Networking Isn’t What You Think With Crystal Duncan Of Tinuiti (@crystalduncan)

Today we’re speaking with Crystal Duncan of Tinuiti. Crystal has spent 15 years in the Influencer world - she started working in the Influencer space before it was even called Influencer Marketing! Crystal has worked with some of the country’s largest brands in both the consumer and B2B space on Influencer and Social-driven programs. Her expertise ranges from top tier talent like Celebrity or Internet Stars, all the way through the execution of programs at scale through Micro or Nano Influencers.



[00:00:00] Jessy: Hi everyone and welcome to the WIIM Podcast. Women in Influencer Marketing is a first of its kind exclusive networking group made up of inspirational women. This podcast is where we explore influencer marketing and get real about women in business. Find us wherever you download podcasts, and of course, you can always find us at iamwiim.com. That’s iamwiim.com.

Hello, hello, and welcome back to the Women In Influencer Marketing Podcast. My name is Jessy Grossman, and I’m your host. And it’s been a wild, wild week since I was last with you guys. If you tuned in last week to that really, really long episode, two at a quarter hours, oh my god, guys, it was quite the story and it has continued to evolve in the past week, so I did think it was important to bring you guys a few updates here before we dive into this week’s episode with the wonderful, awesome, Crystal Duncan.

So a little bit about her in a second. Most of the updates that I can share. As we’re continuing to sort of like just validate information and put the pieces together, a lot of it we are generally gonna be sharing on our Instagram and our TikTok, so definitely follow us along there.

It’s, iamwiim on both platforms, TikTok and Instagram, so you can get updates in real time. Our stories were sharing a lot there, but also sometimes in reels and TikToks about what has been the latest in terms of this story last week that we shared about Malibu Marketing Group/ The Carter Agency.

So first and foremost, I want to give a huge thank you to Niké of Specs and Blazers, who is so brave in coming on our podcast and sharing such a wild, personal, like hurtful story. I mean, these are real people here as much as hearing it on a podcast just sounds like a wild story or like the salacious experience.

I just wanna remind everybody, like these are real people who are out tens of thousands of dollars around the holidays and their entire foundations were like, ripped out from under them. They trusted these people. There’s so much to the story. If you didn’t listen, I’m sure you’re like, What are you talking about?

But if you did, you know, the goal of having this story out there and covering it is that I really just want to get the story out there because I will tell you the countless people that I’ve spoken with in the past week since Niké, a few consistent things have come up. Number one, the way that every one of these people has been recounting their experience with Josh Popkin, Ben Popkin, and their companies and all their aliases, like everyone’s been telling the same story. It’s just been different people telling it. So harassment, bullying, I’ve spoken with influencers who’ve said that brands, people who’ve worked at the social platforms themselves, agency folks, other managers, I’ve spoken with so many people and the stories are just all so consistent.

So I have to say, which I did in the last episode as well, I have to say, these are all alleged, accusations are all just accusations at this point. And I’m trying to do my due diligence in verifying all of the stuff before I share it with you guys, because no one’s had their day in court.

You know, this is such beginning stages of this process but I can share with you that the stories that I’ve heard from so many different sources, they’re all the same. I mean, I’ve heard stories of making people cry of having to block their numbers, of him going around them after they’ve done that to their boss, to basically rat them out and be like, I’m having trouble, like, I can’t deal with this person and they’re not answering my calls and I’m just trying to work on a deal with them. Go to them and make them work with me essentially. But like, oh my god, it gives me anxiety just thinking about it, like imagine putting yourself in that person’s shoes who is first being berated, and then once they set a boundary and are like, don’t contact me anymore, then they go around them and go to their boss and it’s like this person is being unprofessional and,

oh my god, they’re just wielding wild accusations. Like, You just don’t wanna work with the women on my roster. You don’t wanna work with women of color. There’s a white guy saying that, Oh my god, it’s just wild. The lengths that he would go to to make these deals happen. And it would be one thing, if the money that he fought so hard to get went into the pockets of the influencer, but that’s the core of the scam, is that he would harass these people to get more and more and more and more and money and berate them. And then it would go into his pocket.

It’s so cringeworthy and the second most consistent thing that I’ve heard from all of the people who have reached out through DM and email and so many different ways is that unfortunately this story isn’t even that unique. Everyone’s saying like the lengths that he would go, the extreme nature of it, like that’s pretty far out there but there’s shadiness in our industry, there’s people who are doing things in the shadows and there’s so much money in our industry and there’s so little regulation, so it’s kind of like this breeding ground for things just like this to happen.

My goal by sharing the story and continuing to cover it is a, to just get the word out there, so please, if you haven’t done so already, share last week’s episode out because there still might be influencers who are represented or he’s going around there saying he represents people, so many people he does not represent that he’s telling the world that he does, and they don’t even know. They might not even know to ask for, that there’s money out there that was due to them that he took. So the advice that I’ve been told by lawyers that I’ve consulted with about this to share with the influencer, I’ve been told to get your contracts, go to the agency or the brand who that deal was with, and don’t just accept that scope of work.

One sheet paper that said nothing that was presented to you by Malibu Marketing Group or Carter Agency, there was a contract that allegedly, was forged on your behalf by an employee, and you need to get your hands on that because only then will you be able to reconcile. I was owed X money and I was paid out Y and you need to be able to reconcile that for yourself to say,

did Carter Agency tell me that that’s how much I was owed, or did they tell me that they were gonna be taking 20% and these numbers don’t reconcile? So that’s sort of the best advice that I’ve been given and I wanna pass that along also to just document absolutely everything. I think that they’re in like CYA mode right now, like cover your ass mode, and former employees have reached out and said that they’ve revoked access to all sorts of stuff. Multiple former employees reached out and said that, they were told there was a crisis happening at the agency and that they’re not gonna be working for the next few days, but they don’t know what’s next for them.

There’s so much around this story. Oh my goodness, so I encourage you to follow us on social for updates in real time because there are many. We’ve spoken with dozens of people only in the past week, and if you have had any interaction, no matter how big or small with any of these people or companies, I’m gonna put a link in the description again, the same one as last week so that you can reach out and anonymously or not, you have the option, share your story. I think that the more information that we can get into the right hands, the better. I know a lot of these influencers are hoping to get their money back. At the very, very least, just hoping that to get the word out there, to prevent other people from going through this and hopefully that some justice will be served.

Also, reach out to these influencers and just check in on them and make sure that they’re okay. It’s like almost the holidays, like, I don’t know, I’ve been speaking with these people, day in and day out now for the past week and these are just real human beings going through some stuff. If you have a campaign that you could send their way, put their name on a list, take care of these people, I just like really feel for them.

All right guys, whew, so much in that story, but we do have an awesome episode for you today. I teased it out that we have Crystal Duncan coming on the show in just a moment.

Crystal spent 15 years in the influencer world. She started working in influencer space before it was even called influencer marketing. She’s worked with some of the country’s largest brands in both the consumer and the B2B side on influencer and social driven programs. Her expertise ranges from top tier talent like celebrity or internet stars, all the way through the execution of programs at scale through micro or even nano influencers.

And huge shout out to Crystal because she is actually one of our official mentors for WIIM. So if you are a V I P member of whim, you get three one-on-one sessions with three mentors as part of our program, Crystal being one of them. And we have such an extensive list of incredible women who’ve just donated their time.

They’re like, I am. She’s passionate about the next generation of influencer marketers. And is willing to generously just donate her time to be able to mentor them. So after this episode, and if you’re a V I P member, I do hope that you reserve a spot that you can chat with her. There’s only a few slots every month that we give out, but, she is an absolute gem and someone who you’re gonna love hearing from.

So, without further ado, thank you guys so much for tuning in today, and here is Crystal Duncan.

I would love to start this conversation learning a little bit, like more about you and what’s a better way of learning about you than you as a kid. I would love to hear like what kind of kid for you, Crystal.

[00:11:59] Crystal: I’m glad that this is, something we’re talking about versus pulling out the old photos because every once in a while when I go back to my dad and look at old photo albums, I was an awkward kid. But you know, everyone has those years I suppose. But me as a kid, I think that a lot of the traits I had as a kid kind of come through as an adult.

When I was a kid, I loved sports. It was always like a thing for me. I was very much a tomboy growing up. Played sports my whole life, played volleyball in college. And I think that that’s kind of what brought me into being a competitive person in all aspects of my life.

I would also say that I was very much a perfectionist and I think there’s a lot of people probably in our industry that can say that as well. But I’ll tell you guys, I remember when I was, I don’t know, second or third grade, I had a report card.

And if you guys remember, like our report cards when we were in second or third grade, they were graded on stuff that wasn’t necessarily. The attributes you had growing up, it was more like, how do you work in groups or how do you listen to the teacher and follow instructions? And I remember I got a C on one report card. I always got ass and Bs and I got a C once and my family had a tradition where we would go to my grandparents house, maybe once a quarter or whatnot and have dinner.

 We always had to bring my grandfather our, report card so he could see them and we could talk about school and he would always sneak in like a $5 bill or something for us as a congratulations for doing well.

Well, I remember telling my mom like, I don’t wanna bring grandpa this report card. I gotta C and let me tell you what the C was in. The C was in I talked too much in class. So that was…

[00:13:32] Jessy: That’s a not a bad thing.

[00:13:33] Crystal: I know.

[00:13:34] Jessy: It’s not even a bad thing.

[00:13:36] Crystal: I know. So I got that and we go to my grandparents and I remember running upstairs into the bathroom and my mom gave my grandfather the report card and I was so upset. I didn’t wanna talk to him about it. And he says to me finally, when I come outta the bathroom. He says to me like, when I’m all upset, no, no, no. Don’t be upset about that. He’s like, I think that eventually, you’re talking too much thing will be beneficial for you in the big world.

In the real world. And I think that’s funny cause like, look at us today. Now we’re here just sitting and, talking to each other and my job is talking to people all day long. So he was right in that scheme of things, but I would definitely say from my side of the world, I was a perfectionist on that front.

And lastly, the creative side of the world was interesting to me. My parents had a video camera. This is the nineties. You guys remember, like the video cameras, the big ones that you had on your shoulder that you had at home when it sat on the tripod?

I have a younger brother and I grew up near my two, younger cousins .And we always as kids, my parents would let me use the video camera and I would put my cousins and my brother into like a production of something, I’d make them do things. I was the producer, the director, the writer and they were my actors.

And we would do awful videos. Looking back now, they’re very cringeworthy, but at the time it was a blast. I mean, all the way through to like costumes. Once I did a Christmas one with my brother and my cousins and my dad sells a picture of it, and it was like I had a feather boa from I don’t know, some sort of Halloween or something.

We used that and we made my brother Santa and the feather bow was his, beard and he had a red shirt on and a pillow stuffed in it. I mean it was wild. But that was also for me, and again makes sense into the career I’m in now, but that was one of the things we always used to do.

 And lucky for me a couple years ago, my dad took some of those VHS’s and put them on DVD and digital, so we got to relive them recently. But I would say that a lot of those. It’s funny to look back and say like, wow, that’s what I used to like then, and how has it shaped me, you know, future for career.

[00:15:42] Jessy: And so how does that compare to now? Do you, have you still retained some of those qualities or do you feel you’ve evolved change and I don’t know, some people even like reinvent themselves. What do you feel like is applicable to you?

[00:15:57] Crystal: I’d say all of the above, right? I think we all reinvent ourselves time over time. I mean, I still look back at stuff I did in even college and I’m like, oh my God, why did I do such a thing? So I think a little bit of all of it, but I do think still to this day the things that excite me in the work that we do in the influencer space is the creative piece of it. That’s exciting. That’s like fun to think through. That’s awesome to try and this is the idea we started with in a brainstorming meeting and then, a couple weeks later you look at a piece of content, you’re like, holy cow, that’s awesome to see it come to life.

 My team and I at annuity something we talk about all the time is share the work that you’re doing in our Slack channel, because we wanna see the awesome stuff when it comes to fruition. And it’s literally the highlight of my day to see the work come, full circle and actually get to see finished TikTok or YouTube videos or Instagram stories. Like I love to see that kind of stuff.

And again, we work in an industry where every day is different and everything changes constantly. And I think that for me, just being a motivated person or a perfectionist in those things, I love to be at the forefront of that and coming up with the new stuff or trying the new, platforms or what have you.

 And I think that that’s the reason why we do such cool stuff and we’re able to be you and you and I having these conversations is just because we’re not afraid to try new things and be leaders in the space.

[00:17:21] Jessy: No, I love that so much. I’m always trying to figure out what type of person ends up in influencer marketing because on paper no one ever seems to have the same background.

There’s no like formal edu. Well, there’s starting to be some formal education and believe it or not, but there wasn’t when we had the opportunity to be educated. So…

[00:17:40] Crystal: oh my God no.

[00:17:41] Jessy: It’s interesting. I love that you have sort of like a creative background, but also having a background where you’re like competitive and…

[00:17:50] Crystal: Mm-hmm.

[00:17:50] Jessy: Striving for the best and everything. I think that definitely I hear similar backgrounds, like there’s some through line between, us crazy people who end up in a crazy influence in marketing industry. and it sounds familiar but like very much your own path, which I appreciate.

So in that creative vein, we talk so much about the work and the strategy and the numbers all the time. And I never want us to forget the creative side of what we do and how fun it is, and probably a good chunk of the reason maybe some of us got into it in the first place.

So let’s talk about social platforms. And I’m not even talking about professionally, I’m talking about personally what is your favorite social platform and why?

[00:18:39] Crystal: Yeah. It’s funny, I actually had to start restricting, using the iPhone, reminders of like how long I was on certain, apps because I was noticing, I was spending obviously 8, 9, 10 hours a day at work looking at them and whatnot.

But then I’d get out of work and I’d still spending time on it, which isn’t a bad thing, but also at the same time, I wanted to diversify what my brain was thinking about. So I would say the app, I actually lately have been using more than any of the others from a social perspective, has been Pinterest.

 A personal thing for me is I like to attempt to cook. I watch the Food Network. It is like a side hobby of mine that just gives me something, moving around and away from a screen, I guess. So a lot of times at night, or even just in downtime, I use Pinterest to be like, Oh, okay. Like I know I have these three things in my fridge, like what can I make?

It’s very much like an episode of Chopped. How can I do this? So for me, I like to use that just to get inspiration. But what’s wild is even scrolling through Pinterest now, a bunch of the pins I come across are just repurposed TikTok. So I’m like, well am I really on Pinterest or am I also on TikTok at the same time?

So I would say that Pinterest is probably the number one for me right now. But again, funny enough, you and I talking on a podcast. I’ve also really gotten into podcasts lately. I recently moved to North Carolina. I’m in Charlotte now. The weather here is wonderful. So I spend a lot of time outside walking with my dogs. You guys might see them walking around in the background. I’ll tell you that now. And I’ve really gotten into podcasts and I do listen to industry podcasts, but also a guilty pleasure of mine is I am really into like the murder mystery type of podcasts as well.

I watch documentaries on it is just one of my things that I enjoy. So I just finished, it’s an older podcast. I just finished. The whole series of up and vanished, which to me was, interesting. I obviously listened to some of the other ones as well. But I would say those two apps, when I look at my weekly phone usage, those two are certainly the top, in probably the last couple months.

[00:20:45] Jessy: That’s so cool. And I can relate. Definitely can relate .I feel like a lot of people listening probably could, cause it’s interesting. The platforms that a lot of us in influence marketing live on, on a daily basis. Mostly Instagram partnerships, a lot of TikTok partnerships, maybe YouTube.

[00:21:06] Crystal: Mm-hmm.

[00:21:06] Jessy: I find that it’s refreshing to be on a different one .

[00:21:10] Crystal: Yeah. I get my film nine to five, you know?

[00:21:14] Jessy: Exactly, exactly. And so it’s kind of nice, but my question to you is, bringing it back though to business like when you’re on Pinterest and you’re listening to your favorite podcast, just for fun.

[00:21:30] Crystal: Mm-hmm.

[00:21:30] Jessy: Are you hearing or watching or seeing on Pinterest, like interesting brand endorsements and brand partnerships that people are doing particularly well, or do you feel like there’s an opportunity for people to do better on those platforms all the time?

[00:21:46] Crystal: I honestly have a separate board on Pinterest of just like things to remember whether they are, like you mentioned before, it could be a cool creative concept or it could be a cool influencer that maybe I hadn’t heard of before or it’s just something to remember.

I was actually telling one of the women on my team yesterday, on Instagram you can obviously bookmark stuff. I’ve created a whole sub folder, I don’t even know what they call it in there in my bookmarks. Just of influencers to remember. So if I am scrolling personally, I can bookmark a piece of content and be like, oh, I gotta remember this person for later cuz there doing is really cool.

And again, I’m not the only one I’m sure who’s listening to this. My work and my life intertwined quite aggressively. So even if it is 10, 11 o’clock and I’m scrolling through Pinterest and I see something that I’m like, oh, I wanna remember that. I know I have a big brainstorm at the end of this week. This could be a really cool thing to spark some ideas. I do save it for later, or I do hear, a podcast integration, whether it’s a host read, piece or it’s a midroll or whatever it is, I’m like, oh yeah, I gotta remember this, or write it down because this is something that could help me in the future.

So I certainly do not have an off switch between the two. For me, it’s a lot of gray area where, yeah, I do enjoy it. but there’s stuff in there always that will spark something to think about later on down the road.

[00:23:02] Jessy: Totally. And similar to this, but a little bit different. Beyond social apps and social platforms, what’s your favorite app on your phone that you find maybe like, using all the time or maybe it’s just one that you’re like, when I need it. It is so clutch. What is that app for you?

[00:23:20] Crystal: Yeah. So I’m sure again, I’m probably no different than everybody else, but there are a lot of times where I need to occupy my mind, whether it’s because I’m stressed out or it’s because I’ve had a long day.

I have a couple game apps on my phone and those are my thing and it’s so funny to say Jessy, one of them is solitaire. I sit and play solitaire some nights or like 15 or 20 minutes, and when my boyfriend see him playing it he’s like, I’m gonna give you that space cause I can tell that you’re stressed and you need something to decompress. Here in my household, we are big wordle people.

So, we play Wordle every day. And also now we’ve downloaded kind of the New York Times app Publically since they acquired Wordle. And I’ve gotten more into a lot of the crossword puzzles and the daily challenges they have on there. So for me, that is a decompressing moment. And that’s one of those things that I can occupy my mind and do something that’s different.

And then on the other side of going back to kind of like I’m a competitive person at the center. I wear my Fitbit 24 7 and honestly, look at it as a game for myself. Did I hit my 10,000 steps a day? Did I actually sleep the amount I’m supposed to sleep? What’s my resting heart rate today?

I actually was showing one of the girls on my team the other day. I had a big presentation, for something, I don’t even remember what it was, but I had a presentation and I was a little, amped up for it. And I looked at my Fitbit and it said, did you just do a workout because your heart rate was elevated for the last like 45 minutes?

And I, sent it to her. I was like, well, they thought I was working out and I was just sitting at my desk presenting something. So I would say that those are completely non-work, different phone apps that give me something, one in a competitive nature, but also in a decompressing nature.

[00:25:04] Jessy: Brain games. That’s so good. That’s so good. It’s like also reminiscent to me of like Ds and I’m used to commute. Cause I feel like when I commuted a little bit more, on the train here in New York, I would definitely play some more games. I find that I’m not doing it anymore. But you’re definitely inspiring me right now to revisit some old games that are on my phone and like primed to play and get my mind off of stuff. So no, that’s so good.

 Speaking of we were talking earlier about everyone’s path to influencer marketing and how it’s windy. In some people it’s very unique. Most people’s paths are unique from each other. I ultimately though, feel like you get to a point. For most of us that you choose influencer marketing, there’s brand marketing, email marketing. I mean, there are so many different types of marketing to get into, and yes, all of us are in influencer marketing in some way, shape or form for the most people listening to this show.

But, everybody else sees it as a very niche area to get into. And so I’m curious, like was there a moment or a pivotal, crossroads in your career where you ultimately chose influencer marketing and walk us through what that decision looked like.

[00:26:28] Crystal: You set that up, like there would be this really grand story I was gonna tell you.

[00:26:31] Jessy: There might not. There might not be and that is totally fine. But I’d love to hear like, how did you end up in influencer marketing?

[00:26:38] Crystal: I tell people, all the time. I lucked into it. I wish I was something different. But when I started in this industry, I started in 2007. I graduated college in 2007. I went to college in Northeastern Ohio. In Youngstown. If anyone is familiar, any Northeastern Ohio folks listening. And when I graduated, I could have returned back to, I grew up in the suburbs in New York City, so I could have gone back to New York and done that, but I did not.

I moved actually down to Central Florida where I had, some family that they were like, yeah, come on down here, let’s give it a shot. So I moved down to Florida and I just graduated school, I played sports in college. I didn’t have an internship in college, so I didn’t have a ton of work experience to get into any career.

 It’s that conundrum of you need experience to get a job, but you can’t get experience without having that job. Right. So I kind of looked for a while for a job and lucked out finding a company at that point in time. The company was called Paper Post. Now folks probably know it by the name of Isaiah.

But I started there, actually just doing a temporary contract just starting to help with some of the early on work that they were doing. This was the very, very, very beginning of what we see now, right. It certainly was not what we see at the moment. And after my temporary contract ended, I ended up staying at Isaiah.

The company changed names. I remember sitting in the room the day we had the conversation of changing it from. Being bloggers to being influencers and what that would be called. There was a lot of other names that were kicked around. But I ended up staying at Isaiah for almost 10 years and absolutely loved it.

 Kind of what we were talking about a couple minutes ago, if every day was something new, every day was something different. Every day was something for us to learn and being the first in any industry is awesome and something you don’t really get to plan or really get to be a part of in your career.

So to me it was super exciting and I remember very clearly working with one of the guys on my team .This is probably a couple years into, us having clients and people understanding what influencer was and really the industry starting to grow.

And I remember we had a project that came in and one of the guys on my team was just like, we haven’t done this yet. This is really a large project. This is really fast. And I said to him, I’m like, yeah, I know, I hear you. And then he cut me off. I think we can do it. I think we can figure it out.

He’s like, that’s what you always say. We’ll just figure it out. And I think to me, that problem solving part of it, that figuring out how to make this work, it’s exciting. And it doesn’t mean that we always do everything right or everything works out perfectly. To this day, I don’t think there’s gonna be anyone that works in influencer marketing that says, yep, exactly how I plan it.

It happened exactly that way. Exactly every timeline, exactly every conversation. That’s just not the way that it works. And I think that that’s what makes it interesting. Yeah. In theory, we understand how the process works. We understand the steps to get what we’re looking for, but how we get there every day is a different journey, and I think that that’s what’s exciting.

And I lucked into starting an influencer marketing, but I chose to stay in it just due to the fact that, we do get to have a huge input on this industry where it goes and the work that’s being done in it.

[00:29:46] Jessy: I appreciate that you said it like that because , I felt like in the baby, you’re like, well, it wasn’t my choice. It was a happenstance and I fell into it. But there always is a moment where there is a choice. So yes, it was your choice to stay into it. So I can…

[00:30:02] Crystal: And everything happens for a reason, right? Everything happens for a reason. There’s a reason I ended up there and I would not have changed my career path for the world.

I’ve loved what I’ve done. I loved the people I’ve met in this industry. Jessy you and I met a couple years ago just through this and kept in touch for a long time. You meet great people in what we’re doing and it’s a smaller industry than I think people realize and it’s a really cool place to be.

[00:30:25] Jessy: It is. Absolutely. I love to talk about that component for a second too. I mean, from what I take from that is the networking piece and some people are so intimidated by networking. Or it’s like a dirty word, people feel uncomfortable. Like you have to essentially go up to a perfect stranger and be like, hi, I would like to know you.

And there’s implications from that and you know, oh, are they just using me for something? And feel like more negative implications than positive ones. But obviously I have a slant. I founded a networking group, so obviously I see the power of it and the power of connection is really pure and powerful and all the things.

But I don’t know. I’d love to pick your brain a little bit on how you network, cause I feel like it’s something that you sound like you prioritize and have maybe seen benefits from. So what would you say to some people who are intimidated or just like uncomfortable with it in some way? What would you tell them,

[00:31:29] Crystal: Well, the first thing I’d lead with is I always tell people I am an extroverted introvert. I don’t necessarily always love going into networking situations and having to be the one to strike up the conversation. But I think you’re a hundred percent right that it’s huge in our industry.

it’s really important and I remember as a kid, my mom had said to me once, It’s not necessarily what you know, but who you know that can help you move on in your career. And I never understood that until I got old enough to experience it and understand it. And I, fully agree, you have to be smart at what you do, but I also think that networking isn’t always, I’m gonna walk up to a stranger in a room and say hi.

I think networking also can be done in so many other mediums as well. Right. It’s, learning from other people. It’s cheering on people in other places. Whether that benefits you or not, right? There’s so many people that I work with or have worked with in the past that we might not work together anymore and as much as that is hard to deal with, I cheer them on from the sideline as much as I can, right?

I want them to be successful because ultimately, again, in this small industry, the more successes we see across the industry, the better it is for all of us, right? All ships rise. So my opinion is yes, networking on one side of the fences, meeting these new people, talking to them. Whether it’s in person, whether it’s online but also I think it’s the relationships you continue to foster afterwards and how you can help people, do better.

Because ultimately, what goes around comes around. So if you put the good out to the space and you help these people and you cheer them on and you see them be successful, they’ll do the same back. Right. And you’ll feel good and you’ll, have the same support.

So my personal opinion is, yeah, networking is scary. If we think of it as this, let me walk up to someone and strike up a conversation. But it does extend past that. And I think sometimes if you think about the fostering of the relationships over just. The cold calling of networking, sometimes it makes it a little bit easier to swallow.

 And I think personally, at least in my story, it has benefited me. I still keep in touch with pretty much, every single supervisor, boss, manager that I’ve had in my career. And when the time comes for us to reconnect and rekindle, we do and it’s like no time has ever passed.

So I think that it’s kind of both sides of the coin to think about from a networking perspective.

[00:33:47] Jessy: I appreciate that. It’s like networking isn’t even what we traditionally think networking to be. Perhaps there’s so much more that it can be. And that’s so cool. I’d love to get like really granular, like I just feel like it helps people so much.

So again, we’re speaking to those people who are like, alright, Crystal, eye roll. I guess I’ll network. I guess I see the value, but like you say that you’ve kept in touch with a lot of people from your past. How are you actually keeping in touch with them? Like how often are you actually connecting with them? Like let’s get as specific as possible. I feel that would really, really help people to know, what they’re in for, like what’s worked for you basically?

[00:34:30] Crystal: For me, I try and adapt it into how we can, benefit each other. Right. Again, like you said before, it’s not a one sided thing. So, for example, if I have a former coworker that’s now at another influencer agency. How can I work with them? What are the things that they’re working on that can benefit my clients that I’m working on in a way that we can work together? So that way we can paid to stay and interact and chat with each other.

So I think that that’s kind of an easier one for me. And I try and use that as my way in and like the thing that will help me remember those things. And I can tell you right now that there’s a ton of folks that I worked with even my last agency where they’re all at different shops now and we keep in touch through there.

I would also say that as much as we say, like, oh, I try and limit my, time on, Instagram. I’m still on Instagram. I still see, when my former colleagues or friends, have babies or got an award or what have you. And I am one of those people that probably sends too many, heart emojis to everyone when there’s good news there.

But I don’t mind it. I’d rather, share and celebrate that way so they know that , I see it and I’m happy for you. And then I think lastly, I tend to do the maybe unwelcome random texts every once in a while.

Two or three weeks ago I sent my old boss a message. It’s kinda out of the blue like, hey, I haven’t heard from you. Hope you’re doing well. I know you moved recently. You know, just shooting the messages out there hoping that they are well received and they normally are. Right. I think that no one really minds just to, hey, how are you type of, texts here and there when you’re thinking about them.

Sometimes that’s hard to do and time to balance and all of that, but I certainly think that that is, beneficial and Jessy I’ll say this cause you’ll laugh at this, but I think it was Tuesday I got a ping from an old coworker, Enar, Wiim Slack channel. She had just joined and she’s like, I see you on here.

I wanted to say hi. And it was another great way for us to, kind of connect. So I think there’s lots of different ways as long as you keep your eyes open and the more you put out there, a lot of times I think the more people give back as well.

[00:36:36] Jessy: I love that cause that also proves that you will meet people again. You never know when you’ll come into contact with them perhaps. But like to your point earlier, it is a pretty small industry. It’s like certainly a very connected industry. I mean, we’re about social media, which is all about connection. And so there’s some sort of desire there for that to be the case.

So, you never know. People are always moving around and finding new places to be and call home professionally. And so, you never also know when someone is gonna pop up again. So on the flip side of that, don’t piss people off. People.

[00:37:14] Crystal: Don’t burn those bridges. Do not burn them.

[00:37:17] Jessy: Do not burn those bridges because those people will inevitably come up again and hopefully you will have done right by them when you were interacting with ’em in the first place.

So, I would love to pivot a little bit and just talk more specifically about like strategy of the awesome work that like you’ve done in the past you’re doing currently. And I feel like you have a ton of knowledge that I’d love to share with our listeners. So we’ve spoken a bit, not necessarily on this podcast, but in some of our like other live streams that we’ve done about funnel.

And the power of, well, we’ve talked about this on the show before about like first touch, second touch, third touch marketing. Essentially the different levels of coming into contact with a product, how long it may take a, potential customer to convert. And funnels are one of many, but like a very strong strategy to get your potential customers into your orbit and buying your stuff, whether it’s a service or a product.

So I know you’ve got some thoughts on that and I would love to hear basically like how does influencer fit into a full. Funnel digital strategy.

[00:38:39] Crystal: Yeah. And I think that that’s kind of the million dollar question at the moment, right?

I think for how many years like people have always put influencer in this upper funnel awareness bucket. That’s all that we can do. And a lot of times, depending on budgets and the socioeconomic world and where things are one of the things that gets cut is your upper funnel awareness side of things.

But I don’t think personally that influencer just has to be in the upper funnel piece of the overarching mix. I think that ultimately, Influencer could be in any aspect of the funnel, depending on how the strategy is set up, depending on what the call to action and the creative is and then depending on who the influencer is.

I think gone are the days of I have 10 million followers, so I’m the most valuable person out there to be quite transparent. I don’t really care how many followers you have. What I want to understand is what you can do from the business perspective. What does the bottom line look like?

That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always like a ROAS number or it’s always last, click attribution tied to that influencer. But I wanna understand holistically what the influencer can do for the business. I’d rather work with someone that has 15,000 followers, 10,000 followers, than a million followers, if they can convert more. If they can drive more sales or change purchase consideration or, do something that will give us a little bit more of the, substance of what we’re looking for.

I think that a lot of, CMOs have changed their mentality necessarily from just being happy by us being able to say, guess what? We got 10 million Impressions. Okay, so what did those ten million impressions do for the business? Tell me how it impacted the business. So what we’re doing at Tenuity is looking at influencer holistically in the larger media mix.

Where does it fit? How are we repurposing the influencer content as well? Right? I think that that’s another huge thing that we’ve seen a shift in the last four or five years, right? Is influencer used to be create a piece of content, let all your followers. That’s really the end of it. I think with the, algorithm changes in our pay for play nature with a lot of the social platforms, we now have to think about what are we doing in addition to that.

How are we using that content in other ways? What is the amplification strategy? You see study after study from Instagram and TikTok saying, creator driven or influencer led creative, outperforms branding creative in your ad spots . So how are we doing that? What are we thinking about from that perspective?

So I wish there was like a one says, fits all answer for every single brand, every single product, every single campaign for us to be able to just carve and copy it. But if I had that answer, I would be living on my own private island, not in my apartment in Charlotte. But I think that’s ultimately influencer, for anyone to say influencer is just an upper funnel tactic.

I think that that’s a, little bit, couple years ago type of thinking. I think now influencer can be multidimensional just depending on what the overall picture looks like, what we’re asking them to do, and who we are actually working with. When we see the rise of things like affiliate marketing, with influencers and things like that, that is a hundred percent what we’re talking about, right?

Is an influencer can drive sales instead of us just putting a piece of content, TikTok and hoping that it actually happens. So I think that’s also why we’re seeing a huge, not only resurgence of affiliate, but the gray area between influencer and affiliate continuing to grow, because that is another thing that is not only beneficial to the industry but another revenue stream for the influencers as well. When they know they can convert, then they should be making the money for doing that.

[00:42:22] Jessy: There also needs to be, focus on conversion. Like I’ve said before, transparently when I was on the management side of things, I was definitely talking a lot less about conversions and more about awareness, right?

Like my client can do so much awareness. They have this it factor. Like I come from the world before. Influencers are like, I used to represent actors who weren’t converting products. Like they did, they had those It factors and this like likability factor. And so that’s my background and so I know there’s validity in that.

But when you convert that and start working with influencers and you have the opportunity to track that data in terms of all the analytics that we have, there’s so much more that we can have, by the way, of course, let’s be real, but like we have a lot that we can play with. And also affiliate work. You should strive to mess around with that at the very least and be like, what is my possibility here? What is my potential that I can do?

Cause maybe that influencer wants to launch their own product someday.

[00:43:26] Crystal: Totally.

[00:43:26] Jessy: And be selfish about that kind of stuff. Think about it in terms of yourself. Like it isn’t only just about the other brands, that’s fine.

 But use that as an opportunity to dig more into your audience because down the road you’re still gonna to know how your audience can react and, gets excited and what really lures them in and gets them to buy because down the road an influencer might want them to buy something from themselves.

[00:43:54] Crystal: Yeah, I agree. And I think just because we need ultimate conversions as marketers now doesn’t necessarily also mean that awareness. Isn’t a thing that we also need. Right. But how is that working together with the larger picture? Right. Because I was emailing the other day and Jessy, I think you know him, Jason Falls, he and I were chatting about this client that he had, that he was like influencers were converting and we were talking about it and we were saying as a high dollar, ticket item. And it was the first time that influencers had talked about the product.

And, my point of view was like, well, again, like I probably wouldn’t go buy something for $4,000 because an influencer said it and I saw it once. It’s multi-touch thing you were talking about before of, okay, so if an influencer talks about this high dollar product, then what’s the next touch point? Are they retargeted on social? Are they retargeted through programmatic? Are they seeing an OTT ad? Like how is that actually working all together? And I think that that’s where the magic actually happens, where influencers really important because maybe they’re telling the story. Or they’re starting the FOMO feel or they’re creating the interest in what it can be or use cases or whatever.

But then what happens after that? And I think that that’s where it’s really important. And we tend to be too swim lane swim lane, swim lane versus thinking about it in more of this agile way of, actually how the consumers are consuming and not necessarily, it’s not a straight line anymore, it’s not linear, it is all over the place.

So how are we getting them in those?

[00:45:20] Jessy: Absolutely. And that same vein, I guess my follow up question to you is what do you think is the big picture, like the potential impact of influencer marketing broadly? Cause I feel like, we’ve touched on a couple, but I don’t know I’d love to hear more of an extensive list for people and I feel like there’s still cynics to this day who are like, oh, influencers or influencer marketing and that’s fine.

I actually respect people who go against the status quo and who challenge things. I appreciate people who think like that. I happen to also think that makes us better influencer marketers to be honest. I will speak personally. I am a little frustrated with some influencer marketers over the past, couple years of resting too much on their laurels and not pushing themselves enough and being like, oh, whatever we’re just gonna run an Instagram campaign. It’s gonna be one Instagram story and one Instagram post.

And it’s like you guys, there’s so much that’s changed in social media over the past couple years that has primed for partnerships and potential there, but also, is that even really working for you anymore?

And some people are just like very stuck in their ways. So my question to you is what do you think is the potential impact of influencer marketing? I’d love to see where you take this question.

[00:46:46] Crystal: I think that a lot of it comes down to what you’re trying to do with influencers, right? And when I talk to our customers, it’s the first thing that I ask is, why are we having this conversation about influencer, right? what is in your head that you’re thinking about? And some of them have really clear direction, or at least ideas where I can put together what that strategy can be.

 I heard from a client once was, I saw Addison Rae on the last season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, so I obviously think that we should be, working with someone like her. So there’s differences all over the place. And even in the Addison Rae example, there’s really nothing wrong with that type of opinion, saying TikTokers are now mainstream and we need to pay attention to them and be partners with them.

That is fine in theory, but now in application, it’s kinda like what we were just talking about before. How are we going to actually show that they’re gonna impact the business? Because as marketers, not even as influencer marketers, that should always be what we’re thinking about. How is this dollar going to impact the business in a positive way?

So I think that influencer marketing has a ton of potential. But where I think that we sometimes get, a little bit stuck is there is no off the shelf version. There is no one way to do this. So, what is the right way for this client, for this product, and for this moment in time.

And, maybe it’s, some sort of trend in culture. Maybe it’s some sort of piece of content. Maybe it’s an experiential thing that we go to. It really runs the gamut, and I think that where we have to be holding ourselves accountable is thinking about, how is this benefiting the work that we’re doing and how are we kind of pushing the envelope for the industry as a whole.

And then, there’s always the, crux of all of it, which is how do we work with the influencer to bring this to life too, right? Cause I think that that’s the other piece that we talk about it all the time, but sometimes we forget being on the agency and the brand side of it, which is the influencer is a creative at heart.

They have followers. People go to them because of something. There’s something about them, whether it’s them, whether it’s the content they create, whether it’s what they say. But people go to them for a reason. That’s the reason we want to work with them. So how are we integrating what we do into them, not the other way around, right?

So how do we make sure that that’s something that we keep front and center, and then how do we kind of lean on them to figure those things out? I’ve had times before where I’ve talked to, agents, influencers, and I’d say, here’s the premise of the campaign. And they’re like, I like where you’re going, but I think we go this way cuz this is what’s gonna resonate more for my audience.

And sometimes we’re able to be like, great, go ahead and do it. And sometimes we’re not because it might not make sense in a larger campaign and that’s life. That’s okay, right? That’s just where we go with things. But I think ultimately we have to be authentic and we have to make sure that what we’re putting out there is something people care about.

We see more and more research out there that says, Gen Z cares more about an authentic factor and what, brands are doing for the greater good. So, how are we making sure that that is also in the creative cracks of everything that we’re doing.

[00:49:51] Jessy: And I think that’s a good segue because I’d also love to ask you a little bit about even finding the right influencers to work with in the first place.

There are so many strategies out there that people take. I appreciate once you’ve taken some of those strategies, you’ve experimented and you’ve found great partners, reusing great partners, for different partnerships. I just wanna throw that out there cause it’s something that I believe pretty strongly.

 But before you found those great people. There are lots of ways to find influencers and some are successful, so for some people some are not. But I think regardless of the how, it’s spending a little bit of extra time, finding the right influencer, is important. Why do you think that is?

What do you think they should be looking for? Like, maybe questions they should be asking perhaps. And if you wanna throw in a little bit of the how, that would be, I think really beneficial for people to hear as well.

[00:50:51] Crystal: Yeah. Again, I think in the perfect world, I always talk to our clients about like, what’s the ecosystem for your brand?

Because I don’t think that there’s ever, one type of influencer or one, platform for your influencers. Like, what does our ecosystem look like? And that can be a bunch of different ways that you activate influencers. So, ideally, In a perfect world, every influencer you work with would be a fan of your brand, right?

That’s at the heart of it, right? You really don’t wanna work with an influencer that maybe doesn’t align with your brand or doesn’t, purchase your brand or doesn’t believe in your brand. Cause that right there, it just kind of crumbles, right?

So ideally you want to have fans of the brand. I’ve worked with clients where we’re able to do social listening and hear that they’ve talked about the brand before and capitalized on that. Or, we have a lot of clients where we set up inbound forms where you’re an influencer, you wanna apply to work with us.

Great. We always know influencers are looking for brand partnerships. Let’s have some sort of inbound way to talk to them. I think that that’s kind of level, one and how you work with those people is, up to you at the brand. The other option is kind of this outbound way, right? Which I think the industry kind of gravitates towards more than the other way which I think kind of should be flipped, but this is kind of the norm of where we are at the moment.

The pendulum will swing, it will change. This is just kind of where we are at the moment. But in the outbound way, and when I say outbound, I mean from a brander agency going to an influencer and saying, hey, I have this brand or this opportunity do you wanna partner?

When we’re looking, through that lens and saying that we’re looking for Influential voices to help promote the brand. One thing we look at obviously is the attributes of the influencer. Do they hit our target demographic? Do they live in the areas we need to, do they make sense for our brand, right?

 That’s number one. But where I think some people miss it is the next step, which is also looking at their audience and the people that follow them. Because yes, it’s wonderful if everything about the influencer makes sense with the brand, but if for some reason their audience does not index, In that same, kind of vein with those same attributes. Then we’re talking to people that do not care about our brand and we are kind of missing the point there. We’re paying for our ears and eyeballs that don’t really care. So the next thing we generally look for is, what does that audience make up? And again, we’re talking about an organic makeup of an audience.

This isn’t necessarily like an ad where you can go in and you can say, I just want these people to see it. You kind of have to look at it as an index, right? And an indice season. Like, do we have enough people in their makeup, that hit our target audience to make us happy and feel good about this. So that’s kind of the, next piece is making sure not only the influencer, but their audience also, makes sense for the brand.

And then I’d say probably the last two things is, one is the brand safety component as well. Does what this person says, does the way this person acts and how they’ve been covered, out there whether it’s on their own social channels or let’s say through media coverage or whatnot.

Do they align with our brand? Do they make sense for us? And the way that we look at it at continuity is we look at that person holistically. So if let’s say we’re gonna work with someone on TikTok. We will still look through every other social channel that they have, their Facebook, their Twitter, their Instagram, and we will look back quite a bit just to make sure that whomever it is we’re working with, we align with them and the way that they kind of handle themselves.

And, I don’t have to tell you Jessy obviously the world’s been kind of crazy the last four or five years, and we’ve seen a huge shift where clients used to say, I don’t wanna work with folks that are, talking about politics. That’s just not.

Well, nowadays you can’t escape that, right? That is part of the world. That is what happens. So now we have to kind of look at that in a different lens and call out some of the things that they’re talking about, making sure that the brand feels as though what the influencer believes in the brand also believes in, right? And have that kind of alignment there.

And then I’d say lastly is looking at the nuts and bolts of it. Do we have historical data on this influencer? Do we understand what they’ve done in the past in, let’s say, a similar category? Just so. See what their work is like and I will tell you, we do also look at both sponsored and non-sponsored performance.

Understand. Does this person perform 10X better in organic than they do in sponsored? Well, that means that maybe they’re looking at their sponsored content, a little too branded, right? And we’re not, they’re not opening up enough and being as organic as they’re normally doing. So we can kind of give them that feedback as they’re creating content. and just looking at that data to make sure that data makes sense as well. Cause ultimately, again this is an investment we’re making and I’ve had lots of conversations with agents where they’ll say, oh, this person costs X number of dollars.

And I’ll say, can you, just kind of back that out for me? Cause if, let’s say we’re using YouTube, if I look at that from a CPV perspective, this number is X and I need to get to Y. So this is the way this needs to ultimately be, and like looking at it that way, which I think is also a big shift in the industry because we see more and more rates is getting inflated and these wild numbers coming out and ultimately we have someone that holds the purse string.

So I have to go back and say, this person gets, this CPE or this CPD or this CPC and like actually give those numbers back in order to justify the spend. So sometimes when we’re working with influencers, we have to say, unfortunately this doesn’t work into the math that we have to make this efficient.

We’ll get more efficiencies running paid social right or something like that. So I think that there’s many, many steps to finding the right influencer. Those are kind of the high levels that we think about as we go through and actually start kind of scoping out what the partnership ecosystem looks like for our clients.

[00:56:19] Jessy: And so how do you feel about those like wild rates that you were talking about because there’s no accurate calculator on how to establish rates. I was say, cause I was just talking to somebody yesterday that she’s like, Oh my God, have you seen this tool?

This a rate calculator. And I was like, rolling my eyes cause I just personally don’t think they’re is such a thing that’s accurate. But that being said, what do you feel about rates in general and how they’re coming in? Happy to hear how you feel, but I guess more so like how do you deal with rates that come in that just aren’t necessarily aligned with what would be beneficial to your program.

[00:56:54] Crystal: I think you’re right. It’s so multidimensional that it’s hard to have any kind of industry standard, right? Because we’re talking about. Do we want someone to visit a store to capture content? Can we ship them a product to their house? Do we want them to go to an event? Do we want them to, read a book?

 There’s so much to it that when we’re working with talent, we tend to try and look at all sides of that, right? And it’s, never like this is the hard and fast number and that’s it. Right? We understand that negotiation is part of this industry and that’s the way that it works. We just try and give ourselves North Star numbers.

Again, I work at a performance agency, right? What we do has to back into some sort of benefit to our client. So, we have numbers that we’re beholden to. And sometimes I don’t know if, all influencers know that, right? That there are these metrics that we’re tied to. So a lot of times we’ll explain that to them.

 This is, where we have to get to. And I understand if that doesn’t work for you. We don’t ever wanna put someone in a situation where, they’re uncomfortable working with us, with the brand, what have you. So we’re very clear and transparent just around this is the number we have to shoot to in order to even run the influencer program.

So this is where we have to kind of get, and if they’re comfortable coming down or us going up, whatever it is, right? Wherever we have to get to, as long as both sides are okay with. Then that’s totally fine. I will tell you though, like for us at least, it makes it a little bit easier having some sort of metric to go towards because then there’s not like the wishy washiness of it, right?

It’s very clear, in where we need to go. And then if the influencers game, can make it work. If they’re not, we fully respect it and say to them, good for you ,keep us posted on your next project. Like we wanna stay in touch, like let’s figure out the next thing that we can do together.

And I think it kind of goes back to that relationship, conversation we were having a couple minutes ago where just because it didn’t work out today does not mean I’m not gonna work with that agent or that influencer in eight months. So I wanna make sure that, I keep that communication open and they think of me the next time they have something going on and are looking for some sort of branded partner or vice versa.

I need this type of influencer for our project. So for us I try and be transparent and say here’s where we have to be fully understanding, there’s all these additional layers on there, right? When you get into things. Usage and exclusivity. I think every, talent agent has a different calculator that they use.

It’s 20% of the sum, it’s 10% of the net payment. It has to be paid up front, there’s all these different levers. So we just try and figure out what are the important things that we can actually align on? Where are the deal points we need to talk through? And then like, where are the tradeoffs?

 Maybe the influencer will give us a 10% discount if we can pay net 30 terms versus net 60 terms, right? Like where are some of these places that we can make people happy and still make the campaign successful and everyone wins? And I think that that ultimately is our job to do, to make our brand partners happy as well as our influencer partners happy.

[00:59:43] Jessy: Yeah. No, I appreciate that. You know what I find interesting too, that like a company like yours refers themselves as like, you know, we’re a specific, we’re like a growth marketing company, but like why isn’t everybody that? You know what I mean? Is there answer to that or is that just a weird observation that I’m making? It’s a real question for you. Why is that?

[01:00:02] Crystal: I think that we are seeing the lines blur. I think you’re right on that because I think we, saw creative agencies, there’s PR agencies, there’s media agencies. Like Tenuity has a creative arm, we have an influencer arm.

 We’re seeing a lot of the agency lines blur. And I think that, again, it’s a pendulums thing in our industry. I think that we’re just seeing a lot of that stuff condensed down and flatten out a bit. So I certainly think that you’re right in the fact that there is some blurring out there in the agency world of kind of where, budgets sit and where responsibility sits.

And I think that will continue to happen, especially in the economic times that we’re in.

[01:00:39] Jessy: Yeah, I appreciate that. It’s your point. It’s like, so wait, am I the type of agency that’s not creative? Like isn’t everybody creative agency? Like I, appreciate that one as well cause it seems like everybody should be that.

All right. My final question for you for today and it’s been such a pleasure chatting with you, I’ve heard a lot of people who have been in the industry for quite a while get a little jaded. And maybe perhaps the reason that they got into influencer marketing in the first place was because it was so new and exciting and we were making the rules and things were so up in the air. And inevitably any industry becomes more sophisticated and more streamlined and more regimented.

And I hear some people in our orbit in our community, the sentiment has sort of changed from how they viewed influencer marketing and their work when they started and how they view it today.

So if somebody were listening who sort of needed to fall back in love with influencer marketing, what would you tell them?

[01:01:47] Crystal: Yeah, I think that’s a good question. And it’s wild. I haven’t been asked that one before and I really like it. I think that personally, if we were to look at influencer marketing as a person we’re in like our awkward teenage years where we’re starting to get some formality of things, but there’s still a lot that we have not figured out. I think that we’re touching on stuff, just even in this conversation we’re having together where measurements not necessarily unified.

Sure ANA came out with some more standard guidelines, but it’s still not a hundred percent unified and clear. We’re still talking about pay discrepancies and how we’re actually figuring those things out. So I think we have not quite figured everything out. So we’re still learning, but we’re certainly way more sophisticated than we were.

And I think that that’s awesome because we still have so much to learn and so much to do and so much to try. I think that, we have new platforms that come out that brands are excited about and to me it’s almost like, alright is this gonna be one that we’re able to work on is it going to stick around?

How are we going to use it? BeReal’s a good example, right? I finally downloaded it on my phone just to see what the excitement was and it’s the same way I felt when I first downloaded Twitter or Instagram. I’m like what am I supposed to do with this? I remember my first tweet was literally like, I’m eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch because I had no idea what to do. Right.

So to me it’s just like, I think the exciting part is we don’t know what’s next and yeah, that’s scary too. But I think that we get to kind of make that decision and we get to try these new things and not most other lines of marketing. Do you get to have the free reign and be like, I have this awesome new opportunity. Let’s try it. I have this awesome new idea. Let’s try it. And influencer, you get a lot of permission to do those things.

So for me, that’s what gets me outta bed every day. It’s like, what is the new thing I can try? Who is the new person I can work with? What is this new plan I can put together? And having that freedom to do so. It’s just so different than everywhere else out there. And I think finally, us being in our teenage years now, people are starting to take influencer seriously. It’s not just this experimental thing that, we’ll throw a couple hundred thousand dollars at it and see what happens, right?

Like it’s a tactic. There’s a reason to use it. There’s massive budgets going towards it. There’s attention given to it every day. So we’re there. We’re part of it. We’re the same as a lot of these other digital marketing tactics. We have a lot further to go on where we’re going to be.

So, I totally get where you’re saying like sometimes once you’ve done it for a while, you’re like, all right, and what’s next? But I think that there’s so much out there that could be next for us, that that is what could be the really cool thing for us to continue doing in our careers.

[01:04:30] Jessy: I love that. So , be brave, innovate, find the new people, the new things. ,

[01:04:35] Crystal: Don’t be afraid to fail, right? Who knows if this stuff is gonna work? If you’ve got a strategy and you give it a shot, that’s the best way that you can be set up for success. But, don’t be afraid to fail, because I can tell you I’ve had a lot of failures, but I’ve also had a ton of successes that have come out of that it and the good. To me, always outweighs that.

[01:04:54] Jessy: That’s so good because I feel like, yeah in the beginning when it was this like, boom, this explosion of influencer, everybody was succeeding and that’s why it was like that added to the excitement and the fun. And so nowadays maybe people are holding you more accountable for these metrics and these things and because it’s becoming more sophisticated.

To your point. I think that’s perfectly said, right? I have so enjoyed this conversation and I also want to mention that Crystal’s actually part of our mentorship program as well, and she’s been, a mentor with us since the very beginning.

So if you are interested also, if you’ve enjoyed this conversation and wanna chit chat with Crystal, one on one you can, as part of our mentorship program, you can just check out our website. It’s iamwiim.com/mentorship and you can actually connect with her and have the type of fun conversation that I’m having with her right now.

I appreciate people who raise their hand and say, I wanna be a mentor. That’s a very special type of person and behind the scenes that’s what Crystal did. So I am really grateful for that and, that you’re part of that program too. So for others who aren’t necessarily members of Wiim but still wanna connect with you, what is the best way for them to reach out? Is it social? Is there a specific, place? What’s the best way?

[01:06:19] Crystal: Yeah you can find me on LinkedIn. Again, Crystal Duncan. I’m on LinkedIn, you’ll find me no problem. Or email I’m pretty connected to my email. It’s just Crystal.duncan@tinuity.com. So I’m always open to chatting more connecting.

 Again, we talked about networking before. I’ll never turn down an email, a text social media. So feel free to hit me up.

[01:06:41] Jessy: Amazing. So we will drop all those links in the show notes. Crystal, thank you so much for coming on today. I’ve really enjoyed our conversation.

[01:06:49] Crystal: No, this is great, Jessy. Appreciate you and all you do.

Thanks so much everybody for listening.

[01:06:53] Jessy: Bye guys.

If you enjoyed this episode, we gotta have you back. Check out our website for more ways to get involved, including all the information you need about joining our collective. You can check out all the information at iamwiim.com. Leave us a review, a rating, but the most important thing that we can ask you to do is to share this podcast.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next week.

Crystal Duncan

Senior Vice President, Head of Partnership Marketing, TINUITI

Crystal has spent 15 years in the Influencer world – she started working in the Influencer space before it was even called Influencer Marketing!

Crystal has worked with some of the country’s largest brands in both the consumer and B2B space on Influencer and Social-driven programs. Her expertise ranges from top tier talent like Celebrity or Internet Stars, all the way through the execution of programs at scale through Micro or Nano Influencers.

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