• Holidays are tough. We did a survey for our clients around the holiday season, just trying to understand what influencers, how they think about it. 50% of influencers said they've turned down deals during the holidays because it was too late or because they had too many sponsored posts already. That's interesting because there is a huge amount of demand for sponsored posts, there is not as much supply. You're bombarded with marketing, in general. A large portion of the marketing spend globally happens in Q4. A lot of retailers make 50% of their yearly money in the months of November and December.

    It is massively, massively important for every retailer in the world to be successful this holiday season. A retailer is planning holiday a year out. They're already probably planning the next holiday season. If you're just thinking about holiday now and what you're going to do to stand out, you're probably too late. You're probably not going to be able to do something really impactful. I was talking to Grace Atwood recently, and she was talking about how she set a tree up in her house in October, decorated it so she would have all of our content ready to go. She was very buttoned up and she had planned out her holiday season quite well.

    I think that traditional bloggers do a great job with this. They always are putting out the gift guides that they roll out over the course of a few weeks. It's very shopper-helpful. I think if you're a traditional blogger, you probably don't need my advice on holiday. Hopefully, you are putting together a solid gift guide. Hopefully, you're providing that value to your readers who are coming to you for gifts ideas. Influencers who don't have a blog, who maybe aren't as product-focused, it's an interesting time of year because every retailer, the only thing they care about right now is sales.

    There's no brand awareness campaigns happening right now. There's only sales-driven campaigns. I would encourage you on your sponsored posts to just remember that you are an advertiser. Remember that you are there to sell a product. Try and do a really good job of convincing people to spend their money on that product. We've talked about before, but use the product. If a brand is asking you to try and become a spokesperson for that product, make sure you use it. Make sure you research it, research the history of the brand. Who started it? What made them special when they started the company?

    Sometimes if you go back, for an older company, 50, 60 years, they've really fascinating founding stories. Maybe you can pull that into your post somehow. Remember that you are a salesperson for that brand, and try and help them sell it. If you don't feel like you can sell the brand, the expectation is that you would walk away. Now, outside of sponsored posts, what can you do that's impactful? Especially, early in the season now-- Well, when's this coming out?

    Speaker 2: Today.

    James: Today. So from now, for the next week, people are going to be amped up to see holiday shit. They are ready to see lights, they're ready to see red and green, and you and fucking reindeer ears. They are ready for that content. Think about how excited you are to put Christmas music on the first time, and think about how much you hate it by the time Christmas rolls around. The posts that you put out are the same.

    Right now, I think there's an appetite for it. People want to see it. It makes them happy. It reminds them of the holidays. It gets them excited to go shopping and to drink hot cocoa and all that, wear onesie pajamas and all that. They're excited about it. They want to see it. They will not want to see it nearly as much in three weeks. So try and get your content out early. Sometimes being first is better than being best. So earlier, the better.

    Then again, let's go with our-- if this episode is rooted in Dalio’s advice, go against the consensus. Think about what everyone else is doing and try and do something different. If you don't feel like you can shoot a iconic holiday photo, something that just is screaming holiday that you think people are going to love, then think about what nobody else will do and try and do something there. Being personal always is always good.

    Our first year we were in business, we sent out these gifts to clients and we contacted the siblings of influencers and got them to write stories about that influencer when they were a kid during the holidays. We got them to send us a photo of the kids, like, young, in front of their trees or celebrating the holidays in whatever way they did. It was really cute and heartfelt because the stories around the holidays are sappy and heartfelt and sometimes tragic. It's a good time for you, I think, to open up personally to your followers.

    In a month, where they will be bombarded with messages of, "Buy this, buy this, buy this," it might be nice to just tell them a bit about yourself. Tell them a bit about some holiday memories that you have. Nice time to open up and be a little more personal if you have in the past shied away from doing that. End of the day, yes, this is an important time, commercially, for everyone in the industry, for everyone in advertising and retail as we are. Try not to stress too much about it. End of the day, this should be a time for you to be with your family. It should be the time for you to look back on your year.

    I wouldn't stress too much about it. Everyone I've ever come in contact with that works in retail or advertising for retailers, hates the holidays because it becomes a negative thing because it's so stressful. It's not worth ruining the holidays so you can get the perfect Instagram up. So don't sweat it too much. Remember next year and maybe next year, start thinking about it in August and planning it out so that you don't get too stressed.
    Episode #126
    - Holiday Presence, Algorithm Tips, Instagram Story Engagement