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  • This is the second time they've been bought. You all know or maybe you don't but I'm only sitting here because of Tumblr. Tumblr completely changed my life. It was the first thing in my adult life that I felt good at. It was the first place in New York that I experienced any sort of success. My career and life in New York until then had been pretty mediocre and honestly, disappointing.

    I talk a bit about that in Fohr Ground episode one with Tim if you haven't listened to it. Tumblr was really special place for me. It's where I got more confident in my creativity, in my writing, certainly in my photography. It was this amazing community of really supportive interesting people who many of whom I'm still very close with today. The guy who's making drinks for our event tonight, my friend, I met him through Tumblr. Tim, I think found out about Fohr because he followed my Tumblr.

    There's probably a handful of people that work at this company because they used to read my blog. I love Tumblr and I was really sad to see it die. I'm not sad it got sold for $3 million because it's been dead for so long but to sell five years ago for $1.1 billion and then this week to sell for $3 million, it's a cautionary tale for what can and generally does happen to platforms. When we started this company, Instagram was a joke. It was just a total non-factor. Tumblr was really all people talked about.

    We really started the company because you couldn't see how many followers someone's Tumblr had. When we started this company, Instagram was pretty much a non-factor. It was fairly new and nobody really cared about it. A big reason we started the company is that you would find a Tumblr that you liked and you had no way to know how many followers they had. By connecting to Fohr through an API we could show how many followers a Tumblr account had. That was really one of the big key features and benefits of Fohr and one of the reasons that we started.

    To have in that short amount of time the platform go from dominance to a joke is heartbreaking and shocking. I think that should be a wake-up call that while Instagram and Facebook have a lot more money, a lot more power and generally are better run organizations than Tumblr ever was and I think have much more staying power, obviously. Instagram will never maintain its hold on culture that it has today in perpetuity. It is just not possible. It's just not how culture works.

    Tumblr is a small example I think of what you can expect for Instagram in the coming decade and a reminder to everyone that you need to diversify, that you need to try new platforms, and you need to understand that to have a long career in this space is going to mean constant reinvention and is going to mean having to figure out a way to take your audience with you not only through your own life changes of aging and maybe starting a family or moving cities or whatever it might be, changing taste but also in and out of new platforms.

    I cannot stress enough that hope is not a strategy. You can't just hope that Instagram will continue to be as popular as it is today because it's just never going to happen. If you don't have a contingency plan I would freak out now because you still have time to fix it because we have years before something catastrophic is going to happen to Instagram but it absolutely will. If you don't have a plan or you're not working on one today then I would just subtly start to freak out.

    If I wasn't afraid of staining my beautiful 60-year old desk I would pour out some of this rosé for Tumblr for what it used to be, for what it did for my life, for all the people that I have met. It was a beautiful time in the internet, my favorite time of the internet. I look back on it fondly. David Karp, you don't watch this show. We had drinks once, you probably don't know who the fuck I am but I thank you and I bid you adieu.
    Episode #161
    - Unsolicited Gifting, Image Permissions, Tumblr Acquisition
  • I called my friend Jess Hoffman, it's not her last name anymore, that's her old name. Her name is Jessica, gosh. You know what? No. I'm sorry Jess and Max. I've officiated your wedding so I should definitely know your last name as I married you.

    I was focused on other things that day like remembering the entire little speech that I wrote. It's like Miller Max Med, something like that. Anyway, doesn't matter. Jess is amazing. She's a fantastic lawyer and specializes a lot in contracts and usage and things like trademarks and things like this. I asked Jess, what do you do? First thing was, you don't necessarily want to start super-aggressive. Yes, that brand is in the wrong.

    There is no situation in which a brand should be using your likeness in an advertisement without your permission written in a contract, 100%, there's no excuse for it. You want to first send a cease-and-desist and say, "Hey, you're using my image. This is a problem. I need you to take this down immediately." I think that for me, I would treat digital ads differently than something in print.

    I think if it shows up in an Instagram ad, that sucks but it's harder for you to do anything other than say, "Hey, take this down." Look, if you don't start in really hard on the brand and you don't come in being like, "I'm going to sue your ass, like strap in." I do think you can use it to say, "Hey, obvious you guys like this image, would you be interested in buying it from me." We talked a little bit about usage rights and a few shows ago I think a good metric is for 60 days of usage, half of what you would charge for a sponsored post.

    Maybe in good faith, they'll tell you how long they were running the ad and maybe they'll back pay you for it. You can use it as a sales opportunity to say, "Hey, obviously you enjoy my likeness, you like my photos, how about we work together? How about you buy this photo? How about we work together in a future sponsored post?" That's why I would say don't go in hard, to begin with, you have the law on your side so you don't have to be really aggressive in the beginning because you will always win the argument if it came to court.

    They're going to take the digital ad down and I think it's harder to claim damages on a digital ad just because you'd have to see exactly how much spending they put behind it, how long has it been out in the world, blah, blah, blah. I wouldn't be as concerned, personally. Now, let's talk about print. The problem with print is if they put something in print and it goes out to half a million people, they can't take those magazines back, they can't. That's already out there, and they should have paid you and there's no way for you to get that money back.

    In that case, I would again send them a letter and I would absolutely push for money. I had a friend who a magazine, not even a very big magazine, used his image. He's a photographer and he had uploaded one of his images in Google connected to a restaurant, like he was the user photo in a Google search result for a restaurant and a magazine, fairly large food magazine, wrote a little blurb on that restaurant and used his photo without crediting him. I think he got $15,000 from them. This was a national magazine.

    If somebody is using your likeness of your photo in print without your permission, there are very clear standard usage rights that say how long they use it, how big the circulation is and it's pretty easy to find what that would cost for them to buy it and I think you're absolutely in the right to push them to pay you for what they would have had to pay you had they used the image in the correct way which was reaching out and buying it from you.

    That was Jess' advice and I tend to agree that I think there's this idea sometimes that when you're wronged and you're trying to get what you want, that being really angry is the way to get it done. There are certainly times where passionate disagreement or a little bit of anger can help move your cause along. I generally find again this is a small industry that giving people the benefit of the doubt and going into it assuming it was just a mistake and it was not because they were trying to screw you over is the right way to go about it.

    Because again, end of the day, if you want to keep pushing it, you've got the law on your side and there's nothing they can do about it so you at least give them the opportunity to do the right thing before ranting and raving and turning it into a tense situation before it needs to be because the one thing that-- especially a bigger brand has that you don't is that they can exhaust their legal team and they can pay legal fees much bigger than you can.

    If it's a bigger amount of money that you're fighting for these companies can throw a bunch of lawyers at it and can outgun you or you could be in a position where you're paying thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees which is just not a situation you want to be in. I find if you give people the opportunity to do the right thing sometimes they surprise you, sometimes they don't.
    Episode #161
    - Unsolicited Gifting, Image Permissions, Tumblr Acquisition
  • For this one, I actually reached out to Sydney, who has been on our show. Right? Yes. Sydney from LaFORCE who does a lot of the work for Veuve Clicquot. I reached out to her, she's been on the show. I just wanted to get the perspective of someone who was at a brand. We chatted about it for 10 minutes today and we're pretty aligned. I think that one thing is brands are-- I think the smart agencies and brands increasingly are doing less unsolicited gifting than they did in the past.

    There is a trend in the industry towards relationships and brands wanting to build relationships with influencers, instead of just what I'd call spray-and-pray of just like send out a bunch of shit and hope people post it, which is still totally common and probably more common than not. I look at LaFORCE as a leader and the fact that they're actively saying, "We're doing less of the spray-and-pray." I think that that's going to generally be a trend.

    Now, if you get stuff that you don't want, you probably can't stop the flow of packages out there. I understand, as an influencer, not wanting to say, "I'm not taking any gifting." Because if Dior is sending another round of saddlebags around, you're going to want in on that. There's probably a lot of stuff that you get that you feel really fortunate and lucky to get, so it's tough to say, "I don't accept gifting." There are big influencers, I know, that say that, that they just straight-up don't accept gifting because it creates an expectation.

    Something to consider as an influencer is that, unfortunately, when someone sends you something, they're expecting you to post about it, so even if you don't like it, they're probably going to follow up. I know it causes stress that, again, you didn't really ask for, but you have to deal with. You don't want to say, "Don't send me anything." Because if there's someone at a PR agency and they have 10 brands they rep and you say, "I don't actually want gifting anymore." You may like the nine other brands they rep, just not the one they sent you.

    It's a difficult line to toe as an influencer of when do you say no, how do you stop the flow from being overwhelming and then what do you do with all this stuff that you don't want. In talking to Sydney and we were aligned on this, I think that honesty and candor are always appreciated in the industry. I think if you get something and you really don't want it or you can't use it, reaching out respectfully saying, "Thank you so much for thinking of me. I really appreciate it. I know these products aren't cheap. It's not something that aligns with my tastes. Is there any way you could send me a return packing slip so I could send it back to you?"

    They may do that and you send it back. They may say, "You know what? Don't worry about sending it back. You can just give it to a friend or whatever or keep it. Regardless, in that case, you've asked. You've said, "Hey, I don't want this." Certainly, as an influencer, you shouldn't be expected to pay to ship it back to them yourself but you're saying, "Hey, I don't want this and I know it's not free and maybe there's somebody that would want it so can you just give me a return packing slip so I can send it back to you?"

    They will probably say, no and then I think you're much more free to do what you want. I understand the brand perspective and Sydney agreed that finding your product for sale is a tough position that you're putting the agency rep or the brand person in because they had to get you approved probably and they probably said, "Hey, I think this person's great, we should send them this thing," and they sent it and then the VP of Marketing is on Poshmark the next week and they see the brand new limited-edition thing that they sent you up on Poshmark.

    They send a note to their brand contact saying, "What the hell? Why is this thing for sale?" Now that person is in trouble. Again, I understand from the influencer side because it's like you didn't ask for this shit. I'm sure you guys give some stuff away to family, I'm sure you give some stuff away to charity, give it away to friends, give it to people on your team but the volume is so much that there's things that you're probably like, "You know what? I'm going to sell this because I didn't ask for it and it's $1,000 coat and I can get $500 on Poshmark," and I get that.

    Fair or unfair, when they sent that to you, there was an expectation. The expectation is that you're going to post about it. Again, that's not necessarily a fair expectation, I think brands should always do opt-in gifting. I think that they should be reaching out and asking you if you want something before they send it to you. I don't think that putting it up for sale is the right thing to do if you want to continue to have a relationship with that brand. I think if they catch you selling it, it is going to be hard to explain that and it's going to be hard to repair that relationship.

    Now, if you said to them, "Hey, can you send me a return packing slip, I don't like this." Much nicer way than that but that's the gist and they say, "No, it's not we're sending you a packing slip, you just keep it." Then can you sell it? I think you're probably more in the clear to sell it. You have done your best to try and return it and do the right thing, they have said no. That feels not like permission but I would feel better putting that up there because if they found it then, you could be like, "Oh, I'm so sorry, I tried to send it back.

    I told you that it wasn't my taste so I just figured I'd sell it. Sorry if that's a problem."

    You're in a more defensible position than just not selling it. Nobody likes to be made a fool of. You have to put yourself in the brand's position. Even though they're putting you in an unfair position doesn't mean you should do the same. It's going to come down on that brand person if their boss's boss or their client finds that the gifting that they're doing, that you talked them into, now a bunch of those clothes are up on Poshmark.

    I'm telling you, the brand's do check it. The fact that the person who asked this question, the fact that they are checking means that this is a thing brands are looking at and I just don't think it's worth ruining a relationship for whatever you're going to make on the clothes. Try and send it back, if not, do what you will with it.
    Episode #161
    - Unsolicited Gifting, Image Permissions, Tumblr Acquisition
  • In my career on the internet and running this business, I have not done as much philanthropy as I could and probably should do. I have talked about the things I'm passionate about the fact that Trump is a white nationalist, racist, bigoted asshole, that we need stronger gun control laws, that people shouldn't be persecuted based on where they're from or the color of their skin or their religions, that women deserve equal rights and equal pay.

    Any number of issues I have been vocal about, but I don't really have a huge platform. It's easy for me to be vocal about those things. We are doing this trip to Bangladesh this week. We're bringing three influencers with us. It is not going to be an easy trip. It's not going to be a normal press trip. We've already talked to the influencers.

    There's no outfit post, there's no Bangladeshi skincare routine. We are going there to one of the gravest humanitarian crises in the world right now to watch and see the work that this charity is doing and to hopefully try and, one, raise money so that they can do more of that work and maybe, more importantly, bring awareness to the work that they're doing and start that conversation.

    I think that as influencers, you underestimate the power that you do have. If you look at AOC and The New Green Deal which isn't even a bill, it's not an actual thing. I don't even know what the thing is actually called, what The New Green Deal is. Yes, everyone is like, "Hey, it's not possible" and right now it's not possible. It's like, "It'll never get passed in Congress." It's like, "Right, it's not even a bill." It can't get passed, it's not a thing that can get passed but it is driving the conversation.

    It did put climate change into the front seat of the news cycle for quite some time. It, I think, is forcing Democrats especially to move farther left on global warming and our response to it. In that, it's massively successful.

    I think as influencers, if you can move your audience a little closer to an issue or you can get them talking about it with their families or their friends or their loved ones or their colleagues, you're doing your job. Again, the easiest thing you can do is to become educated on the things that you're interested in and passionate about. If you build a following, I think you have to care about more than makeup or clothes.

    Those things are massively important, I believe that. I, obviously, wouldn't dedicate my life to this business if I thought that what you all did was silly or stupid. I think it's really important and just reading the testimonials that influencers have been getting it's clear how much impact you have over people's lives in building self-confidence and not feeling like they're alone.

    If you're not naturally political that's totally fine. You don't have to talk about politics, but become aware of the issues in the world and read up on them and see if you connect with some of them. If you become passionate, then I implore you to talk about them. Then to give your feed over to talking about those issues even if it's going to cause you to lose followers, even if those posts aren't going to do as well. I think you have a responsibility to talk about it.

    In the same way that philanthropy is a counter-balance for extreme wealth, this is something that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders would say is broken and how our economy is rigged and that philanthropy has to step in where government maybe should be if the super-rich paid more taxes. They have so much money, so much wealth that there is a moral imperative to give some or all of that away for them to be able to continue to live their lives.

    It's like anyone who's that rich has done probably terrible things to get that rich and their businesses are probably ruining people's lives and the planet. They have to counterbalance that with philanthropy. As influencers, you have a different kind of wealth. You have a wealth of attention. You have more attention on your life than most people. You are in the 1% of the world as far as the platform that you have. I think there is a similar imperative to use that platform for good and for something that is not in service of you and your bank account and your stature in the world.

    I hope that with the trip we're doing to Bangladesh, it's the start of many things like this that we're doing and more influencers are doing because I also believe that using your platform is great, but I do think that there is more that influencers can and should be doing. I think it will be harder and harder as an influencer to continue to enjoy the success that you do without doing those things, without at least using your platform to shed light on issues that are important to the broader world.

    My last point is it doesn't have to be political. Countries being ravaged by disease and poverty, that is not a political issue. Nobody thinks that children should be starving in other countries. That is not political. You don't have to talk about Trump. You don't have to talk about even the things happening in this country. There are a lot of great organizations and they make it really easy now. You can post on your stories, there's a donate button, you can pull up almost any charity and you can raise money through Instastories without a swipe up. It's really simple. You can do that today. I implore you to do that.

    I think all of us need to, especially as we start to come into some success, think about how we are going to share that with people who are less fortunate because in many instances we just won a lottery of where you were born, to what parents and what station in life. I think the sooner you recognize that and shine and spread the love and the wealth and whatever you have to give, the better the world will get.
    Episode #160
    - Getting brand attention, aligning values, using influence for good
  • This is obviously a question that's been asked because of things that have been in the news cycle recently. I just spoke to Glossy. We can put a link to that article up. I just spoke to Glossy about this same issue of what do you do as an influencer when a brand's morals or behavior don't align with yours.

    I think one of the great things about this industry or the best things about it is that it is full of individuals, and that those individuals are generally autonomous, and are in charge of their own destiny, and can have the flexibility to say what they believe in without any corporate oversight. So, I think as an influencer, you have a responsibility to your audience to be true to your morals and to be true to your code of ethics and the things that you believe in, the things that you think are okay, and the things that you think are not okay.

    If you are a customer of a brand or you're working with them and you don't believe in what they're doing or you find that their morals aren't aligned with yours, it is 100% your right to walk away from that partnership or stop being a customer of that brand. It is your right to talk about that on your channels and tell your audience why you are not aligned with that brand.

    I will caveat it by saying that this is also your business. As you grow as an influencer and as your business grows, you shouldn't compromise your morals in pursuit of capital, but you should remember that this is a small industry. Make sure that if you're going to exit a partnership because of something in the news, because of some morality issue, to make sure that you do it in a way that is as classy and fair as possible. These issues are not new. We have H&M, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Prada, all of them doing things that are insensitive and that cause a well-deserved uproar on the internet.

    I think it's important to remember that the people you're actually working with at the brand, that are working on the contracts, that are your day-to-day contact, they probably had absolutely nothing to do with any of that. I feel for the social teams and the PR teams at these brands because they're probably going through the same moral and ethical struggles that you as an influencer are. Except for them, taking a stand would mean quitting, which would mean all of their income disappears.

    Whereas an influencer, let's say you work with a hundred brands a year, it's 1% of your income. It's much easier to take a stand when it's 1% of your income versus 100%. I feel for those in-house teams that get this thing thrown on them that was not their fault and they have to deal with it and they are taking the hate and acid from the mob.

    I think that if you are going to step away from a paid partnership that you're contracted for, one, absolutely speak to the teams first. Speak to the teams on those brands. If a brand is finding out you're walking away from a partnership from your post, you have made a huge misstep. Let those teams know. E-mail them, try and get on a call. That's a conversation that should, I think, be had on the phone. I think you owe them that, at least, to talk through it. I think that there is a way to walk away from these partnerships in a way that you continue to be in service to your morals and your ethics and the way you see the world without joining the mob in bashing a company unnecessarily more than it needs to be.

    You can say, "Hey, you guys know I've been working with this brand. You've seen the news. I'm no longer working with this brand." That is very different than going on a huge tirade. Again, I'm not saying that that is not ever justified. We have seen that influencers and celebrities have real power in this space. When they stand up and say, "Hey, I'm putting my money where my mouth is, and I'm going to lose out on money because I believe so strongly that what this brand is doing is wrong. I think that is a very just and honorable and admirable thing to do.

    I just think that you need to also just make sure you give the teams that you're working with a chance to know that's coming and not be blindsided by it because they will have long memories about this and they might go somewhere else. You don't want to get the reputation of being unfair or reactionary inside the community because again, it is a small community.

    I will also say on the brand side in our contracts we have morality clauses. We have the ability as do our clients to walk away from an influencer who we feel like is their actions or beliefs are not in line with ours or our clients or their actions are negatively impacting our business or our client's business. I think it is totally valid as an influencer to have those same morality clauses and know that, "Hey, if you do anything that I don't agree with, I'm allowed to walk away from this."
    Episode #160
    - Getting brand attention, aligning values, using influence for good
  • Let's first talk about some in-the-box ways to get brand's attention. The first thing, we've talked about this before, if you want to work with a brand, the best way to get their attention is to start working for the brand. We do this all the time at Fohr. Sometimes, we want to work with the client, we'll be in the middle of the pitch, and they will have something coming up that they could potentially use help with, and we just help them. They've got an event that Friday in a store in Dallas. We will send them hundred of our influencers from Dallas that we think would want to go to the event or they are looking for an intro to a specific influencer, and we help broker that for them.

    We just start working for brands before we're paid and what I say to the sales team is that we assume the sale. We just are saying, "Hey, we're going to work together. I know that we have to work this through legal and you have to go through your boss and all these things to get it approved," but we're confident that we're going to work together. In good faith, we're just going to start working for you. As an influencer, especially if you have a following that's substantial,let's say it's over 30,000 or 40,000 followers, your biggest tool at your disposal is that following and your ability to just talk about the brand.

    If they're bigger brand, they're probably not going to see your post unless they have a social team that's really on top of it. They're probably not going to see your post especially if it's in a story, so I encourage you to post about the brand, send that post to them, send any comments, highlight comments that you've got that are product-specific, not comments from your influencer friends that are meant to look good. Again, just as a side caveat, like everybody sees through that so you know.

    Everyone in the industry sees through when you do a sponsor post or work with a brand and all your influencer friends comment on it saying, "Oh my God, I love that. I need to buy that. Love that product. I love those shoes." We know that you're doing that to make the comments look better, and I don't think you're doing yourself a favor. In fact, I think it makes you look less influential. It makes it look like you're part of, whether or not you are part of it, it makes you look like you're part of a comment pod of influencers who are commenting product-focused comments to try and make the comment section look more appealing to brands. Detour over, we'll get back on to it.

    Posting about the brand first and best thing that you can do, send an email with the post, any comments, DMs, information that you had, whatever it is to make yourself look good and say, "Hey, I've been a fan of this brand.
    Here's a post I recently did. Here's the comments. My audience loves it. I'd love to work with you, love to get on a call with you and hear what you guys have going on."

    On Fohr, there's content search. If you haven't been to Fohr recently, you haven't done a content search, go into your profile and scroll down to the content section where you have most engaged content and recent sponsor posts. Under there is a bar that says search your Instagram. Type in any brand that you post about, and it will open up a page that you can then generate a report and send to a brand to say like, "Hey, I've talked about your brand 40 times in the last three years. Here's all of those posts with the average engagement rate and the total impressions." Those reports are great.

    I know that Jess Kirby used it, not too long ago, to get a collaboration with Barber. She went, searched, said, "Hey, I've been talking about this brand for years," [unintelligible 00:08:52] the brand." They paid attention. Opened up a dialogue, and she started working with them in official capacity.

    That is the easiest and best way. When you think about out-of-the-box ways, I don't think you have to get too gimmicky to work with a brand that you want to work with. I find in general that most brands are pretty accessible. These departments are pretty small. They don't actually get a huge amount of inbound interest that is real. My girlfriend works in marketing for fashion beauty brands, and she will sometimes forward me emails from influencers, 98% of them are an email that says, "Hey, love the brand. Love to collaborate." That is not an email that will ever get a response.

    When I say brands aren't getting a lot of inbound, they're not getting a lot of inbound that is thoughtful and worth paying attention to. I think what you can do to stand out outside of the box is just spend some time and put a thoughtful e-mail together, pull the content together that you've already created for the brand, do something to show that you actually care. You don't want it to look like, and it shouldn't be, a mass outreach, right? If you've ever gotten an e-mail that says like, "Dear blogger," where it's clear that, like in an Excel sheet, instead of your first name, they have blogger and then they sent a mass e-mail out, and they didn't change that, that's really frustrating because it feels impersonal.

    The same is true for brands. If you just say, "Hey, love your brand, we'd love to collaborate." It doesn't matter if you have half a million followers. That's probably not going to get a response. So, instead of telling you that you should be doing some crazy thing to work with the brand, I think that you should get good at doing the simple things and building a case that shows the brand that you care about them, that you're passionate about what they do, and that you really do want to work with them, and your motivations are not just monetary. Well, obviously, you're entering into a business relationship and that means that there has to be some payment on their side, be it through product or money, you don't want to reach out and have it feel like, "Hi, pay me." That is never really going to work.

    `Outside of that, if you're a bigger influencer and you're looking for a big partnership, and that is going to be, let's say, over $20,000, $30,000, so a long contract term for a lot of money, you can also always go above the person that you may be working with that might be making that decision. One out-of-the-box method might be to try and reach out to the CMO, or reach out to the CEO.

    Again, you guys get a lot of e-mail and you read most of your e-mails. So while it may be difficult to get a response from the CEO of a large organization, or maybe because I'm terrible at e-mail, it doesn't mean that they didn't read it and that they won't forward it along.

    We had an issue with a bank years ago where we had a bunch of money stolen from us, and I was having trouble getting it back. I e-mailed the CEO of one of the largest banks in the world everyday for 14 days in a row. Eventually, somebody e-mailed me back, said, "Hey, the CEO has sent your messages. Let's talk." That connection led to a resolution of the issue and is a lesson in that everybody is accessible in some way, and if you really want something, you can definitely get someone to at least read your e-mail.

    Don't be afraid to go to the top if you really want to work with the brand because the higher up you go in an organization, especially if it's a founder, they appreciate hearing those stories of people that genuinely love their brand.

    So, if you're not getting something from the person that does the influencer work at a certain brand, e-mail the CEO. Not about wanting to collaborate, but about how much you love the brand, and all the work that you've done, and how you just respect what they've done. Make it about them and not you. A lot of ways to get in there. The first thing that you want to do though when you're trying to work with the brand is you need to build a relationship so you have to get them to answer that e-mail. Just keep plugging away and trying.
    Episode #160
    - Getting brand attention, aligning values, using influence for good
  • I will say a standard contract if you work with Fohr on behalf of any of our clients, our contract gives the brand use of that content in their own channels so their Instagram, their Twitter, their Facebook, their Pinterest accounts. It gives them the rights to use it in their own channels. It does not give them the right to put any spend behind promoting that, so organically, they can use it, but they can't put any ad spend behind it. It gives them the right to use it in a newsletter but not to link to a product. You could be in the header of the newsletter linking to the homepage, and that would be under the contract, but if it is a photo of you wearing a certain handbag and it linked to that handbag, that wouldn't be allowed.

    Same they can use it in their blog or something on their homepage. They can't use it in e-com, so it can't be on a page that is driving to sales. Essentially, we give the brand rights to use it for anything that doesn't directly result in a sale. If a brand is pushing you for usage rights, 100% it is industry standard to charge for that. What you charge varies greatly on what the ask is. Is it one month? Is it three months? Is it two years?

    The thing you have to think about with usage rights is-- Excuse me. Let's say you're doing haircare, shampoo. Let's say you do a shampoo ad, a sponsored post with the brand, and they buy six-month usage rights on your photos. Then in three months, you do a post for another brand, but brand A still has usage rights and is running ads with your face and your content for a competitor of the brand you're talking about. Now, that puts you and your new client in a difficult situation, and that is a big reason why you're charging for usage rights is that it kind of is like a form of exclusivity because I think it is difficult for you to continue to do sponsored posts for a direct competitor knowing that someone else has usage rights on that same product.

    I would feel like if I was the brand and I bought a sponsored post from you and then I logged into Instagram and I looked at that sponsored post and then four posts later was a paid post from my biggest competitor with you in it, I would be very, very upset. I don't know enough about the contracts to know if that would be breach of contract, but I certainly would feel wronged. That is why I think it's important to charge brands for this stuff is because it does limit what you can do inside of that space.

    I think part of the question was also brands asking for extra images and wanting usage rights on those. Again, for a brand to do a cheap e-com shoot, so this is just like they're kind of shooting product on a model in their office, on the lowest end that's probably $2000, $2000-3000 to do that. A campaign shoot on the low, low end for a brand is probably $10,000-15,000, so when they do those shoots, they obviously own the images, and they get to use them as much as they want. One of the ways that brands are using influencers increasingly is they're not shooting. They're not doing their own campaign shoots. They're using influencers to do them, which I think makes a lot of sense and is much cheaper, but it is something that you should charge for, certainly. You're doing work. There is value there.

    I'll just back-of-the-napkin say that, let's say you charge $3,000 for a sponsored post. If the brand wanted 30 days of the usage rights, paid social ecom, I would charge another $1,500 for that probably. That's just the general-- Again, it varies quite a bit, and you want to be fair. Especially if a brand is buying a sponsored post and usage, you want to make sure that they get a little bit of economy of scale there, but I also wouldn't give it away.

    I say that partially at the detriment of my own company and our work because whatever I say here, it seems to come back to our team, being like, "Why are you telling influencers to do this? Because now it's all getting more expensive". I say this in some ways at my own detriment, but understand that if you're not charging for usage rights, almost everyone else is, and it's become quite standard. Any negotiation, you have to understand your value, understand where you are in the space, and be realistic, but this is something that people are used to paying for, and you shouldn't be afraid to charge for it.
    Episode #159
    - Reposting Instagram Stories, Fohr Influencer Profiles, Usage Rights
  • I believe last week I told you guys if you haven't logged in do it. That's the basics. If your Instagram disconnected. we will email you. if your YouTube gets disconnected, we'll email you. We'll let you know those things have been disconnected so that you can come back and reconnect it. It's going be hard to get any opportunities with us or our clients if your accounts aren't connected. It's going be hard to get anything with us if you haven't submitted for verification, so if you haven't done that, absolutely make sure you go in and do that.

    Then there's a new feature we have called testimonials where you can drive your audience to a page where they can leave you testimonials. Those testimonials then show up on your profile.

    Testimonials got launched a couple of weeks ago. We've had about 10,000 testimonials left for influencers. Again, we use testimonials in the Freshman Class and the Sephora squad activations that we did. What's different here is that you see the testimonials. Really, this is a way to just get compliments. If you're feeling a little down, go to Fohr, grab that testimonial Insta story, post it to the audience and just watch the compliments rush in. I think Grace Atwood did it last time I checked, and in like a day, she had 500. That's 500 compliments. I need to do it because I don't get complimented enough, honestly, so I think I need to get my testimonials out there so I can see all that good feedback.

    What we're trying to do, in all seriousness, is give brands a look at what you do beyond just your feed. The way your audience feels about you, the connection that they feel to you, the impact that you have had on your audience's life, that's what testimonials are trying to suss out, things that when a brand went to your feed they wouldn't be able to see. They wouldn't be able to glean from just looking at your feed. If you haven't done that, absolutely go check it out, and go grab those testimonials. I think they'd be really beneficial, and I know clients are already using them quite a bit in their influencer selections.

    I also just recently-- Many, many episodes ago we talked about influencers doing newsletters as a good way to stay in touch with your brand contacts, send out a monthly newsletter. We'll find what episode that is and link to it. If you haven't seen it, you should check it out. I got one from an influencer the other day that had some of her testimonials from her audience in her newsletter. I thought that was a really clever way to use it. This isn't something you usually get as an influencer. You're getting reviewed, essentially, by your audience.

    If you have a 100,000 followers and you feel like that's not much but you can be like, "Hey, look at these 20 testimonials from my audience that talk about how important and influential I am in their lives", that can kind of tip the scale away from your following into this other place. If you haven't done it, not only is it a feel-good thing to do but it really can help your business.
    Episode #159
    - Reposting Instagram Stories, Fohr Influencer Profiles, Usage Rights
  • This is something that I've really just started to notice more and not because it's happening more, but I think I've just started to notice it annoying me more. When you go to an influencer's stories and again, it looks like it's got the perforated edge across the top, it's like you're in for a 30 story day from them, and it's all just people posting about the influencer being like, "Oh my God, goals. Oh my God, this person is amazing".

    I think if we go back to what we were talking about last week, inspire, educate, entertain, I think the problem with blindly reposting people's content or people blindly reposting people talking about you or complimenting you or wishing you a happy birthday or congratulations is that it doesn't inspire, entertain or educate. It doesn't do anything for your audience. It makes you feel cool. I personally, I think, used to do more of this because it's nice to have people say nice things about you, and you want other people to know that people are saying nice things about you, especially if those other people are also kind of semi-influential.

    I was talking to a reporter friend, and she was like, "It's kind of blasé. As a reporter, you don't retweet praise of your articles. That's just a no-go". I thought that was interesting because in the influencer space, if someone says anything nice about an influencer on Instagram, they just repost it without thinking about it, being like, "Thanks, babe". Subsequently, I asked a few other reporters, and they're like, "Yes, absolutely. That's kind of an unwritten rule. You don't retweet praise of you". It shifted my perspective on reposting praise of your work or of what you're doing.

    I don't think it's a bad thing. I don't think that influencers are held to the same standards as journalists necessarily. I don't think influencers should take themselves as seriously as journalists because, honestly, journalists take themselves way too seriously. I don't think you have to say like, "I'm not going to do this". I do think that-- Think about educate, inspire or entertain and think about how you're going to do that.

    If you are launching something and you know people are going to repost it a lot-- We'll do this on Fohr sometimes. We'll collect a bunch of the reaction posts, and we'll put them all into a couple stories. We'll lay them out all together on a page and say thank you there. If your goal is "I want people to know that people are talking about this", then actually the worst way to do that is to Regram every fucking time somebody talks about it because that feels small.

    An example moving out of the influencer space, Chance came out with his new album last week, maybe two weeks ago. Once you hear this, week ago. I don't know. On his Twitter, he's been retweeting random fans complimenting his album, and to me, it feels kind of sad because it's like, "Why is Chance The Rapper, with seven and a half million followers, retweeting random fans?" For me, as a Chance fan, these tweets do fuck all for me. They're so boring. It also is like, "Why is he doing this? Shouldn't it be bigger than him taking this one small compliment and sharing it with his seven and a half million people?"

    I think, as an influencer, you have to think about the optics of what it looks like but also what can you do to achieve the goal. Again if the goal is, "Hey, people are talking about this", there's better ways to do that. I will sometimes use an influencer who has mentioned Drink with James. I will use that to talk about it myself, which is totally fine. If it's something that you haven't posted about or you haven't posted about in a while or whatever, you can use those posts to tell your own story on top of it, but just blindly Regramming everything, it's not a strategy. It's the absence of a strategy. It's lazy, and I think at all costs you should avoid doing it.

    This is your job. It's okay for your friend you went to high school with who Regrams the birthday wishes that they get. That's fine, but this is your job. I think you need to put a little bit more effort in than just saying add post to story and click the button to publish. That's just not enough.
    Episode #159
    - Reposting Instagram Stories, Fohr Influencer Profiles, Usage Rights
  • First, absolutely. I think we said before on the show that saves are like a super like. Again, think about why you would save something. Because you want to see it later. There's liking it, which is like, "I want you to know that I saw this and I liked it." There's no other real reason to like a post. Saving it is like, "I want to look at this later."

    I think looking at the post that gets the most saves is really interesting to understand what your audience is connecting with. We had a data scientists on our team look through the data on thousands and thousands of posts, I think 50,000 posts, to pull out insights of what is working, what posts are getting saved more than others. Number one, and this is obvious but sometimes the obvious stuff is important to hear again, it's posts that have tips or hacks or something like that. It makes sense. You leave some photography tip or this is how I do my makeup or this is a DIY trick I learned. Obviously that is something that if it's interesting, you're going to want to come back too. So it makes sense that a lot of people will be saving that. When I saw this study there was like a little light bulb that went off in my head. It's just like, "In our campaigns we should be pushing influencers more to try and give tips, give something that is saveable in the content." Because again, we talk about educate, inspire or entertain.

    Those are the three things a post needs to do. If it doesn't educate, inspire, or entertain, then it's probably self-serving. It's probably like, "I think I look good here so I'm going to post this," or, "I just feel like posting this," or, "I'm getting paid to post this, I'm going to post that." Post needs to inspire, educate, entertain. So educate. I think if you don't know what to say or if you feel like your content is not doing that well, I think a good thing for everyone to do maybe this week is just to try and do a post this week where you teach your audience something.

    I think lists are good. In the captions you can be like, "Hey." Like, "Here's five things that I learned about this or here is what I do when-- I think I just saw, Quigley. What's her account name? Officially Quigley. Officially Quigley. She's been doing like mad long captions recently which had been doing really well. I think she just did one that was like, "Here's what I do when I'm in a creative rat," and how she gets out of that. Things like that. Take this week, try and do one post that you feel like is something you can teach your audience.

    Be really explicit about it. Then look at the saves. Let's see if that becomes one of your most saved posts. I think it will. I think that it's a good metric to start tracking and maybe once a week you can start pulling some tip or something and obviously all the content at fore is that. The content that does the best is always stuff that's teaching you guys something. It's never like, "Hey, we're launching this new thing. Hey, we did this really exciting campaign that we're super proud of." You might be like, "Cool. You guys did a good job. That is cool."

    I don't really give a shit. What does that have to do with me? So the content that does great for us is when we're teaching you something because it is valuable to you. So take that lesson, whatever it is and try and teach your audience something this week and look at the saves and see if you can do better than normal. So she's on episode 15 of foreground, she talks about long captions, why she writes them, why she loves them. Maybe she also explains why the hell her Instagram is called Officially Quigley.
    Episode #158
    - Instagram Saves as a Metric, Editorial Content, Hiding Likes
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