How To Leverage Influencer Marketing With Gracey Ryback

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Gracey Ryback is a content creator, Amazon Live creator, and influencer marketing consultant. She works with e-commerce and Amazon brands to help them leverage the power of influencer marketing. With a focus on TikTok and Amazon Live, Gracey has worked with clients across multiple industries both on and off Amazon. She has grown a community of over one million followers.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Gracey Ryback’s advice for working with influencers on Amazon
  • Working with new versus experienced influencers
  • What makes an A-list Amazon influencer?
  • How does the TikTok Shop work?
  • Gracey’s tips for advertising in Q4
  • Why Amazon sellers should attend networking events
  • The benefits of intellectual property (IP) protection on Amazon

In this episode…

Building a top brand on Amazon has become more difficult and expensive over the last couple of years. This is attributed to increased competition and the high costs of ads. To stand out from other players, Amazon sellers have to leverage different marketing strategies, including influencer marketing. 

To create a high-converting influencer marketing strategy, brands have to find the right influencers and create customized product listings. Amazon sellers also need to work with a budget and ensure that their marketing campaigns align with their business goals.

In this episode of the Innovations and Breakthroughs Podcast, Rich Goldstein interviews Gracey Ryback, a content creator and influencer marketing consultant, about how to leverage influencer marketing on Amazon. Gracey explains what an A-list Amazon influencer means, shares tips for working with influencers, and discusses the benefits of attending networking events.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Goldstein Patent Law, a firm that helps protect inventors’ ideas and products. They have advised and obtained patents for thousands of companies over the past 25 years. So if you’re a company that has a software, product, or design you want protected, you can go to https://goldsteinpatentlaw.com/. They have amazing free resources for learning more about the patent process. 

You can email their team at welcome@goldsteinpc.com to explore if it’s a match to work together. Rich Goldstein has also written a book for the American Bar Association that explains in plain English how patents work, which is called ‘The ABA Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent.’

Intro (00:09):
Welcome to Innovations and Breakthroughs with your host Rich Goldstein, talking about the evolutionary, the revolutionary, the inspiration and perspiration, and those aha moments that change everything. And now here’s your host, Rich Goldstein.

Rich (00:34):
Rich Goldstein here, host of the Innovations and Breakthroughs podcast, where I feature top leaders in the path they took to create change. Past guests include Kevin King, Steve Simonson, and Kate Hancock. This episode is brought to you by my company, Goldstein Patent Law, where we help you to protect your ideas and products. We’ve advised and obtained patents for thousands of companies over the past 29 years. So if you’re a company that has software or product or design you want protected, go to goldstein patent law.com where there are amazing free resources for learning about the patent process. And you could also schedule a call with my team@speaktolarry.com to explore if it’s a match to work together. You could also check out the book I wrote for the American Bar Association that explains in plain English how patents work. It’s called the a b a Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent I have with me here today. My friend Gracie Rybeck. Gracie is an influencer in the Amazon world with a community of over a million followers. She helps Amazon sellers to figure out how to use influencers effectively to increase their product sales. So I’m really pleased to welcome here today, Gracie Rybeck. Welcome, Gracie.

Gracey (01:42):
Hi, Rich. Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here and chit chat with you today.

Rich (01:46):
Yeah, absolutely. And we, we do spend a good amount of time chitchatting though, like we’re at a lot of Amazon events together. You are. And, um, you know, there is, um, always a lot of time for chitchat, which is what I’m there for really. I mean, I’m not there for the educational sessions. I’m there for the chit chat, otherwise known as networking, otherwise

Gracey (02:06):
Known as banter

Rich (02:07):
Otherwise known as banter. Right, right.

Gracey (02:09):
Of course.

Rich (02:10):
And if we bantered long enough, it becomes chitchat and then, and then chitchat long enough, it becomes something else, I guess. But that’s not what we’re here for. Um, so let’s, um, let’s kind of muster up the energy to get beyond the chitchat and go to something of substance. Sure. Now you work with, um, with brands to help them to increase their reach, to increase their product sales through the use of influencers mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, um, what’s the best way these days to kind of get involved in leveraging the power of influencers?

Gracey (02:44):
Right. So I think within the last couple of years, last year or two, there’s been a huge shift of brands realizing that influencer marketing is a huge part of the marketing strategy. And not only just using social media as a brand or using P P C or paid ads to direct people to their site or to their Amazon listing. So I’ve, I’d love to see the conversation around using influencer marketing and how different types of brands are doing different strategies. And there really is no simple way to just say, oh, every brand needs to do 1, 2, 3. It’s so customized and tailored to each brand and each product and the budget sizes. And I always say that the brand should always look for the creators and influencers who have their target demographic of their audience that they’re trying to reach and work with the people who can reach those audience audiences. And so I think that is the best way to do it, just making sure that it’s a good fit with the brand and the creator, and that their budget matches up, their goals, match up with the campaign, and then making sure those things are set in stone before just trying things willy-nilly <laugh>.

Rich (03:56):
Yeah. And, and I suppose you also want to make sure that the influencer matches up with, um, with your, um, audience, your target audience too, as Bud Light recently discovered.

Gracey (04:07):
Yes, yes. That

Rich (04:09):
Was,

Gracey (04:09):
That was definitely a campaign for sure. And I think it, it was a negative effect, not only on the brand, but for the creator as well, that, you know, they were sharing about it on their social media, how they were disappointed that the, the brand didn’t stand behind them after the campaign happened. So an

Rich (04:28):
Which is just a good reason to make sure that there’s alignment all around right. That, that, um, that, that everything is in alignment before you identify the influencers that are going to really represent your brand. Exactly.

Gracey (04:40):
Exactly.

Rich (04:40):
And, um, but, and once you do, like what, like what’s a, a good way to get started, um, say, especially on Amazon, like what’s a good way to get started with an influencer?

Gracey (04:52):
So there’s a couple ways to do it. There’s through Amazon and then there’s off Amazon by yourself. And Amazon came out with these opportunities in the last, i, I would say year or so. One is called Creator Connections, which they were beta testing a while back, but is now rolled out to more creators. Creator Connections is on Amazon’s platform available to affiliates and influencers where brands can sign up through Amazon, they have a certain budget, and basically the goal is to give out increased commissions to whatever sales that the creators generate. And this is all done, you know, again, through Amazon. So they, they can make sure that, you know, they will get their payment on time and they, their data is correct and the sales are correctly reported and stuff like that. So, um, the creators can opt in to certain campaigns. They can sometimes receive product samples to create the content with, and then whatever sales they generate at increased commissions, whether it be 10%, 20, 30%, something like that.

Gracey (05:51):
So there’s that, there’s working through creators, uh, directly through Amazon Live as well. So Amazon live streaming is another opportunity, but aside from that, if they’re trying to do it by themselves off of Amazon, then they can, you know, basically look on social media. I always say search for hashtags, search for relevant keywords. There are thousands of Amazon types of CRE content creators out there who are already creating content about their favorite products, whether that be in any niche out there possible, that they can just find these creators on social media, vet their content, look at their engagement, and then reach out from there, whether that be email or dmm.

Rich (06:27):
Yeah. And I imagine that that a lot of influences, uh, especially what you might call micro influences haven’t yet monetized ever before. And so there’s an opportunity there to, um, you know, kind of make someone’s day on one hand. But on the other hand, it’s also like, it’s probably not going to be very expensive because someone who’s been kind of successful in creating an audience but hasn’t yet made a penny from it Right. Might, might really find that, um, that whatever you’re offering is, is exciting to them and they’re not going to play hardball in terms of negotiating, would you say?

Gracey (07:07):
Right. So yes, you’re completely right with the micro influencers. There’s a huge influx of new creators coming on trying to monetize social media, just like create a living for themselves, creating content. So many new people. I love to see it. There’s a huge wave of these people as well, and you’re right, being micro influencers who are starting out, um, who are new to brand relationships, like I’m sure that plenty of creators would be happy for the gifted campaigns, the commission-based campaigns just starting that relationship with that brand is huge for them. But on the other side of things, I actually recently just came back from a creator event instead of a, a seller and brand event. I, I met a bunch of creators and these were large creators, much larger than me, large scale, like millions, millions of 20 million followers. And it was so interesting to kind of share the Amazon side of what I do with them, because I realized they have a lot of trouble monetizing because aside from, let’s say the creator, TikTok creator fund, or like the, the payments that these social media, um, platforms pay out, aside from those and maybe the occasional brand deal, they weren’t very familiar with like the affiliate side of things or like even the Amazon influencer program.

Gracey (08:25):
And so it was interesting to see how excited they were and when they were like, oh, there’s, there’s a way to monetize like my 20 million followers. Like, what do you mean? Because their content isn’t product based. It’s maybe like skits or maybe art or dancing, whatever. So it’s not product based, so it’s harder to, you know, incorporate products, but yes.

Rich (08:47):
But there’s an opportunity there, right? There’s an opportunity there. So they’re used to monetizing with, okay, we get 20 million views and, and, and, um, someone runs ads, um, that then show on their, um, um, on their feed or with their videos, and then they make like, you know, a few pennies at a time there that add up, right? Yeah, exactly. But they’ve, but um, but now there’s an opportunity to do something more direct with product sales.

Gracey (09:12):
Yes, exactly. And I think no matter what you’re doing, even skits, there’s ways to incorporate like your favorite products into it. You could, you could, you know, say, oh, I’m putting my earrings on, I’m putting my makeup on, putting these clothes on, whatever, and still be able to make it a genuine experience and make it authentic and relatable and incorporate products and hopefully make this more of a full-time income for them by monetizing.

Rich (09:38):
Yeah, absolutely. I’ve heard you say before, or actually other people have said about you that you are an A-list Yeah. Influencer on Amazon now. Tell me what that means exactly. Yeah, yeah.

Gracey (09:50):
So when I say, when people say a-list, they’re probably referring to the tiers of Amazon Live influencers. So everybody who is part of the influencer program of Amazon is eligible to also stream on Amazon, but there’s different placements that you are able to get depending on which of the three tiers you’re on. So the first tier that everyone starts at is a rising star. That means you have placement on the, um, your own influencer storefront and whatever traffic you drive there, as well as maybe that’s it. I think that’s it. And then once you, you know, stream enough time and then you reach a certain revenue goal, then you can apply for Insider, which is the middle tier. I think a lot of people are in this middle tier, and basically they have placements on relevant product pages, their own influencer storefront, and the Amazon Live page on Amazon.

Gracey (10:42):
And then the hardest level, which I’ve heard so many people say they, they struggled to get because Amazon handpicks and like manually vets these people to make sure that, you know, they have the quality of livestream that they want to show around. Amazon is a-list level, and then you have placements on the Amazon deals page and then the Amazon homepage, which make a huge difference in traffic that you would be able to get when you hit have those possible placements as I guess an A-list Amazon Live streamer. So that’s what what it means tier wise, when people say a-list

Rich (11:19):
And I, and I guess the A-list influences get to walk the red carpet at the Amazon events,

Gracey (11:24):
The theoretical one. Yeah. <laugh> <laugh> not a literal.

Rich (11:29):
Yeah. So I’ve, I’ve heard this, this new program called TikTok Shop and, um, let me see if I could say that correctly. TikTok Shop. Yes. And if you can say it, then maybe you can get into the program. But, um, but tell me what, what that’s all about. How does that work?

Gracey (11:46):
I love that you’re bringing this up because TikTok Shop is kind of a new concept, but a really exciting one for not only creators, but also I think Amazon brands and even off Amazon brands. So TikTok Shop TikTok came out with their own affiliate shopping program earlier this year, and they’ve been doing a really, really good job of rolling it out and getting new creators on board and just sharing different aspects of it. So if you scroll TikTok, you’re more than likely to happen upon a video where you see a little sticker in the corner and it says it has a product link to it. So the whole intention of this is that people can, you know, be entertained by TikTok and scroll away and still naturally be able to shop On’s platform. So they’re trying to figure out their own kind of logistics system behind it.

Gracey (12:37):
But basically they just want people to shop within TikTok. And they’re having a lot of merchants and sellers and brands sign up for this TikTok shop program to feature their own products there. Some of them including, you know, big brands like Revolve and, um, some am Amazon brands as well, some clothing beauty tech brands as well, like tons of brands. And that just gives creators a, a really good avenue of monetization one way, but also another avenue of sales for brands too. And TikTok is actually doing a good job of like, you know, promoting these videos and sharing them, making sure they, that, that they get good viewership. And it’s just fun to be able to make it easier for your audience to just buy the products that you’re talking about every day if they want them. And, uh, also give brands this awesome opportunity of marketing their product in a, in a way that’s, you know, I’ve seen so many brands say like, oh, I’ve gotten a tons of sales since joining TikTok shop. And then there’s the obvious aspect of brand awareness and just people talking about your brand and sharing content about your brand that, you know, is so important as well on TikTok. So it’s kind of a win-win for everyone.

Rich (13:50):
No, absolutely. And as a, as a new program, um, I mean there’s the secret that we know about, like when a social media platform has a new program, right? I think we should tell them, we should tell ’em the secret and we

Gracey (14:01):
Can go,

Rich (14:02):
Okay. Yeah, yeah. Perfect. So, and when, when there’s a new program, like when Instagram reels, Facebook reels launched or YouTube Sure. So when a social media platform has a new feature that they’re pushing, then if you jump on that bandwagon, they’re going to push you heavily. Like they are looking to have it be a success. So that is the place to be. So, uh, if TikTok is promoting TikTok, TikTok shop, and if you can say it correctly, then uh, that’s where you want to be because you, you’re really going to get the best r o I when you’re joining a program that the platform is pushing.

Gracey (14:40):
Definitely. And I think even by the time that this, you know, people are hearing this episode, it’s still gonna be a good time to join. Like, it, it’s, I’ve heard directly that they are really, really working on this. They have, you know, a lot of big goals and plans in the next three to five years. And it, it may not, I wanna preface this for like the Amazon brands and sellers listening, it may not lead to your Amazon listing and it may not affect your Amazon listing directly that much. However, for the off Amazon sales and for the sheer brand awareness of your branding your product, it’s beyond worth it just to check it out and potentially join, because TikTok is taking like close to nothing in commissions for brands joining right now.

Rich (15:25):
Yeah.

Gracey (15:26):
Very like low risk avenue of sales. I, I think,

Rich (15:30):
Yeah, no, that there’s an incentive right there is that they are, you know, it’s like if you look at something that’s matured like Google AdWords, where they really are, that they know that everybody wants to use, uh, that, uh, advertising medium and then you are paying top dollar for it. But, um, it, it’s heavily being subsidized right now, uh, which means lower, I mean, lower commissions, lower amounts of your, um, you’ll have a lower cost of sale compared with other advertising mediums.

Gracey (16:01):
Exactly. Exactly.

Rich (16:04):
So, um, now speaking of when the, when this episode airs, um, so what are some some strategies that you think brands ought apply as we head into Q four?

Gracey (16:16):
I think Q four we know is an important time, so it, it’s really important to leave time to, to figure out your marketing strategy. I think, you know, years ago selling on Amazon, it’s always been a beast, but it’s getting harder. And I don’t think anyone would argue that it’s getting harder, it’s getting more expensive, it’s getting more competitive and to stand out from the competition. There’s a course P P C, but there’s only so much you could do with that. It’s an important part of everything, but it’s really the off Amazon marketing that is going to make the biggest difference. So going into Q four, I think there are, there’s an importance to, I think try out and work with some social media creators and influencers out there to get more content around your brand. I’m always preaching about how having that row of videos, the shoppable videos on your listing is super important.

Gracey (17:06):
Making sure that that row is filled with videos if possible. And then making sure that you’re getting a good amount of offsite traffic to your listing to get that good boost in the Amazon algorithm to get close to page one. Um, prime day is obviously another huge opportunity to be setting up some campaigns for Christmas, Thanksgiving, all these shopping holidays, huge opportunities, um, for everyone. So it’s just important to leave time to figure out your, your influencer campaigns. It’s, um, I, I would say like the beginning of the year is to start small and figure it out how creators work with your brand. And then Q four is the time to increase the budget slightly and go for the larger creators and get more eyes and traffic onto the product.

Rich (17:55):
Sounds good. Um, now I guess one of the first things that we talked about was, um, networking and networking events, which how we, we know each other. Um, and uh, essentially Amazon sales and like even e-commerce sales is something that people do just behind their computer. Like they’re, it’s just them alone with their computer very often. Yes. But some percentage of Amazon sellers do attend Amazon events, networking events, events where there’s content and you get to learn, uh, about what’s working for other people. So I guess like, like what’s the value that you see, uh, for sellers in attending events like the ones that you and I go to?

Gracey (18:39):
Yeah, so I mean, I think we’re in the similar boat as to you’re not a seller, you’re there for the networking aspect. And I’m also not a seller, I’m just in the space. And I realized that what I do is not only about the creator, it’s not only about the product, there is a whole different side of things, which is the brand and the seller side. And there’s a lot of a, you know, mutual beneficial this, but there’s also a huge effect on them. They affect me as well. So the main thing that I am hoping to get out of these events and the main benefits I think is the sheer networking of just having a community. Because I think, you know, selling on Amazon, being in the Amazon space, it, a lot of it is, you know, by yourself remote at home and it’s, there’s so much information online.

Gracey (19:25):
If you tried to go to Google or Reddit or you know, different Facebook groups, let’s say, there’s an incredible amount of information that can bring you in every direction in the world. And so you can obviously get stuck, you can get confused. There’s differing advice all over the place. And so finding out people who might be in similar situation as used, similar niche, similar, similar situations, you can kind of clarify, okay, this is working for this person, lemme try it for me. People are also just sharing strategies and sharing hacks and sharing what worked for them and sharing different softwares that people might need as well. Huge when you have those tools at your disposal. And not only that, but you know, the people who created the tools. So if you have a question or if you need support, you can, you know who they are, they’re like, you know, one person away from you. So the networking’s obviously amazing. The people in the community are incredibly helpful. Um, they’re so incredibly amazing at, you know, just trying to help others. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and they’re obviously a really fun time. Traveling is fun as well, but I think the community, the hacks, the strategies, and then the friends that you leave with afterwards, that’s the best part. And I think that’s totally worth it.

Rich (20:38):
Absolutely. And it could be inspiring too, because being creative often you burn out a little bit. It’s, it’s hard to, to maintain that level of creativity when it’s just you on your own.

Gracey (20:49):
For sure. Another aspect of that, actually, I was at a recent event I was at talking to somebody, they were just like, can you just give me advice? Like, can you just give me some advice? Like, it was such a raw conversation, and I really feel like that conversation just like, felt really, really important. And it felt the, the person was like, I have a fire under my butt now. Like, I’m gonna go home and put all these strategies to work, and like, I’m really leaving this conversation feeling so motivated. And I was motivated too. ’cause I, I, that was such a great conversation. And you know, motivation is another thing that comes out of these events. It’s like, you learn so much, you meet so many people, you’re like, okay, I have so many things to implement. You go home with like a fresh sense of like, okay, like let’s see where we go from here with all that I’ve learned from this event. Right?

Rich (21:35):
And, and like that this is doable, right? You see other people that are succeeding even with the things that, that we might struggle with. And then, then it’s a, then it’s just tangible proof that like, it’s figureoutable, right?

Gracey (21:48):
Yeah. Inspiring. Yes. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.

Rich (21:51):
Um, and just, and one more topic. So like ip. So IP is something clearly that I work with and I work with a lot of sellers to help them to, um, maximize their ip. Um, and, uh, I mean, what have you seen in your experience just about the importance of IP to sellers?

Gracey (22:09):
It is, I mean, just so incredibly important because once you start creating content, you’re gonna start seeing unless you put your face. And even if you do put your face in the videos, I have so many friends and other content creators I see, they’re just like, I, my video was stolen by so and so, like, they’re using my content. Obviously without permission. Once you start creating content, you realize the amount of work and time and energy it takes to make it, it’s really disappointing to see people just take that content and start making money off of it or start advertising or claim it as their own, uploading it onto Amazon, making the money. And like, it’s frustrating because there’s a tedious process of, you know, filing a complaint and whatever. And we, I’m happy that those tools are in place with the social media platforms, but, you know, there’s so many, so many instances of it, it just becomes a tedious job of constantly just trying to whack-a-mole.

Gracey (23:01):
And on top of that, people will take your name, take your picture, you know, put up a fake account. That happens to plenty of people in this industry, across all industries. It is just really, really, really hard. Until you do something about it, it’s whack-a-mole until you do something about it. Yeah. So I have a friend, she is, you know, she’s been in the industry since 2013, I think 2013 to 2015, so a lot longer than I have, but she’s just talking to me now about getting her brand name trademarked and I’ve been saying it’s so important. Otherwise you have no, you have no safety net. And as a content creator, all of our stuff is, you know, up online and people will take it unless we do something about it.

Rich (23:44):
Yeah. Yeah. And you, and you, um, put your, um, uh, you put your effort and your money into growing your brand. Yeah. So you might as well protect your brand. Absolutely. Got it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Absolutely. Okay, well, cool. And so if people wanna learn more about you or get in touch with you, how do they go about doing? So,

Gracey (24:04):
I would say the best way is to email me. Um, my email is contact@dealcheats.com. D e a l c h e a t s.com. And whether it’s a question about how to start with your influencer marketing or just a general question, I’m here for all of it. So please feel free to reach out. Yeah,

Rich (24:24):
I love that. Very generous of you. Thank you. And, and thank you so much for taking the time to, to, um, to be on this podcast.

Gracey (24:32):
Thank you, Rich, for having me.

Speaker 4 (24:38):
Thanks

Outro (24:39):
For listening to Innovations and Breakthroughs with your host Rich Goldstein. Be sure to click subscribe, check us out on the web at innovationsandbreakthroughs.com and we’ll see you next time.

 

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