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  • Now, I have not watched both. I have a little bone to pick, this is annoying, the internet can be annoying sometimes. I was on my trainery-- I ride the bike inside in the winter, and I was going to watch one while I was on the bike.
    I didn't want to watch both because I have a fucking life, I'm not watching two documentaries on the same thing. So, I typed in, "Which one is better? Should I watch the Netflix or the Hulu one?"

    There's 10 articles from BuzzFeed and Vox and all these places, nobody answers the fucking question. They all say how they're different, the benefits of this one versus this one. No one just says, "Watch this one, not the other one." I watched the Netflix one. I've heard that that one is better, but maybe I'm also biased. Maybe, I'm just blocking out everyone who says the Hulu one is great because I can't dedicate two more hours of my life to watching a sociopathic rich kid steal a bunch of people's money. That is only something I can dedicate an hour and a half of my life to.

    What do I think of it? Listen- [chuckles] I don't know anything about this Billy guy. I assume he comes from like a rich family. Do we know anything about him?

    He has to. That kid fucking reeks of generational wealth more than anyone I've ever seen in my life. He is the most entitled, smug-- I have met that guy-- Like him, not him, I've never met with him, but I feel like I've met that guy like 20 times in New York. And everyone being like, "Oh my gosh, he's the most amazing entrepreneur, he's so incredible." The second he opened his mouth, I would be like, " You're a fucking bullshitter, and I'm steering clear as far as is humanly possible."

    I've tried to put a birthday party on in the time that they tried to put a festival on, it had to be fairly clear to everyone that this was absolutely never going to work. Now, I digress. It is a good piece of disaster porn. It is just so satisfying to watch these guys fall apart because they're such hateful characters. There's nobody likable in the entire documentary, essentially, except the older guy who is essentially trying to make it all work. He is super likable.

    And the woman who works at the restaurant, who got her money back which is great. She is very likable. All the people that are from the Bahamas were all incredibly likable and super chill about getting stiffed with all their money. I'm glad they're getting their money back, I'm glad she's getting her money back. Anyway, you should definitely see it. What are the implications for the influencer space? One, I think it's a pretty clear example that this shit works, okay? Like their marketing was solely influencers. and they sold out a very expensive music festival in like a day. Okay, one, obviously this shit works, right? Influencers, all that, this works. We, we meaning influencers, did what they were supposed to do, they sold the tickets, awesome.

    I do think it brings up a bigger point that the brands that you work with and the things that you promote, these things do have consequences. And, I think that most influencers I have met are conscientious?

    Are conscientious, thoughtful, caring, they really care about the brands that they talk about. I think it is a very clear example that there are consequences to the things that you do. In this case, promoting a brand that might be defrauding people, that might not be able to live up to the expectations has consequences. While that is, on the scale of fucking crazy, way all the way over here, it's not too dissimilar than promoting a skincare brand that has all these claims that they do all these amazing stuff when it actually doesn't. I encourage all of you to do your research on your brand clients, especially if it's a brand you haven't heard of, do your research. It only takes a quick Google search of the name. Billy's business, he left a stream of fraud and bankruptcy and shit behind him.

    It wouldn't have been too hard to do a little research and see that like everyone from his credit card company was suing him and complaining. That he had built a business on these lies and these things that he couldn't actually deliver on. He was selling floor seats to Beyoncé for $100 when they're going for $1000, and then all of a sudden, the tickets disappeared an hour before the event. Do your research, especially if it's a newer brand. I think in general, influencers didn't get pegged for this thing, but if you are involved in false advertising, and you put a message out there that is not true, the FTC can come after you. They can bar you from doing any advertising for years, and they can ruin your livelihood.

    The defense that, "I didn't know," doesn't work. It's like if you break the law, and you say, "Well, I didn't know a was the law." Well, it doesn't preclude you from having to adhere to the law. It is your job to know what is legal and what is illegal. That is not a defense, you can't be like, "Sorry, I was blackout-drunk, officer, while driving. I had no idea that that wasn't allowed." You can't do that. In the same way, if you are promoting a brand that is fraudulent, it might come back on you, and you might get hit with a lawsuit and a-- What's the word I'm looking for? And a judgment from the FTC that could completely ruin your ability to continue to do the things you do to support yourself and your family.

    So be careful, be especially wary of new brands that are promising a lot of things, and be wary of the scams out there. There's that big article going around about the woman who is scamming influencers and promising these big contracts and deals and getting them to send her money.

    I think, Olivia Lopez just posted she got targeted by this person. They were telling her that she was going to shoot the Winter Olympics or the- sorry, the Summer Olympics in Japan, but they needed her to send money so they can get this thing and they would pay her back.

    This is a fairly large scam that's been going on for a while but seems super legit. She said this woman is using a legitimate name from a legitimate person in New York City. She is great with impersonations in voices, and she has matched the voice exactly to the people she's impersonating.

    Just be careful. The world is full of scammers. Do your research. You don't want to be responsible for getting your followers to spend their hard earned money on a product that cannot deliver what it says it can. It'll so detrimental to your overall brand equity that it can't be worth whatever money they're paying you in the short-term.

    That, I think, is the big lesson from this festival is to know your partners more and follow your gut and really, only work with people that you trust, who you feel have integrity and can actually do the things that they say they're going to do. Also, generally, steer clear of con men and women.
    Episode #133
    - Fyre Festival Documentary, Maintaining Privacy, User Behavior
  • Yes. I think, well, it is possible to be successful and maintain your privacy, absolutely. It's probably harder to be successful and maintain your privacy on Instagram. If you're successful and on Instagram, to maintain your privacy. I think you have to be careful with how much you put out there about your personal life on the internet.

    I've heard many stories of people who, you know, celebrities who've been plagued with stalkers, and this goes on for years and years, it is difficult to prosecute somebody for following or stalking someone. Unfortunately, the laws are kind of tricky around it. Obviously, looking at what happened to Kim Kardashian is, again, way over on the scale of crazy stuff that could happen. You do see a general trend of, as people become more successful, they share less and less and less about their lives because they don't want people to know where they are, or they don't want people to know where they live.

    Let's say, you post out your apartment, a photo of your view in New York City. Pretty easy to look at that view and place where you live. Then your super-fans will be sitting on the street every time you leave your apartment. That is just not something that you want, and so I think that you should be pretty selective in what you share from your personal life. Especially, as it relates to where you live. You do not want people knowing where you live. I've seen a lot of influencers, as they become more successful, get P.O. boxes. I think that can be smart. Making sure your packages and things don't come to your home.

    A lot of you all work from home that means that your public address that's with public agencies is your home address. That's information that you may not want out in the world. If you live in New York City, there's things like City CoPilot where you can sign up and have packages sent there. You can get a WeWork office for $300, $400 a month and get your packages there, and have a place where you can go and work. There is options, but again, I would be very careful about what you share.

    There are a lot of successful people on the Internet that don't share a lot or anything about their private lives. I think that that's totally okay. You can also stagger your posting. Post your stories days after they actually happen so that people can't follow you. The other thing is some people don't really care about privacy. They're happy to share everything in their life and they want everyone to know everything about them and that is fine. I think that the more you do that, you do open yourself up to a hard reality check and something potentially scary and dangerous happening. Once you put it onto the internet, you can't really take it back.

    So, I would definitely think about what you're putting out into the world, and if what you want is to be massively successful and a famous influencer, that you can't get rid of that stuff. It's important to think about, even as your growing, what you're sharing and how much you're willing to open up and talk about yourself because the world is full of fucking weirdos and creeps and psychopaths. You cannot be too careful, especially when it concerns with your privacy. I see a lot of smaller influencers sharing a lot. Sharing a lot about like their homes. Again, especially in New York City, I think when you see a view, it's pretty easy to start to figure out where a person lives.

    Especially if it's a newer building, and you can look at the kitchen and be like, "Oh, I've seen that." It's the same kitchen over and over, so if you've seen one apartment, you can kind of say, "I know where you live." Again, I think a lot of the larger influencers do a pretty good job.

    Think about like Marianna Hewitt. I don't think I've ever seen her talk much about her house or show it. It's a lot of speaking to a camera and things like that, but not in their home. See, I think most bigger influencers tend to share less and less about that because they just want to try and keep that part of their lives separate.

    Someone who spoke at one of our conferences talked about that, that some of the schools in New York City are dealing with this. Do they want Instagram celebrities or influencers sending their kids to their kids' private school because are they going to be sharing that? Are they going to be sharing photos of that? Your privacy extends beyond just yourself as well, especially as you get a family. It's definitely something to consider. I think the ideal situation is to be rich and anonymous. For most people, it's probably what they want. To just have a bunch of money but have nobody know who the hell you are.

    Personally, not me. As I've spoken about it before, I'd like to be famous enough to be recognized, but not so much that it becomes a pain in my ass, and like I can't go to a restaurant. I don't think that's going to happen. But, you think about the life you want and share accordingly.
    Episode #133
    - Fyre Festival Documentary, Maintaining Privacy, User Behavior
  • I think that a lot of times, people are just way too timid in general, but certainly, when they reach out to people. Important to remember, when you are reaching out to anyone cold, the point of that email is to get them to answer it, that is it. It is not to sell yourself, it's not to pitch your entire project, it's not to-- The email doesn't have to do anything other than get them to respond. Once you get them to respond, you can try and set up a meeting.

    Once you set up a meeting, you then can pitch them. You want to try and craft an email that gives them enough information to want to respond to you, but not too much to necessarily make the decision. Nobody is going to take a completely cold email that you sent and decide yes or no if they want to work with you. They're going to need to probably get on the phone or talk to you. First, remember, what is the point of that first email? It is to get them to respond and to try and build a relationship with them. The best way to do that is going to change all the time.

    I think that the most important thing if outbound email, if reaching out to brands is part of your strategy, which it definitely should be, it does not have to be, but I think it should be, the most important part of it is being relentless. You just have to have a follow-up strategy that is pretty consistent and thoughtful. We, I think generally, send five to seven cold emails before we disqualify someone. You might say to yourself, "Five emails? That's insane, isn't that really annoying?" Potentially, yes. Potentially, it's annoying, but if you send two emails and they never respond to you, or you send five emails and they say, "Hey, could you please stop emailing me?" What's the fucking difference?

    In both situations, you are not working with that brand, so let's say there's a 15% chance that between email two and email five, you catch them at the right time and they say, "You know what, I'll jump on the phone and chat to you." That 15% chance is over the course of a few years, a lot of business. What happens if you send those five emails and 10% of brands say, "Hey, could you please stop emailing, take me off your list?" That's no skin off your teeth. Who cares, you say, "Totally understand, so sorry, hope to be in touch in the future." That is not something that someone's going to hold against you. The only thing that you should never do is if somebody asks you to stop emailing them, stop emailing them.

    Do not continue to email them after they've asked you to stop. If they haven't asked you to stop, I would keep emailing them. It's hard to get in front of people. I had, today, 15 minutes of time that I was not in meetings. I haven't looked at my email, I haven't looked at my Slack, I don’t look at my text messages, I have no fucking idea what's happening. Tonight, I'm going to work out, then I'm getting a haircut, then I'm packing, then I'm coming back to work, and I have solid meetings, then I get on a plane, I fly to L.A. Then I've got eight hours, ten hours of meetings, then a dinner, and then I fly back to New York at 7:00 A.M. Then I come back and I've got a full day of meetings on Friday.

    What are the chances in that week, I see your email and I'm able to give it the attention that I need? Pretty low. If you email me this week, I may not respond to you, but maybe, you send me an email, Monday at 9:30, I'm in the office and I'm like, "Right, that person emailed me, I meant to follow up, I didn't, here's their email again, boom, let me reply." I think there is a misconception in the influencer side of what brand people's lives look like. Especially at bigger companies, the inboxes are crazy, and your persistence, I think, will be rewarded with more responses. Your goal should be, again, to get them to respond, and that also means getting them to say, "I'm not interested."

    If they say they're not interested, that's great. That's one less person you have to focus on and you can just move on from there. If they don't answer, then you've got this thing, "Should I keep emailing them? Should I email them again or should I not," et cetera. You can Google "sales drip campaigns", this is what those are called, they're called a drip campaign. You can actually get software to help you run these campaigns automatically so you don't have to do it. You can load the five emails you want to send, and they will automatically send them. They'll send them at different times, depending on whether they open the email or didn't open the email.

    If you want to get more focused in your outreach, you can try those, but get to a response even if that response is a no. Be persistent, send five emails before you disqualify the people.
    Episode #132
    - Brand Leaders, Quitting Influencing, Initial Contact to Brands
  • This is a great question. I feel like we’ve answered something similar to this a few times. I just want to take a moment to talk about craft and to talk about getting good at something. I wrote an email to brands recently and I showed a photo that I had taken in 2009 and then a photo I’d taken in 2011. They are quite different. They certainly do not look like the same person took the photo. My point in that was that between those two photos, I probably took 300,000 photos. I was completely obsessed with photography. I shot constantly. I ended up getting decent.

    What most people don’t see is the hundreds of thousands of crappy photos that I took, that each time, I got a little better, a little better, and a little better. My point to brands was that if you haven’t started doing influencer marketing yet as a company, you need to start just to practice to try and get better. This is going to be a big part of the world. If you’re not good at it now, that’s okay, but you have to put yourself out there and learn and invest in the craft to get better. For influencers, when is the right time to quit? Well, if you actually like what you’re doing, then who the hell cares?

    If you are doing this to build a following and to have a career, it will not work. I fundamentally believe it won’t work, because unless you are independently wealthy or in some way blessed with a genetic code that makes you one of the best-looking people in the world, I don’t think you can be successful anymore without an immense amount of pain, suffering, and perseverance. We’re just talking about a great example of someone who’s been on the show, Jamie Beck. When she came on the show, she had 120,000 followers. Jamie got a big following early on Instagram. I think she had 100K very early on.

    Probably in five years, she went from 100k to 120K. She had essentially no growth for years. She moved to Provence. She was always shooting incredible stuff. We talked about on the show, her following never really went anywhere. She started doing the self-portraits and she started doing her still lifes. She did them over and over and over again. She got better and better and better. She invested in her craft. This was not sponsored posts. This was not her getting paid. She wasn’t selling the work. She wasn’t making any money on it, but every day, she created some piece of art, and every day, they got better and better and better.

    Go look at her first self-portrait or her first still lifes and they look nothing like the ones that she’s doing now. She took everyone along in that journey. Now, I just looked at her feed the other day, she has about 210,000 followers, 209,000 followers. She’s gained 90,000 followers since she’s been on the show, which was 9 months ago, 10 months ago, a year?

    Male Speaker: At least with over a year.

    James: Over a year? Maybe in the last year, she gained 90,000 followers. She hadn’t gained followers in five years. I think the point is that you need to be investing in yourself and thinking about what do I want to get better at and what do I not know that I need to know. You need to put your head down. You need to do the work. I feel like most creative endeavors are like blacksmithing, where it is a craft. It is something that if you practice it enough, you’re good. I am not an artist. First time I picked up a camera, it wasn’t like the heavens opened up and I was any great talent or anything. It is something that you get rewarded with the work that you put into it.

    Whether that is your writing or it is photography or it is video, whatever those things are, you get better by doing more of it. I feel like there’s been this shift in the influencer space away from craft as people look inwards towards themselves. The only thing they care about is them, "What am I doing? What meetings am I going to today? What sponsored posts am I getting? What free shit am I going to get? What show am I getting into?" Me, me, me. I think that's a race to the bottom. I don't think that you can create long-term sustainable growth without, at some point, focusing on your craft and getting good at that.

    Look at every actor in the world. That's as much of a lottery as anything if you can win that and you can be a successful actor. For a lot of people, that's the dream. You need to have an immense amount of talent, even line up at the fucking side of the pool, and then it is decades often, decades of terrible struggle because the reward is so huge. It's so vast to be a movie star, to get a role in a big picture. Your life is fundamentally changed forever.

    We've talked about this a little bit in the influencer space, you get that 100,000, 200,000, 300,000 followers, your life will be fundamentally changed. A few years ago, I don't think that was common knowledge, it is now. It is so much harder to build that following. I think that like photography, like being an actor, or a painter, or a poet, or a CEO, the hard work has to happen in private, you have to put the work in and you have to have a thing that you are getting better at or you’re understanding more.

    If your thing is style and you're just like, "I want to have the best style on Instagram," I ask you, what are you doing to make that better? Are you reading biographies of every designer? Do you understand the history of the houses? Do you understand why a Saint Laurent show from 2001 was great and one from '97 was terrible? Are you pushing yourself to understand so much more about clothes than your followers will ever know, so that you can describe to them in a really simple way that they can understand, and then they can go tell their friends what it is that makes a Balenciaga piece terrible? Or let's say this, what it is that made old Celine great and new Celine bad? Can you convey that point?

    I think people have liked Drink with James because, hopefully, I give you advice that is easy to understand. I didn't open my mouth for four years I was running this company. Before that, I was one of the more followed photographers in the world for years. I've been putting stuff on the internet for over a decade. I didn't say shit for the first 10 years of that journey. Ten years, I didn't open my mouth. I didn’t gave no advice, I didn't say what you should be doing, what you should be thinking about, how you should grow, nothing. Now, I feel like I can speak with a level of confidence because all of the work, that whole decade of shit is in these episodes.

    I encourage you, guys, to look at yourselves and ask yourself, "What am I better at than most people in the world? What do I understand better than most people in the world?" If you don't have that answer and if you aren't chasing that or you don't have a goal to be that, then I don't know how much of a chance you have to make it anymore. If you're going to be a photographer and you don't say, "I'm going to be one of the best photographers in the world,"--

    I know that when Jamie Beck and I were eight years younger drinking in some bar in the Lower East Side, she was like, "I'm going to shoot Vogue covers, that is what I'm going to do. I'm going to be one of the best photographers in the world." She has been putting that work in since she was 15. It is paying off now, she's not there yet. Ask yourself what that journey is for you and really invest the time in it. If you need to say like, "Okay, I need to make a living. I need to think about sponsored posts and all those things." Cool. Even take 20% of your time and say, "Twenty percent of my time every week, I'm going to be learning, I'm going to be doing something new, I'm going to be growing."

    I just don't know if most people have a mission. I don't know if they have a goal other than their own success. I don't know that you can actually really be successful if your only goal is to be successful. I think you need to have something you want to do. It's interesting to even look back on someone young like AOC. She's been talking like this for years, even when she was a bartender. She's been working on this, she's had this bigger mission. If you can combine a mission with a platform, really special things happen. People don't give out platforms very easily. They're very hard to get and by their nature, take a long time to get them.
    Episode #132
    - Brand Leaders, Quitting Influencing, Initial Contact to Brands
  • I've been on enough panels and everyone answers that they think Glossier and all these others are the leaders. Certainly, they are utilizing influencers quite a bit and they're doing it very effectively. I never say that I think they are the leaders, because it's very easy for them. Everyone wants to work with Glossier, they have really cool product, they were founded by an influencer, every influencer wants to work with them, everyone's talking about them organically.

    It's just not that hard for them, so they don't have to be that good because the entire company was set up so that people talked about it on Instagram. I look more towards companies that maybe have a harder time getting influencers to talk about them and watching what they do, because then, you really have to be good at influencer marketing. I think if you're a P&G brand, you’re Pantene or your degree or something like that, that's not a product that people are going to organically talk about much. I'm interested always in how those brands set up their influencer activation because I just think it's harder for them.

    Recently, I think from a much larger scale, it's been interesting what Adidas has done. It was a situation where they were getting beat by Nike always. Nike was very focused on sport and their influencers were just athletes, and Adidas have leaned in a lot more to pop culture, essentially went to a open space in the field where Nike wasn't playing and said, "Okay, we're going to own this." Certainly, that's made Nike sweat a little bit, has chipped away at market share for the first time in decades, I think. While their influencer strategy is enormous celebrities, I think that they went to a place where other people didn't go, and I think they did it really well.

    I liked the Breitling activations they were doing last year. They put influencers in fighter jets and shit. I just thought that was cool to see, because on my Instagram very often, I don't see people riding in fighter jets. I think that was a cool example. I think in the beauty space, NARS always does-- the stuff they do is always beautiful. They often do a really good job of syncing up what is happening on their brand own channels with what is happening in the influencer space. What I like about NARS is I think when they do something, they do it big. They did an influencer trip, but did it to Bora Bora to Mr. NARS' private island that he owns out there or something.

    It was just completely ridiculous, over the top, and amazing. I think those are a couple brands that are doing a pretty good job right now.
    Episode #132
    - Brand Leaders, Quitting Influencing, Initial Contact to Brands
  • I would argue that the question, well a good one is flawed. I don't think that you just doing stuff on IG Stories necessarily, and people liking it, means that you will be good on YouTube. If what you do on IG Stories is speak directly to camera and create the kind of content that makes sense on YouTube, then I think people enjoying your Instagram Stories could be a good jumping off point for starting a YouTube.

    The other thing is that I wouldn't wait for any indicator to start a YouTube. I wouldn't say, "Oh, I'm getting X percentage of drop off on my Insta Stories that must mean that people are engaged, that must mean I should start a YouTube." Starting a YouTube channel, I can tell you the little that I do, but I know Tim does quite a bit more. It is a lot more work than Instagram. Creating videos is a lot more work, learning to edit them is more work.

    Starting something new is scary and puts you into this really uncomfortable position of starting with zero subscribers, no audience, and having to ask people to watch this thing that you're not as good at, that you're new at, that you haven't totally figured out yet. There are a lot of things that are difficult and scary. There are a lot of barriers to entry to starting a YouTube. I wouldn't think that your performance on Instagram Stories is one of those barriers, but I also wouldn't let any of that dissuade you.

    If you want to start a YouTube, if you have a story to tell that you don't feel like you can tell on Instagram, I would start a YouTube. This show would not work on Instagram stories. I am too long-winded. I've heard from you guys that sometimes people find the show and they'll like binge it, like that stuff all works because it's YouTube. This would never work on Instagram. In some other ways, it might work.

    I could do things much shorter, the shows would be a minute-long, I would answer one question really quickly, but that wasn't the content that Tim and I wanted to put out, so YouTube was the best place to tell this story. We really haven't moved it over to Instagram or Instagram Stories because YouTube is the best place to tell this story. Think about the story you want to tell, ask yourself which platform is best to tell it on, and tell that story.

    I promise you, if it is compelling and if you're consistent, you will gain some sort of following on it. I wouldn't worry too much about when and worry more about why would you start a YouTube.
    Episode #131
    - Brand Leaders, Quitting Influencing, Initial Contact to Brands
  • I think, at its core, Facebook-- I will use Facebook as a proxy for this. It was created to help people connect, and specifically, it used photos to help people stay connected and to their friends, to their loved ones. Obviously, as social media expanded, it expanded outside of that small group of friends that you had, and now, it is, obviously, what you guys know as it is today. Has it made us narcissistic? I don't think so.

    I think that we are narcissistic self-centered beings in general. It just has given people a platform and it's made building a platform a lot easier. To get famous, years ago, you had to be exceptionally lucky, exceptionally gifted or have really good genes and just be incredibly good-looking. [chuckles] It has democratized with social media that like getting fame. There's also now all of these little levels like you can have 5,000 followers. 5,000 followers is not a small amount of strangers following you but 20-30 years ago, you couldn't really build an audience of 5,000 and be known in that community for just being you.

    I think that it may feel like we're more narcissistic because media has become shifted to be about a person and that individual's point of view, but I think, if anything, Instagram and all of these things is a reflection of what was already there which is that we are self-involved, self-centered creatures who really only care about ourselves. Not that Instagram has turned us into self-centered, self-involved creatures that only care about ourselves. I think chicken-or-egg, I think the narcissism came before Instagram. Instagram is just shining a light on that.

    I'll say it one more time. It's just like making sure a way to avoid that is just asking yourself before you post, "Is this something that is just going to make me feel better or is this something that my audience is actually going to enjoy?" You don't have to make your feed all about you. You can do things for good. I see more and more influencers out there doing work for charity, using their feed to talk about social issues, to talk about politics, to talk about people that don't have a voice, lending that platform to those people.

    You can do that, you can buck the trends, you can do more than just get yourself free clothes and get money.
    Episode #131
    - Brand Leaders, Quitting Influencing, Initial Contact to Brands
  • If one more fucking person follows me and unfollows me every week, I am going to pull my hair out. It is 100% not a way to grow. It is completely-- It's like fucking pouring Rogaine on your legs and expecting them to get longer. It does not work. It might've worked. Five years ago, worked. You might have tricked people into hitting follow and then you went and unfollow them. It is not a sustainable real way to build a following.

    If you were thinking about doing a follow/unfollow thing, just stepped back, delete Instagram for a week, take a fucking breath, realize this is not the end all be all of life, and you don't need to be doing these silly hacks to try and get this arbitrary number up because even if those people follow you, they're not going to engage, they're not going to care about you. An unengaged followers are the same as having no followers because eventually if they aren't engaging, the algorithm is going to kick them out, kick them out.

    The algorithm will be such that like those people are probably not going to see your content and so they might as well not be followers. Anyway, and while that number is going to be higher, it isn't going to provide any more value for brands. You are going to end up with high followers, low engagement which is a much bigger to tractor for us than low followers and high engagement. If I'm deciding between someone with 75,000 followers who gets a thousand likes a photo and 25,000 followers who gets a thousand likes a photo, I'm picking the 25,000 person every fucking time.

    Do not stress that much about that number. Yes, it is important. Also, I'm sure you've heard me talk about this before. It is going to become increasingly less important as the thing that matters is how many people are you actually reaching, not what is that number. These hacks, these giveaways, these comments, and engagement pods, these things are all born out of desire for the wrong thing which is short term growth. Instead of thinking about the long-term, what am I doing in three, five, 10 years? How am I going to build an audience that actually cares about what I'm talking about?

    Focus on that. Good things will happen. Worry about follow/unfollow and all these other things, you'll drive yourself crazy. Please, don't do it. It doesn't work and it's just a huge waste of your time.

    Male Speaker: What do you think people are so fixated on the number?

    James: I think people are fixated on the number because there aren't many things in life that you're-- How successful you are at that thing is the first thing that people interact with. When you meet someone in a bar or on a train or in a restaurant or whatever, you don't also have to tell them what your salary is, all of your accomplishments, what you look like naked, how big your house is, and what kind of car you have. All of those things are not out in the open.

    I think that the way Instagram is set up, at least that it is and that number is a stand-in for how interesting, successful, ambitious, and talented you are. I don't think that the number actually represents any of those things, but it's a stand-in for those things for most people. It is a big signal to the general public where if you have followers, they go, "Oh, you must be someone important." People are following you.

    Just like, again, if you walked around and had your salary on your head and you worked at a hedge fund, God forbid and it said, "You make two million dollars a year." I think you'd probably find the people who'll treat you different. Why do you think people buy Ferraris? They want the first thing that people know about them is to be that, "I'm fucking rich than you. I make more money than you. I'm more successful than you."

    I am trying to tip the power balance of this relationship immediately because pulling up in a Ferrari is a very clear indication that this person has more money than you. This is why the entire luxury industry exists in general. Conspicuous consumption is probably one of the bigger drivers of luxury purchases in the world. People want other people to know they're rich, and ideally, richer than the people who are looking at them. They buy expensive handbags, they buy expensive watches, they buy expensive watches, they buy expensive shoes and expensive cars.

    Look, you can kid yourself and say, "No, I like the craftsmanship of a Chanel bag. I don't buy it," so people know it's a Chanel bag. It's a fucking lie. Everyone buys a Chanel quilted bag because everyone knows it's a Chanel quilted bag and everyone knows a Chanel bag costs $6,000. Somehow you had to afford it, so it says something about you. I totally get it. Again, the reason people care so much about followers is the same reason that Chanel sells a shitload of those handbags every year is because it's an indicator of how successful you are, but it is all fake.

    None of it really matters. For us, forms increasingly that follower count matters less and less. We focus on how many people are you actually reaching, how much influence do you actually have, who are those people, do they care about what you say, what do you talk about, how often are you taking sponsored posts, what's your engagement, is your engagement real or is it from other influencers, do I think it came from a comment pod or do I think it came from actual consumers or the consumers asking you questions in the comments about the product or are they saying, "Oh my god, goals. You're such a babe. I love you."

    All of these things matter more and more now than what that number is. If you can let it go a little bit, I encourage it.
    Episode #131
    - Brand Leaders, Quitting Influencing, Initial Contact to Brands
  • First of all, I think this is a conspiracy. Every fucking time I post, I swear it's like, "This post is doing 90% better". 90% better is a lot better, and I see it way too often. That is one thing. If you have a business account, Instagram is trying to sell you advertising, obviously, and get you to pay to promote your posts, so when a post is doing well, it will say, "Hey, this post is doing 90% better than your usual posts. Do you want to promote it?" The idea being people are already resonating with this.

    Do you want to pay to make sure more people see it? You know the amount of people that are seeing an Instagram post are between 15% and 50%-- really between like 2% and 90%. I would say the solid average is probably between 15% and 40%, so you can pay to maybe have 60% of your audience see it or to have people who aren't part of your audience see it.

    Should influencers be paying to promote their feed? I don't think that that's super valuable. I don't think it's a sustainable way to grow an audience. I think that the chances of somebody looking at your post, clicking to your profile and following you off of a promoted post that you've done are essentially zero. I would not promote it unless there's a business reason to do so outside of gaining a following. If you have a message that you're trying to get across, if, obviously, you're working with a brand and they want you to promote it, that's the time you would do that obviously.

    Let's say you're launching a new clothing line or a collaboration with a jewelry brand and you want as many people as humanly possible to see it, I would put some money behind that. Don't listen to Instagram and put money behind posts just because they're doing well. If you're going to pay to promote your posts, make sure there's a reason other than "I want to gain followers" because I don't think that will work.
    Episode #130
    - Influencer Marketing in 2019, Instagram Story Content, Boosting
  • I maybe listen to the audio of 1% to 5% of Insta stories, so if you're speaking to camera, there is almost no chance that I'm listening. Now, I caveat that by saying I love you all, but when you go through your morning skincare routines and you're talking through how you're putting on moisturizer or what you're doing with your makeup, I'm not listening to that because obviously, it's not interesting to me. I don't need to learn how to do a cat eye better. I'm already fucking great at it. In general, I personally find myself never listening to the audio on Instagram. Do you?

    Tim: Never.

    James: Tim doesn't either. Does the language matter? Do the captions matter? Absolutely. I think that you need to be telling a story without audio because I just have no faith that anyone is listening to the audio. A lot of times, you're at work. You're in a meeting. You're in a cab. You're in the subway. You're in the line for coffee. Maybe if your headphone's in but you're probably listening to music and you don't want to hear someone talking or the beeping or the wind or this.
    Tell the story without using your voice unless you're doing a walk through or tutorial or something that was very much like people are like, "Okay, I'm going to listen to this". That's different, obviously. Even still, as you're talking, I would think about how you are using captions to tell the story as well because there's just absolutely fucking no way a 100% of people are going to listen to it.

    If you're just talking to camera, I have to assume 75% minimum of people aren't going to listen to it so very important to use captions and use text creatively to tell a story. Also, go back to what we're just talking about with the end of the year stories. Insta stories have become a enormous part of Instagram, bigger in a lot of ways than the feed, and there is still not a lot of thought put behind these things. You need to spend the time to make sure that what you're doing is interesting.

    Look, there's slice-of-life stuff that is totally interesting and doesn't need to be super editorial. I follow a lot of influencers that are very casual and just talking to camera. I'll give a few examples. Grace Atwood, Helena from Brooklyn Blonde; Sai, Scout the City, three influencers that almost never are uploading professional photos, almost never building stories ahead of time. They're very off-the-cuff, and I think they do a great job. That said, they also are usually showing something that I think their audience would find interesting.

    I think that Helena and Sai do a lot of their kids because people are very interested in their children, so there's a lot of that content that's just not really thought out. It's just like, "Here my kids doing something cute", or 'Here, I'm trying to get a jacket on, and they're throwing a tantrum". I think that that totally works for them. Grace Atwood as well, she does a little more that's maybe thought out beforehand, but I don't find myself skipping the stories that often because it does feel a little more intentional and less like "I'm bored, so I'm going to post a story". On the flip side, I've been talking a lot about my friend Aaron. He's been doing these stories that are very pre-- What do I want to say? He's doing these stories that are essentially short films. Tim will play it here, but he's shooting video, not posting it, and then going back in Final Cut Pro and creating these little short films, and then overlaying photos really quickly at the end. I think they're fantastic. I think they're great for people that have the technical, creative skills to do things like that. Again, that story what Aaron is doing would never make sense on Helena or Sai's accounts because that's just not who they are.

    I go back to a point again we talk about a lot is that I think Helen, Sai and Grace Atwood all know who they are, and they've very comfortable with who they are. They're really authentic, and they're not trying to be someone else. It just comes off as interesting, and you're like, "This is this person, so I'm interested in it". Christina does exactly what I'm saying- from [unintelligible 00:21:19] -does exactly what I'm saying you shouldn't do. She's just like, "I'm walking to the gym. I'm eating Cheetos", all those things. We've talked about it before, but it works because it's her. You see young influencers sometimes they're trying to emulate other people, and it just comes off as inauthentic, and it comes off as boring for me.

    I think the first step in all of this, and it's 2019, it's a new year, is really figuring out who you are. Write it down. Write down what your beliefs are. Write down what your values are. Write down what you care about and what you don't. Write down the things that you don't talk about or you do. Write down the brands that you care about and the brands you wouldn't work with. Try and have some guiding principles in your life.

    I think again, if we go back to question one about what's coming on in 2019, it's just going to get more competitive, and you have to carve out your own niche, and you have to be able to do something interesting. It's so competitive now that there is definitely someone out there doing what you're doing better than you're doing it. You have to be yourself and really lean into that this year. I think that's going to be very important.
    Episode #130
    - Influencer Marketing in 2019, Instagram Story Content, Boosting
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