UMAI social circle cpg podcast

#14: Poppi Mukbang, This Insta-Worthy Rebrand & Influencer Network Is Poppin’ Off

Ever heard of Mother Beverage? Okay, how about Poppi?? 😛 We’re willing to bet that 2nd one rings a bell, especially if you’ve spent some time on the ‘gram.

After they snagged a partnership with entrepreneur Rohan Oza in the Shark Tank, they got a seriously awesome rebrand and quickly became the bubbly prebiotic product that we love today.

Learn how their new look has fueled an equally epic influencer network as well as tips to launch your own program while on a small-biz budget.

Let us break it down for you…

[0:50] Introducing Poppi! Initial thoughts. We tried the following Poppi flavors: Peach Tea, Ginger Lime, and Raspberry Rose.

[2:50] Ingredients list. The common theme = apple cider vinegar. “It tastes like it’s not good for you.” A treat!

[5:00] This brand went through a big rebrand, honing in on prebiotics + gut health. They used to be known as Mother Beverage before their Shark Tank debut and win! Turning away from the apple cider vinegar (ACV) language to appeal to a wider market.

[7:40] The look of this can is Instagram-worthy, for sure!

[8:00] Comparing language presented on cans as it varies.

[10:20] Poppi’s origin story. Our history working with this brand + who they were before Shark Tank. 

[15:00] National retailer launch during COVID. Check out the Forbes article below! Naturally, they’ve had to pivot to direct-to-consumer sales.

[18:20] Poppi’s social growth. A note on Founder Alison showing up on the ‘gram!

[22:00] Saw issues with the original name – Mother. As well as the ACV angle. So, this pivot to a different name and prebiotic focus is just huge – it can’t be emphasized enough!

[23:00] They come in SO many flavors. Karin lists them out.

[24:30] Diving into their macro-influencer program. A fleet of seemingly ‘true’ advocates. Includes an affiliate program – we love this.

[26:00] A note on micro-influencers – great for those on a budget! Macro-influencers can be a gamble.

[28:00] This one time that we worked with a macro-influencer…

[29:50] How to start your own micro-influencer program! The importance of warming leads.

[33:20] A huge benefit of these influencer programs is growing your brand’s bank of user-generated content (UGC) for organic and paid use. But, you must always ask permission to share this content. This is especially important for ads.

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Read – #14: Poppi Mukbang, This Insta-Worthy Rebrand & Influencer Network Is Poppin’ Off

 

Narrator:
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Narrator:
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Karin Samelson:
Welcome to the UMAI Social Circle where we talk consumer goods marketing tips to help business owners and marketers grow. We’re Karin and Alison, co-founders of UMAI Marketing, and we’re diving into the functional prebiotic soda brand Poppi, and their explosive growth after their Shark Tank debut.

Karin Samelson:
Before we hop in, if you like what you hear please feel free to leave us a rating, a follow, or subscribe to our pod wherever you’re listening from. Thanks so much, so let’s get into this.

Karin Samelson:
All right. Poppi.

Alison Smith:
Poppi.

Karin Samelson:
A bubbly prebiotic soda.

Alison Smith:
They’re so cute.

Karin Samelson:
So cute, so cheerful, so colorful.

Alison Smith:
Yeah, so I have the peach tea flavor, and the raspberry rose.

Karin Samelson:
Okay, I got peach tea as well, and I have ginger lime. Really, I am a sucker for anything ginger limey, ginger lemony.

Alison Smith:
Same, they were sold out of all the other flavors at my local Whole Foods.

Karin Samelson:
[crosstalk 00:01:42]. That’s a great sign.

Alison Smith:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Karin Samelson:
Okay, so let’s crack one of these guys. I’m going to crack them open, try them.

Alison Smith:
Yeah, whoo. Cheers.

Karin Samelson:
Yes, cheers.

Alison Smith:
Okay, I’m having the raspberry rose.

Karin Samelson:
Peach tea, over here.

Alison Smith:
Oh, wow. I like that.

Karin Samelson:
What does it taste like? Can you taste the raspberry and the rose?

Alison Smith:
I have Poppi dripping down my computer right now. Okay, hold on. It’s so good. It’s raspberry. I’ve never tastes rose. I don’t know what rose tastes like, but [inaudible 00:02:28] the raspberry and it’s reminding me of something nostalgic, and I don’t know what it is.

Karin Samelson:
Dang it. I wish I had that one too, so I could tune in on it.

Alison Smith:
It’s good.

Karin Samelson:
Alright, well I got the peach tea and you have it too. It is delicious. It is very peach tea, so I’m looking at the ingredients list and it’s green tea. They use sparkling green tea with apple cider vinegar, so all of these have apple cider vinegar. That’s the kicker. Peach juice, apple juice, of course I like it. Apple juice. Cane sugar, natural flavors, and Stevia.

Karin Samelson:
This one has five grams total sugar.

Alison Smith:
Wow, that’s real apple juice.

Karin Samelson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alison Smith:
I like that. Yeah, I really like the peach tea too. It tastes like it’s not good for you.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah, yeah. For sure. But I mean, especially when they put soda in the product name.

Alison Smith:
I have something to say, I feel like this is my drink. This is my drink.

Karin Samelson:
Oh, shoot.

Alison Smith:
I’m feeling it. It feels like it’s bad for you. It feels like it’s really bad for you, but it’s not.

Karin Samelson:
A treat, yeah.

Alison Smith:
This is the thing for me. I’m in.

Karin Samelson:
Yes, I like that. So, another, I’m not going to name names, because we’re on Poppi right now, but another brand similar, but different, they sent this questionnaire to all of their purchasers for like, I don’t know they were like, ” 30% off if you fill it out.”

Karin Samelson:
And, it was so long, and it was a great brand questionnaire, not brand questionnaire, but like a feedback. And one of the questions was, “Why do you drink it?” And my answer was, “Because it’s a treat.” It’s not even that it’s healthy, it’s that I crave something sweet and it’s a treat to drink it, it satisfies the craving, and I feel like that’s the same for this.

Alison Smith:
Yeah, this is good. I really did not think it would be this good.

Karin Samelson:
Ooh. Okay, I’m cracking open the ginger lime. Oh, gosh. Yeah.

Alison Smith:
I love ginger.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah.

Alison Smith:
I’m jealous of your ginger lime.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah, the peach tea is good. It tastes like peach tea, but the ginger, I just love ginger drinks.

Alison Smith:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yummy. Okay. Yay.

Karin Samelson:
Very good. Very tasty.

Alison Smith:
Okay, let’s talk about the package. The can.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah.

Alison Smith:
And, we’ll cover this in a bit, because they went through a big rebrand. They used to be known as Mother Beverage and they were in glass bottles, so now they’re aluminum cans and now they’re marketing themselves as a prebiotic soda. So, really honing in on that gut health. “Be gut happy, be gut healthy.”

Karin Samelson:
Yep. And, those three points here right on the can, “Prebiotics for a healthy gut, infused with apple cider vinegar, immunity sidekick.”

Alison Smith:
Wait. Okay. Are you talking about the three bullets?

Karin Samelson:
Yeah.

Alison Smith:
Okay, so I have a different one on the peach tea, “20 calories per can.” So, that’s their, I guess they’re testing different value props. “Prebiotics to support healthy digestion, one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.” So, a little different.

Karin Samelson:
A little different, and we’re seeing slight differences on the cans. I wonder if that’s moving forward or if it just varies can to can, but just slight. But, the recurring of course, is the apple cider vinegar. That’s it. That’s the selling point here.

Alison Smith:
Well, I actually read that they are moving away from apple cider vinegar.

Karin Samelson:
What?

Alison Smith:
Because, it was turning people off. I think people were, maybe they got some feedback that people weren’t trying it, because they thought it would be sour or gross.

Karin Samelson:
Oh, really, so it’s just going to be prebiotics?

Alison Smith:
So, they’re focusing more on the prebiotic, which is so interesting because for me, I see these so trendy.

Karin Samelson:
So hot, right now.

Alison Smith:
Yes, trendy.

Karin Samelson:
And, prebiotics. I feel like packaging them at the same time, but I mean I don’t know.

Alison Smith:
Yeah, but I guess, yeah a prebiotic is more easy to swallow than thinking about a vinegary drink. So, yeah that’s interesting.

Karin Samelson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep. So, both of them, if not all of them, I only have two, five grams of sugar or less. It’s a friendly reminder, which I needed the reminder, “You got to cut off the label to recycle.” Don’t forget it. And, it says it right there. Okay. I dig it. Very colorful.

Karin Samelson:
I mean, what did you read? That it was like a fashion statement.

Alison Smith:
Yeah. It’s basically like a photo opportunity to drink a Poppi, especially if you’re a millennial.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah. It’s Instagram fodder.

Alison Smith:
Yeah. Exactly. Which is, god that’s … I mean, what brand doesn’t want that major UGC?

Karin Samelson:
Yep. Yep.

Alison Smith:
And, photography. Okay, so I think we might have little variations on, I guess their story. So, my peach tea says, “Pop, cultured. Facts, no one wants a basic drink.” I feel like, leaning into basic again. Hitting on millennials.

Karin Samelson:
Well, it’s a non basic drink for basic people.

Alison Smith:
Or, gen-z.

Karin Samelson:
Sorry, but it’s true.

Alison Smith:
Sorry. I’m apparently one of them, because I am into it.

Karin Samelson:
Me, too. Yeah.

Alison Smith:
So, “Make every hour happy with this bubbly, better for you prebiotic soda that keeps your gut happy and gives your bod a boost.” So, they’re kind of saying, I feel like they’re inferring that this is your bod of boost. Like, inferring that this is … I don’t know if it’s exactly weight loss or what they’re trying to infer.

Karin Samelson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, just something positive.

Alison Smith:
Yeah.

Karin Samelson:
[crosstalk 00:08:53], positive.

Alison Smith:
“Downright delicious with barely there sugar these bubbles with benefits will be your new BFF.” Wow, alliteration. That was a lot of alliteration.

Karin Samelson:
I dig it though.

Alison Smith:
Okay, cool.

Karin Samelson:
Yep. Yeah, and their Instagram handles, and their website, everything you need on your cans, they got it.

Alison Smith:
Yeah. And, just like we were saying, this just freaking pops off the shelf. Nothing else was this bright, and this colorful.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, pops. Like, who was part of that? Who did that?

Alison Smith:
Who did that.

Karin Samelson:
And I’m, just side note, a little interested to see what’s going to happen after I consume two full prebiotic.

Alison Smith:
Yeah, I never have taken apple cider vinegar. I’ve only used it for salad dressing. Is it going to move?

Karin Samelson:
Your bod is going to get a boost. Yeah.

Alison Smith:
Bod boost. Okay. Yeah. We’ll follow up if anything weird happens after having two of these babies.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah, we’ll put it in the show notes. All right. Okay, now that we have tasted it, we’ve dissected the packaging as best we can. Again, full disclosure we are not branding experts, this is just, we are judging this based on being consumers and marketers.

Karin Samelson:
So, now let’s look at their background. So, this product was founded by a husband and wife team. Alison and Stephen. They’re from Dallas, Texas, so right up the road. And what she did was, they were combining fresh fruit juice with the prebiotic powerhouse we’ve been mentioning, apple cider vinegar, to create a soda that tasted really good and provided actual health benefits.

Karin Samelson:
She struggled with some health related issues, I can’t quite remember what they were, and this was something that helped with that.

Alison Smith:
Yeah, I couldn’t find anything that was exactly what she was struggling with, and I was really curious to know, just because I wanted to know if I could relate at all. So, I don’t think she ever said, unless, if anyone knows feel free to tip us in.

Alison Smith:
But, it’s just the perfect story of the founder had a need that she couldn’t find in the market, so created the product for her own needs, and then turns out a lot of people had similar needs and wants.

Karin Samelson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). And, it looks like they were selling at their local farmers market, and then it led into their big Shark Tank debut. They’re Shark Tankers. Yeah, so they came onto Shark Tank in 2018 as Mother Beverage.

Karin Samelson:
So, that’s something that we absolutely have to note. They were, again, they were Mother Beverage, they had a really simple label. I think it was like a off white label with colored font, so it was just Mother.

Alison Smith:
In a glass bottle.

Karin Samelson:
A nice, glass bottle, and we actually, Mother-In-Law’s Kimchi was a long time client of ours and we did like a mother themed giveaway with them, and so they sent us the product, we tried it then, delicious, and so that’s what the brand was when they got onto Shark Tank.

Alison Smith:
Yeah. I’m curious, I remember that giveaway. When they were Mother Beverage were they talking about ACV as the ingredient, or were they talking about prebiotics as the main selling point?

Karin Samelson:
That’s such a good question. I don’t want to say the wrong answer, but my gut, it was ACV. It was an apple cider vinegar drink.

Alison Smith:
Interesting.

Karin Samelson:
Oh, sorry if I’m wrong, but that’s what my gut says from that.

Alison Smith:
Yeah.

Karin Samelson:
Because, I remember Mother-In-Law’s Kimchi, the Kimchi, the, “It’s alive with probiotics.” And it was just that kind of themed giveaway, especially with the name Mother.

Alison Smith:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. I think you’re right. That’s what I remember too, is that they were really focused on an apple cider vinegar, so that’s really interesting. Whoever did their rebranding must have done a lot of looking at some data to understand that prebiotic was the right change.

Karin Samelson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). And speaking of, I mean, the investor from Shark Tank that signed it on, Rohan Oza, just the king, of beverage who was at Coca-Cola for forever, the companies that he was at sold to Coca-Cola for just like what? Billions.

Alison Smith:
Rohan. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Karin Samelson:
So, literal kind of beverage was the person that signed on for their investment for, I believe they were asking $400,000 for 10%, and he got them for 400,000 for 25%. And, obviously we don’t know the backend of Shark Tank and how those actually play out, but it’s very clear that, that one played out and CAVU Ventures, which he’s the co-founder of, they are investors in Poppi now.

Alison Smith:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, and they’ve got a stacked portfolio, so one of my favorite snacks, Skinny Dipped, they have them. Hims and Hers, Health Aid, Bulletproof, Waterloo.

Karin Samelson:
Vital Proteins.

Alison Smith:
Waterloo Sparkling Water, another Austin brand. Yeah.

Karin Samelson:
The list goes on.

Alison Smith:
A great, great move I would say, for Poppi.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah. I mean, they know what they’re doing and Poppi, how lucky is that to get under the wing of someone so powerful in this space. A true expert in this space, so obviously I’m sure he had a huge hand in that rebrand, and what it looks like now.

Alison Smith:
Yeah. Definitely. Yeah, so Poppi went to launch nationally in grocery stores, in retail stores, I think they got on with Whole Foods pretty early on, but it was during COVID. It was March that they were set to launch, so I know they had a, write up in Forbes talking about that struggle of them trying to launch during a pandemic, where people weren’t going into stores and what they were ordering, and things were just, like rice and things like that.

Alison Smith:
But, do you remember what it said? I mean how they did with that launch, regardless of full on pandemic?

Karin Samelson:
Yeah, and I mean, I think the story is very similar to a lot of brands that launched last year. It was kind of, with a little bit of worry, but I remember some of our clients had the biggest sales they’ve ever had and they weren’t those pantry staple brands. They were just better for you, healthy products that they could get their hands on, and that could last.

Alison Smith:
Yeah.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah, so it looks like the timeline of it was, 2018, December at the very end of 2018 they were on Shark Tank, they got the investment and then January, of 2020 is when that rebrand officially happened, they launched it, and then, yeah, March they went to launch nationally in grocery and lo and behold the pandemic.

Karin Samelson:
And I believe what was said, was that the already had their production runs, they already had this product so what could they do other than launch? So, they did and luckily this is a better for you, healthy option, so I think the rest is history here.

Alison Smith:
Yeah.

Karin Samelson:
They’re killing it.

Alison Smith:
Well, I think they also pivoted a bit and got onto Amazon and things like that to help push sales, but yeah like Karen said, “We only work for better for you brands.” And, luckily they were okay during pandemic times.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah. And so, now I really do wonder now with that national launch in retail and then Amazon, and then they have [inaudible 00:17:14] on their website now, which I can assume, but I wish I could see how much of those sales are coming from each platform.

Karin Samelson:
Because it’s so interesting, before the pandemic you never would have thought to buy something like this, these ready to drink canned beverages online, but I bet that they’re raking in those sales online.

Alison Smith:
Yeah. Yes.

Karin Samelson:
Especially because of their influencer program, which we will talk about in a moment.

Alison Smith:
Definitely. And I mean, beyond Amazon and just your own site, there’s the grocery delivery and all that jazz. But yeah, I totally agree. I never was the consumer that would go and buy something that’s like a treat or like a snack online, but now I do.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah. We all do. Well, a lot of us.

Alison Smith:
But yeah, so it’s really interesting, I mean we’re only giving you what we can find online, and we do have a small pass with them since we did a giveaway once upon a time before they rebranded, but also it’s interesting to look at how the growth happens with social.

Alison Smith:
So, we tell a lot of our smaller brands that it’s really important for the founders to get on and get on stories, and just tell their story on the feeds, and what have you, and it’s hard to do, but Alison, the founder here had, I don’t know if she still does it, but she was getting on every Friday to answer questions on Instagram. They called it Founder Friday’s.

Alison Smith:
Just answering questions, communicating with their audience, and I don’t know if she still does it, but it’s cool to see that work you put in, that early stage work is so important, and it makes people become super fans of your brand.

Alison Smith:
Now you don’t really see her as much on their Instagram, because they’re experience massive growth and they’re pulling in others to be featured.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah. Totally. And exactly what Alison just said, there are so many benefits of having founder focus, putting a face to a name, connecting in a way that just a product can’t. Because again, you’re not selling your products, you’re selling your brand.

Karin Samelson:
And so, these Founder Friday’s that she did, they look really prevalent, early, early within their launch, their rebrand launch of early last year and then you see them a lot few and far between her being featured, because it’s a certified brand now. It is far beyond what I personally thought.

Alison Smith:
It’s like a beast in its own.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah. Yeah, very cool. I love that and then I also really love how they’re mission based. They’re giving back, and especially we’re seeing a lot of brands do this, especially during the pandemic and PR or no PR, brands are doing it, because they can and it’s the right thing to do. So, love that they’re doing that. Yeah.

Alison Smith:
Yeah, I read that they were giving back by sending this to hospitals, which is really interesting. I mean, it is a … I mean, I don’t know how many studies they done, I don’t think there’s a lot. It’s more of a home remedy, I guess, to take apple cider vinegar, that they are bringing to the masses.

Alison Smith:
But, apparently they’re sending it to hospitals. I mean, no matter what, if it’s going to help or not, it’s a delicious treat.

Karin Samelson:
I wonder if it’s just for the employees there, or if they’re offering it to … I don’t know.

Alison Smith:
Yeah.

Karin Samelson:
I have no idea.

Alison Smith:
Yeah. Part of the lunch, I mean.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah, the offerings. Yeah.

Alison Smith:
Yeah. Yeah, I don’t know either.

Karin Samelson:
Tell us, Poppi.

Alison Smith:
Yeah. That’s pretty interesting.

Karin Samelson:
Cool. So, yeah rebrand happened, they exploded, it seriously pops off the shelf now, like Alison said earlier, a fashion statement for millennials to take photos with. It really is. Just go to their tagged photos and their influencer program is crazy robust, but it’s trendy stuff y’all.

Karin Samelson:
And, I say trendy not in a fleeting way. I think it’s going to be here to last and it’s just an exciting and really visually appealing thing to look at.

Alison Smith:
Yeah, and I know we kind of touched on this, and obviously I would love to look at why they made this decision, but what we’re seeing is, like we said, they saw issues with the name Mother, their original name, because it was, I believe it was too vague to copyright, which makes sense.

Alison Smith:
And, then they were also honing in on the apple cider vinegar aspect, but somehow they found out that it was actually turning people off, so now you can see they’re rebranded to a prebiotic soda.

Alison Smith:
I think the only time apple cider vinegar is mentioned, other than the ingredients, obviously, is, “Infused with apple cider vinegar.” So, it talks more about prebiotics than anything, I would say on the packaging and on the site.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative). And, even on their Instagram bio, “Join the prebiotic party. 20 calories, five grams of sugar or less, be gut healthy, be gut healthy. Seen on Shark Tank. Prebiotic soda for all.” It is a certified prebiotic soda and apple cider vinegar is just the, it’s just a little hidden gem.

Alison Smith:
Yeah. And I also saw on the site they kind of touched on the benefits of apple cider vinegar. It wasn’t backed up by any studies, it was, “May help this. Could provide this.”

Karin Samelson:
Yeah.

Alison Smith:
Which is what you need to do to protect yourself, but it did touch on like, “May improve skin quality.” Which is like, “Whoa, a beauty soda. That’s so interesting.” Like what a new category.

Karin Samelson:
I know.

Alison Smith:
And, I know there’s the hyped collagen drinks, but this is kind of the first time I’ve ever seen it in a soda.

Karin Samelson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alison Smith:
Yeah.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah, and I mean it’s a good note. We totally forgot to say what the other flavors were. We’re only trying three of their many flavors. So, they have watermelon, strawberry lemon, ginger lime, raspberry rose, blueberry, orange, pineapple mango, which sounds so good, and then peach tea. So, they have quite a few flavors right now.

Alison Smith:
Mm-hmm, (affirmative).

Karin Samelson:
All right. So, I do want to touch on the influencer portion of this, because while there’s lots of things going for them, the one thing that stands out to me, other than the rebrand of course, is influence marketing.

Karin Samelson:
And, we don’t want to come on here and just assume things, and speculate, but this is a fact that they’re doing this. I have no idea how much they’re spending on it. I can safely assume that it’s a pretty penny.

Alison Smith:
Because, you’re seeing macro-influencers, right?

Karin Samelson:
Oh, yeah. Macro and mega. These are big influencers that don’t do things for free, and especially don’t let you re share their stuff for free, if they do like the brand. Right?

Karin Samelson:
And, it seems like a lot of them are advocates of it. They’re true drinkers of the soda, and it’s pretty dang easy too, because I mean, I have only two here, but they’re delicious.

Alison Smith:
They’re delicious and who is not your … I mean, they obviously hone in on a target market, but who doesn’t want a delicious drink. You know?

Karin Samelson:
Yeah.

Alison Smith:
[crosstalk 00:25:10].

Karin Samelson:
And I mean, their demographic, I mean it’s the millennial woman, and they really focus in hard on that. So, pretty cool and it looks like what they have going on is, also, I don’t know, again I’m just talking, that the influencer program, a lot of them are affiliates so they have their own promo codes, I think it’s for 10% off or something like that.

Karin Samelson:
Obviously driving sales on E-com, onto their website, getting a lot of traffic there, and then definitely retargeting these folks. I can hope and assume. And it’s just, this is well and good, especially for a brand that’s funded like a big venture firm, like CAVU, but what you can do as a small to medium sized CPG brand, is probably, I don’t know if this is in your wheelhouse, if you are funded enough, if you do have your own money to put behind this, good for you and that’s great.

Karin Samelson:
But what you can do, is really focus in on the micro-influencer route, so look what they’re doing though. Take them as inspiration. Look at what they’re offering them, how they hone in on their customer avatar, what kind of vibe they’re sending out, how it connects with the actual brand, because like you sell the brand, you don’t sell the product.

Karin Samelson:
So, with the smaller budget, with the smaller brand you can really hone in on those micro-influencer programs.

Alison Smith:
Yeah, and we’ve been having a lot of talks about influencer programs, and someone said recently just picking a macro, like a huge influencer with a million plus followers and betting, like working with them, it’s literally a bet. You might see zero sales.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah.

Alison Smith:
You never know. So, we really prefer to work with these micro-influencers, get in with them early, you never know what’s going to happen. And then also, we usually give discount codes, so that we can track sales easily.

Alison Smith:
So, we kind of make them more affiliates, like Karen was saying, because that also incentivizes them to continue to post, because they directly receive that commission.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah. Absolutely. And, unless you have the money, again, it really depends on how much money you have. Unless you have the money to invest, and not put all your eggs in one basket, I’m going to give you a slight situation.

Karin Samelson:
So, we had a client in the past who, we were running a micro-influencer program for them, it’s super successful, in terms of their turn on investment, and a mega influencer came around, huge reach, huge engagement, real engagement, not bots, and we were like, “Okay, let’s see what happens. Let’s try and work with them.”

Karin Samelson:
The investment was very high. Very, very, very high and we should have known better. Right? We should have made sure that they were a true, true, true advocate of the brand. Especially if you don’t have enough money, and we ran that program and not one sale.

Alison Smith:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Karin Samelson:
Not one sale. And that is such a huge blow. Not only to your finances, but to your idea of what these influencer programs can do. So, unless you’re able to invest your money into so many of these mega influencers, start small and be smart with it.

Alison Smith:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Karin Samelson:
So, what I love that Poppi is doing, even though they’re mega, is their packaging. So, their influencer kits, their media kits or whatever you want to call them, they are just as colorful as the cans, they’re all different. That’s a little bit expensive, if you’re smaller you can have one box that really houses your products beautifully.

Karin Samelson:
If you want to invest more money, I would say that, that’s a great place to start. It sends a different message than if you just have your product strewn in a brown cardboard box.

Karin Samelson:
So, that’s something I really like that Poppi does, and I think smaller businesses with a little bit of a budget can do, but yeah. With those micro-influencers here’s what I would suggest that you do directly.

Karin Samelson:
So, create your list. Create a list of micro-influencers within your niche that look like your customer avatar, that are probably around, I don’t want to say be specific on a range, because it really has to do with your engagement rates too, but anywhere from 5,000 followers to, I don’t know, 25,000.

Karin Samelson:
You can be flexible. Certain people will work with you if they are a true advocate of your brand, they like your product, and create a long, long list. So, we’re looking at kind of, 25% conversion rates now, so if you want to work with 25 micro-influencers, make a list of 100 at the very least, and you’re going to nurture the relationship.

Karin Samelson:
We have a complete guide on how to do that, and what that looks like. If you subscribe to our email list you’ll get that sooner or later, and that’s just the nurturing of the relationships and the cultivating of that community, and then sending free product and seeing how it goes step by step.

Alison Smith:
Yeah. I mean, I can’t hit on the nurturing more. It’s so important. Think how turned off you would be if a brand was just like … Just cold DM’d you and was like, “Hey, you want to post a picture of my product?” No.

Alison Smith:
It’s like, you need to become friendly, and like and comment on their posts, and let them know that you’re on their team as well, and that you care about them before ever asking for anything. So, it does take a little more effort and a little more time, but I mean, a conversion rate, our last round I think the conversion rate was over 30%, and that’s big. That’s pretty large saying that 30% of the people we reach out to are like, “Yeah. Let’s do it.” So, definitely put in a little bit more effort, if you’re going to run one of these programs.

Karin Samelson:
Absolutely, and it seems so simple on the outside, just to get, “Oh, this person posted about you. That’s so nice.” The amount of work that goes behind it, it’s a lot of work and you got to be ready to do it.

Karin Samelson:
And, Alison just slammed her peach tea. One down.

Alison Smith:
I’m done.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah, but I mean, these micro-influencer programs, and you’re seeing it more and more, they really are the way to do what they’re doing, but on a very much smaller scale with people that have the opportunity to grow, just like Alison said. It’s like, these people might have 5,000 followers and 300 people engaging with them per post, and Instagram’s crazy. Social media is nuts.

Karin Samelson:
They can go viral and in a month they have triple that, quadruple that. So, the relationships are key. And something that I really like that we talked to a founder recently was, he said that even though he has social media help, he goes in and he has those communications with those influencers. I realize how busy all of you are.

Alison Smith:
Yeah.

Karin Samelson:
I completely get it. And of course, having somebody else do it is great, but if you do have the time and you do enjoy it, jump on, get in there.

Alison Smith:
It’s going to speak volumes too.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah. Sign off as yourself.

Alison Smith:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Anything else you wanted to talk about with influencer?

Karin Samelson:
Yeah. Well, just touching on the fact that it’s not just them introducing your product to their followers, you’re also able to utilize their content. As long as you ask. That’s key. You got to ask.

Karin Samelson:
So, with these micro-influencer programs that I suggest all be small to medium size businesses do, is offer the free product after you enter into the relationship, offer free product, get it to them, follow up with them after they receive it and make sure they liked it, and then you offer affiliate commissions.

Karin Samelson:
You say, “Hey, I would love to offer you this discount if you want to push it to your followers you’ll get a 10% commission or a 15% commission,” whatever you can afford.

Karin Samelson:
And then utilizing the content that they created, as long as it’s approved by them, to run ads, to post on social. You know?

Alison Smith:
Yeah. And, that’s what I was going to say. All we do is DM and ask, again, “Can we use this in a advertisement?” And, it’s a different level that you do need to ask for. Actually, I don’t think we’ve ever been told … We’ve been told no, like once. So, usually very high in that message a lot of times, depending on the client, we’ll say, “We’ll send you more free product.” Or something like that, which, I mean if they’re smaller influencers that’s amazing. Who doesn’t want free things.

Alison Smith:
So, we do that a lot, and those types of UGC ads, they look very native on the feed and they perform really, really well. They build social proof and trust for your brand, so yeah. I mean, there’s so many ways to repurpose these types of programs to work better for you and grow your brand.

Karin Samelson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). And, these influencers are so creative. They can bring ideas to the table that you would have never thought of creatively, which I really love.

Alison Smith:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Karin Samelson:
And I hope, if any influencer is listening now and rolling their eyes and they’re like, “We don’t just want free product.” It’s like, “Yeah. I understand that.” I completely get the amount of work that goes into it and I respect it completely, but it’s really important as a brand to understand who these people are and make sure that they’re true advocates.

Alison Smith:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Karin Samelson:
And once you do know that they’re true advocates, and you know that you’re giving some affiliate commissions, they are selling your product, absolutely get into paid partnerships with them.

Alison Smith:
Yeah.

Karin Samelson:
Pay them for more of their time and more of their effort, and you’ll have even more results from that.

Alison Smith:
Yeah. And again, asking for use of an ad isn’t going to work every time, but when you understand who the right person to ask, and that’s probably after they’ve made some money of being an affiliate for you, so that might take a little bit of trial and error, but those types of ads perform amazingly.

Alison Smith:
And I’m actually looking at Poppi’s ads library, and that’s what they’re using as well. So, something else to take note of.

Karin Samelson:
Ooh. Are they using like a lot of UGC for ads?

Alison Smith:
They don’t run a ton of ads, so they’re promoting a giveaway, they have some studio shots, and then the rest are UGC.

Karin Samelson:
Cool.

Alison Smith:
So, definitely take a look.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah.

Alison Smith:
Peak at their ads library.

Karin Samelson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, that micro-influencer program that we’re talking about, perfect for these smaller stage businesses that are just getting their feet wet with influencers that don’t have that much funding.

Karin Samelson:
Once you get funded, once you have more, really reward the people that have been by your side. These influencers that have worked their tail off for you for content, for commissions, for just true supports of your brand, really reward them. Get into some paid partnerships, collaborations, have them take over on your page. Just nurture that relationship from start to, I don’t want to say finish, because you never know how long these last.

Alison Smith:
To start for forever.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah. To forever.

Alison Smith:
Well, cheers y’all.

Karin Samelson:
Cheers.

Alison Smith:
That was fun. That wraps up our Poppi mukbang and deep dive into the brand. Thanks everyone for listening. We are fans.

Karin Samelson:
Yeah.

Alison Smith:
Obviously. Feel free to DM us, at UMAI Marketing on Instagram, if you have any specific Poppi questions or comments, and we’ll talk to you guys soon.

Narrator:
UMAI Social Circle is a CPG agency driven podcast based out of Austin Texas. We’re excited to share more behind the scene insights, chats with industry leaders, and whatever else we learn along the way. Follow us on Instagram at UMAI Marketing, or check out our website umaimarketing.com. Catch you back here soon.

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