Dom: Hello and welcome to the Sociably Podcast. This is the first in a series of discussions about influencer marketing. My name is Dom and I’m joined today by my colleague Louis Nicolas-Darbon. In this first episode, we find out how long it took Louis to surpass the 200,000-follower mark. 

We ask whether it’s ever possible for an influencer to stop posting once they’ve started and can an iPhone picture ever be good enough.

Louis: Did we sort of introduce ourselves?

Dom: That’s a good point. We’re just making a massive assumption that everybody has –

Louis: Yeah, massive assumption that you guys know who we are. But I’m going to introduce Dom. Hey, it’s Dom.

Dom: Hey, how are you doing? Yeah, that’s it. There’s not much more to say. People are going to know more about you. People already know about you, I think.

Louis: And you too. I mean it’s always – you know, discovery is interesting to explain. What we do, we – that we’re based in London but I would say acting and working quite globally especially in the US. Soon a bit more in Asia and we’re working mostly on the marketing influencer side as well as high-end production mostly for social media content.

Dom: Yeah. So that’s kind of how we started working together, wasn’t it? We were – I was working more on the production side of things and we – me together with my business partner wanted to move into producing content for social. We didn’t really know how to do it and this was three years ago that we started looking at this. How do we take what we’re doing but make it work on – yeah, Instagram and Facebook rather than just being a standalone piece of content.

That’s kind of how we then met Louis who at the time was growing his Instagram audience really significantly and that – your growth period, I suppose. When did you start? 2011? 2012? Something like that?

Louis: No. Actually, I realised – because now Instagram, I think I don’t know if it’s on all the features but since, I think, end of September, end of October, they have this sort of new feature where you can – based on where you post and your interaction, they showcase your main city. So for instance me it’s London and they also showcase – show the mutual account that follows you and other people to show this interaction thing but also when you join Instagram and I realised actually joining 2013, end of 2013.

Dom: Oh, really? So it has been even quicker than – and I’ve probably told everybody…

Louis: Yeah, yeah five years ago, a bit less than five years and it has been quite a journey. I mean that could be a totally different podcast just about how to grow your Instagram in an organic way from – I mean back in 2013, I would say was a less competitive environment and a lot more space to grow and – you know, the growth was probably quicker, most significantly quicker. But, you know, I think a good podcast could be about how to grow your Instagram in an organic way to certain pillars like from zero to 10K, 10 to 40K, 40 to 100K, 100K plus, knowing that the growth is slightly more complicated and difficult. 

But how did you get there? If you launch your brand, if you launch your business and you need to get on social, how can you reach within – I don’t know. Let’s say one to six months now. I would say before one to three months but now I think realistically one to six months. How can you get to 10K followers and already have a significant audience? I mean a qualitative audience generally interested in your product or what you do.

Dom: Yeah, because I guess – I think we should do a separate piece about this because it’s interesting probably how – what your strategy ended up being when you started. I imagine –

Louis: Yeah, it’s a good subject. But again it’s a different conversation. But I had often – especially from like sometimes brand manager or marketing manager from different brands I work with asking, “How did it all start? What’s the story behind it?” 

They were quite intrigued and also quite – because I think it’s not what they were expecting. They probably thought based on the profile and what I do now that everything was purely towards the fashion element and menswear tip, styling and all of that, which was an element but the key – what’s the key thing that make me started? And I’m not going to tell you now. It’s going to be the next episode that you need to watch.

But that’s where people sometimes don’t realise because we all see what they see on social and think, OK, that’s the real life or like that’s what he’s about and forget that behind there is a skill or there is a passion or there is something that our – in a way to leverage the social media.

Dom: Yeah, exactly. Let’s save that, that’s a big conversation.

Louis: It’s quite a conversation but that can lead to all these tips from my perspective. I mean I don’t know if it’s the right tips. But basically my experience from – since 2013 posting I would say almost – I can probably count on my two hands the days where I haven’t been posting every day. So when you think about it, over five years, posting every day at least one post, two, three posts a day is quite some content.

Dom: Yeah. Once you get on the train, you can’t get off, right?

Louis: Yeah.

Dom: Basically. Again, that’s something else – that’s when you end up in therapy, isn’t it? But it’s kind of true that you can’t stop now really.

Louis: Yeah. When you join the journey, you still …

Dom: Because people want to see stuff every day. They’re used to seeing it and they want to see it and if you stop, gradually I imagine it’s an experiment that we’re probably not going to test yet, people who drop off and people who stop following you and you will gradually stop –

Louis: It’s all about keeping the audience engaged by being yourself, being genuine, but also that’s the way I work for many different things from production to art and different things, evolving, keeping your own style.

Dom: Yeah. So getting back onto what –

Louis: Yeah.

Dom: If people are watching this or listening –

Louis: Different subject. Make sure to subscribe and join to get the full story coming up soon hopefully.

Dom: Yeah, absolutely. So the reason we’re doing this – what’s the reason we’re doing this? And we’re doing this – we’re going to be looking each week hopefully at kind of what we do as an agency, Sociably, but also looking at other people in the influencer space. Ultimately we’re an influencer marketing agency. We don’t represent influencers but we work with influencers to produce engaging content for their channel or brand of channels, kind of bringing production together with the influencer’s strategy in a nutshell.

Louis: Yeah.

Dom: So we want to talk about influencers that we’ve worked with, that we like, that we think are doing cool work at the moment. That’s going to be part of what we talk about, which we think will be interesting.

The other side just generally talking about social and social content, which is something else that we do a lot of producing social content for brands, just talking about stuff we’ve seen recently that we like.

Louis: Yeah.

Dom: And then just general chat about this space really –

Louis: Again that’s the first podcast and thanks for joining guys and listening to us. But the whole journey we want to have the podcast and that YouTube channel is to basically share a bit our experience with you guys, share tips about – you know, we’re lucky enough to like travel quite a lot and be a bit based between the US and Europe, get our vision from what’s the – according to us the best, I don’t know, Instagram spot in New York or where you get the ultimate shot in Chicago or LA or London, Paris. So all this sort of social media focus tips. Also it could be some styling tips which I think would be quite interesting to share.

It could be how to get better content for Instagram, how to shoot in a nice way. Recently I had actually a brand manager from a major brand, asking me, “Oh, which camera do you use for your stories and stuff?” and most of the time – I mean 99 percent of everything except when it’s like launch event where it’s more higher and proper – high quality production that we produce. It’s most of the time actually from an iPhone X.

Dom: Yeah.

Louis: And then a bit of sometimes lighting or colour retouch on certain pictures. But it can be really simple. But how it’s more about the composition in the picture or it’s more about the angle or it’s more about giving a bit of, I don’t know, flair or like something that brings the photography a bit more interesting and bring to life I would say.

Dom: Yeah. That’s the thing, isn’t it? It’s kind of like all again the idea type stuff because ultimately, yeah, it’s about capturing that moment in the best way.

Louis: Sometimes you see a cool car passing on the street. You hear the sound. You’re like I know it’s a cool car. You just grab your phone, take a picture and you get what you get. Sometimes slightly blurry, sometimes you have a speed motion effect that looks cool. But how you’re more like spontaneous and only – even though – again that’s a separate conversation that we’re going to go through in terms of – later on in terms of equipment that we recommend for you know if you’re looking to build your social media and you’re mostly instagram account .Which camera do we recommend for content you want to produce, from small to SLR and mirrorless cameras and all of that and video, what from our perspectives might be the best but sometimes you get the best stuff through your iPhone or Samsung.

Dom: It’s funny that isn’t it? We’ve got funny stories  around that where we’ve kind of managed to pull something off by chance, and just by chance that image just decided it worked and 

Louis: And we should not say that but sometimes some clients when we send them a selection of RAW files from a shoot and we, because we managed to catch a moment that you couldn’t really catch on camera, through the phone – via the phone, we add that image and sometimes “I want that image” and they have no idea it’s coming from an iPhone or a Samsung.

Dom: Yeah…yeah ultimately it’s about what’s going to engage and what works.

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