Episode 41 of the Influencer Marketing Lab podcast where Sedge Beswick, founder and managing director of SEEN connects talks social shopping.


The Influencer Marketing Lab podcast is sponsored by Tagger the data-driven influencer marketing platform and social listening tool.

Show notes

Welcome to episode 41 of the Influencer Marketing Lab - a weekly podcast tracking the growth spurts and growing pains of influencer marketing.

This week I'm in conversation with Sedge Beswick Founder and Managing Director of influencer marketing agency, SEEN Connects.

In this episode  we talk

  • Metaverse
  • NFTs
  • How creators can future-proof long-term careers
  • Social shopping
  • How different social media platforms fulfil different needs within the buyer journey.
Sedge Beswick SEEN Connects Influencer Marketing Lab

Sedge Beswick talks social shopping 

Useful links

Sedge Beswick biography

As one of the first in the UK to work within social media, Sedge forged her path with global brands before launching SEEN Connects: an award-winning, innovative influencer marketing agency. Just some of the brands onboarded by Sedge to Connects’ client list, are: Nike, Bumble, Panasonic and eBay. From popstars to parent influencers, Sedge has worked with numerous household names, such as musician Lewis Capaldi and television presenter Laura Whitmore.

Sedge’s expertise are regularly called upon by global networks BBC News and Sky News, as well as print publications like the Financial Times. As a habitual contributor to The Drum magazine, Sedge offers invaluable insight into the influencer industry. Sedge is a well-respected visiting university lecturer and a public speaker, having hosted workshops for No.10 Downing Street and Google.

Sedge has not only written two books of her own based on social platform experiences, but as a respected member of her peers, Sedge has appeared in various books and podcast series, and judged a number of industry awards ceremonies. Passionate about education, Sedge also set up a mentor programme to support young people going into the marketing industry, and is now responsible for having placed over 50 young people into jobs in the UK.

Transcript of interview with Sedge Beswick founder of SEEN Connects

Scott Guthrie  01:16

This week on the show I'm in conversation with Serge Beswick, Founder and Managing Director of influencer marketing agency SEEN Connects where clients including eBay, Nike, and Panasonic before setting up connects search worked in house as global senior social media and celebrity talent manager at ASOS and before that, as social media producer at telecoms giant Three UK welcome Sedge to the Influencer Marketing Lab.

Sedge Beswick  01:47

Thank you for having me. I also love how much of a tongue twister my title at ASOS was for you to read out.

Scott Guthrie  01:53

I may have to have another go at that in post production. I did try it a few times this afternoon. And I got it three times out of four but I got let down this time. Now listen Sedge, I'm recording this podcast in South London. You're in New York at the moment how long you therefore?

Sedge Beswick  02:08

I'm here for a couple of months. So I'm I fly back in April.

Scott Guthrie  02:12

I hope you brought your your thick coat because it's pretty cold there at the moment, I think, isn't it?

Sedge Beswick  02:16

I went straight to UNIQLO. I really, really took for granted, like just how how cold it can get in New York. So yeah, first Sunday straight to the show,

Scott Guthrie  02:31

 because I think I saw a picture of your LinkedIn or Instagram and you had just one case saying you're off. And I thought yeah, that's not gonna be enough.

Sedge Beswick  02:38

I actually had three cases with me like such a girl. But the main reason is like, obviously in the US the weather and the temperature in each state is different. So we're doing South by where it's like 26 degrees, we've got a couple of clients in LA. And so trying to pack where it like New York's minus eight minus nine at the moment. So I've got coats, then I've also got bikinis. My packing looks a bit all over the shop.

Scott Guthrie  03:04

You've kind of pre-empted my next question. You're there for two months, and you're there. It's a mixture of client visits. What else are you doing whilst you're in the states

Sedge Beswick  03:11

a bit of everything in all honesty, because I'm basically doing the job that I do in the UK, but here in the US. So spending time with the US team, I think just about every influencer agency under the sun is recruiting like mad. And so really trying to build and scale up the team here seeing the existing clients meeting lots of new clients go into South by cars, you know, when you hear remarks, why would you not? It is busy because I feel like I'm trying to fit in what I should be doing in like a year into a couple of months.

Scott Guthrie  03:39

Well, let's let's crack on. I really enjoyed reading the connects trends report, and I'll link to it in the show notes. You're very good at articulating several trends, but I want to pull out a couple for this show. You're excited about the metaverse, but what immediate practical applications. Can you see the metaverse bringing to our industry?

Sedge Beswick  03:57

The funny thing is like obviously in the UK everyone's talking about meta the metaverse.  Times that by a million over here in the US I'm doing for dinner and every single person the first question they're asking me is what's my view on the matter what do I think is about to happen with the meta is the meta right for their brand.

It's like the ultimate go to buzzword here. And I think there's some amazing brands that are kind of like like always like you get the brands that immediately jump on to new trends emerging trends and they just do a bit of a test and learn and I always say this actually especially in my ASOS days like the stuff you do and the stuff you do quicker is usually the stuff that doesn't work out the best but you learn the most about your customer about that area of emerging trends that you can kind of like involve your offering off the back of so it's always far more fun when things don't go to plan in terms of like the immediate but for now and again based on whether your business your brand is right for meta and all things Metaverse the like immediate steps or just educating yourself. 

I think the Still this kind of thing at the moment of like, is it a fad? Is it going to stick around like people saying that about tick tock, tick tock is getting more hits than Google right now. So the quicker the earlier that you can adopt and that you can kind of carve out what that experience looks like for your customers. And for your brand. The more exciting the more interesting, that's going to be because it ain't going anywhere.

Scott Guthrie  05:21

I'm an old man, Sedge. But isn't isn't the metaverse just a rebadging of AR and VR? What's new about metaverse?

Sedge Beswick  05:29

To some extent, it absolutely is, because what we're ultimately doing is like calling it something and housing it under one roof. And so yes, you've got a our last week we had JLO, hosting her first like snap based concert, when if you look at kind of Asian markets, this kind of like AR concert, seeing your favourite celebrities is absolutely not anything new.

Then you've got the kind of gamification but also the gamification of products that you can kind of like, try on beauty brands experience with, you know, trying on different sneakers and trainers as well as like VR. But I think the VR bit in particular is going to get interesting because, you know, if you said to anyone, you know this time two years ago, your entire working week is going to be virtual, everyone will tell you to piss off, they would never believe that in a million years.

And I do think the pandemic sorry to throw the P word in there. It's kind of evolved. Everyone's thinking of like, how do you make those experiences at home, or, you know, at the comfort of where everyone doesn't have to be together, it doesn't matter which country which time zone you're on. So it might be a gym class, it might be an influencer briefing core, but that kind of the experiential world is the one that's going to kind of shift and change the most dramatically. And then we've obviously got NF Ts

Scott Guthrie  06:43

before we go on to NFTs and we will I promise this pick up on a thread that you was talking about in the trends report around snap and around AR what sort of applications for our industry for influencer, marketing creators can an AR filter will produce

Sedge Beswick  06:58

I think this to your earlier point about this being nothing new, like AR in particular is one that's not new. I actually remember once there was a social platform that is very well known for AR and I was on a podcast and I talked about my prediction being that they were actually scanning people's faces, and eventually it would make the kind of passport redundant. And I got a call from their legal team asking me to take it down. But this is like five years ago now. So hence why I haven't mentioned the brand, the platform's name, but like when you think about the extremities of AR and how you know using your point again, around like filters, and the amount of data that they have on the customer. And the end user is is fascinating. But again, from a brand perspective, you can try on lipsticks, you can, you know, try the not yet but the Dyson air wrap without actually physically having the product in hand to see whether it's something that you then want to invest into purchasing. So like everything with these things as different brands that immediately can go, we've got a reason for AR we can try it. And then there's other brands are definitely going to be far more cautious about what their strategy what their approach might be and whether it's right for them, which is again, the same as social when I started working in social 13 odd years ago.

Scott Guthrie  08:15

Long, long time

Sedge Beswick  08:16

I threw in my age and there too. We can be old together.

Scott Guthrie  08:21

We talked about the metaverse, is it a fad? It's not a fad. There's a lot of froth and a lot of reusing your word says a lot of education that we need to do. But if Disney is appointing a Metaverse, strategy head, or Facebook has rebadged itself as metal then isn't going away anytime soon.

Sedge Beswick  08:39

Yeah, when everyone's talking about it, and there's kind of again this like buzzword and there's hype. And then like Nike like so we're appointing five people to manage and controller Metaverse, and everyone's like, shared. If Nike are doing it, we need to be on it immediately. And you're like cool, like it just always takes the Disney's The Nikes for everyone to realise it's going to get pulled up in every board meeting.

Scott Guthrie  08:58

And I think the Superbowl as well. That was obviously Coinbase's big day. But there's a lot of talking about NF T's throughout the day as well and what Disney is talking about matter. And you got Snoop Dogg making a declaration that he wants to turn Death Row Records into an NFT music label that kind of normalises the space. So that leads us neatly into MFTs. You're very upbeat about NF T's and creators. What opportunities do NF T's offer creators and their community

Sedge Beswick  09:27

the main thing and the reason why I am as excited about NF T's I guess the main reason why I'm excited honestly about NF TS is because every single one of our brands is going Serge what should we be doing with NF TS or can you come and talk to us about the next campaign the next strategy it's got to have an element of NF T's in it so obviously when your clients are kind of at large coming to you with a similar and same request, it's going to get us excited people often see like influencers they see creators, as you know, in many cases like narcissist, people Take pictures of themselves in their bedroom and post it onto a social media platform all day just for the likes, and to kind of get that social validation.

And I always say this, but like influencers that have got longevity and that are here to stay or businesses within their own right. And yes, they might be a business of one or two with their finance support. But actually, NFTs give the opportunity for creators to be seen as artists, and ultimately to get paid for their skillset.

So there's obviously all this social clout social validation, they obviously can now it's a different revenue stream for them. So we talk a lot about kind of creator economy. And this kind of allows and enables that to scale quite quickly to so it's almost like if it can be coded into blockchain, it can be an NFT.

And in the same respect, you've got all of the social platforms now to thinking about how they can streamline the NFT integration into their app. So you know, Twitter, the profile pics that NF T's YouTube, they're selling creative content as NFTs TikTok, like, again, classic TikTok really early in there. And they've been created like turning some of their viral content into NFTs. So there's the opportunity for influencers for creators, whatever we want to call them today, to kind of see it as another revenue stream and another opportunity to show their skill set. But equally in the same respect, there is the opportunity to for that brand partnership piece. So you know, influences creating product lines ranges, one of a kind products designs that are then traded off as NF T's. So yeah, also on your point about Snoop Dogg. I will send you this article because I loved it. But it's basically Snoop Dogg being like, it's not the metaverse, it's Snoop verse.

Scott Guthrie  11:39

He coined that in April last year. But again, it goes back to me being old I sort of in Brixton 30 years ago, and he's an old man. So I don't know how he resonates to Gen. Zed anyway, is a separate issue, though, in terms of NF T's. Is it more than digital art? Can it confer entry into communities as well?

Sedge Beswick  11:58

Yeah, exactly. So you've definitely got the community aspect in the sense of the artists being championed and the artists being kind of like, hey, rode through the various different communities, the talk ability within those communities as well, but also those that is kind of the same point we made at the start around like the education like people who are producing, creating, experimenting within our LFTs they're still educating themselves to and then you get all these, like sub communities of people talking about what's happening within blockchain. What's next for NF T's how you can get involved, and it's actually quite a supportive community. Currently, I mean, I'm sure it will get far more Doggy Dog when you're getting the beavers at this world trading X amount of million dollars for their NF T's. But right now, it's just it's an interesting space because everyone seems to want to educate support and kind of enable everyone to see the value and to see the reason why the price points are associated.

Scott Guthrie  12:52

Shifting tack a little bit, you've touched on it in an earlier answer. Earlier this month outgoing head of creator liaison at YouTube. Matt Koval said that for creators fame was fleeting. How can creators shift success from being short term to building lasting careers? And we've talked about some of the ways for example, NF T's and other revenue streams, but how can they put the scaffolding into a long term relationship or a long term? Career?

Sedge Beswick  13:19

Yeah, I think like first things first, like Matt Koval's comment of like creators famous fleeting: I set the agency nearly six years ago now. And the question I would always get asked from a brand is, you know, is this here to last or are influencers YouTubers, bloggers, bloggers, whatever people want to call them? Is this a fad? Is this kind of fading out?

Five years later, or the numbers are going up? This comment is like nothing that anyone in this industry hasn't heard a million times before. You know, I usually make the same joke. But you know, if I had $1, for every time someone asked me that, or like quoted something similar, like I wouldn't need the agency. But like, I think first things like create a famous not fleeting, and it's absolutely evolving, those that are just kind of, you know, in their bedrooms producing a Twitter or one TikTok. Like, will they be here in 12 months? No. But actually the influencers, again, that kind of think of themselves as their own businesses.

And I always say the same expression too, in the sense of like, my name is above the door for seeking connects. But actually the influencers name is above the door on their social handles. Like it's not any different from an influencer perspective in terms of like thinking about how to future proof themselves and the longevity is thinking about those different revenue streams. So again, everyone has talked about Molly made her death, and I promise I'll do a three seconds but from love Island to then social partnerships, launching her own brand, becoming the creative director whether or not you agree with it for pretty little things, hosting the most diverse catwalk last night. Like she hasn't gone. I'm on Instagram and I'm on Tik Tok, and this is my space and this is where I'm safe.

And in the same respect, you know, you've got like the Met Gala the Oscars, you've got all of these various different influences, who are like reporters who are in their own Right doing what they're great at. And actually, it's one of my favourite Instagram accounts, which is St. hoax. And they were reporting live memes from the red carpet. And it's funny, it's tongue in cheek, I don't take myself too seriously. So the content I consume, that's kind of what interests me, rather than like, oh my god, did you see that Eva Chen was wearing such as such as she kind of walked through? And equally like, again, looking at from a brand perspective, you've got like glossier putting Paloma, who's an influencer in there out of home,

Adidas are kind of doing the same thing. So I would just say like think bigger than just one single platform and think about kind of your platform diversification. Think about the different revenue streams and the different audiences that you can touch through kind of building your brand for tomorrow versus the Instagram post you might post now.

Scott Guthrie  15:49

I feel as though I may have done Mr. Koval a disservice when I was quoting his line about fame being fleeting is been on YouTube for almost a decade. I think his point was almost exactly what you're saying. It's about being platform agnostic. It's about putting the community front and centre. He's jumping ship to go to a new platform, which is a community platform called Mighty networks, which allows like, like Patreon, like only fans, allows a creator to have fans and paid subscribers, but also monetize that community in other ways. He's still as a believer. He is a believer. Absolutely about being platform agnostic having different revenue streams, and blurring that line between an advocate or a sponsored bit of content in just as Molly Mae, Hagerstown, lift the Velveteen rope into the VIP area of the brand, and then sort of work from the inside, I think will increasingly see that in terms of brands, rather than just promoting products, they'll help create the product as well, as we see with multi million new collections. Exactly, exactly. That kind of leads us neatly. We're racing through this session today. But what

Sedge Beswick  17:00

this is why I talk so quickly, because when I get over excited, I'm like the ultimate hype man.

Scott Guthrie  17:07

There's a great line, which is often attributed to the baseball player, Yogi Berra, it's tough to make predictions, especially about the future. But what's happening next in the creative economy, what are your predictions 

Sedge Beswick  17:21

I read a study, it's probably old, but I am quite, quite behind on just general life whilst I'm out here in the US. But it was like 41% of creators are earning a living wage that is $69,000 or above. I think that for me was really telling in the sense of, again, like when you when I chat to my nieces and nephews or like God, kids, who were like eight 910. And they say, I want to be a YouTuber, I want to be an influencer, like, how do I do it.

And you can see the parents just pure fear of like, there's no way they're actually be able to make money out of that. And I think obviously, we've all learned a hell of a lot more in the last like, couple of years, irrespective of your like knowledge within the marketing space within the influencer world. But I think that 41% really shows the scale of the Creator economy, and that this is a business and it is a business that is respected. So again, to the same point were making earlier like, it's not anything new, it's not going anywhere.

I guess the differences that create the crater economy as a kind of subtext is that the brands but also the influencers, the creators, they're getting smarter in the way that they're thinking about their businesses and the opportunities to monetize their businesses. So again, even if you think two, three years ago, or even in my a sauce days, it was like a brand partnership. So a brand, paying an influencer money to talk about X, or it was an affiliate model where if you promoted X, you could get y in terms of a kickback.

And even from like a platform perspective, now they've have their own opportunities for creative funds to so you can kind of sponsor creators, if they go live, you can kind of invest in the content, you can have subscription based models where you can consume more of that content. Again, an only fans is a perfect example of that. And it can live so much more than just again, like someone's TikTok someone's one YouTube platform. And so you've got things like YouTube shorts, tic TOCs, creator fund, Shopify capital, LinkedIn, zeven, got its kind of creator acceleration platform. So again, it all of the platforms know that they need influencers, and they need creators to keep scaling their businesses. And the fact they're kind of evolving their model to adapt to that is really interesting, too.

So I think it'll be more of that in the kind of future and kind of where things are going. I do find the tipping mechanic is quite, I guess it again, it comes from like quite an American lens, but like Facebook stars, I can tip you because I really love that content. I don't know it just feels quite cheesy for me. But obviously from a creative perspective, you get tipped to perform Happy Days. See Yeah, I guess I guess the synopsis of the summary is that it is a space where platforms are getting smarter, where the kind of paywalls where the followers can pay for additional access, that's kind of going to scale aggressively over the next 12 months in particular.

Scott Guthrie  22:23

You raise an interesting point I think around the platform's realise that they need the creators, some got a lot sooner than others. YouTube has been paying creators since 2007, something like that. Zuckerberg only announced last year I think that he was going to pay creators a billion dollars over the next three years, but it was slightly nebulous about how a Creator would earn that money at that time. Tick tock is eight miles at 250 billion. Meanwhile, YouTube is paid creators $30 billion in the last three years. So different points and different realisations. But you're absolutely right platform, yeah, want people to stay as long as they can on their platforms and to return as often as possible. And when they do that, what's the content that they enjoy watching and reading and engaging with is created content, of course laid out like that? It's a no brainer.

Sedge Beswick  23:13

So it's funny, isn't it? Because everything we're talking about, we kind of talked about the start. It's not a this is anything new, it is just a constant evolution of kind of what's always been there, but it's the integration, the seamlessness from a creator, from someone in the audience being able to consume that content. But yeah, like YouTube's the OG of this, and that's why they've managed to maintain the kind of interest points from a consumer perspective for as many years as they have, what

Scott Guthrie  23:39

nothing has changed. And yet everything has changed. And you mentioned the pandemic. And I always say it's fatuous to define the positive out of a pandemic. Well, we seen this, this colossal acceleration in the last two years around social media, around the Creator economy, and around social shopping. How do you see the role of influencers or creators fitting into social shopping?

Sedge Beswick  24:04

I mean, this is the bit that probably excites me and interest me more so than any element because if we go back to like, why I set up the agency, we went to a source and we had too much data, so much data, we didn't even know what to do with it, right. So I was quite surprised when I came agency side, and I was going into brands expecting them to be like, you know, for this tweet, I want to generate X amount of revenue, because I knew down to each individual influencer every single week, how much they would generate in revenue. And actually, when I started the agency I was going in and they're like, influencers sound great, but we have a social strategy first. And I guess that's kind of again, the joy of being a business like a sauce where the ROI is so integrated and integral to every single thing that the business does. Using your words like everything's changed, but nothing has changed.

The social shopping element has come so far, you know, Instagram shop TikTok integration with Shopify. And again, it's something that makes sense. You don't want to have all these social platforms and then the experience for the end user to be clunky to be able to actually purchase what it is that you want to purchase. So you've kind of got the like the educators where you can kind of try on new platforms and updates and teach audiences how to use it or encourage the uptake in terms of social shopping. And then you've obviously got like the entertainment aspect. So live shopping is is huge. Again, QVC has existed forever in a day, the Asian market is just so far ahead. But kind of this like live streaming, exciting and intriguing, your audiences seeing it in real time to be able to like purchase and convert and buy something new.

And actually the presence of turning up to that live axes and engagement ages ago at a sauce. I did a live Twitter game, which was basically like a virtual pass the parcel. And you we asked the question on screen, the first person to tweet the right answer, we unwrapped that layer, and then they got that prize, whatever that prize might be. And it ended up trending globally, which at the time would have cost the business 500 grand, it cost us 8000 pounds, including the prize money, live streaming on Twitter wasn't a thing we had to get a company in to be able to help us to be able to live stream. And again, you look now at how seamless the integration is, or you've got businesses like ooh, TikTok, also nailing that element, right. So again, it's evolved, it's changed. It's more seamless. It's more integrated, the kind of affiliate model of not having to partner with brands, but having that instant gratification of understanding who and what their followers are buying. And being able to evolve their strategies and what they're purchasing what they're talking about the price points of the tech items as an example. Again, it's that puts the control back in their hands of what they are creating and what they're producing, because they know their audiences even better.

Scott Guthrie  26:49

E commerce is nothing new. This is a theme of the episode they said, ecommerce isn't you. But everything is new within it, thanks to the COVID pandemic in 2020 e commerce accelerated five years and five weeks and now we talk about influencer marketing. We talk about sort of see the New York or LA being the mecca for influencer marketing, it starts off there and probably moves over to London next, then Berlin and Paris after that. Meanwhile, we've all been sleeping while in Beijing. Live Streaming has been a thing for five, almost six years now, live stream shopping market, China reached 150 billion in 2020 is expected to double to 300 billion this year in the US is puny. But it's anticipated to go from 11 billion this year to 25 billion in 2025. We're all playing catch up. And you know, everything's new, everything's old. Its way

Sedge Beswick  27:47

Some great stats in there.

Scott Guthrie  27:50

Well, here's another question for you do all social media platforms fulfil the same role as each other in the context of social commerce. I'm thinking here,

Sedge Beswick  27:59

not at all. Obviously, we're coming at this from the lens of social commerce. But we're also just like, as a general social 101 Is there are a lot of brands still that are out there that are making content for Pinterest and putting that same content onto Tik Tok onto Instagram, onto Twitter. And the way in which people use those platforms is different. And so again, like the basic and the kind of step, the rule number one in all of this is understanding the role of each of the platforms, if they all did the same, exact same thing, and all had the same user behaviours, all of those platforms wouldn't still exist. And so like, understand each platform, understand the USP understand the behaviours on each of those channels, but then understand your audience, your customer, that end user, and how and why they're using that platform.

So the same rule applies to influencers and creators, like they can't be distributing the same reel onto Tik Tok onto YouTube shorts. Like they have to think about building and maintaining different audiences on different channels. And they're the ones that then succeed and have the longevity in what they're doing. But I think, you know, just as a like, a really immediate example around like social commerce as an aspect TikTok is a complete time consumed, right? Like, you get sucked in, and you've lost two hours of your evening, but you're like, I've got a recipe to try tomorrow. I've got a new hairstyle that I might just try. Why not? I'll just customise a pair of shorts because someone told me I can do it in eight minutes, even though I haven't worn shorts in 10 years. But this is the kind of like, it's like the education learning with entertainment too.

It's quick, it's easy. And like entertaining is the is the one word I always come back to when I think about TikTok. And so when you do see something, you're just like, Ah, screw it, I'll just purchase immediately, because that's the simplicity and the ease of that journey. Whereas if you take Pinterest as a different platform, the user behaviour is so different. It's around curating these mood boards. It is about you know, in six months time, I'm going to move apartments. And when I move apartments, this is the style that I want. And actually, I'm going to make a mood board for the lounge. And I'm going to make a mood board for the bedroom. And I'm going to sit on it. And I'm going to move the pens around and I'm going to see what goes with what. So whilst you've got the kind of immediacy of a platform like a TikTok, actually, Pinterest becomes this curator platform. And like almost like, again, as you would in the olden days, like, physically pin into a board, like create your mood board.

And the same thing goes then when you look at the conversion metrics on Pinterest, you know, it takes about six months to convert someone to purchase. It's not I want to so first, so I'm going to purchase immediately. So brands like made.com don't now they're the ones that would do brilliantly on Pinterest because you're tapping into that kind of longer form more methodical thinking versus the immediacy of purchasing. So like a fast fashion brand, will always see a higher return on investment on a TikTok on an Instagram shop, than it will on a Pinterest because you're also going to disappoint your customers. If you're just pinning, you know your Coachella looks that by the time Coachella comes now all those outfits have sold out, through extrapolate

Scott Guthrie  31:09

if different platforms have different purposes. Obviously, it's worth reminding us all that different creators fulfil different purposes.

Sedge Beswick  31:17

Yeah, I always think that's interesting, too. So like when we report like do rat reports, find reports for brands to will often pull in like, you know, these three influencers actually aggressively increase your social following. So you get the opportunity to talk again to these audiences, because their followers are now your followers. And actually, those ones that have built the followers aren't necessarily the ones that have then driven the kind of click through to the site or the signups or the subscription model. And then you'll have different influences where the average basket value Mrs. Hinch is just off the charts. This is why I always say like influencer marketing is not like a one off campaign. It should be always on where you're kind of using it as like a bit of an MVP test. And you're working out what are your different metrics that you want to achieve? Looking at each individual influencer as well as the overarching influencer pays, and then kind of letting that data dictate what your 2.0 your 3.0 strategy looks like. And not just thinking every influencer will do the exact same thing because it just it just isn't a thing.

Scott Guthrie  32:23

We're running out of questions you might be delighted to know but the final two I always ask the same questions from my guests. How can the influencer marketing industry professionalise

Sedge Beswick  32:32

this one I can keep short, sweet like every single week, the influence marketing space is professionalising. The regulations change, they update being compliant with you know, HSA guidelines, making sure that from an agency or brand and an influencer agent perspective, you're up to speed with those FSA guidelines, they're there to be adhered to, they're not there to just be like, Fuck it, I won't put ad because that's what's going to make me look better as a person like it won't. And every time that happens, that's the kind of like, tainting of the influencer space that makes me like die inside slightly, also, like some of the stuffs like basics, and I do think brands are getting better at it, but really validating the audiences of the influences that you're working with, and making sure that the audiences are legit, that there's not the fake audiences or the fake engagement. And equally, like drilling down, like I was actually talking to a business out here in New York, and they're only in New York. And so they're like, we've tried influencer marketing, it didn't really work. And I was like, give me five influencers that you worked with. And I was like, Cool, 3% of that person's audience is in New York.

And then you have to hope that that audience is going to be online to see that post and that it's then going to resonate with them. And that they want to purchase that at that time. So actually, you're just his white noise because it's only available in New York and like, and they were just doing the same thing. Like I didn't even think to look at the audience demographics and to kind of do that sectioning to grapes I got a brief out of them. So that's why

Scott Guthrie  34:00

congratulations. It could easily have been a case of 'once bitten twice shy', couldn't it? Because they assume they've tried it, they've been sold a dud and so all of influencer marketing doesn't work because of that one off experience.

Sedge Beswick  34:13

Obviously, I could have also been cocky and got the Instagram handles because it was an Instagram campaign and then been like, oh shit 95% of the followings in New York. I'm not really too sure. But so the the answer was so obvious to me when I saw that demographic data. And then another one for me while I guess another two, in terms of like the professionalism within influencer space, like one would be, I think brands have a really terrible, terrible habit of saying, This is what we want to do, go and do it. And the influence will always push back and be like, hey, like, I know my audience. I get that you're delivering X. But why don't we do it this way? Because that's going to resonate best with them. And they're still going like, Well, no, this is exactly how we want it to look, this is what works right for us. And you have to understand and appreciate that influences understanding that audience better than the brand understands their audience.

And so kind of it should be a two way partnership. It shouldn't feel like a badging exercise. And then I guess my last one, which maybe isn't into like professionalism, but it was more of a broader future of influencer marketing. A lot of people are still creating influencer content on a single platform. And actually to succeed in influencer marketing, it should be part of your wider marketing mix. So it should you should be thinking long term, you should be thinking integrated. Does it work for paid? Does it work? Do you need kind of production that you can then use the content elsewhere? It doesn't have a press overlay with it. And I think if you think bigger, and you think outside of just a tick tock video or Twitch stream, that's when the magic really starts to happen.

Scott Guthrie  35:44

Absolutely. So cross platform, but also cross channel. I think that that's a really important point for the future of our industry as we're trying to get bigger budgets and maybe wrestle budgets from other channels. I want to pull you back to a point you said at the beginning that said about the ESA and getting better around regulation. Regulation is going to be more I think probably this year, more than about sticking hashtag ad somewhere. For example, the ESA put out some guidance around crypto currencies. And as we've talked about the metaverse, we've talked about NF T's in this chat. That I think it's interesting to see what the ESA and the CMA the competition's authority is doing in this area and the FCA, the Financial Conduct Authority. There's a whole raft of new regulation around the promotions of crypto assets and cryptocurrencies. I think we're also see a lot more around greenwashing and making sure that your sustainability creds are what they say they are high fat, sugar and salt that I think it's been kicked in the long grass. But those are other areas that we got to get our collective heads around as well. So lots of areas around regulation, I think. The last question is a fast paced industry. So what are your go to sources for keeping up to date with the industry and its changes,

Sedge Beswick  37:02

honestly, the thing I find the most valuable, which the bigger the agency gets, the harder it is to do. But it's chatting to different influences, and directly hearing their take on because again, they're so native, if when I went to a sauce, you can ask me anything about any social platform. And I could tell you, I would know a hell of a lot more than most people. And that's influences like this is a business, that's their job. So they know the platform's they also know the brands that aren't, you know, compliant, or that are underpaying or, you know, the same mistakes that they're seeing from brands. And I, I find it fascinating just to kind of like open forum, you tell me what's kind of pissing you off, or what the problems are that you're seeing in the industry. And the influencers will always kind of know those problems, or you'll start to pick up trends from speaking to influencers or celebrities, before the brands have even clocked on to that being an remote issue.

And then just from a regulations perspective, like the team are watertight on this, so we're constantly, you know, with our legal team, just making sure that obviously, it's not just up to date with the industry, but making sure that we are doing right by the industry, and that our data and our facts around regulations are always really up to the speed, because that's our job to make sure the brands are doing it properly. And you know what? LinkedIn for me at the moment, I am spending way too much time on LinkedIn, I definitely don't have the time I do.

I also what I really enjoy is when someone hates influencer marketing or hates an influencer, or has a bad experience, and then kind of do what I was doing with the brand owner out here. And then you're like, unpicking the kind of steps they took for it to go wrong, to then be able to kind of work out the angle that people are coming out. So again, you can kind of think about where the gaps in the education are that we can then help with

Scott Guthrie  38:47

Where can listeners turn to you for more information about you and SEEN Connects? 

Sedge Beswick  38:57

so SEEN Connects is everything Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn and then I'm Sedge which is Hedge but with an S. 

Scott Guthrie  39:09

And I'll be sure to include those links in the show notes accompanying this podcast episode just Google the influencer marketing lab for further details. Sedge Beswick founder and managing director at seem connects Thank you really thank you very much for your time and for your insights.

Sedge Beswick  39:23

No thank you and thank you for doing this so late in the UK too. I really appreciate it. 

Scott Guthrie  39:37

My pleasure.

Scott Guthrie is a professional adviser within the influencer marketing industry. He is an event speaker, university guest lecturer, media commentator on influencer marketing and active blogger. He works with brands, agencies and platforms to achieve meaningful results from influencer marketing. That tells you something about him but it's not giving you a lot of detail, is it? So, read more here.

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