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  • We talk about the power of in-person meetings, we talk a lot about the power of going to events, certainly if you live in New York or LA and you're an influencer. One of the great benefits of living in those cities is the access to brand events and being able to get face time with brands. Can you be successful without those things? 100%. Money in the advertising world which is what you guys are in. Money follows eyeballs. Eyeballs are the great equalizer in advertising. It is the only thing that matters.

    What eyeballs can you put my message in front of and do those eyeballs give a shit about you and that message? I think that even without getting in front of the brands, even without going to those meetings, if you have a powerful community that is watching you and listening to you, brands will follow It is harder without that face time to stay top of mind, it is harder to build the relationships without going to events, it's harder because you don't get seen with all these other influencers, and again, you don't get to meet everyone at these brands, but it is definitely possible. It's just a little longer road, but again, end of the day, you could go to every event and you could have in-person meetings every day with brands and if you don't have the eyeballs and those eyeballs don't care about what you're publishing, you're not going to get anything.

    If you could have one or the other, proximity to events and meetings or actual influence over people, take the influence, the rest will follow.
    Episode #128
    - Average Engagement Percentages, YouTube Rates, Event Attendance
  • I consider Instagram more of an awareness tool, YouTube more of conversion tool. First of all, I know this show is very Instagram heavy and I hope that that changes. We don't talk about YouTube more because I don't know enough about YouTube. I feel pretty confident speaking about blogs and speaking about Instagram and if anyone cared, speaking a little bit about Twitter, but no one does. I just don't know YouTube that much. I don't spend a lot of time on YouTube watching videos. I don't post these videos and so I'm not actually running this account and so my knowledge is not as deep as it should be. We also don't run a lot of campaigns with YouTube.

    We're doing more of that, we're actively pursuing it. YouTube is still locked up by the MCNs that it's difficult to get any market share there. That is why I haven't talked about YouTube. I think YouTube is exponentially more powerful than Instagram by magnitudes. I think growing of following on YouTube is much more valuable and much more impactful than growing up following on Instagram. I think that you won't get-- I think someone with 100,000 Instagram followers and 100,000 YouTube subscribers, the Instagram following is more easily understood by the general population. Of 100,000 Instagram followers, people are like, "Oh shit. That's a lot of Instagram followers." I have a 100,000 YouTube subscribers, people are like, "What the fuck are you talking about? What do you like, wait, what? What do you do?"

    I just don't think it's in a like public lexicon as much. I don't feel confident speaking to what the future of YouTube is. I will say that as more and more influencers flock to Instagram, as Instagram becomes more and more full of brand messaging both sponsored and unsponsored, YouTube becomes more and more valuable and more and more interesting because it is not as saturated. Just take a quick left turn. We talked about sponsored content, the fact that there's too much-sponsored content. There's too much brand content. I mean even the organic shit, it's like more than 50% of my feed is posts about brands. These platforms were meant to be about your life and brands and the things you wear and the things you put on your face are part of your life. They are not your entire fucking life.

    The whole platform is just become so brand focussed, so brand messaging focused even on the organic side. It gets less and less interesting almost every time I open it which is an opportunity for YouTube and for people that are creating content on YouTube because I do think that because it is less popular with advertisers, it is less saturated with brand messaging and I do think that the people following Youtube feeds and subscribing to YouTube feeds rather and watching videos are more engaged and certainly more likely to purchase than somebody on an Instagram account. The future of YouTube is I think it becomes more and more powerful especially if Instagram starts to stumble which I think over the next couple of years, it will.
    Episode #128
    - Average Engagement Percentages, YouTube Rates, Event Attendance
  • Good question. There's a bunch of questions this week on engagement. Let's start out with a few truths. A few things we absolutely know to be true. As you're following grows, engagement falls. That happens with every person on Instagram. We have seen that trend for five years, for as long as we've been watching it.

    As your following grows, your engagement percentage will fall. That is to be expected. If you have a similar amount of followers but you're getting less engagement, go back to a lot of the stuff that we have talked about in the past of trying new things, of understanding that taste change and platforms change, and people just get sick of the stuff you're doing and maybe you need to change it up.

    There's a lot you can do from a content perspective to try and reinvigorate your following. Something else to remember is, thinking about why people like a post. We've talked about this before that there is no reason for your followers to like or comment on your post. If they see the post they get the same benefit out of seeing the post and not liking it as they do seeing it and liking it.

    The only reason they would like it is if they want to send a message to you essentially saying, "Hey. I saw this and I liked it." In a relationship that implies that they think you're going to see it. I think one of the reasons that engagement falls as the following grows is that people become less certain that you're even going to see that like. It's like spitting into the ocean.

    It's like it's not going to do anything and so people don't like it. Also, I think you have to continue to foster that relationship. Let me say, I think when a lot of influencers start out they are audience-focused. They say, "I want to put things out into the world. I have a point of view that is not represented. I have a unique sense of style. I have a story to tell. Whatever it is I have something to put out there. I think I can help people."

    They are focused on that audience. What do people want to see? I think as people grow and as that following gets more serious and as it becomes a business, something that you're making money off of, I think sometimes the mindset changes from being audience-focused to being me-focused. Influencers start to think, "How can I get more brand deals? How can I get a free stay at a hotel? Me. Me. Me. How can I get more followers?"

    What's crazy is they completely forget the thing that got them to have a following in the first place which is being audience-focused and focusing on delivering value to your audience every day and they start thinking about themselves. They start focusing less on the content and more on getting brand deals and more on schmoozing with other influencers or going to five events every night.

    That stuff is important but generally, you can see an influencer's rise and them getting busier with a fall in growth and engagement because they're no longer focusing as much on the content and they're not focusing on the audience. If things worked for you at one point and they're not working now it probably either means that you changed something that was working.

    I.e. You used to be audience-focused now your you-focused or something has changed in the world and you need to adapt to it. I.e. The style of photography or the thing that you're doing is no longer as popular and you need to evolve and grow. Look at those two things. What engagement is normal? Tim, do you put things up here?

    Tim: Yes.

    James: We'll put a chart up here of what the average engagement is for each following level. You guys screenshot that and see where you're at. Those are averages over 30 days. Take your last 15-20 photos, add all the engagement divided by the number of photos, divided by your following number. That's your engagement percentage. Benchmark it against these.

    It's a good question. What makes me like a photo? First, I would ask yourselves that. Go to your Instagram, go to your settings, go to photos I liked, and look through it. If you're not on a liking spree, trying to get people to engage with you, I think what will surprise you is how few photos you like. I like a handful of photos a day and usually, it is either, again people I have relationships with who I want them to see that I saw it.

    They are announcing something exciting, there's some life change or they just look great or have a cool photo. I really do feel like they're going to see it and so it is maintaining that connection between myself and the person I know. That's usually the only reason I like something. I think you know with the algorithm, I have started liking photos a little bit more of accounts that I want to see more often. That is something that drives my behavior as well because I know the algorithm does take into account if you're visiting their profile, liking their photos, commenting on it. That's probably another driver for me. I think I've maybe misspoken when I talked about relationship. There are people online that I feel like I have a relationship with who I've never met or spoken to, but I've been following them for years and I still feel like I have a relationship with them even if we've never DM'd or anything like that.

    Somehow they've created that connection. I'm sure that is what you'll have done with your audience. They feel connected with you. Maybe some of you'll think we have a relationship, we don't, but maybe you feel that way. Look at that. Go to your liked photos and ask yourself for each of them, "Why did I like these?" and try and use those learnings in your own feed. We say something here at four all the time when we're talking about sales and strategy and we say that, "The specific is universal." So if you can find a specific example, why did you like this photo, you can probably extrapolate that out much further to why anyone would like any photo.
    Episode #128
    - Average Engagement Percentages, YouTube Rates, Event Attendance
  • Hashtags like everything else on Instagram have gotten more crowded, there's a billion users on it now. It is hard to get noticed on a hashtag especially if you're using #beauty, #fashion, #ootd. There is no chance that's going to be effective for you. Spamming hashtags does not work.

    In an effort to understand the platform a little bit more I started following a few hashtags that are a little more niche. Now I told you that I rented a film, a camera when I went to Italy this summer which is a unbelievably pretentious sentence but what can I do. Know thyself. I'm interested in potentially buying one for myself, so I started following the Leica M6 which is what the camera is called, the hashtag so #leicam6 and #filmphotography.

    I find those to be pretty interesting. I've actually followed a couple people from those hashtags. The content is interesting, they don't spam me with it. When we went to Facebook the other day Christie Dash said that everyone should follow #fluffypuppy if you want your life to be better. I do think hashtags if the people are following them Instagram says that that's what the data shows, that people are using them.

    The important thing is to pick a more niche hashtags. If you focus on natural hair probably more likely to find followers that actually care about you rather than #hair or #beauty. Those big hashtags are also a place where people go in who are trying to get engagement so they go into the hashtag. This used to be a trick everyone did. Go into a hashtag that you use #ootd and like 100 photos.

    Hopefully those people see that you liked their photo will go to your profile and like your photos or follow you, or something like that. I would avoid the bigger hashtags but try and find more niche ones that are targeted to your actual photo. Hashtagging 30 hashtags, dot, dot, dot and then the 30 hashtags-- I don't think that works anymore and any of the likes or follows that you get from doing that are going to be from just bots and spam accounts.

    That is not an effective strategy but the hashtags can still be used effectively.
    Episode #127
    - Influencer Rates in 2019, Unboxing Videos, Hashtags
  • I've touched on this before, I fucking hate unboxing videos, I think that they are self-serving, I think they're super braggy, I think they're tasteless, classless, I think they suck. I hate them. I also understand the problem, I know that you guys are getting sent a lot of stuff. If know you want to incorporate that product and give some coverage to your brands that sent it. I know you want to say thanks so much for the gift blank brand. I do think that the unboxing isn't coming from a place of ego, it's coming from a place of wanting to show the brand that you got the package and you appreciate it and show it to your fans.

    It just doesn't come off that way. It comes off in a very look at me way. The other problem is again let's talk economics as your stories become more and more and more about unboxing every day or twice or three times a week, you are showing all these shit that you're getting, you're stories become inherently less interesting. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe people really enjoy those videos, I hate them. I've never met anyone that really likes them. I do think and I said this before that it is a little different in the beauty space because it's such a product-driven vertical. People want to see product and they're more interested in that but for most of you, it provides no value to your followers.

    Such all it does is dilute the quality and stickiness of your stories. By doing that it dilutes your brand and makes it less interesting. When that happens less people-- more people skip over your stories and more people skip over your stories and Instagram stops serving those stories to them. The more people they stop serving the stories to they stop serving your static posts to. Then you email me six months later and you say James I don't know what happened the algorithm hates me. I say to you the algorithm does not hate you it hates everyone equally and you're just one of those people. I don't think they're interesting.

    I don't think many people can do them well, who does-- Isaac from Isaac likes when he does his unboxing, he has this one pocket knife that he uses to open his boxes. He does it in a very aggressive way and he throws the thing out and then he tries it on. At first I thought it was annoying, but it is now a thing he does, and so I do watch it. He's turned unboxing into a thing that is his thing. Then, he actually puts the piece of clothing on and shows it on him. I think that makes it more interesting. I think that he is someone who does it well.

    Jamie Beck who's been on the show, she does that once a week, she goes through her mail. She is obviously a creative and lovely person and I think she does a nice job covering the stuff that's being sent to her.

    I think the reason Jaime's stuff resonates with me is that she seems legitimately excited about the product and she does the same thing. She uses everything that she gets and tries it on if it's clothing. If it's a fragrance or if it is skincare or something like that she talks about the product, she gives a little demonstration, she puts it on. She does something to show you interacting with it.

    If you have to do unboxing move it to one day a week and make it a thing and try and create content that is actually interesting and valuable for both the brands that send you stuff and for your audience. Don't feel like you have to post every single thing a brand sends you, especially if they're sending you shit without asking you. Don't feel like you have to cover that.

    You should potentially email the brand and say, "Thanks for sending this." If you don't want this stuff anymore tell them not to. I was talking to someone from a brand the other day and they were joking about PR giftings and how influencers are turning around seeing how quickly they can sell it on eBay, or Poshmark, or wherever you're reselling stuff. That's not a good look. It's better if you don't want something, to send it back to the brand or tell them to take.

    That you appreciate it but you don't want them to waste a product and to stop sending you stuff. Final thing, never, never, never show your pile of 40 boxes when you get back from fashion month. The fucking posts when people get back from fashion month and they show the 50 free things that they got is insane. Again, you have to put yourself in the mindset of that is more shit than most people will buy themselves in the entire year and you are joking about getting all of it for free, and it's just not funny.
    Episode #127
    - Influencer Rates in 2019, Unboxing Videos, Hashtags
  • I'm assuming that means do you see rates rising for influences being paid by brands in 2019. Do I see rates rising? Yes. Do I think they should? No. There's a lot of threats in the influences space we talk about them a good amount. One of them is a lack of scarcity. Markets are controlled by supply and demand, there seems to be an almost endless supply of sponsored posts.

    If influencers don't say no to more deals there will continue to be less and less scarcity for brands which means that they can drive process down further and further and further because every time there is one more of something every other one of those things is less valuable. That is how inflation works. Right? If there's $100 in the world in circulation and you print 10 more dollars then those $100 that were already there are less valuable. Think of the same way we have a lot of people rushing into the influencer space trying to make it as an influencer.

    We have influencers doing an increasing number of sponsored posts that is driving scarcity down for which could drive prices down. I'm not sure that that is going to happen next year, that's probably more of a 2020 problem but it is something that we are thinking about and trying to think of ways to fix in our-- for our business and for our clients. There's in general too much sponsored content happening on an influencer's fee. They're doing too many things and in general, influencers especially if you get above 2 or 300k are having a hard time defending the prices that they're charging.

    Especially if those influencers are represented by an agency then the prices are a fucking fantasy that are pulling out of thin air. Do I think rates will go up? Yes. Do I think they should? No. Do I think we could run into a collapse of influencer pricing in the next few years because of over-saturation of supply? Yes. Go back read your high school economics book, tighten up that supply, let's create some scarcity, with scarcity prices, go up everybody is happy. If you're a small influencer the same theory applies as far as supply and demand. I don't think that micro influencers prices feel as inflated because they're inherently lower.

    While the CPMs may be high, that's cost per one thousand impressions. A foundational way that digital marketing people talk about buying media. The overall rate is so low it doesn't feel crazy. It's like 200 for every sponsored post or 300 or 500, that doesn't feel as crazy as 15,20,30 thousand for an Instagram post for some of those lot followers. Less of a concern in the micro space because for brands couple of 100 bucks is nothing.
    Episode #127
    - Influencer Rates in 2019, Unboxing Videos, Hashtags
  • I've heard this a few times, both sides. Stories doing well, posts aren't. Posts doing well, stories aren't. It's interesting because we generally see stories and posts to be pretty tied. Generally, impressions-wise, if you get a 100 impressions on your post, you get 25 impressions on your story. So you're getting 25% of the amount of impressions on your story as you do on your posts. That's generally what we're seeing. So that is rare.

    First, I would ask, have your stories ever done well or have they always under-performed? If they've always under-performed, I think it is proof that maybe what you're doing there isn't interesting to your audience for some reason. The algorithm is not predatory. It's not just screwing you over. If they're not serving your stories to people, it's probably because people are skipping your stories. Again, my advice is not much different than it always is, which is test new things, track the data.

    Take a week, write down your average story views that you're getting now. Change things up the next week and write your story views down. Then change things up again, write your story views. Plot that all out, track it. See if you can create change. Try very different things and see if you can get things to change. Linking what's happening in your post with what's happening in your stories is great. Rach Martino does a lot of this. She does a lot of-- like she does this behind the gram thing. She'll explain, she'll post behind the scenes. She does a nice job.

    Mike Q, who we've talked about a bit, qmike on Instagram, he does a nice job of showing behind the scenes. Now, he does these complex pieces, videos and things like that. He's showing behind the scenes of it. It is interesting if you're interested in the posts. It just goes back to that. Is it interesting or is it you walking to the gym and being like, "Walking to the gym"? I think that stories came out, everyone tried it, and it was just like, "Let's throw up whatever." Then it's gotten a little more professional. People are using the templates, they're trying to make it look a little better. They're shooting stuff specifically for stories.

    I think the quality level on stories has gone up, but there still is not a huge amount of strategy. What are you saying? Do you have a weekly or daily theme that you are working around? Do you have little things that you always do? Again, if you look at like Rach Martino, she does that Behind the Gram. That's a consistent thing that she is doing over and over. A couple of my friends I follow don't have a big following, but once a week they do the inspo stuff. That is nice and interesting if you have taste.

    I think thinking about themes, thinking about buckets, thinking about trying to get your stories away from just, "I'm bored and I'm going to pick up the phone and film myself," to more thoughtful, produced work is one way to go. Again, the other way is that there are people with big personalities. Christina Caradona from troprouge is a great example. Her stories are-- There is no thought going into that, but she's funny and she's engaging and charming. I think that you just want to watch it because she's ridiculous.

    For her, a more produced story would actually be a detraction, because her whole vibe is just letting you into her life and her being like, "Oh, my gosh," like, "I love Cheetos." I think it just depends on what your vibe is, but, as always, I would say experiment, track, try new things. There is a way to fix it if you work at it.
    Episode #126
    - Holiday Presence, Algorithm Tips, Instagram Story Engagement
  • Quick explanation for those of you who aren't looking at your numbers as much. When you see your impressions, you see impressions from people that weren't following you. You can see impressions from Explore or other. This influencer is saying they used to get a lot of impressions from Explore, now they're not. One, this is normal. The algorithm is tweaked and changed all the time. If at some point you were benefiting from the algorithm and you were getting on the Explore page, and you were getting a lot of followers and views because of that, I wouldn't beat yourself up too much when that goes away. I would be happy that you had it.

    Most people never have that moment where they're getting more views than they have followers. It can be frustrating. The Explore page works fairly simply, as explained from our visit to Instagram the other day. Essentially, they say, "If I follow you and you follow Tim, and I don't follow Tim, and you are very engaged with Tim's posts, they will put Tim on the Explore page assuming that I might be interested, since you seem so interested." It takes the accounts that somebody is very engaged with, and serves them to their followers.

    This goes back to making sure you’re driving engagement inside your feed, making sure people are commenting, making sure they're liking, that is driving everything. If it fell off a cliff, I will say that you were not the first person I've heard that from. It doesn't mean that you won't be back on the cliff in a couple of months or a couple of weeks. These algorithms are very complex and they change all the time. Instagram grows all the time. So it gets more and more competitive to get on that page and harder and harder.

    Something that was talked about at Instagram as well. I'm not a big IGTV believer. I don't think anyone at Facebook and Instagram is touting IG TV as a big success right now. IGTV is on the Explore page now and they're serving IGTV videos on the Explore page. You know that Instagram pushes new features really hard. There is a fraction of the Instagram community is creating IGTV videos, so potential growth opportunity there. Again, I'm not a big believer in IGTV, but this is coming from Facebook saying that they are actively pushing IGTV videos on Explore, and there's just not much competition there.

    That could be one way to get on there, but look, it's kind of a black box what the algorithm does. Again, I wouldn't sweat it too much if you were getting a bunch of views and now you weren't. My suggestion would be to tweak something, to keep trying things. The other thing is that like Instagram is a--in some ways, it is a bit of a meritocracy. The platform is driven by the desires of that platform. Again, what worked six months ago probably won't work now because the world is different now than it was six months ago.

    It might even be not that anything changed at Instagram, but that tastes have changed in general, ever so subtly. Those tastes have moved away from what you are doing, and maybe your engagement fell organically on your feed by 10%. Maybe that 10%, which if you're getting a 1,000 likes, it's only a 100 likes. That's not a huge amount. It's not a noticeable amount that you would freak out about, but maybe that 10% is keeping you off the Explore page.

    Tastes are changing all the time. You have to keep changing. You have to keep evolving. Evolution is absolutely the key to everything that you're doing. If it's not working anymore, I wouldn't bang my fist on the table and ask, "Why isn't this working? This is so unfair." I would understand that things are different now. The world is different, and you now have to operate within those new parameters. It's probably not going to go back. So, like, "That's done. Now what?" is the important question. Try new things, experiment, figure out what's going on, and track those results.
    Episode #126
    - Holiday Presence, Algorithm Tips, Instagram Story Engagement
  • 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
  • That's a good question. I don't know if you're speaking about outgrowing them from a budgetary standpoint, or feeling like the brand is no longer a natural fit for you, but let's address both. If you outgrow what the brand can pay, I think that goes-- One, I think, honesty is always appreciated in business and in life. Be Candid. It is okay to tell a brand, "I've loved working with you and I so much appreciate the support. My rates are going up." It's totally okay to email the brand and say, "I've loved working with you these past years, months, whatever it might be. As you know, my following has gone up quite a bit and I'm going to have to increase my rates to reflect that rise in my following. As as a respected-- as a partner that I respect and who has been there for a while, I just wanted to tell you now and be totally candid and honest with you. Let me know if you want to jump on the phone." That's a good-- That's totally valid email to send, and I think anyone would-- any brand person would totally understand, and they will either pay those rates or say, "Congratulations on your growth. We can't work with you anymore, wish you the best. Hope we can still gift you", something like that.

    The way not to do it would be, they reach out for a project and you just send back a price that's twice as high as it was last time you worked with them. Get ahead of the pricing issue before there's a project.

    Let's say I haven't worked with them in six months but you know you usually work with them in the holidays, and it's September. You think, okay, I'm going to email them now, I'm going to tell them my prices are going up so we can have that conversation now. It's also just-- It feels more respectful and it feels, "Hey, I'm thinking about you. I want to work with you. I'm reaching out now to get ahead of this" rather than the brand person being really excited to reach out to you and work again because in their head they say, "I've worked with this person 10 times. We have a relationship, this is locked in. I'm good with this." They reach out. You just send back, "Hey, this isn't enough money." That feels disrespectful, in a lot of ways, even though you very likely deserve that money. There is power in the way you present the message. That's first things first for that.

    Another thing is that I encourage all of you, if there's a brand that was there early, I encourage you to be loyal to that brand and they should get something for supporting you when no one else did. I worked for years for Oscar and didn't charge the rates that I was charging other clients because they were there early. I know, Man Repeller worked with-- What's the-- Man Repeller-- the first client that Man Repeller had was Rebecca Minkoff. I know that she supported that brand for years after it was probably not possible for Rebecca Minkoff to pay the rates that Lee Andrew was asking.

    This business is built on relationships, and I encourage you to remember the people that were there early and reward them for that. If you do happen to achieve some growth, they probably had a part in that. You should give back a little bit so there's that.

    If you feel like you've outgrown the brand from a taste, or you just don't like the brand anymore, or you feel it is no longer representative of your taste or of what you're interested in, that's a little more difficult conversation with the same advice, I think, which is honesty. I don't know if I would go with radical candor on that one.

    If we're talking about clothes, because that's the easiest thing, and you didn't-- you're not connecting with the collection or something, I think you could say something to the effect of, "You know that I've been a big supporter. I love the brand. You also know that I authentically have to love something to be able to tell my followers about it, and I'm just not connecting with this collection. Looking forward to continuing to work in the future. Thanks so much." I think that's totally fine.

    We've had, on the beauty side, we've had influencers if a shade didn't match or something back out of campaigns gracefully and say, "Because the shade doesn't match, I just can't or I tried the product, I don't love it and I just can't support it" and like send-- I can't support it and promote it to my followers because that would hurt my ability to be authentic, and we've always understood that.

    Honesty, candor, works, get ahead of it, and don't wait for them to be following up and asking you about it to break the bad news.
    Episode #125
    - Influencer Selection, Engagement vs. Likes, Outgrowing Brands
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