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  • Generally, I don't like it. Fohr Card didn't have an Instagram for the first three years that we existed as a business. We're a social media company, we're an influencer marketing platform, we didn't have an Instagram, that seemed crazy. People would ask me all the time like, "Why don't you guys have a Instagram? You need to be doing this." Literally, this is your whole business telling brands they need to do more with their social like, "What is wrong with you?"

    My point was, I was like, "We don't have a story to tell." Which we didn't have a story to tell. We had nothing to add to the conversation. I refused to start something if we didn't have anything to say. Let's fast forward to influencers. You got a big following. You think everyone loves podcasts I'm going to make a podcast. The first thing you should ask yourself is, do I have something to say? Do I have something to say that is bigger than just me? How is this going to be valuable and interesting to people?

    Is having a podcast and interviewing your friends who are influencers, is that an interesting podcast? I don't think that's an interesting podcast, no I don't. I think that that's self-involved. I think it is self-obsessed. I think you're not really doing much there. Maybe your biggest fans will listen a couple of times, but you're not adding anything to the world.

    I was just on Julie Solomon's podcast recently. A lot of you reached out about it. She's an influencer but she has a podcast about the business of influence and about how to be better in this space and she's bringing on guests and she runs it very professionally. She sent me all these assets to be able to promote the episode. I've gotten emails from dozens of you saying that you found Fohr Card through this podcast. That's someone who started the podcast because she thought something was missing in the world and wanted to add to the world not take more from it.

    If you're an influencer and you have a story to tell and that story is not being told by all means start a podcast, send me an email, I'll listen to it. If you think, "Everyone's starting a podcast and I should too," I don't think that's going to do much. Being good on Instagram doesn't mean you're good at essentially talk radio.
    Being good on Instagram doesn't mean you're going to be good on camera. Being good on Instagram doesn't mean that you can create your own clothing line. These things don't just go hand in hand. Just because you are good at taking photos of clothes, does not mean that you can design clothes. Just because you could design clothes, doesn't mean that necessarily you'd be good at wearing them and taking your photo in them.

    It's important for anyone to realize what you're good at and what you're not good at. If you can focus your life on the things that you're exceptional at, and just let the rest be, you'll be, one, a lot happier but, two, you'll be a lot more successful. Trying to do things just because you feel like you should like if you're not a good public speaker, you're not a good interviewer, you don't have a point of view, your podcast isn't going to be good. That's okay, that's totally fine. You don't have to have a successful podcast.

    A lot of people's successful podcast, do they have big Instagram followings? Probably not. They probably have their fans that are following them on Instagram, but they're probably dogshit at it because it's two very different things. Don't feel like, "I have a following, oh my gosh, I need to capitalize on this in every single way possible." Your audience will stick with you through a couple of things that you try and you're maybe not good at, but you keep ramming stuff down their throat that's not valuable, and they're going to start rolling their eyes and walking away. That's definitely something you don't want.
    Episode #92
    - Outsourcing, Past Clients, Starting a Podcast
  • I think we talked about this a little bit. I think all of you should get some sort of CRM. We use salesforce here. It is fairly complex and can be expensive. We used to use one called Close.io. You need some way to be able to get your brand contacts into place and be able to communicate with them really easily.
    I think once a month you could send an email of things that you've been working on. I would again think about it not about what do I want to talk about and what are the things that I find interesting or my favorite things that I did this month, but how is this helpful for the clients that I've worked with in the past or the clients that I want to work with in the future.

    I'd probably break it down by type of collaboration. If you're not getting brand deals yet, that's okay, you could break it down by type of content. Hi, everyone, this is a great month. One, I grew 3% this month. My engagement rate is still like this, blah, blah, blah. I had a chance to do this. Okay, great. Here's some of my top performing beauty posts for the month, here's my top performing fashion posts, here's this. Also, just so you know, I'm traveling to Budapest next month and I'm looking to do collaborations with travel brands, whatever.

    Giving them an actionable email that's really simple for them to do something with. I get a couple influencer newsletters now I think those are more probably targeted at their audience. They're very, very long, a lot of text. Nothing that I can really do with that. Nice and short. Try and break it down by category. They should look at that and say, "Oh, I have a beauty campaign coming up next week. These posts look great. I'll reach out to him or her."

    Think about that think about what the brand is going to do with that email after they get it and make sure it's useful for them. We talk about that with content all the time. Make sure every piece of content that you're putting out is valuable and is useful.

    It's definitely something you should be doing. I've never seen an influencer do it, ever. I was telling you guys earlier about the insights email I send out. We send an email to about 7,000 brands or something. Brands we used to work with, brands we currently work with, brands we've pitched, brands we've had meetings with or people who just signed up to get these emails.

    Once a week, I'm giving free information away. I'm just like, "Take this. This is something I know." It's not just me I get it from the team, "Here's things we've been thinking about or things that we've learned and I'm just going to give that away." We've got competitors on that list. It doesn't really matter to me.

    Brand gets that it's something that now I've done for them and is super actionable for them. They can go into a meeting that afternoon and say-- They can take that and say they knew it all along. They don't have to say they learned it from Fohr Card and say, "Have you guys thought about it this way? Is this photo going to get people to pause in the feed?" Everyone's going to be like, "Oh, you're so smart. I haven't thought about that."

    It's worked really well we've already made money off doing this because people, they're not thinking about you all the time and there are so many influencers out there that you really have to try and get creative in trying to stay top of mind.

    I think a monthly newsletter-- Look, a lot of our top performing emails are plain text emails from me. I know you all are perfectionists and you're visual people and you're going to say, "I want a newsletter and I want it beautiful and I want it to be HTML and designed." Literally, you can just have Instagram links and plain text email. It does not have to be fancy. Start there, send it out. I'm pretty sure you're going to get a good reaction from it but almost no one does it.
    Episode #92
    - Outsourcing, Past Clients, Starting a Podcast
  • This is a huge question, really in any job. I read this book called Titan. It's a biography about John D. Rockefeller. Your first day that you would go work for him at Standard Oil, your boss would be like, "Your job is to try and stop doing your job as quickly as possible. Do another job, a bigger job, and give your job to someone else."

    The only way that you grow is that you need to stop doing certain things so you can do other things that are more important. I think the easiest thing to do if you're doing everything right now-- if you're a one-woman or one-man shop and you're doing it all, is to think about and kind of look at this in two different ways: One, what am I really good at, but I'm not able to spend enough time on? And focusing on those. Another thing to think about is, what does this organization-- if you think of your feed as a business, what does this organization need? What am I going to be happy doing in trying to find those things? If it's not something you're good at, if it's not something the organization really needs, or if it's not something that brings you joy, try and get someone else to do it.
    Another thing is just, again, looking at the stuff you're not good at and saying like, "I shouldn't be doing this. I'm terrible at invoicing, I need to get someone to help me with that. I'm awful at communicating with brands and staying on top of my email. I need somebody to do that. I'm not a great photographer. I need to get one of those. I'm not a good writer, I need an editorial assistant."
    Thinking about the gaps in the kind of what I would call blind spots. This I kind of grew Fohr Card as well. It's just like, "What am I not good at? Or what am I good at, but I just don't have the time to do, or feels like somebody could do it a lot better?"

    I think if you write down everything that you're doing on a day to day basis and tell yourself, "If in a dream world, which of these things would I never do again?" Well then, if you can afford it to hire someone to do those things then that's the low-hanging fruit that you're going to be so much happier. There are people, no matter how much you hate doing a certain thing, there are people that love that thing. They're going to be super passionate about it.

    Our finance guy who is my college roommate has been one of my best friends for years. He just loves Excel. He's just like, he lives and breathes it. He loves it. I hate it and I'm terrible at it. It works really well. He was one of the first people that we hired that wasn't a salesperson, as what we would call-- or he would call a cost-setter, someone who's not directly making money for the business, but it's helping that business grow.

    A couple of things to think about there. How do you find them? Finding people's hard. It's nice as you grow, you do have a network that's following you. A lot of people that work at Fohr Card found out about the business through my blog, through my Instagram. A lot of bloggers don't like to hire their followers. I don't know how I feel about that. I mean, you have someone who's super passionate about what you do.

    You got to make sure they have the right ambition and make sure that they want to come work for you to help you grow, not to raise their profile and hope they get tagged in your insta stories. That's someone who's going to be really, really invested in what you're doing, and is on board with your mission. It's not bad to hire from your audience and to ask, "Hey, is anyone out there a good editorial assistant? or, "I'm looking for someone to help me with brand deals" or, "I'm looking for a personal assistant."

    As long as you have very clear ideas of the skills that you need, what your expectations are, and what success looks like to you, it doesn't really matter where you find people. Beyond that, honestly, we have 21 people that work here or something. We've never really had much success hiring off of sites, off of Craigslist, or any of the alternatives there. I don't know. Maybe we have one or two people max that came from that. Mostly referrals.

    I would ask your audience, one. Two, I will send an email to every brand that you work with, every influencer that you know, every friend. Describe the job, describe the salary, what you're looking for in trying to get referrals. You should be able to find good people that way. That's my simple advice.
    Episode #92
    - Outsourcing, Past Clients, Starting a Podcast
  • This used to be a huge thing in the influencer community. When was the best time to post? We had a tool that that did this. There was whole businesses that were just built it around helping you understand what time of day was best for you to post.

    Do I think it matters anymore? I think it matters a lot less than it used to, because the algorithm serves things up in its own special way as you all know.
    Honestly, I don't. I lean towards saying it doesn't matter. I've posted stuff at 11:00 PM, and been like this is not going to get anything, and it does really well. I've posted stuff at 8:30 when stuff used to do really well, and it doesn't. The thing that's really hard with a question like that is that you're never going to get a 100% av-test. It's not like you can have the same exact account, post the same exact photo at different times, and have that audience see it itself at the same time. It's almost impossible to test, and so we start to build habits, and then we build justifications for those habits.

    "I posted something at 11:00 PM on a Friday, it did really well. I'm going to post at 11:00 PM, Friday, every week. Maybe it's just that specific post did really well, because that specific post was really good, and that post would have done well at 8:30 in the morning or 3:00 PM in the afternoon. Because of that it's really difficult, and even when we built the tool that showed time of day to post it was self-perpetuating in its conclusions, because if you're like, "I posted at 8:30 every day," well then that's where all the data comes from, and then it says, "Well, it looks like your posts from 8:30 do really well."

    Now, again, let's say you post one photo at 11:00 AM, and it does -- fucking goes gangbusters. Huge engagement, right? Because it's you announcing you're having a baby. Then six months later you're looking at the graph and it says, "Oh my gosh, 11:00 AM on Mondays is a really good time for me. Well, no, it's not. It's that baby announcements do really well.

    It was always a tenuous data relationship between time of day to post and performance. I think, yes, you can think about when is my audience on the platform? That is certainly important. Don't post at two in the morning necessarily, but with the algorithm we don't have total control over when your photos get served so focus on creating great content that you know that's going to get the engagement that you need to get the algorithm to flip in your favor.
    Male speaker 2: [unintelligible 00:14:14] What's the latest you've ever seen a photo be served kind of with relatively new like I say five or six days--
    James: Yes, I think the latest I've seen is five or six days. Yes, it was like I was seeing Super Bowl posts like five or six days after. I think some of it is that you don't notice, because they're not timely. Most posts in people's feeds you don't have any real idea of like that post is not timely. It's just like here's a photo of me. That could be yesterday, that could be two days ago. Sure, it's snowing in that photo, and it hasn't snowed in two days, but maybe you just posted a snow photo today. It's hard to know so it's really when people are posting about timely things I think that you notice the algorithm more.

    I noticed a bunch of people tweeting, and Insta-storying about the algorithm in the week after the Super Bow,l because it was so obvious that people were posting about the Super Bowl, but it was being served days, days, days later. I noticed the same thing in New Year's Eve as well like Happy New Year posts on the fifth.

    Male speaker 2: Does it bother you at all to see a post all of New Year's the fifth? I'm just now curious.

    James: Yes, it doesn't bother me. I'm not that bothered by the algorithm, honestly. I feel like it's pretty simple. It says, "Who do you engage with?" Instagram has whatever they're showing you they have so much more data than that. They know the people whose posts you pause on, and sit there. I'm sure they fucking know that, and I'm sure if I was building the algorithm that would be a part of it. Did you stop when you were scrolling through your feed? Did you stop on this photo, and did it look like you read it?

    They have more data than certainly a lot more data than they're serving to us. I think it works. My livelihood is not based on it. My company is, but like my personal livelihood is not based on the algorithm. I just wish I could shake people. These people who are like, "Nobody's seeing my posts. My followers don't see my posts ever. They tell me that. They DM me, and they say I don't see my post." They wouldn't fucking see your post if there was no algorithm.
    They wouldn't see it, because if you posted something at 10:00 PM, and that motherfucker logs in at 4:00 PM the next day. You think they're going through 24 hours of post to get to your 10:00 PM post? There's no way. It's a much better chance that the algorithm knows that they like your content, serves you the 10:00 PM post when they log in at 4:00 PM rather than having to go back fucking 24 hours to see it. It would be vastly worse. Instagram is so much bigger than it used to be, and people follow more people, and they need to figure out a way to be able to filter that content. It can't just be an endless stream. You would never get through it.

    Again, people could do things like, "I'm going to post 15 times in a row," and now the first 15 photos are from me. Well, that's fuck that. That's bullshit. I don't want to see that. That's not something I want to see. I would like Instagram to be like, "No, we're not really serving up 14 of those photos, because that's like hacking." I think on the whole it's better. I'll hear arguments for how it's not, but the thing is most the arguments of why it's not better come from people who have a big following on Instagram, and feel like people aren't seeing their posts.
    Again, I bet if we switch back to chronological it would it would be worse. Actually, I know it would be, because engagement is up 33%. It's the highest it's ever been. More people are liking, and commenting on influencers posts as a percentage, not as a total number than ever before, so it is working. You guys can just please just stop. Or go and fucking Vero, Vero whatever the hell it's called. Go there. There's three people on it. Enjoy. Get 13 cents for a sponsored post.


    That's the other fucking thing. A lot of you have incredible lives, because of this platform. You should be throwing yourselves at the feet of Kevin, and Mark Zuckerberg, and thanking them for building a fucking platform that allows you to travel the world, do what you want with almost no professional training, make sometimes hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, get into fucking Chanel shows, not pay for hotels, fly private. What? Because you post photos on a -- It's just like you should be naming your fucking children Instagram. If you have a boy you should name it Kevin. There should just be so much love for this act.
    It is fundamentally changed your life, and all I hear is just moaning. "Instagram sucks." It's so annoying. Do you understand that most people will work 50 years, and never be as successful as most of the people that are watching this show? Never make that much money, and this is a fucking gift, and the amount of money, and time, and the hustle to get a platform to be as dominant as Instagram. For Instagram to be able to have beat Snapchat the way that they did is fucking staggering, and if Snapchat -- if Instagram was not as smart as they were, and if Facebook wasn't as good as they were, Snapchat would have beaten them.

    If Snapchat would have beaten them you guys would not be making half the money you're making today, because it would be spread across different platforms. Snapchat was full of young people. Instagram is a little bit older, so half of that money would have been going somewhere else. Nobody is paying for Snapchat anymore.
    Episode #90
    - Controlling Sponsored Posts, Repurposing Images, Posting Times
  • Say you're an influencer, you get 25,000 followers brand reaches out, and they say, "I want 10 images from you. You don't have to post any of them, but we want to post them on our feed. What would you charge?" It's a tough question. A few things to think about. One, is your face going to be in it, and does that preclude you from working with other brands in the space? If your face is going to be in it they're using your likeness, you're going to have to charge a little bit more.

    If you're at 300k, and someone wants to do that, I would probably not do it if I were you. I don't think it's worth it. I think a brand having those images it's going to screw up -- probably screw up the deals that you are working on in the future. You don't want to be in the middle of a deal with Listerine, and Colgate who you gave images to six months ago, post it the day that your Listerine campaign comes out. It's going to complicate things too much. Now, as a micro influencer, I think it's a nice way to supplement your income. I would try to where you can.

    Keep your likeness out of it. Keep your face out of it. If you can't, I would put a time period on it. Say, "I'll give you 10 photos. You can use them for the next three months." Brands shouldn't want to use them for much longer than that, because the product comes in, and out of store so often that it's not going to be applicable for much longer than that. Three months, they can use it on social, and then 10 images I might charge them what I would charge for a sponsored post.

    Now, for micros as well, nice way to upsell. Brand comes to you, and says, "I want a sponsored post. You have 25,000 followers. I'm going to give you $250," let's say. You could say, "Cool. How about $500, and I'll do that post, and give you 10 photos for you to use on your feed?" It's a nice way to potentially upsell. For 10 photos, I think you could charge what you would charge for a sponsored post, but try, and lump it in. Make sure you have the usage rights, set it three months. If they wanted six months I would probably just do another one and a half x or 2x what you would normally charge for a post for the brand. If you're much bigger I wouldn't do something like that without having a pretty clear understanding of usage rights. What they're going to use it, how long they're going to use it. Does this preclude you from other deals? What are the other deals you're working on? Look, if it's a toothpaste brand, and you've never done the toothpaste campaign before, and you don't think you're ever going to do a toothpaste campaign again then that brand using the post for the photos for six months isn't as big of a deal as if it is a long wear foundation, and there's 10 other brands that you could work with on long wear foundation campaigns, but this, them having these images is going to preclude you from being able to do that, because of exclusivity.

    If I was a micro, and I let's say had 20,000 followers, and I said, "I'll give you 10 images for $500," and they said, "We only have 250," then I would insist on being tagged in all of them. Generally, the way it worked with me when I was shooting is if they paid me, I didn't expect to be tagged, because they're paying for it. Those are their images, cool. You know it might make your life easier if they don't tag you as far as working with other brands. If they have a large number of followers, and they can't pay you what you want, I would I would insist on tagging.
    Episode #90
    - Controlling Sponsored Posts, Repurposing Images, Posting Times
  • I see too many influencers having too many sponsored content, looks like an infomercial. Any suggestions on how to avoid? Well, suggestions on how to avoid too much sponsored content would be do less sponsored content. That is the short answer. If you feel like you are getting so many offers to do sponsored content, and your feed is starting to feel a little inauthentic, just raise your prices. That's probably the easiest thing to do. That will self-sort the opportunities. It's a good way to raise your prices because, look, the world is built on simple supply and demand, right?

    If more companies want to buy sponsored posts from you than you are willing to give them, then naturally the price for those posts goes up, right? If the first brand ever who wants to do a sponsored post with you reaches out, well, you have a lot of supply, but almost no demand so that price is going to be pretty low, but if you're getting a hundred emails a week for sponsored content then you raise those prices up to separate those brands that are really serious from the ones who are less serious. That's certainly one suggestion.
    Another would be, I think that increasingly it's super important to just work with those brands that you really love, and that you can speak to authentically. I also know that it's a marathon not a sprint. You're trying to build a sustainable business over the course of years that can be a fulfilling career not how much money can I make in the next two months? You want to focus on that. If you've built an audience of 50,000, let's say, that takes a lot of work as you know. Then to ruin that and to lose your authenticity to make a little bit more money it doesn't make any sense.

    Again, if you think about this stuff in the lifetime value, if you can make, over the course of the next five years, half a million dollars from your Instagram account. If you can keep an authentic audience that believes what you're saying, and they listen to you, and they respect you, and they look to you for advice or I can make a hundred thousand dollars in the next three months, blow it out of the water, and nobody's going to believe me anymore. My audience is going to start not paying attention. My engagements going to go down. Brands aren't going to come work with me. Then over the same five years maybe you only make $250,000, right?
    Again, marathon not a sprint. Focus on the long-term. Build a sustainable business. I wouldn't go over 40%, 50% absolute, absolute max for sponsored content. For me, I'm more comfortable in the feeds that I look at at around 25%, but that's up to you. It's different. Some beauty influencers I think can do more, because it's so product-driven than maybe a lifestyle influencer could. For every feed it's going to be a little different. Find your sweet spot. Stay under that sweet spot. Don't push it too far. You can never go back, right? You can be authentic, authentic, authentic, authentic. Once you swing to inauthentic you can't come back to authentic. It's never going to work.

    It's a good question. I wouldn't suggest balancing out your feed by just posting a shitload more. If you usually post 30 photos a month, and then you start getting sponsored, you want to do 15 deals a month, I wouldn't then post 45 times a month. That's not the solution. The solution is not to post 15 sponsored posts in the month if you want to keep it balanced. That doesn't really work. I don't think, because most people now are posting just once a day. I think any more than that is strange. It doesn't work that well. You keep it balanced by just doing less sponsored content, and charging more.
    Episode #90
    - Controlling Sponsored Posts, Repurposing Images, Posting Times
  • Brand ambassador is interesting, that is predicated on the assumption that they're going to be working with you on a number of sponsored posts across the entirety of the year. I try and think about these things and relate them to my own life. When you sign up for something, and it says, "Do you want to pay $10 a month or do you want to pay $100 for the year?"

    If you're 100% sure you're going to continue to be a customer every month, then, it makes sense for you to do the $100 a month, right? If you can afford it, you save 20 bucks, why not? You're going to pay for it anyway, so over time, you're getting savings.

    The only reason you wouldn't do that is one, if you didn't have the money or two, if you didn't know you were going to use it for the rest of the year. It would be really annoying to pay for something, six months later be like, "I don't use this anymore," Same thing with a brand ambassador, you have to think that these brands can just pay for one-off sponsored posts with you, so they have to like you so much, and they have to be so sure that they want to work with you that they are willing to make the investment upfront for the entirety of the year.
    It's pretty rare, it's pretty rare for a brand to find somebody like that, that they know 100% that they want to work with for the year. If you can bridge that gap, if you have a brand that is like, "I am interested in this," or you think that they will be interested in it, then, you have to give them economic incentive to do so. You have to give them economies of scales.

    You have to give them a lot better deal because, again, if you're not saying, "Hey, it's 30% cheaper to do this and to pay upfront," then, again, they have absolutely no incentive. Try and make it really make a lot of sense for them. Something I would consider doing as well is taking at your growth rate. Let's say it's 7% or something, well, 10% just because math is hard for me.

    Say you're at 100k, you go 10% a month, 10,000 followers a month, 10, then, 12, on and on and on. What you could do is say, "Okay, I'm at 100,000 followers now, but by the end of the year, if you look at my growth rate, if that continues, I'm going to be at 150,000 at the end of the year, so not only am I giving you a big discount on my prices today, but given the growth that I'm going to experience, that discount is actually even bigger because by the end of the year, if I'm charging $1,000 for a sponsored post today, I think I'm going to be charging $1,800 by the end of the year.

    If I'm selling you 12 posts, and I'm selling in about $500 because you're buying them in mass, then, you're not just saving 50%, by the end of the year, you're saving 70%," or something. Important to lay out the economics, important to tell them all the extra stuff that they're going to get, also, they're going to get exclusivity if you're an ambassador or if not exclusivity, at least, they'll get that idea that the followers will see it over and over and over again. We're seeing that work more and more.

    I think letting the brand know that you're going to be able to tell that authentic story, that you're going to be able to loop in, fold that brand into your feed and to what you're talking about over time is really important. Just nuts and bolts, detail stuff that I think could be interesting, one, I would say that "give them the chance at the beginning of the month to tell you what their focus is currently." If it's a clothing company, let them in October say, "I want you to do a sweater story in November," let them say, "I want you to talk about Black Friday in December. I want to talk about last-minute gifts."

    Let them buy these things in bulk, then use them as they want throughout the year. You might also push them to do no-approvals just so that you can fold it into your life in a way that is really authentic and makes sense. It'll make it a lot easier on you, it'll make it a lot easier on the brand. We're doing a lot more of no-approval campaigns. If they're not happy, you just do a make-good post on that. Lastly, I would say if the brand doesn't have a huge amount of money, try and sell them a bunch of posts and do non-dedicated.

    You're tagging them, you're mentioning them in the post, but you're also mentioning other other brands. That can be great for the brand because they're still getting out there, but it can be a lot more affordable for them because you can't really charge as much for a non-dedicated post. I'd say, you could charge 25% of your normal fee for a non-dedicated post. That still hit their key messaging. A few ways to think about it, long-term brand ambassadors, that stuff is perfect.

    I think that is, in a lot of ways, the absolute ideal for influencer marketing that these products should be integrated into the life, and it should be something that people know that you're a big fan of. I appreciate you pushing brands to try and do more of that. Make sure you make it worth their while and make sure you've validated yourself enough to the brand to where they know, "I do want 12 posts from this person. I know they're going to be able to deliver the value there," because there's so many influencers now.

    They could also work with 12 different influencers on those posts just as easily, so make it worth their while.
    Episode #89
    - Vero, Brand Ambassadors, Transparency with Brands
  • Something that we've been thinking about a lot at Fohr Card recently is pushing brands and influencers to define success.

    We just sent an email out recently telling our brand partners and brand contacts that only given campaign, they should pick what we call a "keystone KPI". If you don't know what a KPI is, this is something that your clients live and die by: its key performance indicator, it's a way to track how well things are doing. A key performance indicator, KPI, for a campaign could be growing the brand's Instagram following, it could be sales, it could be brand awareness, it could be impressions, it could be content, it could be any number of things.

    Definitely, before you do a campaign with a brand, ask them, "What does success look like for you? What KPIs are you tracking? What is the most important thing that you need out of this campaign?" I think about it in a way of like if I was an influencer talking to the brand, I would say, "What do you want my followers to know or do at the end of this campaign? Do you want them to know the story of this sweater? That this is an Instagram artist who's got 800,000 followers and he does these very fun doodles.

    Now, he has a clothing line or do you want to tell the story of this is a funny piece of clothing. It doesn't matter who made it, you want to drive to the e-com site that's selling it, and tell people that they can buy it, and it's pretty affordable? It's like a $60 sweater." Two very different stories, two very different ways that you would tell that story. It's really important for you as an influencer. It is only going to get more important, we have talked about this before, to take responsibility for the success of the campaigns that you work on.

    Your job as an influencer when you do a sponsored post is not to do the sponsored post, it is not to post it on time, it's not to follow the brief, it is to help that brand reach whatever set of goals they have. That's it. I saw a post the other day, I had a brand person email me, and they said, "Hey, I paid this influencer $750 for a post. She did it. It got a lot of engagement. She barely mentioned the product in the post. It was like the second sentence of the post that was about the product, but it just said wearing, then said the brand, then, a bunch of people in the comments were asking questions about the piece of clothing, and the influencer didn't answer any of them."

    She's like, "I just feel like I wasted my money." This is a small-business owner. This is not some big corporation. It was $750, and that's a lot of money. I don't spend $750 myself so much. Even at Fohr Card, we're getting bigger and bigger, but like if Tim had a marketing expense that was $750, I want to make sure that we got something out of that. She's like, "I feel dumb. I feel like I did something wrong." Certainly, she could have briefed that influencer better, but that influencer did not try at all to make that campaign successful.

    I really want you to think about it especially if you're getting paid and think about that as your money, if you were paying somebody to promote your Instagram, and you paid them $50, or $500, or $5,000, or $10,000 to do that, what would your expectation be? What would success look like for you in that post? Do that and more, but you can't be successful in the campaign if you don't understand the way the brand defines success. Push them on that, and ask them to tell you how they're defining success so that you can create content that drives towards those KPIs.
    Episode #89
    - Vero, Brand Ambassadors, Transparency with Brands
  • First, I don't think of it very often. Second, I think as an influencer, you should look at new platforms, you should try things out, that is certainly worthwhile. Will Vero take over Instagram? No, I'll just say it. I'll just say it, no, there's no fucking way it's going to. Instagram will not always be as popular as Instagram is today. We are probably reaching a pinnacle of Instagram's popularity in pop culture.
    It's influenced all of that. We are probably near the top of as influential as Instagram is going to be. Hold on. Whatever knocks Instagram off the mountaintop, whatever takes its place, will not look or feel anything like Instagram; it will be completely new. It will take years to get the kind of traction that brands start wanting to work within it. I use Snapchat. Snapchat's the closest thing that was going to take Instagram down before they launched Insta Stories. Snapchat was eating into Instagram's traffic. They were growing a lot faster than Instagram.

    They were doing all these things right. When Snapchat started, if you remember, it was a messaging app. People said it was a sexting app, nobody took it seriously. Then, all of a sudden, it was a thing, and it started to get popular. It took years before brands started paying attention to people that had Snapchat followings and started to want to work on those platforms. Somebody coming out being like, "Hey, it's Instagram, but the feed is chronological," it's never going to fucking work. Instagram is not interesting because of its features; it is only interesting because of the community that is there.

    There's 800 million people on Instagram. To fight that, you're going to have to create something that is so addictive and so different that people open up Instagram and say, "This feels old. This no longer feels like the way I want to consume content," which is exactly what Snapchat was. That instant video that was disappearing after a day that felt fresh and interesting. and it was a whole new way to create content. At the core of these platforms, they're a way for people to stay in touch with their friends, family, and people that they care about.

    It's not a way to give book recommendations, or movie recommendations, or restaurant recommendations, or whatever the fuck Vero says it's going to do. That is not what Instagram is interesting for. The reason people like it is because the people that they care about are on that platform creating content, and they're learning about them. Another example as a comp if you're in a fight with somebody about this, have a think about this, I was talking to a friend that works with TBS this weekend, and we were talking about Netflix, all this stuff, just how different the media is, and how different that world is.

    I was like, "Could you imagine being in a conference room with the Warner Brothers 10, 15 years ago, right when Netflix started?" You walk in, and you say, "Hey, just so you guys know. Netflix is going to create better, original content than you're creating. They're going to create more of it, they're going to fucking eat your lunch, and they're going to be a more valuable company than you in 10 or 15 years." You would have been laughed out of that conference room. Netflix was a place to rent DVDs online; now, it's the most innovative content creation company in the world.

    That's not a linear thing. The same thing will happen with a platform. It'll start out looking and feeling like one thing, then, all of a sudden, it'll replace Instagram, and it'll feel very natural, but it's not going to be something like Vero. It's not going to be something that is released in response to Instagram and to some of the pain points that you're feeling because for somebody to switch, it just has to be fundamentally different. That's a long way of saying I wouldn't worry too much about Vero it's not going to be around for very long, I think. I could be wrong, but I'm probably not. That's my piece on that.
    Episode #89
    - Vero, Brand Ambassadors, Transparency with Brands
  • I'll preface this and I'm sure our lawyers will appreciate this. That like this is not legal advice. I'm not a lawyer. I'm not equipped to give legal advice, but I'm about to. First of all, if you're an influencer and you haven't read the FTC guidelines on sponsored content on Instagram, you definitely should. It's fairly simple, plain speak English, there's not a lot of like legalese in there. It's easy to understand and it's like three-pages long.

    The only thing the FTC needs you to do is to divulge that you have a relationship with that brand. If I was to stay in line with both-- For instance, the beginning of this video I said that NetJets was kind enough to allow us to come on this plane and shoot this and that we were working our project film. That's enough. You just have to say that you have a relationship with them.

    If you did something gifted and you say this brand sent me this thing to tryout. That's enough for the FTC to like have you pass FTC guidelines. The safest thing is to put hashtag sponsored or hashtag ad. A hashtag spon doesn't work. It's not a real word so like that doesn't actually work, partner. You just have to make sure that your audience knows you have a relationship in some way with that brand.
    The other thing again, if you're being super-compliant with FTC which you should be is that you have to have that on every post. If you did five insta stories in a row, it's not-- frustratingly, you can't say like hashtag sponsored on the first one and then not on the rest of them. You have to have that on every single one. Now, is the FTC digging around you're-- you have a hundred thousand followers, are they looking at your insta stories to see if you're FTC compliant in your insta story that you did on a gift you got for a brand? Probably not, but it is worth having good habits and making sure that you don't get in hot water.
    I know from our standpoint, if we get knocked by the FTC, not only will we have to pay a big fine, but they ban us from being able to do sponsored contents on Instagram for a certain time, six months or a year. There is a world which the FTC could ban you from working with brands for a certain amount of time. It's not just you, the brand will also get in trouble, which is not going to do great things for your career if you like cause enormous brand to not be able to work with influencers for six months. Not a great way to ingratiate yourself to the larger brand communities.

    Read it. It's like two-pages long, maybe we'll put a link in the YouTube in the like comment section to it, because it's a fairly simple read. They give examples of captions that work and captions that don't work, but long story short, if somebody gives you something that is you do have to disclose it to someone.
    Episode #88
    - Highlights, Charging for Instagram Stories, Sponsored Gifting
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