Felix Kramer, Strawberry Socials, and $7,000 MRR
During a recent tour on Indie Hackers, I came across a young Australian entrepreneur named Felix Kramer.
Felix operates an influencer marketing company called Strawberry Socials – they’ve recently hit $7,000 monthly recurring revenue (MRR).
That’s quite the milestone for a young business.
$7,000 per month is that sweet spot where both founders of the company can start to transition away from their other jobs and really begin to hone in on their business.
It was for that reason, I asked Felix if he’d be interested in an interview for our blog here on Marketing Qualified.
Meet Felix Kramer & Strawberry Socials
Hey Felix, thanks again for meeting with me. If you’d be so kind, would you please share your name, location, occupation, and background/education?
No problem Colin, my pleasure! I run a SaaS tool called Strawberry Socials. I have a Bachelors in Marketing and Finance and am a self-taught programmer.
You’ve co-founded a tech company called Strawberry Socials, but fans of our blog might not know what that is or what it does. Can you give us the rundown?
Strawberry Socials is an influencer marketing tool that makes it easy for Agencies and Brands to discover the best new Instagram and TikTok creators to collaborate with for their Influencer Marketing Campaigns.
Startup Story: From Events to Influencer Tech
How did Strawberry Socials start? Did you get it right the first time? How many iterations of your product did you make before it started gaining users? How did you gain those users? Were there any massive pivots along the way?
My co-founder Sammy and I have been in the Influencer Marketing space for about 3 years now. Originally we organized online Meet & Greet events for bigger influencers. As part of that, we used to spend an absurd amount of time manually scrolling through Instagram and TikTok to find new creators to collaborate with. Eventually, we just built ourselves a tool to help automate the process. It worked so well we decided to shift gears and focus on that tool instead.
Initially, we tried to talk to as many people in the influencer marketing space as possible to try and understand if anyone else even had the same problem we were solving. We used to just email anyone we thought might be interested to see if they would chat with us. Our first customers came out of those conversations.
The very first product we sold was just a google spreadsheet! We wanted to make sure we actually build something people wanted, so being able to sell a google spreadsheet was awesome validation that there was a problem worth solving.
How Do Influencer Deals Come Together?
Let’s dive into the weeds on influencer marketing. To prompt this, influencer marketing is like the wild west right now. It’s discussed at a lot of marketing meetings as something people want to incorporate, but here’s the question: how does it all come together? Is it businesses reaching out to people for the most part or people reaching out to businesses? Who should start the discussion?
We see a lot of both. No real “right answer”. Sometimes businesses reach out to creators they think are a great fit for their brand and other times people will reach out to you. If you’re just getting started, it helps to be a bit more proactive.
How Many Followers Are Needed to Get Paid?
I asked a few micro-influencers in my network what questions they had about influencer marketing. The big ones were: (1) What can I do to really grow my audience? (2) How can I make my profile big enough that businesses notice and will consider paying me?
Unfortunately, there’s no magic solution! You’ve got to be willing to put in the work. Keep creating high-quality content and work hard to keep in touch with your community. Reply to all your comments, create conversations with your fans, like their profile.
The most important thing is to have an authentic community that actually cares about the content you post and the conversations you are starting. That is more important than how many followers you have. If there’s a brand you love using, don’t be afraid to reach out of them too.
How Much Does Being Attractive REALLY Play Into Influencer Success?
I’m going to be honest Felix… I see a lot of butts out there on Instagram. Boys, girls, models, gamers, even authors. From what you see in the space, how important is it to be attractive as an influencer, or does beauty of the soul make the biggest impact?
There are definitely butts on Instagram! But the truth is there is an incredibly diverse range of communities that are really passionate about their space. Everything from fitness experts living with diabetes to eco-fashion enthusiasts. You’ll need more than just good looks to build a community that actually cares about what you have to say!
Practical Advice for Brand New Influencers
Let’s roleplay. I’ll be an influencer with a new makeup tutorial profile and 100 followers — you be my consultant. My goal is to land my first influencer deal. How should I go about this? What should my first month look like, 3 months, year? Should I be emailing businesses?
Doesn’t matter if it’s your first month or first year, you should be focussing on creating high-quality content and engaging with your followers in comments and DMs. People often underestimate how much time and energy creators are really investing in their profiles — it’s a full-time job.
Practical Advice for Businesses Wanting to Do Influencer Marketing
Roleplay round 2. This time I’m a small business owner trying to expand and break out of my local region. I’ve identified influencer marketing as a channel I’d like to pursue, but how would you suggest I start planning this? Is there an amount of money you’d recommend I spend to test it? What should I be measuring? And maybe more importantly, what should I expect?
If you’re a small business try using hashtags to find micro-influencers.
Micro-influencers roughly have between 10k-100k followers and will often promote your business in exchange for a free product or service. So if you’re a cafe, offer them a free meal if they come in and put it on their story. If you’re a gym, offer them a free membership for a month if they post about it. If you’re a clothing store, let them know if they come in this week you can offer them 30% whatever they want to buy if they tag you in a picture wearing it. Influencers love to get free stuff, like anyone does!
Use hashtags representing a wider location than just your local community, like #londonFashion or #chicagoFitness. You’ll find influencers in the city and location that are relevant to your business. If you’re a store that sells skateboards in a suburb of Paris, France — search for #parisSkaters on Instagram, DM the people you see there that have a decent following, tell them to come in for a free skateboard tune-up.
There are various automated hashtag search tools (like Strawberry Socials) that can make this quicker and easier for you to scale.
Don’t expect instant results. You’ll need patience. Sometimes it can feel a bit like herding cats. But don’t be discouraged because it is incredibly powerful in the long run! Your goal should be to build and maintain long term relationships with the creators that get the best results for your brand and then grow with them.
Some Motivating Words to Take the Leap
Last question. There are a lot of people out there on the fence about building out their profile as an influencer. What words of advice, wisdom, or inspiration would you share to inspire them to take the leap?
One the biggest obstacles in the way of becoming a social media influencer is a lack of dedication.
If you look at some of the most successful people to come out of social media like Lilly Singh and Gary Vaynerchuk they have one major thing in common – they have been active for a long time. The key is to create a lot of content and publish it consistently.
If your focus is on content that you are going to be interested in for a couple of months and lose interest in it will be hard to keep that commitment up. Your best chance is to focus on content that you’re sincerely passionate about, have been for a while, and expect to be in the future. That way the work becomes easy, the consistency is doable and you don’t need to try to think of new content because you’ll be doing that naturally.