This video is not currently available.

Episode #

Search Drink With James

For example, type "Instagram" to search questions about Instagram

Displaying - of results for ""

No results for ""

  • If you want to, there's no excuse not to try and do something. When I started publishing stuff on the Internet many, many years ago, I did so because Tumblr was the first tool that made it possible for someone that was not a coder, wasn't going to buy WordPress theme to have a blog, it felt really low touch.
    You just picked a theme and started publishing. Tumblr still exists. Obviously, there's great themes out there if you want to start a blog, you can do it on Squarespace. You can do it on WordPress. There's Exposure, which my friend runs. If you're a photographer, that's great. You can start a newsletter with MailChimp. You can start something with Substack. You can do something interesting with Twitter. You can start a TikTok, you can start doing something on YouTube.

    There is no end to how you can diversify but coming off that last question, you got to make sure that those messages are unique and that they are built for that platform and that they make sense in that platform. Too many people, say, "I know I need to diversify. I know I need to try new things, do something new, get off Instagram. My whole future is tied up in Instagram." The frustrating thing is you talk to them three months later and you're like, "What's going on?" They're like, "I need to do something. I should start a blog. I should start a newsletter."
    Three months later, same thing. You just sometimes have to just do it. I find that sometimes it is helpful to try and break those big goals into little ones and say, "I know I want to start a newsletter." Easiest way to do these things is to try and break it into smaller goals that get you to the eventual one. Building out a newsletter. If you just were going to do that and you said, "I need a strategy. I need a designer to help me design the newsletters. I need to write at least my first five newsletters. Then I need to figure out how many people to sign up for the newsletter. I have to get that populated. Then I'm going to have to sign up for MailChimp, get all that coded and then I'll send it out."

    That sounds exhausting. I understand why you wouldn't do it because you're not getting any money for this right away. It's a big pain in the ass. What if instead you said, "I'm going to go to my Gmail, I'm going to pick a hundred names of my friends and some brands I've worked with, I'm going to send an e-mail. What my newsletter would be if it didn't have HTML and all those things, I'm going to just send an e-mail to a hundred people and I'm going to see their response."
    At the end of it, I'm going to say, "This is something I'm considering, did you enjoy this? Do you think like would love any feedback right back if you have anything?" Maybe 20 people write back and said, "I love this. This was amazing, you should do it." Okay, there you go. Now you have some momentum. You've put something into the world and you've tested it and you've seen if people actually like it. Then you can move forward. You have to try and find what in the startup world we call an MVP, a Minimum Viable Product. What is the absolute minimum you can do to test this thing?

    If you were testing a blog, do you have to even start a blog or could you start writing longer captions by writing a story and putting it as a carousel in an in-feed post. There are ways to test these things without going out and hiring someone for $10,000 to build you a blog. Minimum viable product, you test it, you validate it and then you invest in it. It's a good way to get off your ass and just try this stuff and realize that at the end of the day nobody fucking cares.
    None of us are a big enough deal where there's so much scrutiny that if you put out something that's not professional, all the world will shake and come undone. Zeus from the clouds will throw one of his thunder bolts down and strike you down for daring to send out an e-mail that wasn't designed well. Nobody gives a shit. We're trying stuff here, this is the Internet. You should be able to experiment. If you feel like you can't, that's a personal problem. It's a mindset problem, you have to let go of it.

    I'm a perfectionist, I love things to be perfect, but I'm pushing the team all the time to put out stuff that's not perfect, to move faster so we can learn and we can chase perfection. Ideally, you never get there. As the saying goes, perfection is the enemy of progress and it is often better to do than to fiddle around and try and do it perfectly. I will say unless you're like a bridge builder, in which case I would definitely focus on doing it perfectly, but outside of that, you're good to go.
    Episode #183
    - Instagram alternatives, leveraging demographics, bespoke content
  • Stories came out a couple of years ago. Obviously the most successful thing that Instagram has released since Instagram, huge success, in a lot of ways is cannibalized the feed. It's changed the way we interact with the app. We put out a little data story on our Instagram recently, showing the average percentage of story reach per following tier. Interesting to go into that. If you haven't taken a look at it, Brian can throw it up but also check it out.

    In general if you're not following our Instagram, you should, we're putting out these data stories at least once a week. We're starting to see a huge shift to stories. There was a request in Instagram to do an episode on stories. We are working on that now, so that will be coming so I'm not going to talk about tips and how to optimize and get more reach on your stories, but important to think about what is happening here in Instagram as a platform in general.

    When Instagram started it was a way to connect with your friends or mostly it was a way to connect with your friends. It was bought by Facebook because any app that comes out that's about sharing photos with your friends, Facebook will buy. You want to get acquired by Facebook, build a successful app that's all around sharing photos with your friends and they will fucking buy you because they understand that that is at their core, their core competency and their competitive advantage.

    Is that like for better or worse, the world has changed in a way that like that is how you keep up with people and so they want to own any app where you communicate with your friends with photos. WhatsApp was bought because there were more photos being sent on WhatsApp every day than there were being published on Instagram when WhatsApp got bought, so they snapped it up.

    Snapchat, obviously all about sharing photos with your friends. They wanted to buy it. They got rebuffed and they just copied it, whoops. As Instagram became a bigger thing, as it had a bigger place in culture, it gets more professional, it gets more produced, it gets more serious. People were making money off of it. There's ads, there's all of these things and every day it becomes a little bit less about keeping up with your friends. How many of you are shooting content a week before you're publishing it on Instagram? Two weeks before.
    Well, that's not really doing much if I'm your friend for me to know what you're doing to see a photo of you three weeks ago. Then you start going to stories because that is real time. That is where I can actually learn. What did you have for dinner last night? Who is out late drinking? Who is up early working out? Who is traveling? Who got a promotion? Who is sad about this? Who's sharing some meme?

    That is where you stay connected and the content that you create there, I think the reason we haven't yet seen stories take over into this hyper produced little mini-movies is that still for most people the benefit is creating an app and showing what you're doing. Just think about that. When Instagram started, it was an absolute no, no to upload professional photos. You had to shoot the photo that you were going to publish to Instagram in-app. When was the last fucking time you shot a photo in-app and published it? Probably six years ago, maybe.
    Stories brings back this place where you're creating in-app. It has to be in the moment. By design, it's going to be in the moment and that's what makes it so interesting. As you think about that content, you think about stories, think about that connection. I heard Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat talking recently and he said that he thinks of social media like a pyramid. At the bottom of the pyramid, how many people are creating content? At the bottom of the pyramid, he had talking to friends. That's Snapchat.

    Snapchat's about talking to friends. That's something that every person has a desire to do, to stay connected to the people that they love. Snapchat, they see themselves as a communication app, not social media. He said one step up is like social media, which is all about clout. It's all about some form of showing off. It's likes, it's comments, it's followers, it's beautiful photos. It is a little bit more intimidating, it's something that less people are willing to do.
    There are a lot of people that are lurkers on Instagram but don't post in feed or they have private accounts they don't post to so it's a little harder. Then you have TikTok at the top. and TikTok is in a lot of ways about talent. It's not about you at all, it's about your ability to be funny, your ability to learn and dance, your ability to riff on this meme. That's something that is very intimidating for most people.

    If you look at TikTok as entertainment, which it is, the appetite for consuming entertainment is massive. The amount of people that can be entertaining is a lot smaller. TikTok, again, it's not about sharing your life, it's not about connecting with friends. The creator pool is much smaller because it feels like everything you create needs to be something that could be seen by 10 million people. Whereas with an Instagram story, you know that's going to be seen by really just the people that we really care about and obviously sending a Snapchat to five friends, you know it's being seen by those five friends so it keeps it more authentic.

    It's an interesting thing to think about and as you think about all of these platforms, there are different things that make sense for them and it is why you can't take your Instastories, download them and put them into a TikTok and have that work. It is why a brand can't take their magazine ads and put them into Instagram and have that work. It is why if you probably shot your Instagram photos in camera and published it to your feed, it probably wouldn't be great.
    If you like, "You know what? I'm only using Valencia filter this year. That is it." That time has probably passed as well. Each platform and each feature in each platform has its own specific use, but important to remember why they were built and what drives engagement on these things.
    Episode #183
    - Instagram alternatives, leveraging demographics, bespoke content
  • Specifically in this case an influencer has a larger male following than a normal female skincare influencer. Something like skincare is unisex and so that technically shouldn't impact your ability to work with brands. Let's step back here. Two brands care about demographics absolutely. Demographics on a whole, even from Instagram are a bit of a guess, so you don't have to disclose your sex, your age, your household income, anything that when signing up for Instagram, where you live.

    A lot of it is a guess in general, so that is one thing. We get questions all the time. Your data is different than Instagram's. That is why everyone's just looking at the content and trying to make assumptions. Is this a man? Is this a woman? Where do they live? How much money do they make? Are they married, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Why is it important? Well, for most of these brands, they say, 75% of our customers are women or 75% are men. Obviously, I want to work with influencers whose demographic split matches that of my customers unless I am specifically going after a new customer base.

    We had years ago, a whiskey company come to us and say, "90% of our customers are men. We think there's a really opportunity to market whiskey to women." And that's something we're focused on. In that case, demographics were still really important because we wanted to target influencers with a largely female demographic. We are constantly looking at demographics when we are trying to apply the strategy that we have and pick the right influencers.
    Now, as an influencer, sometimes split demographics can make it difficult to close those brand deals. It can be hard if working specifically in skincare, obviously in makeup to explain your male audience. Do men buy skincare? Absolutely. Do men buy makeup? Absolutely. At much lower numbers than women do in general. Then often, like it or not, or whether this is right or wrong, specific brands inside of even the skincare category, obviously market to men and women.
    It's crazy to me that there's like, "This is moisturizer for men and this is moisturizer for women." There's just moisturizer really. We are biologically different, our skin is different, there are different needs, but it seems more to do with the fact that men are uncomfortable at buying skincare. It has to be this ridiculous macho thing of just some guy with a handlebar mustache being like, "Get your skin looking tiptop."

    They don't want to be seen as gay because we live in America and even though it's 2020, that is still a big driver of most men's behavior so I digress. What do you do if that split is unfavorable for you? One is understanding your audience a bit more. If you have a skincare specific feed for instance, and you're 50/50 men, women, but my male followers are crazy about skincare. They love luxury skin care. Here are DMs, here's explanations, get ahead of it.
    Anything that a brand could come at you and say, "This looks weird." Always good to get ahead of it. I talk about the freestyle rap at the end of 8 Mile. Where Eminem, in his freestyle, he takes everything that the guy's going to say about him and says it himself. He's like, "I live in a trailer," whatever. I don't know what he said. It was great, great moment in cinema but I don't remember the rap exactly.

    Then it kicks over to the other guy he's got nothing to say. We think about that in our sales meetings. If we're the smallest company, we use that as a strength. We don't wait for the brand to say, you guys are the smallest company pitching us. We get in front of it. We say, we know we're the smallest company here. Here's why that is a positive for you. We don't let them turn it into a negative. Understand those demographic splits and understand how to talk to them.
    Now if-- I'm going to use a friend Olivia Caputo here, as an example, I met her two years ago. She's from Florida. She's got a history of beauty pageants. She had a following that was largely male. She's like, "I want to move to New York. I want to do this influencer thing." Part of my advice was you have to try and shift that audience. That New York brands are going to look at it and say, "You're a beautiful girl that is posting bikini photos and it's attracted a male audience and that male audience isn't interested in our brand's new color palette that's coming out this month. They're following you for different reasons."

    She put the work in over years to shift her content away from the Florida beach vibes into a young professional woman who's in New York trying to make it and hustle and incorporating beauty, incorporating skincare and hair and all of these things. She has over the years significantly changed her audience, to be quite a bit more balanced or to be more women than men and is killing it. We work with her all the time. She's great. That took years to get there, but you can change those things. If you feel like your demographics are not representative of the content that you want to create anymore, you can change that.

    Just, it's going to take a long time to get there. The advice I gave Olivia years ago, potentially it be the same advice I'd give you now is if you feel like I know 30% of my audience isn't valuable to brands and they always bring that up, then again, one way to get ahead of it is be like, "Hey, I know. that you don't want to market to this 30 % of men so I'm not going to charge you. I'm going to reduce my rates 30%. That's how much I want to work with you. I'll give you that for free."

    I'll say like, "I understand that this may not align with your strategy, so let me cut the price off." Instead of charging like someone with 100,000 followers, I'll charge like someone with 70,000. It makes you sound a lot more confident. It again makes the brand be like, "That's really fair," and it's you being honest and transparent and not trying to just optimize that relationship for the dollars that you can get today, but think about the long-term success of the partnership.
    Episode #183
    - Instagram alternatives, leveraging demographics, bespoke content
  • I want to comment on an article that was in Glossy, said, "The future of influencer marketing depends on fighting fraud." Look, that's a fun headline to write. We were the first company in the world to come out with a product that would verify that an influencer's following was authentic and real, and that they hadn't bought followers. We were the first people to do that maybe four, five years ago.
    When we launched it, every publication that reached out that wanted to write an article, they wanted us to out influencers that had bought followers. They wanted the story about how prevalent this is. They want to write about the big spooky monster in the corner that you need to be afraid of. That is what drives clicks. The reality of it was that buying followers was not nearly as prevalent as people thought it was.
    While writing articles like this, like the future of this industry depends on fighting fraud. I mean, fraud is prevalent everywhere, but in advertising especially so. I mean, how many bots are there out there replaying videos over and over again, so that we can get the video accounts up? How many bots are out there clicking on ads, loading websites so that we can get impressions? Ad fraud is a problem across the board. It is a problem in the influencer space, but it is a much smaller problem than people let on, and of course, you should come to Fohr as a client, and work with us to work with influencers who we have verified as having authentic followers.
    Look, a lot of our competitors have copied us ruthlessly and created their own ways of verifying people, and if you don't want to work with us, you should work with one of them. If not that, you should learn a few tricks to figure out whether or not somebody's following is authentic or not, and decrease your reliance on engagement. One, because it's rapidly leaving the platform, but two, because it doesn't tell you a good story, and engagement is easier to buy than followers are.
    I do not think that buying followers is an existential threat to the industry, though it is important to have ways to validate that the people you work with are real, and for brands to know that the money that they're being spent is being spent effectively. We definitely need to protect ourselves and give ourselves that confidence when we're spending hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, but I wouldn't buy too much into articles saying the end is near because they're just looking for clicks. With that, I bid you all adieu, and we will see you next week.
    Episode #182
    - How FTC helps influencers, product focus groups, faking engagement
  • I think that increasingly brands will include influencers in their product development, if not from the get-go of actually designing the product, which we're seeing more and more of. These micro brands launching that are designed by influencers or owned by influencers, or they're co-branded with influencers. I think we will continue to see more and more of that, but you can also see a world where brands are testing new products using influencers.
    If I was a big retailer, and I know I have to cut 30,000 units of a product, I might see that influencers first, in three different variations, and see which one gets a better reaction. I think that increasingly, retailers will try and run tests in that way, so that they can be better informed in this real live focus group on which products are going to do well. Which products people are going to resonate with. Which ones will get people to go to the website or buy that product.
    I don't know how much of that is happening yet, but I think y'all have this incredible access to consumers. You have this direct relationship with consumers, people that are coming to you for advice on what they should be buying, and brands absolutely should be leaning on influencers earlier in the process. Look, as we've seen with Danielle from WeWoreWhat, who was just on the last episode. A few episodes ago, what we saw from her launch with her swimwear launch, was that when brands are developing with influencers, and when they are involved earlier in the process, it's something that your audience gets used to, they get invested in and it just performs a lot better.
    I think that smart brands will start pulling, especially macro influencers in earlier in the development process, and then maybe start using more micro and mid-tier influencers to run tests, to see which products are resonating with their audiences.
    Episode #182
    - How FTC helps influencers, product focus groups, faking engagement
  • This is something that we have talked about in the past. FTC recently updated their guidelines, I think we can maybe put a link to download them. It is really a very simple straightforward document. I know you think like, "FTC a regulating body, a government organization, this is going to be this obtuse, long thing that is very difficult to read." It's about eight pages long. It's really simple in plain English, not legalese. They make it super simple to understand what they're saying.

    Now, unfortunately there is ambiguity built into the rules. Something that hasn't changed is that if a brand gives you a product or if a brand is paying you, you have to disclose that relationship in some way, shape or form. You have to say that you are working with the brand or the brand gave you that thing. Now, as is always been the case, you do not have to put #sponsored, #ad. There is no requirement to do that, if in the comment, you said, "I'm working with blank brand."

    Now, where it gets confusing is that, they don't have a fully clear example of what disclosing the relationship is, so the language is subjective. It is up to their interpretation if they feel like you have disclosed that relationship clearly enough, which is why if all else fails, it is probably just easier to put #sponsored, #ad, and know that you are in the clear. Now, the other thing is on stories or on Snapchat, you can't just disclose that relationship verbally, you have to write it down.

    You have to put 'sponsored' or 'ad' or whatever it is, or just disclose the relationship in the story, and frustratingly but true, in every single frame of that story. If it's five frames, if you were going to completely align with FTC regulations, each frame has to have ad, you can't just disclose it in the first one. Look, you can put it small in the bottom. We're in Trump's America, so I would just make sure you put your disclosures on there, especially if you're not a rich white man, who golfs with Trump, I would just be extra special careful. If it's some sort of live stream, you have to mention that is sponsored. You have to mention that it's sponsored periodically, so that people who are joining the live stream at different times, there's not just one disclosure at the beginning.
    Now, this is what you would need to do if you are going to 100% align with FTC guidelines. They aren't going after people really aggressively. I haven't heard of Instagram FTC suit in a while that wasn't against Kim Kardashian or something. When they do go after people, generally it's going to be those mega celebrities. Those are the people that they're watching most closely, but I would never work with a brand that told you not to give disclosures.

    I have heard of that happening. I've heard of brands encouraging influencers not to disclose. There was an episode earlier this summer, where all these influencers got the Givenchy bag, and I believe Givenchy asked them not to disclose that it was gifted, that's fucked up. Don't do that. Don't let a brand put you in a position of breaking the law because they don't want people to know they gifted you the bag.
    Episode #182
    - How FTC helps influencers, product focus groups, faking engagement
  • I don't have a lot to say about this. You guys are out there in the internet posting your shit everywhere. You're obviously not incredibly private people, but I do think that privacy is important. Something to consider and think about is that when you sign up for Four, as you remember, we ask you to connect your accounts through the APIs. The only way that you can be a part of Four is that you have to sign up and you have to connect your accounts.
    90,000 influencers have done that.

    We have competitors that go around saying, "We have a platform with 10 million influencers on it," and you say, "Well, I know you didn't get 10 million people to connect their Instagram accounts. What's happening?" What's happening is they're scraping Instagram. They're building profiles for you and selling those profiles to brands without your knowledge or your consent. That is something to consider. If you get outreach from another influencer marketing platform that you didn't know you were a part of, you might just ask how you got that information and ask to see what it looks like on the brand side because you don't know what information they're saying about you because scraped information is generally wrong. This was my whole problem with, what's this thing called? That would show-- This is my problem with Social Blade.
    Social Blade, the reason we would always tell our clients it was bullshit is that it scraped Instagram. It would scrape Instagram and see if there were any jumps or spikes in your following growth. What it didn't account for was the fact that Instagram changes their API access points essentially every day and so if you're scraping Instagram, you're constantly having to refine those points. If there was a gap for a week in your following where they weren't scraping your data and you went from 10,000 to 13,000 in that week, they would show that as a jump that happened in one day and they'd say you bought followers.

    Or if you got mentioned in BuzzFeed article and you gained 10,000 followers and that spike happened, let's say you bought followers. It's bullshit. It's incomplete data. There are services out there scraping your Instagram. While you may not care about privacy that much, the problem is they're misrepresenting you. Unfortunately, there's no real way to know what's out there. You can always google your name certainly. If any of these platforms reach out or if you hear that a brand found you in a platform that you didn't sign up for, I would reach out, tell them to take your profile down or certainly ask to see it because you don't know what they're saying about you.

    They might be saying you're buying followers and you're not. I'm not just saying this because I think all of my competitors are trash and you guys should only be on Four. Well, I do think that is mostly true, but it's just something to consider. You want to know how you're being presented to the world.
    Episode #181
    - Looking ahead to 2020, Manifesting growth, Year-long partnerships
  • As we move into the new year, you guys are all thinking how am I going to change my station in life. Again, how am I going to make sure that in 12 months in December, I get to make this whole post about how I was in a much different position a year ago. I have grown so much, and it's been such an amazing year, and I have you guys to thank. Thank you so much. Gratitude, gratitude, blah, blah, blah. How do we get there?

    I'm going to talk about all the ways that you can get there, and it's up to you guys. Something we hear a lot of influencers talking about is wanting to get more long term partnerships, specifically year-long ambassador programs. For us, it's something we pitched to our clients all the time. We think we're increasingly pushing our clients into year-long contracts with us, because it makes a lot more sense. I know that influencers enjoy it as well. We just renewed a bunch of this Sephora Squad for next year. We're doing Sephora Squad again. Yes, can I say that? Yes.

    We're doing Sephora Squad again in 2020, which we're super excited about, but those year-long contracts have worked out really really well, and the influencers involved have enjoyed it. Let me give you a few points on how to pitch yourself more effectively for a year-long contract. The first thing I think you want to focus on-- Well, let's step back. First, you need to find the right clients for it. Unlikely that you will be able to pitch in a year-long ambassador program with a brand you've never worked with.

    Possible? Yes. Especially, you're a much bigger influencer. Probable? No. Your best bet for year-long ambassador programs are brands that are already working with you multiple times throughout the year, so get your spreadsheet. Hopefully, you have every brand you've ever worked with, when you worked with them, how much they paid you, the lifetime value of that client, everything like that. Look at the people that worked with you the most, the most number of times. Not who gave you the most money once, but who worked with you the most number of times. Those are your first hot leads to go after.

    Then you go to them. A lot of ways, you're talking about giving them some economies of scale. For those of you that didn't study economics in high school or college, economies of scale essentially say that as the scale of anything gets bigger, the unit costs of that thing go down. If I buy one of these pens, it's a lot more expensive than if I buy a thousand of these pens. It's a lot more expensive than if I buy 10,000 of them per unit. Economies of scale is a driving force in every single business.

    As an influencer, if you're selling 15 posts to a brand, they should be-- if you're selling 15 posts to brand, they should be paying quite a bit less each post than they would if they bought those 15 one-off throughout the year. Does that make sense? Let's do the math this year, because I'm not a huge math guy. Let's say you're selling one post a month, 12 posts for the year, I'd probably sell them that for the price of maybe eight posts, so I think that's like a 35% discount, give or take. Right there you're saying, "Look, you already going to want to work with me, we know that. Doing this saves you 35%."

    The other thing it saves is-- and another thing to talk to brands about and talk them into this is that, if they sign a contract with you in January and they buy 12 posts from you. If you gain 50,000 followers by December, they're not paying for those new 50,000 followers. Any growth that you achieve throughout the year is like a bonus for them. For Sephora Squad, I think the Sephora Squad grew something like 900,000 followers over the course of the year. That was 900,000 more people Sephora was reaching with each post than they had paid for.
    It's a great deal for brands, especially if you're an influencer that's growing really quickly to say, "This is a really good deal. Not only am I giving you a 35%, 40% discount on these posts, but every new follower I gain, you're not paying for that." If you're at 100,000 followers today, and you're charging a thousand dollars a post and you get to 150,000 followers by December, and you're charging $1,500 a post. For them, they paid maybe 650 a post in January. Economically, makes a lot more sense for the brand.

    Now, obviously another thing to talk about is it just makes more sense for the audience. There was a gap between when Sephora Squad ended, and when the people that were re-engaged could announce that they were reengaged. You could see their audience being really upset that the Sephora partnership had ended. It was this year-long robust partnership that felt really authentic, really organic, really natural, and the audiences really enjoyed it. I think that is the holy grail for brands, and something influencers want as well.

    They don't want to work with 10 different brands in the same category. They want to say, "This is my thing, this is my favorite skincare brand, and I'm going to work with them for the whole year." I think that's a much better feeling for you, it's much better for your audience, it's much more authentic, and so why brands should do this is really-- That's the number one. Yes, it is cheaper. More importantly, it's just works better. We also know that people need to see something multiple times. The textbooks will tell you seven times. Seven times to get to a point of purchase. How the hell you're going to do that if you buy two post from you? It doesn't work. You have to see something a lot.

    For a brand working with an influencer. If they don't hit that audience seven times, and they don't know that they can hit them with traditional marketing, or Facebook ads, or Instagram ads on their own, how are they going to sell that product? The year-long contract takes care of that. It allows enough touchpoints throughout the year that we can move that audience through the purchase, and that's an important point to talk about when you're trying to sell this to brands.
    Another thing is flexibility on the brief. If they buy 10, 15, 5, whatever post from you, you don't have to say what each post is about. If it's one a month, they can tell you at the beginning in the month, "We are focusing on sweaters these months, so we want you to do a post on sweaters." If it's a skincare brand, "We're focusing on dry skin because it's winter." You can tell them that you don't have to lock in what every single post is going to be about. You can be flexible. What they're buying is a number of posts from you that they get to use.

    They basically have a credit essentially that they get to use throughout the year. You don't have to set the whole program up. It's way too much if you have to say exactly what you're going to post all year, so make sure that they know that. Two things for you to think about as you negotiate these things is exclusivity. If brands are giving you a year-long ambassador program, certainly they have to pay for exclusivity. Yes, but they're coming through with big money potentially or certainly a large contract.

    I think that you as an influencer also have to respect that, and know that it might mean having to turn down some of their competitors, and you should have that conversation beforehand. Are they willing to pay for exclusivity? Probably, not. That would be very very expensive for category exclusivity for something like skincare, but you might want to ask, "Look, are there any brands that you really really hate? Are there any brands that you'd be really upset if I work with?"
    As a beauty influencer let's say, it's natural that you're going to post about a lot of different brands. People want to see you try a lot of different things, but a lot of brands have like an arch-enemy brand that like if you work with that brand, they're going to be really pissed off. Think about it from a brand's perspective. I buy 15 posts from you, I put my trust in you. I don't have to do that. I don't have to buy 15 posts from you, but I do.

    Then my competitor sees that, comes along six months later, and buys one post from you, and you post about it and say, "I love this product so much." How am I going to feel? I'm going to feel like, "Wait, I'm paying you 10 times as much as this brand, and you're just going to go and post about them?" It's best to have those conversations early. Talk about that. Again, for exclusivity, they have to pay. Look, there's two sides for that and you have to understand that. Let's say you have a year-long ambassador program with Canon and then Nikon comes along and wants you to do a post for them. You think Canon's going to be stoked on that? No. You would have to turn that down, I think.

    To maintain your relationship with Canon in that instance, you have to turn it down even if they don't pay for the exclusivity. That may not be fair, but again, you have to think about, again, what is the nature of my relationship with brand A that is paying me for a year-long ambassador program and brand B that's come in and give me one post. Is it worth jeopardizing my relationship with brand A, which might renew for another year next year, to get one post from brand B? Probably not.

    Look, that's a lot of stuff. We can dig into year-long ambassador programs more if you'd like and get more into the nitty-gritty. Now is the time to pitch yourself for them. They make sense for you, they make sense for the brand and I think they make sense for your audience. Go get those.
    Episode #181
    - Looking ahead to 2020, Manifesting growth, Year-long partnerships
  • We did a year in review. iIt was great to see everyone posting that. For us it's a lot about data, it's a lot about giving you guys stories to be able to tell your own story about the year. I also saw a lot of people just posting these really long stories recapping their year. It was interesting because, for most of them, I found them really boring. I found them self-involved and self-indulgent really, I think is what I would say.

    I even saw one influencer say, "Thanks for indulging me, my walk down memory lane," which I actually appreciated because I felt like it was indulgent. We always talk about inspire entertain or educate, right? That's what your content should do. If you're working in service of your audiences, it should inspire, entertain or educate. It felt to me a lot of the year in review content that people put out on their stories especially, that was just them going through their photo role pulling out everything they did this year and reposting it.

    I just thought, yes, it was just really boring and respected the influencers that resisted the urge to do that and respected the people that took a look at their year and put some time and thought into it. If the end of the year or the beginning of the year is a time of reflection, it's a natural time to look back and take stock over where you started and where you ended up and what happened in between, excuse me, then it deserves thought. If you're taking this stock, as it were, then think about it. I think that's the thing about these year-in-reviews from most people is that there just was no thought.

    It was just like, I went here and then I went here and then I went here and then I went here and then I did this and then I did that. I find myself skipping through or saying, "Why the fuck do I care?" I've been following you. I know you did that. I saw it the first two times you posted it.

    There were some people who went back and tried to pull themes out of the year or maybe they could talk about things that happened to them that year with some wisdom or candor that they couldn't when those events happen. I just felt like I wasn't really getting much from these stories other than people bragging, which is for me the worst. It's like social at its worst is when it's just you wanting to show off.

    I will say that for me sometimes the opposite was true for the decade in review. That because people looked at the last decade of their life, they were forced to talk about growth and talk about their dreams and the things that they've accomplished. I think something that Casey Neistat said in his year and decade and review was that he used to talk about her define himself by the things that he wanted to achieve in life and now he's able to define himself by the things that he has achieved. While he still has goals and dreams, this decade for him has been one of achieving a lot of the goals and dreams that he had a decade ago.

    That builds a connection that makes you feel proud of a person. It makes you maybe inspired that you can also change your life. I learned things about people from their decade and reviews or they're introspection on that that I didn't know before. I didn't know Joe Greer wasn't taking photos ten years ago. I didn't know Crystal Bick worked at Google ten years ago and was quite successful there. I found those interesting but these single year-in-reviews that people did, just stunningly boring. I don't have any takeaway here for you guys. I don't know if I'm in the minority here, and you guys loved all the walks down memory lanes that people did. I think it's a good reminder when you see a lot of people doing something on the internet like that. Especially, if it's going to be a long story. Those year-in-reviews were 20, 30, sometimes 40 story frames long, make sure that it's interesting. Make sure that it's something that your audience is actually going to care about. Make sure it's not only in service of yourself.
    Episode #181
    - Looking ahead to 2020, Manifesting growth, Year-long partnerships
  • You don't need to have a blog, but as I was just saying, you need to figure out a way to make this stuff work for brands. If we look at our highest performing influencers from a sales perspective, how much do they sell for a brand, I would say 98% of the people in the top are bloggers. They're people that are still publishing to their blog every day. That is universally true. There has been, in the last few years, a shift away from bloggers. It feels old school, it's not as exciting. It's not as visual, it's not as fun. It's not trendy. That pendulum is swinging back. I can say internally, we are doing more and more campaigns where we are trying to engage bloggers, people that are still publishing the blog, as well as Instagram, in our campaigns because they are multitudes more effective, like 10, 50, 100 X more effective.

    If you have 100,000 Instagram followers, and someone else has 100,000 Instagram followers, and a healthy blog traffic, and they can drive 10, 20, 50 times the traffic and sales that you can, you'll never compete. There's influencers that are more like cool girls, like better just, or they're content creators, they create beautiful content. That's a different thing. If that's your thing, do you need a blog? No. Do I think that you should have one? Yes, but you need to figure out a way to try and make this more effective for your brand partners. If not a blog, maybe it's a newsletter, maybe it's a different way to use stories, maybe it's a YouTube channel. Instagram traditionally has not been great at driving sales and conversions. I think that as the industry starts to reevaluate its expectations, and starts to get more aggressive with trying to pull ROI out of the space, you need to think of what you're going to be doing outside of Instagram.

    The other thing is, is you can't totally trust any platform. You can't trust Instagram, you can't trust the TikTok, you can't trust Twitter. Having a blog, having a newsletter, having something that you own is really important. If you have 200,000 Instagram followers, and you can get 1,000 of them a day to come to a blog, that's valuable. If next year that goes to 5,000, and then the next year to 10,000, well then you start to create a space that is all yours. Nobody can change the rules of that space, because you own it.

    We talk about Grace Atwood and Jess Kirby, who are friends of mine, a lot on the show. It's because this blog thing, the question about blogs is in my mind. I was just hiking Runyon in LA, which is one of the terrible cliche, with Grace Atwood. [coughs] Excuse me. I told her, when I met her two years ago, I was on Drink with James saying blogs will be dead in five years. I think that their time is over. Blogs are dead. This is not going to be a thing. I think I was wrong, and my mind has changed, and I think more and more it is important for influencers to be creating a space that they own, that they can take with them that is platform agnostic. As you go into the new year, think about that. Again, it doesn't have to be a blog. It can be a newsletter, it can be YouTube, although that's another platform subject to its own rules, but at least you're diversifying. It can be a monthly zine that you print that people subscribe to. Something, do something that you can own that other people don't control.
    Episode #179
    - Reflections on the decade, blogging and politics with @thereclaimed
  • Headshot

    Can't Get Enough?

    Want to stay up to date with the latest Drink with James content? Subscribe to Drink With James.

    Don't know what you're looking for?
    Find a random question