Jenny Frankel, cofounder and president of Nudestix, said the craziest rate she was quoted while trying to finalize this year’s influencer strategy was $42,000 for a single Instagram post.
The YouTube star Frankel was talking about goes by Chrisspy (real name Christina Cagle), where she has nearly 1.7 million subscribers on her ChrisspyMakeup YouTube channel and 3.8 million Instagram followers. While considerably cheaper, an inquiry to 20-year-old Alexis Ren’s management yielded a quote of $20,000 to $25,000 for an Instagram post from Ren, who has 8.9 million followers on Instagram.
But Frankel wasn’t deterred. She and her team — including her daughters and cofounders Taylor and Ally Frankel — spent months solidifying a group of seven influencers who will today kick off a yearlong partnership where each one works with the brand in varying capacities over the next 12 months.
Nudestix has signed Vancouver-based blogger Samantha Ravndahl as its tier-one blogger partner and Angel Merino — aka Mac Daddy or @mac_daddyy on Instagram where he has 1.3 million followers — as another influencer partner. In her role, Ravndahl will partake in activations for feature products all year-round and create YouTube videos and Instagram content, and Merino will work with Nudestix strategically throughout the year.
The brand also inked a deal with four Ipsy content creators — Karen Yeung (@iamkareno); Lynette Cenée (@lynettecenee); Jaleesa Moses (@saythelees), and Cydnee Black (@cydbee) — as part of a multipronged marketing strategy with the beauty subscription service and Nudestix’s own master educator, Donovan Gibb (@makeupbydg).
Even though the three-year-old makeup brand is small — Frankel said the brand is on track to do about $20 million in retail sales this year — it’s spending as much, if not more, on influencer marketing than the industry’s leading players.
As the main influencer of the bunch, Ravndahl, who has 2.4 million Instagram followers on her @ssssamanthaa account, will get a six-figure sum in her yearlong contract with the brand. If one does the math, Nudestix is paying Ravndahl in the $100,000-range is a considerably larger chunk of its overall business than the reported $1 million contract that multibillion dollar company L’Oréal has with Kristina Bazan. Even if you take BareMinerals, a $750 million brand that inked a deal with Ingrid Nilsen that was said to be more than $500,000, Nudestix is still making the more sizable investment in influencer marketing.
Frankel was forthcoming about her findings from the influencer-gathering process. As of the 2016, when the brand was planning strategy, she said the average price for an Instagram post for an influencer with more than one million followers started at about $6,000; influencers with 200,000 to 500,000 followers could charge, on average, just under $2,000, and anyone with less than 200,000 followers, especially in the lifestyle sector, will post for less than $1,000.
“We want influencers to earn a living — and they should,” Frankel said. “It’s a heavy investment for us. We thought that instead of focusing on one we would have various influencers that speak to various demographic and have various specialties in beauty.”
The campaign that kicks off today will see the first of two influencer-collaboration pieces. The #Babeboss Faves Box contains a collection of six lip pencils selected by Ravndahl, each of the four Ipsy content creators and one picked by Taylor and Ally Frankel. The group will take it a step further this fall by co-creating their own lip pencil colors with Nudestix, which will hit counters in the fall.
But she still has grave concerns about the space as a whole, which she was not afraid to voice.
“It’s been challenging, especially for young, smaller brands where social media was an advantage to us a few years ago. The evolution of having authentic or organic relationships [with influencers] has really dissolved over the past 12 month. It’s just the lightning speed the way the industry has evolved, [where] before you could send influencers products to try and there would be a lot of organic content. Now, unless there is a paid strategy they won’t post, or its very unlikely.”
She acknowledged that the biggest issue when it comes to influencers — beyond the $40,000-plus fees for a single social media post — is ensuring that a paid partnership still maintains a sense of authenticity.
Any influencer the brand has worked with to date has organically used and posted about the product before, Frankel stated. The brand has never selected anyone strictly from a paid strategy standpoint.
“The expectations that influencers have now — we have to say, ‘Wait a minute. Let’s get real here.’ If you love our product and you generally love the brand and what the brand stands for and we want to work with you — we respect that there should be paid relationship. But that genuine love or interest in the brand needs to come first,” Frankel said.
When it’s all said and done, Frankel knows that influencers are invaluable in building a brand today. This includes macro and micro influencers in equal measure — who each play an integral role in Nudestix’s overall strategy. While macro influencers convert followers and sales, micro influencers create brand awareness.
She even offered advice to other emerging brands looking to work with content creators online.
“It’s really important that your contracts have a fine print that basically talks about everything you expect. Because the whole beauty influencer world is new — they are young entrepreneurs and don’t necessarily have tremendous business savvy; they have beauty savvy — your expectations must be clearly laid out,” Frankel said.
For her, this includes the type of posts desired, best practices for posts, what content is to be included, what platform it’s to be posted on (just stating Instagram isn’t enough because there are static Instagram posts, videos, Stories and live videos now), captions and even how you want the partnership to be conveyed in that caption.
“You may not want it to say #ad, but it must say something because of FTC regulations. Followers do not like to see #ad, and you see engagement reduce dramatically [when #ad is used in post]. So it’s how do we abide by the FTC rules in a way that isn’t off-putting?” Frankel said.