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  • It is that time again. We just sent out our list of Fashion Week registrations. We've got over a thousand people who've said they're coming to New York for New York Fashion Week. It is that time of year. I'm not going to talk about Fashion Week and whether you should go, but I'm almost positive I'm going to answer that question in the next few weeks because I'm sure somebody's going to ask, "Should I go to Fashion Week?"

    I've seen 15 bloggers taking polls from their audience, "Should I go to Fashion Week?" which is for me is very eye-rolly. It's like, "Hey, everyone, should I-- I don't know, I'm so over Fashion Week but if you guys think it's important, I'll go." It's like, "Fuck you, just make up your mind." I think the polls asking your audience if you should go to Fashion Week are nauseating. They're so frustrating. They're just full of entitlement. I hate it. It's wrapped up in this like, "I want to give my audience what they want," which is total bullshit. It feels very self-serving. That's that. Let's put that aside. We're not talking about that today. I'm not going to get derailed.

    How can you get to big shows? A few big PR companies run things at Fashion Week. A lot of the big fashion PR companies in the city, HL group, KCD, Alison Brod, Purple PR, LaForce now, do a lot of the shows. The easiest way to get into the shows is building relationships with the big fashion PR companies in the city. You can do a search for those to find them. Reach out to them and say, "I'd love to be considered for Fashion Week shows. How can I get you-- " say, "I'm interested in going." Just email them. If you've never been to Fashion Week before, you need to think, let's take two years, four Fashion Weeks. Let's say you want to go to the big shows in two years, with the PR companies, you want to build your name up inside those companies.

    The first thing they're going to do is they're going to invite you to the presentations. The presentations are not as exciting. They're going to invite you to the ones that they're having a harder time getting people to come to. Go to those presentations, cover them, send emails to the brands, tell them you went, show them your post, do them a favor. You're not doing them a favor by going to Chanel, everybody wants to go to Chanel. There are brands that are more difficult to get people go to. It is their fucking job to get people to go, help them be good at their job. Do something, wait for it, for someone else. Imagine, help them out.

    You could email them and say, "Hey, first time going to Fashion Week. I'm so excited. If there's any presentations or shows that aren't as heavily attended, I'd love to be considered." That is a very humble way to come into it. That is what it will feel like to the PR people. You have to understand they are-- I know influencers talk about how busy Fashion Week is, and it is very busy for influencers, it is fucking insane for PR people. They would be working three or four shows a day, they're in the office 'til 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. While you're at the after-party for Alexander Wang, they're closed up in a fucking office doing clippings for press mentions for all their shows, getting those reports to the brands the next day. It is a very stressful time, it is not their job to make sure that you have a fun Fashion Week so try and be humble. Try and be realistic with your ask and see what you can do for them.

    Beyond that, then it's a relationship game. You have to grow your following. You have to be-- They've only got so many seats allocated to influencers. That allocation is growing every year so it gets easier and easier to get into these shows. They're also making shows bigger and bigger to accommodate more people as the industry changes and as Fashion Week changes, but at the end of the day it becomes a numbers game or a relationship game. You can either build really strong relationships or you can just have really big numbers. To get into those really coveted shows, to get into the Diors, to get into the Balenciaga, the Celines, the Chanels, the Louis Vuittons, you're going to have to build strong relationships. You're going to have to find the people at those brands and you're going to have to try and ingratiate yourself.

    As busy as the time it is for PR people, it is also fun. I think if you're honest and say, "I have always loved this brand and I understand that it is 100% probably not feasible for me to go to the show now but one day I would love to, if there's anything I can do for you please let me know." Be humble. Understand that if this is your first Fashion Week, it's a journey. Each year you'll get more and more access, you'll build more and more relationships, it'll get more and more interesting. If you do a good job for the brands, they will continue to invite you. They will talk amongst their PR firm, "I invited her to a show. She was great. She did a bunch of coverage. She sent me a report. She's awesome." Be professional, be humble, do a good job, that is my advice. That's totally fine.
    Episode #111
    - Fashion Week, Promoting Products You Don't Use, Communication
  • Great question, I feel very bad about influencers promoting products that they don't use. Anytime you do a sponsored post you should be spending a week with that product, at least, beforehand, getting to know it, getting to understand it. I know brands now send you these long briefs and they say, "What are the key messages? What are the do and don'ts? What's the mood board look like? What's the creative direction? They give you everything that they want. A lot of ways you could create an on brief post for that brand without ever using the product.

    This is especially true of, let's say, something of beauty or hair care or skincare. You could shoot a flat lay, you could hold the product and you could list out the key messaging that they sent you without ever using it. We have been trying to push this idea of something that we call conversational conversion. It is a kind of roll your eyes buzzword that explains a fairly simple concept which is we are trying to get influencers more and more to speak to their communities as if they're trying to convince a friend of something.

    If you tried this new moisturizer that you really, really loved, and you went to dinner with a friend, and you were raving about this moisturizer talking about why they should use it. That language that you would use to convince your friend is the same language that you should be using on your feed, conversational conversion. You are having a conversation with your audience. You can't get too tripped up by the key messages of the brands. Now, you have to hit what the brand wants you to talk about. You need to make sure you do it in your voice.

    I encourage all influencers to do two things when they are doing a sponsored post for a brand. One, use the product for a week, think about what makes it different. How is it different from competitors? What does it make you feel like? What does it make you look like? What is special about it? What is interesting about it? Talk to people about it, "I'm using this thing, I'm doing this," try and form an opinion about it. Now, you're being paid, you're going to have to speak well about the product and I assume you wouldn't do a post for a brand that you didn't support. Going through this process of actually using it is going to help you build what that caption is going to be, what the creative is going to be for the post, how are you going to speak about it.

    Then once you've used it for a week, you go to do your post, think about convincing a friend to use it. Think about the language you would use to do that, and try and use that language. Sometimes the sponsored posts are feeling too cold. They're feeling too mechanical. They're feeling too controlled by the brand. You have to be able to use your voice, and not just your voice in that you are kind of irreverent, you make a little joke, but I'm talking about the voice you would use to convince a friend to use a product. Try and use that same reasoning on your post for the brand. It's a simple thing. I don't think a lot of people do it. It is rooted in your ability to speak confidently about the brand. That ability is rooted in you actually using the product and understanding it and understanding its benefits.

    Absolutely, paramount. I would be very disappointed if we worked with an influencer and they didn't have a lot of experience actually using the product before they posted about it. Yes, good question, should you use it after the collaboration? I think folding those products into your life as a part of your life makes total sense. I think it helps with credibility for your followers, showing that to them a couple times, tagging it in Insta stories. Sometimes you don't even have to tag it.

    I talked with Erica from Retro Flame, she talked about this. She said in the weeks leading up to a collaboration and then the weeks after collaboration, she will show the product on her stories and sometimes she won't tag it but at least people get used to seeing that brand so that when she does the post she could say, "You all have probably seen this laying around my house. I've been using it for a few weeks, I love it." That is such a more compelling story than, "I love the soft feel of this new moisturizer, it leaves my skin feeling silky smooth. You should try it today." You're like, "Fuck you." Someone sent you that caption, that you don't believe any of that. Make it a part of your life before and after the campaign.
    Episode #111
    - Fashion Week, Promoting Products You Don't Use, Communication
  • We talked a little bit about brand communication. I've talked about this a lot. If you haven't gone to the Drink with James search engine in a while, you can go and always just type and communicate or communication, you can see I've definitely touched on this. I think what I want to stress this week, I'm talking about brand communication, is I have yet to see an influencer, correct me if I'm wrong and send me an email if I'm incorrect here, I've yet to see an influencer who has a brand-specific newsletter. You have your newsletter that your subscribers subscribe to for lack of a better term. You got that normal consumer-facing newsletter, but I've yet to see a newsletter that's specifically for brands.

    If I was an influencer and I was doing this full time, once a month I would send an email to every brand contact I had, everyone who had reached out for collaboration, everyone I had met at a party, every business card that I've gotten from a brand person. I would have a newsletter that said, "Here's what I've been working on. Here are some sponsored posts I did, here are some exciting new things I've been thinking about, here's a vacation I'm going on, here's the opportunities I'm looking for." Whatever it might be, it is a scalable easy way for you to stay in touch with brands every single month. Stay top of mind and, again, scale-out those communications so you don't have to actually write out the emails individually to each brand person every month.

    I'm going to keep this brief, but once a month newsletter just for brands, send it out. I think that it is something I've never seen anyone do and I think you would make a lot of money from it because you would just stay top of mind. Once a month they'd be seeing something from you, they'd be seeing what you're doing, they'd be seeing new projects you'd be working on. You're that much more likely to get the next brand deal. Once you start it, feel free to put me on it. If you start a brand newsletter I want to see it, forward it to me or add me I would love to see that.

    Tim is asking if you should curate the list in case you did a post for a competitor or something like that. If you did a post for Pepsi should you send it to the person that you know at Coke? I think it's totally fine. In the space brands, understand that there's going to be overlap, you're going to work with their competitors. Hopefully, you have the foresight to space those things out and not work with Pepsi, May first, and Coke, May 7th. I wouldn't worry about getting too crazy about customizing it and segmenting it. I would love if, in years, you had a huge list and you had a beauty one that you sent to your beauty clients and a fashion one to your fashion clients, and a home one to your home clients, but let's start with something simple, get it out there send it to me.
    Episode #111
    - Fashion Week, Promoting Products You Don't Use, Communication
  • First of all, question-asker sounds like you got burned. I'm sorry for your experience. There is a certain amount of unprofessionalism or a lack of professionalism in this space. There is a number of reasons why. I think one of them, obviously, being that a lot of the younger influencers, especially, haven't worked in an office environment. I think with a lot of the kind of tension comes from between brands and influencers, is in the ability to meet and understand expectations.

    As a brand, you might say, "I expect my email to be answered in 24 hours". The influencer doesn't hold that same expectation. They don't necessarily think they're being flaky. They just don't come from a place. I eat in an office where answering an email in 24 hours is super important. There are some influencers out there that are hugely professional and they are joys to work with. Mariana Hewitt. Chrysella Limbstein is amazing. She's incredible to work with. Jenny from Margo and Me is great. A lot of the people we've had in the show. Erica, who's the old school on the show, Erica Haida, Fashion Chic Styling is fantastic to work with.

    A lot of influencers are consummate pros. They have full teams around them helping. It feels like working with a mini production, content production studio. They're incredible but especially the micro side, there are influencers who are not as professional. That is frustrating. I think that for the influencers watching the show right now, this feels, again, a little bit more like maybe a question that was asked by a brand. But the influencers- I think we've said this before but in an early episode, I'll say it again. If a brand reaches out, I would say 48 hours you should respond.

    If it's the first time they've reached out, you don't have a relationship with them, try and get back to them in 48 hours. If you're on a trip, put up an out-of-office so that they know and they don't just feel like you're ignoring them. You're on a trip, you're not going to check your email, put in that out of office. If you're not out of town, try and respond to that in 48 hours. Respond to all your emails. Very easy to say, "Thanks so much for reaching out. Not interested at the time but let me know if anything else comes up."

    Again, we've talked about before how people in this industry move brands so quickly. If you don't want to work with someone because you don't like the brand and you just don't respond, that person might move from that brand to the brand that is your dream brand. The simple act of saying, “Thank you so much for reaching out right now. This doesn't make sense but let me know in the future if you know any other opportunities come up." It's little seconds of your time.

    You can even get these little keyboard shortcuts if you Google, like keyboard shortcut app. You can get these little apps where you can say like Control, S, R or something, a random key, and it will automatically paste in something that says, “Thanks so much for reaching out. At this time, we're not interested but keeping in mind, if anything comes up in the future." You could just go through your email and do 50 of those at the end of the week or twice a week or whatever it might be. Respond in 48 hours. If you are working with a brand, and they're paying you, you need to respond by end of business.

    That isn't a non-negotiable. If a brand is paying you, and you're in contract with them, respond by end of the day. If you are in negotiation with the brand, I would also say, end of day, but I would stretch it to 24 hours. We'll say first time brand reads out reaches out, 48 hours, absolute maximum. If you're in negotiations with a brand, you're going back and forth with them, 24 hours maximum. If you were working with the brand, you should shoot for two hours but absolutely, end of day. If you are within a day of your posting time, I think you should be responding within the hour.

    Those all make sense. Rewind it if you need to. That should be your expectation. The largest amount of fallout is in communication breakdown. You can get over so much of it just by being disciplined about your response time. If you don't have an answer for a brand, if they ask you, “Hey, we need you to re-shoot this.” Let's say, you need to book a photographer to do that, and you're waiting on the photographer to get back to you, so you don't want to go back to the brand and say, “When you're going to be able to re-shoot because you're waiting for the photographer- That's a kind of a tongue twister. For the photographer.

    You're waiting for the photographer. Reach out to the brand, at the end of the day, and say, “Hey, don't have an update before you. Just want to let you know I'm still waiting to hear back from the photographer about when we can shoot. I'll let you know tomorrow if I've heard anything. If I don't hear anything back by tomorrow, I'm going to reach out to another photographer.” You just have to keep people in the loop. Even if you have bad news, communicate that bad news as soon as you get it.

    I used to avoid difficult conversations in my life. I actually read this book called, “Difficult conversations”, which was really good. One of the things it talks about is, if you have a piece of bad news, to try and communicate that piece of bad news to the person that is going to affect within 15 minutes of receiving it because as you wait, it gets harder and harder and harder and harder and harder to hype yourself up to communicate it.

    Anyone who's ever broken up with somebody knows this feeling. We were like, "I'm doing it today. I'm breaking up with them today." Then you see them and they do something nice, and you're like, “Wow. I can't possibly break up with them today.” Then the next day you're like, “Today is the day. I'm breaking up with this person today.” Then they lose their job, and you're like, “Fuck. Now, I can't break up with them for until they get a new job. Now, I'm in this for another month.” That stuff just keeps happening. I have a rule when I have a piece of bad news, I try and communicate it within 15 minutes. Think about that with brands.
    If you can't post, if you have to back out of something, if it's going to be late, if you know the files that you shot got lost, communicate it immediately. Explain what happened. Apologize. It will be fine. The only way it will not be fine is if you don't communicate effectively. We could do a whole show on this but if you have any more questions on that, on how as an influencer, you should be thinking about communications with brands, ask them because I don't want to just spurt stuff off here. Any further questions on, let us know. I'll answer it next week.
    Episode #110
    - Smart Growth Tactics, Unprofessionalism, Growth Companies
  • I don't have much of a following. I get these DMs constantly. I cannot stress enough how far you should stay away from these things. Something I remember saying a while back is that you can't hack your way into success. There's no growth hack here that's going to get you to 250,000 followers. Even if you could find a way to get to 250,000 followers, using growth companies or using different tactics, that's not going to be an audience that's engaged in what you do.

    That's not going to be an audience that cares about what you have to say. Thus, to advertisers such as myself, that audience is useless. You having 30,000 followers who are obsessed with you or 5,000 followers who are obsessed with you, is better than having 15,000 followers who don't know who the hell you are. I understand the temptation and I understand the frustration of how hard it is to grow in this space right now, and how hard it is to grow on Instagram right now, but these companies are selling you snake oil.

    Again, even if they get you're following up 30 %, that 30% is going to be essentially meaningless to brands because those people probably aren't going to view your posts. You're not going to have the reach numbers to support your following. We are eventually going to move to a model where we are paying on true real impressions, not your following account. I think in the next six to 12 months, we will essentially start to ignore following accounts completely. They will be essentially meaningless to us. The only thing I will care about and, by proxy are hundreds of clients who care about, is how many of those people are you actually reaching. If you're padding your following number but you're not growing your reach number, then those followers will be meaningless anyway. I would stay away from them. Keep your nose to the grindstone. Keep working. Be consistent. Take the take the long-term view. Think about where you want to be a year, two years from now. Don't let companies trying to sell you short-term gains, throw you off track.
    Episode #110
    - Smart Growth Tactics, Unprofessionalism, Growth Companies
  • Short and sweet, yes. If you're working on a project with someone, you should absolutely follow them. A lot of the people that work in influencers, and to all my friends out there watching who have followings of over, let's say 75, 50-75K, this is especially applicable. The people who are putting these programs together, love what they do. They love influencer marketing, and by proxy, they probably love influencers. So this is cool to be able to work with you all.

    Following the people at the brands that you work with is such an easy way to make sure that you continue to get deals from them. If they reach out to you and you follow them, and they say, “Hey, how's it been going? I got a project I'd love to talk to you about.” You know that they just got a new puppy, then you're like, “Oh my gosh. I've been meaning to reach out. That new dog is so cute, like, let's get on the phone." That is so huge, and it's so easy, and it's right there. I recently had an experience where an influencer that we've worked with quite a few times. I went to DM them. I couldn't because they unfollowed me and I know, I had DM them before.

    At some point, they followed me and then unfollowed me, which I don't really care. My first reaction though was what the fuck? I was, like, ‘What? You unfollowed me? Are you serious?” I get it. Your feeds get full. You don't want to follow everyone in the world. I totally understand it. Here's my hack for you guys. Okay. Follow every single brand person that you work with. Okay and then, when the project is done, mute their stories, mute their posts. They're no longer in your feed. Then, once a month, go to your settings in Instagram. Go to muted accounts. Go to every single one of those accounts, like some photos, comment on some photos.

    If you have a phone call scheduled with that person, from that brand, go to your muted accounts, pull up their account. Look through their feed. Make sure when you get on that phone. you don't say, "What's been going on?" and they say, “I got married last week." You didn't know that, and now, you look like an asshole. So mute the account. Go to your settings. Go to muted accounts. Engage with the posts, once a month or so. Check those accounts before you reach out or before you talk to them but don't unfollow the brand people. It's just dumb. It's just dumb because it's just, like, I am like, I run this company that pays influencers millions and millions of dollars a year.

    I fucking know you. I pay you money. You were following me. Now you unfollowed me. Well, now I'm petty. I'm unfollowing you, obviously. I mean I'm a normal person. I'm not just going to take that lying down. The mute button is transformative. Use it, people. It has changed my life. Mute away. I was just telling him, I might mute everyone and just have nothing on Instagram but have everyone still think I follow them. Go in once a month. Throw in some likes, peace. I'm out. That's my wisdom corner for the day.

    How soon is too soon to follow someone? There is no too soon. If you find out, if you want to work with Chanel and you find out who their VP of PR is, follow. Start engaging. Yes. Is that transparent? Of course, it is but who cares. It shows that you want to work with them. It shows that you want to get to know the person. As we said, no matter how large the brand is, the decision comes down to a person or a group of people in a room of who that brand works with. If you can build a personal relationship with them on Instagram, your chances of getting it, your chances of being able to work with that brand on your feet are so much higher.

    People are simple beasts. We just want to feel important. That's it. People really just want to feel like other people think that they're great. You guys have such a powerful tool especially if you have a big following because there's a little thrill that you get when some of the big following follows you. That is embarrassing in some ways but it is true. For all their friends would probably also follow you, when they see that you're commenting on their posts, they're going to feel so fucking cool.

    They won't say this. They're not saying, "Oh my god. I feel so cool because Alisson City commented on my last post." Of course, they're not going to say that but this is how human psychology works. If on this brand person's feed, there's four big influencers that you know that all of their friends love, and they commented on that post, of course, everyone's going to look at it and be like, “Oh fuck. That's cool. She's got all those people commenting on her posts. What do I have? A mortgage? Yes?
    Episode #110
    - Smart Growth Tactics, Unprofessionalism, Growth Companies
  • Let's lay this out here. Let's say, you've got a brand and they want to work with you and you say, "So sorry, the brand isn't really in my aesthetic and my followers wouldn't connect with it," and they say, "Can you just shoot some photos for us to use?" Is that a problem? Yes and no. It depends on how careful you are with your image. That brand is going to use those photos. They're going to tag you, they're going to put it in newsletters. They're going to put it in adds potentially. It's going to be all over the place. They're going to use it. That's why they're asking you to do it. It's just, are you comfortable with that living outside of your feed?

    Is it just that with your feed you don't feel comfortable with it? Models work with brands all the time, they don't personally connect. With photographers shoot, projects all the time. They're not necessarily proud of the brands that they don't like, but they're just getting paid. There is something to just getting paid. You just have to understand, unlike a photographer who probably won't be cited as who shot it everywhere. You are going to be, and your face is going to be everywhere. You have to think, does that dilute my brand? Is it worth-- if it does dilute my brand, is the brand dilution worth the money that they're paying.

    Now, that's a different story if they just want you do flatlays, or they-- Or you can say, "Can I shoot it on my friends." Something like that. That's a way to get around it, if you are worried about your face being associated with a certain brand. Ask if you can shoot your friends, ask if you can do flatlays, ask if you can do product photography, that would be a way to get around it, if you don't feel comfortable with your followers seeing an advertisement with you wrapping that brand then don't do it, because that is absolutely going to happen. Always with this stuff, it's a cost-benefit. Is it worth the money for the potential dilution of brand? That's a decision that you have to make. If it's a brand that you like, and they don't have the money, you could always say-- If they're-- let's say you actually like a brand and they're coming in half of what you're sponsored post fees is, and you're more of a visual photographer.

    Because there's some influencers that are just, they're not trying to create editorial beautiful imagery, they're just shooting themselves on the street. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. The account is about the clothes, and the product and not the images photography creative direction. There are influencers like Olivia Lopez, lust for life. These [unintelligible 00:18:30] creates beautiful content there. People like that, that they are a big part of their feed, and their style influencers but they also have a unique interesting point of view. I know for a fact, Lisa I know she creates content for brands that she is not involved in.

    If a brand can't meet your fee, especially if you have a big following. If you're three or four thousand and a lot of what you're charging for is access to your followers, not access to your vision, then that is another way to make money. By saying, "Okay, well, you can't afford the three and a half thousand dollars sponsored post. Totally understand that. For two grand I'll shoot it for $1,500 I'll shoot it and send you the images." Maybe not put yourself in it again, because you have to start charging for your likeness, and understanding that your face is valuable and it's something that people should pay for.

    Also if you're doing-- if you're charging a brand for content creation, think about like usage as well. They're going to use your faces in advertisement. They're going to put that into the feed via Instagram advertising. Don't think about it, I'm creating some photos and they're going to use them somewhere. They're use them for advertising charge them accordingly. Usually half of your rate. I would say, half your rate for usage and then also think about what your fee is for actually creating the content.
    Episode #109
    - Negative Comments, Brand Alignment, Backing out of Contracts
  • Do everything you can do to not back out of the post first of all. That shouldn't really be seen as an option. If you feel like you're being taken advantage of, have that conversation, say, "Hey, I feel like I'm being taken advantage of." If you do everything right, we've talked about all of these steps, and you have a contract. You can't get taken advantage of if you have a contract, you have a contract. You say, I'm doing this for this.

    If they say, "I want this." you say, "Okay, cool that's 500 more dollars. If you have a contract, by nature of the contract you can't be taken advantage of. If you don't have a contract, and the brand keeps adding things on. Then just respond and say, "Hey, I'm super excited about this deal. Feeling like a lot of stuff that's getting piled on that wasn't in the original scope. I'm starting to feel uncomfortable with it. Is there more budget to do this? Because this is not what we agreed to."

    If they say, "There's no new budget. Can you just do it?" And you don't feel comfortable, then say, "Look, I can't do that. I agreed to do this for this, and now you're asking this and you're not willing to pay this, I can no longer do the deal. I can go back and just do what we talked about for what you were going to pay me, but I can't do this for what you were going to pay me." That's a very simple conversation. What you cannot do is feel like you're being taken advantage of and then just write back and throw a hissy fit and back out of the deal.

    More often than not. The brand is not meaning to take advantage of you. They're getting pressure. You don't know what is their jobs or like. They're not just trying to be an asshole. They're saying-- They probably have people coming and saying, "Can't they go to this event? Can't they do this? Can't they also tag this? Can they throw another hashtag in?" Maybe they don't feel confident enough to push back on their bosses. They just said, "Maybe I'll just ask this influencer if they can do this now." That's not right. That's not fair, but you don't accomplish anything by just throwing your papers, your proverbial papers in the air, walking out of the room, be like, "I fucking quit."

    Tell them, lay it out, lay it out, what you promise to do, what they're asking, and if they can't meet you on those, if they can't give you more money, then you can walk away respectfully. If you just walked away not respectfully you'll burn that bridge forever. It doesn't matter that they piled up. Here's the shitty thing. There's this term we use all the time, internally when we're talking about the stuff that happens in the campaign it says, "It's not my fault but it is my problem."

    If you back out, if you just say, "Well, I'm out and I'm out of this collaboration, you're asking me to do too much." The brand is not going to say-- If you haven't had that conversation we talked about. Where you laid it all out. You said what you were going to do, what they ask, all that. They're just going to think, "What a spoiled brat they just left me high and dry and backed out of it, the deal. They're not going to see it from your side.

    First, you have to make them see it from your side. That if you leave they understand why you leave. Because if not while it's not your fault that you're being taken advantage of, it is your problem because you look like a child. You look unprofessional and untrustworthy, and you're not someone they're going to work with again. Make sure you lay out what is happening from your point of view, to make sure you're aligned on that. Make sure they understand it before you back out.

    More often than not, we have found that if you lay it out in that way, the brand will apologize and they'll either cough up more money or you have given them the language to go back to their bosses and say, here's why they can't do that.
    Episode #109
    - Negative Comments, Brand Alignment, Backing out of Contracts
  • I think we've touched on this before, but it's been a while, and I think the last question was more on haters. Negative comments are going to happen, you're going to get pushed back from things. I think you need to kind of first bucket something into a, does this need a response or does it not? Something like, "Hey, your hair looks stupid." I don't think that just needs a response. People will say mean, cruel things all the time. It's the Internet. It can be an incredible and shitty place at the same time, and I think that if people are just trolling you and just saying, "Nice shirt asshole". I don't really feel like that's something you need to respond to.

    You can delete the post and block the person, and that's just like, hey, I don't need this in my life. Delete and block, move on. I think that by responding to that or turning your audience on to that person, it just creates this nasty thing. It is nice to push back at those people and be like, "Hey, I'm a person here, that hurts my feelings too," but they are posting that to get a response from you, to get a rise from you, this is what trolls do, so in that case I would probably just walk away. Delete and block, that's what I would do.

    If it is something that feels like it needs a response, let's say you are working with a brand and somebody says, "Hey, doesn't that brand test on animals? I'm disappointed that you're working with them."

    If you're working with a brand that you think might cause some questions or some backlash, it's always nice to talk to the brand about that. Ask them, "Hey, I've been known for being eco-conscious and eco-friendly in what I do, and frankly I'm concerned about working with you because of these things, and my audience will be thinking this and this and this." The brand will probably have a good response, they'd say, "Oh absolutely hear you, years ago we used to do things this way, we've since changed, we do things this way now, we're eco-friendly, we don't test on animals," whatever it is.

    So, if you feel you're concerned, you should be able to think, what would people say, is this going to create any kind of drama, or is anyone going to raise an eyebrow and say why are you working with that brand? Ask them for a response. I think if you can be upfront with it, and get ahead of it, it's better.

    It's like that scene from the last scene in 8 mile, when Eminem is doing his freestyle, and he just lists out every insult that the guy was use going to use against him, and turns that around, it's almost like doing that but for working with the brand and saying, "Hey, it might surprise some of you that I'm working with this brand, here's why I am, here's why I think they're doing something great," et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. That's the best thing, so just to totally get ahead of any confusion that it can create, but if somebody brings up a valid point it is worth acknowledging that criticism, and if you have a response that is honest, and explains what is happening, or why you did this, or whatever it might be, I think it could be worth throwing that out there.

    If it's on a sponsored post, again, you want to be careful because you don't want the comments to start becoming an argument about this brand, that's not going to look good. Sometimes you can take it off the comments section and DM the person.

    Again, I would always prefer-- sometimes you wish your audience like if they were upset with something, just sent you a DM and be like, "Hey, what's going on there?" So you guys could have a private conversation about it, but what you don't want to happen is for those comments to turn into a back-and-forth about the validity of you working with a brand on the sponsored post, because there's no way you come out looking good from that.

    So it's tough, and it's case by case basis. I just finished rereading that classic cattle Win friends and influence people, from like the 1930s or 40s, and there's a chapter in there that essentially says, you can't win arguments, because it is impossible to win an argument, either you don't win the argument, or you do win the argument and you look like an asshole, those are the options.

    So, I see it often times when somebody leaves a negative response and influencers comment, and then that influencer gets really, really nasty, and again, the commenter started it by saying something nasty to the influencer, but you were the one with the platform and I think you need to act in accordance with that platform, and you need to rise above those things and not bring yourself down and get marred in like this stupid argument in your comment section.

    So I am always a little disappointed when I see an influencer responding back to a negative comment, and then essentially siccing their audience on this person as well, because it just turns into this gross mob thing.

    If you don't like it delete it, block them, move on with your life, because if I learned anything from that book, I thought that was really interesting the idea that you can't win, so even if you make that person look like an idiot, what do you do? Now, you have used your platform to make someone look stupid. Congratulations, do you feel better? It's like if somebody bumped into you in the street, and you like on purpose and you broke their nose, do you look better for that, or you look like an asshole? You look like an asshole, just let it go. That would be my suggestion. Put the ego aside, move on. It's, let's say you get a thousand comments a week and one of them is negative. Who the fuck cares?

    If you don't have thick enough skin to deal with one negative comment in every thousand, then you're in the wrong business. Just move on. Because by responding, you give them a platform. Now they have taken over your post. Now the post is not about the post, the post is about them. Why would you do that? It doesn't make sense. You wouldn't give your post away for free to a brand necessarily. Why are you giving it away to this troll who said you look ugly? It's just not even worth it.
    Episode #109
    - Negative Comments, Brand Alignment, Backing out of Contracts
  • Last week, we talked a little bit about reach percentages and I said that that is something increasingly that we're looking at as a marker for success and eventually, hopefully, it will be the thing that determines how much you get paid. We look at that as a average over the month, not the reach percentage on a single photo or on five photos but your average over the entirety of a month.

    If you don't post much, we might wait until 15 or 20 photos to pull that together. I don't think four or five photos is enough to come up with a reach percentage. I also know I can anticipate the next question of like, "Should I delete photos that don't get a lot of reach so it doesn't hurt my percentage?" No, I don't think you should. It is natural that sometimes you'll have photos that don't do as well. They don't get as much engagement, and thus, the reach is going to be lower. In the same way that I wouldn't tell you to delete those photos because of engagement, I wouldn't delete them because of reach.

    It is hard mathematically to influence an average over the course of 30 days with one or two bad scores. If your average reach is 28% and you have a photo that gets 9% and you have 30 photos, that 9% isn't going to do anything to your overall average really, not enough to justify getting rid of it. I wouldn't worry about that. I wouldn't obsess too much over these numbers. You want to be in a place where you feel like you understand if you're doing a good job or if you need to do better.

    Other than that, yes, we should always be improving, yes, we will be looking at this data but should you freak out over 31% versus 33%? No, I wouldn't worry about it too much in the grand scheme of things. It doesn't really matter. The way we are looking at it right now, it’s more of do you meet a benchmark of what we feel is a authentic, real, engaged account. If you don't reach that, I would worry about it. I would work hard to fix that. If you're in or around that or above it, just keep doing you, just keep focused on creating beautiful stuff, telling interesting stories, helping your followers, being a good person, and sending me whiskey.
    Episode #108
    - Mastering Engagement, Instagram Monetizing, Popular Destinations
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