have half a million followers and you're commenting on their photos and all their friends are like, "Oh, my God that influencer is like you guys know each other." Like, "Yes, we work together. It's not a big deal." That's a moment, for the person at that brand, that is cool that you can create 20 times a day very easily. Again, follow all your brand contacts and mute them. Then once a week, go into the accounts that you've muted, go in, interact a little bit, do some commenting, boom, done. This is an hour of your life, people, and I promise it will bear fruit.

    If you have an agent and you are not maintaining your brand relationships you need to rapidly change that. If your agent is keeping you from those brand relationships fire them without question don't hesitate just done because if if you stop working together they take those relationships with them to wherever they go next you don't get to keep them. You need to make it a big part of what you're doing.I don't know what percentage of your time you should be spending doing this but if it was less than 10% I would be alarmed.
    Episode #140
    - Niche Mastery, Sponsored Instagram Stories, Brand Interactions
  • The question was actually, are influencers over 40 on our radar? and some suggestions for influencers who are operating in the food segment. I'll blow that out to talk about niches in general. One, short answer, to the first part of the question, we definitely are looking at influencers with older audiences. A lot of the purchasing power in the United States is locked up in people that are over the age of 40. Those audiences are increasingly coming to Instagram a little late, and those audiences are generally smaller, but we're finding that they operate and act a lot like influencer audiences used to years ago. They're more engaged. They're more ready to buy. They're ready to buy. They're ready to swipe up. They're excited.

    We are finding a lot of effectiveness working with older influencers, and it's definitely a place for watching. It's something we're really excited about. That's just absolutely, if anyone's watching the show and you're over 40, keep going. I think the next couple years are going to be great for influencers who are over 40, as far as the volume of brand deals that start coming in because it's just this very interesting untapped market that is full of people ready to take their wallet out, which is a marketer's dream, really. Speaking to other nations, in general, I think that, again, there's this thought that everything's been done and there's no space for you to come and do something interesting.

    When I thought of food, I initially thought of Infatuation, which I'm sure you guys have heard of. This was a blog started by a couple of guys who were in the music industry, and now, quite a big business. They bought Zagat Guide recently. When they launched, they weren't doing anything different. They were doing food reviews. They were doing them in their voice, and they had a little bit of differentiation as far as tagging restaurants as being big for good groups or big for people watching.

    In general, I think they focused a little less on the food than a normal food review would and more on the experience of dining out in that place. One of my things that got me reading Infatuation was their review of Rao's, which is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. The first line is like, "If you can't have a good time at Rao's, you're an asshole," which would just not be in a normal food review, but it was just a food review site. I think that, again, there's this potential frustration of like everything's been done but the guys who started that, it wasn't innovative.

    It was just a fucking food review site. There's nothing different about it really. It's just that their voice and their point of view is different, and it has become this big thing. There is always an opportunity, in any of these niches, to do something. The other thing I think with Infatuation, specifically, is they're a food brand, but most of the advertising that they seem to work with is lifestyle brands because food has become such a part of lifestyle. That's not becoming.

    Obviously, food has always been pretty important to people's lives and living, but interesting that when you see the people that they work with, the brands that they work with, it's generally not people in the food space. I think that, again, if you're a travel influencer and you're frustrated because it's harder to make money, I do think there is a way to cross verticals and start integrating other things. If you're a travel influencer, can you work with beauty or fashion brands? Absolutely. You have to be a little more aggressive in getting those people to come to you because they're not thinking of you.

    Obviously, Infatuation is now quite big, and they're a very hip company right now, but I imagine, in the beginning, they were doing a lot of pitching. Amex wasn't just coming to them being like, "Hey, I want to do this big thing." They were probably saying like, "Hey, we have this really exciting thing happening, and it's involving food and people and all this thing, and you can pull your lifestyle brand into this in a really exciting way."

    If you're in a niche that is outside of the verticals that are pulling a lot of money, and for influencers right now, you can think about how can those brands work with you? As always, think about what you're doing different. What is the thing that you're doing that no one else is doing? Because there is always room to just reinvent an existing business. Like, again, Infatuation is a reinvention of a Zagat Guide. Funny that they ended up buying it. Tesla is just a reinvention of Ford. Amazon is probably in some ways a reinvention of like Walmart. It's the same thing just done in a little different way.

    There's always room for you. There's always room to do something interesting, but you have to be doing it in a way that is different and unique to you. I think, long term, if I was not in any niche, I would worry about being too replaceable. Because Infatuation is built on their tone of voice and their perspective of the world, right now, they can't be replaced because they own that whole way of talking about restaurants. They have a really good defensible position, as far as the business goes.

    If your brand and that brand can be your Instagram feed, is just like plain white toast, nobody's mad about toast but not a lot of people are super passionate about it either. That's actually probably not true. People do really like toast but probably not white toast. You have to worry about being replaced easily. You become interchangeable with a lot of people. Things start to commoditize and prices fall.

    If you're not in a niche and you don't have something super specific that is specific to you, then people can price shop and say, "Okay, I'm looking for an LA blogger who's wearing high pony and Adidas track pants all the time." It's like, "Okay, there's 1000 of those." You can price shop a little more than you could if you have something really specific and unique that you do because you can hold your ground and say, "This is me, and if you want me you have to pay a premium for that."
    Episode #140
    - Niche Mastery, Sponsored Instagram Stories, Brand Interactions
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