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Ep. 80 - Dive Into Influencer Marketing Now: It Will Only Help Your Business with Myran Mahroo

Myran is a technology native with over 10 years of experience in digital marketing. He has a passion for data, good design, and having the ability to drive impact.

He loves to create. Whether it’s developing ultra-complex marketing automation campaigns, hashing out an integrated marketing strategy, or designing an email or landing page, he loves taking ideas and bringing them to life.

Myran values working in highly productive teams and having the opportunity to make the world a better place by driving results through awesome marketing. 

In This Conversation We Discuss: (50 Characters)

  • [00:00] Intro
  • [00:36] Sponsor: Gorgias gorgias.link/honest
  • [01:48] Myran’s journey before Modern Gents
  • [04:41] Biggest mistake: Not preparing for fast growth
  • [07:02] Businesses rely on each other
  • [07:45] Fulfillment supply chain largely affected
  • [08:42] Chase and Myran’s COVID contemplations
  • [10:00] Sponsor: Klaviyo klaviyo.com
  • [10:29] How starting brands should approach influencers
  • [21:34] When should brands consider an influencer platform?
  • [24:37] Influencer marketing budget considerations
  • [26:21] 200 influencers but it isn’t MG’s largest channel
  • [27:51] Modern Gent’s Influencer’s dollar value calculator
  • [29:27] Dave’s experience dealing with influencers
  • [31:28] Sponsor: Postscript postscript.io/install
  • [31:58] Creating content is hard; Influencers help with that
  • [32:43] UGC is beneficial, but hard to quantify and measure
  • [35:02] Grin.co helps MG to track influencer-related data
  • [35:49] Influencer marketing is a “good faith” channel
  • [37:16] Compliance is a big factor when dealing with UGC
  • [38:40] Don’t hesitate to dive into influencer marketing

Resources:

  • Myran’s LinkedIn page: linkedin.com/in/myranmahroo
  • Modern Gents Trading Company’s website: modgents.com
  • Myran’s recommended influencer marketing platform grin.co
  • Modern Gent’s “Influencer Dollar Value Calculator” - Engagement Rate x Followers x $0.11
  • Visit gorgias.link/honest to get your 2nd month with Gorgias free!
  • Visit klaviyo.com to schedule a demo!
  • Visit postscript.io/install for a free 30-day trial!
  • To get updates on our new episodes and exclusive deals from our partners, text HONESTVIP to 72599 and join our VIP texting list!

If you’re enjoying the show, we’d love it if you left Honest eCommerce a review on Apple Podcasts. It makes a huge impact on the success of the podcast, and we love reading every one of your reviews!

 Transcript:

 Myran Mahroo 

Don't look at just the amount of followers and engagement that they get. Look at relevancy to your brand.

Chase Clymer
Welcome to Honest Ecommerce, where we're dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners.

I'm your host Chase Clymer, and I believe running an online business does not have to be complicated or a guessing game.

If you're struggling with scaling your sales, Electric Eye is here to help. To apply to work with us visit electriceye.io/connect to learn more. Now let's get on with the show.

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Chase Clymer
All right, everybody welcome back to another episode of Honest Ecommerce today. Joining me all the way from sunny California is Myran Mahroo. Myron is the founder of Modern Gents Trading Company. We met last fall at Klaviyo Boston. We are both far from home. And he enjoys drinking cheap beer and so do I. So that's how we met.

Myran Mahroo
(laughs)

Chase Clymer
Myron, welcome to the show.

Myran Mahroo
Hey thanks for having me, Chase.

Chase Clymer
Awesome. Awesome. So we met at Klaviyo and you were giving me the history of the brand and how you guys have evolved to where you are now. And what we realized is you guys have a really, really cool approach to your affiliate marketing or influencer marketing, however you want to bill it.

So we're gonna get into that in a bit. But before that let's talk about the history of the brand and how you got to where you are now. So what were you doing before the brand, I guess?

Myran Mahroo
Yeah. So before the brand I was working for I was in the marketing automation field. So at the time prior to actually launching this brand, I was working for a company called Cylance.

It's an artificial intelligence, cybersecurity company. It was a tech startup in Irvine, which is super fast paced craziness. I was running a ton of marketing automation platforms for B2B potential customers, doing a lot of event marketing and things like that. Really cool stuff.

I was using Marketo. So a lot of automation and rules, behind the scenes for different email, and other sorts of campaigns. And so while doing that, I'd already been in the marketing space for quite a bit. I had done similar roles and other companies previous to that. [We] launched the brand... I think it was July of 2017. And yeah.

Me and my business partner, Mike Lastrina, who's a super awesome dude... He's actually busy working right now. But him and I started the company. Originally, we were selling men's accessories and rings, with the focus of selling wedding rings, just because him and I both talked and we're both married men.

And we were talking about how wedding rings are a ripoff. And we're just looking at the men's rings in general. It's such a basic band that just goes around your finger. And you had stores like Kay’s and Jared charging $300 - $400 for just a hunk of metal.

So he and I kind of decided like, "Hey, I'm sure it doesn't cost that much to manufacture these things. Let's look into it." We launched the site. Yeah, things kind of exploded a couple months later. And here we are, almost 3 years and things [are] flourishing. We've got a pretty good sized staff. We've got our own building. We've come a long way.

And with that, there were lots of struggles and challenges but definitely lots of good learnings to building a brand, especially in the current day and age of influencers and “Instagram celebrities”, as you would call them. So, yeah. I don't know. I could go on all day about it.

But for the most part, it's been a wild journey. And [I'm] happy to be here. And we're on Shopify, which is an amazing platform, coming from other Ecommerce platforms like Magento and some other platforms that I don't even want to mention.

Shopify has definitely been great with its cloud-based infrastructure. You don't have to worry about hiring IT staff to maintain stuff. So everything's been good working on the cloud.

Chase Clymer
Awesome. So I like to ask this question to people. What was the biggest mistake you made in growing the brand that you want to help listeners avoid?

Myran Mahroo
Biggest mistake, I would say, is growing too fast. (laughs) Be ready for scalability, looking at your infrastructure. If you're going to run ad campaigns and you're going to scale up, make sure that you're properly staffed and able to handle the volume.

Yeah, that's definitely one mistake that we did make. It's just under-anticipating the power of online advertising and the rapid rate in which you can grow a company. So I would say that was definitely a mistake.

Now we've gone through the hurdle. And now we're looking at data, forecasting a little bit better and being a little bit more methodical about how we play.

Chase Clymer
Yeah, that's something I always ask brands when we're discussing working together. And I was like, "Hey, imagine if your sales doubled next week? Like, could you do that? Is that possible? Is that something that you guys could actually fulfill?"

Myran Mahroo
Yeah, that's definitely something. It's... And coming from my background, working more... I've done... Ran businesses on the side, nothing necessarily to the extent of what we've had here with Modern Gents.

But my business partner Mike, he founded a company in 2012. It was actually a wood printing company. It was actually the first company that invented the technology to print on wood. And so he was in the ecommerce space with more customized products. And he had seen the wrath of rampant growth and what it can do to a company.

And when you're slammed with orders, and you're slammed with tons of calls and emails, you don't have the staff to really support all of that, things can go haywire really fast. It's maintaining that level of customer satisfaction, making sure you're getting your orders shipped out and also brand reputation.

If you're the type of company that's just going to be taking orders and can't ship stuff out or can't uphold the promises that you're going to make, words are gonna spread and your reputation for your brand is just going to tarnish online. So yeah, having those things in mind, definitely important.

Chase Clymer
Yeah. That's especially super prudent right now. We're recording this in the middle or tail end --I don't know what we'd call it-- of the epidemic/pandemic that's going on.

Myran Mahroo
Yeah.

Chase Clymer
So messaging and making sure you can fulfill, it's so top of mind right now for anybody.

Myran Mahroo
Absolutely. Yeah, it's just crazy, the situation that we're all in globally, if you think about it. Yeah. Just with infrastructure and looking at the logistics of your business and what you're reliant upon, even the simplest thing like bubble mailers.

Being able to secure enough bubble mailers to get your orders out, can be a challenge. We found [that] there was a specific company we were ordering from --and we were ordering in bulk-- and they just like completely shut their doors.

So we had to quickly pivot and find another manufacturer of bubble mailers and to get the ball rolling or else we wouldn't be able to ship orders out. So things like that. It's just crazy how reliant we are upon each other as businesses.

Chase Clymer
Yeah. That's something that I hadn't even considered, all the nuance that goes into fulfilling an order. You may have the product in stock, but there's other stuff you need to get it done.

Myran Mahroo
Absolutely. Packaging inserts... We have jewelry boxes that we send our rings in. So, yeah. Making sure we have those properly printed. We have foil stamps and everything. We've got cleaning cloths that go in... There are a lot of components that go into our packages.

So making sure that our supply chain is good, and [that] we're able to get those together. And then also at the same time with restrictions on shipping in general, and running a business, and keeping the doors open, we had to scale back a bit and go...

Basically most of our staff had to go remote and we had to operate [a] skeleton crew. This is what we can get done. Obviously adhering to social distancing, best practices, and things like that. But it's just crazy. Just crazy times we live in. We can go on all day about that. But yeah, I think we're here to talk about influencer marketing, right?

Chase Clymer
Yeah. By the time this comes out, I hope that the world's in a better place. And people might not want to talk about this stuff anymore.

Myran Mahroo
Yeah, I'm kind of tired of talking about it, too. (laughs)

Chase Clymer
(laughs)

Myran Mahroo
I feel like it's the topic of conversation everywhere. If you're not talking about COVID, you're seeing COVID memes or you’re seeing Carole Baskin memes, Tiger King stuff. It's just a weird time to live in.

Chase Clymer
Yeah. I feel like...

Myran Mahroo
(laughs)

Chase Clymer
...this was written by a comedian this year.

Myran Mahroo
Definitely. Yeah, it's a wild year. Yeah. I have an almost 14-month old at home and I just can't wait to reminisce about how crazy everything was. Just walking in a grocery store and just seeing everybody wearing masks, and kids wearing masks, and just everybody acting as though it's just normal.

It's the norm. If you were to give me a snippet of [or] a snapshot of that last year, --this time last year-- I'd be like, "You're crazy. This is... There's no way that this is gonna go down." But...

Chase Clymer
Yeah.

Myran Mahroo
It's just mind blowing. Mind blowing. I don't know how it is in Illinois. That's where you're at, right?

Chase Clymer
Close enough. Ohio. Right next door.

Myran Mahroo
Ohio! That's... Pfft. See, you had too much of that cheap beer at the Klaviyo conference. I think it was actually more [of a] free beer... But anyway, that's beside the point. (laughs)

Chase Clymer
Yeah.

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Chase Clymer
So let's pivot. Let's talk about influencers. You guys do quite a bit of marketing. You guys really understand your customers. At the top of the funnel, for prospecting, using influencers, I think, is genius, especially for what you're doing.

So I guess let's... Walk us through how you approach that, maybe from the mindset of how a new brand or a younger brand or someone that hasn't doesn't have this program instilled in their systems yet. How [should they] be approaching it?

Myran Mahroo
Sure. So, I would categorize influencer marketing into... For some brands, it's worked really well as their main source of just establishing their business. Given the extreme level of "influence" we have in social media these days, people are more apt to buy a product that somebody that they follow and trust would recommend.

So it's almost like a modern-day celebrity endorsement if you think about it. So when we started this, we weren't initially going down the influencer route in the beginning just because we were focusing on building the company and getting logistics and everything down. And as far as advertising are concerned, we were just doing Facebook and Instagram.

But not necessarily on the organic or influencer side. Now, I think it was about like a year and we really saw the power of what influencer marketing can do, looking at other big Shopify brands.

They were just crushing it. Like MVMT watches or like Pura Vida Bracelets bracelets or any of those other influencer marketing heavy companies. We saw the trend kind of going in that direction. And obviously, it all comes down to user attention.

There's so much noise on the News Feed already or on the Instagram feed you're scrolling. It's like your friends pic, an ad. Friends pic, another ad. Another ad from something that you haven't even talked about but you might have thought about. So it's just crazy.

Because of that noise., we wanted to figure out a way to capture people's attention through a more organic-looking approach. So we decided to go into influencer marketing. And obviously, we had 3 goals in mind.

We wanted increased exposure, which in turn could translate to increase potential revenue, but we knew it wasn't necessarily going to be a direct translation or... You're not going to get that same level of measurement that you get from a Facebook ad or an Instagram ad or any sort of social ad that has good tracking or analytics.

So increased exposure which in turn increases social presence. And so that directly can relate to followers on Instagram. Instagram is pretty much the main social channel that we've used for influencer marketing.

We've done some stuff on YouTube, but Instagram is definitely like where it's at right now. And so that increased exposure could potentially turn into revenue, but then it also increases social presence. And then in turn from there, you get a lot of really good UGC or user generated content.

Now, when working with influencers, a lot of times you can negotiate like "Alright, can we use the content that you create whether it be like a video review or a photo? Can we use that on our feed? And can we also embed that on our site and use it for email blasts? Can we use it for banners/for collection pages?"

Things like that. So going from increased exposure to increased social presence, and then getting better user generated content, we figured we can create the sort of organic look and feel throughout all of our presence across the web.

So not only are you going to see photos of people just out doing their everyday things, wearing our rings, you're going to see them on Instagram, whether it be on their social profile... On their profile, on our profile, you'll see it on our site because we're also using Foursixty, which is like a shoppable, Instagram plugin.

And products are tagged and there are people that are able to see "Alright, here's what this product looks like. Here are different photos." It's tagged in on Instagram. So they can visualize what this product looks like out in the wild.

And then from there, it's just taking that content and then using it for things like I said: Email blasts, collection banners, and things of that sort. All together gives you a less sterile look and a more lifestyle... The well-integrated brand look and feel, I should say. It's just...

Basically it gives you that organic look and doesn't make you seem like just some pop up Shopify store that's a dropshipping channel. So that's essentially what we were trying to go for. Because we're in it for the long haul.

Building the brand, building trust, building credibility with our customers and our followers on social that might not necessarily be customers yet. So when we did that, we started reaching out to people that... I had a few employees just dedicated to scrubbing Instagram, and just going through and finding influencers or people that were on there.

And not necessarily heavy-hitters, but people with maybe 10,000 followers, 15,000 followers, 5000 followers, just anybody who looks like they fit the aesthetic that we were going for. And we would just DM them and get their feel on like how comfortable they are working with brands.

And in the beginning, people weren't really... They weren't really transacting the way that they're transacting now. Seems like everybody who's got 10,000+ followers has an email address in their bio. Yeah, for "DM for inquiries" or something. "Send me an email if you want to work with me."

And back then, it was more like...These people had a lot of followers but they weren't really advertising the fact that they wanted to work with brands. So a lot of people that we reach out to, never worked with brands.

So it was a little dicey negotiating with them. There wasn't necessarily a right way of doing it. It was just more like, "Hey, we like your aesthetic. We love your content. We want to work with you. Are you willing to collaborate with us?"

And so we just send them that and they'd be like... A lot of people would be like, "Oh yeah. For sure. What do you want me to do? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." And some people would be like, "What do you mean? Give me more details."

And so it came down to like, "Alright, we're gonna send you some product. And you do a post, promote us on your story, tag us in it, and then shake hands. And then if it works out, we might work again later."

So we started with more like a non-paid approach. "Here's a free product. If you're really interested in the brand, we will send you a couple rings, some accessories, things like that. Do a post for us and we're good. That's the transaction done and then move on."

And if that influencer brought in any traction or a lot of engagement then we'd work with them again and send them more stuff. And so in the beginning, it started with just trades... I guess you would call it like a trade transaction.

And from there, we noticed that there were a hell of a lot of people that were just scamming us. There's just people out there that were like, "Yeah, for sure. I'll do it." You send them the product and then crickets. People ghost us all the time.

So we started being a little more like picky-choosy about who we'd work with. And take a look and see "Alright, had they have they collaborated with brands before? Are they credible or trustworthy?"

And while doing that we found like this app on the app store called Collabor8, if you ever heard of it. [It’s] spelled like "Collab", "or", and then the number "8". And so we hopped on there, and we started like finding influencers through there.

And that platform was pretty cool because they were... Influencers had like a rating. So if brands would go on there to work with them, they had a good experience, they'd give that influencer a rating.

Like, "Yeah. 5 stars, 4 stars." Whatever. And as a brand, you could create a sort of listing or a campaign. And people could reach out to you based on the criteria. So it was almost like tapping into a network of influencers that were on the app, and just were willing to work with brands and just knew the gamut.

They knew how it worked. This is how it gets done. And the cool thing about Collabor8 was they had little things like an escrow account, where if you were doing a paid collaboration, which we hadn't really done too many of those until we got on there...

If you were doing a paid collaboration, you would put funds in there and the influencer wouldn't get the funds released to them until you approved whatever sort of content they produced. And it was up.

Basically, the terms were met and you pay the influencer, and then you move on, and then you can give them a rating, or whatever. And then for those that worked out, well, you could work with them again.

So it was interesting. As we were doing that, we noticed that there was a ton of communication going on around. There were people that were DMing, there were people emailing, they were people [that] were talking to collaborate, and keeping track of this was nutty.

It's like, "Alright, so who am I working with? What have they done? What have they produced?" And from a business owner standpoint, I had a few employees working on this and keeping track of it. It was still a complete cluster, just trying to get any sort of data like, "Okay, Emily Smith..." --I'm just gonna use that as an example.-- Emily Smith, we worked with her before.

We've given her maybe like 2 or 3 products. We might have done a paid collab or whatever. What did she do? Where's the content at? How do we keep track of it? What was the original agreement that we had with her.

And because we might have worked with her in DMs, or in the Collabor8 app or on email, it was just a nightmare. So as we began to scale and grow this thing, we realized that it wasn't feasible to just like keep track of everything and just fly-by the seat of your pants.

So we had the spreadsheet that was just gnarly, tons of information on there. And it was... We had to make sure that we kept it up to date, as people did things, and it just became a task. I had like 2 full-time employees just working on that. And it was pretty nuts. And it wasn't that efficient.

Because the time that they were spending on reconciling the information and putting it in the tracker, they could have been reaching out to more people. So it got pretty messy from there. So we were looking for an influencer marketing like solution to, I guess, hurdle, the stray cats.

Get everything together and corralled, and put all the information in a single place. One sort of line of communication for everything.

And me as a business owner, being able to just hop in there and just take a look and see macro stats like "Alright, how many influencers are we working with? What's the amount of product that we've given out when we got back in revenue wise or engagement wise?" And things like that.

And talking about tracking revenue, that's another dicey thing to even get into. I think we could probably hop into that later because... I digress. But...

Chase Clymer
Yeah.

Myran Mahroo
We're looking for a solution. And we landed on Grin. Grin.co, which is an influencer marketing platform. That pretty much did everything we needed to do in one single place.

And yeah, I could talk more about details to that. I tend to go down a bunny hole, or rabbit hole, just because there's just so many things involved with this topic. But I'd rather you may be asked me a few specific questions so I can dive in. I don't know if all of this ranting is helpful.

Chase Clymer
Yeah, I mean, I guess first and foremost, how big did you actually get this program to where you needed an application, a SaaS product to help you with?

How many people do you think you were dealing with at a time, to let people understand the expectations of A, you can start this program with a spreadsheet, it will work there. You don't need to invest in an app right off the get go. But when to start thinking about moving into something a little more serious?

Myran Mahroo
Sure. So when we were just rocking just that Collabor8 app and reaching out, just based on --I would call it like headhunting on Instagram-- I'd say we were in talks with maybe about 75 to 100 influencers, and actively working with maybe about 30 or 40 of the time.

And so you can just imagine how much time it takes to respond to emails, and then log information, and then going back in, and verifying that they actually posted content. Following up with the --I'll call them the-- trolls or the scammers that,just basically got the product and didn't do anything.

And yeah, there was a lot of coordination involved. And when it got to that, 40 active influencers, 75 to 100 in talks, it was just like, "Holy shit, this is super hard to handle." And employees are just...

They're spending all their day just following up with people and chasing trolls around to try to get them to post content and it just got nutty. So, you can definitely do it with a spreadsheet. And I'm sure a lot of other brands have done it with a spreadsheet, and they've scaled it.

They're probably better ways to do it now. But what we were doing is just straight like "We got to get influencers. We got to just go and do it, log it, keep things going and worry about like that top-level reporting later." And it got to the point of when we were actually carving out a pretty good chunk of our budget to influencer marketing, that we decided to invest in that SaaS product.

Chase Clymer
Awesome. So, from zero to 40-ish active retainer relationships going on at a time is where you can use maybe a DIY approach. And then it turns into the headache that makes it worth the investment.

Myran Mahroo
For sure. And yeah, you can control... The problem is we were hitting it like at all different angles. Like "Alright, we're going to talk to them through DMS. We're going to talk to them through email. We're going to talk them through here."

In a perfect world of everybody just [using] Instagram DMs, and actually checking them, and responding to them, then it would make it would have made things a lot easier because you can track your communications in there.

But because we're using that other platform, and then a lot of influencers are... As people got more... They realized like, "Hey, I could actually create a business out of my personal brand."

People were leaning more and more towards being contacted through email and not through DM. So it got to a point to where it was just like, "We've got to talk to them in these different areas or else they're not going to respond to us".

And there might have been some influencers that we were really wanting to work with, and we just couldn't necessarily get in contact with them without hopping to a different platform.

Chase Clymer
Yeah. You said something earlier that I want to bring back up which was you're carving out more and more of your budget. So this is your marketing budget?

Myran Mahroo
Yeah. So well, just essentially putting more money towards it. We went in with the expectation of just trying like a for-trade sort of approach in the beginning.

So it's just like "Alright, cost of product is essentially the cost for us if we send them like 1 ring, 2 rings, or a bangle, or earrings or any sort of accessories.

We would know like "Alright, here's generally what we're going to send them in product costs. And then in exchange, we're going to get a post or a story or whatever. And we would give them a discount code they could use, so that we can somewhat track sales on our end."

And going in and assigning discount codes was, was also another thing that took forever. It's like, "Okay, you got to go and you got to create the discount code, and then log it in the spreadsheet. Emily Smith is gonna have a code that might be like, "EMILYSMITH20", for 20% off.

So then you'd have that there, you'd have the discount code log, and you'd look in your spreadsheet and you'd be like, "I want to see how Emily Smith is doing." And you go.

And then you'd have to take that discount code, hop back into Shopify, search for the discount, look at the sales by discount report, and then you finally see like, "Alright, Emily Smith brought in 50 sales, X amount of revenue, or whatever. She did pretty good."

Because if you look at return on investment, I might have sent her like $40 in product and I might have made a few thousand off of that. So I want to work with Emily Smith more. But in order to get to that conclusion, there are so many steps involved.

And then you got to do that for... Times that by 40 or times it by 100 depending on how big you are. So it gets a little hairy after a while.

Chase Clymer
I guess people are gonna want to know. How many are you working with now?

Myran Mahroo
We're working... Actively working with probably, I don't even have the exact number. I know it's definitely over 200.

Chase Clymer
Whoa!

Myran Mahroo
And those are like, yeah.

Chase Clymer
Is this your biggest channel? As far as acquisition goes?

Myran Mahroo
No, it's not. And it's interesting. And then this is a combination. It's not like 200 all at once like everyday 200 people are gonna post. Within a giving [a] rolling 30 days, we'll probably work with 200 influencers to where we might have 2 or 3 posts a day, or 3 or 4 or whatever.

And if we have some that would like we like working, we might as well set them up. I'm like "Yo, repeat post." But our goal right now is just to get exposure to as many people as possible through social means and get that user-generated content that just looks and feels great.

And by having a strict rigor of going through these profiles and making sure we're working with the right people, we're able to do that. But you know, we could work with more if we want. But I have 2 full-time employees just dedicated to this. I've got somebody who handles influencer relations.

So going back and forth with influencers, negotiations, and things like that. I set some sort of a threshold with that employee, "Alright. If they're good, their stats, look out good [or] come out good..." Yeah. With Grin, you're able to look at engagement reports and see "Alright, this person's got like 100,000 followers, and they've got a 7% engagement rate, which is outstanding."

We have this sort of calculator that we created. And it's... I can't remember exactly how we did it, but we came up with a dollar value, based on the amount of followers and the engagement that they get, and it kind of spits out like a dollar value, and what we use for like negotiating. And that might be going a little bit further down.

But we take that and if somebody's like way outside of the range, then they bring it up to me and my business partner and we go through and personally look at these influencers that might be celebrities, or people that are way above the threshold that we set, and we'll make the determination to want to work with them or not.

Chase Clymer
Yeah, that's some gold right there. If you could figure out what that calculation is, And if you could share it, that'd be great so we can put it in the show notes. I'm sure people would be curious as to how that calculation works.

Myran Mahroo
Yeah. Obviously, we got the engagement rate, and the only way you can really get the engagement rate is either you get it from the person themselves, which they're probably not going to give the best represent... They're gonna sugarcoat it.

They're gonna be like, "Oh, yeah, I've got a 20% engagement rate." But that's bullshit. If you have a 20% engagement rate, then I don't know. Even Kylie Jenner, I think, has like a 1% or 2% engagement rate.

Look at her Instagram account, but she's got millions upon millions of followers. But you get that number and plug in that calculator that we created, it just spits out like a dollar amount.

And by no means is it super polished, but it's just a nice starting point for negotiation. And yeah, I'll go in there and I'll definitely get that sent over and break it down a little bit if you want to take a look at it. But...

Chase Clymer
Yeah. Yeah.

Myran Mahroo
It's interesting. Yeah. The whole psychology behind influencer negotiations and working with these people. You've got influencers that are very humble and willing to work with brands that they like and then you've got some that are just super stuck up and they're like, "Yeah. I won't do anything for less than $10,000."

And they have 100,000 followers and maybe a low engagement rate. Calculator says it might be worth $800 and they want $10,000? We tell them to kick rocks or we just don't even bother working with them.

And then you've got some that have an agent and so there's this whole crazy talent economy that's out there based on influencers. There [are] influencer agencies that are managing people like they're celebrities and you work with the agent. And obviously, the agent is taking a cut.

And then there's certain restrictions you might have with how you can use the content. We were working with the celebrity, it was like a game show host can't remember. I'm not even gonna drop names. But...

Chase Clymer
Yeah.

Myran Mahroo
Anyway, we were trying to work with this girl. And the agent was like, "Oh yeah. Well, we're down to the collab. But you can't use any of the content that she created on any of your... Other than your Instagram account. You can't use it on your website, you can't use it for anything else. Can't post it on other social channels."

And that rubbed us the wrong way. And they still wanted a pretty decent...

Chase Clymer
That makes it not worth it.

Myran Mahroo
Yeah. Well, if you're looking at the goals, that checks the exposure goal for sure. Because if that person's got 2 million followers or whatever, alright, you're gonna get exposure. But then it's short lived. If it's a story or a post, it's gonna be forgotten.

But if you're able to take that content, repost it on your feed and maybe use it later on email blasts or have it on your site, or whatever, it lives on and you get a little bit more for your investment. And if it's somebody that people recognize, they're instantly going to resonate with that. And they might be like "Oh yeah. So and so worked with this brand. They must be trustworthy."

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Chase Clymer
Yeah, I think that it is probably a part that a lot of people overlook with the influencer thing. It's just one, creating content is a beast of a thing to do for business. It's a lot of work. I probably spend half my time creating content for the agency, and it's not fun.

Myran Mahroo
Oh yeah.

Chase Clymer
(laughs) Well, it is fun but it's like, I'd rather be...

Myran Mahroo
(laughs)

Chase Clymer
I'd rather be strategizing or working with clients or there's a lot of other things that are a little bit more fun,

Myran Mahroo
For sure. Yeah, definitely.

Chase Clymer
But yeah. Within that content creation, part of the influencer marketing thing like that, all that content you're getting just makes everything else so much easier. Coming up with content for your Facebook ads, done.

You got all this stuff. Content for your email blasts, done. You got all that stuff. Honestly, your social media is pretty much gonna run itself at that point because you've got so much UGC coming in.

Myran Mahroo
Exactly, and that was the goal. It's like the UGC is a big... People judge your brand based on their social media channels because more than likely, that's like the first touch point. Unless, we rank on Google for a lot of keywords.

And yeah, they might find us through Google search or something. But the majority of the time, people are going to be coming from Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or wherever. They're going to see our brand, the content that we post on there, the content that we're tagged in, --yeah-- what people are saying about us when they hop over to the site. And just having that sprinkled throughout the site to give it life and to give it that organic feel is definitely beneficial.

And you can't necessarily put a dollar value on it. You can, but it's more like qualitative versus quantitative. It's not as cut and dry as like, "Alright. If you work with 200 influencers, you're gonna get a 10x ROI or return on ad spend." Or whatever. It doesn't work that way. There are some reporting capabilities --like I said-- like having special discount codes.

But the problem with that is, you have these discount codes that you create. People go on your site and they might find another discount or they might find a discount code that might be higher, if you're running a promotion and managing that whole spectrum of coordinating a seasonal campaign with influencer discount codes.

And if they see the content a couple months later, it might not necessarily align. So people might be using other discount codes or not using discount codes at all. And you can't necessarily do a 1-to-1 translation as to whether or not Emily Smith brought in 50 sales or she brought in 100 sales.

So it's hard. And Grin, --the platform that we use-- actually makes it pretty easy because based on criteria, it'll automatically generate discount codes, it'll automatically create orders in Shopify to send your product out to these influencers and then it gives you return on investment reporting, and it gives you more of a... It gives you a straight "Here's your return on investment from a sales standpoint."

And then it gives you some sort of an engagement ROI, which I haven't necessarily paid too much attention to. I just basically look and see like, "Alright. Are we doing... Are we on the upside with the ROI that we're getting that's actually trackable? And are we somewhat profitable?"

We obviously know that there's a black hole because people are interacting with the site in so many different ways. And because you can't necessarily put an affiliate link through Instagram... There are ways...

They can do them with swipe-up links, or they can put the link in their bio, it's not necessarily as directly translatable as like, having a link that they click that's like a cookie and gives you the ability to actually track whether or not they make a purchase within a conversion window.

Chase Clymer
Yeah.Tracking affiliates, and tracking influencers, and tracking just where customers first interact and then the last interaction that makes them purchase is a whole wild west of data analytics. That is definitely better suited for a different show.

Myran Mahroo
(laughs)

Chase Clymer
But I think at the end of the day though, you can definitely draw a direct correlation between "While we were working with X amount of influencers a month, sales are at this [amount]. And now we're working with Y, and sales are that."

There's definitely a correlation between the amount of effort that you're putting into a channel that's working, and what you're seeing on the other side.

Myran Mahroo
Yeah. It's one of those good faith channels. You're putting it in, you know you're not gonna necessarily be able to see [the] direct quantitative stats right away. It's more of a snowball effect really.

Once you hit that tipping point on social to where you've got tons of content being pushed out, you've got tons of people posting about you, you've got a lot of... You got a lot of buzz going on on these channels about your brand, it only adds to your credibility, and then just increases your exposure to other people.

And from a psychological standpoint, if they see a lot of people talking about it, people have this FOMO: fear of missing out. Like, "Oh wow. Well, everyone's talking about Modern Gent's rings, maybe I should look at buying one of those."

And from there, it just takes you to that next level that you couldn't necessarily get to without user-generated content... And not to say that you can't get that content from your customers. You can use reviews platforms like Stamped.io or... Whatever the one... That big one. Can't remember.

Chase Clymer
Yotpo

Myran Mahroo
Yotpo. There we go. We use Stamped. Driving your existing customer base to post user-generated content is one thing. But at the same time, then you got to capture release forms and other things like that.

Having an influencer platform that keeps track of all that for you and makes people e-sign an agreement saying "Hey, if you submit content. You're giving up... You're signing over the rights for us to use this in any way, shape, or form."

And that's the other thing from a compliance standpoint. It's like we don't want to be just taking people's content that they do for us, and then go and post it.

And let's say I run a Facebook ad for it and it gets tons of exposure and then a person comes back later saying like, "Hey, I never authorized you guys can use this for an advertisement."

So having that baked into that platform makes it a lot easier versus having to get people to e-sign a disclosure, or email them some sort of a PDF that they print out and sign and send back to you.

That's if you're doing it by the book, which I would always recommend doing this by the book. I don't like shortcuts and I don't like dealing with any sort of like legal mishaps that could potentially occur.

Chase Clymer
Yeah, that's amazing. Dude, you've come on here and you've shared just so much awesome information about how influencer marketing works and the ins and outs. I can't thank you enough there. Is there anything that I forgot to ask you about that you think's worthwhile sharing before we end the podcast?

Myran Mahroo
I would say to anybody who's looking to start influencer marketing, I would just dive right into it. Don't even hesitate. It took us a year to even dip our toe in the water.

And I just wish I would have cannonballed right into that swimming pool because there's so much power behind it and it can only compliment whatever other advertising methods that you're using and other avenues and channels.

And it has more of a long term effect, because it builds your social presence, you're going to gain more followers, people are going to talk more about your brand. And the thing is, overall, it's just a good thing. I would almost compare it to-- like I mentioned earlier-- it's like celebrity endorsements.

You think about a celebrity that you might trust or like you just really enjoy. And if they're using a specific product, you might be more willing to use it yourself. And not to say that you have to use macro-influencers. You can use micro-influencers, too because we live in a day and age where somebody with 4000 followers might have a better engagement rate than somebody who has 40,000 or 400,000.

And there might be more. It all comes down to quality over quantity, too. So that person was 4000 followers, if they have a 50% engagement rate, there's like 2000 people that are just really into that person and really want to get involved with what they're doing. They're super interested.

If you look at very tight knit groups of people like moms, for instance, a lot of mom blogs and mom accounts... People are going through similar situations like pregnancy, and having their first kid, and other things like that. And we actually use a lot of mom accounts because when people are... When people are pregnant, their ring size tends to change. Their fingers swell up, so we targeted that specific group because we wanted them...

We wanted people to know like "Hey, if your finger is swelling, yeah. You can change your... Instead of changing your ring size of your wedding band you got you can get another ring that might be a different size and it's not gonna break the bank."

So different things like that. Getting creative with how you're targeting these influencers. Don't look at just the amount of followers and engagement that they get. Look at relevancy to your brand.

Chase Clymer
Myron, thank you so much for coming on the show today. You shared just so much awesome stuff.

Myran Mahroo
Glad to be here.

Chase Clymer
I cannot thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing their journey and knowledge with us today. We've got a lot to think about and potentially add to our businesses. Links and more information will be available in the show notes as well.

If anything in this podcast resonated with you and your business, feel free to reach out and learn more at electriceye.io/connect. Also, make sure you subscribe and leave an amazing review. Thank you!