This video is not currently available.

Episode #

Search Drink With James

For example, type "Instagram" to search questions about Instagram

Displaying - of results for ""

No results for ""

  • Short answer, there's less. We still have new deals coming in. We are still sending offers out to influencers, but significantly less than we have previously. Right now, there's just so much instability in the markets and brands just don't know if this is going to last two weeks or three months. I think because of that uncertainty, they are clamming up and protecting any cash that they have. Right now, if you run a business, cash is absolutely king and you're having to make the decision between laying people off and running any advertising campaign, and in the short term, the advertising campaign is the thing that's going to be cut.

    You have to understand that. I mean, what we've seen so far with influencers is 18% of deals have been canceled while 60% have been paused or postponed. Generally, I'd say that is reassuring news. I think most of the canceled deals are travel event-related. A lot of brands are saying, hey, we're going to honor that contract we gave, we just need to pause the content for a little while. I definitely think you should be preparing to get less deals. I said it in the video before, I will say it again, I think this is probably my third time and I keep- it keeps getting more extreme. As an influencer, you should be prepared to make potentially 40% to 50% less money than you made last year this year.

    It is hard out there running a small business, a lot of you are essentially running small businesses. You need to take a look at your expenses and you need to cut absolutely everything out immediately that is not absolutely necessary to running your business today, you need to cut it out. You have to assume there's a chance that you could make 50%, 60%, 70% less money this year. Do I sincerely think that will happen? No, I think that there's a slim chance of that happening, but right now is the time to overreact and over-index and save the cash that you have to make sure that you're able to make it through this crisis. If you're doing this full time, you have to think about cutting costs as quickly as you can.
    Episode #192
    - Reading the room
  • Absolutely. Again, you're talking about a loss of sales for these companies that is so traumatic. Again, I just can't overstate how bad this is for companies. Companies will still advertise, but if you were charging a thousand dollars two weeks ago, you have to understand that the world that you charged a thousand dollars in, that world doesn't exist anymore. It's gone for now. We will get back to something like it at some point, but right now that world doesn't exist.

    If you're a macro influencer, you've got 400,000 followers, usually, you were charging $5,000 or $6,000 for a post, I argue that is no longer realistic. I would think you should be lowering your rates 20 to 30% right now. Absolutely. You have to be conscious of the market and where the market is. Prices are driven by market economics and the fact is, as I said in my last video, no matter what, demand is going to fall. When demand falls, prices need to fall as well. If you haven't already dropped your rates, do it because that is coming. Another piece of advice is that I would work in the next two weeks to get on the phone with as many clients as you can. If you have closed the campaign, but it hasn't, you haven't created content or you haven't posted it or whatever, if there's an existing campaign you're on and you haven't spoken to that client yet, you need to make that absolutely number one priority. You have to speak to that person in the next week. You got to touch base.

    We've talked to all of our clients this week which has been great. Generally, we are just tweaking the brief to have it makes sense in the new reality that we live in or we're just postponing it two to three weeks to see where we're at. You need to be proactive with that, but in general as well. Also a lot of the clients, they're sitting at home, they're all working from home now, they've got a little bit more time. It might be a good time to reach out and brainstorm, say, "Hey, we'd love to get on a Zoom call. I know you guys probably aren't spending money right now, but I've got some ideas for the summer that I think could be fun."

    It would just be nice to catch up, do a happy hour with your clients. Trust me, I know you all's lives have changed, but obviously, your clients are used to going to an office every day and being social and seeing people, they're not doing that either. Reach out to people, get on the phone with them. Take this time to strategize, to brainstorm so that when things do return to normal, you're in a much better place.
    Episode #191
    - Strategies for dealing with COVID-19
  • In general- I was on a phone with a brand, one of our clients this week, and I was talking about how over the last five or six years brands have carried the influencer industry. You guys have given them content and advertising and publicity and all of these things and they have given money. This is a really, really scary time to run a business. Certainly, there's a lot of small businesses that are not going to survive this, but there's also a lot of large businesses that are not going to survive this. Having to close your stores down is catastrophic. It would be impossible to overstate how painful that is for the vast majority of brands that do have retail stores.

    I think any brand that has supported you, any brand that you have worked with, especially ones that you've worked with consistently, you need to be thinking about what can you do to try and help them through this crisis. How can you help them without money right now to grow their business? Absolutely, you should be looking at the small businesses, the restaurants, the bars, the nail salons, the people in your community, the indie brands that you love, and thinking about how you can support them. A lot of brands only have two or three months of runway in the bank. Runway is essentially how much time you have, if you stopped making money today, how long could you run your business? A lot of businesses only have a few months of runway in the bank.

    We're facing a very, very real situation where if this goes on for two months, you could see 50% of the small businesses in America not be able to survive. That's with no government intervention, but still it is a really scary time to own any size business. One, any businesses supported you, go out, reach out to them, ask how they're doing, ask what you can do. Don't even have to ask, just start posting stuff that makes sense. You don't want to shove product down your community's throat right now. This isn't the time for that necessarily, but you can do it in a tasteful way and integrate it and say, "Hey, I'm trying to support these brands because I know things are hard right now."

    For small businesses, get creative. A lot of these smaller businesses don't have e-com, so you can't even drive to their website. I have a friend, Luke Beard on Instagram. We've done a little bit of work with him. He's a photographer. I saw that he offered to shoot photos for any restaurant in his city, which was Atlanta, shoot any restaurant that needed photos for their takeout menu, he would shoot it for free. Obviously, that's something he generally would charge a decent amount of money for. I thought it was a small but really nice way to do that.
    I saw Jess Kirby pulled together a list of small businesses in her area and ways to support them. I've seen a lot of influencers talking about ways to support their small businesses in their community and you absolutely should be out there thinking about that because I cannot stress enough how real it is that the vast amount of those businesses could disappear in the next few months if we don't do something. Don't forget the big businesses as well. Don't forget those larger companies, they're not invincible and they don't have endless amounts of money and they need support as well. I think you probably don't need to support Amazon right now. They're probably fine. Purell's doing okay, but essentially other than that, most businesses are suffering really, really badly. So, yes, do what you can.
    Episode #191
    - Strategies for dealing with COVID-19
  • Let me first start this off by saying that there is only one way and one way only really to know that somebody is buying followers and likes. The only way is to get the receipt, to get the receipt from them buying followers or buying likes. It is why when we were the first company in the world to come out with a tool that could verify a following as authentic, we never talked about fake followers because we understood after months and months of research that, literally, nobody can say 100% that you bought the following unless you have the receipt.

    That's why we talk about authenticity and not about fake followers. Did they buy? Did they not? We didn't care if you bought a following or not. We cared if it was authentic and engaged. You can have an unengaged following because your content is boring and nobody cares about it anymore and they don't engage with you. Thus, your content doesn't get served. Thus, your reach numbers are really low.

    You can have it because of that or you can have it because you bought a following. Also, you get 500,000 followers and five years ago, you bought 50,000 followers, but 50% of your audience is super engaged and your reach is 50%. We're going to say that that's an authentic following. It doesn't actually matter to us how your following got put together. It is just, are people seeing it? Are they interacting with it? Are you creating some sort of connection there? That is what matters.

    I think for a lot of people, they spend too much time pointing a finger and saying, "I know that person is cheating." Look, I know how frustrating that can be and it's not fair honestly. It is the reason we created the tools that we did, is to try and stamp that out in the industry, to try and create a standardized way for an influencer or a brand to say, "Is this a real or a fake following?"
    I understand the frustration, but it is not worth your time to worry about it. Look, the reason people are buying engagement a lot of times is sometimes because they bought followers and they didn't have enough engagement to hide that they bought followers, so it's a whole slippery slope. Another thing is that brands for so long, the only metric they had to decide whether something was working or not was engagement.

    There was this huge temptation to buy engagement to make yourself look better, to make it look like you had a really engaged audience. Now, I really don't think that many people are buying engagement anymore. We haven't seen it run rampantly. Excuse me. There is still a lot of the comment pod stuff going on. I really encourage you. If you are in a comment pod, I really encourage you to leave.

    I think that I say all the time that you can't hack your way to success, right? Like long-term sustainable success, building a real business, you can't hack your way to it. The comment pod is not going to get you there. You need to be focusing on the right things. We talk about here at Fohr, this is something I borrowed from Ray Dalio's principles. At his firm Bridgewater, when they have a goal, they think about their goal and they think about the things that could stop them from achieving that goal.

    They think about the root causes of those problems. What are the root causes of the things that could stop me from achieving this goal? They fix that. If you say, "I'm not getting brand deals because my engagement's not good," you might say, "I'm going to enter a comment pod to bolster my engagement, to fix my engagement." That's a symptom, right? Your bad engagement is a symptom of a bigger problem, which is your audience hasn't engaged with what you're doing.
    Instead of wasting your fucking time in a comment pod, spend it fixing the root cause of the problem, which is that you're no longer creating content that people find interesting, right? That's a harder problem to solve. It's a lot easier to solve for the symptoms. Most people spend their lives running around solving for the symptoms, but not taking it one step further and looking at the root causes, what is actually causing this to happen.

    If you do the hard work and if you can identify the root causes of your problems and you can solve those, everything changes, right? Because, look, the people we talk about on this show all the time, people who are killing it in this space, they're not in comment pods. They're not buying engagement. They're not working with firms that go on and do a shitload of engagement for them to drive traffic to their pages.

    They have figured out what their audience wants and they're telling unique stories. They're doing it over and over and over again and that is working. It sounds simple because it is. Unfortunately, it is a difficult thing to find and you've got to make sure you're focused on the right things. I'll be straight with you. I have a bit of a jealous streak, okay? I've got a bit of a chip on my shoulder.
    I think it comes from my insecurity of wanting so desperately to be successful and being so worried that that won't happen. For me, if I'm being honest, I feel like if I don't end up being successful in a traditional sense that my whole personality doesn't make sense and that my identity is so wrapped up in that idea that I am special and different and that I can achieve this some form of success.

    When I see other people achieving it easier than me, I often get really jealous and I start making excuses, "Oh, they come from a rich family. Daddy gave them $5 million when they hit 25. That's why they're successful" or "They bought their way into Harvard and met this person," whatever. I make up some big story about how that person's success is less valid really because I don't have it yet and I'm jealous.

    I heard someone say something once that was basically like other people's success is not your failure. Just because someone else is successful, it doesn't mean that you won't be and it is not detracting from what you are doing. For me, that was a fairly liberating thing. I still struggle with it and I still have a chip on my shoulder. I still have those insecurities about whether or not I will achieve the things that I want to achieve.

    I'm doing a better job at not getting nasty about it because I just end up sounding bitter and small. I end up giving too much weight to this person in my life or this person who doesn't know who the hell I am, doesn't care about me. They're not sitting around the table or drinks talking about your Instagram and whether it is a real or fake following. They don't talk about you, but you're spending all this time.

    I just think it is unhealthy. I think it focuses you on the wrong things, which is you're focused on, why is everyone else doing better than me instead of what can I do to be better? It's a subtle shift. I know it's an easy thing to say and it's a hard thing to do, but it was very helpful for me. Look, I can sit here and talk about fake engagement. It's something that we look at. We look at comments to see if it's just other influencers commenting.

    That's the easiest one to spot, is that if all your comments are-- other influencers are saying, "Oh my God. I love this top. I can't wait. I've got to buy that," it's bullshit. It's obvious that you're part of a comment pod. We used to track engagement and build a time graph on when engagement came in to see if we could see spikes. We never rolled that tool out. Honestly, Instagram is increasingly looking like it's going to get rid of likes and that this isn't going to be as big of a part of the platform.

    I wouldn't worry about it too much. It's why we now really focus on numbers that are much harder to fake reach, saves, DMs. The step outside of Instagram, maybe even more important. Clicks, swipe-ups, sales, those things that you can't fake. I guess you could fake swipe-ups, but it is harder to do that. Increasingly, we are looking at those numbers that live outside of Instagram to let us know the impact that an influencer is having on our campaigns.
    There's a funny thing about people who complain about like fake engagement and fake followers but are using comment pods and trying to hack the algorithm. It's like that's cheating, kind of. You're trying to figure out how to trick a computer into doing something that you want it to do instead of just focusing on creating something great. Like if you go back and you look at your most engaged photos, you're probably like, "Yes, that makes sense. Those are my best posts."

    If I'm being honest, I knew that was going to do well, at least from me. The stuff I know is going to do well, does well. I'm not generally surprised. If you just did more of that, you wouldn't have to focus on all this bullshit. You lament and you get frustrated that other people are cheating and then you spend your time figuring out how to kind of cheat yourself. It's a losing game. The battle of man versus machine. In this case, machine is going to win.

    The only way you can win is to be great and to deliver things that people legitimately want. I think Instagram is really good at understanding what those things are and listening to that audience and serving it up. Lastly, if you're looking at engagement and you're focused on engagement, you're focused on the wrong things. I think if you look at your feed and you have less than 15% reach, if you take the amount of average reach that you have, go take your last 10 photos.

    Add up the reach, divide it by 10. See what your average reaches. Divide that by your following count. If that is under 15%, that is a big problem. That is a problem that you need to solve. I'm not going to say what the average is because that's data that we have that I'm not giving up. You can buy me a drink and I'll tell you what the average is, but that's the number you should be worried about.

    If you're under 15%, you're in a bad place. I'll say this. If you're over 30%, you're doing pretty good. All right? See where you are. If you're in the middle there, you've got to focus on, how can I get more people to see this photo and it's not a comment pod. You're not going to trick the algorithm. I guarantee Instagram's data scientists and engineers are a little bit more clever than that.
    You think they don't know if engagement is coming from a DM. They have ways to figure this out. I read this book In the Plex about Google and they were talking about the early days of the algorithm. There were things you could do to hack it. Companies were figuring out holes in the algorithm in Google search algorithm and they were exploiting it. Their teams of hundreds of engineers patched those holes immediately.

    Any time you think you can trick it, I fucking guarantee that Facebook and Instagram have figured that out and they've built something so that that is no longer playing into the algorithm. End of all of this, I will say you shouldn't be worried too much about what other people are doing. You should be working to solve for the root causes of the problems, not solve the symptoms of the problems.

    You should understand that engagement is an outdated metric in general and be focused on other things. You should be searching for product/market fit with your content. You should be figuring out what your audience wants to see and deliver more of that. Every single post you put out should be better than the last one. Every single post you put out should deliver value for your audience. Every single post you put out should inspire, entertain or educate.

    Don't really worry about the rest. It should sort itself out if you do all of that. In closing, if you can, I would spend less time worrying about people that you are convinced are cheating and just focus on what you're doing. There's a lot of opportunity out there. There's enough for everyone. Again, I know it's frustrating to see someone cheat. Generally, that doesn't work long-term.
    Episode #186
    - 5 tactics to improve engagement (and prevent fake engagement)
  • I want to talk about how to stand out in your interactions with your followers, with brands, with anyone over that you're meeting in person or email that you don't know well, but you're directly interacting with. Anytime you leave a meeting or an interaction with someone, a lot of times like there are always action items, people promise to do things. I'm going to introduce you to this person. I'm going to send you a link to this hotel you stayed at, whatever it is.
    Over 50% of the time, those promises are not done. There's something that I've been focusing on in my own life, and that I've already seen being really helpful. It's setting up systems to make sure that any interaction you have with someone, if you've said you're going to do something, figuring out the how are you going to do it, how are you going to make sure that happens, and creating opportunities to do favors for people. You guys know I love those Lyndon Johnson books and if you've got a year of your life and you want to burn through them, I 100% recommend that as a good use of your time.

    My boy, James Zimmerman, if you're listening, I know you're an LBJ man, yourself. He read them. I've talked about this before. Lyndon Johnson essentially became president of doing favors for people. He was maniacal about figuring out how he could do something for someone and then doing it immediately. Not asking for anything in return. There are what he would call five-minute favor. Something that takes you just a couple minutes to do. To be able to do that, you have to understand what people are struggling with, what they're interested in.
    You think about what are this person's passions and interests, and what professional struggles are they having right now? If those two things, you open up huge opportunities for you to do something above and beyond that sets you apart and makes you really memorable. If you're at a meeting with a client and you ask if they're traveling anywhere, and they say they are and you've been there, and you have a blog post about it, send them that blog post, obviously. If you haven't been there, maybe you go do a little research and you'd say, "I've heard about this restaurant. You should check it out while you're there."

    Then you put a note in your calendar about when they're going and when they get back, say, "Did you go to that restaurant? How was your trip?" That ability to find a way to do something for someone and then to do it right away, it puts you on a whole other level of competency that people will just start to think about you in a different way. What they said about Lyndon Johnson was that, he was a guy that got things done because he just never promised something that he didn't do or try to do.

    Immediately, not in two weeks. "Oh my God, I'm so sorry. I forgot about this like just remembered," or "Oh my gosh, my inbox has been crazy. I'm just getting to this." It's about doing that stuff immediately and going the extra mile. I'd say for your followers as well. I know the DMs and emails and all that can be a lot. Again, let's just talk about LBJ for a second because this is a passion of mine. He was crazy. He worked people like crazy. He worked till like 2:00 in the morning every day. If one of his constituents from like rural Texas had something, "Hey, can you help me get my pension?"

    He was like, he had his staff on that day and he solved that problem that day. For your followers, again, it's easy to see those incessant questions as a burden as like, "Why are they keep asking me this? It's so annoying that like I tag the brand and the photo and then people still ask me what the brand is." Yes, I understand that is annoying. What if you flip it and say that like, "I'm going to come up with a system, so that every single question I get gets answered effectively."

    That person now feels really special because they're thinking you're at a different level than them and you took the time to answer them. I've started sending these like these follow-up emails after meetings. A lot of times it's people coming asking me for a meeting but then I send the follow-up email saying, "Hey, this is exactly what I'm going to do for you." They're always like, "Oh my God, thank you so much. I was going to send you a follow-up. Sorry, I didn't get to it." They feel like you care.

    They feel like you value them and that that meeting was important to you as well. If you can flip it and think about, as we say, providing value at every interaction, you should think about that with your posts. That every post should provide value. Every interaction you have with your audience should provide value. You should be thinking about how you can do that. If you can't handle it yourself, think about how can I get a staff if you can afford that and you're doing well enough, how can I hire people to scale this?

    How can I scale myself so that anytime someone asks a question, they're getting an answer that day because I think if you did that, are you going to get growth right away? No, but I think in a year, your following and what was happening in that following would be dramatically different. Because we talk about Grace Atwood all the time. She is someone that takes that stuff very seriously about saying like-- If she's getting a question from her audience, she is answering it. She's putting time and thought into that answer. Not looking at us as a burden.

    Businesses need to scale, right? We're hiring a bunch of people at Fohr. We're going to be over 50 people this year. That is happening because the scale of the business changes and I need more people to support the level of shit that we're trying to achieve. That is how we continue to grow. As you grow, your operation needs to scale, and you need to figure out how you can make yourself bigger and how you can make sure that you can interact more broadly with that audience. That is one of the many lessons that you can take from Lyndon B. Johnson.
    Episode #185
    - Vine returns as Byte, how to use micro influencers, and WOW at work
  • I reject this whole line of thinking. There are all these pundits out there and articles that'll be like, "Micro-influencers are so much better. Nano-influencers are better. Mid-tier, macros are better." At Fohr, we don't make money on clickbaity stupid fucking marketing articles. We don't have that narrow of a view of when and how you should deploy an influencer.

    First, let's just say influencer selection for us. We're running 90 of these campaigns this week for our clients. The influencers that we select are the manifestation of all of our strategy. The way we look at it, we say, "What are this brand's challenges? How are we going to solve those problems? What is the brief going to be? What's the concept? We start with like an influential idea. What's the thing that is going to stick in people's brains? How am I going to attach somebody's story to this idea and make sure it integrates with the brand and what that brand does." It is actually quite complex.

    All of that is manifested in who you pick. Whether it is a micro or macro, that is about scale and how many people you want to reach and what your budgets are. For us, when people are like, "Micro-influencers perform better than macro-influencers," I know that that person is full of shit because there is no-- Are engagement rates different from micro and macro-influencers? Yes. Engagement rates don't really matter on their own. Is reach better for micro-influencers? Of course, it is because Instagram is assuming for someone with 3,000-5,000 followers that that person knows a lot of those people, has at least some sort of relationship with those followers, and so they're more likely to serve that content to those followers.

    The reach numbers are better because the scale is so much lower. That doesn't mean they perform better. Two micro-influencers isn't going to do shit for your brand. Just like one big macro influencer posting isn't going to do shit for your brand. You need robust strategies that are just not only influencers but everything. What are you doing on Facebook? Ads. What are you doing on Instagram? Ads. What are you doing on your website? What's your email strategy? What's your out-of-home strategy? Are you doing TV? Are you doing radio?

    What is your fucking product? Is it any good? Are people talking about it? Do they like it? What's your pricing? All of these things determine what is successful. Saying a micro-influencer is better than macro-influencer is idiotic. For us, we look at a few things. We look at all of that hard data, your reach, your engagement, your saves, your swipe ups, how much sales you did. How many DMs you got. Every single piece of data, we get it, we rank it, dependent on the brand's KPIs. Then we look at how you did across all the other influencers in that campaign.

    We create benchmarks for that. Then we look at how much we paid you. We're able to come out with a value per dollar number that allows us to look at a person with 10,000 followers or 5 million followers and say for each dollar that we spent on this person, how much value did we get? Then we're able to score them and to look at it in a totally unbiased way and figure out who is actually moving the needle. Sometimes we find out shit. If we had 100 of these micro-influencers performing at this level, it's going to do great.

    Let's do that for the next campaign. Sometimes we find out actually because as macro-influencers, as the following gets bigger, you pay less for each additional follower as far as advertising goes. The price per eyeball goes down as the follower rate goes up that sometimes it makes a lot more sense to use macros. Be wary of anyone saying that this is concretely 100% better than this because that person doesn't know what the fuck they're talking about.
    Episode #185
    - Vine returns as Byte, how to use micro influencers, and WOW at work
  • I actually just talked to Wired about this. We'll throw a link to that article in. The reporter did a great job talking about the app and the struggles that it faces. Look, there's some interesting things there. The idea for a platform built on virality like TikTok and Byte are, sharing revenue with influencers. Sharing ad revenue with influencers is a really fair way to do things because sponsored posts are a little bit more difficult to do and not as authentic to the platform.
    For the reasons we've talked about, comedy is difficult for brands. Entertainment is difficult for influencers to do. Video is hard to be compelling for a lot of people. The things a lot of times that go viral on these platforms are not planned. They're funny moments, their cat did something funny like you can't really engineer that thing.

    It makes it hard to do sponsored posts in that way. Sharing revenue is an interesting concept. I think six-second videos, as I said to the Wired reporter, that I don't think nostalgia is a business plan really. I shoot on a film camera and I listen to music on records. I enjoy that analog tactile part of interacting with things in that way, but records aren't a viable solution in today's world to listening to music and film photography is not a viable threat to digital photography in today's world. They're hobbies. They're nice to haves and throwbacks.

    I just think that for me, the six-second looping video is a bit short and TikTok being longer, allows video to be 12 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 and a minute. It gives you some more time to play with that to tell a little bit fuller stories. My concern is that the founder of Vine is pissed off that Twitter shut down Vine, understandably is recreating Vine. Recreating Vine in a world that vine existed years ago and it's moved on. I love Tumblr. I miss it every single day. That was my favorite thing that was ever-- My favorite part of the internet ever was Tumblr.
    If Tumblr started today, it would never fucking be successful. It's a different world. It's a different world, people consume in a different way. The world has loved Vine and moved on. Twitter didn't shut it down because it was making so much fucking money that they couldn't possibly manage it anymore. They shut it down because it wasn't working. They didn't want to support it anymore. I think that this-- Should you go sign up for it? Sure. Sign up for it because, as I tell you, when these platforms are new, it's easier to build a following and you might as well because God knows I've been wrong before and I will be wrong again.
    You might as well get on there and play around. Do I think it will compete with TikTok? Absolutely not. I don't.
    Episode #185
    - Vine returns as Byte, how to use micro influencers, and WOW at work
  • I absolutely see brands that are trying to take advantage of influencers that they're out there doing a spray and pray thing. They're offering really low rates to influencers and they say if I send 1000 emails out and 100 people accept it and I'm paying 20% of what I should that's a good deal for me.

    I do think there's some of that going on, like predatory offers from brands that I hate and something that Fohr really prides itself on not doing. I think more often than not, it's a lack of education about what is normal. If a brand comes at you with ridiculous requests for a low amount of money, or their requests and their budget don't line up, don't immediately go to a place of anger. I know it is a bit of a slap in the face but I think if you operate under the assumption that maybe they don't know what normal is, and this could be a teaching moment. You don't want to speak down to a potential client but I think you do want to explain why you can't work with that rate. We sometimes get responses back from influencers or their managers that we offer $4,000 and they come back. Literally recently, we offered $10,000 for a project and someone came back at $90,000. It was a total fantasy. It was delusional, that it was definitely not 10,000 was fair and even generous, 90,000 was fucking crazy. They came back in a way that was just like, "Well, this is the rate for that," and there was no explanation. I think that you can say like, "Thank you so much for the offer. I love the brand. I'm so excited to maybe be working on it. Unfortunately the budget and the deliverables don't really match up. Let me explain how I charge, why I charge what I do, why I am more effective than other influencers and why you should put the budget into me."

    If you explain that, and if you're very honest and candid about it, and they're just like, "Well, this is the budget," I think they're probably one of those brands that are trying to go out and get something for cheap and they don't actually care about a relationship. You might be surprised when you reach out and you explain in a candid and kind tone why you can't accept what they're offering that they will work with you. If nothing else, you leave that interaction and they feel good about it. They feel like you're you're a business person that understands their value, communicates it clearly. Maybe they're working at a brand that doesn't have budget, but maybe the next brand they go to does and they say, "I remember I wanted to work with this person and we didn't have budget, but they were super nice about it. I'm going to reach out to them." It happens all the time and that is why you should try and leave every single client interaction even if they're trying to stiff you, even if what they're offering you is crazy. Try and leave them feeling good because you might get a temporary boost. You might temporarily feel good about yourself for telling someone off and being like, "This is my job, this is my life. How dare you offer me that money? You suck." That feels good to say that sometimes because it is a little offensive to be offered a tenth of what you think you deserve. But now you have not gotten the money, which you weren't going to get anyway, and you've pissed someone off and made them feel stupid. You're not getting paid and now you've taken somebody and turned them against you. You could leave that interaction by not getting paid and having someone that actually feels really good about you and who will remember that interaction and maybe in a year comes back and has budget. Happens literally to us every single day with brands that couldn't afford to work with Fohr and then we respect them like any other brand and are kind. Then a year later they say, Hey, I got a new job. I got budget, let's go. I would keep that in mind.

    As far as what's inappropriate deliverable if they're not paying you, that's gut. That's what you want. If you really want to work with the brand, then maybe you're willing to do more. I think you got to find your happy place. You got to find a deal that you feel good about, before you send the email saying what you're going to do, try and put yourself into the position of posting that photo that day, of doing the shoot, of creating the content. Are you going to be resentful when you do that? Are you going to feel like, "Shit, I should've never taken this. I don't even really like these shoes, or handbag or couch or whatever the hell you're taking." Put yourself in that position and ask, "The day, I'm going to create this content and post it. Will this be enough?" And make sure that you feel good about that and stick to it. It'll be better for you. It's better for the brand. It's certainly better for your audience.
    Episode #184
    - Instagram usage ban, follower growth rates, unrealistic brand expectations
  • Let's talk about growing your following. This is probably why you guys are watching this show. You want to grow following, but there's a misconception about follower growth on Instagram. Over half of our platform 90,000 influencers, over half of them are losing followers month over month. I'll say it again. Over half of the people in the platform lose followers month over month. If you're gaining 20 followers a month, you're doing better than half the people that we have on the platform, which is a 100,000 people's a pretty good representation of the influencer space in general.

    When you look at the growth percentages for a year, they're pretty consistent. Obviously, micro-influencers are growing a bit faster than macro-influencers. That makes sense because of the scale, we look at percentages. The average percentage is around 7% or 8%. If you've got 10,000 followers that would be gaining 700. Not much. That's average. People, on average, are just not growing their following right now. It's really hard. It's why I say not to focus on the hacks because if a hack can get you from 7% to 10%, fine. You gained 1000 followers in that year instead of 700, that's valuable. If finding the thing that people can connect with that can change your life.

    We had Jamie back on the show years ago. Jamie hadn't grown in years. She was at 120,000 followers for literally years. Never grew. She was always an incredible photographer and this was after she moved to France. She'd been living in France for a year already creating this fairy tale world. Then she started doing her self portraits and really started focusing on that. She's at 250,000 followers now, a year and a half later. She's probably, almost doubled her following in 18 months. It's like, that's what you're looking for. It took her years to find it. It took her years of experimentation to find it, but when she found something people are connecting with, she went really hard into it.

    I think you have to make sure you're focused on the right things. I really believe the right thing to focus on is your audience and trying to figure out what they want. If you can please them and keep them happy, I always say, maybe don't focus on getting your next follower, but focus on making sure the last person that followed you is happy. Make sure they are getting value. Because it's like, in your life when a big life event happens. You wanted to get a raise for six months, and you finally get it and a month after you forgotten about it. It's not special, or we have this problem all the time at Fohr that we have such big goals. When we hit them, maybe it's a month or two after I wanted or maybe it's 10% less than we thought we would do and so you just don't celebrate it. It's still a big goal. Look we made more money today than we made the first two years in business. Not really celebrating that because you are focused too much on growth. You're focused too much on the next thing. With your followers, I think it's so valuable to just ask yourself, instead of how do I get the next follower but that person who just followed me five minutes ago, what am I doing to make sure that they stay because there's a good chance they'll leave.
    Episode #184
    - Instagram usage ban, follower growth rates, unrealistic brand expectations
  • If you don't know what I'm talking about you can engage, use Instagram so much that it locks you out. It's never happened to me but there is apparently a level you can get to at Instagram where they lock you out from being able to like and comment. We looked up what would cause this to happen and so a few things one, Instagram has trusted accounts and accounts that they don't trust yet. Most of that is how much time you've been on the platform so in the first six months you can do less liking, engaging that makes sense because they're trying to combat people that are bot farms spinning up new accounts and doing a lot of engaging with them. That's how when people buy likes that's how it gets taken care of. For the first six months they restrict what you can do.

    Once you're a trusted account which I assume most of you all are at this point so you can like and follow about a thousand times a day, it's got to be intervals of 28 to 36 seconds. I think essentially what Instagram is trying to do here is I'm sure they looked at the average amount of time between likes for people, it would be I think they're trying to combat you from liking every post in your feed right? That is not normal behavior. Excuse me. That is not normal behavior to like every post in your feed. If it takes you two or three seconds each post. Let's say it takes you three seconds you're liking every 10 15th post to stay in there within their guidelines.

    Likes one every 28 to 36 seconds a thousand in a given 24 hours follows same things. Comments it's 12 to 14 comments within an hour with a 350 to 400 second break. We'll put this in some graphic somewhere and maybe we should do an FYI on it just because I wasn't privy to this information before. Instagram knows that people are one buying likes and it's trying to combat bots but two using services to go out and do fake engagement to try and drive traffic to your feed and get new followers.

    If you're being pinged for excessive usage I would question why you are engaging that much. I would have a hard time believing that you're not engaging for the purpose of gaining a following. I've said it many times before that you can't hack your way to success in life in general. I think you can hack your way into some short term gains, you can do a giveaway you can go out and do a bunch of engagement and drive interest in traffic to your page and get more followers that stuff does work in the short term.

    You are never going to build a brand if you think of yourself as a brand. You're never going to build a brand or a business on hacks, that's just not the way businesses and brands are built. They're built over years, they're built by putting a lot of care and thought into it. They're built by providing value in every single interaction you have with those followers and so there is a temptation to look for the hacks because we don't want to do the hard work of providing something that people really want but that's the key. If there's one thing I feel like I've beat the drum on in the show over the last few years it's that, if you can find that thing, if you can find the thing that people want and they will seek you out for and they will share with their friends what you're doing, that is the key to success, that is the only thing that you should be chasing. Is that thing is that product market fit.

    The content that you're putting into the world has people sitting at drinks with their friends talking about it saying, "You got to follow this person you've heard of this person they're amazing." Has their friends DMing has people DMing your post to their friends saying, "Did you see this you got to follow this person they're incredible." If you really want to be successful that's what it has to be.
    I think over 50% of our business here at Fohr is from referrals, it's because we spend all of our time and all of the extra money that we have providing an incredible service building technology that we feel is unique and helpful and we don't have any marketing budget. In fact you're looking at it, this is the marketing budget is my whiskey essentially. We don't spend any money on marketing because our hope is that we build products that people want. We provide those products and services that we have, provide value and then people talk about them, and that's worked. We make millions and millions dollars a year off people saying, "Hey you should hit up Fohr." Now I would say with referrals and return business and inbound requests that's 95% of our business.

    How do you do that? You do that by building a brand, by being consistent, by providing value. By focusing not on how can I grow but how can I create something so good that it will naturally grow and that is what you should be spending your time on not I need to engage two hours a day on Instagram, all right? Because you're never going to get the hockey stick that you're looking for. Hockey stick is a way to talk about growth right? If normally things grow like this in a static line a hockey stick goes up really fast. In a start-up world that's what you're looking for is a hockey stick and you got to find your hockey stick as well. Teza when I met her, had 150,000 followers a year and a half-to-two years later, she had 500,000. That's hockey stick growth. That's finding something that people really connect with on an emotional, and high-level and doing it over and over and over and over and over again. There's no hacks there.

    It's honestly sometimes why when influencers come on the show, I feel like sometimes those episodes are less helpful than other ones, because they don't have hacks. They don't have little tips or tricks, or I did this thing and it totally changed what I did. They just found a formula that worked and they kept doing it over and over and over and over again. You can't teach that. You can't talk about that. You can't say like, "I don't know. Go find a product. Your products, your content in this case that people want and then you get a following." That's every person on Drink with James that's been on as an influencer. That's the advice they have. Speaking of growing, let's go on to number two.
    Episode #184
    - Instagram usage ban, follower growth rates, unrealistic brand expectations
  • Headshot

    Can't Get Enough?

    Want to stay up to date with the latest Drink with James content? Subscribe to Drink With James.

    Don't know what you're looking for?
    Find a random question