Making Your Business Bulletproof

Every couple of weeks our founder @kylehjelmeseth shares musings with our exclusive talent roster that he thinks will give them big ideas to think about. Generally the topics come from the firm’s work with each influencer, and what he’s hearing at the top of the industry. Here is one of those musings, reformatted for our friends and followers:

This week...

Making your business bulletproof

The other day I overheard a conversation at a coffee shop in LA. It went something like this:

  • Man 1: "Did you guys notice the other week when Instagram went down for the day, what happened to all the influencers?"

  • Man 2: "Yeah, haha, they all went back to being regular girls" *snicker*

What was interesting about this exchange is that it was a group of three early 30s looking guys, who knew enough about Instagram and influencers to draw the conclusion that IG going down for a day basically killed a bunch of influencers' livelihood. They had enough awareness about influencers to find this to be something to laugh at. I really felt like I was in the right place at the right time to hear that conversation -- because they are RIGHT.

If Instagram were to go down tomorrow...forever...what would you do? Would you go back to being a "regular" person? Of course, as a business management firm our goal isn't to let that happen to anyone we represent, but a lot of the burden falls on the shoulders of each individual creative to really plan their content and their presence, to make sure they themselves are "bulletproof".



Here are three ways you can make sure that no matter what happens to Instagram tomorrow (or any other platform), your business will be able to adjust and continue to thrive:


    At G&B we beat this into the do not own Instagram, or YouTube, or whatever other social media you are on. You CAN own your own slice of the internet by having a blog or online portfolio. If all social media blew up tomorrow you could still go on creating and connecting with fans on your own blog. A blog is a perfect place to keep all of your larger thoughts and ideas, and really show more about who you are than people can see on one tiny Instagram space. The biggest single thing you can do today to insulate your online business is to start a blog, and keep it going with weekly updates. 

    By building traffic to your own blog all of your content becomes more valuable, because you own 100% of what you've created. When you own a blog that is building traffic you can actually even charge a bit more for your content in other places, because you drive real value via SEO. That's a whole other topic. Tip 1...if you don't have a blog, start one. If you have one, but haven't updated it, get back to updating it. If you already have one, update it regularly, then you already know the value and you get thumbs up from us.

    One of the smartest ways of planning your content is syndication...basically starting it in one place, and then feeding it to each other place it could be seen while making it fit that place's purpose. A quick example would be creating a post for Instagram, and then placing the same post on Facebook and Twitter, but instead of just copy / pasting what you wrote for Instagram, making your Facebook and Twitter captions specific for those audiences.

    Why do this? Because you're maximizing the hard work that you've created, and satisfying fans across your various channels. Basically you're making sure no money (opportunity) is being left on the table! If you have a growing YouTube, then start by posting your full content there, post a trimmed version on instagram / Instagram Stories, or a still. And the post everywhere else, but make sure it's a version of your content that fits the a tweet of the content that's made for Twitter, and not just a quick copy / paste.

    This simple strategy will not only help you grow your presence, it'll make you more money in the long run, and make sure that if one of your social sites falls, the rest will pick up the pieces!


    This goes along with the rest of the theme of this blog post, that diversifying your interests and presence is the key to long term success. How are you spending your time away from Instagram that is enriching your life? Many of those who are a part of the G&B family have side interests and hustles, even before they came to G&B for social media management:

    1. Stella Simona owns Amarilo & Haati Chai jewelry lines

    2. Lex Dieck owns her own scarf business, and was recently featured by Stacy London. Marwa owns the insanely popular VELA Scarves too!

    3. Steph of Honey & Silk and Tommy are pro-photographers that often pick up retail clients to shoot spaces and products

    4. Mai (of Mai and Zooey) does content consulting, primarily in social. She would say she's a  "Buzz Creator // Cultural attaché".

Many digital creatives and influencers today are already doing something that enriches their lives outside of social media, whether it's revenue generating or not. What are you doing that helps diversify your interests and create opportunities that will leave a lasting mark and keep you relevant for years to come? 

As a business G&B is always looking at ways to further diversify, to stay relevant to the market, without taking away from our day to day goals.  This last year we expanded to have a group in the Middle East (G&B East), we have another group that is comprised of skaters, motorcycle enthusiasts and celebs (The Black Label Agency)! We've got lots of ideas, little market test going on, and a bold vision for the future!



Images Courtesy of blog Honey & Silk

Wow...that was a long one, but I hope this gave you all a lot to think about. If Instagram was gone tomorrow, what would you want to do next? Let' s talk about it!

100k... and Still Haven't Made It (ugh)

Every couple of weeks our founder @kylehjelmeseth shares musings with our exclusive talent roster that he thinks will give them big ideas to think about. Generally the topics come from the firm’s work with each influencer, and what he’s hearing at the top of the industry. Here is one of those musings, reformatted for our friends and followers:

This week...the idea that I hit 100k and still haven't made it.

100k seemed to be the benchmark of when a blogger would be able to make a decent "wage" off their Instagram postings for a good 3-4 years. Lately it has felt more and more like 100k is not quite the mark anymore. 200k isn't the bar. Hell, even a million followers isn't guaranteed sponsorships. Money isn't raining from the sky like it should be, right? Perhaps the bar has moved -- but, why would that be? A few observations:

Lately it has felt more and more like 100k is not quite the mark anymore. 200k isn't the bar. Hell, even a million followers isn't guaranteed sponsorships.

image via @stellasimona

  • The beginning is now the middle: What I mean by this is the timeline of influencer marketing, and how it affects influencers now. At first, when the idea was new and there were less "influencers" around (next point), dollars were being thrown in the air. For a visual, truly the market was like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what would stick. Many of the influencers we manage started during this time, and really almost any brand would work with almost anyone, in some capacity.

    Now we're not so much in the middle, but at least brands are past throwing it all out there. There are a lot of pros and cons we could discuss about this fact, as to why this is a good thing, and why it hurts. Plainly, brands are being more choosey about who they will partner with, as they kind of gave away the power of their brands to whomever would post about them in the last few years. Instead of everyone, it's just a few more perfect fits.

  • Saturation of the market: As mentioned above, saturation is crowding the marketing and crowding out opportunity. When we started this firm in the space there were several thousand bloggers...what would be ubiquitously called influencers soon enough. Now there are several MILLION. That said, saturation means that those who will stay relevant need to have a unique sales proposition. If you know basic economics then you know we'll see this bubble of influencer marketing burst, soon. Soon something will dramatically change about influencer marketing...I don't know exactly what it'll be, but I have my hunches ;-)

  • Engagement: At first it was followers that mattered, which is how 100k became the initial bar (it used to be 20k, haha!). Times have changed though, as brands and agencies have realized that it's not the count that matters as much as how active your particular community is with you. 100k is still the bar, but they don't just want 100k anymore...they want an engaged hundred thousand people hanging on your every word and image. Last year 2% engagement (2,000 likes + comments per 100k following) was what kept most brands happy. Anything above this was BANANAS good. Now it's 3%, and as brands get choosier expect this will go up. 

    If you are an influencer and your engagement isn't high, then who are you really influencing?

How to solve for these concerns:

  1. Being in the Middle: The truth is that you should be just as choosey as the brands are becoming. Know who you want to work with and why. Be ahead of the curve by noting what brands are most interesting to you. Who do you already love? By focusing on what relationships you want, instead of who may or may not come to you, you won't ever feel as though you're stretching to make something happen AND you'll start relationships that will pay off as they grow.

  2. Saturation: Welp, we can't stop the tide, right? Stopping the rolling tide of saturation isn't the point...figuring out how to swim in your lane is. Just like every business out there, you've got to innovate and differentiate your story to rise above. There might be 100 cups of coffee out there, but I only trust Nespresso...and I know why. Know what makes you special, innovate and point out how you are different, and you'll rise above.

  3. Engagement: This is the new bar, impossible to surmount, you have to meet it head on. Engagement comes from actions that guessed it...engaging! Bring the image alive with a caption that begs a question, or shares an idea for people to try. Post your thoughts, feelings and emotions via Instagram Stories -- and ask for honest feedback from your followings. Your content is one part of the equation, and the way you share it and everything else going on in your life is the other. People have formed a community around you, now it's time to feed the curiosities, the imaginations, the dreams and hopes of that community.


…focusing on what relationships you want, instead of who may or may not come to you, you won't ever feel as though you're stretching to make something happen…

Image via @mybelonging

100k is just a stepping stone, but the journey is what matters to people. Short cutting the journey only lessens the chance people will care about your destination! Our firm’s goal is to help our talent figure out how to approach their favorite brands, how to understand their unique voice, and to coach their engagement up.

It’s time to get busy!

Don’t giveaway a thing without a strategy

Giveaways and contests using influencers are a great value addition for brands to achieve increased engagement in social media platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube.  The greatest advantage of conceptualizing an influencer marketing campaign with a giveaway or a contest is that there is a sense of authenticity in the brand content and messages delivered to the audience.

Incorporating innovative giveaways and contests in influencer marketing campaigns also play a huge role in achieving increased brand awareness and lead generation. Here are a few key aspects that every brand must consider in order to execute a successful giveaway campaign using social media influencers:

  1. Identify the objective of your giveaway campaign. By enhancing an influencer marketing campaign with giveaways and contests, brands can achieve a wide range of marketing objectives like boosting their social media community, driving traffic to the websites and landing pages or simply informing the audience about the various products and services.

  2. Authenticity. For a giveaway campaign to be successful, brands must also focus on choosing an influencer who is credible and authentic.  A giveaway campaign using an influencer with organic followers will have a far-reaching impact. Additionally, if brands are considering to implement target group specific influencer marketing campaigns, then micro influencers would be a great option to achieve wider reach and engagement.

  3. Understand how the giveaway works for social media. Before launching a giveaway campaign, brands must clearly lay down their rules and regulations in consultation with the influencers. The influencer and the brand must be aware of the difference between sweepstakes and contests. Ideally, a sweepstake is an activity in which the contribution from the audience is minimal and winners are picked up at random. On the other hand, for a contest to be successful, the audience responses are of paramount importance.

  4. Structurise the giveaway campaign. After clearly stating the rules and regulations of the giveaway campaign, brands must narrow down on the prize and strategise the intended action plan in accordance with the objectives of the campaign. Ideally, the action plan must include the intended responses and steps to be followed by the audience like liking, sharing, subscribing, following, maintaining a public profile and creating compelling content etc. Brands must advise their influencers to clearly communicate the terms and conditions of the giveaway campaign well in advance. A few important aspects that you have to keep in mind while drafting out the terms and conditions are the duration of the campaign, type of the social media profile, prize, mandatory actions, age and location specifications if any.

  5. Executing and promoting the giveaway campaign. Execution is the most critical stage for any giveaway campaign. After selecting the influencer and clearly charting out the rules and regulations, brands must finally execute the campaign by promoting it on appropriate social media platforms.  One of the important factors that contribute to the success of a giveaway campaign is that both the brand and the influencer must be in full alignment with the objectives of the campaign. Brands must regularly communicate with the influencers to understand the performance of the campaign at varying time intervals. A small mistake from either side can have a huge impact on the credibility and the reputation of the brand.

“I think that using a giveaway to motivate followers to research and become exposed to a new brand is a GREAT strategy. It always increases the engagement on a post, and it's a great way to get an audience excited! Everyone wins in this kind of collaboration.” -Steffy Degreff (@steffy)

Furthermore, brands and influencers must always remember not to give any false promises to the audience. For example, if international shipping is not a viable option for the brand, then run a giveaway campaign by targeting a particular locality taking into consideration factors such as feasibility and convenience. Also, brands must clearly discuss their expectations with the influencers in order to help them strategies appropriate content strategies.

Make sure you incorporate these tips in your next giveaway influencer marketing campaigns and grow your business. Need help finding the right influencer? The right strategy? WE GOT YOU. That’s what we do, we create strategies that connect brands with influencers in order to create strong relationships. Go thru our website, see how we run things and let’s work together.