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  • Essentially a super PAC, which is an entity that is not related to a political or a candidate's campaign. A super PAC was reaching out to influencers with offers to try and promote Cory Booker. The campaign was "Keep Cory in the race." Obviously, his polling numbers aren't doing great. This democratic group wanted to keep him in and so they thought influencers would be a good place to do that. There was a lot of backlash on it. It created an interesting conversation, which we're going to discuss later. First, let's talk about, just how poorly that campaign was run.

    Because I think a lot of times influencer marketing, gets a bad rap. Sometimes it's because people are looking at influencers who I think are the kind of lowest common denominator of what you all do. I always say it's like saying actors suck and using like Rob Schneider as your example of an actor. Rob Schneider and Daniel Day-Lewis have the same job and they're very different actors, so you can't really say just because Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo sucked that like all actors are trash, right?

    Don't at me with your take on how Rob Schneider is actually a great actor I'm not here for it. Sometimes, it's the influencer. They point to some thirst trap Instagram model and they say, look at this influencer didn't move any product. It's like, yes, okay, I get it. Sometimes it's the brands. Sometimes the brands do a really, really terrible job at executing these campaigns. We saw it a couple months ago where a few influencers got an offer to work on a campaign for a stroller, but they don't have children. That's just basic. You had one job, fuck ups that these brands are making. I think the Cory Booker thing falls into the brand screwing it up category.

    I saw screenshots of the brief, it really was not a brief. I saw a couple of the influencers they reached out to and yes, it made no sense. It would have felt really far out of left field for that influencer to receive that brief and feel gross, right? Someone was asking to pay them to work on this thing. They maybe never really showed an affinity for Cory Booker or for politics in general.
    I think for my brand people who are watching this, it's a good lesson and why it's so important if you don't understand the space to work with someone that does or to bring someone in house that does understand it. Because, there is a nuance to this, and there is a science and an art to it. There are people that are really, really bad at it. Look, we have done political advertising. We're doing political advertising right now. I 100% think there's a space for influencers and political advertising. I 100% think influencers should be a much bigger part of political advertising but done in the right way.

    When when we do it, like we did work for the DCCC in the midterms. The DCCC was very insistent that our work they felt was super helpful in helping to flip the house. What we did was we found people who we felt like their stories aligned with the story that the DCCC was trying to tell. The story about health care and health care costs. We found people that had been through traumatic healthcare experiences. We then cross-referenced them with the voter registration online databases to make sure they were Democrats. We weren't reaching out to any Republicans because that's the last fucking thing we needed was to be on Republican Twitter.

    We said, "Hey, we have an opportunity, think it's really interesting. It's a little bit different, so we want to get on the phone and talk to you about it, do you have some time?" Get on the phone with them and we say, "Hey we saw that you had this story where you had this kind of traumatic experience and the fact that the health care system in the US let you down. We're working with an organization that wants people to tell stories about that and about why it's important to keep healthcare costs low. Would you be interested in doing that?"

    That created these real organic partnerships that were about the influencers story and how the DCCC fit into that story. Not just I'm paying you $1,000 to post something about how great Cory Booker is. That's insane. Of course, it didn't work. Like it's just lazy, I know the competitor of ours, this campaign, I'm not going to put them on blast, but shame on you.

    That is just basic 101 shit and spray and praying out with influencers and just sending it to everyone and saying honestly who says yes, might be okay on a makeup campaign or something like that, that's a bit more transactional, but this is so personal, emotional, story-based, you have to be careful.

    For my brand partners out there. If the campaign that you are doing as the tie deeply with someone's story or if it's something that's a little different, or could potentially be seen as controversial in any way, you need that much more care because this thing blew up in Cory Booker's face. He didn't even do it. It was a super PAC and it gives a bad name to influencer marketing in general.
    Episode #177
    - Holiday partnerships, working with experts, and talking politics
  • Last week on the Fohr account, we posted a stat showing how much in-feed posts had fallen since 2016. We're down to about two posts a week on average down from four just a few years ago, almost half. I know you're like, "Four and two is half, moron." The numbers weren't exactly four and two, I'm rounding. Scotch in here, so give me a break, but huge decrease in in-feed posts. If you went back further when we started this company or a couple of years after, right when Instagram got hot, you were looking at like 7 to 10 posts a week. Most people were posting twice a day. Influencers, a lot of them posting three times a day.

    We're down to two posts a week, give or take on average. Let's say it probably ladders up to 10 posts a month is the average across our whole platform. Certainly, the algorithm has chewed away at some of that, people feel like they aren't as willing to post because they don't want a post to not do well. Stories is probably the biggest culprit. People are just sharing those more in the moment, off the cuff post on stories instead of posts.

    Also, this stat, you need look no further to understand why Instagram is hiding likes than this stat. They cannot sell ad space for space that doesn't exist. If people are posting only twice a month, the fear I think the existential fear is that the feed stops being interesting, and people default to stories not the feed because there's so little posting happening in the feed. If that happens, the story posts just aren't as valuable. It just fucks up their whole model.

    Really interesting to see just how far in-feed posts have fallen. I then had our data scientists do a little digging and see, is there a correlation between how often you post and how quickly your account is growing? My hope was that the more you post it, the faster you would grow. That's not the case. There's essentially no correlation. You can look at this. You can't really see it, we'll put it up there. It doesn't sell anything really. There's no correlation between how much you post and how quickly you grow.

    What I will say though, while there is not a correlation really between growth and how much you're posting, accounts over a million followers are posting essentially every day, so quite a bit more than accounts that are not. Did that help them get there? I don't know. Are they doing it because that space is so valuable or because the community is so big? I'm not totally sure.

    I think as an influencer you be shooting for five times a week at least. I think without that, you start losing the muscle memory. You're not doing it as much. People aren't expecting it. I think that you need to also be making sure you're putting out enough organic stuff into the world that the sponsored posts that you're doing, don't feel like the only time you're posting in-feed is to do a sponsored post.

    That happened with blogs. Blogs got really uninteresting when they just became places where people posted when they had to for a sponsored post, because it was looped in within Instagram. That happens a lot. It's something, I think, Christina Caradona talked about before she moved to France that she missed posting on the blog, but she was only posting on the blog now when she had a sponsored post. She's moved to France and that's recently changed quite a bit. She's posting a lot on her blog again, which is great.

    But it becomes a ghost town for organic content, and then it becomes uninteresting, and then you lose your ability to make money on it. I think you should still be shooting for five a week. Once a day is even better. If this is your job, this is your job, post everyday. It's not that hard.
    Episode #175
    - Business owners, automation, in-feed post frequency and growth
  • Absolutely. In a lot of ways, running an Instagram or a blog and running a small business are very similar. I think one of the big differences obviously is that you are the product. You're not selling a product. It is you, which makes things a little bit different. Obviously different than running a business that has a physical product. That's quite different.

    I think one of the ways that it's not the same is patience. I think that a lot of influences aren't playing the long game. They start their accounts and they think that they should be going on-- If for some reason you want to go on the revolve trips, you should be going on those trips, and you should have all this money, and you should be flying around the world, and making shitloads of money within the first year. If you've done that and you're able to do that, congratulations, but running a small business, having run one myself and continuing to do this, I'm seven years in and I've devoted that entire seven years to this thing.

    When I started this company I thought three years, I'll sell it, I'll be onto the next thing. I love my job, I could do this for the next 20 years. It's not like I want to get out. I just don't think I appreciated how long it takes to build something meaningful and something valuable, because I've been inundated with all these stories of overnight successes. I thought that that would be me. I would just start this thing, it would be a fucking rocket ship, I'd be out, I'd be sitting on a beach in three and a half years, no problem.

    I'm seven years in, I haven't seen the beach in a while. The closest I get is a St. Tropez spray tan every once in awhile, which St. Tropez is a client. I'll just do my FTC guideline compliance whatever, #client, but seriously, St. Tropez is- they invented self-tanner and they're the finest in the world. If you're not a St. Tropez customer, I really, really urge you to become one.

    It's so much harder than I thought. I think that I now will like see a sign outside of small business that's in business for 40 years, and I want to go in and like shake that guy's hand because I realize just how hard this is. I think that what influencers are doing incredible and it's changing media and it's changing advertising, but you have to take the long view and you have to think about this as a decade or decades long project.

    I remember when I was really struggling and I was feeling pretty down about what was happening at Fohr in the early years, I went to dinner with this guy and he was like, "Most businesses, it takes seven years. It took seven years to really hit your stride." He was seven years in and he felt like you know what, we're just figuring it out.

    We're seven years in now and things feel so much different. I don't worry as much that I'm going to wake up and we're going to have no money and the thing's going to go out of business. I think that that seven-year rule is kind of true, and so if you're two years in, I'm not saying you shouldn't be ambitious, I'm not saying you shouldn't be driving for that overnight success, but if you're two years in and you feel like this is never going to happen, drop me a line, I'll tell you what my business looked like two years in because it was a complete and absolute nightmare.

    I think that for the most part, being successful is just having stamina, it's just being tenacious, and you just say, "I'm going to fucking make this work, no matter what." Losing is just absolutely not an option. I think that's a mentality that a lot of small business owners have and I think one that to be successful in running your own thing, you have to take on.

    The obvious ways in which it's a small business is I think that how many hats you have to wear. I don't think of Fohr as a small business anymore because I don't have 10 jobs anymore. I may have like three jobs, but when you're running a small business, especially you're an influencer, you're the photographer, you're the art director, you're the the PR, you're the assistant, you're the copywriter, you're everything. You're the retoucher, you're the agent, you're everything, right?

    That's a reality of a small business. That's a reality of being an influencer and running this as a business is that you have to be able to wear those hats. You have to be able to do the work that really sucks. I think that's something running a business has taught me is that you have to be able to get through the shitty work to get to the good work, and every job sucks sometimes, every single one. I don't care who it is, I don't care how great their job is, there are parts of that job that they hate, that suck. That's true of being an influencer, it's a glamorous thing from the outside, but peel that back and there's a lot of stuff that that's pretty shitty.

    I wouldn't want to answer 50 emails from brands that are never going to pay me and are going to disrespect me. Personally, I wouldn't want to have to respond to 50 DMs a day. Just for me, that would be very difficult, the parts of the job that are hard. I think I've said before that success is like that one thing that for the vast majority of the world, especially in those of us blessed enough to be born here, everyone's chasing it. If everyone's chasing same thing, it's going to be pretty hard to get it. I think that just how hard it is and how many things you have to do to make it work, is exactly like running a small business.
    Episode #175
    - Business owners, automation, in-feed post frequency and growth
  • I'm not totally sure which side of the coin this question is referring to. Can it be automated on the brand side or the influencer side? Let's talk about both of them. When I started the company, I thought that we would get to a point where we could almost make influencer marketing programmatic. If you're not aware of what programmatic marketing is, it is machines that buy ads based on algorithms to get the best deal for the people that are buying those ads. It's completely taken over the media buying space. It is one of the top innovations in marketing in the last 20 years.

    That was the idea. It doesn't work really. We have a lot of tools that get us as close as possible to automation, but what I've found, and this is true in the influencer side as well, much more true actually in the influencer side, but as things near automation, they lose spontaneity, they lose creativity, they lose authenticity.

    I think that the big difference obviously in influencer marketing and other types of advertising is in traditional advertising, I create an asset, I'm an advertiser, I create an ad, and then I'm using machines to purchase space for me to put that ad in the most efficient way possible. Obviously, what's different in our space is that you guys are creating the ad and you are the ad space where that ad is being served.

    The thing that makes influencer marketing so great is the human element. It's the stories, it's the personalities, it's the connection that you have with your audience. You're not just buying a piece of real estate that eyeballs are going to see, you are purchasing a person's point of view, and while efficiencies are possible on the brand side to make that easier, it is actually the lack of automation that makes it interesting on the influencer side.

    I think that creativity continues to be a defensible position in the world. A quick, easy example for me is that like our life is being run by algorithms, more and more. Something that I feel is kind of scary is that I love music, right? Passionate about it my whole life. I don't have as much time to devote to finding new music, but as Spotify's automation and algorithm starts to take over your music taste and tell you this is what you would like, you lose that chance. You lose that spontaneity, you lose that time that you read an article about this new hardcore punk band and even you don't listen to hardcore, maybe you went and listened to this album and you really liked it. That album would never come into your feed through a Spotify algorithm.

    My concern with the world is that as algorithms drive our tastes, those tastes will just continue to narrow because what the computer wants to do is it wants to keep you on this track. A lot of times, especially with creativity, the things that are most impactful are not things that you like right away, but algorithms are going to favor things that you are going to instantly like.

    The first time I heard Radiohead I thought it was complete trash because I just didn't get it. I listened to like- I was really into hip hop, and so someone threw Radiohead at me and I was like, "This is not the kind of music I like." Then, you listened to it over and over again, and you start to understand new things about it. Great creative work challenges people. To be able to do that, algorithms automation have no place in that.

    The thing that makes influencer marketing so great is that chance. It is that creative spark, the spontaneity, the way someone tells a story that you would've never expected that sticks in your mind. That is what makes it so valuable, and that's why I don't think it can be automated and why I don't think it's going to go away anytime soon.
    Episode #175
    - Business owners, automation, in-feed post frequency and growth
  • answer
    Episode #174
    - Validating through gifting, Throwing public shade, Blogger advice
  • First of all, if you haven't started the TikTok, what are you doing? You need to start one immediately. A few reasons. One. Look, I signed up for TikTok six months ago or something, and I've been spending some time on it everyday, just trying to understand what's happening there and consuming content. Recently, I was like, "I should start posting," just so I can learn. I'm not trying to be Internet famous. I've been there. Done that. No fucking big deal.

    I'm like, "I should start posting those so I can understand, so I can bequeath that knowledge to you fine people." I realized I hadn't actually signed up for TikTok, that I just downloaded the app and you can browse TikTok without signing up for an account. When I tried to get James Nord which I have everywhere else, they were like, "You can be James Nord 37." It was like 37 other James Nords have already signed up. I don't have my username. It is massively depressing and obviously, I can never post there because posting off of James P Nord is depressing.

    For nothing else, if you haven't signed up and squalor on your username, make sure you do that immediately. Look, I'm not going to sit here and tell you how to make TikTok videos, I am still learning myself. Again, Fohr is about to start one. By the time this video comes out, we will have a TikTok that we're just totally experimenting with. We have no fucking idea what we're doing but we're trying stuff. I do want to bring in an influencer working order messaged me yesterday and she said, "I took your advice," which more of you should be doing.

    "I took your advice. I started a TikTok. I was a lurker for a while, and then I decided on a strategy. Had a video that hit 10 million views, 1.7 million likes." She had a bunch of followers on her TikTok obviously but also those followers have now jumped over to her Instagram. I thought, "Well, why not bring someone on board who has gone from a total noob to getting some viral success on TikTok?" We're on a kick to a conversation I had with Krista about what style blogger should be doing on TikTok. Kick it.

    JAMES: All right. Krista, thank you for joining us. I think just for a little bit of context, you're a full-time influencer, but let's give the people just a little background on who you are.

    KRISTA: Yes. I run a fashion lifestyle blog called Covering The Basis, and I've been doing that for seven years. Seriously for about six, maybe five years. I just went full-time this past December, so I'm coming up on one full year.

    JAMES: Congratulations.

    KRISTA: Thank you so much. [laughs]

    JAMES: I don't see a lot of fashion and lifestyle bloggers running out to start TikTok. When did you started TikTok? What made you do that?

    KRISTA: Well, you did.

    JAMES: You're welcome.

    KRISTA: Give us a round of applause. [laughs] I watch A Drink with James religiously every Monday and you were talking about TikTok. I was like, okay, I'd heard about it, and I knew it about. When it was Musically, I was like, "No way," because my little cousin was on it and just making the most annoying slow-mo videos, and I was like, "Get out of here." When you brought it back up, I was like, "Okay, JAMES is talking about it. It's something." I download the app and I was just lurking for a bit.

    I guess this is back in August, and just figuring out what TikTok was with the content. It was actually, at first, kind of weird, and then it got strangely addicting. I just started scrolling and scrolling. You kind of pay attention to trends because there will be multiple videos either with the same sound or the same kind of video concept. I think I posted one of the dogs I walk. There was a cute video I posted in the Instagram stories that I had saved, and I used the sound of a dog talking to itself overlaid on this video and I posted it.

    That was my first post. It did 400 views and I was like, "Whoa." That's pretty cool because I didn't have any followers and I maybe gained like 12 followers. Then I was like, "Okay." You overtime started figuring out what you want to post, and I tested out a few, and they did not do well, so I just deleted them. Nobody was seeing them anyway. Then I posted one, that once again I had saved to my Instagram story of me learning how to curl my hair with heat, that Liv Tyler-- I saw it on a Liv Tyler vogue video. I saved it from my stories and I posted it on TikTok, and the next morning it had 160,000 views. I was like, "Cool."

    JAMES: Did you feel like you had any idea why that did well?

    KRISTA: I think it was because it was helpful. It was different. It wasn't curling your hair using a curling iron, it was just blow drying it and then curling and clipping it to your robe while you get ready. Then once you're done, you take it out and you get these nice wavy curls.

    JAMES: Kind of like a life-hack.

    KRISTA: Yes, I guess. It was weird. I got a lot of DMs on Instagram stories from it, so it made sense that it did well. I just didn't know that there was appetite for that because I'd never really seen anything like that. Now I see a lot of hair tutorials.

    JAMES: Your next one that you messaged me about that did really, really well was nothing like that.

    KRISTA: No, it was insane. I'd posted a few more, trying to figure out why I can make TikTok for me in my space, because obviously I do fashion lifestyle stuff, and the popular ones on TikTok are dances. I posted a couple of fashion ones and they didn't do very well, but I kept them up because I really liked them. Then I was scrolling through one day and there's this trend and it's like A-O whatever check, Rich parents check, Texas check, and there is one that said New York check.

    This girl had a great view but it was nothing compared to mine. I was like, "My view is a lot better." I took the sound and I recorded it, and I posted it I think maybe two days before I messaged you. I posted it that morning, and by 6 PM that night, had 45,000 views, and I was like, "Wow. This is it. This is the crème de la crème. It's going so big." I remember coming back from an engagement party. Dropped my friend off on the upper Eastside, it had 80,000 views. I was like, "Okay, cool."

    By the time we had gotten home to my apartment in Hells Kitchen, it had 110 and I was like, "Whoa." I started paying attention, refreshing it. Every second would get 2,000 to 3,000 views.

    JAMES: It's crazy.

    KRISTA: By 1 AM that night, it hit a million. Next day, it hit-- I think it plateaued around 8.9 million, and I hit a million likes at 4 PM. I had been tracking it, so it's just so fascinating. Well, another A Drink with James you had talked about what really is considered a view on TikTok, and I was thinking like, "How many people are actually viewing this?" When I hit a million likes, that's when I was like, "Okay, people are really engaging with it."

    JAMES: That's wild. Why did that work? Was it because instead of just doing something helpful, you were doing one of those challenges or one of those trends on TikTok that everyone does their own version of?

    KRISTA: I think it was successful because of what is successful on social media is people just bragging about their lives. I have a pretty good view. I think a lot of people don't see that. A lot of people don't live in New York or see this kind of apartments. When people talk about New York, they think rats and trash and whatnot. I think it was cool for people to see that and see the Empire State Building and the water. It's just a really great view. Every time I post it on the stories once again, it does really well. I get a lot of DMs about it. I think people are just fascinated by things they don't have or have never seen before.

    JAMES: Is this your first time in social, in general, like going traditionally viral?

    KRISTA: Yes.

    JAMES: Because you can't really go viral on Instagram. It's very difficult.

    KRISTA: No, not anymore.

    JAMES: It's not a sharing platform. Like you can on Twitter or used to be able to on Tumblr. What has happened, obviously, you've gained followers in your TikTok. Has anything happened to your Instagram or other platforms that you feel like it's been helpful?

    KRISTA: Yes. Before the video, I had maybe 200 followers and now I have 89,000, it's my thought, which is actually more than my Instagram, which is so frustrating.

    JAMES: It's frustrating, right?

    KRISTA: Ye, but was cool was I was getting during that, a couple past week, I've been getting more and more followers from it. I think I've gained 1,000 Instagram followers, which for me because every week we're losing more and more followers. It was cool because people were messaging me, people we're reaching out. They were like, "I found you on TikTok, I love your content." That's been the whole point of my TikTok. That's the whole point of my Instagram and any social is to always drive people back to my blog. Getting people from TikTok to Instagram, getting them engaged, and then having them read the blog is always my end goal. It was pretty cool to see that happen.

    JAMES: It's amazing. I think that so many people watching this, they know in the back of their minds, they know they should be paying more attention to TikTok. It comes up in every single sales meeting that we have. People while they're not yet maybe spending aggressively on TikTok, they're thinking about it and they're asking us, "What do you think about TikTok? [unintelligible 00:21:58] on TikTok?"
    I think people are saying, "Look, I'm too old for it. I'm not right. I'm not funny. I can't dance, whatever." I don't know if you can dance. I haven't seen your stand up act. I don't know if you're funny, but you've been successful. What do you say to people who have known they maybe should start publishing videos, but they feel afraid to?

    KRISTA: Definitely just get on the app. You don't even have to start publishing, you really need to start paying attention to what people are publishing, what works, what doesn't and then try and see how you can adapt that to you. People always said I was too old for Twitter, I was too old for Instagram at one point or the other. I wasn't, but somebody was at one point. I always kick myself going back in the day of not being more aggressive on Pinterest, not being more aggressive on Twitter, on Instagram. I'm thinking, I'm not going to let this one pass me by.

    I think I'm better on video than I am in just photos because it shows a little bit more of my personality. I say just do it. I've posted a ton. I just deleted. I didn't think it did very well because nobody's really looking at your profile, there just looking at that individual video. If you just kind of-- I know that was back in the day of people would post on Instagram and then delete it, but it's just a good way to get to know the app and understand.

    JAMES: The stakes are so low. I think that's the thing. It's like who the fuck cares? Nobody is watching. If nobody sees it, then no one's watching. I think that what's cool about TikTok is you don't have to say to your Instagram audience, "Hey guys, go follow me on TikTok." The point is to your point, can I get a new audience and then eventually drive them back to your flagship, which is your blog?

    KRISTA: You think about a Vine influencer back in the day. All those people had tens of millions of followers on Vine, got them all over to YouTube, all over to Instagram, and now they're wildly successful.

    JAMES: This is the time in any platform when you can get that explosive grove. Who the hell knows what is going on with their explorer and their algorithm in China.

    KRISTA: It's crazy [laughs].

    JAMES: I think it will be much harder to grow. Every day it will get harder to have what happened to you happen on TikTok. I think the time is now to just try. What's the worst that can happen?

    KRISTA: I've seen a lot of, actually, celebrities in the past month and bigger influencers start coming on. That's when you know. like Will Smith is on there.

    JAMES: Something's happening.

    KRISTA: Yes, you got to get in. [laughter]

    JAMES: Is there anything else people should know about TikTok, things that you feel you didn't understand in the beginning that you get now?

    KRISTA: Their video editing software in the app is awesome. It's super simple. At first, it's really intimidating. What I would do is I would just film a video of me not doing anything, start editing it in the video. It's fascinating. I used to upload it from my camera roll, now I'm doing it in the app. It's really cool. It's really brilliant. I'm just waiting for Instagram to knock it off.

    JAMES: Okay. Well, look, you guys can-- they're definitely going to very, very soon.

    KRISTA: I know [laughs].

    JAMES: You guys can find her on Instagram or TikTok or her blog, DM her, send her your TikTok. She's going to critique you. She's going to be pissed at me because she'd be like, "I'm not critiquing people's shitty TikToks."

    KRISTA: I'll do it [laughs].

    JAMES: She'll do it. Look, I think this is such a great story for even us who've been like, "Shit, we should start for Fohr." It's just like, just do it. Everyone's learning this platform right now. It is totally okay to make a fool of yourself. If the video sucks, just delete it. You've been doing this for four months, you have more followers than you do in your Instagram.

    KRISTA: It's insane.

    JAMES: That's good and to your point very frustrating. I think if you guys can learn anything from Krista is just do it. You never know what's going to happen.
    Episode #172
    - Getting started on TikTok, Future of Influencer Marketing, Unboxing
  • This is a constant, constant, constant question. I think the Wall Street Journal just had an article about how brands are souring from influencers. Whatever, this is all a bunch of bullshit, it's not true. Let's talk about the fundamentals of advertising again, What are brands buying? They are purchasing attention. Brands that are incapable of getting attention on their own need to buy it, right?

    If you think about a brand like Glossier, they do a good amount of advertising, but in the early days, they didn't have to do much advertising because they were getting so much attention on their own that they didn't have to pay to inject themselves into the conversation. You think about a big drug store brand. Nothing wrong with that brand, great products, they have to work harder to inject themselves into that conversation. To inject themselves into that conversation, they have to be where the conversation is happening, right?

    With Instagram, especially, or let's just talk social. People are spending multiple hours of the day, on average, on social media. Millions, and millions, and millions of consumers spending hours of their day on social, consuming content. If that continues, there is no fucking way brands will stop working with influencers. There's no way they will stop working on social and buying ads there. They're buying attention.

    You as an influencer, say if 50,000 people that follow you, and they all love you and they think you're God's gift to the earth. You are a gatekeeper to speaking to them, so you have brand here. Brand wants to talk to your 50,000 people here. What do they have to do? They got to pay a fucking toll, right? You're the bridge control sitting under the bridge, and they've got to pay the toll to get to your audience.

    Now, what makes influencer marketing so great is that when they pay that toll, you turn around to your audience and tell them a story about this brand. Whereas in traditional advertising, they pay the toll on the bridge, and they pop their heads up and talk to your audience. Well, that audience doesn't give a shit what the brand has to say. They don't know the brand, they know you. Fundamentally changes advertising from interruptive. I'm enjoying a piece of content I like.

    I as an ad, I'm interrupting that content and you as the consumer feel like, "This is the toll I'm paying for free content," and then the content starts again. What we have now is, "I'm enjoying this content, some of it happens to be an ad, I don't really notice it." It is just fundamentally different and fundamentally better, and anyone that argues it is not, I guarantee their jobs depend on that not being true. When a reporter writes an article about how influencers are shit, think about, "Let me just have a little thought here. How does that reporter get paid?"

    Their employer sells advertisements to try and reach their audience. As money flows away from those sources into influencers, those traditional media outlets are feeling pretty pissed off about that, and it is in their best interest to try and make influencer marketing seem like a scam, like it doesn't work, it's not effective. If they can devalue what you do, maybe they can get more money to flow to them. Just like fundamentally, it's not going anywhere because it is where people are spending that time. That's the synopsis.
    Episode #172
    - Getting started on TikTok, Future of Influencer Marketing, Unboxing
  • Now, if you've been watching the show for a while you know I'm not a big fan of unboxings. We can put up a couple of other links where I talk about it, just want to mention a few things. One, there are different kinds of unboxings. I actually love it when an influencer does an unboxing for a luxury product that they've purchased.

    I think that's really fun, I was talking to Helena from Brooklyn Blonde about this. I think if you have saved up and you are really excited about a product and you are finally able to afford it and you put that box down and you show yourself opening it. Buying luxury products is an act of delusion, nobody needs a pay of $1,200 boots. It has to be fun, and I think that when you see someone doing that and buying something that they really care about and taking apart the beautiful packaging, I think that feels really special and I think that's interesting and I think audiences enjoy that generally.

    When you're ripping through 50 random things that brands sent you and just being like, "Thanks", next, "Thanks", next, "Thanks". That is not interesting, at all. I think the problem with it is, I talk to "normal people" about this all the time. My friends who aren't in this industry, my mom, whoever. To a lot of people it just feels like bragging, it feels like you're rubbing their fucking nose in it. I don't think that influencers are super aware about how fucking annoying their lives can be to people that are following you.

    You are living a reality that is so different than most peoples', that it can be exciting and something that starts exciting can turn really annoying, really, really quickly. The reason I think that showing every free product that you get does a huge disservice to yourself. I think it is really, really uninteresting. I think when we talk about, "Does this thing educate, inspire or entertain?" I don't think it does any of those things. I think it's you saying, "I need to give these brands some love and I'm too fucking lazy to actually do anything about it and write a post about it, so I'm just going to hold my phone and say what I got."

    It's lazy, it is boring, I wish it would go away, but for some reason, it doesn't and if there is just one piece of advice, any influencer I see that goes out of town for a while, comes back and posts all the boxes stacked upside of their $7,000 a month apartment that they have in New York City. It's like, "Oh my God, look at all these boxes," that's an immediate unfollow for me. You have to be so fucking delusional to post that and think people are going to find that entertaining. "Oh my gosh, look at the thousands and thousands of dollars of free shit that brands sent me while I was away on a free vacation." You just can't post that stuff.
    Episode #172
    - Getting started on TikTok, Future of Influencer Marketing, Unboxing
  • Now, I just told you engagement was important. That is kind of true to us. Engagement isn't as important of a metric of success for us, and it's not as important of a metric of validating whether we want to work with an influencer. It does still largely drive the algorithm. Unfortunately, it is the most common input into Instagram. Other than scrolling, it's the most common thing that you do, is like something. So engagement is a big driver of the algorithm, and to get great reach, you do need to probably get pretty good engagement. It does happen that you can have less than great engagement and decent reach. Usually, we see that when someone has really engaged stories, but I digress.

    What can you be doing to get more engagement today? I think we're going to throw some examples up here real quick. It's just a very small example I think of what you can do tomorrow to improve your engagement. I have a friend, she's an artist, she's super talented, she lives upstate, she messaged me and said-- she sent me this photo here and she said, "What's going on with Instagram? I hate it. This is the worst engagement I've ever gotten."

    I was like, "I have a couple of ideas for you. Let's chat." She came in and we had lunch. She was telling me the story of how she just had her second baby and she generally would do her art from 10 PM to two in the morning. Because of the children and because she had to get up so early, she just hasn't had as much time to be creative. She hasn't had as much time to work late at night as she wants. The collection of art that she just released is really pared down and it's really kind of minimalist and stark. Some of that was because she just didn't have time to work on it, but it also for her felt like a representation of where she was in her life.

    I sat there and I was like, "Okay, that's the story." If you looked at her first post it just said, "Hey, here's some new work that I'm releasing." It got like 77 likes. I said, "Do you know what? Post essentially the same photo again, post the same photo of that work again but tell that story in your caption. Just tell a little more personal story." The next day she posted a photo of the art again, she told that story and it got 270 likes and 30 comments. Almost, was that four times as much engagement? 400% increase in engagement just on the caption.

    I think that people underestimate captions one, and they underestimate what stepping back and taking the time to actually think about what story you want to tell and think about what we talked about, educate, inspire, entertain, are you doing those things? Or are you just dialing it in and saying, "Oh shit, I need an Instagram post for today. Let me just grab this photo, and I'll say, Monday vibes or something." That is a bullshit post and it's going to get bullshit engagement.

    I think what a big takeaway from Quigley's episode was how much time she's spending on her captions and that she thinks first about what she wants to say and then she translates that into a photo. For my friend who's an artist upstate who's not trying to be an influencer, but is feeling the same frustrations you all are, that engagement is harder to get when she opened up and told a real story about herself was a little vulnerable.

    400% increase in engagement. You can do that today. You can say that my next post, I'm going to try and say something impactful, I'm going to try and say something that is honest and true, and feels like something that is worth spending a minute reading and double-tapping and liking because I don't care about your Monday vibes. That's not interesting to me, that doesn't get me closer to you. It's just you throwing noise into my feed. You can't throw noise into people's life and expect them to thank you for it.
    Episode #171
    - FWRD x Givenchy Giveaway, Instagram Reach, Better Engagement Rates
  • If you've been watching the show for a while, you know that at Fohr, we don't really look at engagement rates. Reach impressions are our north star. That is a big part of the way that we validate that you have a real authentic, vibrant following. It is also a way that we report on the success of a campaign.

    If you looked at one of the reports that we give our clients, the first numbers you see are not engagement rates. They are reach numbers, impressions numbers, how many saves, how many clicks. Those numbers to us are more important than engagement. It may feel like that is still what people talk about.

    I do think that less sophisticated marketers who are working in influencer marketing are still hyper-focused on engagement, but some of our top-performing influencers on the platform, top-performing as far as driving action and sales for our clients, have terrible engagement rates but they have great reach They have a really beautiful connection with their audience. They actually feel like there's a community there. Those are the things that we focus on.

    For us, engagement rates aren't super important. With likes disappearing, potentially in the next few months, I think that they'll be less important platform-wide in the not so distant future. If you're focused on reach, you're doing the right thing. Keep your head down. The world will change and you will be right very soon.
    Episode #171
    - FWRD x Givenchy Giveaway, Instagram Reach, Better Engagement Rates
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