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  • I'm going to step back from the actual question and use it as a teeing off point. I have a lot of friends that work in digital that are heads of PR, are marketing for brands. They forward me influencer emails every once in a while with the eye roll emoji. It just happened to me two days ago actually. I am always shocked at how bad the emails are. That people are writing when they're reaching out cold to brands. A lot of them are, hey, my name is Blank. I'd love to collab, that's it. Or, hi I'm going to Coachella, can you give me this? We've talked about this at length and I don't want to go into the whole process. But in that first email, if this person doesn't know you, it's okay to ask for something. I generally would suggest that you try and build a relationship before you go and ask for something. But if you want something it's definitely okay to ask for it. I do it all the time, not personal but like before. But you have to provide some context of saying, hey, my name is this. Hey, first of all, my name is this. I'm an influencer. I have a fashion and lifestyle Instagram, it reaches 30,000 people a month, period. Next, I love your brand so much. I've always respected what you guys do. I always wanted to work with you, here's a couple times I've posted about you already. Next, I'm heading off to Coachella this weekend and I know it's a long shot because there's not a lot of time left. But I thought it would be a really cool opportunity to potentially work together. What I'm looking for is XYZ but I'm happy to get on the phone blah blah blah.

    If you are going to send an email like that, you have to introduce who you are and tell them why you're relevant to what they do. Show them that you know and care about their brand. Think about it as an influencer. All the emails you get from brands that say, hey influencer, and they pitch you some shitty product that you don't want that has absolutely no relevance to your blog, and you just think, why are you reaching out to me? This is offensive and annoying.
    I see influencers post to Twitter all the time. Like when brand email and it says, hey, influencer and they forgot to take that out and put their name in there. That is annoying and it is offensive and it is lazy. But influencers are doing the same thing to brands and they're just like they're. First, you have to introduce yourself in some way that lets the brand person know why they should be reading the rest of this email. Because there's a good chance they won't even get to the end. Why should they actually take the minute or two to read this email. Validate yourself. Show them you know their brand. Show them you care about what they do. You don't have to have posted about that brand before but show them you care.

    Hey, I saw your recent campaign I loved it. Hey, I saw this. I saw your recent ad in Vogue and it reminded me to reach out. Show them that you're watching and that you care. Then explain the opportunity well. Explain the opportunity. You don't have to go into extreme depth because this is going to be a back and forth. But frame it in a way that they can understand what the ask is and understand how to respond. If I'm reaching out cold, I usually do a hey, totally understand that this is impossible but just wanted to ask. Because saying no to someone sucks. It's not a nice thing to do. Nobody likes to do it. Again if you think about this as a marathon and not a sprint and you want to work with that brand for years it's okay if they can't work with you this first time, but your behavior in this first email, in this first exchange, could prohibit you from ever working with them. In that first email, you want to make sure that you try an open a door that maybe you can walk through right away, but maybe you walk through in six months or a year. The worst thing that that first email can do is close the door. The way to do that is by being like me, me, me, me, me, give me, give me, give me. I'm giving you no information and this is what I want, two sentence email.

    I think the email should probably be two to three paragraphs, short paragraphs, but two to three paragraphs. If your email is a sentence or two and you're reaching out to a brand for the first time, you're fucking up. Step back, think about it as if a brand is reaching out to you and what you would react to. A brand that you have never heard of in your entire life, because you may think you're hot shit, but there's almost no chance the brand that you're reaching out to has heard about you because if they've heard about you, you probably aren't reaching out cold. So they have no idea who you are. Think about that. Brand you've never heard of before reaches out to you cold, what do you want that email to look like? Structure that the same way for yourself, when you're reaching out.

    Email, yes, no DMs. No DMs. The only DM I would write is if you were trying to get an email address and you couldn't. I would dig first. The email addresses are out there. You can find them, but if you can't find them you can DM and ask for an email address. I get a lot of DMs and I appreciate them. I actually encourage y'all to DM me, but it's hard to stay on top of it because it's not like an inbox. Especially for your hidden private DM, the ones your not following or you haven't talked to before. You don't see those for a while.

    You can't search that inbox well, so if you say, what was that influencer that asked me about Coachella? I just tried to do a search in my Instagram inbox for Drink with James, but you can't search messages, which is really fucking annoying, honestly. So do not DM. It's very annoying and the brand people I've talked to at least have said that, they do not like when influencers DM them.
    Episode #96
    - Captions Increasing Performance, DMs, Collabs Between Influencers
  • Collaborating with another influencer, blogger, YouTuber, or whatever is a great way to grow. We had an overlap tool that allowed you to see how many of your followers followed somebody else, and I was always surprised how little overlap there was in the space, and so working with another influencer can be a great way to cross pollinate that. I think we've talked about the menswear guys they sometimes get 10 or 15 of them together and do a big shoot together, and they all post it, I think that does really well for them to get more followers and more exposure.

    How do you find these people? I would suggest somebody at or below your following level. I know the temptation is that like you want to work with someone big, you got 20,000 followers, you want to collab with someone with 40,000 followers. That totally makes sense. Why would they want to collab with you? Probably, they probably don't want to. If you have 1,500 followers and someone else has 700, that's still 700 chances to get those people to follow you. We're looking at marginal gains here, right? We're trying to gain 100, 1,000 followers a month. If you can move a bunch of those people over, then I think that you should optimize for working with more people rather than emailing a bunch of people who are two or three times as big as you and being like hey, want a collab? And they are like, no I don't. Look for someone at your level or sometimes below. Where to find them? I think that's up to you to push yourself to continue to follow people and continue to try and find interesting people. Anytime you do a collaboration, I think thinking about your audience and saying what would they want to see? What can this other person bring to my feed that I don't have? Are they a great photographer? Are they a great artist? Do they have a very similar style or a very dissimilar style to me? How can we play on that?
    I'm I someone that usually does iPhone photography and they have a very editorial feed and are we going to switch vibes? We'll do an iPhone thing on her feed and we'll do a more editorial thing on my feed. What can we do to push what you're doing forward? Because if it's just I'm taking a photo with another influencer, we're both posting it and hoping to get followers, I don't think that's going to happen. Again we've just talked about captions and I think here with the collaboration the caption is key. Why should your audience follow this person? Why shouldn't this person's audience follow you? There needs to be a story there. There needs to be something because tagging someone in a photo, five years ago used to work. You tagged someone in the photo and you could get a huge amount of followers for that. Because people were new to Instagram, they were looking to build their feeds.

    It's Friday give me a break. That's not the case anymore. That doesn't work. I have huge influencers all the time tag me, it doesn't do anything. Literally, it does nothing anymore. They need to say, this is this person. This is why you should follow them. They need to make a concerted effort. A concerted push to get their followers to follow you and you need to do the same thing. You need to find somebody with a story that's interesting and try and do that. Let me just step back because now I've had another drink and say that if you want to collab with someone do it from a place of--If you have a following, even if it's 5,000 followers and you find someone you think is amazing who has 500, using your following to try and get them more followers like it's just going to pay dividends for you. You should be thinking of collabs to think. How can I help other people and that will come back to you. Going out and saying I'm going to use collabs as a growth hack and I'm going to try and hack my way into growth. I don't know if that will work as well.

    As you saying, just switch your perspective and say how can I help somebody else? Because do that and I imagine the post that they post about you is going to be a lot kinder and a lot more authentic. That's what people are looking for now. They're looking for authenticity. For the people who are watching who have a quite a big following. Because I do think that we've been getting more and more people who have a big following who are watching the show. Use that sometimes, pick people up. You remember when you were at 5,000 followers. If you find someone who's great, reach out to them and be like, hey, let's do let's do something together. Let's try and work together. Because I think one of the coolest things about having a platform is being able to share it with people who deserve the platform. If you're not doing that and you're not putting something back into the world, and you're just taking. It's not going to be very interesting for your audience.

    Again I'm just going to go back to The Rock real quick. Because I wrote this long email to Brands and I said one of the things that I love about him is gratitude. Every time he does, he doesn't do sponsored posts per say, but he uses his feed in large part to hype up the projects that he's working on. If he does five posts about a project. One of them is always going to be about the people who've made it happen. It's always going to be about the cameramen or the photographers or the producers or the director or the writer or his co-stars. He is always full of gratitude. I think that is missing. As much as you can spread the love and put good energy and good vibes out there, I think that comes back to you. I think that positive thinking, what is that like? Positive thinking secret bullshit. I don't believe any of that stuff. I think it's dumb. This is coming from a place of a cynical New Yorker being like, I do think that if you go out and try and pick other people up that that stuff will come back to you.
    Episode #96
    - Captions Increasing Performance, DMs, Collabs Between Influencers
  • I've seen influencers posting longer captions, what are your thoughts on this? Okay, hold, please. As an influencer, a big part of your job is storytelling, right? This is a fact that I think is lost on some of my colleagues in the influencer space because I go through Instagram, and I'm not seeing a lot of storytelling craft happening. Now, there are some people who are great visual storytellers who don't have to use long captions or anything like that, but I do think that a long caption can be really helpful.

    I wrote a big email to Brands this week about The Rock who had talked about last week who I obviously love. He writes a lot of very very long captions, I don't read every one of them, but they generally do help to-- Because he's not a great photographer or he's not a photographer at all and a lot of the stuff he's just like iPhone photos of him. He's using the captions to flesh out what's happening, tell people about his day, etcetera. When I was doing the Michelle take a name challenge, I did a lot of longer captions because I was taking a photo of myself every day, and I didn't have anything to say, like the photo had nothing to do with like the photo wasn't telling a story, it was just a photo of me.

    Then, I had to be like, what am I doing today? What am I struggling with? What am I happy about? What am I excited about? What am I sad about? What am I thinking about? What am I working on? I use the captions a lot in that way. I do think some influencers do a good job of it. In the fashion and beauty space, I see less of it Chris Burkard, someone we also talk about a good amount who is more of a travel and adventure photographer, but he sometimes writes really long captions that are nice. I think it definitely helps. I actually think it improves performance.

    I don't have stats on that, but I do think that if you write longer captions, you can train people to start reading those captions which will get them to stop on your post more often to see what you have to say not just what you have to show, and I think that that can be really valuable being able to give people something. If they don't like the photo, they might still like the caption. I also think that with writing you can connect with people a bit more because you can let them into your life a little bit more, you can let them know what you're talking about.
    You're much more likely to get a like I think if you are revealing something about yourself and it is hard to reveal something about yourself in a photo, so I think captions can be really helpful for that. If you're not good at speaking to camera, I'm not good at like on Insta Stories like I never like speak to camera I find it very awkward, I replace that by letting people into what I'm doing on captions. I'd be interested in y'all. If you know someone who's a great writer, who's writing long captions in the influencers space throw it in the comments because I'm actually interested in it. I'm interested in diving more into influencers on Instagram that are using captions in an interesting way, it's something that's been on my mind recently. If you know somebody throw it in the comments for us. Vlogs are increasingly going away and I do think that like writing a long caption. If you can write and you're not writing long captions I think you're doing yourself a huge disservice. If you can't write, writing is a craft just like photography, yes there are people that are born great writers. I read this book by Haruki Murakami called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, which is a book about writing wrapped up in a book about running, but his thing was like he says that like, "I am not a very talented writer in the way that some of my contemporaries are, and so I have to work so much harder at it than other people. I have to be so disciplined."

    His point with the book which you should read,ة it's great, was that becoming a runner helped him become a writer because it taught him discipline. I do think that like photography writing is a craft that you can get better at and you can learn how to do. I am a decent writer, but most of that is because I am a voracious reader. I probably read or listen to 50 books a year, over the last 20 years I've consistently been writing either on a blog, or obviously, high school I wrote high school college, you write papers, but I was also doing newspaper stuff and then writing has always been a part of my job in marketing.
    It's definitely something that you should push yourself. If you feel like I'm not a good writer I think that you should push yourself once a week to try and write a long caption, try and tell a story. Again, there's only so far that a photo can go and I was talking to an influencer recently, someone who I think has great style and has a really great viewpoint, and I was like, I've known you for over a year, I followed you for longer than that. If I just followed your Instagram I wouldn't know a thing about you, and if somebody doesn't know something about you then why follow you? Why are YouTubers Instagram feeds so much more engaged than a normal fashion influencer?

    Because this back and forth speaking to camera creates a connection those followers of YouTubers feel connected to the person, they feel like they know them and so they are more likely to engage. Okay, well, you're not a YouTuber you're an influencer, how do you get people to know you? What, by posting your outfit of the day? Like it's not going to cut it, right? The captions can help. You can still do the outfit of the day and then tell a story underneath, tell people about yourselves, be vulnerable, say what you're worried about, say what you're excited about, all those things. I think it's a huge opportunity, I think everyone should try it.
    Episode #96
    - Captions Increasing Performance, DMs, Collabs Between Influencers
  • Who's taking their campaigns to the next level? I don't know if you saw the Khloe activation in the desert. It was for their fragrance I think, I thought that was really great. I thought the influencer selection was right on. I thought the whole world they built around the influencers that were there was amazing. I personally love the American West as you know, so there was a lot of Western bohemian vibes and again, they picked the right influencers. It was beautiful and they had great opportunities for content. I think they recently have been my favorite noun for campaign. I thought they did a great job.

    Now, individual influencers-- I struggled, we've talked about some of the people we've liked recently, but I haven't found anyone else that I'm like, "Whoa, this is incredible." It's something we've been talking a lot internally about, which is-- if you say, who is killing it in campaigns who is doing a really great job. I think part of the issue is that influencers aren't asking, what is a great job? What does that look like? How can I help you be successful? It's getting to be-- I see too many campaigns.

    Again, where the influencer is just like taking a quick photo and be like wearing blank and mentioning the brand. That's it. I think as an influencer when the brand briefs you, you have to really try to and understand what their strategy is, understand what success looks like for them, understand how you're going to help them achieve that success. I'm just not seeing that level of professionalism in a lot of the posts.

    Now, I will say obviously I love everything that four is doing. I do think that like our team is obsessed with this stuff and we are always pushing our clients to try. We are trying to understand what success looks like, so that we can add appropriately brief influencers so that they can do a really good job. But I encourage you to think about that in your own campaigns. If you haven't asked the brand, if you're about to hit publish on a post for a brand and you don't understand what success looks like then how are you ever going to win?
    You could run if it’s a race, okay and the fucking gun goes off and you run and you're the fastest runner on the field but you ran the wrong way, it doesn't matter. You can't win, so you might go one way with and the brand is just like, "Oh, that's totally not what we wanted." You could throw your hands up and say, "Well, you should have told me." Then I would say, "Well, you should have asked." I mean this is a give and take. Something that we have taken on internally, is that like we are responsible for the success of these campaigns and if a brand strategy is incorrect or we believe that the way they're going about it is wrong, we can't just say, "Well, that's what the brand wants, because we are going to be judged on whether or not the thing is successful.”

    So, if we don't think it's going to be successful in its current form, then it is on us to try and push them to a place where we feel like it will be successful. You're going to be judged on the success anyway, so it behooves you to try and figure out what that looks like. If you don't feel like the brief is going to achieve success inside of your world which you know better than anyone else then, you need to go back to that brand and say, "Actually, could we do it this way because I think that's going to help achieve your goals better." Think about that the next time a brand reaches out very simply ask yourself, "Do I know what success looks like? Am I set up to help them achieve it?

    Tim: Is The Rock killing it on campaigns this days?

    James: I mean The Rock is fucking killing it. Honestly-- Oh my God, The Rock is so good. He had a shoot for Under Armour, two months ago. He was dieting hard for two or three weeks before and he was complaining quite a bit about not eating much and working out like a goddamn madman. Got completely shredded and then shot the campaign but-- I follow the rock not like obsessively, I'm not like a huge fan but I follow him, I watch his stories and I look at his posts. I knew when that shot shoot happened. I knew he was dieting and preparing for it. He talked a lot about how excited he was about it, because it's a collaboration with Under Armour that he did.

    Then, he did the shoot and he gave sneak-peaks behind the scene in the shoot. Then he published the video and he gives these very nice long cut-- he writes a lot. This is something I think we're going to talk about in maybe next Drink with James is that, there's just no writers in the world. I don't know if you all don't know how to write more than a sentence or you think that Instagram only lets you write one, two lines.

    But one thing I love about The Rock is that his captions are very long. And if you're invested in The Rock brand-- obviously, I am. Then you read those caption. I did know-- Start to finish, over a four-month period, I was invested in this campaign and then I watched the video. I didn't think it was that good. It's not necessarily The Rock's fault, I just don't think the creative direction was great, but the product is not targeted towards me, it's gym rats. As you can tell, I am not a gym rat, but The Rock is perpetually killing it.
    Episode #95
    - Deleting Posts, Communicating with Brands, Top Campaigns
  • I got a question. Do you kill your kid just because they're not as smart as your other kid? No, of course, you don't. You love that child just the same these are your children. If you publish the fucking post and it's not doing well-- here's the thing, you should be publishing something because you want to publish it. If you want to publish it and other people don't like it, honestly who gives a shit.
    I can say this confidently because I run a company that does a lot of this. Nobody on our team is going through your feed being like, "Whoa, I was going to give this person a job, but this one photo has 1,000 likes when all the other ones have 2,000 likes, so it's just not going to happen. We're not going to give you the job" Nobody does that nobody gives a shit. Look at every influencer's engagement there is a huge swing in that engagement. If you're sitting there in the first 15 minutes refreshing, refreshing, refreshing looking to see what the engagement is to see if you want to delete it or not delete it. I think you should probably get a fucking hobby, honestly.

    I understand,-- We talked with Jenny and she said that first 30 minutes to an hour that she post she's on there engaging. She's trying to get the algorithm to grab her post and throw it up, so she's trying to engage with people bringing her to the feed. That totally makes sense. I think that's a smart strategy. If you're sitting there and saying, "If it doesn't get to 500 likes by 30 minutes I'm going to delete it" I think you're adding a level of complexity to your life that you don't need to have. You are judged by the body of your work, not by any single piece of it. That's the beauty of Instagram.

    There is this saying in advertising like you were only as good as your last ad, but most creative that were writing advertisements were doing 5, 10 of those a year maybe. Yes, those things were important and there was such a huge investment into those ads they had to work and if you were wrong then you're wrong in a big way and wasted potentially millions of dollars, so that makes sense, but with Instagram, you're posting every single day. The stakes are really not that high on single Instagram.

    I would be disinclined personally to work with somebody who is deleting posts from their feed, because it would show me that they are-- to me that would show that you're insecure about your voice and then you feel like the engagement is more important than the content that's going out there. I couldn't disagree more with that honestly. I understand how your mind goes to that place where you think, "Oh shit I should just delete this." But I think you have to try and be bigger than that and say when you hit publish be like, "This is something I want to post and so I'm going to post it"

    Sometimes you're like, "Oh, this isn't going to do well" and it doesn't do well but if you like it who cares. Again, just because someone didn't like the post does not mean that it's not something that they will remember. It just means it's not something that got them to double tap on something. You're wrong in thinking that just because someone didn't like something didn't mean that it's not good. If you start building your feed just around likes, it might work for you, but you might find that you're running a feed that you don't really like.
    Episode #95
    - Deleting Posts, Communicating with Brands, Top Campaigns
  • Okay, we've said this many times before brands, essentially often times are one or two people. Look at a huge brand you're going to probably be interacting with one or two people. Some people are very good at following up and staying on top of their email and being organized and some people are not. I fall into the, ‘are not’ category. I am not good at staying on top of my email. I'm not good at following up. This is why I have an assistant who helps me with this stuff. This is why I've hired a lot of people who are very organized and smarter than me and can handle all this shit that I am incompetent with.

    So, for me, If I haven't answered someone's email and they follow up politely and then they follow up again and follow up again and follow up again, I actually appreciate it, because as somebody who struggles with remembering things and can be a little bit scattered, I actually appreciate the follow-up. I think that you email someone they're like, "I'd love to work together." And you're like, "Oh my gosh, amazing. Love to work with you too. Let's get on the phone let's talk details.” Crickets. Two or three days. "Hey, just following up here." Crickets. Okay, wait another two or three days, "Hey, just want to ping this back up to your inbox. Let me know if you have time this week to talk." nothing.

    Then I'd probably wait three or four days and sometimes what people do is that-- I've been guilty of this. Sometimes people feel like, "If I don't have good news for you, I'm not going to give you any news.’

    Let's say I say, "I want to work with you," and then my boss says, "Hey we have to put the influencer thing on hold for another month." Some people will say, "Hey, so sorry to do this but we're going to have to put this on hold for a month. I don't want you to spin your wheels like, let's touch the base for a month." That's what they should do.

    Sometimes you feel bad and you're going to say, "I'm going to ignore you for a month or I'm going to wait for details," right? Maybe your boss said, "Hey, we're going to put this on hold let's talk in a week about when to do it." They'll just ignore you. I would follow up two or three times with just a, "Hey, just following up. Just following up." After that, you should probably start to get creative. I would start to space out my follow-ups a little bit more. Maybe go for four to seven days for follow up each time.

    Start to get creative, follow up with something totally unrelated to the project. Again, let's enter a scenario in which a brand said they wanted to work with you and you've been incapable of getting them to give you any details, get on the phone or anything like that, you've emailed them four times they're not responding. You're starting to say, "Shit, is this deal slipping away from me?"
    Well, wake up. Let's say, you see that they posted something on Instagram that you think is really cute or like it's a great post or you think it was really creative. Maybe just send them a link to that and did, "Okay saw this. This looks great. Nice work." Or, "Hey, I found this article, I thought you might find interesting." Or, "Hey, I was thinking about an idea, I have a friend who's going to Hawaii maybe they--." Whatever, just something totally unrelated to the project, because there starts to be as you to continue to ignore somebody's messages.

    Every time you ignore a message guilt is piled on a little bit more. Sometimes it becomes hard to respond to it, because you're now embarrassed of how long it took you to respond and you're reacting to-- sorry to that person who's not responding is reacting not to their desire to ignore you, but to the guilt they feel for having ignored you for this long. It's counterintuitive, but I can just say is somebody who struggled with this in my life, it's something I felt of like, "Shit, I'm supposed to get back to this person. I'm such a piece of shit, like how can I now just be like, "Hey, no I haven't respond to the last seven messages but here I am."

    Understand that psychology that and give them an out. Give them an easy way to respond to you without having to maybe mention this part right here and they can pick all that's like, "Thanks so much for reaching out about the Instagram, it was a really fun project. I haven't forgot about you. My boss is just putting this on ice." Okay, now you've given them a way to say something to you without having to be like on the seventh email, "Oh my gosh, how's it going, so sorry I haven't responded." It's like, "Motherfucker, it's been seven emails, what are you even doing?"

    Emailing them was something else gives them a way to reopen the line of communication without having to be like embarrass themselves. Do I think you lose the upper hand by emailing a bunch of times? You never had the upper hand, that's if you think you had the upper hand you are in a fantasy land. If you have the upper hand they'd be responding a lot more. Chances are you don't. So, understand your position to be that's totally fine. The more hungry you can seem the better in that case.

    You're not winning any like this isn't a chess match. This isn't like two titans like Standard Oil and-- what was the steel one?
    Episode #95
    - Deleting Posts, Communicating with Brands, Top Campaigns
  • Our brand is looking at micro-influencers more as engagement versus a large following being talked about. What makes you micro-influencer? This is different across all verticals, across countries, across platforms.

    Okay. I was in London a year ago. I was talking to a big agency out there that, do a lot of influencer work there, talking about micro-influencers as they would say. Morons. I was like, "Wait. What do you consider a micro-influencer?" They're like, "A micro-influencer is like 1,500 followers." I was like, "1,500 followers. My fucking mom's dog has that many followers."

    That's it's not a micro-influencer. My mom's dog doesn't have an Instagram account, but it is adorable. I was shocked that in England they consider 1,500 to 3,000 followers a micro-influencer because for us it starts at 10k, where you start to say, okay, this is potentially something that we look to work with. We say 10 to 100K is a micro influencer.

    Now, again we've said it's different in different spaces. If you're a menswear influencer, 10,000 is bigger than it is if you're a female beauty influencer. If you are from Paris, the followings aren't as big in Paris. Your following could be smaller, but in that space you're bigger.

    Now you could be a female beauty influencer and have 30,000 followers. In the grand scheme of things that's not huge, but let's say you very publicly live in Chicago. You talk about Chicago a lot. Now all sudden that's little bigger because you're now a beauty influencer living in Chicago. Maybe you're one of the biggest beauty influencers living in Chicago.

    We could put these kind of labels across the board, but I think what is important is that you have the ability to sell yourself in any way that you can. You need to figure out your account, look at it, and ask yourself what's the story that I can tell from this account. Because being like, "Yes, I'm a beauty influencer and I have 30,000 followers and I've good engagement." Okay. That's one way to say it.
    Another way to say it is, "Yes, I have 30,000 people. Most of them are in Chicago. People from Chicago are very proud of the city." Honestly, our lives are different than those of the women that live in LA or in New York. The vibe is different and the style is different. The way we wear makeup is a little bit different. For Chicagoans-- I don't know what it is. Is that what it is?

    Fuck. It's just Chicago. Who cares? For people who live in Chicago, it's really important for them to hear from a voice that is in Chicago. While I only have 30,000 followers, those 30,000 followers trust me a lot more than they would someone with a million followers in LA. It's a simple fact. It's simply figuring out the story that you can tell. Everyone has a story. This is what sales is, and you need to figure out how to tell that story effectively.

    Are brands looking to work with micro-influencers more? Absolutely. Is there any compelling story to tell from an engagement perspective for micro-influencers? 100%, there definitely is. Are you up against the fact that brands’ goals are now so big that you're 50,000 or 100,000 followers is just not going to cut it? Yes.

    One of the benefits of working with a company like us is that we can run campaigns with thousands of micro-influencers. We can get brands the reach and the scale that they need to make an impact on the bottom line, but if you're just a normal brand and you say, "Okay. I've got bandwidths to do five influencer activations or work with five influencers this month." I could work with five people with half a million followings or five people with 10,000. It's going to be a similar amount of work. They're going to optimize for as much reach as they can get.

    Again, important for you to be able to tell the story of why you are valuable, and why they should be working with you. I think naturally, if you're a micro-influencer, you need to be trying to stand out more, going above and beyond for that brand, over delivering, sending them the report after emailing them with all the content. Just making their life as easy as possible. The reality is that in the grand scheme of things, you're not the big fish you want to be yet. You got to hustle harder.
    Episode #94
    - Coachella, Instagram API, Microinfluencers
  • just because you have a big following, it doesn't entitle you to brand work. I think the person that asked this question wasn't saying they felt entitled, but I think because Instagram is so much bigger than it used to be, and any platform is true. There is YouTube, blogs, whatever. These platforms are all so big now that having 150,000 followers five years ago was massive. You would have just by nature of having that following been known, but now unfortunately or fortunately there are a lot of people that have a following that large.
    If your following isn't comprised of people that work at PR firms and brands and are making these decisions, you could be operating in this bubble that is just outside of their kind of viewpoint. You'll never get any brand deal. I'd sometimes talk about it with circles. I say like here's—
    If you think about it and this is the people that you follow. If I'm a brand and I want to work with people, the first thing I think of is who do I follow. Okay. That's this, and then there's this the circle around it of just easy to get to, right? It's people you've heard of. It's people you've seen tagged. It's people someone mentioned to you. It's somebody that someone who you really like follows.
    That's also really easy to find. That's where most brands stop. Where Fohr helps brands is this circle, and then this circle, and then this circle, and then this circle. How do you get way outside of your sphere of understanding or your view? If you're not in that inner circle then you're going to have a hard time getting brand deals.

    Now, there are ways to get around that. I think that you have to be more aggressive in your outbound. I think you have to be reaching out to brands. I think you have to be following people that work at these brands and engaging with them, going to New York, going to LA, San Francisco and meeting with them. Trying to get coffees.

    I think you need to not sit around and wait for someone to reach out, but really put the effort in to get out there and try and get in front of them. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I just think it's getting harder and harder for any influencer to be getting a lot of work without doing a lot of outbound and doing the work themselves. Again unless you're like one of those people that right now is superhot and everyone wants to work with, but that's pretty rare in this space. I think more likely is that the people who are getting paid are hustling pretty hard for it.
    I would say that the people who are really hot right now and a lot of people want to work with them, it's probably because they spent the last two years hustling really hard for brand contexts. Once someone sees-- Again, think about that, think about the way people usually find people, right? Who they follow, and then their ring outside of that.

    Now, if you were following one of the influencers that went on the Chloe trip to the desert, and you went on that trip because you hustled hard to meet the Chloe team, and you got on that trip, and they saw you tagged in a bunch of photos, and then they go and they click on the feed, and they look at, that's how that stuff works. You have now gone from out here. Within the circles who they follow, the ring. This is where they're making decisions and you're out here. Now all of a sudden, you go on a trip with an influencer that's here, you're now in that circle. You're now in contention. You have to get out there. I think a lot of is you have to hustle a good amount.
    Episode #94
    - Coachella, Instagram API, Microinfluencers
  • My caveat to this is that I've never been to Coachella. That actually the whole idea of music festivals is a fucking nightmare to me. Being stuck in a field with a bunch of people wearing bandanas as shirts and flower crowns is my idea of hell. I have no experience at a show, at a festival myself.

    How do you get invited? I think it's getting harder and harder for influencers to go as a guest of a brand. I think that five years ago, it was a lot cheaper to do something at Coachella. Now there are so many brands working in that space that renting a house, getting hotel rooms is massively expensive. I think you have to have a pretty decent sized following to expect that you're going to get flown out by a brand to go to Coachella. We also see brands pulling back from Coachella. Again, because the amount of money you would need to spend is so much higher than it used be to create an impact because so many brands are doing things there.

    Similar thing is happening in Art Basel. There's a general pulling back from it because if 30 brands are activating during a weekend in Miami, it's going to be pretty hard for your brand to stand out and be memorable. There's that.
    I think it's just naturally more difficult. Like anything, my advice wouldn't be much different than the Fashion Week advice we had. If you want a brand to send you to Coachella you probably will have to start by going to Coachella and paying for yourself. Covering brands that you know send influencers. Okay. If H&M sends 10 influencers every year be like, "Cool, next year H&M's going to send me" How do I get there? How do I do that? Okay, first I go to Coachella myself. I wear H&M. I do some posts organically for them throughout the year. Try and build that relationship. Keep posting, keep emailing. Try and get coffees, try and get dinners. Do whatever you can do to set that situation up.

    That would probably be the best. Again, that's no different than our advice with Fashion Week. You sometimes have to show that you can do the work before people will give it to you. Unless you just have such a massive following and that it just happens for you, but from us mere mortals that would be my advice.
    As far as maximizing exposure during the event, I'd think about what you think your audience wants to see. I struggle during Coachella because it's a lot of like music doesn't sound good during music festivals, during live shows on Insta Stories, so it's very skippable content. If I see someone at a concert Insta storying, it's just like I skip that whole person's-- I go on to the next person in my stories feed. You potentially have lost me for my next 10 stories, so that's something to think about. I know that Instagram shows you how many exits you have on an Insta Story if you have a business account, but that's something to look at.

    You don't want people to leave that story. While you may be watching a band that you really like, and in the moment it's incredible because it sounds so good, and you're dancing, you've been drinking, and everything's great, your flower crown looks great. It's probably not going to translate to social, and people are probably going to skip it. Think about actually creating a story that is interesting and engaging.

    Don't just post a lot because like you did drugs for the first time, and now you're just like, "Everything's amazing," and you're licking the grass or something. Nobody needs to see that. That's my advice.
    Episode #94
    - Coachella, Instagram API, Microinfluencers
  • Without more knowledge of what this account is, are you talking about luxury products, are you talking about mass products, it's hard to get exact advice. I always tell the story that most the decision-making purchase, most of the purchase decisions I make in my life are influenced by Instagram, none of them are through the platform. I never swipe up and buy something. I never click on a link and buy something. I think that is pretty common.

    I bought this thing because you suggested it and you're like, "Why don't you buy it on my affiliate link?" I think it's just because that's not something people are used to. Certainly a blog can help mitigate that. If you have a blog and you've got affiliate links on your blog, people go to a blog and they think about shopping. Blogs are set up, they're much more searchable, you've got categories.

    I want summer outfits and here's 10 and boom you can go and buy it. Blogs are one good way to push people to shop more. It's going to be hard on Instagram. Something I would suggest though, is if it's a sponsored post, you're getting a lot of DM questions about the product or people saying they're going to buy it, you're getting DMS after they bought it with photos, they're tagging you in photos after they bought it, definitely screenshot that stuff and send it to the brand.

    Even if it's 5 or 10 people that asked you very specific product questions, a few people who bought the product, it's nice to send that through to the brand and show them that people are actually talking about the product, they're asking questions about it, or they're purchasing it. You can change people's behavior. There are influencers that are converting like crazy through affiliate links on Instagram, that's what they do. Their feeds are very much the same pose, everyday it's clothes, everyday it's outfits that are probably decently affordable.
    None of the pieces really over $100 in their stories swiping up with affiliates and not every single one of them. I think if you want people to shop in that more in the moment way, you probably need to be talking about more affordable things. You probably need to, for months, get your audience used to this is a shopping destination so that they're coming to your feed, looking to potentially spend money. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    If people are saying they're buying what you're selling, that's fantastic, screenshot that stuff. I just think Instagram is tough with direct purchasing. I don't think it's happening as much as we'd like. Understand that you're not on your own here. This is most people's behavior.
    Episode #93
    - Email Newsletters, Engagement Bookmarks, Affiliate Links
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