Question one is more of a request for comment on a situation that happened last week where an influencer with 2.6 million followers only ended up selling 36 units of a clothing line that she produced and why that happened, and what influencers can learn from that. Why do I think an influencer with 2.6 million followers only sold 36 items from a clothing launch that they apparently worked years off? Because that is not a good result obviously. I could sell 36 something right now to you guys. I could just be like, "Buy this shit," and some of you would do it. Although, I have been asking you guys to send me whiskey for years, and I get like two bottles a month, so maybe I'm not such a good salesman. I digress. Okay, we're going to juxtapose two things. One, influencer with 2.6 million followers sold 36 items from a launch, not good. Two, Danielle Bernstein about 2 million followers recently launched a collaboration with a swimwear company sold 2 million dollars in 12 hours, good okay. Those are two sides of a coin.
Let's figure out what happened.
In team, I fucked up, there's a few things that were wrong and I didn't study this in huge depth, because honestly didn't seem like I really needed to. It was apparently obvious from the very beginning. One, the product was totally wrong for her. It was like street wear and that just wasn't what she was in. It made absolutely no sense why she was creating a product line that didn't feel natural to her feed. She posted about it once like the day before launch and like once a couple days after and that was essentially it. She did a terrible job promoting it, talked about it a couple times and didn't sell anything. Then threw a big hissy fit said "This was a big failure," ended up deleting all those posts. It's a whole internet drama thing that I'm not really getting into.
What is interesting is that I think if I can take some liberties here and get inside of her brain. I think it is not dissimilar to what some of our clients think which is, "This influencer with 2.6 million followers is going to do one post and things are going to change immediately." From that one post the train is going to rocket out of the station and people are going to start fucking throwing money at it. It's going to be great. I guarantee that is the mindset a lot of clients have, especially when they work with a big influencer. I've had clients come in and be like, "Look, they've got a million followers if 10% buy something that's a hundred thousand people. If it's five dollars that's five hundred thousand dollars." In what fucking world is 10% of an audience buying something that they see for the first time? We're just like "Red flag. Whoa, that is never never, never, never, never happening ever.", but that is the expectation that some brands have and maybe the expectation that this woman had which was, "I would do a post or two and this will work and I will just print money."
Let's look at Danielle who did a better job, obviously. She sold two million dollars of this stuff in 12 hours. One it was her third collaboration with that same brand so this was not new. Even just looking at this specific collaboration which did exponentially better than the ones before it. Well, but they did grow. I think the first one did half a million dollars total. This next one did a million dollars and then this one did two million in 12 hours. I think she posted like eight or nine times about it before it even launched. Which is a huge amount, for Danielle who at her following can charge 10K or more for a post. You're talking about eighty to a hundred thousand dollars of free posts that she could have sold, that she was doing in the run-up to this launch.
She shot it in Italy. It was a swimwear brand. She shot it in Italy. She took her followers on that shoot. She showed the product beforehand. I think that honestly, I wouldn't have been as comfortable if I was the brand with her sharing so much of the product beforehand but I kudos to her. I think it worked really, really well.
She continued to tease the launch but she did it while keeping people engaged by showing the product. Where a lot of people are like, "I have something really exciting launching tomorrow." You do that song and dance for a month and then you show the product and it's not-- While people may be aware that you're launching something, they're not aware of what the product looks like. I think her doing those eight or nine posts beforehand is huge. They say that people need to see something seven times before they can get to a place to be convinced to buy it or consider purchase.
I think it's not a coincidence that all that posting the Danielle did ended up having a great effect. The other thing is the kinds of posts. Most people would think I'm going to just do all editorial post. She shot incredible editorial in Italy with her photographer from New York, which again was really smart because the photos, she was comfortable. The photos were great and they looked and felt like her feed not like the brand hired a campaign photographer that shot in a way that she was uncomfortable with.
What was really interesting was she posted all of the product. She posted the line sheet from the collaboration. Literally, every product on a white flat lay so you could zoom in and look at it. What is interesting is that every post was leading up to “You're going to buy this.” Not “Look at me, look how special I am for designing something or doing this collaboration and look how beautiful I look in the swimmer.” It was all about getting people to the point where they were comfortable buying something.
We have a blog post that we'll link in this that I wrote for brands about how I thought this worked. I think it's a really important juxtaposition and it would be great to go look at that, look up some articles in the woman who didn't sell things. There's a few articles online about it, a few tweets, storms and stuff. Look at our blog posts on Danielle and go through her feed and think about that when you're thinking about not just your own line but how to be effective for your brand partners.
You have to integrate this stuff into your life. It has to be, it can't just be transactional one and done. That's on the brands as well, a lot of our clients just want one post from an influencer. We push back on that like there's only so much we can do and sometimes they're getting those larger scale effects from working with a lot of influencers saying, "I'm assuming if I work with a 100 influencers that are similar that a consumer will see this post five or six or seven or eight times instead of seeing eight times from one person, which could get a little repetitive."
You have to understand the science behind how you change people's minds. Lastly, this is actually driving the entire brand conference that we're having in June. If you all are branding, you haven't signed up quick plug, you should sign up for the brand conference. We are running low on seats, but we still have some. Tim will put that link in there as well. There's this bit of common knowledge and advertising, like not advertising.
There's this just this fact of life that you can't change someone's mind or convince them of something with facts. You have to do it with stories. Stories are so compelling and they do such a good job, boring into your mind and getting you to do things. Listen to any political speech. Does the politicians stand up there and say, "It's not fair that so many people are leaving college with student debt?"
No. They say, "I talked to a young man yesterday in Wisconsin and he put himself through college and he came out and he has $180,000 in debt and his first job is paying $35,000 a year and he is now going to be under the weight of this debt for the next 30 years and it's not acceptable." You have to humanize it and put a story behind it. That is why politicians make up these bullshit stories about people that they meet who-- There’s no way they're meeting these people.
There's a story for everything. Again, thinking of Danielle, she crafted a story about this line that was about more of the product. She took her followers through the product development phase and actually show those happening. She took them on the campaign shoot and showed them what was happening. She posted the actual product beforehand. She was excited. You could feel that excitement. I was just on a phone call with a potential client-- Fingers crossed.
I was talking about influencers posts and I was saying, “You know when you're young and you're interviewing for something on the phone and your mom or dad says like, make sure you smile on the phone because you can hear it.” When you smile on the phone, it comes across in your voice that enthusiasm. I was talking to the client, I was like, "We want the same thing with influencers. We want the post to feel like they're smiling when they write it. We want them to feel really excited about it.”
That is what makes stories compelling. They feel real and honest and that they touch on some emotion. If you're trying to sell shit to people, you have to do it with stories. Those stories have to be rooted in the product but you have to have a story and you have to be able to tell it effectively. With Instagram changing the way the platform works and Wish shopping coming in, I cannot stress enough how important it's going to be able to move product on your Instagram feed if you want to continue to have a career here.
- Converting Posts to Sales, Instagram Shopping, Designing Products