Social Media Innovator Daniel Saynt Speaks on His Success
Daniel Saynt has been making innovative leaps in the social media world for over a decade.
He began his career with the fashion blog FashionIndie.com. Soon after the blog's six-figure sale, he co-founded Socialyte, an online-influencer casting agency that provides services to clients like Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Burberry.
Currently, Daniel is the Chief Conspirator for NSFW Agency, providing influencer marketing and content development solutions for vice-category brands. A dedicated champion for sexual wellness, cannabis, and adventurous living, Daniel consistently works hard to help generate positive change for the millennial community.
Where did your journey as an influencer begin?
I started in events first. I was running a bunch of parties in NYC for young designers and needed a place to promote them. From there Fashion Indie became a personal blog and media site that grew to over 5M visitors a month. Through most of my career I’ve always felt like an outsider looking in, and that was very true at the start of my work in blogging. From the beginning, it was all about promoting young designers and bringing light to the new faces in fashion. That message connected to a lot of people back then and really helped us have a voice in the fashion world.
How has your business changed over the course of the past decade?
I witnessed the birth of the digital influencer. I got to see how many of these creators grew in the fashion and beauty world. Witnessing the democratization of fashion through the power of digital influencers was pretty amazing.
My entire career has been transformative in what I was involved in-- the marketing landscape has completely changed.
When I started in fashion, most designers were spending their marketing dollars on lookbooks and print ad campaigns. Vogue was still the Bible and getting in their pages was the main focus.
That changed rapidly over the past 15 years and there’s now a need for marketing specialists to live within brands. Brands need to have a social media manager, a content or editorial director, a press team that understands influencer relations and someone who can coordinate events. There’s so much more that goes into the marketing mix and the rise of social media and the digital influencer is a major reason for this.
From the beginning of your influencer career to today, what do you consider your largest overall accomplishment?
Right now I feel I’m doing some of my best work.
I’ve been focused on new influencer categories and doing work in sexual wellness and cannabis. It has been very rewarding. When you sell a handbag or a fragrance you’re tapping into surface desires, feelings of happiness which are temporary. When it comes to marketing a freer way of thinking, the rewards you can provide people are so much more. I would say that being able to create an agency and succeed while focusing on a category with so much stigma is truly empowering and my greatest accomplishment.
What are some of the most important things you've learned about promotion and branding on social media?
I think it’s important to have an authentic voice. You want to be honest with your audience, be weak, be vulnerable, show the realness through video and have real conversations with the people who are following you. We tend to appreciate personalities and there are many people who follow influencers for the reality they provide. It’s important to be consistent and regularly update. You want to be thought of daily by your fans and this requires really having an editorial eye and mindset. Creating an editorial plan is key to ensuring your story is shared regularly.
Live an interesting life. Go to lunch for meetings, visit friends, be creative in your approach to life. For those who love fashion it’s about outfits and shopping, for food lovers it’s dining and cooking, thinking about your life as a publication, a collection of stories which help build your character and how you want to present yourself to your fans.
It’s important to treat yourself like a brand. Consider the accounts you have for social, your blog and Youtube Channel. Does your brand have a color scheme? What elements define your brand? Logo? Fonts? If you’re trying to build your brand on social, it’s important to think of these elements as well. Ask yourself who your target audience is and build content and stories around that to attract new customers and fans.
Do you use analytics to track your social media campaigns? How do the analytical tools compare between your preferred platforms?
We focus most of our campaigns around purchase intent clicks (PICs), or the amount of new customers we send to a brands website. There are other metrics to consider like awareness and engagement. We normally use analytic tools for brands looking for more of that information, but a lot of the data is still being pulled manually.
Based off the data from your analytics, what kind of post gets the most engagement? The least?
It’s really based off the audience of the influencer. If a female influencer has more of a male following, then photos that are more sexually tantalizing perform better. We see this with talents like Kylie Jenner, who performs best when she’s a little more revealing. It’s true with male influencers as well, and the occasional set of abs will definitely boost a post. For a lot of this it’s not about body type as there are more and more body positive influencers following the same strategy for increasing engagement.
For influencers who are more beauty focused, the posts with the most extreme transformations get highest engagement. For family bloggers, anything with the kids doing cute things or dogs and pets will get a lot of attention. It’s really about understanding your audience and feeding them the content they really want to see.
If you’re a personal life blogger, then when major things happen in your life those experiences will increase your engagement and have potential for virility.
Food posts and coffee shots have decreased in popularity lately, I think people are just tired of seeing that. Any posts with guns have been getting a lot of negative attention due to the current national climate. Badly lit photos or posts with too much test don’t perform well.
Have you made any changes to your Instagram strategy based off social media analytics?
I have definitely made adjustments on the types of influencers I would work with on future campaigns. The data provides insights on how to ensure all future campaigns are more successful to the past ones.
How important is it to have a team backing you as a social media influencer?
It makes a major difference in the amount of money you can make. When you have representation you’re going to make more money cause someone is negotiating on your behalf. As an influencer you can focus on the creative and other brand building initiatives while you have a team negotiating contracts, managing accounting and handling the aspects of the business you’re not strong in.
What do you think is the future of your brand?
It’s definitely a hot brand right now, only getting more and more attention. I feel it’s an interesting space to be in which presents a lot of challenges, so it’s always new, always pushing me forward.
In the future I see us expanding experiences, building larger events designed to connect influencers and our community to the brands that support us. I see if becoming something like the Supreme of sex and cannabis. I feel that’s a good thing to aim for.
What are three things you wish people knew about being an influencer?
Treat your haters like chocolate. Only in small doses unless you want to be sick.
Be accountable. If you’re in a field of celebrity or influence accept that your career choice makes you responsible to your fans. Take accountability when you fuck up and don’t be one of those people who say “I didn’t choose to be a role model”. You are always going to be seen as one, and people who ignore that just seem like they don’t appreciate the impact they have on people.
Plan ahead. You need to think like an editor. Plan shoots, know your photographers and learn the tools to create the best content possible. You need to have a passion for content creation and storytelling. That means pushing your creativity forward, so always be creating.
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