Word of Mouth on Steroids with Ucef Kaawach, CEO at B. Easy Social

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Summary:

In this week’s episode of The Hunting Influence Podcast, Aaron is joined by Ucef Kaawach, Founder and CEO of B. Easy Social. Ucef discusses his entrepreneurship journey from a young age where he pursued drop shipping for his clothing brand, flipping items on Kijiji/eBay, and starting his own Amazon FBA Business where he generated over $100,000 in revenue after only one year. Ucef also discusses all things influencer marketing, such as how to find the best influencers and what things to look for, his advice for managing paid campaigns and negotiating with influencers, the biggest misconceptions of the Influencer Marketing industry as well as his experiences working with large influencers such as Floyd Mayweather and Kendall Jenner, and why Influencer Marketing is considered word of mouth on steroids.
Key Takeaways:

· Ucef’s parents were entrepreneurs through his entire life, often buying bars and flipping them. They tried to steer Ucef away from entrepreneurship saying its too much work and not worth it
· Ucef’s perspective on entrepreneurship completely changed after reading The Business of the 21st century by Robert Kiyosaki. It was the pivot point where he got involved in network marketing and was introduced into the whole world of entrepreneurship
· Ucef’s first entrepreneurial experience was in business school where he came across drop shipping. He enrolled in Mike Vestil’s course and launched his first drop shipping store called the 96 club, where he sold clothing for those born in the year 1996. He didn’t get any sales but it was a great learning experience and introduction into the entire industry
· After starting 96 club, Ucef tried flipping stuff on eBay, Kijiji, and also investing in penny stocks by watching YouTube videos from Tim Sykes.
· Ucef eventually came across Kevin David who had a course on how to sell products on Amazon, also known as Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon). He invested all of his money at the time into the course.
· The course taught Ucef how to go from knowing nothing about selling on Amazon to being an expert on the topic, covering everything from how to set up an LLC, how to set up a business bank account, how to sign up on amazon seller central, how to start a brand or a company trademark, how to find suppliers in China to get products manufactured, etc
· Ucef launched his first Amazon FBA product which was a jumbo squishy toy for kids. Ucef found that three individual squishes were selling well but weren’t bundled together. He differentiated himself by bundling the products together and generated $1400 in sales on the first day
· In the first month of Amazon FBA selling the jumbo squishy toys, Ucef did $36,000 in sales.
· Ucef launched three more seasonal products that were strictly for Christmas, ending up doing $40,000 in one month
· Ucef found the logistical and supply chain aspect of Amazon FBA to be stressful, therefore making a shift to starting his own influencer marketing agency called B. Easy Social
· Ucef was invited to be brought on a social media content creator during one of his client calls. He joined as an influencer marketing freelancer where he would be communicating with influencers, closing deals for promotions, and more. He tried it out and loved influencer marketing ever since then.
· Ucef’s first ever campaign run when freelancing was with a company that had a budget of $10,000 per month. He managed influencer promotions month after month and reached out to influencers in the urban community and hip-hop niche, closing deals with YouTubers and getting some ad integrations on their channels.
· Ucef eventually had too many clients reaching out to him so he decided to create a company and slowly build a team. Ucef still got a lot of clients through Upwork since he was high up in the keyword rankings for the services he offered. He would get three to four requests a day from companies wanting to work with him.
· With B. Easy Social, Ucef was running paid influencer campaigns with budgets ranging from $10,000 a month to budgets as high as $300,000 a month. He would look at the clients KPIs such as brand awareness, conversions, traffic, and then utilizing that information to find influencers who would fit with the brand and entire messaging.
· Ucef found that the best results came from Instagram story campaigns and YouTube ad integrations. He has tested a lot of Instagram posts and has never seen amazing results from it as it doesn’t deliver high conversions or website traffic. He finds Snapchat stories also work very well
· In order to find the best influencer, Ucef ensures that the candidate is an actual influencer and that they are truly influencing their audience to pursue an action. Whether it’s a fitness influencer who works out and encourages other people to work out or a basketball influencer who is teaching people how to play basketball.
· Ucef believes that too many people just look at the vanity metrics of an influencers engagement rate or follower count, rather than focusing on the entire community aspect of what community is the influencer building.
· Ucef mentioned how vanity metrics are so present in all of the software’s you use and in the influencer marketing industry as a whole, with people saying you have to be over 3 to 5% engagement. Although this is an important metric, Ucef believes that you must realize that influencers are real people and real people are following them for reasons. Figuring out what those reasons are is the key to finding successful influencers.
· Ucef finds that reading through influencers comments and seeing the engagement of their audience is a good indicator of whether an influencer is worth the investment. Ucef will also look at the influencers profile on other social platforms such as YouTube to see if the engagement is similar
· Ucef has average cpms for certain platforms like Instagram, which is 10, and YouTube which is anywhere from 10 to 20. He uses these average cpms to roughly estimate how much to pay an influencer. However, he has had great campaigns where the CPM was 100 due to the ability of the influencer to build a community. Therefore, when it comes to influencer payment, there are a multitude of variables to consider.
· For negotiation with influencers, Ucef finds that the best tactic is communicating the idea of possibly working together in the long term if the partnership goes well.
· Ucef’s favorite campaign was with a tech company based out of the UK that had a budget of $300,000 a month since he worked with large influencers such as Kendall Jenner, Scott Disick, Floyd Mayweather, Black Chyna, and more.
· Ucef’s favorite influencer he worked with was Faze Sensei as he seemed so down to earth and could have charged a lot of money but simply liked the current client’s products at the time which was embroidered hats.
· Ucef believes the biggest misconception about Influencer Marketing is the amount of communication that goes into getting in contact with influencers in the first place.
· Ucef believes that the way the Influencer Marketing industry has changed the most is in terms of consumers becoming a lot more aware of what was happening with influencers and how they would pick random products to promote because of the amount they’d get paid. The whole industry as a whole become more transparent and authentic as a result, with influencers now wanting to work with brands that align with their audience and their core values, instead of just working with brands for the lump sum of cash.
· Ucef see’s the future of the Influencer Marketing industry headed in a direction where companies are running ads from influencers Facebook accounts with content that they’ve created, also known as whitelisting.

Quickfire Round:

Ucef’s morning routine

· Meditation and taking 30 minutes to relax uninterrupted

Whose content do you listen to, watch, or read the most?

Ucef’s favorite book of all time

Ucef’s favorite hundred-dollar purchase

Ucef’s favorite place he has ever been to

· Bali, Indonesia
Ucef’s favorite brand

· Apple
Ucef’s advice to those looking to build their own influence

· Be authentic and be yourself, people can tell when you’re trying to just garner an audience for the sake of garnering an audience. Just do it for the right reasons.
Quotes:
“Influencer Marketing is just word of mouth on steroids”
“I just want to have fun with entrepreneurship and enjoy the process, because I’m realizing that the process is all there is. And as much as we want to get to the destination, once you’re there, there’s just another destination that you’re moving towards”
“When it comes to Influencer Marketing, I feel like a lot of people just look at the vanity metrics of someone’s engagement looking good. But they totally miss the entire community aspect of what community is the influencer building and influencing”


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