Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball

Influencer Marketing with Jenny Melrose

May 18, 2020 Julie Ball Episode 26
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Influencer Marketing with Jenny Melrose
Chapters
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Influencer Marketing with Jenny Melrose
May 18, 2020 Episode 26
Julie Ball

#026 - Julie chats with her good friend Jenny Melrose of the Influencer Entrepreneur Academy to talk about Instagram influencers and influencer marketing.

Jenny is a former reading specialist who “retired” from her teaching career when her blogging income far exceeded her salary.   Through hard work and dedication, her lifestyle blog, The Melrose Family, became regularly sought out by nationally recognized brands such as Neutrogena, Smuckers, Glad, Costco, Stanley Steamer, Sara Lee and many more. She is a content strategist that helps entrepreneurs better understand their messaging and unique position in the online space.  Now, she’s combining her passion for teaching with her extensive experience of creating strategic content for online business owners via JennyMelrose.com and her podcast, Influencer Entrepreneurs with Jenny Melrose as well as her annual conference in Charlotte NC for female entrepreneurs.

Links:

Sparkle Hustle Grow
JennyMelrose.com/Podcast
Jenny Melrose Instragram

Show Notes Transcript

#026 - Julie chats with her good friend Jenny Melrose of the Influencer Entrepreneur Academy to talk about Instagram influencers and influencer marketing.

Jenny is a former reading specialist who “retired” from her teaching career when her blogging income far exceeded her salary.   Through hard work and dedication, her lifestyle blog, The Melrose Family, became regularly sought out by nationally recognized brands such as Neutrogena, Smuckers, Glad, Costco, Stanley Steamer, Sara Lee and many more. She is a content strategist that helps entrepreneurs better understand their messaging and unique position in the online space.  Now, she’s combining her passion for teaching with her extensive experience of creating strategic content for online business owners via JennyMelrose.com and her podcast, Influencer Entrepreneurs with Jenny Melrose as well as her annual conference in Charlotte NC for female entrepreneurs.

Links:

Sparkle Hustle Grow
JennyMelrose.com/Podcast
Jenny Melrose Instragram

Julie:

So you want to launch a subscription box and don't know where to start? Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball, a subscription box coach and your host here at Subscription Box Basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs that want to avoid overwhelm. So grab a coffee, some pen and paper and let's have some fun!

Julie:

Hey everyone. Welcome back to Subscription Box Basics. I'm your host and your subscription box business coach Julie Ball. I love to talk shop and today's episode is really going to be fun because we are talking about influencers and influencer marketing. This definitely is not my strongest marketing channel, so I'm so excited to learn more about it myself. I would like to welcome my friend Jenny Melrose, founder of the Influencer Entrepreneur Academy. Welcome!

Jenny:

Thank you so much Julie, for having me. I'm so excited to be here.

Julie:

Yes, I love talking shop with you. You're so much fun and so some of the people listening will be meeting you for the first time, so why don't you go ahead and tell everyone a little bit about yourself.

Jenny:

Absolutely. I'm so, I am actually a former inner city school district teacher, so I always say whenever I'm presenting or speaking in front of a large group that if you have any questions just shout them out at me. I'm used to dodging chairs so if anybody has any questions after the opposite, please don't have the teeth to reach out to me. But while I was a teacher, I started a lifestyle blog where I created quick and easy recipes and projects for busy parents. I started that after my oldest wise had just been born. She was probably like six, eight weeks, kind of lost myself as a new mother and needed something that wasn't my phone and I started the Melrose Family and that lifestyle site was able to replace my teaching salary. It was, um, probably about six years ago at this point. I became an influencer from that lifestyle sites and um, made the majority of my income from working with brands in order to create sponsored content where I talked about and told a story about the product or service and really was able to build that relationship.

Jenny:

I then from there, once I stopped teaching, we moved down to North Carolina, which Julia and I actually got to meet in person because of that. Um, and I started JennyModels.com where I started actually teaching small business owners how they could really start to grow their online presence, monetize and just make a better life for their family and their businesses. Um, and I primarily am most well known in the blogger influencer space because I teach them how to pitch to brands in order to get sponsored campaigns and work in within influencer marketing.

Julie:

That's so great the way you, you told us the whole story of how you did this for yourself first and then I bet you you had a million people saying, can I pick your brain, can I pick your brain? And then you become a coach. That is a really familiar story. That's also how I did it. So I think what that goes to show people is that you've been where they're at now and you can relate to the fear and the questions and trying to piece it all together. And I think that makes for a really good business coach. So, um, I want you to explain to my listeners what influencer marketing is and potentially even touch on what it isn't because there's so much confusion around it, um, about how it works, what it is. Um, and there's other terms that people throw around in the same space like affiliate and referrals. But this is influencer marketing. So what is it?

Jenny:

Yes. So influencer marketing is about building the awareness of a brand. So in other words, if you had a small business where let's use Sparkle Hustle Grow, for example. I am going to build the awareness around that. My purpose is not to make sales, but to let other people know that this is a product that I use, tell my story and it just gives the opportunity for people to make a connection with it. An influencer is really about being able to tell their story and because they're trusted, it then brings the trust to your brand or service that you offer and have. And it often gets confused with affiliate marketing. A lot of people often say, well where's the sale? That isn't normally the case. A lot of times when I will be talking about a product or service that I believe in as an influencer, I'm not using links, I'm just talking about it. And it then becomes, I will later see others that will tag me and say, Oh my goodness, I heard about this product or service from Jenny will tag me. Um, it's not about that link or me about making the income. It's a previous kind of arrangement that you will make with that influencer on the service that they're going to provide, where it's going to be, what those deliverables will look like. And also of course a price or um, cost of service, what it would look like.

Julie:

So it's really important that cause they're shouting it from the rooftops. Like, I love this product and here how is how I use it almost feels more organic, a little bit in the way that they're talking about it versus maybe an affiliate using swipe copy or you know, cut and paste, um, you know, social media posts, that type of thing. And so, um, with affiliate marketing you're not, you said you're, they're not necessarily going for the sale, they're going for the awareness and people have to see and hear things so many times before it clicks. Right. And that's where this kind of comes into play.

Jenny:

Yes, that's absolutely right. People have to hear things up to seven times before they'll take action on it. So the more people, the more times you hear that influencer are talking about it. Um, particular, I know I've spoken about Sparkle Hustle Grow. I love the box. I'm a true believer in it and I have that audience for it. And it's something where I will just be sharing about it because it came in the mail that day and I'm going to do it the next month as well. And I made a little bit differently how I'm going to go about doing that. But I'm sharing it because I truly believe in it and it's something that I want. Now, a lot of times when you're working with an influencer, especially in paid capacity, they're still going to say they have to disclose the fact that it is a relationship.

Julie:

Oh good.

Jenny:

They received the product in return for that exchange or if there's any sort of monetary, um, price that's been put together into that campaign or into that relationship that you're creating with them, they do have to disclose. And something like that, it becomes more of, a lot of times people will say, "well, I don't want to have to disclose or the disclosure makes me feel icky". The disclosure is really about just being honest and about the fact that that brand that you are disclosing about believes in your influence. And as an influencer, I believe that it's important that I disclose that because it shows that that brand respects what I do and the influence I bring to them. So that's so important to still continue to disclose.

Julie:

And so is it in a part of the law now too that they have to disclose?

Jenny:

Yes, it has been. So FTC guidelines have that, you know the big thing with Kim Kardashians and the things Kardashians put out there and they weren't disclosing. Now for something like that, all it has to be is something that whether it's an affiliate link or if it is an influencer campaign where they've received maybe a product where they're getting paid for it. Um just stating that it's sponsored that you received the product in order to be able to talk about it or to share more about it. It's really about the way that the influence of, in terms of the story, why do they love it, what is it about it that makes them want to partner with them? Because again, it's that idea that that partnership is valuable. They trust you, you trust them. So we should be able to stand in that and want to talk about that. The fact that it is sponsored.

Julie:

And feel good about it.

Jenny:

Exactly.

Julie:

Yeah. Okay. So what are some of the best ways for product-based business owners like subscription boxes like Sparkle Hustle Grow to work with influencers? Yes. So I would see the best way honestly is going to be to do a relationship where it is right now one of the places that are doing really, really well and this could change who knows when of course with algorithms, but on Instagram right now, especially in stories. It is one of easiest ways because we can authentically talk about what it is about that product that we love and be able to show it, share it, um, create polls, get that engagement because that's the piece that a lot of times the brands should be looking for. It's the engagement piece. It's not the follower numbers, it's how many people are actually interested in that influencer that are taking the time to ask questions and want to know more about what they're talking about.

Julie:

Okay. So if someone does a story about an unboxing as the, as the box business owner, how can we follow along? Um, how do, how do we kind of, um, repurpose? Is there a way to repurpose that content and how do we know what's working? Because let me give you a quick example. In the newsfeed, if you like post an Instagram picture and it's in your grid, you can see how many likes, you can see people commenting and you can immediately interact with them like their comments, follow them, comment back. How do you do that? Then with Instagram stories as influencers are sharing your content.

Jenny:

So I would see for something like that, you need to teach your people, your audience out there, how to make sure that they're tagging you in their stories, every story in which they're talking about you. That way it gives you the ability to be able to push it back out to your own stories.

Julie:

Because now you're tagged. You can repost it.

Jenny:

Exactly.

Julie:

Okay good.

Jenny:

That content, that value to still be able to use beyond what they're putting there. Now as far as for the the data and insights and the information about what's doing what, because Instagram is going away from the ability of being able to see the number of likes, the influencer can still see the insights and as an influencer it is their job or my job as I would like to say, to be able to provide that information as much data as possible. One of the most important things that an influencer can do is be able to say, this is the amount of impressions. This is the amount of engagement, and we can see that on our stories. Just like you all can do from your own business accounts, so providing that data, it's going to be important and that goes beyond just the data that gives as far as impressions, it also goes to direct messages. What are people saying in direct message? What are they then being tagged that influencer. As an influencer, they should be giving you screenshots. If they do a poll, what does that poll look like? Um, I don't know if you remember like I've already said a huge believer in Sparkle Hustle Grow the box. Um, so I it wasn't actually sponsored, it was just something that I received the box and I was going to share about it. So I did a poll where I actually asked my audience, um, like set them up to talk about the your box because I said who loves their subscription boxes? Um, are you, it's like a subscription box hoarder, yes or no. And then I took that data and I have this still free to give to you actually they want to be able to see I did with that. From that yes or no, it gave me an idea of like who loves subscription boxes. So now you can see based on my audience what percentage, my next question was then what subscription boxes are you already using? So now they filled in that question box and that's going to give you as the business more information because they told me that they do meals or they do this. Now you can use that information to be able to use Facebook ads or Instagram ads to target those subscription boxes' audiences. From there, I then turn those stories and I did an unboxing for you where I kind of talked about all the different things that were in there. Um, my last poll that I did on that series of stories was I asked, um, if something along the lines of like if you're a Sparkle Hustle Grow subscriber, and then I put, I don't put just simple yes or no. I say I'm already am. And then I said, I want more info. So anyone that said I want more info, I then went and direct message and said, Hey, this is where you can find out this more about Sparkle Hustle Grow. This is where it is. That also gives an opportunity for someone like myself who doesn't have a huge Instagram following, don't have the ability to choose to do swipe lap. This is why micro influencers are really important. I can now give them a live link in direct message where they're going to go directly to and be able to purchase it and that link is live and direct message. So do, even though a lot of people that brand wise will say, "Oh no, I need an influencer that has 10,000 followers because they have to have swipe up". Swipe up is not as effective as direct messaging and actually creating that relationship and that conversation.

Julie:

You guys, my jaw is literally on the floor right now. What a great case study. Thank you so much for coming prepared to talk about that. That is so cool. And it really makes me think about as I work with future influencers to maybe pre-seed them with some of those questions of what I want them to ask them. And then as business owners we can be proactive. If they're not providing us those insights, we can be proactive to ask for them to ask for screenshots and insights. I love that Jenny, that was gold, like pure gold. Thank you for that. Okay. Um, so when it comes to influencers, where do we find them? How do we know the right people to talk to?

Jenny:

Okay. So depending upon, again, what you're looking as your KPIs. So what are your key performance indicators? Are you looking to get sales or you're looking to build awareness? Are you looking to gain followers? Then I mean right now I would be looking on Instagram. That's just where I would personally go. I would also, so I would start with hashtags. What are some popular hashtags that I would be? So if I am um, Sparkle Hustle Grow box. I'm gonna look for women. Business owners, I'm going to look for hashtag with is women entrepreneur, um, women in business, all of these hashtags. And I'm sure you guys are already using yourselves. Look for influencers that are using those. Same thing if I had a gluten free subscription box, I would be looking for the moms that are looking for gluten free recipes. So that's where that is a little bit more difficult when you get into the really niche boxes because you have to start to think about your audience and what hashtags are they using in order to find those influencers. Um, so if I would again that gluten free box and I'm looking for an influencer, I'm going to look for gluten free bloggers. If I'm a home decor box, I'm going to look for home decor bloggers that are using different hashtags that are going to be relevant and I'm probably using myself as a business owner.

Julie:

Right.

Jenny:

From there, it's important in my opinion to look to see if they're doing stories. The timeline, the actual feed is not as important. You're not going to get the interaction, the engagement, especially if they're not on their post feed giving call to action, which a lot of people are still not doing. Even on that post for your feed, you should be saying something along the lines in the comments, show me your feed with emoji if you wanted to learn more about the box or if you love subscription boxes. Giving them something to do rather than just saying, isn't this so pretty? And that's the end. So looking to see are they doing stories? What did their stories look like? Um, when it comes to stories, you want to see people that are using the features that Instagram offer, polls. Questions. Um, one of the most important things, if your audience is a bunch of moms, you need to look for people that are actually summarizing with text feature over what they're saying. The data right now is showing that 75% of users, mom users are not listening with sound on or not summarizing what you're saying. They're swiping past it.

Julie:

Okay.

Jenny:

So that's like one of the key things I think that you can look for is are they doing talking head videos where it's them talking about something and they're not summarizing what they're saying.

Julie:

Okay.

Jenny:

You don't need to have a fancy app that like does exactly what they're say like as far as dictating it or dictation. It's, what's the word?

Julie:

Transcribing.

Jenny:

Thank you. That's it.

Julie:

Yeah. Yup.

Jenny:

You almost want them just to be getting like a summary of what they've said in the text feature real quick. That's fine. Those are the ones that you want to be working with because they are having conversations with their people. If they're doing the summary and if they're using outside features, they can tell you more about the engagement, what they're interested in. If they're doing polls and in the really smart influencers, no matter what poll they're doing is continuing conversation in DMs and that's where you'll get a ton more information and it's awesome. Those are the people, in DMs that are really going to buy. Those are the ones that are going to have that trust, that factor that you need.

Julie:

So those influencers are doing things behind the scenes that we can't even see. So I would imagine that since it's not all about the sale for them, it's about getting paid up front.

Jenny:

That's right.

Julie:

Okay. So that needs to be something that our listeners consider the difference between an affiliate. An affiliate gets paid after they make a sale and the influencers are getting paid for their time in advance because they're going to engage, they're going to shout it from the rooftops and then they're probably going to be having DM conversations that we don't even see. That's, that's really good. I think important important information to know because so often a lot of us are like, well, I'm not going to pay them if I don't know I'm going to get a sale from it. And that's just not how the influencer industry works. So. Okay. Um, two more questions. So one, how do we start the conversation and then two is tell us the big no-nos in the industry and I think we just uncovered, one is the no-no of like that they're getting paid up front versus after the fact. So, so how do we start the conversation and um, what are some of those big, like you don't want to do this because you're going to ruin your relationship with this influencer.

Jenny:

Um, so I would say start interacting with them in their stories, see how they treat you. See if they are pulling to have that conversation with you. In the end, you want someone that is going to direct message you after you fill out a poll. Like I personally like if I wanted to find influencers for myself, for my own products and services, that's what I would be looking to do. I'd be looking to see how are they going to treat me as a potential client, as a potential audience member. Are they going to take these next steps with me? Um, if they don't and that's probably not someone I want to work with anyways.

Julie:

Good point.

Jenny:

And the one big no, no I would say don't direct message them. Hey or put it, I see this all the time on people's posts within their feed. They'll put like a comment and say, I'd love to work with you as an influencer. It just, it, there's no relationship.

Julie:

No relationship. Yeah.

Jenny:

And you know that if you're seeing that in their comments, they're probably not interacting. They're not continuing that conversation that is starting, especially if you don't see them answering any of that kind of stuff. So I would see, interact with them, look at their stories, answer their polls and see how they start to interact with you. And that's where I would then say, "Hey, I can see that you are doing this, this, and this. I'd love to work with you. Let's talk". And I know one of the questions is going to come up of course price. What do we pay? What would that look like? So I'm going to be totally honest and open, especially when it comes to Instagram. The way that influencers are looking right now is for every 10,000 followers they're looking at they can get paid $100 for every 10,000 followers for in the post feed as well as the story. So if I have 5,000 followers, I know that for per story, I'm looking to make about 50 bucks.

Julie:

Okay.

Jenny:

You come to me as a business owner and you say, I want you to do five stories for me. I have 5,000 followers. I'm thinking, okay, I'm doing five stories. I'm going to make 250 that's going to be my price for this campaign. One of the things that you said before that Julie, I think is so smart, is being able to give them examples of what you expect. Some influencers are going to know this, they're going to be smart, they're going to know how to engage, but they're also maybe some of those that just are not aware. And I would say honestly look at a couple that do have larger numbers, but the micro influencers are the ones that are going to go above and beyond to have that engagement. A lot of those influencers that have been around for a very long time, that have hundreds of thousands of followers, um, and you're not seeing them use Instagram stories. There's a reason they have all those followers. It was pre anything and they had all those followers from the beginning and aren't continuing to engage.

Julie:

Yeah. There might be checked out by now.

Jenny:

Yes. Or there's someone else, a team doing it for them.

Julie:

Right.

Jenny:

And so you need to decide. You're going to pay a pretty penny for someone that large, whereas you could really pay a lot less money for a micro influencer and get a ton more engagement.

Julie:

That's such good information. Thank you so much for addressing the price question. Um, and because our listeners have physical products too, you're talking about that this is in addition to providing them with a free product, right?

Jenny:

Yes. Okay. They would definitely ask, especially if they're not someone that is already using your product. I mean if you can find someone that already had like I as example. I don't need you to provide me a product. I am a subscriber, right? So that makes sense to work with someone that already true blue believes in it.

Julie:

Right.

Jenny:

But otherwise if it's not someone, yes, they going to ask to make sure that they like it.

Julie:

Yeah, we definitely want, we want the product in their hands, but I wanted to bring that up just so the listeners understood though, that they're going to pay them cash and they're going to provide product even if that product is worth $50. The influencers making their living off of the, the, the fee that they are charging for doing the doing the work. I mean we're all putting in the work we all expect to get paid, right?

Jenny:

Yes.

Julie:

So this is, this has been such a good episode. I mean, I'm just going to say like they are, my listeners are going to be, their hands are going to be so tired from taking all these notes and maybe we can, you know, another time come on in and talk a little deeper once I get some questions from them cause I know we're going to get a ton of questions and I'd love to have you back on the podcast to answer some of those. But for now, um, where can they learn more about the influencer industry, the Influencer Entrepreneur Academy? I know you have a podcast, so give us some of those links and we'll make sure we put them in the show notes too.

Jenny:

Absolutely the best place honestly, as podcast listeners, I'm also a podcast host Influencer Entrepreneurs. Um, and I talk about all these kinds of things and I'm giving you as examples from like Instagram stories, like what does that look like? Tons of episodes about that. Instagram used to be the thorn in my side. Um, and I now honestly love it. It's like my favorite platform and primarily because of stories because I just get to be who I am.

Julie:

Fun.

Jenny:

People are looking for that authenticity. Absolutely. Um, I would also say like follow me on Instagram and you have any questions, please don't hesitate to DM me. You can. My Instagram is @Jenny_Melrose, um, and answer any sort of questions anytime of the day. Uh, for the most part of course.

Julie:

with boundaries.

Jenny:

Absolutely. Those are honestly the best places to reach out just because I'm able to have that engagement and answer any questions that you may have.

Julie:

Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining me today, Jenny. This has been so much fun. Everybody you can find her on. I'm guessing you're on Stitcher and iTunes and all the places with Influencer Entrepreneurs. You guys, when you're done listening to this one, go listen to her podcast and we'll be sure to, again, put those links in the show notes. Thanks everyone for listening today and we'll see you in the next episode.