Brand Retention in a Recession, Following Tiers, & Twitter Verification – Ep. 38
November 16, 2022
Updated Feb 09, 2024
Welcome to Negronis with Nord. Today’s episode dives into how to prepare yourself as a creator for the recession. Keeping your clients close is incredibly important, especially during these uncertain times. James’ provides some key tips to help with brand retention and insights on grabbing brand attention. You can submit your questions for future episodes here.
James: I can clap now. I think I was just gonna say we make it to do about your claps Yeah, I can clap. Welcome, Negronis with Nord, episode 38. I am taking it back, old school with a small glass of bourbon here.
It is Wednesday. It is my Friday. I am going tomorrow morning to my little brother's wedding in Miami. Have I written my best man's speech? Not completely, but I talk for a living and I have lived with this kid for 35 years. I am confident I'm gonna knock it outta the park. Don't worry.
Layoffs, ad sales, & Elon, oh my
James: What an absolutely ******* bat ****. Crazy week to work in social media. I honestly had a hard time focusing at the end of last week. It was really sad to see all of the Twitter layoffs happening in real-time and people talking about it on Twitter. 3,500 people losing their jobs is tough and then to have meta today get rid of 11,000 jobs, almost 15,000 jobs from these social media platforms in the last week is something we've never seen. Twitter has done mass layoffs before. Meta has never done layoffs before.
We just heard as well that TikTok said they're gonna be $2 billion short on ad sales for the quarter or the year. I don't know which one it was. If it's quarter put in, quarter if it's year put in year. Economic data right now is very strange. You've got mortgages down 96% year over year. That's ******* crazy. Last month, non-farm payroll, which is the metric which we look at, job creation in the country expected to be negative. We gained 261,000 jobs in October, so that was a big surprise. Gdp gross domestic product, how big? Our economy is grew 2.1% last quarter, reversing two-quarters of negative GDP, which is technically what defines a recession. We have lost 6 trillion I think in enterprise value, just in technology stocks this year, ******* crazy. Yesterday in entire cryptocurrency exchange just ******* disappeared and with it maybe $30 billion of customer's money gone.
Economic report: The recession is... still here.
James: Meanwhile, middle class is doing okay. Consumer confidence is okay. Obviously, people are a little rattled by the news, but they are still spending money, so we're in this really weird place and as an influencer, advertising is very much at the pointy end of any economic changes, right In a recession, advertising is one of the first things that starts to feel a pinch. We've been talking about this all year. I've been talking about a recession since February I think, and trying to prepare y'all for it. Prepare you to ship your mindset. We are in some kind of recession right now. It is hard to know exactly what it is. I would say as a business owner, the advice for any business owner right now is watch your expenses, hold onto some of your cash, be smart. Give yourself optionality if you were living absolutely at the ******* limit of your means, if this is your means and this is how you live your life, you probably wanna make changes quickly.
At Fohr, we absolutely believe and expect to grow next year, but we're changing the way we're spending money and thinking about the investments that we're wa making and kind of gating those investments against certain KPIs so that we don't get into a situation where if things are a little slower, we have to cut back in any big way.
Planning your own finances for a recession
James: I would suggest generally as you plan your year to think about that, to still be ambitious, to still think you should be able to grow your business. Influencer marketing is still a growth segment. Even with brands clamping down in other places, they will be moving budget to influencer. That is absolutely true. You should still be able to grow your business. It is still a hundred percent possible that you can grow and that you can make more money next year than this year, but it is also smarts who start thinking about what would happen if you made 20% less.
Write those things down. That phrase, our greatest fears line anticipation is often true and I think sometimes if you just say, Well, what would happen if I made 40% less next year? And you kind of write out that plan and what you would do and how your life would or would not change, it can help give you confidence and you know, can have faced the beast and say, Okay, I think that's the worst it will be, and if that's the worst, it will be. At least I have a plan. Hope is not a strategy. I hope the economy does not get significantly worse than it is, but that is not a strategy and it is best to just face, face the monster in the closet, face the little demons under your bed or whatever. Make a plan, figure out what you're gonna do. You should be taking this stuff much, much more seriously.
You should be working so much harder to retain these brand clients and we talked about a lot this year, but retention, retention, retention, retention. You're getting towards the end of the year. Make that list of all the clients you've worked with, reengage with them, send them emails. What are you doing for the holidays? Are you sending them a gift? Are you sending them a handwritten note? You should certainly be ******* sending them something. Don't just let the year go by. Don't let that opportunity go by. Do something to remind them you exist. Start talking about partnerships for next year. Retain your existing clients. You should be able to upsell your existing clients and just grow your business just on that. If you don't work with a single new brand, you should be able to grow your business next year just by selling your existing customer clients that you work with more than you did this year.
How to stay top-of-mind with brand clients
James: So this leads into a question that we had, which is, you talked about staying top of mind with brands. Is it better to stay engaged on their social with thoughtful comments or to send them emails? I would say both depends on the size of the brand. Some companies, the influencer team is different than the social team. So you could be engaging all day and night on their socials and the influencer team is maybe never going to see that. Or if they are, it's like superficial, they might just see it in passing. At a smaller team that will probably be the same person regardless who should be doing both. It doesn't cost you anything to comment on a brand post, especially a brand that pays you right, costs you nothing, it wouldn't be a big deal to, again, go to that Excel sheet of every brand that you worked with this year. The most it can be 50 would be probably the most.
Make a Google sheet, put their Instagram in there, get on your computer, click on the link, go to their posts, a couple things, comment, do that once a week, set 30 minutes in your calendar for brand engagement and just do it once a week. Then on email, yes, you wanna stay in touch on email, but not, you can't be just sending emails saying like, Hey, do you have any new opportunities? These are relationships, right? And no relationship exists where you just ask somebody for something over and over again and wait for them to give it to you. What are you gonna do to build a relationship? I remember Grace, who's been on the show, who who's worked with me for a long time. She talked about this thing that she does where on Monday or whatever, she'll just send out three unsolicited compliments to people and how in one way just putting this positivity out into the world can really help makes you feel better.
It's nice to receive compliments. People don't do it enough. You stay top of mind. But again, that's another thing you can do as you have that list, whatever your CRM, however you're managing your contacts, yeah, go in and compliment them. Hey, I saw you worked with this influencer on a clap. The post looked amazing. Congrats. Ask for nothing. You cannot have every email be you asking for something. So send them something interesting, compliment them anything but just asking them for stuff. If you've just sent them two weeks before an interesting article and they were like, Thanks so much, love this. A week later you're like, Oh, so funny person that works for the Four Seasons, I'm going on vacation. Could you help me out with a room right now? That conversation is much easier because I no longer feel like this relationship is transactional. What we need to show as salespeople, which you are, is I'm thinking of you when it doesn't do me any good.
"What we need to show, as salespeople, is I'm thinking of you when it doesn't do me any good." - James Nord
I thought about you in some capacity other than you are a person who gives me money. I think when you can prove that and you really, and it's true and you build that relationship, it gets so much easier when you have to ask for things, you will feel so much more confident in those asks. You won't feel squeamish about it and they will feel better about being able to be honest with you, yes or no.
What is the number of followers you need to bring in brand deals?
James: Question number two, is there a tipping point as far as a number of followers that puts you in a different category of influencers? For instance, is a hundred thousand followers substantial enough to warrant brand attention? This is one of those questions that we have answered a number of times throughout the lifetime of the show. It's interesting because the answer changes over time. It used to be, I would say all the time that like 50,000 followers was when you could really start to seriously consider a career as an influencer at a hundred thousand followers.
You probably could do this full-time if you really focused on it and lots of caveats there, right? That you have a more commercial feed, you're talking about brands, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. A hundred thousand followers on a meme account's not gonna do **** for you. Realistically, I think that's still the case that 50 to a hundred thousand is a kind of tipping point of you really have something happening here, but the space is really changing and I see a lot of our employees that have a couple of thousand followers, they're getting brand packages, they're getting, they're on PR lists, they're getting invited to events, they're getting gifted things, they're even doing sponsored posts in some cases.
So I think brands have really lowered the threshold of where they will work with someone as they look for more niche-engaged influencers. If you do have a smaller following, it means you have to have even more focus of a point of view, 5,000 followers.
"If you do have a smaller following, it means you have to have even more focus of a point of view." - James Nord
It's just not enough people to create the kind of impact a brand needs. So you have to really make sure the story is good and that's on you to tell that story and to craft it and to understand how to communicate to a brand why while you only have 5,000 followers, those followers are really interesting. I still do believe a hundred thousand followers certainly on Instagram can change your life forever. TikTok I think is a little different In some way, your life is changed dramatically.
Very lastly, we'll touch on because somebody asked about verification on Twitter. Look, Twitter's like crazy right now and obviously you can pay get verification different than the actual verification and there's a lot of questions around that. Social media platforms verification flow is flawed. I as a blue check on Instagram, enjoy a life of luxury and ease and resentment from my non-blue checks.
Again, realistically, the experience is obviously no different. It's always been really vague about how you get verified. It generally has to do with if somebody at the platform, because I met the verification standards for Instagram for years before I got verified and it was just somebody I knew who was like, Oh, you should definitely be verified. That made it happen. I don't know that Elon Musk's solution is any better. I think it potentially causes some really big problems.
I do appreciate that. While he's a bit unhinged, we're taking some swings, we're trying some things, he already put out the gray check verification and then three hours later just canceled it and killed it completely. I think we're gonna see more chaos from Twitter, but if it gets other platforms to move a little bit faster and to change some of these things that there hasn't been much of a need to change over the last few years, I think that could be a good thing. So we'll see where it goes. I'm sure by next week, Mr. Musk will have given us a lot of other random **** to talk about because that is what he does. He is an attention factory and we will talk about all of that and more next week.
Please, as always, send in your questions and thank you.