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Hosted by:

Katya Allison

Director of Marketing
Content at GRIN

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About GRIN Gets Real

Welcome to the GRIN gets real podcast, the show for people who want to maximize their marketing potential. From influencer marketing to eCommerce strategy and everything in between, each episode will feature industry experts that share their insights and provide actionable tips to help you achieve your marketing goals. Subscribe and stay tuned!

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The Power of Creators as a Strategy to Increase App Downloads

[audio src="https://grin.co/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/BTIxGGR_Podcast_QA-Curtsy_2022_Q3_07.mp3" /]

In this episode:

Sam Atherley

Curtsy’s Head of Influencer Marketing

Curtsy is an app that lets users thrift and sell clothing, shoes, accessories, and more. With a focus on sustainability, it removes the guilt from shopping for your new favorite outfit. Curtsy aims to simplify thrifting while building a strong community and helping people monetize their closets.

Full episode details

This episode of the GRIN Gets Real podcast is an extension of the Q&A session from our fireside chat with Curtsy’s Head of Influencer Marketing, Sam Atherley. Sam shared how Curtsy partners with creators to increase app downloads, why content is key to their strategy, and much more. 

Is there a magic number of creators you need to promote your brand or increase app downloads? 

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all creator program. Sam shared details about the size of Curtsy’s program and her strategy for determining how many creators to reach out to each month, but both of these metrics took time to determine. 

“So I wouldn’t say the number of influencers [matters] necessarily. It’s just the type of creators you’re choosing and if their audience matches your demographic, if their content matches your brand. Like, that’s what’s more important than the specific number of how many you’re confirming.”

Play around with your creator program’s numbers to collect data and see where your sweet spot is. But more importantly, focus on getting quality content to help you reach your goals. 

Another hot question: What’s a typical influencer rate

Again, Katya and Sam concluded that there is no correct answer for this. From balancing the different payment methods (flat rate, commission, free products) to reviewing brand demand for creator partnerships, these numbers really come down to negotiations on a 1-on-1 basis. 

“So honestly, every influencer is different. I wouldn’t say there’s an average amount that we pay each influencer. But like I mentioned before, we base it off of reach, off of, honestly, credibility, and engagement rate.” 

Ready for more insights from Curtsy? Tune in to discover answers to the following questions: 

  • Is setting outreach quotas a good idea? 
  • How much content should you ask your creators for? 
  • Is there a way to track future purchases and tie them back to influencer marketing
  • And much more 

 

Quotes from the episode

The Power of Creators as a Strategy to Increase App Downloads 1

“I think what’s hard about our industry is that, you know, there’s no common amount. There’s no common system. Like, everyone has their own interpretation of how much the [creators’] rates should be.”

“I like to reach out to at least 100 to 200 influencers a week. You know, that really depends sometimes on our bandwidth or if we have someone out of the office, but I like to keep it within that ball range. But we never really put, you know, too many limits on it.” 

“I think influencers, you know, maybe they haven’t heard of Curtsy, but they’ll go and look at our Instagram and be like, ‘Wow, this is really awesome.’ I mean, our social media manager is the prime age of our audience, so she knows what to post; she knows what to say. And I think influencers see that, and they’re, like, ‘Wow, this is really awesome.’”

“And I think now it’s come to the time when people are starting to track influencer performance and stuff. But, you know, this history of influencers getting paid high rates is not going down because there are still those big brands that will pay those rates. But not everyone can offer that.”

Katya Allison:

Welcome to the Brands Talking Influencers Q&A. We’re taking our fireside chat to the GRIN Gets Real podcast. Now you can listen and learn beyond the webinar experience. 

 

During the latest Brands Talking Influencers fireside chat, The Power of Creators as a Strategy to Increase App Downloads, Curtsy, a resale and shop apparel app, shared their influencer marketing insights. 

 

During the live portion of the chat, we discussed what goes into running a successful influencer program outside of the ecommerce space, and then we learned how they leverage influencers for acquisition. We also discussed why content is key to their strategy, the qualities to look for in creators, how to optimize their workflow, and also negotiation tips to build long-term relationships. 

 

While we had a live Q&A, there were too many questions to go over. So we’re bringing those unanswered questions to the GRIN Gets Real podcast. So put your AirPods on, turn up the volume, and get ready for those unanswered questions with Sam from Curtsy.

 

Sam, welcome back. We just finished the Brands Talking Influencers fireside chat, and now we’re on the GRIN Gets Real podcast so that we can hit some of these unanswered questions. Are you ready?

 

Sam Atherley: 

Awesome. Yeah. Thanks, Katya, for having me again.

 

Katya Allison: 

I love it. All right. So let’s dive into it. Sam, what is your monthly budget for influencer marketing?

 

Sam Atherley: 

I would say our monthly budget for influencer marketing is usually, like—say it’s usually split between us and paid social. So the paid social team will get a majority of the budget, and then we probably get about maybe 20-30% of it from the marketing team. 

 

Katya Allison:

Nice. Very nice. The next question has to do with whitelisting. If you could just kind of describe what whitelisting is and how often do you use it for your program.

 

Sam Atherley: 

So whitelisting is when you boost an influencer’s content. You know, put paid social spend behind it to boost it and get it to more audiences, more views. Typically, we use it based on performance after, so we’ll see if an influencer’s video—if we think it’s really awesome, could perform—we will whitelist it and boost it. 

 

Typically we ask for that sometimes upfront from influencers. Sometimes we’ll wait and see if the content performs and then ask if they will allow us to give us access. But yeah, it’s just typically to boost their content, get it—it also drives more views and engagement to their video as well—but just getting more eyes on it.

 

Katya Allison: 

Perfect. Now, how do you gauge performing versus non-performing? I believe several times over the course of, you know, our live portion, you mentioned evaluating influencers—if they’re performing well, if they’re not performing. So how do you gauge that?

 

Sam Atherley: 

I would say there’s so many factors to performance. Our kind of first and foremost factors we’re looking for: Did they get any app downloads, if that’s what we’re tracking? Or if they got any code redemptions if we give them a discount code? 

 

So that’s what we look at first. And then after that, we’ll go in and see, okay, maybe they didn’t get, you know, any code redemptions. But the video has a 20% engagement rate, like, that’s awesome. It’s really, you know, hitting with their audience. We should work with them again. 

 

Or, you know, the video has tons of comments, like, asking, you know, where they got that or, you know, what’s their Curtsy closet. So we’ll really look into it. Or, like, sometimes I just think the video’s awesome or really creative, and I’ll say, “Hey, let’s work with them again.” 

 

We had an influencer post—it was really cool. She did a video of her with paintings. So she’s an artist. So she was matching each of her Curtsy outfits to the painting, and I thought that was awesome. 

 

Katya Allison: 

Oh, I like that. 

 

Sam Atherley: 

And she was like, “I want to work with you guys again. Maybe doing a video of me using Curtsy shipping kits as a painting to make a painting.” And I was like, “That’s awesome. Like, let’s do that.” 

 

So I think, like, really creative content and stuff like that, really, I would love to, like, keep working with them too, even if it doesn’t perform right away. I think that’s just really awesome content to create.

 

Katya Allison:

Oh, yeah. Especially since you know you guys do repurpose content as well, too. I love the creativity of something that would be so simple and easy to—you know, it would be so easy to be like, “Okay, I’m a creator. This is the app. This is, you know—I’m going to try all these clothes. I’m going to purchase these clothes.” 

 

What a great, outside-of-the-box way of looking at things, and a great idea to just continue that relationship as well, too, because it is some—it is certainly something that can grow into something even more. 

 

Now, what advice can you give to a startup company for how many micro and nano influencers a company should work with in order to be effective in marketing a product? I love this question, for one, because I think that oftentimes people think that there’s a number that equals success. But I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

 

Sam Atherley: 

Yeah, I wouldn’t say there’s an exact number that equals success. I know at my past agency experience, we did have, you know—our goal was 20 influencers for each brand. So, you know, there were nano, micro creators, but we always wanted to book at least 20 influencers. 

 

But I think, you know, the numbers with that doesn’t really matter because you could have—you could work with five influencers and, you know, see awesome performance. So I wouldn’t say the number of influencers necessarily. It’s just the type of creators you’re choosing, and if their audience matches your demographic, if their content matches your brand. Like, that’s what’s more important than the specific number of how many you’re confirming.

 

Katya Allison:

I’ve got a follow-up question to that. And I meant to ask you during the live portion, but now all of the podcast listeners can reap the benefits of my not getting to it. Do you set kind of a weekly quota for outreach of new potential influencers for your team?

 

Sam Atherley: 

So we typically—I like to outreach to at least 100 to 200 influencers a week. You know, that really depends sometimes on our bandwidth, if we have someone out of the office, but I like to keep it within that ball range. But we never really put, you know, too many limits on it. But it’s like, to hit our goals, like, that’s what we should ideally be outreaching.

 

Katya Allison: 

Would you say that’s good advice for anybody who’s managing an influencer program: To kind of set those outreach quotas so that you can continue to move forward?

 

Sam Atherley: 

Yeah, I think if you want to grow and scale, it’s definitely important to have those numbers. But it also just depends how many. If you’re booking 20 influencers a month, you can outreach five people a week, but it also depends how many people are actually replying to your emails. You know, what’s the reply rate? How many people are you actually confirming? 

 

And that’s all a test at the beginning. It’s seeing how many people do I need to outreach to reach the amount of people I want confirmed? We’ve been really—what I’ve seen with Curtsy is, honestly, we have a really awesome reply rate. And I think that’s largely because of our social team and how strong our socials are. 

 

I think influencers, you know, maybe they haven’t heard of Curtsy, but they’ll go and look at our Instagram and be like, “Wow, this is really awesome.” Because it really feels—I mean, our social media manager is the prime age of our audience, so she knows what to post, she knows what to say. And I think, like, people—influencers see that, and they’re, like, “Wow, this is really awesome.” 

 

So I think that’s a really large reason why we get so many replies and confirms, but I think it’s important for your brand to test it out. Because I’ve worked with different brands where we’ll outreach 50 people a week, and we’ll only get, like, three confirmed. So it’s really seeing what works for your brands and who you need to target to get those, like, confirmations.

 

Katya Allison: 

That’s such great advice, too, because I think so often, we—again, we want a number that we can compare it to. Like, “Okay, if I reach out to 100, then I’m for sure gonna be successful.” 

 

But to your point, every brand is very different. And I’d also say, not only is every brand different, but if I’m getting a lower reply rate, I’d also want to be like, “What am I saying in this outreach? What’s my subject line? Are people even opening it?” Right?

 

Like, before you dive into, “Oh, it has to be 100 people that we reach out to, or 50 people,” like, it could just be—I hate to say it—a bad email. 

 

Sam Atherley: 

It’s true.

 

Katya Allison:

I put it out there. All right, what are the average rates that you pay influencer collaborations?

 

Sam Atherley: 

So honestly, every influencer is different. I wouldn’t say there’s an average amount that we pay each influencer. But like I mentioned before, we base it off of reach, off of, honestly, credibility, you know, engagement rate. We take all those factors—if the content’s awesome—to see how much we’re going to offer them, either payment-wise or, if we’re giving them gifting, how much credit we’re going to give them. 

 

But we take all those factors into consideration, as well as their rate. See, you know, what we can work with, what we can offer them, but I wouldn’t say there’s a set rate really ever in influencer marketing. 

 

I know some people do do flat rates, partnerships. So some brands will say, “Hey, I’ll pay this influencer—every influencer $200.” That’s not gonna work a lot of the time because each influencer has a different rate, has a different reach. So I think it’s like really seeing, okay, how much would this influencer be worth it to us? And how much can we work with them to see what’s reasonable for them as well?

 

Katya Allison:

Yeah, I would imagine also that you have to evaluate their performance overall. Is this person that’s—is this the person that’s gonna be gonna get me, like, really great content that I can repurpose? Or is this a person that’s gonna give me a lot of eyeballs on and increase my app downloads? So it’s a really great piece of advice. 

 

Alright, so this question is more of a—yeah, no—it’s a question. Can you please go over your gifting campaign process a little more in-depth? I love this question because I do think you have such a unique use case. So tell, you know—share how product gifting works if you don’t have an actual product to gift.

 

Sam Atherley: 

Yeah. I mean, the thing is we—so it is a product, it’s just like they have that choice of what they want. So, because we are an app, we can offer credit to shop on the app. So, you know, we’ll say, “Hey, like, we’ll offer you this amount of credit. You can purchase whatever you want on the app.” And that’s it. 

 

So we have those products to offer. It’s just really their choice. It’s like, there’s no, you know—I’ve worked with different brands in the past where it’s like, “We’re giving you this kit of stuff. Or we’re gonna give you this specific product.” 

 

But there’s so much more choice with us because they can buy whatever they want. So I think that’s what’s really interesting about our gifting campaign, is that it’s very enticing because it’s like, they can find new with tags; they can find used items. That’s really whatever they want to buy, they can find on Curtsy.

 

Katya Allison:

Now, do you have a—I don’t know that threshold is the right word. I’m kind of wondering, like, for a new influencer, is there a set product gifting dollar amount? So, like, for any new influencer, is it $100 worth of products that they can select from? Or does that fluctuate depending on the influencer and all of that stuff?

 

Sam Atherley: 

Honestly, it fluctuates depending on the influencer. There’s no, like, set amount. I would say, like, we want to give them as much as we can, that we know that they can buy a few things. So it’s like, you know, I wouldn’t give any influencer under $100 because that’s not right to them. You want them to get as many things as they could get. So it depends on each influencer and usually fluctuates, but, I mean, I would say the minimum is always at least 100 because I want them to get as much product as they can.

 

Katya Allison:  

How much content are you asking for? Is it, you know, give me a static post, and a reel, and a TikTok? Is it multiple stories? Like, how much are you asking for?

 

Sam Atherley: 

So it’s—like, for Tik Tok, we’re just asking for one TikTok. For, like, Instagram, we ask for usually Instagram reels; sometimes we do static, so we’ll ask for, like, a static post. But we don’t ask for multiple, so it’d be like, “If you do an Instagram reel, like, you’ll do an Instagram reel,” and we’ll say, “Oh, if you can post a story too, like, that would be great.”

 

I don’t really put too much pressure on the story or stories. Like, I feel like naturally, they like to share it on stories anyway. But really, always having that one piece, you know—we’re asking for one piece. It’s either a TikTok, or an Instagram reel, or, like, a static photo.

 

Katya Allison:

That’s amazing. And you’re right; they would probably post it on the other channels as well, too. I mean, they took all of that time to create the content. Now, how hard is it to track future purchases to influencer marketing?

 

Sam Atherley: 

I would say that’s pretty hard. In general, it’s hard to track influencer marketing performance-wise. So I would say tracking future purchases is pretty hard. I don’t think I’ve mastered that for any—I don’t think any of my, like, Curtsy or any client has ever mastered something like that. But I definitely think that’s hard to track.

 

Katya Allison:

Yeah, I think so as well, too. I think one of the pieces of advice that other brands have given in the past is post-purchase surveys, which I know probably sounds a little basic, but there’s nothing like someone literally checking off the box, like, “Where did you find this? Where did you hear of this?” 

 

Yeah. So what are you seeing in rates for nanos with followers of five to 3,000, 3,000 to 10,000? So, this question is specifically asking, kind of, the rates that you’ve heard for the different types of influencers. So, for example, a nano influencer versus a micro influencer. What’s, like, that fluctuation of rates that you’re getting? So not necessarily what you’re paying, but, like, what you’ve heard. What’s the word on the street? Sam, tell us what the word on the street is.

 

Sam Atherley: 

I mean, honestly, I’ve seen a bunch of different rates. Like, it doesn’t even—I’ve had an influencer with 1,000 followers ask us for $1,000. Like, I’ve seen influencers with, you know, 3,000 ask for $500. 

 

I think it’s really, like, that’s what’s hard about our industry is that, you know, there’s no common amount. There’s no common system. Like, everyone has their own interpretation of how much rates should be. So I think that’s what’s making, like, negotiation and stuff difficult because, you know, everyone thinks like, you know, “I should, you know—I have 1000 followers; I should be worth $1,000. Or I have 15,000 followers; I should be getting $5,000 per post.” 

 

So I feel like everyone has their own interpretation. So it makes it really difficult to negotiate because when you do, you don’t want to offend anyone, but you also want them to understand, like, this is how you’re tracking it, and this is how you’re seeing, you know, their reach or their content. 

 

So it’s very difficult. I’ve seen rates all over the place. Like, I’ve seen rates that I think are insane, and I’ve seen rates that are more reasonable, but it’s like you—I think the most I’ve had someone ask for was $50,000 for one post. 

 

Katya Allison: 

Oh my goodness. 

 

Sam Atherley: 

I think they had about 200k TikTok followers. So, I mean, it’s pretty crazy. I feel like the rates are just everywhere right now.

 

Katya Allison:

The rates are really everywhere. I always like to think of it from a—I always go back to, you know, being a director of content, right? I’m like, I know that, I don’t know, on average, you can at least pay $75 an hour for a designer. And that’s just if they’re a graphic designer. And that fluctuates $75 to $100, right?

 

So I mean, imagine the time that it takes to create that TikTok. Like, I always think about that kind of stuff. I’m like, “Alright, what would be the value if I had to ask someone?” Because that’s essentially what you’re doing, is you’re asking someone. 

 

But we’ve labeled this as an influencer creator, which I think is interesting that that’s like the thing that people can’t wrap their head around, of like, “Okay, why are you asking me for money? Like, because you’re gonna post it anyway.”

 

And in my head, I’m like, “Alright, well, if you just asked someone or you hired someone to do that, what is the value of getting this content asset from them?” So that’s what I always think about. 

 

Okay, let’s say you are trying to cast 10 creators or influencers for a campaign. How many do you reach out to initially to land at 10 that you move forward with? So for this, I would assume that you can only, you know, lean on what your experience is at Curtsy. So at what, you know, what have you developed that to? Like, how much is that outreach?

 

Sam Atherley: 

What we were discussing earlier, like, it depends on your reply rate and how much you’re outreaching. So let’s say, like, for us, we outreach—say we outreach 150 creators, but our reply rate is, like, 40%. And then our confirmation is, like, 30 influencers that week. So it’s really—you have to test out how many does your brand need to reach out to? How many—what’s your reply rate? How many are you confirming weekly to reach those 10? 

 

So—and a lot of—when I worked in an agency, you know, we were outreaching usually 50-100 influencers a month for some campaigns, and we were only confirming 20 influencers for the month. So it really depends on each brand. It’s like—and also the email sequence, like, is it performing? If it’s not—if, like you said, if the subject line is bad, what can I change it to to make it better? 

 

So it’s like you need to do those initial tests. I would recommend starting out with at least a list of 50 that week and saying, “Okay, I’m gonna reach 50 people. Let’s see what our reply rate is. Let’s see how many we confirm this week. What do I need to change the following week? If I only confirm five people, what do we need to change to hit that 10?”

 

Katya Allison: 

Yeah.

 

Sam Atherley: 

So I would recommend always, baseline, at least outreaching 50 creators, but it really depends on your reply rate, and your email, and, like, if people—also what you’re offering is a huge thing, too. Because if you’re—it depends on everything really and testing it out.

 

Katya Allison:

There’s so many variables when it comes to creators and influencer marketing, the whole nine yards. 

 

We have so many questions about rates. We do. But I think it’s such a hot topic. Yeah. Well, I mean, I think that it always is. So this is a good follow-up question. It’s a tweak to it. Why do you think, in your opinion, that creators have begun “inflating their rates” nowadays?

 

Sam Atherley: 

Um, honestly, I think it’s really, you know—they’re asking these rates because there are brands that are paying them these rates. 

 

Katya Allison:

Yeah, true statement. 

 

Sam Atherley: 

So that’s why. You know, I’ll get a lot of emails sometimes that say, “You know, well, you’re offering me this, and this brand is paying me 2,000,” or whatever, you know. So, I think it’s a big thing. I think when influencer marketing first started, a lot of brands were, to be honest, just giving money to influencers because it was the new channel. It was exciting. And they were paying influencers high rates but not really tracking any performance.

 

And I think now it’s come to the time where people are starting to track influencer performance and stuff. But, you know, this history of influencers getting paid high rates is not going down because there’s still those big brands that will pay those rates. But not everyone can offer that. So I think that’s a big thing. It’s brands—the other brands that are paying high rates. And I think it’s also that culture. 

 

And you know, like I said, on TikTok, how people are saying, “I make this amount of money as a nano influencer.”

 

Katya Allison:

Yeah. 

 

Sam Atherley: 

Because a lot of the time, you know, we’ll get outreaches, too, from people, and they’ll automatically say, you know, “Well, this is my rate.” And, you know, like, they want this amount of money. They outreach to us, but they want, like, this amount of money, and it’s like, “Well, maybe you’re not the right fit for us. Or we can’t meet you at that rate.” 

 

But I think that’s become a big thing. It’s just that culture of, you know, everyone can become an influencer. This is how you can make money. 

 

So I think people are really, like, taking that into consideration, and I think, yeah, just brands—the brands that have a lot of money are paying influencers high rates.

 

Katya Allison:

I totally agree. I totally agree. And I love that. 

 

I also think that we’ve hit, like, this—we’re living in the creator economy. And creators are not just—they’re not just amateurs now. Like, this is—it has started to turn into a job function, which means that they’re expecting the job rates, right?

 

Like, if I want to make—I almost feel like it’s that difference between making, like, the minimum wage versus like, “Oh, I have to keep the lights on in my house” kind of a wage that I’m looking for. 

 

All right, can you please state your top three KPIs along with converting success into a relative ROAS—return on ad spend? So, what are the top three KPIs?

 

Sam Atherley: 

I would say for us, the top one for our, like, selling campaign is CPI, so cost per install. You know, an amazing cost per install is if an influencer has $10 or less. So someone high-performing like that is strong for us. After that, I would say—and that also includes, like, discount codes, so just redemption. 

 

And then, I would say engagement rate. I think that’s actually an important factor to look at in a post, especially for sponsored content, because typically, a lot of sponsored content doesn’t get high engagement rates. 

 

And then I would say also KPI, just like—I would say impressions over views because we are working with static content as well and, like, different forms of content—Stories. So I would say impressions is pretty high for us as well.

 

Katya Allison:

Okay, excellent. And that’s what you use to create just your return on ad spend, then?

 

Sam Atherley: 

Yeah, I would say all those metrics. 

 

Katya Allison:

Okay, perfect. All right. What do you think makes your resale platform unique from your industry peers? And how is this reflected in your marketing? What a great question.

 

Sam Atherley: 

Yeah, I really like that question, to be honest, because we get asked that a lot. I mean, we have some strong competitors: Poshmark, Depop. I think what makes us different is that Curtsy has really, you know, like I said, I feel like we’re the Gen Z selling app. So really focusing on that market. 

 

But as well as—just our app features are really different from, I would say, our competitors. I think one of our strongest features is our search. If you search Lululemon black leggings on Curtsy, you will only see Lululemon black leggings. A lot of our competitors, when you search in their algorithm, you’ll get a bunch of random brands, like, get some crazy stuff. But us—our search is actually really awesome. 

 

And we also have—you can do by size. So if I look up Princess Polly dress in my size, I will only see those listings. I won’t see any other listings. So I think that’s, like, our strongest feature that a lot of people don’t know about. 

 

But I would say, like, our search is really strong. Like, you can really find what you want on Curtsy. We have lists that we curate manually of, like, the trends going on. We also have a lot of categories, subcategories. So if you want to look for something on Curtsy, you’ll find it. 

 

And you know, it’s easy to see. It’s not like some of our competitors, where it’s a little harder to find things.

 

Katya Allison:

Yeah, that’s a great answer. Great answer. How is it reflected, then, in your marketing?

 

Sam Atherley: 

I would say that search isn’t as much. We probably—I feel like we should probably emphasize it more. It’s just not as exciting as, like, you know, just mentioning, “Oh, you can find these brands on Curtsy.”

 

But what we’ve seen perform the best is when we target those—highlighting those brands that are hot right now. 

 

Katya Allison: 

Yeah.

 

Sam Atherley: 

So, Aritzia, REVOLVE, Zara. Those brands perform better than someone selling Target, and Amazon, and SHEIN on Curtsy. 

 

So we really try to, you know, let influencers know, like, “These are top-performing items that are selling. This is what performs the best.” 

 

And as well as just the price difference. 

 

Katya Allison: 

Yeah. 

 

Sam Atherley: 

So highlighting the price that they got these items for on Curtsy. If they’re selling items, same thing. Like, we want them to sell really strong brands that will sell. Sometimes, you know, it’s hard. It’s what they have in their closet, what—you know. But the better the brand, honestly, the better the performance

 

Katya Allison:

That makes sense. Now, how do you identify and scout new talent for campaigns? Do you use general fashion-oriented hashtags?

 

Sam Atherley: 

So we actually discovered a really awesome feature on GRIN that I honestly didn’t know before. So we’ve been using hashtags of different brands and kind of their set—like, so let’s say like a Princess Polly ambassador or Mejuri partner. What’s cool is, like, on GRIN, you can put the search filters to the demographics that we want, but then you can also put #MejuriPartner. 

 

And all the girls who have worked with Mejuri come up, which are typically nano, smaller creators as well. 

 

Katya Allison: 

Yeah. 

 

Sam Atherley: 

So that’s something we’ve been testing out recently that helped us when we kind of got stuck on search. It helped us a lot on TikTok. We look at trending sounds. We look at, you know, what’s—hashtag—when, like, #HotGirlWalk was a thing, like, we would look at those hashtags. 

 

Really keeping up with what’s trending in the moment. Like, coastal grandmother aesthetic is, like, trending right now. So using those hashtags, but as well as using even other brands’ hashtags to see who they’re working with. And, you know, if those girls have Princess Polly clothes, they’re probably going to want to sell some Princess Polly later on. So it’s really, like, using those hashtags to find who we’re looking for.

 

Katya Allison:

Oh, that’s a great hack. I love it. All right. So obviously, you leverage GRIN as your Creator Management platform. And the question is, is there a point at which you suggest paying for an influencer management software very similar to GRIN? So, like, at what point would you say, for brands, is the time to invest in a tool?

 

Sam Atherley: 

I mean, honestly, I think it’s super important to invest in a tool. At all my prior work experiences, we always had a tool. We had GRIN before. My original agency, we had our own in-house, basically, version of GRIN that they created. 

 

But I think a tool is so important because I’ve heard of different brands doing manual processes. I have a friend whose brand right now she’s working with—she told me something crazy—like she’s manually hiring, like, 300 influencers a month. And she does everything on Google Sheets. And I was like, “Your workflow would be so much faster if you had GRIN.” 

 

Katya Allison:

I don’t mean to laugh so deviously about it. But it’s true. Like, I think that sometimes people mistake a software tool for like, “Oh, I can’t do influencer marketing without this.” 

 

You can most definitely do it without it. You can most definitely execute on a spreadsheet. Now, is that the most efficient way to spend your time? Or is the more efficient way to spend your time in building out a relationship? 

 

So I always feel like it has to do with, like, where you want to take your program, right?

 

Sam Atherley: 

Yeah, I agree. It’s like, if you want to scale and grow, I think you need a platform. If you’re working with 10 influencers a month, like, yeah, you could probably do that manually. But it really just depends how big you want to grow and how much time you want to save in being more efficient when managing it. It also helps you communicate faster with influencers. 

 

I don’t know. I just feel like overall, I stand by platforms. And when I have friends who tell me they’re not using one, I’m like, “You really should get on one because I just, like, I think it’s super important.”

 

Katya Allison: 

You’re like, “Let me get you a demo because your life would be so much easier.”

 

All right. Now here is the final question. Do you provide a script for your influencers as far as what to say?

 

Sam Atherley: 

Yeah, I would never provide a hard script. We do have campaign briefs that we make that say, you know, content, like, tips, tricks, what we recommend, content we’ve seen perform, some examples, a little bit about Curtsy. I would always do that. 

 

I never give a hard script because I think that would just kill everything. 

 

Katya Allison: 

Yeah. 

 

Sam Atherley: 

But we definitely like to give recommendations, and if we see something performing—and edits, you know, we’ll let influencers know like, “Hey, like, could you add this or whatever.” But I would never give a hard script to an influencer.

 

Katya Allison: 

Yeah, I absolutely agree. I think that you strip away authenticity when you tell them exactly what to say, how to say it, how to pose. I mean, they are creators, so there should be a level of trust. And I think if you take the time to do enough vetting.

 

And you do such a great job of it because you absolutely know your brand, you absolutely know what it is that you’re looking for, what’s going to perform really well from a creator perspective. So I think that’s incredibly key.

 

Sam Atherley: 

Yeah, I think that’s super important. And I always recommend, if you were working with a creative, like, on a design, you would give a campaign brief or some guidelines to use. So I think that’s important, but it’s like, you don’t want to tell them exactly what to say.

 

Katya Allison:  

Yeah. And it just makes the writing of a campaign brief so much harder if you’re telling them exactly what to do. 

 

Well, I appreciate all of the time that you’ve given us today. Sam, thank you so much for coming on to our live webinar, Brands Talking Influencers, and then staying on for getting some of these answers out there in the world.

 

Sam Atherley: 

Awesome. Thank you so much for having me today.

 

Katya Allison:

We covered so many great questions during this episode. One of the common questions really surrounded influencer rates. While there is no silver bullet number, I do believe that it’s really all about building out those relationships so that you can negotiate instead of taking one rate. And that goes for both brands and creators. Being able to really talk through it will make sure and ensure that whatever is paid is mutually beneficial. 

 

Now, if you’re interested in watching the fireside chat with Sam on The Power of Creators as a Strategy to Increase App Downloads or other brands that we’ve featured in the past like Able, Vera Bradley, Trifecta, Gainful and more, visit the “Live Events” section at grin.co. 

 

And before I do let you go, I have a very special announcement. GRIN is hosting its first all-day virtual event, AUTHENTIC: Marketing in the Creator Economy. Now, authentic influencer marketing enables brands to own their direct relationships with creators to deliver more trust to the consumer through influencer content. In today’s creator economy, authenticity is everything. 

 

And this one-day event will focus on helping brands drive authentic relationships with consumers at scale, showcase how to cultivate honest endorsements with influencers, and explore a full-funnel approach to influencers that supports the entire marketing strategy. 

 

Want to hear more of everything? Be sure to subscribe to the GRIN Gets Real podcast to get the latest episodes. Give us a rating, and leave us a review. If you want to learn more about AUTHENTIC, visit the episode page or just hop onto our website, grin.co. All information is available there. Until next time, keep grinning.

All-in-one creator management platform helping ecommerce companies build more valuable brands through the power of creator partnerships.

© Grin Technologies Inc. 2022. All rights reserved.

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