UMAI social circle cpg podcast

#27: The Good Audit Episode 2: Lost River Apothecary with The Rind PR

Join Alison and Karin as they audit Lost River Apothecary with Stef Shapira and Lindsey Leroy of The Rind PR! Learn about everything you need, from sending product to influencers to product linking as they look over this up-and-coming CPG brand. 



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#27: The Good Audit Episode 2: Lost River Apothecary with The Rind PR 

Calling all consumer goods, business owners and marketing professionals. Does planning content ahead of time stress you out? Do you want to run Instagram and Facebook ads, but just aren’t sure where to start? If your answer is yes and yes, then our Mini Course was made for you. It’s 100% free and packed with essential tactics that you can implement as soon as today. To join in, visit our website at All right, let’s get on with the pod.
Karin Samelson: [00:44]
Welcome to the Umai Social Circle, where we talk consumer goods tips to help business owners and marketers grow. We’re Karin and Alison, co-founders of Umai Marketing, and we’re being joined by Stef and Lindsey from the Rind PR for our four part series where we’re auditing young CPG brands on PR and digital marketing. Welcome to episode two, where we’re diving into Lost River Apothecary and herbal remedies brand offering all natural teas and salves. Stef, I want to thank you for joining us again. How are you today?
Stef Shapira: [01:20]
Pretty good. Thanks for having us.
Lindsey Leroy: [01:21]
Yeah, thanks for having us, you all.
Karin Samelson: [01:23]
Yeah, we had such a fun time with Willow Street snacks on our last one, on our last good audit. So it’s fun to go into a beauty brand. And we actually worked on the same beauty brand, a different one, so we’re really excited to talk about something similar.
Lindsey Leroy: [01:40]
Well, it’s fun to have a variety of different types of products too because it helps get your brain going in different ways and also gives me ideas of things that I need to pick up at the store.
Stef Shapira: [01:50]
I know.
Karin Samelson: [01:51]
Any new beauty product, I’m like, “Okay, I’ll try it.” You got me. Awesome. Well, do you guys want to jump in on your PR recommendations?
Stef Shapira: [01:59]
So I think one thing that’s good to start off by saying is that, for PR we have three areas that we specialize in and that we are going to be looking at in the audit. So the first one is messaging. How the story is told online and is there consistency? Are the words… Do they make sense? Is there missing information? That sort of thing. So we took a look at the Lost River Apothecary website for part of this audit, and one thing that was really great is that it clearly says at the top what the product is. It says, “Herbal remedies that restore balance and allow inner creativity to flow.” Granted, that might be a little flowery of language, but I think for the most part, you get what it is and then you can scroll down and see more about the specific products.
Stef Shapira: [03:01]
And also another thing that was great is it calls out their ethos, right on the homepage there, locally sourced, sustainably grown, and ethically foraged. So they understood the assignment of having a mission statement and trying to have it, like, be an overarching thing with what they do. Let’s see. Some things that seem like they might be missing from the website is more about… There isn’t an about page, but it tells more of a background story. And I would say this is also nice, but flowery language, but I get that it is a fit for this sort of brand and the people behind it, but there’s not really much about who is making it.
Stef Shapira: [03:53]
It doesn’t say anywhere who the person behind it is, which I think is an important part of being able to tell a story. Their social media says that they’re woman-owned, but that’s not included on the site. And I think especially, these days in the world we’re living in, people are making decisions based on different values like that. And I mean, the sustainability element is one value that drives people to purchase, so that’s great. But I think adding women-owned to that would help a lot as well.
Alison Smith: [04:32]
And that’s something that we talk about a lot. If you are a younger brand and you’re willing to step up and be the face of your brand, if that’s just through stories or ads or on your email list and also through your website, that really helps the customer just establish that no I can trust for that founder. And it’s scary and you don’t always have to do it forever. Once you hit the big time, then you can fade out a little if you want, but we always see the founder showing up, really help push the mission, the product. I mean, you’re the person that knows the most, you’re the person that created the product. So, totally agree with you on that one.
Stef Shapira: [05:27]
Yeah. And even for basically, I was just going to say, even for PR pitching to try to secure media stories, two things we always look at are business stories, which is like the founder story, how they got there, what their inspiration was for starting the brand and that sort of stuff where you have to be able to talk and talk. Your name is out there, your face is out there, that sort of thing. Or expert type stories, which are the founder talking about foraging or different herbs that are good for acne or for a rash or various things. So if you’re not really wanting to put yourself out there and do that, you’re potentially missing some media opportunities. Granted, we want everyone to be comfortable doing these things and we’re not going to ever set up an interview with a client if they really are resistant. But it’s just you want to make sure you’re doing as much as possible and thinking of those different angles and just proudly saying who you are and why you founded the business, and telling your story is a big part of it.
Lindsey Leroy: [06:37]
I think there could be, also, some opportunities in terms of media and pitching, that writers may see on your bio that inspire an idea. If that’s a trend piece that they’re working on, how to utilize yarrow in different ways. They may be working on something like that and they see that you have a herbalism background or whatever it is, may just inspire an idea. And it’s also great for creating content, whether that’s a personal blog or just working on social media posts that really show the behind the scenes and really give a face to the brand.
Stef Shapira: [07:16]
Yeah. I agree with all of that. Other things that we are looking at, it’s not totally clear to me from the site, if there are other places like retail places that this can be purchased, or even just where you can “find us” page could be helpful. With PR generally it’s good to… Well, one, if you want people to buy your product, you want to tell them where. That’s a basic, in terms of selling product, but besides that, the more places you are… And well, it adds credibility and if a writer or even an influencer is looking at your page and they’re like, “Oh, I know that store,” then it just adds another layer for people to connect with. I mean, this is definitely a smaller brand that honestly might not really be in many retail locations, but especially when a brand is getting into… It’s easy when you think of grocery if they’re getting into a Sprouts or a Whole Foods or something like that.
Stef Shapira: [08:20]
You definitely want to be putting that all over your website, in your social media, because again that adds credibility and it’s the thing that we can pitch to media as news as well. So then the next section that we looked at, was media and influencer tactics. This was definitely an area where there wasn’t a ton that looked like had happened yet with this brand. We didn’t see any media coverage. I think reaching out to media can be a really daunting thing for anyone who hasn’t really done it, for founders and really anyone. But I think that if you’re a little intimidated by it, the easiest place to start is maybe finding someone local, they’re going to be more likely to want to share a local story. So it could be just picking up your local magazine or looking at the website and finding someone’s name and normally their emails are on the website or it’s searchable. Or honestly you can even send it to the general email for the publication and just send a little bit about your story.
Stef Shapira: [9:37]
You’re not always going to get a response, but there’s definitely… It’s a lot less scary. There’s a lower barrier to entry, if that’s the phrase, than if you’re pitching a big national publication like, I don’t know, geez, all the ones that I was going to list are not doing print anymore. I was going to say InStyle. But obviously for any publication for online like Allure for a BD brand or something like that, that’s going to feel a little scarier, but if it’s someone who might be like, “Oh, I’m really interested in this local story,” or, “I want to support a local brand,” you’re likely to get a response.
Lindsey Leroy: [10:18]
And it looks like they have really great photography already on the website which is, I think, maybe half the battle when thinking about media relations and pitching is having really good high quality photos. Editors are way more likely to run coverage of your brand or your product if you have really good photos. So, making sure that you have that in one place, almost like a little, not necessarily a press kit, but a little media or PR package. So you have your labeled high-res photos, a little about the brand and maybe even some ideas on potential stories, whether that’s skincare tips for winter or how to use herbs on sunburn in the summer, things like that, that might help you break through the noise when you’re reaching out to media.
Alison Smith: [11:20]
So you’re saying have that type of content on the site, like blog content on the site?
Lindsey Leroy: [11:26]
Not necessarily on the website, but have it ready to go. And if you’ve already got your messaging really dialed in and you’ve got your photography gathered, it’s really just one more step to put that together on your end.
Stef Shapira: [11:43]
That’s the stuff that, before media’s going to cover, they’re going to need that anyway. That’s what we put in a pitch or what they’ll say, “Can you send us photos?” And then you’re not like, “Oh no, I’m not going to be in the story because I didn’t have my photos in this Dropbox in time,” or whatever. Just a little bit of increasing your chances and saving yourself some time by having that stuff ready.
Alison Smith: [12:07]
Get organized now, that’s y’all’s motto. I like it. For brands who can’t hire you guys, how do you generally advise them to get on those hits? Are they simply reaching out via email or how should they go about that process?
Lindsey Leroy: [12:31]
I think I would first take a look at where your competitors have been covered. Also think about your target market and what types of publications they’re reading, whether that’s print or digital or even newsletters, where they’re getting their information. And then make a list of who your ideal targets are. Let’s use Lost River, for example, their target market may be really focused on wellness, maybe more so than beauty. So a publication like Self or Women’s Health and I’m just talking about in the national sphere. Those publications may be a better target while they’re lofty goals, really honing in and going after those as opposed to making a blanket statement to everybody, I would see what types of stories your competitors are being included in and then work your way backwards. But I think seeing who’s writing the stories and then tracking down their contact info, whether that is… Honestly, a lot of freelance writers include their email address in their Twitter bio these days. You can get so much valuable information from Twitter.
Alison Smith: [14:04]
Twitter. Oh, okay. I like the hot tip. Love it. So find them on the publication and then stalk them on Twitter.
Lindsey Leroy: [14:16]
Stalk them on Twitter, not obsessively. And I would say-
Alison Smith: [14:19]
Just find their email on Twitter.
Stef Shapira: [14:21]
A lot of times their emails are on Instagram too.
Alison Smith: [14:25]
Okay, awesome.
Stef Shapira: [14:27]
I feel it’s easier to find, not everyone’s email, but it’s a lot easier to find people’s emails than you would think.
Alison Smith: [14:35]
Yeah. We actually have a scraping tool that we use. It’s just a free Chrome plugin. I just search scrape or something and-
Stef Shapira: [14:46]
That’s such a weird word.
Karin Samelson: [14:47]
It doesn’t always pull the good.
Alison Smith: [14:51]
Yeah. It only pulls emails that are already on the page, just so you don’t have to search through the whole website. But it is helpful if you’re like, “Who do I need to contact?” And then you just run the scrape tool and then you’re like, “Okay.”
Lindsey Leroy: [15:05]
And I would say in terms of best practices, if you are reaching out, I will say reach out and keep it really succinct. So make sure that you have your… Get your point across in three sentences, if you can, introduce your brand. You don’t need to go over the top. You don’t necessarily need to send an entire press release. But I would make sure that you can get it out in a few sentences and then ask if they would like more information. Offer up pertinent info, like if you’re available on Amazon, if you have an affiliate program. And if you have high quality photos, don’t ever attach photos, but the shorter, the better as an initial interaction is more likely to get a response. And then-
Karin Samelson: [15:50]
Why don’t you want people attaching photos?
Lindsey Leroy: [15:53]
If you attach photos, I guarantee you an editor or writer will delete it almost immediately. They get so many emails with attachments. And I had this problem when I worked at fashion PR in New York that you’d get so many attachments that your inbox will crash. So anytime [crosstalk 00:16:12] Yes.
Stef Shapira: [16:13]
Put it in a Dropbox or Google drive. Basically link it, don’t literally attach the file.
Lindsey Leroy: [16:19]
Link it, don’t provide a photo.
Karin Samelson: [16:20]
Great tips, you all. I had a question really quick before we get too far away from it. But you were saying don’t annoy them, how many times is too many times to reach out pitching to the same writer or editor?
Lindsey Leroy: [16:39]
I think it depends on what you’re following. If you’re just following up to say like, “Hey, did you get my email?” Or just wanted to check in to see if this was of interest, I would say maybe no more than two or three times. If you have something new and if you can, wait a little bit and then gauge interest and also provide maybe something new, whether that is like, “I just wanted to follow up to see if this was of interest. We also just got picked up by Whole Foods. I just wanted to put that on your radar.” Or if there is some timely event or seasonal hook, to include that in your follow up as well. So it’s not just like, “Hey, did you get my email below?”
Stef Shapira: [17:23]
Yeah. I think a lot of it is sometimes, if it’s the wording, over and over again. Imagine if-
Alison Smith: [17:30]
Did you get my email? Hey, did you get my email?
Stef Shapira: [17:33]
Yeah. Every day for like three weeks, that would 100% be annoying to everyone, I think. So it’s, spacing it out and then coming up with a new angle for the follow-up email.
Alison Smith: [17:44]
Yeah. I’m just curious too, is it ever good to be in a follow up like, “Hey, so and so wrote us up and it’s a competitor,” or would that turn them off you think?
Stef Shapira: [17:57]
I feel that one’s tough. It depends on what the story is. I feel maybe don’t do it for the most part. I would say, maybe if you’re going to have some press that you are excited about, just add it to your website or put it on your social media, but I don’t know if that’s a strong pitch point.
Alison Smith: [18:17]
Don’t lead with it, okay.
Lindsey Leroy: [18:19]
And you always want to make sure that you’re providing value to that publication. So you want to make sure that your product is a fit for the readers first of all. And that it’s providing value in some way. So if you are able to offer an exclusive discount to that publication, sometimes that’s really valuable. Or if it’s just something that their readers would find of interest and at that time too. Why is it timely? Why do they need to cover your brand now? Is it new or is there something, again, tied to seasonality or an event. So really make sure you’re considering all of those things. It’s a lot.
Alison Smith: [19:03]
Very cool. You’re seasoned and have a lot of little nuances that are I think really helpful.
Stef Shapira: [19:12]
Yeah, for sure. I mean, we’ve been doing this for a while separately. I don’t even know, I think it’s over 20 or 25 years combined experience. So I feel we definitely even learned things from our early days of doing PR, where they’re like, “Oh, Never doing that again.”
Lindsey Leroy: [19:32]
Still learning, still growing.
Stef Shapira: [19:37]
Things are changing frequently, obviously with more of a digital push, fewer print magazines, affiliates, all kinds of other things. So either way, I think the core of PR pitching to media and just really in general, honestly, even in terms of marketing, it’s all about, how are you telling your story and how are you coming up with creative ways to do that as well. And keeping things fresh. I mean, that’s been the same as long as PR has existed.
Lindsey Leroy: [20:09]
Well, and with the rise of influencers, it also opens the door for a lot more opportunities that are a little bit of a lower barrier to entry. So sending product to influencers in exchange for posts or in exchange for a mention on their social media, is so much easier as there are so many more influencers, so many more types of influencers, a varying degrees of quality I would say, but I think there’s a lot of value in reaching micro influencers. And I think that’s something that Lost River can definitely take advantage of. And taking a look at who’s in the area, who’s in the region, who has posted about… This is also working backwards like you would with media, take a look at like-minded brands or locations, whether that’s a spa that’s really similar to your ethos. Or even if it’s a wellness food product, taking a look at whether or not any influencers have posted about that brand, having the idea that they may like yours as well and make a list of who those potential targets might be.
Lindsey Leroy: [21:35]
But I think working with micro influencers, so like under 10,000 followers, is a great place to start. And I think, in terms of reaching out, I think DMing on Instagram is completely acceptable. Again, most influencers will include their email in their bio or you can click their email and find their contact info. But really think about and consider what the package looks like, that you’re putting together to potentially send these influencers. You’ll see a lot of unboxing videos that the influencers posts on their social channels. So the more interesting or fun or memorable the package actually is, and that’s the physical package, so not just putting a bunch of bubble wrap in there, the more interesting that is, the more likely they’ll post more content. I think that’s the direction that a lot of brands are going.
Lindsey Leroy: [22:38]
So you can send the same thing to everyone. You can switch it up and make it a little bit more custom. I always recommend including a handwritten note and something that’s really personalized. It takes 30 seconds to do, but it makes such a big difference and it really helps establish a more of a partnership feel and relationship between yourself and the influencer. They’re also way more likely to post about you down the road, or want to work with you again.
Alison Smith: [23:10]
The handwritten note, I mean, it is scalable. There are companies, I think we have a friend who has a company, she has many employees who write these beautiful handwritten notes. But it’s just, I mean, getting a handwritten note from a brand that’s just going to establish so much likeness. It’s just so powerful. If you have any numbers on conversion versus, with handwritten notes, without handwritten notes, I would love to hear them, but I know that’s probably a really hard thing to track.
Lindsey Leroy: [23:50]
I have two shout outs for local brands that have done that really well. Siete always includes really great personalized handwritten notes in their mailers. I know that they work with a lot of influencers and I just over the moon adore that brand, but they also do a lot of tastemaker outreach to wellness people, influencers, chefs, bartenders, et cetera. It makes a world of difference. It creates this brand ambassador in a way that’s not a traditional liquor brand ambassador or whatever it is. You become an arbiter of the brand and I’m talking about it now. And I always tell my friends when they ask for recommendations for those types of products. And then Made In also is another great one that includes really awesome handwritten notes. And it gives you all the feels.
Stef Shapira: [24:52]
Yeah. And it’s clear that there are handwritten notes because the influencers or the tastemakers love them so much that they’re sharing them on their social. So I have not received a package from either brand, so I cannot attest to.
Lindsey Leroy: [25:06]
It’s only because my husband’s a chef. I personally do not receive-
Alison Smith: [25:10]
Oh, you get the perks. So do you have-
Stef Shapira: [25:13]
Does anybody want to send me anything?
Alison Smith: [25:15]
Please include a handwritten note as well. So do you guys have any hard numbers or vague numbers even about the conversion when you work with brands, sending influencer packages, handwritten, non-handwritten notes?
Lindsey Leroy: [25:31]
I don’t, but I am going to get that. And on our next podcast, I will have a chart for you.
Alison Smith: [25:37]
Want the data.
Lindsey Leroy: [25:39]
Going to make you a pie chart, get ready.
Alison Smith: [25:42]
Sweet. Love a good pie chart.
Karin Samelson: [25:44]
All right y’all, is there anything else PR related that you saw that Lost River could implement?
Lindsey Leroy: [25:50]
I think the last bucket that we’ll just mention is, the community building or community engagement. That’s something that we love to do because it’s fun and creative, but also really helps reach your target market in a unique and fun way. That’s anything from participating at an event or doing a popup at a spa, something like that. We saw a few examples, but not too many, just looking on Instagram. It looks like they’re available at a hotel spa, which is a great opportunity to engage with the hotel and spa guests on social media. Leveraging your wholesale partners or any other partners to create an opportunity, whether that is a giveaway on social or hosting, offering to host a popup or a sampling opportunity or inclusion in some gift bag if they have an event going on. But really leaning on your existing partners and then looking for potential new partners.
Lindsey Leroy: [27:11]
Again, really digging in and seeing what your competitors are doing in the space or what some of your deal like-minded brands and partners in the area are doing and reaching out and just gauging interest. They may already have an existing event that they may want you to participate in, whether that is an earth day, shopping event or something and they’re looking for a holistic or all natural brand to come in and do some sampling, just for example. But I think there’s a lot of opportunities to engage with potential partners that I haven’t really seen too much just on the Instagram. I think that they’re a really new brand, so there’s definitely an opportunity just to introduce yourself as a brand and say, like, “Hey, we’re new to the community. We’d love to partner up on whatever you have going on.”
Karin Samelson: [28:18]
Cool. All great points. And I think something I’m going to bring up as we dive into the more marketing and digital side is, and I’d love to hear your PR thoughts on this too, especially with partnerships, but let’s just jump into the marketing side, if that’s okay with you all. So first we’re going to go through Instagram right away. So I don’t know exactly when product was available, but they launched on Instagram. Oh, maybe I do know when product’s available. I do know, I should know. It was on January 31st. So February 1st was when they first launched their first batch, but in January they started posting a little bit, on Instagram, about the brand. And so it’s a very new brand. It’s been three and a half months since they started doing that, and only a couple months since they launched the actual product.
Karin Samelson: [29:17]
So there’s so much good stuff here already. I’m assuming the founder’s doing this, because it’s such a new brand, but you can tell that the person’s an artist and that really reflects in the content that’s being shared. I don’t think everybody needs to be an artist to be able to do this. I don’t think it has to be so aesthetically pleasing. It’s just a bonus that this is a talent that this person is right brained, maybe left brained too, I don’t know, but it’s really obviously beautiful content. And in both the creative and the copy, I’m just super impressed with what’s going out. They’re super social savvy and the content is quality, but they’re still keeping up and maintaining the consistency. So I love it. I love the content. I love the variation. I love that they’re talking about a lot of different messaging buckets. There’s great engagement.
Karin Samelson: [30:12]
But something that differentiated it to me with the different products in the same space, is the emphasis throughout the content and in the bio, of it being indigenous, inspired on native land. I believe she says it’s Yakima and Siletz Land and that she’s in Lyle. And it’s just a really beautiful way that she weaves in that storytelling throughout the content too. And I believe 5% of her proceeds go to indigenous communities, organizations and I think that’s a really amazing thing to stress because she is living off the land.
Karin Samelson: [31:01]
And I also really like how she has tagged herself in the bio so that we can go into her personal profile and see how she’s living and what she’s doing. And you can learn so much about, like she just bought this huge acreage property where she’s going to be planting a lot of different things on the property and growing her own herbal remedies. And I think that’s incredible. And I’d love to see more of that too. I know that she’s doing a little bit, but bring some of that stuff that you’re open to sharing on your personal page onto your business one as well, if it reflects on your business. I think that could be a really fun thing to do. And it will also get more of your friends and family over there as well, which is vital in this early stage.
Alison Smith: [31:47]
I did not see that initially, so Jenna, I want your life. First of all, this is so cool. I mean, I also love that you’re willing to connect your business with your personal life and it’s also great that your personal feed is well curated, for lack of a better term. Any way you could show up more on your website, so people who maybe didn’t pop over to your profile, they could learn more about you. You seem to have this great aesthetic and really like beautiful life and imagery. And I love your Husky puppy as well.
Karin Samelson: [32:33]
Real cute Husky. It’s a whole lifestyle and bringing, I can see half of your content that you share on your personal, on your business one too, because what we find is that these brands that are open… I mean, you talked about Siete earlier, what’s more founder and community and brand, the people that are behind the brand focus than that brand. And being open to that, invites a lot of people to come in and be able to connect with you better. And that is all what social media is about. Of course, it’s about entertainment, but it’s also about, mostly about community and connection. I hope, and I hope that continues to be that way. So, a lot of compliments, but I think a lot can be done in terms of, just like Alison said, a little bit more behind the scenes, a little bit more sharing of your every day and not worrying too much about the aesthetic in fear that it might make things look wonky. It won’t.
Karin Samelson: [33:37]
It all looks really great. And I will say it time and time again, I will say it to as many people as I can, your feed doesn’t have to look perfect. That is a very old way of thinking, so you’re doing great there. And another obvious thing, and I think it pertains to a lot of early stage brands, is focusing on your social proof. So focusing on growth strategies to make sure that you look more established, like if I saw this brand and it had a few thousand followers, it would make me feel more comfortable purchasing. That’s what that social proof is all about. It’s saying, seeing, “Oh, that person. All of these people like this brand and follow this brand and trust this brand, maybe I need to figure out what the fuss is about.” So focusing on growth strategies, so things that your brand can do and all other brands can do is partnering or collaborating with like-minded brands.
Karin Samelson: [34:39]
So any other brand that shares a very similar customer persona avatar as yours, partner with them, do giveaways, have fun. And when you do engage in those giveaways, we always recommend boosting a little bit. So we have a course and one of our students did a, Alison, make sure I’m saying this right, but he did a giveaway over the course of two days or three days for $25 and what was his… It was an outrageous follow. And it was just such a small amount of money, but it hit. Sometimes it hits, sometimes it doesn’t, you always want to test what the prize is, who you’re partnering with, all that kind of stuff. But sometimes when it hits, it really hits. And when you boost, our recommendation, our rule of thumb is we’re trying to get less… equal to, or less than $1 per follow.
Karin Samelson: [35:41]
So if you boosted $25, I want you to get 25 followers that are super engaged, actually interested in your product. You’re going to see a 10% fall off, so actually make that more than 25 followers. But I think he was making, I don’t know, it was like 20 cents per follower, something like that, where it was just like, “Oh. Good, good boost.” So giveaways, boost him a little bit and then more reels content. And I do not doubt that this lady can make beautiful video content because the two reels that she has are so nice. Did you all see that tea reel she had? I was like, “Who is this lady? Who made this? So beautiful.” She’s outside, she’s using natural light. She laid a sheet down and she’s just making tea. She’s making her tea and it’s just this really beautiful aesthetic.
Karin Samelson: [36:41]
And to be quite honest, 841 views, post it again. Put a different song on it, post it again, and see if you can raise your views because it’s always really poopy to spend a lot of time on something, post it and not get a lot of views on it. And that’s not your fault, that’s just Instagram. So post it again, put a different song on it. If that one does better, feel free to archive this one so you don’t have two of the same videos so close to each other, but I would encourage it again. And then this process one where you’re using that funnel, more, more of it, people want to see behind the scenes and that you’re literally just setting up your camera and showing the production line, which people are so fascinated by. It’s like our fascination with pimple popping videos. Is anybody else? Is that just me? No, I know it’s not just me.
Alison Smith: [37:38]
I made my search build into all pimple popping videos.
Lindsey Leroy: [37:36]
Oh my God.
Karin Samelson: [37:48]
Yeah. It was one of our employees. They were like, “Who’s been engaging with pimple popping videos? It’s all in our search.” And Alison was like, “That was definitely me.”
Alison Smith: [37:57]
One thing that you’ve started, you just can’t stop. Same thing with behind the scenes.
Karin Samelson: [38:02]
Same thing.
Stef Shapira: [38:04]
Same thing.
Karin Samelson: [38:05]
Same thing with your process videos. It’s like, there’s something about it that’s just super relaxing. It’s like ASMR.
Alison Smith: [38:11]
I was just going to say, just like the ASMR.
Karin Samelson: [38:13]
Yeah. More of that. I would try and do it as much as possible. I love the variation. You’re doing carousel posts. You’re doing videos. You’re doing static images. Keep it up. But if you can, and you have the time, up that video content on your land. She posted this. Did she post this? I got a little lost in this feed, y’all, because it’s so beautiful. But she posted, I think it was on her personal. See it was on her… Maybe it was, you guys, I don’t remember, but it was her planting different… It was so cool. It was like, “I’m planting this Sequoia, this little Sequoia transplant. And hopefully it’s going to become this big tree later.” And it was just so cool. And it’s just like, I want to see that on your feed too, because it’s that part of the storytelling that people love. So more of that.
Lindsey Leroy: [39:08]
Quick question. For brands, I guess, for smaller brands that don’t have a huge breadth of products, what do you recommend in terms of frequency of posting on Instagram specifically?
Karin Samelson: [39:23]
I love that question. The same amount. The same amount that I would tell anybody. So even if you have one product, think of all of the different benefits of it, think of all of the different ways that you can talk about it and talk about it just as often as anybody else would talk about their products. Alison always says this, but when we are talking to a new brand, there’s always one or two hero products. It’s got to make up like 80% of your sales. So that’s normal anyways, for there to be these hero products that you talk about all the time. So I would say very, very similar if not the same strategy and you’re going to want to post about it as much as you can. You want to track your analytics to see what’s working and then do more of what’s working, do less of what’s not.
Karin Samelson: [40:14]
Let’s move a little over to the website, now that we’ve talked about Instagram. So going to the website, I love that you guys called out the banner, that hero banner on the website, herbal remedies that restore balance and allow inner creativity to flow. I like it. I would like to see probably more of product focus at first because I’m like, “Is this a course? Do I learn about how to make it? What is it? What can I get here?” So I would love that with the call to action. But first and foremost, implementing a popup and a first time order discount is something that we really want brands, especially ones that don’t have a lot of proof yet because they just launched, to do because you want to drive trial, you want to get people to try it. So having that popup, getting as many emails as you can, setting up all your email flows after that, we want to see that done.
Karin Samelson: [41:08]
We’ll always talk about email and we talked about on the last audit. I really recommend to do that. And then the second one on the website, just really quickly, would be to make that free shipping over $100 automatic. Don’t make them use that promo code free ship 100, it’s awesome that you have a free ship option, but just make it automatic so that you can utilize that first order discount and the free shipping just to entice more people to purchase. It just makes it a little bit easier on everyone in the long run.
Alison Smith: [41:42]
And that might be, the offer that you can do at this time, but maybe you are able to get more efficient and things like that, consider testing if dropping that free shipping to like 50 or 75 for a bit, is going to help you convert users better. In terms of that automatic discount, if you’re using Shopify, which, I don’t think I checked if you are or not, that’s something that you can easily set up in the backend to just automatically apply that discount, so there’s just less friction during the entire checkout process.
Karin Samelson: [42:20]
He’s on the Squarespace.
Alison Smith: [42:23]
Oh, Squarespace. Okay. I don’t know too much about Squarespace, but hopefully there’s an automatic app that you could use to help with that. Certainly it’s been years since I’ve used Squarespace.
Lindsey Leroy: [42:42]
They just see an email about, and maybe they already offered this, but linking up your Instagram and Squarespace to make it easier to shop on your Instagram account through your Squarespace site. If it wasn’t already an option, it is now, or it is now easier to do.
Alison Smith: [43:04]
So beyond Instagram shopping, it’s-
Lindsey Leroy: [43:08]
Beyond that. So you would, I guess you would link up on the backend so that it would-
Alison Smith: [43:14]
Like your catalog. Got you. That’s how Shopify interacts with Instagram, is it’s your catalog shows up, you can tag on your Instagram and then you can go shop on your site. So I’m guessing Squarespace implemented something like that. I mean, social shopping is huge, it’s the future. Don’t quote me on that. But we really do think, I mean, it’s less clicking, less people getting off of their endless scrolling on TikTok and Instagram. It keeps them right inside the platform, which Meta’s obviously going to love you to stay on their platform. So, highly recommend setting up IG and Facebook shops. Salves, I just learned it’s salves and not Selves. Salves or general supplement herbal space can get denied for IG shops, unfortunately, so I’m not sure Lost River, if you’ll be able to, but definitely check it out. You’ve got such a beautiful shopping space already on your Instagram, it would be great to allow that.
Lindsey Leroy: [44:32]
I’m [crosstalk 00:44:33]
Karin Samelson: [44:34]
Yeah, they’re lumping salves into that… They’re making that as hard to sell as supplements?
Alison Smith: [44:40]
I would say anything in the herbal space is flagged as supplements. Even if you’re all natural, all those things. They, a lot of times lump them in, and it’s really hard to get out of that category and get into the health and beauty category.
Stef Shapira: [44:56]
Yeah. That’s confusing. Well also because some of her products are tea, obviously you ingest. Then something that’s topical is more like beauty. I could see how with something you’re putting inside your body, that would make more sense to me, but it’s how-
Lindsey Leroy: [45:16]
Opposite in this case.
Alison Smith: [45:18]
Well it looks like her catalog is approved, so she’s all good. It’s just sending over to website so check out IG shopping. See if that is something that could work for you. Beyond that with the website, Karin signed up to see if you have a welcome email, because that’s the kind of person she is and she did not see a welcome email. So that’s one of our first and favorite emails that we’ll ever set up. It goes along with that popup, once you enter your email address, you get that first introduction welcome, here’s a discount. And then that user goes through your full indoctrination flow. So it’s just that first send and it’s really important. So look into that, if you set up a popup. And then again, beautiful content, beautiful packaging, would love to see some more people and people with product, some more lifestyle shots across all assets.
Alison Smith: [46:24]
We talked about this on the last episode. How consumers just want to see themselves in that piece of photography or video. And so those type of shoots can be super helpful. They don’t have to be produced shoots even. Can be like, hey, I’m having a party and I’m going to invite all my friends and I’m just going to happen to be going around with my products and taking as many photos and videos as possible. So there’s different ways to do that, on a budget, if you will. So paid social. I saw some ads creep in and then now they’re gone. So I don’t know if I’m not looking in the right spot again, but I did see some really great ads. So congrats on doing that. If you’re doing it yourself, that’s amazing. Being a business owner and running ads and doing social and PR and everything is really impressive. But I don’t see them anymore, so I’m going to speak on what I remember.
Alison Smith: [47:32]
I remember seeing mostly product photography, just like the photos that are on your website. Just remember, like we just said, native photos are your friends. So when we say native photos, photos and videos that look like the photos and videos on your Instagram feed. So I would say pull in your IG posts. You don’t have to make brand new structured ad creatives and videos. It’s really about utilizing everything you have and not making yourself work more. So you can simply go in, if you’re launching ads and just pull existing posts, pull in a really great reel or even stories you can pull in as ads just to make sure they make sense to run as evergreen ads. And those we see performing better than even our designed creative. So definitely look into that. Work smarter, not harder.
Karin Samelson: [48:38]
And I want to stress that when Alison’s saying pull in, she’s not saying screenshot and copy and paste the copy. She’s talking about there are buttons to press inside ads manager where you can literally be like, “I want to do this Instagram post of mine.”
Alison Smith:[48:56]
And we’re also not saying boost. We’re not talking about boost and boosting is a whole other thing. We’re talking about, create a campaign and ads manager. Once you’re at the ad level, it will say, create an ad or use existing post and you’ll go in and you’ll use an existing post. That’s also where your branded content will show up where the existing posts are. That’s a whole other ballgame. That’s if an influencer posts about you and allows you to run that post as an ad, that’s where that’s going to be. Those are powerful as well. And hit us up if you need help, we’re happy to help. And then the copy. So the one thing I saw with a copy, it was good copy. I think it had some storytelling. It talked about some value props, but we could break it up a bit.
Alison Smith: [49:46]
It was large paragraph text. People scrolling through their feed, especially Instagram ads, you’re seeing maybe a sentence, a sentence and a half. So try a shorter copy as well as long form copy. Both work really well. But I think the main point I wanted to get across here is use emojis. Emojis just help catch the reader’s eye. It helps them get through the blocks of text. You don’t have to use silly, dumb emojis. You can use the sparkle emoji or something cute like that. But try pulling some emojis in if you’re doing longer copy.
Lindsey Leroy: [50:27]
I feel like emojis also help me when I’m scrolling through. It makes me think that it’s like a friend of mine or something. I feel like it gives it more personality and creates more of a… Just creates more of a personality for a brand. You feel a little bit more, I don’t know, comfortable to stop and peruse.
Alison Smith: [50:51]
Absolutely. When you’re writing and I… So I’ve been advertising for 10 years or something. When I first started, I used, what is it? Caps case, everything was like U capitalize, R capitalize, like-
Karin Samelson: [51:06]
Camel case.
Alison Smith: [51:07]
Camel case. Where every single word was capitalized, because I was like, this is an ad. This is a professional ad. I quickly realized that was silly. So the big rule of thumb when you’re writing copy is speak like you’re speaking to a friend. Don’t misspell words. Don’t use slang or things like that. But it should be pretty. What’s the word I’m looking for? Native. Should be pretty like-
Lindsey Leroy: [51:36]
Alison Smith: [51:37]
Just casual. Beyond the emojis, we love emojis. We use Emojipedia if you’re looking for an emoji dictionary. Also in the copy, think about some value propositions to have. A great way to start off a piece of copy is calling out the user. So any way you can call out the user without getting flagged. So you can’t say, “Do you have eczema question mark?” You can’t say that. You can massage that, but use that in a way to call out the user. That’s a great starting line for your copy. But think of more problems that your product’s solving. I saw that you talk about eczema a lot on your salve and that is a huge differentiator between any other products out there. So definitely relate to that. I don’t think you can say that outright, but talk about dry skin, cracked skin, things like that. And what your product can do, that’s a huge differentiator. And then, I’m just rolling guys. So feel free to stop me.
Alison Smith: [52:49]
But video, just like Karin said, so you can pull in those reels, those beautiful reels that you’re making. You can pull those in as ads, but you can also make more video. So anytime you’re out on your property, anytime you’re doing those, making the salves or processing the teas or making yourself a tea, film it. Film it with beautiful light in the morning, film it in the evening. Get 15, 30 and 60 second quick videos that you can smash together or add testimonials on top. Or just a simple video of your property with value propositions on it, could really work as an ad. So just always have this guy on you and always filming. It’s not always going to be the best, but the more you have, definitely the better.
Alison Smith: [53:40]
And then my final ad piece of advice is never ever, ever send an ad to your homepage. So when you launch an ad, send it as far into the checkout process as you can possibly get. So if you’re running an ad for tea, send them to the URL for, let’s see, slash essential teas, so that they have less places to click through. They’re already on the product page and they can purchase straight from there. If you’re selling your duo, send them to slash essential duo. Just that extra click can really drive down conversion, so just remember that if or when you want to run ads.
Lindsey Leroy: [54:32]
So if they were running an ad for something that was a little bit more general, or maybe it was for the holiday season, but wanted to push a bunch of their products, what would you recommend sending them to?
Alison Smith: [54:44]
Yeah. And we are talking about e-commerce so there could be a little if and wins, but if it’s a holiday collection, most likely you’re going to make a collection on Shopify, Squarespace for that. So you would send them to collection slash holiday or whatever that is. So you’re at least getting them past the homepage where they have to find where they need to go. You’re getting them as far into it as possible. If you made a bundle for them, you’re sending them directly to that product bundle page. So generally the list for this place will ever send for e-commerce would be slash collections where they can shop all products.
Karin Samelson: [55:24]
Lots of tips that you can implement ASAP. Really cool. Is there anything else that you guys want to leave Lost River with?
Lindsey Leroy: [55:36]
Keep doing what you’re doing. I feel like they have such a beautiful basis. It has an interesting story. The website makes me feel very calm. So I already feel very good about the product. And I was just looking on the Instagram page and I love the carousel posts that talk about each ingredient. I think that’s so clever. I think it’s just helpful to educate consumers if they don’t necessarily know what a specific ingredient is, but I’d say, keep doing what you’re doing just more of it.
Karin Samelson: [56:12]
Awesome guys. Okay. Well the Rind, is there anything that you want to leave the audience with?
Lindsey Leroy: [56:19]
Well, if you ever have any questions about PR, whether or not you are ready for it, if you need it, what to do, anything like that, feel free to reach out to us or DM us on Instagram. In addition to offering our PR services, we also do consulting, where we’ll do a brand audit like this, but it’ll be a little bit more tailored and you’ll get a PR toolkit which will help, hopefully answer all of your questions. But feel free to reach out anytime. We’re here.
Karin Samelson: [56:55]
Awesome. And on our end, on the marketing end, we have the Umai Mini Course and it’s a great place to start for smaller brands or medium size brands looking to up their digital marketing game. It’s a free five day course and gives a lot of juicy tips and things that you may not be implementing already. Well, all right guys, thanks again for joining us. We’ll be back with episode three very soon.
Stef Shapira: [57:26]
Yeah. Thanks for having us. This was fun.
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, Catch you back here soon.

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