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  • I'm not going to give the name but an influencer who we all know and love got a cease and desist from a manufacturer who created the garment that was knocked off and the influencer was promoting the knockoff and the manufacturer told her to remove all of the content that she had ever posted about that knockoff. Something she kind of consistently talked about to remove all of that content from blog, Instagram stories, everything and then demanded the affiliate revenue that she made off selling the fake garment. The question is what is an influencer's responsibility to research whether something is a knockoff and should influencers be promoting knock-offs.

    Now in this specific story that we're talking about, I have never heard of a brand suing an influencer to try and get the affiliate revenue back from them. I am not a legal scholar but I don't think that they are going to win that case. I'm not even sure that they can force you to take down a post about a product that is a knockoff. The beef is with the company that knocked it off, not necessarily with the person that promoted it, but I think it does bring up two interesting questions for influencers. One is, is a brand safety question of just like do you know the partners that you are working for? You are in the same way that brands are doing a lot of research now on influencers to make sure that they are brand safe because that brand is giving the influencer their brand to talk about.
    It's kind of saying, "Okay, I'm handing this over to you, you kind of tell our story." That's a scary thing for a brand.

    As an influencer, you're doing the same thing, especially if you're an influencer who is established, you have a bit of a following and it's a smaller emerging brand, in a lot of ways you have more brand equity than that startup does. It's a big thing that you're doing to promote that brand and I think as an influencer you have to do a little bit of research and understand if that brand aligns with your values if it's a company that you want to work with because, in the same way that this can blow up in the face of a brand when an influencer does something unethical, same thing can happen for an influencer.

    If you are working with a company and you've been promoting them and you're one of their long-term ambassadors and then you find out that they make all the uniforms for ICE officers, like your audience may struggle with that, and you may and probably will be held responsible for supporting an organization that doesn't coincide with your beliefs. This is happening a lot more with influencers that care about the environment and being eco-friendly, companies are the biggest abusers of the environment and it is hard for some influencers to align their kind of eco-activism with shopping at Zara, because how much of Zara ends up in a landfill eventually? Probably 98% of it. It's kind of disposable clothing by nature. Nobody's passing down their Zara shirt to their daughter and being like, "I wore this." Whatever.

    As an influencer, it is worth you looking into your brand partners to understand do my values align? That is something worth doing. The other thing is just like should you be promoting knock-offs. If you have ever had something stolen from you, an idea or a design or someone's plagiarized you, it is a really gross feeling, it sucks especially when it's a massive organization that you can't fight. Especially if you haven't done the things you should have done like trademark something or whatever it might be, patent your idea. One of the side effects of living in a country that is pro-business is that it is really hard for an individual to protect themselves against the business. If somebody steals your idea and they are Zara or some massive organizations, there's really not much you can do to get back at them. As an influencer, if you are someone that supports fast fashion, those brands are destroying small designers.

    They're destroying artists lives, they're literally are stealing money from those places and it may not feel like that. It may not feel like you're complicit in that but I think you absolutely are and if you look at a Venn diagram and you say like, "This is a Celine customer and this is a Zara customer, is there any overlap?" Probably not a lot. I think the people that can afford to shop at Celine on the regular, I'm talking old Celine not new Celine which is obviously total trash.
    The people that could afford that aren't probably rolling into Zara to buy the knockoffs but if you're a fashion style blogger and all this creativity is coming from a small group of people and then that is being ripped off, it will eventually probably get more and more difficult for those companies to be viable and to have businesses, and so creativity will just continue to get stifled. Clothes will go the same way as music and everything else and it'll be controlled by algorithms.

    It will just start to get really boring because there won't be much business and creativity because that creativity will just get stolen. You have to think as an influencer, "What is my stand on supporting companies that are stealing from artists?" Even if Zara and Celine customers don't overlap, Zara is stealing from these companies and they're stealing from what artists, what fashion designers are at their best, which is artists.

    They're stealing from them, and they're taking their art which may be the culmination of decades of craft and inspiration and all of that, and they're just fucking stealing it and slapping a 2,999 tag on it and everyone is just gobbling it up. It's not as pervasive in the net men's space because that just men's wear is just so different. I can't buy Tom Brown knockoffs. It just doesn't exist because there's not a business in that.

    It's easier for me to sit here and be like, "I don't shop at Zara. I don't shop at any fast fashion," because fast fashion for men I think is very different and I obviously wear a suit every day, so it makes it exceedingly difficult. I do think you have to think about where you stand on these things and try and stick to that. Stick to some philosophy and whatever that might be. We were going to watch what happens with the influencer in her cease and desist.

    If this becomes a more common thing it's going to shake the industry up quite a bit, if designers start coming after the influencers who are posting the knockoffs.
    Episode #166
    - On the Streets of NYFW, Influencer Responsibility, Swipe Up Feature
  • For those of you who haven't seen this, weird, but Kacey Musgraves went to this one-hour photoshop, got some amazing, cheesy photos made and printed and post them to her Instagram. Basically said, hey, talk to the owner of this business. They have struggled when the world moved to digital. I went in, had a really good time shooting with them. I loved the photos. If you guys are in the area, it would be amazing if you could go support them.

    In general, I think she was like, there's so many of these businesses. If you can going in and spending five dollars with them rather than Amazon priming it, or working with somebody. He meant it's a small thing you can do to support your community. I think the response has been overwhelming. People are lining up to get their photos taken. It's totally revitalized their business. It's a big guy feel-good story I think for Kacey and for everyone involved. I think is an influencer. Obviously, she is sitting at hundreds of thousands of likes on these photos. She has, I don't know how many followers, but more than you probably do if you're watching this show, but I do think it speaks too.

    When we were talking about, a few weeks ago, using your feed for good and the charity trip I did in Bangladesh. That's a hard thing to do. Just getting the visas was incredibly difficult. It's something that no individual could just do. If you were like, I'm going to Bangladesh, I don't even know that that would be possible. There are smaller things that you can do. You can highlight a local business in your neighborhood. Again, Kacey Musgraves took her platform and did something really fun with it. Is it going to change this guy's life forever? No. It'll be a spike for a week, a month, a few months. If that business is going to close, that business is going close. One Instagram post is not going to change that.

    But in the short term, it certainly is helping, and it's giving them a chance. I think that as the space is growing, and as we focus more and more on money, you lose that thing that is so fun about having a platform. Which is being able to use it to highlight people that you think are doing awesome things and bring them some attention. It's so hard to run a business. You guys know, you've heard me talk about that. It's so hard. When somebody goes out on a limb and does something to support you and try and bring awareness to the thing that you're doing, you don't forget it.

    I told said Tim's putting a movie out. I think when we were talking about it in the run-up to him launching this film, I was like, "You're definitely going to notice the friends that show up with their credit card, verse the ones that don't." It means a lot when somebody supports the thing you're doing with money or time or throw some attention at it because, for you, it's everything. You're looking at it as a business owner being like, this is a small thing somebody could do. Why are they not doing it? That is if it's your friends, but I think as an influencer, thinking about that power and thinking about your ability to not make national news like Kacey Musgraves did. If you get 10 more customers to go to a local business in the next month, that's 10 customers. That's real money. That actually can make a difference.

    I think it's really fun. I think it's a fun story about the power of Instagram and social, and what a following can do for someone. I encourage all of you to go find weird, small, cool businesses in your neighborhood, talk about them, drive people to them, get them to shop there, find new brands and talk about those. You can make your money in other ways. That's probably the reason you got into this in the first place, anyway, it was to help and talk about cool brands and businesses that are doing interesting things. Get back to that and listen to Kacey Musgraves' last album, because it was an absolute banger end to end. That is all.
    Episode #164
    - NYFW Engagement Rates, Facebook Conspiracy Theory, Kacey Musgraves
  • I hear this once a week from people who say, "Oh, I was just with my friend and I was talking about blank brand. Then I opened my Instagram and boom, there was an ad for that. They have to be listening to me." It's like smart adults with functioning brains believe this to be true. They believe that Instagram is listening to your conversations and serving ads. There's a lot of reasons that that's insane. I'm generally not a believer in conspiracy theories because especially today, it would be so difficult to cover that up.

    There's just no way that Instagram could be spying on 3.4 billion people. Then using that data and going to brands and telling them, "Hey, we have advertising and we can target people based on their conversations." That thousands and thousands of brands and thousands of Facebook employees who know this secret, nobody has leaked any information about it. That is obviously not possible. The other thing is that Facebook has a $55 billion a year advertising business. If this were true, I assume the FTC would just not allow them to advertise anymore. It would ruin their business. How could it be worth $55 billion to listen to your fucking main conversations and serve you ads?

    The greater truth is a few things. One, you're super predictable. It's not that hard for a brand to look at the data that they do get, to look at the things that you like, and the things you look at and the websites you go to and build a profile, and guess what you're going to like. The more interesting thing is how recognition works in advertising. I think what is happening when you have that phenomenon when you feel like I was just talking about this and I saw an ad, was just that. That you were just talking about it. Then you saw an ad that you've probably seen 20 times, but because you just talked about the brand, that triggers something in your brain to say, oh my gosh, I was just talking about this. You recognize the ad.

    Then a day later, you see an influencer post about it and you recognize that. Then your friend is at drinks and they're talking about this thing they bought from this brand and you recognize that. Then you're like, oh my God, I'm hearing this everywhere, but you're really not hearing it more than you used to. It's just that you are conditioned to recognize it more. I know when I got a Leica camera, I now see Leicas everywhere because I'm looking for them because I'm like, I know what they look like, and I'm passionate about the brand now. I'm just so much more likely to notice a Leica than I used to be, so I see them every day.

    Whereas if you asked me a year ago how often do you see a Leica, I'd say, I don't actually see Leicas every day. I probably see one a week. If you had asked me a year ago, I probably would have said, I see a Leica once every couple of months, maybe. Maybe I see five people a year with them, but I was seeing just as many. Probably 50, 60 people a year. It's just that I wasn't conditioned to recognize it. I wrote an email to brands today about this and said that one thing that is so powerful about influencer marketing is that because you guys already have the trust with your audience, because they listen to what you say, you are able to get that brand to stick in their brain, so the next time an ad comes up, they actually recognize it. That ad is so much more effective. There's really no actionable point here for you guys, but I do think that understanding psychology, understanding the way our brains work is really important especially if your job is changing people's minds and influencing them. In your own behavior, think about that. When you feel yourself noticing a brand or whatever it might be more often than you did before, try and step back and deconstruct what brought you there and what is making you recognize that because that is such a powerful thing that we can do as an industry to drive the efficacy of advertising.
    Episode #164
    - NYFW Engagement Rates, Facebook Conspiracy Theory, Kacey Musgraves
  • I'm going to caveat that by saying nobody asked that question, but I did mention in last week's episode that we were going to do a study on engagement during Fashion Week, and that my theory just shot in the dark was that engagement would fall. We did find that to be the case. If you haven't seen On Fours Instagram, we're going to publish these results for our little study that we did right today. It'll be a couple of days back. If you haven't seen it, you can dive more into it there. I'm sure they'll explain it more thoroughly.

    What was interesting is, so we took anyone that mentioned #New York fashion Week, or mentioned New York Fashion Week. We've had 1,400 influencers. We looked at their engagement in the month leading up to Fashion Week, during Fashion Week, month after Fashion Week. What was really interesting is that, if you look at their engagement in the weeks leading up to Fashion Week to during Fashion Week, engagement fell over 25%, and it really doesn't rebound in the month after. Now, it could be that people are going and doing all the different cities, but I feel pretty confident saying that engagement falls on a whole for those influencers who are talking about Fashion Week.

    Now, there's more to his story than just, oh, you shouldn't talk about Fashion Week. Another interesting thing was, of those 1,400 influencers, they were publishing on average about, what was it? It was 7,000 posts a week, and during Fashion Week, they were publishing 10,000 posts. I think the fall in engagement has as much to do with posting quite a bit more, as it does with people not connecting with it. If you're worried about your engagement during Fashion Week and you're looking at these numbers and trying to find a takeaway, my takeaway would be that you should be posting less, or just don't ramp up the frequency of your posting as much as you might do.

    Now, you might not care, which is also totally fine. We've had a few conversations recently about with influencers who say they just no longer really care about engagement, and maybe you want to post what you want to post, go crazy, but the data is saying pretty strongly that for those influencers who go to Fashion Week and cover it, your engagement is going to fall by at least 25%. You know how the algorithm works. It can be hard to get that back. I think that's maybe what we're seeing in the fact that the engagement doesn't rebound, is that once your engagement slips, it can be hard to turn that around consistently. You could put yourself in a hole for months to come if you bomb your audience too much and bore them with your Fashion Week content. Pay attention to that or don't.

    Another thing, next year, we would like to do a study on Insta Stories and see how much drop-off there is, because I find the Insta Stories to be quite a bit more boring and mind-numbing and repetitive than the Instagram posts, but the constant stories of finales and the shows is fairly, I think, boring to most people. Really exciting if you're there, but for most people, pretty fucking boring, so consider that.
    Episode #164
    - NYFW Engagement Rates, Facebook Conspiracy Theory, Kacey Musgraves
  • Lastly, we have a question about Fashion Week. Specifically, what can I do as an influencer if I am not in New York to cover Fashion Week or stay up-to-date with it? First, I think Fashion Week now more than ever before, is very skippable. We are doing some research right now. Next week, we're going to talk about this and talk about the macro trends a little bit more. My assumption is that audiences also were just not really interested in Fashion Week content.

    We are doing a little study right now that we'll be able to talk about more next week and see if that is true or not, but I think one of the reasons, if I think about myself, if we're going to talk about the macro stuff next week, I'm going to just talk about the way I feel about it. When I first saw Fashion Week, I was living in New York and I would hear that Fashion Week was happening. I didn't really know what it was. Certainly, I had no ability to find that out. I wasn't reading fashion magazines or anything, but I would notice that as I was working in Soho at the time, that there was a lot of really tall women walking around Soho. It must mean it's Fashion Week.

    As social became more of a thing and Tumblr started sending Tumblr influencers- I don't know what they're called, Tumblr Bloggers, to Fashion Week, I saw Fashion Week through the people I followed for the first time, and it was super exciting because it was this world that was really mysterious and it was really difficult to get access to. It used to just be for editors and buyers. It felt so chic and unobtainable. So to see the innerworkings of that, the parties and the shows and all the beautiful clothes and the beautiful people and the backstage and how hectic that was. It was really exciting the first time, the second time, the fifth time.

    I'm now on my hundredth fashion week that I've been forced to watch on social media. For me, each season is increasingly boring. It seems that we're talking about economics this week on the show. Let's use another economics term which is just diminishing returns. The way my economics teacher first told me about diminishing returns, is that if you open up a bag of cookies and you eat that first cookie, each subsequent is going to be less appealing or something. It will give you less joy each time. So there are diminishing returns each time you engage with something.

    For me, I'm so bored with fashion week content. I've seen it all before that I just don't give a shit. I think that most audiences are the same way. I think most audiences don't really care and it's become so unrelatable and uninteresting. It takes over Instagram for a month and you just have to see a month of people going to shows and pretending to be fashion critics. Which is totally fine, if that's your passion and you're super into it. I just don't think for most people, their audience really cares about it, and certainly doesn't care about it for a month. So I think as an influencer, again, we've been talking about this idea of educating, inspiring or entertaining.

    One of the things that's great about social is being able to see things that you haven't seen before. Again, fashion week, you've just seen it so many times. This is the reason--Remember when I was on a tear last year about Positano and how bored I was with seeing photos from the Amalfi Coast? It's because I've seen it so many fucking times, that it's like, "How many more photos from the same restaurant? From the same boat with someone sitting up there with the fucking peace sign up in front of the Amalfi Coast? How many times do I have to see that photo before the good lord will finally let it stop and spare me?"

    I think there's a huge amount of power in not doing it and not going and not covering fashion week and juxtaposing your feed to what everybody else is talking about. If you haven't seen the episode with Julia and Thomas from Gal meets Glam, we talk about this. She talks about how she felt a lot of pressure earlier in her career to go to fashion week and cover it, but never really enjoyed it. Now she skips it because she feels like for her audience, they don't care. Fashion week just isn't interesting to them, they're not wearing those clothes. Why would she spend a month covering high fashion couture just because she's invited?

    Just because you're invited does not mean you have to go. If you really enjoy it, and that's the content you want to make, go fucking crazy and do it. If you're feeling pressure, if you're feeling like, "I don't feel like a legitimate influencer because I am not at fashion week." I think that is now more than ever, just not the way to look at things and just totally not true. I would encourage all of you who are interested in skipping fashion week to do so. Take a trip, go somewhere else, show your followers something else.

    If you have the ability to do that, if you have a big following and you can travel and do whatever the hell you want, I would maybe use that to my advantage and specifically go on a trip during fashion week and talk about the fact that you're skipping it and you're not gong to be showing people a bunch of terrible Insta story videos of another finale walking down the runway because it is boring. To my friends out there who are going to go to fashion week, who are passionate about covering that. I encourage you to step back before it starts and actually think about, "How am I going to cover this in a way that is interesting?"

    Maybe reach out to your audience, ask them what they want to see because I think that you're asking a lot of your audience if you're going to do New York, London, Milan and Paris, and you're going to do three to five shows a day. You're asking a lot of your audience to go on that ride with you. I think it's worth checking in and thinking about how you want to cover that in a way that inspires, educates or entertains.
    Episode #163
    - Fried Chicken Sandwiches, Holiday Planning, Remotely Covering NYFW
  • Every year we send out a big deck to all of our clients talking about the holidays. A big part of this deck is that we survey influencers and ask them a bunch of questions about holiday. Like when do they start planning it, do they do gift guides, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. We do this because we want our clients thinking about holiday because I think nearly half of the advertising dollars in America are spent in Q4 to support holiday. If you don't know the way retail works during holiday, it is that as far as sales go each day is what they usually make in a week.

    Each week is usually what they make in a month. Every single day from around Thanksgiving through the 23rd of December is as important as a week. The advertising budgets reflect that so we send this deck out because we want our clients to spend their money with us because that we believe is the best place for them to put their money. To all my brands out there, if you haven't talked to our salespeople yet, you should. They're lovely and very intelligent and they're waiting, so mail us at or just What do we learn from this? A couple interesting stats. I'm sorry, these glasses I have, I can't see up close.

    73% of influencers limit the amount of sponsored posts during holidays to avoid saturation and 46% charge a premium on holiday sponsored posts. Let's tie this back to chicken sandwiches real quick. I think one of the reasons the Popeyes thing has sustained and still been a thing is that it's hard to get. Scarcity creates interest. If we think about the influencer space and what could ruin it, any market is built on supply and demand. We could have a demand side failure. Brands could just say they're no longer that interested in influencer's sponsored posts.

    There's a number of things that could cause that. Price is too high, it's not as effective as it used to be, some new shiny thing comes out that they're more interested in. All those things are threats and things that we are thinking about all the time at Fohr. The other thing that could ruin it is supply side. A lot of times when there is a new market where you can make money, in the beginning, there's not a lot of supply. Cut to the influencer space five years ago, there weren't that many influencers out there. Also wasn't a huge amount of demand, but there wasn't a lot of supply. As demand grew, people said, "Shit. There's a lot of money to be made here, so I am going to jump in and start doing this."

    Supply grows. Now, in the influencer space, those two things have been growing simultaneously. I would say demand is growing faster than supply is. There is still just-- Luckily, brands are continuing to increase their budgets and continuing to invest more in influencer marketing, but what is unique about this space is- and scares me, is that there is no scarcity baked into it. With an influencer, you can create- I don't know if this is too technical but you can create impressions out of nowhere. Okay, let's talk about Vouge. Vogue is selling advertising based on the amount of people that read it. Those readers are counted as impressions.

    They can't just, out of thin air, create more impressions but influencers can. You can always post again. If you say, "Okay, I usually post 20 times a month." You've posted your 20 times a month and somebody comes along and says, "I'll give you $5,000 to post again." You're going to post again. You could do that again and again and again. The supply is essentially limitless for influencers. It hasn't happened yet but a big concern of mine is if we don't bake scarcity into the space, then eventually, prices just fall because there's too much supply for the amount of demand there is. Where this is interesting with holiday is that it's a 73% of influencers are limiting the amount of sponsored posts they're doing.

    They are, in this time of year, creating some scarcity, which is I think super smart. I think if you're not thinking about that as an influencer, if you're not thinking about how many sponsored posts you're willing to do during the holidays, you're probably doing yourself a disservice. It's not too early to map out, take a look at the calendar, look how many days are on there that you're willing to do holiday posts. Think about the categories, beauty, skincare, fashion, CPG. Take all the categories of where your advertisers generally come from and think about how many posts inside those categories you are willing to do and try and stick to that.

    What's great about it is that if you set that and you say, "This is what I'm going to do." you can create that scarcity. You can say, "Well, look--" Let's say, I'm going to sell 20 sponsored posts in the two months leading up to the holiday, I'm at 18. Now all of a sudden, those last two might become a lot more expensive because I'm saying, "Hey, legitimately, I set aside X amount that I'm going to do for this holiday season. I'm almost there so I have to increase my price X amount. I have to double it." Creating scarcity allows that asset to become more valuable. Ferraris are more expensive than Hondas because they cost a lot more to make, but also because there's a lot less of them.

    It's the scarcity of them that makes them valuable. It's a good thing for you to be thinking about it certainly during the holidays, but also just in general. We talked about how at Fohr, we are tracking the percentage of your feed that's sponsored. It's a metric that brands are increasingly interested in in making sure we're working with people who have a low percentage of sponsored content in their feeds. Think about scarcity this year in the holidays.

    It is never too early to start planning out your holiday content calendar because brands will start reaching out, I'd say, in the next month to book those campaigns.
    Episode #163
    - Fried Chicken Sandwiches, Holiday Planning, Remotely Covering NYFW
  • Okay. Let's talk about chicken sandwiches. Specifically fried chicken sandwiches which I should say I'm personally not a huge fan of, strangely. I was raised in the south but I was born in Queens. I don't know if it's just something in my blood but I eat fried chicken, I feel nothing except disgusting. If you've spent any time on the internet in the last few weeks, you've noticed that people with nothing better to do with their lives are talking about chicken sandwiches.

    Popeyes released the chicken sandwich and I think somehow it's now become a political issue because it's like Chick-fil-A versus Popeyes. Obviously, Chick-fil-A is historically backwards in their views on gay rights and human rights. While delicious Chick-fil-A is canceled. I think Trump-- Did Trump come out in support of Chick-fil-A? It's like, "What?" How is this what I'm talking about? What a strange world we live in. Anyway, Popeyes releases this chicken sandwich. They can't keep them stocked. People are going crazy. Everyone's talking about it. The fast food joints are going at each other's throats. We tried today, - am I right? - to get one of these sandwiches, you can't get it.

    We're a month after they've released this sandwich, you still can't walk into a Popeyes-- First of all, I wouldn't even know what the fuck a Popeyes is, but if I had somehow stumbled into one I couldn't get a chicken sandwich. I think my interest in this and why we're digging into it is just looking at, I think one the power the internet has. Obviously, this has taken off especially on Twitter and has become a thing and has sustained this buzz a month in, to where you still can't get a chicken sandwich. You also can't really go on Twitter without seeing something about these chicken sandwiches every day.

    There's something happening. Popeye's I think has done a good job in riding that wave. I was thinking about this since and saying like, "Nobody cares to see me sit around talking about chicken sandwiches. What can you guys actually learn from this?" I wanted to highlight something on a much smaller scale that has gone viral in the influencer space recently, which is our good friend Grace Atwood has promoted this Amazon dress. I thought it was a nightgown because she always calls it the Amazon nightgown. It just looks like a nightgown. She sold thousands of these things.

    What Grace was saying was she thinks this became such a thing because it was really cheap so it was easy for people to participate, easy for them to buy this gown off Amazon. Then she was reposting her audience wearing it and so it encouraged joining into something. It was something that instead of being a passive viewer or just like being a passenger, in this case, Grace's feed, they're participants in it. It becomes this community thing. At its best, the internet does that. It creates these communities, but I think increasingly, as they scale and get bigger, they feel less like a community and more like a mob. I think what memes can do is allow you to feel like you're part of this community. I think if you're going to learn something from chicken sandwiches, think about what you can be doing to pull your community into the feed to highlight the people who are following you and create that sense that by following you, they're part of something and they can actually participate in what you're doing and what you're talking about instead of just consuming it. That's the chicken sandwich lesson for the day. If we ever can get our hands on this fucking sandwich, we will do that.
    Episode #163
    - Fried Chicken Sandwiches, Holiday Planning, Remotely Covering NYFW
  • The last one is going to elaborate a little bit on the engagement post we made. The post that Fohr made about engagement on our Instagram last week. It did really well. One, we talked a while back about creating content that inspires, educates or-- What is it? Inspires, educates, or entertains. I asked the marketing team to take that advice, our own advice and try and do post that. We felt like our Instagram was too self-promotional. It was just talking a lot about the things we were doing. I think it happened over time because we were doing so many more things and we felt like everything that we were doing deserved an Instagram post, so the Instagram became this place where we were just saying, "Hey we're doing this. Look at us. Go to this thing."

    We did this thing and it wasn't super valuable for influencers, so we're taking a new philosophy and saying anything that we do. Whether it's a podcast, a Fohr Ground, A Drink with James, anything. We're trying to make sure that it's beneficial to influencers. Just the same advice that I am giving you all. Our Instagram is performing quite a bit better than it has ever with that simple shift. We're still promoting the things we're doing. It's just, again, when we interview someone for Fohr Ground, instead of saying, "Hey today we have a new Fohr Ground up with this person." We pull out what we think are the most helpful and valuable insights from that interview, and give that away without having to dive into the content.

    Now, hopefully, you see that and you say, "I'm going to go check that out," but if you didn't, it's still going to help you and you're going to learn something rather than learn there's a new podcast up. Learning there's a new podcast up isn't valuable. Learning the most salient point from that podcast is really valuable. That stuff has worked really well for us. We had our best performing post ever last week. Very simply just talking about engagement. We looked at the 85,000 influencers we have, and the engagement rates across all the follower counts. It showed, I think, a trend that most of you probably assumed was true, but that micro-influencers are getting exponentially more engagement than larger influencers. What's that first group, is it zero to 25?

    On the zero to 25,000 followers, it's 9% is the average and above million, it's something like 2.2%. Micro-influencers getting four or five times as more engagement than the largest influencers. I know we've talked a bit about this before, but Facebook-- We'll zoom out and talk about Facebook. Facebook knows that that platform is all about connecting with family and friends and sharing photos. It is why any platform that emerges that people are sharing photos, family and friends, they will do anything to buy it. WhatsApp, there was a stat that came out right before Facebook bought WhatsApp. That was more photos were being sent through WhatsApp every day than were being published on Instagram. A month later, they bought it for $20 billion.

    There was eight people working at that company when they bought it. They knew that any platform that comes around that people are sharing photos with their family is a threat to Facebook that they cannot take lightly. It's why they bought Instagram. It's why they ripped off Snapchat. It's why they're now working to rip off Tik Tok. For micro-influencers, it looks like the algorithm, the way it works, is that if you're under a certain level, certainly if you're under 1,000 followers, they're assuming your following is mostly friends and family. They want to make sure that that content reaches your friends and family because that's the core of the platform. While we sit every week and we talk about you all's world, you're in the 1%. You're in the top, top, top of followings on Instagram.

    Most people just have a few hundred followers and are sharing photos with their friends and families and colleagues. Instagram wants to make sure those photos get to those people, so that the platform stays sticky because if you have 300 followers, and you post a photo, and they're getting the same reach, and only 20% saw that, that's 90 people. That's going to just be a bummer. Because you're not using Instagram for your job, you might be less likely to use it.

    It makes sense that the smaller the following, the more people are seeing it. The other thing is, I think a psychological one of if someone has 5,000 or 10,000 followers, you as a follower, feel a lot more connected with that person because if you send a DM or you like a post or comment on it, you can be pretty sure that that person is going to see that comment, that like, that DM. It feels more like a relationship.

    If I like Kim Kardashian's posts, which I do all the time, I know for a fact she's never going to see that like. If I comment on every photo, she's probably never going to see those comments. She’s never going to go to my profile, we're never going to have a relationship on this platform. For smaller influencers, that's certainly true. I think what you can learn from that is understanding the core philosophy of the platform and what is working, and the influencers that we see who are doing it really well, they're not as focused on the next follower. They're answering their DMs, they're engaging in the comments. They're acting like a smaller influencers. There's only so much you can do to buck the way the platform is built, but learn from what is working. If you're not a micro-influencer anymore, congratulations. It doesn't mean that you can't try and act like one, and engage like one.

    It's certainly exhausting to do so, but give it a try. Again, this is where we're seeing a lot of success come from on Instagram, are those influencers who are super invested in their existing audience. If you haven't seen that post, check it out. We are doing these "for your information" posts more often on our Instagram. We have an in-house data scientist on the team now who's helping Tim and the marketing team pull together these really cool insights. If you don't follow us, you definitely should. There is some cool stuff coming out every week on there.
    Episode #162
    - Using Your Platform for Good, Seeking Mentorship, Engagement Rates
  • I think coaching and mentoring is generally probably an underutilized tool in most people's lives. I think that asking or seeking out coaching or mentorship inherently means you have to admit that maybe you don't know everything, which is hard for a lot of people to admit. I don't know that much about the manager influencer relationship. I've talked to amazing managers like Adahlia who I think is incredibly knowledgeable about the space. While she's repping top talent, I'm sure is helping to guide them and mentor them and make sure they're making the right steps in their career.

    I've also talked to managers who are very young and don't know that much about the space and don't have that much experience. I worry about the things that they're teaching the influencers. We have influencers that we really like that we can't work with because their managers are so incompetent. I also think that sometimes in influencer management, there's an undue bravado. There's this feeling that they don't really need you, and the influencer doesn't need your business because they're so busy.

    That's a pretty terrible attitude to take. If you have an experienced manager who you look up to, and you can get that person to help coach and mentor you and teach you about these things, I think that's great. Look, if I was an influencer and I was managed, my goal would be to leave that management eventually. You should be teaching yourself those skills and be able to bring it in-house. If you're going to build this into a big business and you're going to do $1 million a year, you're going to give $200,000 of that away to your management. Do you think they're going to bring 200,000 in value? Maybe, but you could also probably learn those skills, hire someone in-house for 100 grand. Now you've just made $100,000 more and you've brought these things in-house. I can promise you that increasingly brands and agencies are looking at whether people are represented and potentially working with people that aren't because it it's so much easier, so much faster and less of a hassle.

    I think learning those skills and bringing them in-house is, if you're interested in coaching and mentorship, that should be the goal. The goal should be to learn from that person and eventually be able to leave and bring it in-house. It makes good business sense. Look at all the top influencers, most of them have brought those teams in-house and are doing it themselves. I think a manager can be really helpful in guiding you along that way and teaching you. If they're not letting you in and teaching you about like, "Hey, why did you answer that email that way? How did you know that you could push them for more money here? How did you learn how to read a contract effectively?" Mentorship and coaching, end of the day, it all falls on you to ask the questions and to push people.

    If you've ever read How to Win Friends and Influence People, that whole book is predicated on the idea that people love to talk about themselves and if you ask them questions and say, "Hey, you're an expert, so I would love to know from you X, Y, Z," they will talk forever because it makes them feel good. It makes them feel like they're teaching someone which people love to do, but it's on you to push people.

    I think if you're looking to broaden those skills, just looking to your manager is a mistake. You should certainly pull back and look at other people that you respect and try and learn things from them and push them to teach you. I think we've talked about it before but if you reach out to someone and you say, "Hey, I'd love to meet with you." You never send the email that says, "I'd love to pick your brain."

    I think people in a position of power get a lot of those emails and it's not super helpful. We've talked before about when you go into those meetings, you need to have a clear agenda of exactly what you want to talk about. Keep the small talk to a minimum. The worst thing is when someone's like, "I'd love to sit down with you and pick your brain." 30 minutes into the conversation, they haven't asked you a single question of consequence and you're like, "What the fuck am I doing here? I didn't take this meeting to small talk." I know when I meet with an influencer, after two or three minutes I'm just like, "How can I help you? Why are you here? What can I do for you?" Because that person probably wants it to be helpful for you and you have to push them. They don't know how to be helpful for you, so you have to come prepared with questions.

    When you reach out to someone, make sure you frame it in that way. I just sent emails like this to a bunch of sales executives that I respect where I was like, "Hey, here's a specific thing that my team is struggling with right now. I don't have an answer. I don't know what to do. I thought you might know." I framed it a little bit to give them some background and said, "I'd love to grab 10 minutes of your time to talk about this one thing and nothing else." Now, we might talk for 30 minutes and go into other things, but that's so much better for them. They're super busy. I've said, "Here's a specific thing that I think you might be able to help me with and I don't have an answer to. Can we talk for 10 minutes?" It's an infinitely better email to get than, "Hey, can I pick your brain?"

    Don't be shy. The worst thing people can do is say no if you reach out. I wouldn't also reach out-- I've gotten a few of these emails in the past where people were like, "Hey, I'm looking for a mentor. Would you be interested?" That feels like a big responsibility and it's a big ask because I don't know you, or the person you're emailing doesn't know you, so to take you on as a mentor, it's like, "Who the fuck has time for that?" You have to let that relationship organically grow, and you have to know how much of someone's time you can take and how far you can push them because you don't want to come off as too needy.

    You have to balance that need for you to ask the questions and to ask for what you want and to ask for people's time with knowing that it's generally a marathon not a sprint, and you should be making sure that when you are reaching out to them it is for a very specific reason, and you're not wasting too much of their time.
    Episode #162
    - Using Your Platform for Good, Seeking Mentorship, Engagement Rates
  • First question is not really a question, but I think a good time to kind of reflect on the last week in Bangladesh and being out there with influencers. I was out there with Christina Caradona, Urban Koi and Stella Simona and we were in Dhaka the capital of Bangladesh, and then we went down to Cox’s Bazar to the largest refugee camp in the world and visited those for a few days to see the work that Concern Worldwide was doing.

    Incredible perspective-shifting trip. I've never really seen anything like it. I've never been to a proper third-world country. I posted a bunch of about it in Instagram. I'll continue to do some more posts where I kind of go into greater depth on the work Concern is doing, and also I think its effect on me. Just speaking from an influencer perspective, I think it is an interesting balance to cover something like that that is way outside of the norm.

    One of the things that worked so well with the trip is, it was such an emotional thing and all the influencers that were there felt a deep connection to the crisis in Bangladesh, both in the cities and out in the refugee camps, and the work that the organizations were doing out there. It was really refreshing, I think, for me to kind of see that real emotional connection to the things that they were talking about and I think to them as well. Everyone left the trip feeling refreshed, feeling a little better about what they do and I think it's a good reminder.
    Again, I know we talked about using your following for good and the idea of this kind of like digital philanthropy and giving your reach instead of money, to raise awareness about causes.

    I do think there's a moral call to do that. I also think as an influencer, if you're feeling burnt out, if you're feeling disconnected from your work, if you forget why you do this, and you aren't as passionate about it as you used to be, it's a nice way to step back and remember that reach you have can be used for more than selling a product or making yourself more famous. I think as an influencer, you need those breaks sometimes, you need those reminders that what you're doing is important and isn't totally vapid or self-interested.

    I don't believe this space is inherently self-interested. Obviously, I think the work that you all do is important and disrespected in the space, in the world rather. Again, if you're feeling a little down about it, I think we've talked in the past about just taking a break from Instagram and seeing kind of the change in the influencers this week.

    I would add to that advice and say that, maybe go out and do something totally different. Do something like one of these trips. There are thousands of NGOs throughout the world doing incredible work. If you guys can get yourself free rooms at the four seasons in Paris, I'm sure you can get yourself to one of these countries or highlight the work that's happening here in the United States as well. I think you'll find yourself refreshed and feeling kind of ready to get back at your job and connected to the work that you do more. Can't suggest it enough for you all, go out, find a cause that you're passionate about and give your feed over to them and see how you can help. You'll be better for it. We'll be better for it. The world will be better for it.
    Episode #162
    - Using Your Platform for Good, Seeking Mentorship, Engagement Rates
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