21 Tips for Working with the Rich Kids of Instagram


21 Tips for Working with the Rich Kids of Instagram

So firstly I feel like I should give a little background on myself and why I deserve to be here today, sharing with you some of the insights I've gained over the past decade in the world of fashion bloggers, or as we consider them, one of the many types of Socialites you can work with in influencer marketing.

For the most information on me, you can probably just look at my LinkedIn profile.

If you Google me, you'll find a bunch of press hits and random photos from parties past.

I'm the Creative Director of Socialyte, an Influencer Casting Agency, a mix of tech, relationships and industry expertise that has helped brands like Vanity Fair, Rebecca Minkoff, Chrysler, Louis Vuitton and Burberry connect to the world's most influential fashion, beauty and luxury lifestyle influencers.

We're different than agencies like CAA, DBA or Next Models, or social media agencies, because we open up the entire available talent pool for campaigns.

This means we can negotiate with thousands of influencers at once and make smarter decisions on where to allocate marketing budgets.

We also provide a suite of reporting options that help brands determine ROI from influencer campaigns. We have been collecting campaign data on hundreds of campaigns, providing a better way to work with fashion bloggers, Youtube celebs, Instagram and other types of social media stars.

We currently manage influencer relations for 100+ brands. Many are Fortune 500 companies.

Before I founded Socialyte with my wife and business partner, Beca Alexander, I was the Chief Marketing Officer for Rebecca Minkoff. At Minkoff, I led the development of international social media campaigns and influencer activations that helped the brand become a recognized fashion force.

Before Minkoff, I was consulting for brands on influencer relations and running FashionIndie.com, a fashion blog I started in 2004. I sold Indie in 2008 but had the opportunity to buy it back in 2011. 

The site now features influencers we adore and various campaigns we've initiated with brand partners. It's currently the only fully-sponsored content site.

Basically, it's one massive ad, but it's been designed to not feel like one which is why nearly 300k people visit it each month. 

Our most popular campaign TrendSpark has produced millions of social interactions, likes and shares, sending 595,290 new purchase-intent customers to our clients digital flagships in 2013.

Our Style/Off campaigns control trending topics on Twitter.

Now that you might trust me a bit more, I'd like to get into working with the rich kids of Instagram.

1. Tavi Turned 100 Today

The longevity of the influencer space is often questioned.

As a medium of communications it's fairly young, with about 10 years between us seeing stylishly narcissistic girls giving us daily diaries on LiveJournal to today, where those same girls are demanding $20k for a blog post (guess who quoted that one).

With such a short time between being total outsiders to refusing to wake up for less than $10,000 a day, fashion bloggers and social stars have become a booming business, helping brands reach an ever ad averse millennial consumer. 

This new form of marketing, influencer marketing, is creating a massive shift in how the internet and more importantly, social media work. We're seeing an increase in the amount of brand spend, the variety and thoughtfulness of campaigns, and the results generated from these campaigns.

Ever evolving.

Ever moving.

Always something different.

So while what we see the space as today, might not be the same tomorrow, there's little to suggest that among these current social media stars, there are select talents that will remain relevant for life. 

Looking good Tavi...


2. The Blonde Salad Never Stops so Why Should You?

Chiara for Steve Madden

Chiara for Steve Madden

Chiara Feragni is without a doubt the world's most recognized fashion blogger.

She maintains hundreds of relationships with brands and spends most of her time traveling the world, working on campaigns with top luxury and mass labels. 

She has a shoe line and recently launched a collection with Steve Madden

She's the global brand ambassador for Redken

She was crowned Socialyte of the Year at the 2013 Socialyte Awards.

Basically, she's pretty awesome. 

How does she do it?

She built her fanbase by working with every brand she could. Each of these activations got her further, gave her promotion, helped build her fanbase. She ensured the brands featured her prominently on social, helping increase links to her site, her profiles and helping continue to grow her brand.

This play drives over 2.4M people to TheBlondeSalad.com ever month. Nearly as much as Vogue.com and Elle.com combined. 

comScore for Vogue.com, Elle.com and LuckyMag.com

comScore for Vogue.com, Elle.com and LuckyMag.com

How can brands imitate this model for growth in developing their own online stores and social media profiles? 

Work with everyone.

Never Stop. 

3. It's Not a Numbers Game.

An influencer with 100,000 followers with 10,000 clicking through to shop her latests picks is worth more than an influencer with 1M fans with only about 1000 people actually paying attention.

You need to continuously experiment in this space to build truly successful influencer program.

Unexpected discoveries are constant in this field. 

4. But It's Totally a Numbers Game.

You can't help but be attracted to influencers with more followers.

It's the nature of the social boom to want to follow and trust those with more fans.

5. Call Olivia Pope. Obama Has Fake Followers.

There's a lot of ways to game the system.

It's not difficult and inexpensive to buy followers, likes and comments for practically any social profile or blog.

Don't think that a 16-year-old girl who spends her days shopping, posing for photos, and photoshopin has a moral fiber that's any thicker than the king of fake followers, President Obama. You need to beware of your spend to not get stuck with dead content. 

6. Collaborate.

To a degree, you should trust influencers to produce content that resonates with their readers.

But it's very important to have a say in what's produced. Don't give up full control of your campaigns, collaborate. Request storylines and post ideas before you spend, for Youtubers or Viners push for storyboards, or lead conversations with expected returns and goals for the amount of content you want produced. 

Push for collaborative projects and don't get stuck on doing the same thing every time, with the same influencers every time. Mixing it up is how you'll find wins in the space.

7. Is it Vogue?

Influencers are producing magazine worthy content and reaching more digital consumers than traditional media brands. One of these images if from Vogue, the others from the sites of top bloggers. Can you tell the difference?

8. What Happens When a BryanBoy Becomes a BryanMan?

There is definitely an aging out that happens with select bloggers.

We've witnessed this with many of the influencers who were first getting attention in the space as well as with media networks that failed to evolve.

While some of these bloggers have used their relationships to keep their relevance up, playing the game as if they were celebrities, making appearances, meeting fans, and ensuring they are pop culturally relevant. Many have given up, or will eventually give up trying to compete in the current influencer space, one driven by youth as much as popularity. 

Much like traditional marketing, there's a desire for youth in this space that mimics Hollywood and the current fashion media and advertising industry.

9. The Bieber Theory of Popularity

Talent + Social Fame + Attention By The Right Person = Platinum Records + Movies + International Tours + Millions of Dollars + Global Success*

10. I'll Tumblr For Ya

Tumblr bloggers enjoy having a built in audience, but the passive nature of these readers and lack of growth in the platform suggests that sites like Buzzfeed and UpWorthy have begun to take a hold of a good portion of active Tumblr readers who would flood the site for the latest in Meme Culture.

You can read more on Tumblr's current troubles here, but we're currently advising clients about the limits of the platform and the importance of building blog content on self-hosted Wordpress sites, which allow for more customization of content. Tumblr strategy isn't completely dead, but it's definitely a challenge to develop successfully. 

11. Don't Waste Any More Vine!!!

While Tumblr popularity seems to be slowing, there's an increased interest in Vine and the 6-second videos which dominate the platform. We're witnessing meet-ups with top Viners bringing hundreds of fans together, all for the chance to be featured in a Vine.

We're strongly suggesting that brands invest some dollars into this space. The following base for top Viner's is higher than most fashion bloggers and the audience is teen, making it a perfect platform for brands like A&E, Aeropostale, and other retailers challenged with reaching this young audience. 

There's similar evidence to suggest this audience is also on SnapChat, WhatsApp and other popular mobile games, so try to think beyond what worked before, to where the customer is now.

12. The Golden Age of Youtube

Disney just purchased MakersStudio for $500M

P'trique so chic. 

13. What Cost More? A Gram of Coke or an Instagram of Coke?

Correct answer: an Instagram of coke if shop by an influencer with more than 10k fans. 

A gram of coke will run you $80-100 on the street. 

The average starting price of Instagrams is currently $150.

Some larger influencers are charging upwards of $6k per Instagram.

Enough to buy a kilo.

14. The K Theory of Reality

Social Media Star + Reality TV Show = Fame, Fans, Millions, and Vogue Covers

Also known at the Kim Kardashian Kheory of Reality.

Many influencers are beginning to take this route and we're seeing more crafted attempts, as bloggers remain in demand. P.S. I Made This appeared as a judge on a crafting show, BryanBoy just finished two seasons of Top Model, Style Scrapbook appeared as a judge in a Latin American version of Project Runway, Courtney Kerr just conquered Dallas, and the Rich Kids of Instagram are now dominating E!

This year we spotted Tavi opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Toni Collette and Catherine Keener in Enough Said.

We also saw Kim do this. 

15. Stylists, Photographers, Models with Influence.

Bloggers are talented.

There's an art to this medium that can't be ignored.

Think of ways to incorporate these talents into all aspects of your creative process. They are not only very gifted, but the built in audience makes every project a social event. 

16. Advice for Adventures Looking to Scale Influencers Relations

Scale is difficult.

Do it with some help.

We currently run global campaigns with clients activating hundreds of influencers across the world. This type of scale isn't just about our technology. It's also about our talents.

This industry requires expertise which is why my key advice for scaling influencer campaigns is to book a sherpa.  

You need a guide. 

17. Guess Which Fashion Brand Won #BlackFriday?

Abercrombie came to Socialyte looking for a way to connect to millennials during the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday. We launched a Style/Off that connected the brand to 50 influencers, each commissioned to produce original editorials which lived on their social profiles and blog. Content came together through our customized Style/Off contest series.  

The page received over 205,500 visits over Black Friday producing 37,232 retweets featuring @Abercrombie. Over 170,320 purchase-intent consumers visited Abercrombie.com helping the brand sell-out of 24 seasonal items. Our campaign produced over 2,235 Instagram comments, 226k+ social likes, 3.8M+ campaign impressions and over 8M earned impressions.

Socialyte commissioned 339 personal style images for Abercrombie & Fitch featuring 122 items from their Fall collection. As a result, brand controlled messages remained on the top of the #BlackFriday trending topic for three days.

18. How Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Piaget Work with Fashion Bloggers

They elevate the content.

The produce the shoots.

They control the messaging.

They distribute.

19. What $1000 Can Get You in the Blogosphere?

Depends on the product.

Status brands still enjoy special perks available only to them. Having a cool factor helps adjust pricing, so pay attention to how your brand is viewed and your own social media growth to better be suited at negotiating pricing with influencers. 

I have yet to meet the blogger who's said "no thank you" to a Chanel bag.

20. Go Global. Get Local. 

English language international influencers enjoy a large audience amongst US consumers.

The reason is because of American women's usage of Pinterest, Instagram and other popular image and video driven mediums in which these influencers dominate content. Fashion, beauty and luxury lifestyle content remains the most shared content on these platforms. 

21. When Will the Susie Bubble Burst? 

Tell me what you think in the comments section...



Chiara Ferragni takes Top Honors at the LuisaViaRoma #SocialyteGala

Last night, the social elite gathered for the first presentation of LuisaViaRoma's #SocialyteGala. Emceed by DJ AcE (Trey Smith) with a performance by Natalia Kills the evening welcomed fashion, beauty and luxury lifestyles finest for a night of celebration. Hosted by Menswear Dog and FashionINDIE's Beca Alexander event winners included Chiara Ferragni of the Blonde Salad, who took home top honors as Socialyte of the Year, Bryan Boy, Aimee Song and Rumi Neely, who won Industry Choice awards, and Justin Liv and Jenny Ong, who won for Content Direction. Photography awards were given to Rachel-Marie of Jag Lever, Nicole Warne of Gary Pepper Vintage, and newcomer Marcel Floruss of One Dapper Street. 

Stylecaster and BeautyHigh took home prizes for Industry News and Social Connection, while Refinery29 took home awards for their "30 Under 30" series and recent campaigns with Trop Rogue and Fekkai. International Awards went to Andy Torres of StyleScrapbook, Doina Ciobanu of The Golden Diamonds and Alexandra Pereira of Lovely Pepa, while Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What, and Riccardo Pizzoli of The Blonde Salad won for Social Connection.

The Express Gifting Suite provided guests with new shoes and watches from the brands collection and offered viewings of the stage performances for VIP guests, while Gardein, Francis Ford Coppola Wines and Pavan Liqueur provided meat-free food and libations for guest in attendance. 

Best Video Series winners were presented by Dirk Standen of Style.com and winners Wendy Nguyen of Wendy's Lookbook and Amy Phan of The Fashion Statement tied for Best Fashion Series. Newcomer of the year was also a tie, going to Cara Loren and Amber Fillerup of Barefoot Blonde. The most original voice award went to Nadia Aboulhosn. View all the winners from last nights event below. 


presented by LuisaViaRoma, Express, Pierre Michel Salon, Style.com, 7 for All Mankind, Gardein, Alex & Ani, Francis Ford Coppola Wines, Pavan Liqueur, Songza, and The Hunt.


Socialyte of the Year presented by LuisaViaRoma

Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad


Best Content Direction of a Fashion Blog presented by Express

Jenny Ong of Neon Blush


Best Content Direction of a Mens Blog presented by Express

 Justin Liv of Scout Sixteen 


Best Content Direction of a Beauty Blog presented by Pierre Michel

TIED Emily Weiss of Into the Gloss

Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam


Best Content Direction of a Lifestyle Blog presented by Gardein

TIED Grace Atwood of Stripes & Sequins  

Tina Craig and Kelly Cook of Snob Essentials


Best Photography for a Fashion Blog presented by Express

TIED Nicole Warne of Gary Pepper Vintage      

Rachel-Marie of Jag Lever


Best Photography for a Mens Blog 

TIED Edward Honaker of Edward’s Hair   

Marcel Floruss of One Dapper Street 


Best Photography of a Beauty Blog presented by Pierre Michel

Sabrina Meijer of afterDRK 


Best Photography of a Lifestyle Blog  presented by Gardein

 Karla Deras of Karla’s Closet


Best Fashion Video Series presented by Style.com

TIED Wendy Nguyen of Wendy’s Lookbook   

Amy Phan of The Fashion Statement


Best Beauty Video Series

Sammi Maria of Beauty Crush


Best Lifestyle Video Series

TIED Geri Hirsh for LEAF TV

Dulce Tejeda for Dulce Candy


Industry Choice for a Fashion Blog 

Rumi Neely of Fashion Toast


Industry Choice for a Mens Blog

Bryan Boy


Industry Choice for a Beauty Blog

Amy Nadine, Kristin Ess, Lauren Conrad of The Beauty Department

Industry Choice for a Lifestyle Blog presented by Gardein

Aimee Song of Song of Style 


Best International Fashion Blogger

Andy Torres of Style Scrapbook


Best International Beauty Blogger

Kristina Bazan of Kayture


Best International Lifestyle Blogger presented by Francis Ford Copolla Wines

TIED  Diona Ciobanu of The Golden Diamonds   

Alexandra Pereira of Lovely Pepa


Best Social Connection for a Fashion Influencer presented by The Hunt

Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What


Best Social Connection for a Mens Influencer

Riccardo Pizzoli of The Blonde Salad


Best Social Connection for a Beauty Influencer

Laurel Pinson & Augusta Fellatta of Beauty High


Best Social Connection for a Lifestyle Influencer presented by Alex & Ani

Jenni Radosovich of  I Spy DIY


Most Original Voice presented by Songza

Nadia Aboulhosn


Newcomer of the Year presented by 7 for All Mankind

TIED Cara Loren   

Amber Fillerup of Barefoot Blonde


Best Industry News

Laurel Pinson for StyleCaster

Best Influencer News Feature

Refinery29 - 30 Under 30


Pet of the Year presented by the Rescue Paw Foundation

TIED Mr.K from Thank Fifi

 Pepa from Lovely Pepa


App of the Year



Best Fashion Influencer Initiative

Natalie and Dylana Suarez for Modern Vice


Best Mens Influencer Initiative

Bryan Boy for Adrienne Landau


Best Influencer Initiative - Beauty

Trop Rouge for Refinery29 x Fekkai


Best Influencer Initiative - Lifestyle

The Coveteur for CFDA and W Hotels