Cody worked with everyone from LeBron to Mummy bloggers as his entrance to the influencer world. As I continuously bang on about the importance of content and marketing, it felt natural to shine some light on a lesser talked about topic on Amazon - influencers.
In this episode we discuss:
You can find Cody on Twitter here.
[0:00:01] George Reid: Welcome to us Always Day One. My name is George Reid, a former Amazonian turned amazon consultant. Each week on the podcast you're going to hear industry experts. Brand owners and amazon employees share their answers to the basic yet fundamental questions you should be asking yourself bang your amazon business now, let's jump in. Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of It's always day one today we've got Cody, Wittig, sorry, code if I've got a right or wrong Cody, gonna give us a brief background of a very short friendship on Switzerland, which is about one day um you cropped up on the influence of space. I knew I needed someone to come chat about it when it gives the background on yourself.
[0:00:42] Cody Wittick: Yeah, of course. Um yeah, so before starting kinship, which is the influencer marketing agency that I started with, my business partner Taylor about 2.5 years ago I worked at a brand on the brand side building an influencer program for a brand called Kahlo that created sort of the silicone wedding ring market that you might have seen on amazon or you know, the by five for $5. But this was kind of the, The original story Teller sold for much more expensive at $25. Um, but I was responsible for building out the influence program there and so we worked with massive, massive names all the way from, you know, Lebron James all the way down to your mommy blogger and everything in between. Just because of the wide use case of a wedding ring, there's so many different, obviously categories married people in general. So it gave me a ton of experience. Um, and what I also saw is that influencers were incredible content creators because, and then this was in the facebook today. So we got to see a ton of repurpose user testimonials from big time macro influencers that got repurposed into ads and You know we're crushing it with seven rows and 11 rows and stuff like that I'm afraid that's not the same today but um yeah we can talk about that all day long but that's kind of my experience before that I worked there for five years and then started kinship and so we work with, do you see commerce brands mainly um and that 5 to 30 million top line revenue per year but you know we also work with the M. And M. S of the world um and some bigger brands maybe native that you've heard of as well, it's A P. And G. Brand but usually it falls within that range. Mhm.
[0:02:26] George Reid: And just thinking about one of the big pieces, I ran all about what a lot is that content piece and I'm repurposing it. Um Have you found with kinship and obviously with your work, Kahlo, anything worked particularly well when creating the relationships of influence is to ensure that you've got a fresh flow of that content is like an S. O. P. In place that you've rinsed and repeated over and over. It's not worth like that.
[0:02:54] Cody Wittick: No, it does work like that. I think just to back up a little bit, you have to build the relationship the right way in order to get, you know, the desired result that you want. So if you're a result is that you're trying to drive is monthly UGC or an ambassador program or affiliate network or you know, working with macros, you have, everybody starts at the same place and that's No influencers I've heard of your product, so you have to get the product into their hands and let the product speaks for itself and if they truly love the product that's going to make obviously much more authentic relationship with influencer, right? So you have to start there. Um, and then once you have people, you know, let's say you have 10 people that are like huge brand adopters love the products of the brand. Now, you have a pool of people that you can do whatever you want with, right? So some people at the gym sharks of the world, they build out a huge affiliate network. Um, you know, the others, they, you know, um, what's the brand that I'm thinking of? Uh, sports drink, body armor, You know, they have massive influencers on their website, mike trout, um, Kobe rest in peace. You know, they have him, you know, on their website, big time influencers. So the point is is that you have to build it the right way so you can get, you know, others rise to the top, so to speak, so that yeah, chips with the right people and that, then you can do what you wish,
[0:04:16] George Reid: what would the start and kind of point b um thinking about this some small medium and large bands, because you're always going to approach it differently to to connect with those right influences and start pulling the building blocks in place. Is it Being aggressive in going straight out, I'm going to give you this for this, or is it more relationship building from day 1?
[0:04:36] Cody Wittick: Um, well I would say what, how you start is the type of relationship that you're going to have. So if you start transactional, it's very hard to all of a sudden go relationship focus
[0:04:47] George Reid: our
[0:04:48] Cody Wittick: approach and just, I think it's the right approach because influencer marketing is a human channel more than email more than facebook as more than amazon you're dealing with humans at the end of day. So this is a relationship focus channel. So you have to start relationship focus. Um, and so therefore starting out off the jump with an aggressive approach of a, we like you, here's my offer, here's the deliverables. Take your leva sure, like people do that and sometimes it works, but that's kind of the nature of our market. But you end up with, you know, the fake untrusted market that a lot of people have a perception of influencer marketing today. And so we like to say that build relationships on giving, not asking. And so therefore for you, the brand owner listening, it's giving out your product for free to the influencer. And that's what I was kind of hinting at pliers, letting the products speak for itself, not your mom, not your money, not your offer, not your deliverables. Um, nothing else. But hey, if you like the product then we can talk further. You know, I compare it to dating a lot. It's the first day, you know, if you start out transaction, he was saying, hey, this is our first day, I want to take you out, but you got to buy dinner like you might have a great first day just like that influencer post might perform well. But the relationship after the fact it's gonna be very transactional from there as opposed to, you know, you know, probably the right way to date is, you know, you pay for dinner, you just provide value as you try to and of course, like it's a two way street. So they, you know, if they don't like the product, then that's to be very clear as well, but if they like the product, then there's feedback from there as well. So again, I just painted back to relationship
[0:06:29] George Reid: and when you think about finding those influences and building those relationships, are you, are you thinking about particular channel to begin with and saying to yourself, where are my target market hanging out? I'll start there and then build from there. And that kind of follow up question is, once you found that channel, how are you then going about finding those people who are going to be suitable for you? Is it a case of random search and find or is it you're using tools or what?
[0:06:57] Cody Wittick: Yeah. Yeah. Well, first off the first off your question, I don't think I would be loyal to any sort of platform just because maybe your audiences primarily on there. I mean, I'm sure like if you're a gen Z brand probably should be on Tiktok, like he should be putting out content, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you need to find influencers on Tiktok specifically. Um, and what I mean by that is because if you have a focus of content first, distribution second, then it's just whatever means that you can get a hold of these influencers, the easiest becomes the most, most viable means to get a hold them. So, um, you know, the example is like if they're on Youtube and all your audiences on Youtube, but it's incredibly hard to contact these influencers, well, you're kind of doing yourself a disservice if you can't get a hold of these people, but you can probably instagram DM them and that's the same person, They're just on multi platforms. Um because it's, again, it's, it's about the human, right? It's the human behind the distribution channels, behind their audience, behind their follower account. So if you're trying to get ahold of the human, it doesn't matter like just the same way as if I was trying to get ahold of you, I have to go through this podcast or can I just shoot you an email? Uh so that's one and then to how to find influencers, there's actually a ton of free tools out there. Um facebook's own brands co labs manager, you can apply as an advertiser, it's free, um they pull on facebook and instagram influencers um the second one is instagram, the dropdown arrow, this is not like a quote unquote influencer discovery tool, but I think it is um that's also free, so if I go to your profile, there was a drop down arrow, you just click on that and it instagram feeds you. People that are similar to you, post similar things have similar hashtags all based on the algorithm. Um They're most likely going to have a similar follower account as well. They're gonna throw you you know, a mixed bag as well but that unlocks hours of discovery um and I would use the free resources, free resources before you start investing like thousands of dollars into a discovery tool. I think it teaches people to identify influencers with their eyes, understand their brand um those sorts of things, so those are some of the two free tools um but there's a ton of discovery tools out there, I have my opinions on which ones are better than others, but um yeah, let's start there
[0:09:32] George Reid: when it comes down to persons sat at home right now. I think you're right, I love the idea of instagram or social strategy based around influences. What are you saying from day 1? You found, I found that youtube is great for you, but you can obviously contact them on instagram wherever you can reach them. That makes sense. You found some similar people using the instagram drop down our, your approaches then building that relationship. Are you then from day one looking to go, I'm engaging in similar content. I'm liking, I'm giving them a bit of kind of a leg up because I'm like for instance, are linked in one of the strategies I've read about is before you even approaching on for anything like engage with them, give
[0:10:17] Cody Wittick: them something, you
[0:10:18] George Reid: doing the same. You're gonna want an influencer, cares about, likes, comments and engagement. If you're a brand that's going, I love what you're doing here, but nice shot or whatever it happens to be your engaging them, giving them some sort of value. Is that
[0:10:30] Cody Wittick: advisable or is it,
[0:10:32] George Reid: I'm just gonna go straight to the D. M. S. And just open up a conversation.
[0:10:37] Cody Wittick: Um I would say, I mean that doesn't hurt, I just don't know how much the influencers actually noticing you specifically and that's um that's the other comments or likes um it's different right, when it's B two B. And like we're engaging on twitter with one another, it's not like I'm dealing with a ton of inbound or anything like that where I'm just getting bogged down. Yeah. Right. Um So yeah I think it it wouldn't hurt, I'll be interested to test it to see how much you know that that does, but the biggest value you're giving them is the free product, right? Um and if that's incredibly, and hopefully there, you know, if you're reaching out to running influencers and you have a running shoe, hopefully this running shoe is gonna provide them value. They're going to test it out and if they like it, they're going to reach back out, they're gonna have initial interest if they don't like it, that's okay. Like that, that's the risk you're willing to take. Not everyone's gonna like your product, right? Not not everyone in the world is going to buy from you in the same way. So, um, I would let the product be the biggest value that wants you.
[0:11:42] George Reid: Once you've got that selection of, say, 10, I mean, is there a magic number would be a follow up to this once you've got that selection of influences, you're happy with them? You sent out your, your samples, let's say they've come back. How do you then start to think about managing those influences with regards to what they're giving you back and return if they've decided to come on board?
[0:12:07] Cody Wittick: Yeah, I mean I guess I go back to the same relationship building network of how do you build that relationship? And they're gonna provide you feedback just as much. So like you progress from that first to second to third to fourth date. Um And what that looks like maybe could be you send them, if you have other products cues, you send them additional product. Um You know the brand owners sidebar the brand owners right now that have high quality products are probably thinking like there's no way I can send multiple. Um But that's kind of a separate topic that the principle still remains is build the relationship through providing the product for free If you can. You know, we're not talking about people that own sonic companies that have a $3,000 dog, we're talking the majority of people that have decent, you know, margins. Um, but what I would say is that just let the product speak for itself and then what you can do as far as, and there is no magic number to answer. Kind of that question as far as like the number of influencers that you get to. Um, but then you can start, you know, as they provided. They've reached back out to you and saying, Hey, I really love this product. How can I get more? Hey, like do you guys have a discount code? I can share with my audience? Like all that is, is data for you to understand, Okay, This person really digs me. Um, they put out fire content. Let's give them on a monthly UGC contract. Like those are some of those things that you can start progressing with. Um, if affiliate networks interesting, like here's my affiliate, like let's get them signed up. All that stuff
[0:13:41] George Reid: you, are you waiting to see and leaving it to them to go, here's a free product. If you're interested to get back in touch with me and then the influences going, I'm composed about this this week and you're like thumbs up yet. Post is no, there's no pressure on you if you want to post post, if you don't wanna post, don't Exactly codes thumbs up. If you want to be an affiliate thumbs up. If you're then approaching me saying, what sort of style content do you like? Is that happening quite a lot? Are you letting the influences have free reign and go, you know, your audience? I don't know, I ever, could you decide what you want?
[0:14:19] Cody Wittick: Well, there's kind of a couple of questions there. The first thing is there is there is follow up, I mean, I'm gonna beat this into the ground, but just like, dating if you're wanting to ask your girl out, like, and she's not getting back to you. If you're super interested, you're gonna follow up, right? So, like, the same thing with influencers, like, you're gonna follow up, you're going to show them interest, um So you sent out the product, they haven't maybe post organically again, without you even asking, you know, you're not you're not, your reach out is no strings attached. This is a free gift. We just love you, we love your content. We thought you'd love it. Let us know if you're interested, they send your address, you get them the product, then you haven't heard anything for a week or two. You absolutely should follow up if they haven't posted, like, hey, how are you liking the product? Like, what do you have any feedback for me? Like, all that stuff? What I was saying that is the people that just organically love it and like, you know, they're gonna throw it up on a story. They're gonna like, they're going to be so wowed by the unboxing experience or the product itself that you're going to get some sort of feedback. Not guaranteed. Not everyone does that, but the majority of people will, I mean, people think about you and I, we share about things that we love. So if I get sent a product, I'm gonna, I'm gonna talk about it at least, you know, um, I forget your second question. Oh, the type of content, The type of content? Yeah, I'm really, I'm really looking at their video content creation ability um specifically, So I'm looking at their, their Youtube channel, I'm looking at their instagram story highlights. I want to see, um, if I'm a brand owner, I want to see that if I sent my product and they showed up on camera, they'd be convincing enough that someone would buy again. That's not like I'm not putting that on them yet. But if I want this eventually to lead to something where we have, like a monthly UGC contract together, I'm not going to waste my outrage to someone who probably hasn't posted in three months or like, just because just because this relationship focus doesn't mean that you don't have filters to which that you're interested in, certain influencers, does that make sense?
[0:16:28] George Reid: You still want the return on investment of some kind, which involves your time. Of course,
[0:16:33] Cody Wittick: yeah, you're sending, I mean you're sending out a free product, someone that takes away from someone purchasing it, potentially, it's that worth it to you to send this product. So of course there's criteria that you're looking for and number one is content creation building um because at the end of the day, that's the number one that they're, number one asset is not their distribution channel.
[0:16:53] George Reid: Um What do you think about taking a step further to those UGC contracts? I'm sure you get this grim question all the time and people who are starting out with you, but it's, what is that price range looking like? What is a fair amount? Is it a percentage? Is it a fixed fee? How do you go about that negotiation or is it even negotiation? Is it just notice my fee? So I figured them out?
[0:17:18] Cody Wittick: I mean, I would, I always, I always advise a flat fee as far as on the first touch point. Um, I think once you understand how big of a, how big of an influencer this is and how awesome they are in terms of like when you repurpose their content and then you can start to really negotiate some things with, um or percentage of revenue, percentage of ad spend, like all these different things that you can get creative with. But yeah, I would I reach out for a flat fee, pricing is so all over the map, like, I mean it's hard to give a ballpark, I mean I've done threads on it on twitter and talked about it in our influence of course and stuff like that. I've used instagram as a example, um, of kind of our starting rates, but it's just, it's difficult because, because of the market, because influencers set their own rates because of what these brands pay them, which is usually outrageous um for one post and they're getting thousands of dollars. So that's why you have the same to influencers, same follower account that could be charging up certainly different rates. Um you
[0:18:29] George Reid: see that quite a lot of,
[0:18:30] Cody Wittick: yeah, I mean I'm not too much in the negotiation parts myself these days, but I'm saying over the course of time. Yeah, I saw that all the time, wow. So
[0:18:41] George Reid: yeah, that kind of, it kind of makes sense um that they would have different price points with regard to the type of content collection you essentially when you've got those contracts in place, are you saying okay, we've got a UGC pricing that says 1000 bucks a month for argument's sake, you're going okay for this. I'm kind of, it would be great if I could get this from your return like three videos, five images a slide show, this would be great. I'm not saying I'm demanding it. I'm saying this is what I would like for you not, you know, nothing. Uh,
[0:19:21] Cody Wittick: 100%. It's a contract at that point. I want to do anything without a contract. Just just to be clear, once we get to that point and we're like, they're interested in me, I'm interested in them. They want to work together officially. They want to get some money, we want to pay them like their 100% needs to be a contract every time. Um, as far as like that. Like how they create their content, there needs to be a creative brief, but those are meant to be guide rails. Like we're not talking a script where hey, say this word for word for word. Um, and being bring these props in and bring this like x, y, and z. It cannot be that way, but they also, they want to be guided in some way. Um I think majority of influencers, I'm sure influencers that are amazing, like they probably don't need too much, but predominate, you're going to give them talking points, you're going to give them example scenes for inspiration and then go from there. And one thing I would always include in the contract is approval on the content itself.
[0:20:29] George Reid: So
[0:20:30] Cody Wittick: having rounds of approval, um at least bare minimum one, we usually do too. Um so that the brand, I mean for us as an agency, so that the brands are happy, but for you, the brand that you're happy with the content that you're getting submitted and you don't feel like you're just wasting wasting money for that content,
[0:20:50] George Reid: I guess. In theory it's um I can't talk back to your your dating one unfortunate here, but the actual influencer at this point wants to do the best possible job that you as a brand. They're not some sort of scum like that just goes, thank you very much cash. I'm going to create some shit through online. All right. No one likes. Okay. I don't mind. I've already got my cash. They've won. They would obviously like to wonder at this point. Right.
[0:21:15] Cody Wittick: Right, right, right. 100%. Yeah. What you just described that terrible example is what happens a lot because they start out transactional and it's the first touch point with one, the product and to you. Um, so if you think about a customer journey from like everything to attention, desire to interest or yeah, attention interest, desire, action. And then after that there's like adoption retention, Like all those different things that a customer journey like post purchase flow. Well, the thing is with one off post is you go from, you know, all the way down to the action and then you try to skip to like the advocacy, you know, you try to get skip to the someone that wants to post the product and they've never, they've never even interacted with the product before. Um, so it just doesn't work like that normally.
[0:22:05] George Reid: And when we're thinking about that, going back to that number a little bit, are you with all size brands thinking it's good to have a range of influences in your um, kind of in your team, shall we say? Because they're going to create content which approaches people in different ways. They're gonna all have different mini niches which you're trying to target as a whole. Is that your thought process rather than going in the opposite end of the spectrum will get one bang influence. So we'll give them all of our influence of cash and then cross our fingers.
[0:22:40] Cody Wittick: Yeah, the numbers game, I think you can scale as much as that, you can put resources behind it. Um, So if you're going to have, if you want 100 influencer network, but you're one person and you're also doing facebook ads and email and managing the whole marketing team, it's just not realistic and you're gonna, you're gonna treat like the best performers, the best and they're not even going to get a ton of attention. Um, so I think you can only scale to the number that you can put resources on, usually that's hiring or hiring an agency to outsource it, that sort of thing. I think that's the easiest way to think about it.
[0:23:19] George Reid: And then when just in the final piece, but we'll wrap things up in my head. I've never played this game before, would be so you've got 10 influences, you're still trying to do Facebook at yourself, you're still trying to operations. You're still trying to create content in the world of Amazon. You do wear many hats, which is good and bad, But you're trying to tackle this influence the challenge now. You've got these 10 people who are crazy content. You've done everything right? How are you tracking kind of what they're doing? Are you going right and correct myself an Excel sheet and I'm going tick tick tick based on the contract, I've got a place with them 10 each week and I'm creating nice and simple and I've got kind of an S. O. P. There every week I go in, I took my boxes, they've done their job. I'm happy. Maybe I've got color scared of how happy I am with the content and I can have a conversation if I'm unhappy with it. Um, if I could continuous weeks of unhappiness with it, um, throughout from, it's like, is that a process or something similar you've seen or you do yourself internally?
[0:24:23] Cody Wittick: Yeah. Yeah. I mean honestly the 10, there's no reason to get like an influencer crm at that point. Google these are your best friend. Um, so everything that you just described, I think it would be best practices honestly. Um, the more intricate that you have them, like we need a post a week and then he needs to be a story and then, you know, they need to submit three videos, one image every other week. Like the more like intricate, if it's the harder it is to track. But what you just described is like if they just produce through videos one image a month, it's just basically saying, okay, they have the dropbox file requests, how they submitted yet and it's basically just following up with them, um, looking at their content, reviewing it. Maybe you have those rounds of approval.
[0:25:07] George Reid: Yeah, that makes sense. Um, The final one I alluded to it then, how often do you see where the brand just decides it's not working and ditches that influencer? You see quite often? And how do they, do they manage that because it's uncomfortable. It's really want to be like, yeah, we don't want you anymore.
[0:25:26] Cody Wittick: Well then I'll make those contracts month a month where you can just just, you can just opt out at any time. Um, but yeah, I mean there's always more out there for the brands, so it's not like a huge thing. Uh, the influencer clearly lost interest because they don't want to do it anymore. So you're just holding on to something that really isn't there anymore. Again, it's kind of like a breakup. It's just like, all right. Yeah. Like let's go our separate ways. Um, you know, one party is not interested or one party is not satisfied, then that's kind of how it is. Um,
[0:26:02] George Reid: nicely circle back to the yeah, there we go. The whole conversation has been one relationship advice podcast. Go there we go. Hey Cody, thank you. Thank you so much for coming on. Um, it's been, it's been a good shot and eye opening a little bit for me. Um, thanks for your time.
[0:26:20] Cody Wittick: Yeah, thank you so much for having me
[0:26:23] George Reid: nor anybody. I speak to you soon.
[0:26:24] Cody Wittick: All right.
[0:26:26] George Reid: Hey guys, just a quick one. If you are enjoying the podcast, I either have some actionable next steps or new ideas. I'd really appreciate if you could one subscribe to the show and leave us review. These are really, really important to us, as you probably know, being in the amazon world.
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