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  • This on the back of Danielle Bernstein from we were launching Moe, which is an assistant/productivity tool for influencers. Jenny from Margo and Me is launching a social shopping app. Look, it makes sense. One of the great things about technology is, there's no sizing. You don't have to worry about skin. It's not like a foundation where you worry about skin tone, you don't have to worry if someone's allergic to it.

    You can make money while you sleep. You don't have to ship it. There are no returns. Technology is a beautiful thing if you can get it right. I applaud Jenny and Danielle for going out and trying to do something different. Running a technology company, being seven years into this is certainly a difficult thing. I was interested to talk to someone else who had run a technology company as an influencer because, well, for me what is interesting about this isn't that they're launching these new apps. That's great and wish them the best of luck. What's interesting is that when Danielle launched swimwear, we talked about that and that made total sense. She posts about swimwear a lot. She's had a good relationship with that brand. She designed something for herself so that it did incredibly well. Awesome. I'm interested in people moving into technology because, while the tools they build are helping or made for influencers or made for social. It's not exactly a one for one in the same way that designing a capsule collection of clothing is. Instead of me pontificating about why someone would do this, I wanted to talk to Tezza, who had been running the Tezza app for a little over a year now.

    She just hit two million downloads on that app. I thought it would be a good time to bring her in and ask her what it's like to run a technology company. Let's cut to her. You guys know I am always looking for an excuse to drag Tezza into the office, found another one. You just hit two million downloads on your app. Congratulations.

    James: Two million downloads on the app. Absolutely incredible. What we're talking about, as I mentioned, is influencers creating and launching digital products. You were one of the first that I remember that had an app that has now become quite successful. We'd love to hear a year in, some of the things that you've learned in creating digital products.

    Tezza: Yes, for sure. I mean, I think, one who was our first digital product and we definitely didn't set out like, I think some other people I know who hire a team and really go through all of these things you need to do before you launch, we just were like, this sounds fun-

    James: You didn't raise money.

    Tezza: We didn't raise money.

    James: You didn’t hire a team

    Tezza: We didn't hire a team.

    James: Cole did the development.

    Tezza: Yes, and for like a year of building it, we almost gave up probably 100 times, it was really hard. We had no expertise in this specific area. It was shooting in the dark and I think the first thing we learned was, I mean, one the coolest part about being an influencer and having an app is that you get immediate feedback. People are just going to tell you what they think, whether you like it or not. In that case, I think we marketed in our heads building the app to a specific customer when we launched and we quickly learned that that was not our customer.

    James: Who did you think it was you were launching for?

    Tezza: We were really going for like the premium people that already were using our presets and really wanted to be able to also use the app and go Asian-- on the go not for like, every single person, but people felt like, I was literally pulling their wallet out of their pocket and taking money from them because I was like charging them for this app and we actually did a whole price restructure and we changed the whole goal of the app. I think probably two months in, we were already like re-working on the new plan.

    James: You felt like customers said, wait, sorry. You felt like initially, you got pricing wrong?

    Tezza: Pricing wrong, and customer wrong.

    James: What was wrong about the pricing? It was too expensive?

    Tezza: Too expensive. I mean, it's-- People don't understand that when you build an app, I mean, it was a full-time job for every single night, we'd stay up till 2:00 AM, whereas we have another job and-

    James: Quite a few jobs honestly.

    Tezza: Quite a few jobs and people just expect like apps to be free. That's like the mentality of apps. The second you charge people are obviously going to care but that's okay. Like I was prepared for that. I've done other products, but I just think that was the quickest learning group. The second we really did just pay attention to what people were saying, we thought, "Okay, let's just involve them in this process," and so we were open about it, our mistakes and everything.

    James: How did you do that? Was it going out and saying like, “Hey, I want feedback”, were you emailing customers, was that happening mostly in your Instagram?

    Tezza: Mostly on Instagram. The hardest part about apps, you don't necessarily capture someone's email unless you're doing a login and that whole thing and even still, you have to be careful about how you're using those emails. It's not like my email list where I'm just blasting and I can talk to people, so mostly over Instagram. Truthfully, if it wasn't for like the App Store reviews, I would have never known how bad it was because in the reviews, people just went like, it was like a YouTube channel where people just say what it was like, I like literally, I never get like that much negative feedback. I was like, “Oh, my gosh, like what have we done?” We're like, “Cancel the app, it's over”.

    James: Pull it from the app store.

    Tezza: Yes. We quickly just changed everything and we responded to every single review, we were like, “Hey, thanks for your feedback, we've actually now changed it please let us know what you think.” Quickly, that really started to build our community because they felt like she listened to what I was saying and so, they really became our biggest users of the app in the beginning.

    James: I mean, I think that like something that is overlooked and it's hard as an influencer, you already have this big audience. You feel like everything you put out has to be perfect. You're a perfectionist. I know, I’ve seen your photos, I know how long you spend editing them. If you guys haven't heard A Drink for James episode, you should. A long time. To put something out into the world that wasn't perfect, when you released it, were you like, “This is God's gift to apps,” or were you like, “This is pretty rough, let's see how this goes?”

    Tezza: I wouldn't say I felt like it was rough, but I definitely didn't-- We had so many plans were like the App would just constantly be like, we'll release updates with new features and all this stuff, so I knew it was always going to be growing and changing but I didn't think it was as rough as it was. One thing I did not really understand about technology is that, the amount of bugs that happen. People would be like, "I saved my photo three times, re-imported it, did this." I'm like, "Why would you even do that?" It's crashing. I'm like, "Oh my gosh." We're trying to figure out all these bugs.

    James: I'll put a 200-megabyte TIFF file into it and I won't edit it. What's going on?

    Tezza: Yes. I was just like, "This is crazy." That was why we were able to make it better quicker, I would say.

    James: Looking back on it now, two million downloads later over a year after, if you could go back in time, would you have waited two more months and polished it or would you have launched it as is? Would you have launched it even earlier? To everyone watching who's maybe thinking about an app idea or a business idea, should they be trying to just get it out in the world as quick as possible?

    Tezza: I would say, if I did it again, I might find some people and have them help do testing with me. Involve people in the process that I know would be using it. I guess, really, when we did it, we just thought, this is a cool idea. Let's see if we can do it. Once we did it, we were like, "Let's put it out there." But I would probably do more testing and talk to people. I'm now becoming more business-minded but I would say, I'm really good at creating stuff and that's my jam. I'm not the best of the business or I'm getting better at it but I think you're going to learn so much as you launch anyway.

    I think most apps from what Coulson's school teaches me all the app stuff, guys but like most things break. That's just the nature of tech. You have to just constantly be updating it. I wouldn't say I would have done it sooner, yes, if I could have but definitely, now, it evolves so much. It's been one year. It feels like it's been five.

    James: I guess that's the fun part about technology is every week, every day, you can make changes. I think that, for those of you who are not as in this world, there is something called an MVP, which is the minimum viable product. The idea is to get something as barebones enough to test the idea. Do people care about this idea before you invest a hundred grand into building this very complex thing or six months of your life into it? The key is, I think, what you've learned and maybe what you would do differently is that that MVP has to work.
    Scale it back. The design doesn't have to be perfect, doesn't have to have every feature you want but getting bug testing, making sure it actually operates in the way it should will keep people from being too upset and then just asking for more features. I hear that's when you know you have product market fit is people are asking you for new features all the time. I'm sure you get people constantly that are like, "Can I get this? I wish I had this. I love the app but I wish it did this."

    Again, I feel like in the last month, you have had skincare, you've had sunglasses, you've hit a million downloads on the app, then two million on the app. You have a lot going on. How do you see technology fitting into the overall stack of what Tezza Inc. is putting out into the world?

    Tezza: It's a good question. I think it's something like we're currently trying to figure out, is it something that's completing our full circle in the long run or is it a separate thing? Because the app, I always thought it would be people I knew using the app but now, it's gone beyond me and it's actually bigger in Indonesia than the US. I don't even know why. Love you out there?

    James: Do you know have a big Indonesia shirt yet?

    Tezza: No. I'm going to get one. I just think, overall, I would probably, for me, the tech aspect is so exciting because the overhead is just so much easier than products and if that's something-- The future of that, I think, there's so much potential. I think you can always combine fashion and tech. I think we're learning that so much. So many people are trying to do that, so I see potential there for the future. You can have so many ideas for one little thing but you also don't want to over-cram something that's working. That's the balance we're trying to figure out.

    James: Last question. I think technology is really intimidating for a lot of people that aren't technically savvy. I run a technology company. I can't write a single line of code. There's this idea that if you don't understand technology, you can't run a technology company. Any word or advice to non-technical people watching this who have an idea for an app or a website about launching?

    Tezza: Yes. I would just say, find somebody and have a conversation. For example, I know nothing about coding but I'm always talking about the functionality, the way things move and that's a huge part of tech, even just visually, the way, if things are animated in the app, and I feel like we're all creative-minded. That's something we're all always thinking about. I think there's so many people entering the tech space.

    Young people looking for a job. It's one of the best things you can have for a career right now. I would just find somebody that's also looking to team up and build the product because it can get expensive to hire a developer. If you can actually just find someone that you're teaming up with, that might be a better solution.

    James: Yes. I think it's a great way to frame it is like, if you looked at the world's best designers, I bet they couldn't make their designs. They could never sit at a sewing machine and actually make those probably. You don't have to be the executor of your vision. To have vision, you don't have to understand technology to tell someone how you want your app to work.

    Tezza: Exactly. Such a good point.
    Episode #169
    - Instagram App Updates, Investing in Digital Products, Brand Roles
  • First of all, there is some new stuff that just dropped on Instagram, I'm sure you all have seen it. I don't know if you use Instagram that often but there's new stuff on there, and then we've got a bunch of stuff I hear that's coming down the pipeline. First of all, let's talk about what's new, Threads.

    Downloaded Threads, it's essentially taking your DMs off of Instagram into its own app and then allowing you-- It's very similar to Snapchat. It makes it very easy to send photos and DMs to specifically, your close friends. This is part of Instagram and Facebook's drive towards more private messaging, more one-on-one messaging. This is something that Mark Zuckerberg came out and said maybe a year and a half ago, he was going to start to be a focus with them as they started to focus on privacy. For me, Threads isn't that interesting. Young people use these social platforms in a very different way that we do, and I'm sure it is an attempt to steal some of that young business away from Snapchat.

    Another is removing the following tab, which for the stalkers out there is super depressing. I used to love to see my bro-y friends from high school and be like, "Bro-y friend one liked eight photos," and it's just like eight thirst traps, not realizing that his wife could also see that tab. We also used to use that back in the early days before we built Follower Health. It was an easy way to see if someone was using a bot to engage because you could see them engaging and then you would go into the photos they engaged with and it was a Russian with 14 followers and 2 photos. That is gone. I imagine some of it was probably pressure from celebrities not wanting their activity to be public. That is gone.

    Those are really the two big changes that have come out. There's a couple interesting things that have been rumored that I've seen screenshots of, let's run through them really quick. One, Instagram stories is going to get gridded layouts so you can do two, four, six photos and a single Instagram story is going to essentially try and replace Unfold. Sorry to the Unfold founders, but as we know, Facebook is going to try and destroy all of us, so a good reminder for us.

    They're ripping off TikTok. I told you guys a few months ago, they hired one of the lead designers at Vine. They're rolling out something that is similar to TikTok. It's a camera, it's got some editing features to create short little videos. We'll see how that goes. Seeing screenshots for being able to share comments with friends. I think this is in response to some of the, again, to this idea of like people loving to share celebrities' comments and things and just start conversations around the engagement, so sharing comments. A screenshot for desktop messaging.

    This is something they've said for years that they've been working on and is 100% in their pipeline. Desktop DMs seem to be coming in the not so distant future, that will be awesome. There's a stop motion camera, for Instar stories, for creating easy stop motion movies. If you're still in 2010 and you're in the stop motion, that will be exciting for you. IGTV series, so you can create a series in IGTV and I think those-- All of the videos in that series will be nested inside of that.

    Our friend Jesse Kirby does weekly outfit videos on IGTV. She could name that series and it would all live in one place. There is two new types of boomerangs. There's one that's going to pause at the end of the loop and one that's going to like wiggle at the end of the loop. I don't know what that's going to look like. Apparently, that's coming down the line. Notification filters, so for all y'all who actually have a big following, not me, you're going to be able to filter your notifications, I think, to maybe be able to see just people you follow or close friends, so you don't miss notifications that I know could get lost if you get tens of thousands of notifications.

    Lastly, they are testing out some layouts, some new layouts for Explorer. I haven't really seen screenshots for it yet, but Explorer as it is. The way that content gets pulled into Explorer has changed quite a bit in the last few years. I don't think the general layout or design of Explorer has changed much other than including video and IGTV and now stories. Interested to see what they do with Explorer. That is new stuff that is coming down the pipeline on Instagram. As always, important to stay on top of this stuff. If you've seen our interview with Taylor Lorenz who's now an internet culture writer at the New York Times, who also writes about influencers, she's a good Twitter follow. She's on top of all this shit and is a good person to keep an eye on if you are wanting to know what's coming down the pipe.
    Episode #169
    - Instagram App Updates, Investing in Digital Products, Brand Roles
  • Yes, it does. Next question. No, it's a funny question, but I understand and I approve of influencers being, "Hey, this isn't sponsored." Also, if you're really diligent with your disclosures, you shouldn't have to say, "It's not sponsored."

    Just saying, it's not sponsored is enough. "I genuinely love it," I think to anyone paying close attention, it does make it feel like you don't genuinely love your sponsored content. I know I talk about Erika, Retro Flame, a good amount. I think she does disclosures really well. Like she was recently gifted a stay at a hotel in Ireland, where she's from, if you can't tell from her bright red hair and her very thick Irish accent, she's from Ireland.

    Before she covered the hotel and her stay, she said, "Hey, guys, I'm really excited to stay here. I've actually paid to stay here before, this time they gifted the room. Anytime I talk about the hotel, or if they gifted me an experience, I'm going to put, hashtag gifted there, just so you guys know." Then she went through her stay and always had that disclosure. I thought that was a really upfront way to deal with it. Following her for years now, she's always super transparent with her disclosures. When there's no disclosure, I know it's not sponsored. She's built that trust, I think over years.

    I think the best way to delineate your sponsored from organic content is not to be like, "Hey, guys, this isn't sponsored. I actually just really love it," because it does undermine your partnerships. Instead, to just be very upfront, don't be embarrassed, don't be ashamed. Don't try and hide that it's an ad, don't try and hide that it's sponsored with a little hashtag in the bottom right-hand corner of your story, be upfront about it.

    In conclusion, the best way to separate your sponsored from your organic content is, to just be super upfront about what is sponsored. You should be excited about the partnerships. You should say, "I am super excited to be showing guys this. I've been using it for weeks. It's really worked. I love this brand. I think you guys are going to love it. These posts are sponsored, I'm going to be really upfront about that."

    Then your organic content will stand alone because it will be different, and you're not trying to hide what is sponsored and what isn't. Don't be afraid of putting out there that something is sponsored. Also, just so we remember, don't also make 50% of your feed sponsored, that also does not work at all.
    Episode #168
    - “Perfect Photos”, Hiding Likes, Sponsored vs. Organic Endorsements
  • Is Instagram ruining the world, specifically the natural world? There was this article about how Instagram is ruining all these national parks because people are going to them specifically to get photos. There was the article when the super bloom was happening in California about people laying and the poppy fields and ruining those. If you've been to Venice any time in the last two years, you realize what a fucking nightmare it is in the summer.

    Instagram has certainly increased travel and I think that when people travel, they increasingly want- they think about the photos that they're going to take. If they're going to Yosemite, they definitely look through the location tags and they look at the photos they want, and they find the ones that really do quite well and they want to replicate them.

    I actually saw my friend who works at Instagram, Christie. I'm not going to give her last name because you guys will fucking hound her and she doesn't need that. I saw Christie recently was at Yosemite and she was commenting on this and saying that she was shooting that rock, that ledge that people take photos on. She was saying that she clicked on the location tag and it just made her really sad to see the risks people were taking with their lives to get content.

    Recently a couple died in that exact spot, a newlywed couple died trying to get an Instagram photo. It's easy for people to poke fun at that maybe because it is ridiculous. As an influencer, you have to understand that people will probably try and replicate the things you're doing. Just look at the bend it like Tezza hashtag. Now, the worst that can happen there is if I tried, I'd throw my back out or I pull a hammy or something, but people will try and replicate things that they see doing well on Instagram.

    If you are doing dangerous things, especially if you're someone like- one of those parkour freaks or something and you're jumping around on shit and hanging off the sides of buildings, I don't know that many people hanging off buildings are watching this show, but I do think that you have to understand that those things are going to try and be replicated by your audience and that those are dangerous and you might be responsible for somebody getting hurt.

    Another side of this other than crowding European cities or national parks is just promoting this jet-set life where you're constantly traveling. That feels to a lot of people that is what success looks like, a life where they're constantly on vacation and constantly traveling. I just saw an influencer, cubicle. I think she is on the Instagram Park & Cube she used to be. She just recently said that she is going to try and cut down to three flights a month.

    She's like, "That may seem like a lot, but I was doing 10 or 15 flights a month a lot of times," and she is saying to try and be more sustainable, she is going to try and limit herself to three flights a month and only going to go on trips that really are impactful, and that she really feels are going to bring her joy. I think that this concept of endless summer and constantly traveling feels really glamorous, but it does have repercussions not only on those places and fucking up the ecosystems of our national parks, but also on the environment in promoting jumping on a plane and pouring tons and tons of pollution into the air every time you do that. I think it is worth thinking about, and thinking about your responsibility, and thinking about the things in the lifestyles you're promoting.
    Episode #168
    - “Perfect Photos”, Hiding Likes, Sponsored vs. Organic Endorsements
  • We keep talking about hiding likes. Now Facebook is talking about hiding likes, Twitter is talking about hiding likes, everyone's hiding likes. This is the new fucking cool kids thing to do. We're all hiding likes. I don't know if I could hide likes. Maybe I'll just like start-- I already don't like many people. I'm way ahead of the curve. I've been hiding my likes for ages. Everyone thinks I hate them, like most people do, I digress.

    Facebook hiding likes, I don't-- Honestly, who gives a shit? Twitter hiding likes, I think is stupid. I do not think that's the play. I think Twitter is so much about virality, and about getting things to go viral that I pay attention more when a tweet has a lot of likes. Because it's not as much about followers, but I think about your ability to get something to go viral on Twitter, that hiding likes will really make the platform significantly less interesting.

    It's also much less of a like a FOMO thing on Twitter, it's much more about being funny, being smart, articulate, or if you're in Republican, being a troll. Not all Republicans are trolls. Don't make me fucking caveat this shit. It's about those things, less about like, "How great I am, look at me, look at how beautiful I am, look at how beautiful my life is." I think removing likes would really be terrible and make the platform much less interesting.

    Look, old Jack Dorsey doesn't really seem to give a shit what people on Twitter are interested in. As all they ask for is, "Please stop letting people say that they're going to chop my head off and put it in a garbage disposal." They seem to do nothing about bullying, he probably will do it. Look out for that. I'm sure the dumpster fire, that is Twitter, will continue to devolve. Caveat, I love Twitter and I use it constantly. If you are a heavy Twitter user, you know it's a dumpster fire that is ruining your life, but you can't get away from it.
    Episode #168
    - “Perfect Photos”, Hiding Likes, Sponsored vs. Organic Endorsements
  • There are exciting things going on at Fohr. We released last week testimonials 2.0. We talked about this a few months ago, the ability for you all to go out to your audience and get them to leave you testimonials. You can now view all those testimonials, you can feature testimonials that you want to be shown on your page, you can also download any testimonials as an Insta story and you can see this little section where your audience answered questions about where they find you influential, if they purchase products based on your posts, and if so, how often they do that.

    Interesting evolution of the tool, if you haven't gotten testimonials yet, do it. It's super easy. You go to your page, you download the stories, grab the link, drive your followers to that link and they'll just start rolling in. If you haven't checked it out, you haven't been back to your Fohr account in a while, bounced over there and check it out.
    Episode #168
    - “Perfect Photos”, Hiding Likes, Sponsored vs. Organic Endorsements
  • I have talked quite a bit about influencer's behavior towards brands and making sure you don't burn bridges and making sure you're professional and prompt and kind. What happens if a brand is being abusive and they're asking for too much? The example here was somebody who accepted experience in exchange for some posts. They were excited about it. The day before the experience was set to happen, they got a full brief with what they wanted the captions to be, how many stories they wanted, how many in feeds they wanted.

    She pushed back, and she said, "This is too much for gifting so I'm going to pull out." The brand then started really aggressively hounding the influencer. When you're working with a brand, it doesn't matter how big they are, it doesn't matter how long they have been around, you need to come to the table as equals. If you ever feel like a brand is treating you less than, I would walk away from that relationship even if it was one that was paying a lot of money.

    That's a lesson I learned from a woman who runs all of the influencer work at Nike. She was talking about a certain celebrity who they felt like the celebrity wasn't respecting the Nike staff. So, they walked away from that relationship. For them, it's so important, no matter if it's an up-and-coming athlete or Michael Jordan that they respect the individual they're working with and the individual they're working with respects them and that they're on the same level. If a brand is treating you thus then if they're trying to get stuff out of you that you think is unfair, I would absolutely just politely exit and say, "Thanks so much for the opportunity, right now this isn't going to work out and I think it's best to just part ways."

    A good life rule is just never to get angry over email. If a brand is pissing you off, always, if you're detaching yourself from that, and even if you are totally valid and being like, you are abusive, you're terrible, all of these things. It's best to just be polite in writing because you're just a screenshot away from somebody taking that story and turning it into you being completely unreasonable and totally out of control and now you're trying to explain this email without all this other context. It just gets you into a very bad situation.

    So general James noted life rule, "Don't say anything shitty in an email ever." You want to say something shitty to someone? Pick up the phone. If you want to yell at someone or something, just do it over the phone, don't do it over text message, don't do it over email. That is one rule.

    Two, in general, if a brand is gifting you something, an experience or a product, when we do it, we suggest the type of content we might like. We provide a mood board of what we hoped it would look like but we also understand that by not paying you, we cede control of that post. We cannot give you a full brief, we cannot tell you what your caption could sound like.

    We make suggestions, we hope that you follow those suggestions but we are respectful of the fact that there is no contract and there's no payment and thus we cannot control the outcome of that. That is why we tell our clients to pay even if it's a small amount, we tell them to pay so we can control those things. If a brand is gifting you, and they're asking for too much and they're pushing you and trying to control what your post is going to look like or say, I think that is an abusive relationship, I doubt it's going to turn into a paid relationship. If it doesn't feel good, it probably isn't good and I would just again, respectfully walk away.

    If they've already sent you the product, send it back. I do the right thing. Even if they pissing you off, and you're like, I'm not sending this back, screw them, send the product back. Never give somebody a reason to say that you screwed them over. Just, again, in general in business, where you can just do the right thing, do the right thing because again, if you don't send that product back, and then they screenshot your angry email and say you stole the product from them and freaked out you lose control of that narrative.
    Episode #167
    - Impact of Hiding Likes, Best Influencer Qualities, Brand Harassment
  • I just want to go through six quick factors that we look at when analyzing influencers.

    First, reach and more specifically Verified Reach. We make sure that a person's reach is above average for their tier. Meaning, when you hit publish on a post, you're reaching more people with that post than most of your colleagues at the same following level as you. That is a non-starter for us. If you don't have Verified Reach, it is very unlikely that we will work with you. If you are an influencer who hasn't worked with us and you're frustrated and you don't know why and you haven't applied for a Verified Reach, that is probably why.

    Number two. Engagement. You might say, "You just told me not to care about engagement and engagement doesn't matter." When combined with reach stats, engagement is a telling indicator of how engaged someone's audience is. For us, engagement without reach is worthless because it's so easy to purchase but when we have the reach numbers and we can see engagement, it lets us know what to expect from this influencer and how they're going to perform within the confines of the algorithm as well.

    Number three is audience demographics. You can have amazing reach, you can have a huge following, you can have crazy engagement, if your audience isn't the right people that we're trying to reach, we're not going to work with you. A lot of times I get people coming to me and saying like, "Hey, I worked with this influencer. They had half a million followers and it totally didn't work." I look at the influencer and it is clear that the demographics are just completely off. Their audience is too young, they're the wrong gender, they're in the wrong income brackets. Whatever it might be it is important that the demographics match our goals. We'll look at that every single time.

    Number four. We want to work with influencers who are growing their following. There are a few greater indications of success with an influencer than a following that is growing.

    Now, you might say, "Wait, what about people who are doing giveaways?" Do you think we're complete morons? Obviously, we can tell when people are growing their following using giveaways. If they are adding followers to their account but those people aren't actually engaged with their content, it means that the algorithm won't serve their content to those people it means that their reach will be below average. It means they won't have Verified Reach. It means that we won't work with them.

    Number five. Percentage of sponsored content. If 50% of your content is sponsored, we're not going to work with you. If 40% of your content is sponsored, we will think twice about working with you. You can't have everything in your life be sponsored. There is no way a single person can like that much shit. I don't want to see a fucking commercial every single time I open Instagram. This is a whole existential threat for Instagram in general as it shifts from this entertainment and destruction tool-like engine into a shopping and advertising platform.

    I think it loses some of its soul. You just can't have half of your posts be sponsored. We tell influencers, under 25% is a good number to aim for. Go through your feed, go through the last 30 days, see what percentage of your content is sponsored. Pay attention to that and try and keep it under 25%.
    The next is we look at how much sponsored content you're doing inside of that product category v. If you have promoted four fragrances in the last month, we are not going to be the fifth. We're not idiots. Again, we absolutely look at how much sponsored content you have done inside a specific category vertical or a specific product. You can do a lot of beauty posts but if you've done three long-wear foundation sponsored posts in the last month, again, we're not going to be the fourth. Thank you very much.

    Think about how much you're doing inside of specific verticals and understand that if you oversaturate that, you make it all less effective and brands should and will stop working with you inside of that vertical. I would say, for me, once a month in a specific vertical is the absolute max. I would prefer once a quarter. Again, I don't think you can fall in love with a new fragrance every month. I'm sorry, I just don't think you can. Again, as a beauty influencer, can you try a new mascara every month? Absolutely. Less expensive products that have less loyalty attached to them lend themselves to that.

    But most products, I think once a quarter is probably a good baseline. That is the sixth things that we will always look at. There are obviously a lot of other factors. I want to say the last and maybe most important one that while we have powerful technology that helps us do this stuff really quickly, end of the day it always has a human eye on it. The last part of this process there's always a person looking at it, understanding your tone and the image quality and the way you talk about things, the length of your captions.
    Episode #167
    - Impact of Hiding Likes, Best Influencer Qualities, Brand Harassment
  • Instagram turned off likes in Australia on July 18th. We still get that data from our Australian influencers, so we are still seeing what is happening to engagement. We had our in-house data scientists take a look at some of that data and try and answer that question of what the hell is happening?

    From July 18th to today, we've got 2,200 influencers in Australia that we have data for across obviously hundreds of thousands of posts. What we saw was a 20% decrease in engagement overall. It wasn't an immediate drop, but it is part of a larger trend that we saw. Now, my caveat to this, and what we're still looking into, is that that drop in engagement seems to be happening across the entire platform. Australia did fall more. It did look like it was falling faster than the rest of the platform in general, but the rest of the platform in general is also showing a general downward slope and engagement right now.

    We're looking into that, but I feel fairly confident saying that engagement has fallen in Australia since they turned off likes, that is in no way a surprise. You're going to be less likely to probably like something if you don't see that number out there, but I will say the Fall was so far, does not seem as steep as people might have guessed. Look, we've always been saying that this is not going to affect influencers at all, this is going to be great for influencers in general, and we tell our brands, every chance we get, that engagement is just not the right metric to be looking at when you are analyzing the success or the efficacy of an influencer.

    Another thing I saw last night at Facebook was that-- Something we've been telling brands is that engagement is the wrong metric to be looking at to try and understand if something works. Last night, Facebook said the same thing. They had graphs showing that engagement has no correlation with a post being remembered and being effective, so engagement has absolutely no correlation with a post's efficacy. The only thing it affects is the algorithm and that post's ability to be seen by more people.

    In that way, engagement is important but it is not important. Whether a single person likes a photo or doesn't like a photo but sees it has no bearing on how effective that post is in injecting that brand's story into that consumer's brain tissue. And even if tomorrow they turn off likes and engagement falls 30% across the board, it's not going to matter because it will fall 30% for everyone and so the algorithm will shift with it. It's not like if your engagement falls 30% everyone else's does. You're still at the same place relative to everybody else. I don't think it's going to really change much and I definitely think it's going to happen so we might as well get used to it.
    Episode #167
    - Impact of Hiding Likes, Best Influencer Qualities, Brand Harassment
  • It's a two-part question. One, should I buy followers if I'm close to 10K's to get the Swipe Up? Two, is the Swipe Up really that effective? Is it going to really be a game-changer? Let me answer part two first. On average we see about 5% of a person's following watching their story, and when they post the story of the Swipe Up we see about 1% of that.

    For example, if you've got 100,000 followers, you might have 5,000 people that see your story and 50 might Swipe Up. Swipe up is not driving a massive amount of traffic in general. There is certainly a convenience factor to it but it's not like we're seeing Swipe Ups driving tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of visits and huge percentages of who is viewing it.

    In general, they're not massively effective. Now again, there is a convenience part to it. Part two is should I buy followers to get the Swipe Up? No, you shouldn't. You shouldn't ever buy followers. Obviously you guys know that I'm not pro buying followers. We were the first company to come out with a tool to help detect people that were buying followers. It's been a big part of our business. It continues to be a huge part of our business.

    We are incredibly focused on making sure we reward influencers who have built an organic following. Now, I do know people who have bought followers to get the Swipe Up. They weren't actually influencers and so they're just like, "Screw it. I want the Swipe Up. I'm going to buy these followers." It feels like in the short term it would be worth it, but let's say I think the person who asked the question is at about 5,000 followers.

    What she was saying was like, "I don't have a huge amount of followers, but my account is growing. People are really engaged. My audience is asking for Swipe Ups. I'm getting reposted by brands." All in all things are going well for this influencer. It's like, "I just want the Swipe Up show, I just buy it." If you did that, now half your following is not real. I don't think that does good things for the algorithm now because your percentage rate looks so much smaller.

    Your engagement percentage again doesn't look as good for brands who are evaluating you, and even with hiding likes, brands are going to be able to find out how many likes someone is getting so don't think that just hiding likes means brands are never going to see how many likes you get. They will, we will still see it. Our clients will still see what engagement you're getting.
    More than that, it creates a debt in your account. It's just this dead weight that you're going to carry around with you. While buying 5,000 followers doesn't really matter if you get to 300K. When you're below 20 or 25 or even 50K, it will still be a large percentage of your following that is fake and you would be tempted to maybe charge brands based on your following account. Now you're defrauding brands.

    You're charging them for followers that you don't really have. The way your contemporaries and other influencers look at you is going to change because your following is going to jump by 5,000 in a month and your engagement is not going to follow. People are going to start saying you bought followers, brands are going to know you bought followers. That will spread around the industry.
    There is just so much bad that will happen that it could never counterbalance the good in allowing a tiny, tiny percentage of your audience to be able to Swipe Up on something in Insta stories. There are other ways to get links to people. Obviously you can use one of those things in bio that has the articles and is pointing people to what you were talking about. You can also have people DM you.

    If you're under 10K just say, "Hey DM me, if you want a link to this I'll DM it to you." Or run a poll and say, "Do you want a link to this?" Go through everyone who said yes and DM them the link. There are other ways to get that information to people than buying followers for Swipe Up. There's another point of just like cheating begets cheating. If you look at most criminals, the way it probably started is like something small that they got away with, and then kept getting away with, and then a little bit bigger and a little bit bigger and a little bit more. Once you buy the followers to get the Swipe Up and then you say, "Shit, I hate I'm not growing anymore. I feel like I just need to get to 20K and I'm at 18," and you say, "I'm going to buy 2K more."

    It just like, it becomes a thing that you do and it pollutes you and you can never look people in the eye and say, "I haven't bought followers."

    Integrity is so important in your life. It's incredibly important for me and for our employees and if you lose your integrity, you can't really get that back. You can try and tell yourself all the excuses that you want, but you have just cheated and that is now going to be a part of your story that you can never erase. Whether it's to get a Swipe Up or whether it's because you feel frustrated because you're not growing. If you're at a point where you're willing to cheat to try and get ahead, I think that like the space's turned toxic for you. It's time to step away because if you're at 5,000 followers and you're thinking about buying followers to get ahead and to change your prospects, it's not worth it. I would argue that your relationship with the space has [unintelligible 00:20:35] and it's time to step back or step away, because if you start having that unhealthy relationship with it, it gets bad really quickly. I don't know who saw Christina Cardona, who's been a friend of the companies for a long time and she's moving to Paris and she did an IGTV. If you haven't seen it, you should. It was short and very simple.

    She was talking about how she's lost her passion for the space and how she would try and reinvigorate herself and focus on it. That would happen for a couple months and then she would lose interest again. I think that if this is going to be your job and if your relationship with it turns toxic like Quigley said in the last episode as well. If you start having a bad relationship with your art, it can ruin you and that's what happened to her while singing. It's okay to step away and be like, "This isn't for me anymore. It is turning me into a person that I don't recognize, a person that cheats to get more followers, to be seen in a different way. It's not worth it."
    Episode #166
    - On the Streets of NYFW, Influencer Responsibility, Swipe Up Feature
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