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Sunday, December 10, 2023

How Gretta Van Riel Used Her Social Following to Develop Her Model

Up to date October 2023.

Gretta Van Riel is a serial entrepreneurship and social media influencer who has constructed many a web-based enterprise, like SkinnyMe Tea, The fifth Watches, Drop Bottle, Hey Influencer, and lots of extra. The Australian ecommerce enterprise proprietor is without doubt one of the largest names in influencer advertising, with 16 million followers unfold throughout her social channels!

On this interview, she talks to Eric about her ventures as an entrepreneur and ecommerce model, how influencer advertising modified her enterprise, and easy methods to grow to be an influencer.

About Beginning SkinnyMeTea

Gretta Van Riel first based SkinnyMe Tea whereas working full time in a digital advertising function at a print company that was transitioning to digital company. She had accomplished lots of detoxes in the marketplace on the time and was out of latest wholesome cleanses to attempt. Right here’s her story.

I’d all the time been actually hooked on tea, so I began taking part in with my very own detox tea blends. I used to be testing them out, making them at work, and doing my very own little detox of tea. Folks began asking me what I used to be doing, needed to attempt the teas, after which they might get actually good outcomes from the tea detox, and so they’d let their pals learn about these teas I used to be making.

So, I began getting some demand to promote the detox teas. I used to be getting a bit pissed off coping with everyone over Fb messenger and e mail. I assumed: “There’s acquired to be a neater means to do that. How do I make a web-based enterprise for this?”

Then one night time in mattress I had my ‘aha’ second — the phrase “Teatox”. I had been making an attempt to think about a method to describe a tea detox and now I had it!

Arising with that time period Teatox actually sparked it for me. I’ve all the time been fairly communication-driven, so I simply needed to pursue Teatox full-time after that. I acquired up the subsequent morning, made my Shopify retailer, and we launched our ecommerce retailer. The primary day, we bought 4 packs of tea to complete strangers!

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How Influencer Advertising Platform Instagram Launched SkinnyMeTea

Instagram was nonetheless an rising platform again in 2012, not many ecommerce manufacturers (or any manufacturers) have been on there in any respect. To place your model on Instagram, all you probably did was change your username to a model title, so we simply had an Instagram account known as SkinnyMe Tea:

SkinneyMe Tea Gretta van Riel

I’d had a little bit of success rising my very own private Instagram already as a result of I type of favored the shift away from the friend-centric economic system of the Fb platform (or perhaps a personal Fb group) to the enterprise model-centric economic system of Instagram. So, I began type of constructing an viewers round pursuits, slightly than simply round private relationships, and I favored the concept that you would comply with folks that you just didn’t already know, a bit extra like a Twitter or one thing.

So, again in 2012, lots of people did that complete comply with, unfollow factor by automation… Nicely, not a lot currently, seeing as lots of the automation platforms have been shut down by Instagram, however mainly, it was a matter of simply doing issues that didn’t scale. It was simply interacting with the viewers continuous.

I might suppose, by way of native lead era, who’s my demographic? And all my pals have been actually within the Teatox, so I’d comply with all of them, and I’d comply with all of their pals, after which I’d comply with somebody from a special metropolis after which comply with them and all of their pals till I severely felt like I’d adopted each single lady round my age in Melbourne and Sydney.

I don’t know, I simply did it every night time after work after I was watching TV or one thing, it was only a very handbook job on the time, doing that stuff. You realize, to do with customer support and stuff. I did our personal customer support for SkinnyMe Tea for the primary six months as we grew from zero to 600K a month. So, I learnt a lot about our viewers in that point, which was actually, actually useful.

How Gretta Earned 16 Million Social Media Followers

I believe that having an viewers of 16 million has taught me in regards to the significance of viewers over product in terms of having a web-based retailer.

Like, simply the concept of product market match, for instance. I’ve a little bit of semantic downside with it. I desire the time period market product match as a result of I believe that it’s about discovering your viewers, rising and establishing your viewers, and then creating a product. The concept that if market comes earlier than product, you would possibly give attention to market first, simply chronologically. Then it’s all about your ecommerce enterprise and never the folks you wish to assist together with your product.

So, yeah, with Instagram, that viewers has helped set up a number of ecommerce manufacturers. We used that viewers as effectively to assist us launch our watch firm known as The fifth Watches, which grew even faster than SkinnyMe Tea did. On launch day, we did $100,000 in gross sales, and on our first birthday we did $1,000,000 in gross sales in in the future.

So, that was a very quick rising, actually thrilling ecommerce model as effectively as a result of mainly, the best way that it labored was it was by shortage and exclusivity. We solely bought our watches on the fifth of every month for 5 days. It was unique by time not by worth, as a result of the value level was fairly accessible, as all of the watches are beneath $200.

Nicely, my following’s fairly diversified as effectively. It’s not simply clearly on the one web page, that’s my mixed following throughout all my completely different accounts. What I’ve been profitable in is increase accounts within the vertical that I’m excited about. With SkinnyMe Tea, I learnt this usually because our Instagram acquired hacked and deleted when it acquired to 200K in the beginning of 2013. So, I used to be like, “Oh god, what’s the quickest means I can presumably develop this again?”

Constructing Vertical Accounts and Leveraging Viral Trending Content material

So, I needed to instantly consider all the things I’d learnt on Instagram and the best way to hack that progress again as fast as doable, and that was largely, for me, by rising vertical accounts, after which utilizing these vertical accounts as a funnel into my primary product accounts.

So, for instance, SkinnyMe Tea, we’ve got that Instagram web page, however then we even have 10 others across the well being area of interest, like detox ideas, detox water, be-fit meals, be-fit smoothies, there’s simply so many alternative vertical accounts for us. They’re nearer to the highest of the advertising funnel after which we preserve shifting folks down the funnel:


By way of the enterprise mannequin, the product pages are extra for lead nurturing, after which when you get them to enroll to your e mail publication or throughout to your web site, that’s extra the conversion stage for us. So, positively creating these vertical accounts has labored actually, very well.

Vertical accounts are a lot simpler to develop as a result of you are able to do issues like leverage viral trending content material. The way in which that I might establish trending content material, it’s fairly easy: comply with among the vertical accounts which might be your trade leaders inside your area of interest. You’ll be capable to discover them, they’re simply giant accounts. You may examine within the prime posts, in hashtags for instance, to search out them. Then, discover their finest performing content material, say like often they get 4,000 likes on a photograph, after which one has like 12,000, that’s the photograph that you just wish to repost and repurpose:


So, as you recognize, like in any type of content material advertising, while you do repurpose content material, the subsequent stage is all in regards to the distribution. The easiest way that’s working for distribution proper now on Instagram, and we’re truly releasing a instrument for this on Monday, is engagement teams.

There are lots of issues in engagement pods, however first I’ll describe what they’re, for individuals who haven’t heard of them. Mainly, pods are personal teams of like-minded folks which might be keen to mutually work together with one another’s content material with the intention to develop their accounts.

So, mainly, you discover different folks in your area of interest with a similar-sized account, and throughout the first, say, hour (or no matter specified period of time) after you put up a put up, you interact with one another’s content material with genuine feedback, likes and shares. You realize, if it was a product hunt group, you’d up vote. If it’s LinkedIn, it’s largely liking, commenting and sharing, when you’re comfy with that.

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How Gretta Van Riel Makes use of LinkedIn

I’m part of some actually highly effective LinkedIn teams in the intervening time, which have elevated my LinkedIn engagement by an insane quantity. I used to get like 10-30,000 views, and I believe my finest ever was 70,000. Now I’ve 14,000 followers on LinkedIn, I get 100,000 views on each put up, and my finest put up has near 500,000 views — and that’s all from engagement teams.

To grow to be a LinkedIn influencer, you create a bunch of like-minded folks from inside your area of interest. You simply search for the people who find themselves additionally posting and getting nice engagement that you just comply with already, and you then simply method them and you’ll create a bunch collectively on whichever platform. The difficulty is, all engagement teams are throughout all different platforms and there’s type of no method to uncover the place they’re, except you’re part of the internal circle. Or except you go forward and create one your self, however then lots of people are already part of them, after which they gained’t possibly work together.

Hey Interact: Gretta’s Pod Discovery Product

Our product Hey Interact is a discovery platform. So, you may go in and you’ll uncover the pods that exist already. You may also create pods by the platform, and you’ll handle your pod within the platform.

We have now a number of various things to assist preserve the engagement inside your engagement group up, as a result of, as you recognize, engagement’s strongest when it’s acquired as near the put up being posted as doable. It is because the best way that social media algorithms work is that the algorithm releases your put up and determines who can see your put up to a section of your viewers first, let’s say 10% of your viewers first, after which how many individuals of that remaining 90% see your put up is decided by how effectively the primary 10% interact. So, that’s type of the best way that it really works.

So, probably the most delicate facets in engagement teams are positively time and area of interest. So, time: you wish to interact as rapidly as doable; and area of interest: as a result of accounts partaking inside your area of interest together with your content material will increase that out to your following (extra so as a result of platforms, like Instagram for instance, classify all accounts into area of interest). For instance, you would possibly discover that when you like 5 pictures in a row of a automotive in your newsfeed, then as quickly as you go to the discover web page, the entire web page is filled with automobiles.

That’s thought-about your area of interest curiosity. And that’s additionally the best way that it really works for engagement. In case you are partaking with different folks inside your area of interest, you’re way more more likely to get pushed out to their audiences as effectively on the discover web page, and people audiences may also be extra engaged and excited about your content material, so that you’re more likely to get extra engagement in your put up from that.

It simply is smart: Anyone that’s excited about automobiles would slightly take a look at a automotive put up than an image of a smoothie. So, our total platform, Hey Interact, may be very area of interest delicate, it’s dimension delicate by way of matching accounts up of the same dimension, and it’s time delicate. We have now issues like engagement timers that you would be able to set, and solely the individuals who interact inside that timeframe are counted inside that engagement group spherical.

Hey Influencers: Gretta Van Riel’s Influencer Firm

Hey Interact is the engagement group platform, which works for any platform, and Hey Influencers is my affect and advertising firm:


So, one of many primary successes that we’ve had in constructing our manufacturers alongside my very own social media viewers has been clearly leveraging relationships and different peoples’ audiences by influencer advertising.

For The fifth, for instance, aside from launching with my Instagrams, we additionally launched with 30 completely different influencers that we’d despatched pattern watches to in alternate for doing something from content material creation for us by to changing by to e mail signups, as a result of our signups, clearly for a launch, have been a giant indicator of the gross sales that we thought we’d be capable to obtain.

Hey Influencer: A ‘Courting App’ to Discover Influencers

Nicely, I’ve been doing influencer advertising for like 5 years on Instagram. With SkinnyMe Tea I first realized influencer advertising was actually, actually highly effective when a lady with 1,000 followers posted on us and we had our largest day of gross sales ever.

Each time I used to be going by and interesting with our viewers, each time I noticed a lady with over 1,000 followers who was fairly well being acutely aware that was partaking with us, I’d simply screenshot her account, attain out to her, and ship her some tea without spending a dime. And that was type of simply the best way that we began doing influencer advertising again then.

As a result of no one else was doing it on Instagram, you would get away with simply product gifting. Now, after all, influencers, like bigger macro influencers (and even some micro influencers), usually count on a cost for posts, however yeah, again within the day you would actually simply ship it out and also you had like a 90% constructive response fee as effectively.

We take you thru all the course of from marketing campaign creation, which is a templated marketing campaign creation instrument, so that you choose from one in all three completely different objectives, whether or not your objective is content material creation, gross sales, or rising your social following. After which we take you thru all the step of making a marketing campaign for an influencer advertising marketing campaign as effectively.

So, then it takes you to the discover stage the place you may join with influencers, and it really works from two alternative ways, clearly you may both attain out to them, or they will attain out to your marketing campaign. However on Hey Influencers, you have to have matched to then go and work collectively. So, each the influencer and the model must Hey one another earlier than it take you although to the negotiation stage, which is type of helpful.

Marketplaces work actually, very well for issues like homes with Airbnb, or automobiles with Uber, however folks can’t actually essentially be part of the market place. The factor that manufacturers must cease making an attempt to do is imagining that influencers are similar to a quantity on a web page, or a determine line in a funds sheet. They’re nonetheless folks on the finish of the day, and relationship constructing is the important thing to influencer advertising. It’s not making an attempt to scale some form of ROI.

The confusion between influencer advertising and efficiency advertising is turning into actually detrimental to the influencer advertising area.

Monitoring Influencer Advertising ROI

There are methods to trace influencer ROI, and we’re constructing them into the platform in the intervening time. For gross sales, for instance, it’s by utilizing individualized low cost codes, or cookie monitoring.

For following, we’re constructing a instrument in the intervening time that may monitor like … Say an influencer posts in your model’s web page, it is aware of what number of new followers you’ve gained off their followers. So, it’s capable of type of present that and it actually helps with diminishing returns as effectively. So you may see one thing like, for example: the primary time this influencer posted on my model we gained 50 followers, the second time we gained 20, now we gained 3, okay, possibly it’s time that we began cultivating a relationship with any person else.

I’ve positively been extra so within the ecommerce retailer area till extra currently. With Hey, I’ve targeted on type of the extra multi-directional nature of influencer advertising, not simply that type of industrial relationship that’s from a model working with an influencer, but in addition having understood the market from either side, as a model interacting with influencers, as an influencer interacting with manufacturers. I do know that 80% of your time as an influencer is spent in rising your personal account, and possibly solely 20% is spent interacting with manufacturers.

Gretta Van Riel’s Enterprise Mannequin Progress Concepts

So we wish to construct progress instruments that assist influencers preserve the expansion of their accounts as effectively, however positively shifting extra into software program and academic, possibly ecommerce programs. As a result of each entrepreneur is aware of that if they may simply clone their mind and have two variations, or three variations, of themselves, their life can be rather a lot simpler.

Mainly, that’s the best way that I see software program, as a means that you’re type of capable of clone your mind, or the data that’s in your mind, and activate that at scale for lots extra folks than you’ll bodily be capable to attain when you have been simply having one-on-one conversations.

Diversify Your Channels

I’ve all the time been very into diversifying the chance of my information. So, I wouldn’t simply preserve all of it on Instagram, for instance, as a result of Instagram can change their algorithm, they will delete your account, you don’t personal that information your self. Electronic mail, sure, you do, however e mail open charges are happening and down over time. So, it’s nearly going the place probably the most eyes will probably be.

I’d say messenger bots and messenger advertising is the one largest alternative behind e mail advertising proper now. I imply, we’re seeing open charges of as much as 94% and that’ B2C, proper? So, that’s loopy, you’d by no means get that except it’s like e mail again within the day.

Utilizing Fb Messenger Bots

Fb is certainly an enormous alternative. Many individuals who hadn’t been on Fb in years jumped again on it. They’ve accomplished one thing actually good cultivating these type of micro communities by teams, and Fb teams are simply such an enormous alternative proper now for everybody.

The opposite big alternative on Fb proper now could be messenger bots as effectively. So, I’m taking part in round with this concept for messenger bots in the intervening time, which I’m calling 100 Days of Well being, and also you get a wholesome tip to your inbox for 100 days. It’s only a completely different method to diversify your database of consumers, or your database of leads, or no matter you’d prefer to name them.

My very, very favourite Fb group is Badass Entrepreneurs and Founders, have you learnt that one? We truly met in actual life not too long ago, which was superior. He’s an excellent, tremendous switched on man and wonderful progress marketer, and he simply has a very comparable mentality to me as effectively about founders serving to different founders.

All Issues Social Media (ATSM) is one other wonderful one. I’m additionally loving Attraction Offensive, this copywriting group, in the intervening time. There’s simply so many who I’m part of that I take advantage of continuous on a regular basis.

And I might say the guide that modified my perspective of promoting probably the most was most likely Affect: The Psychology of Persuasion. That’s my advertising framework now. I actually undergo and tick off sure elements from that guide. I’m operating a viral advertising marketing campaign for referrals, so I’ll undergo the guide and be like: is there reciprocity in right here? Is there shortage? Is there social proof and liking? I truthfully undergo and examine my advertising communications to ensure that these methods are in there as a result of they do work so effectively.

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Comply with Gretta on Instagram!

Hearken to her interview on the Leveling Up podcast.

Gretta Van Riel FAQs

What companies does Gretta Van Riel personal?

Gretta Van Riel is a prolific entrepreneur recognized for founding and co-creating a number of companies, together with:

  • SkinnyMe Tea (SMT)
  • The fifth Watches
  • Drop Bottle
  • Hey Influencer
  • Nichify

By means of her ventures, Gretta Van Riel has managed to create a notable influence within the ecommerce and digital advertising area, incomes recognition such because the Shopify Construct A Enterprise Award.

How did Gretta Van Riel begin her enterprise?

Gretta Van Riel initiated her entrepreneurial journey with SkinnyMe Tea (SMT) in Could 2012 from her Melbourne house, fueled by a mere $24 and a ardour for tea. Capitalizing on the underutilized enterprise potential of Instagram on the time, she grew SkinnyMe Tea’s account to 200,000 followers by year-end, using methods like focused influencer endorsements and deliberate inventory limitation to spike demand.

Who’s Gretta Van Riel?

Gretta Van Riel is a famend Australian entrepreneur recognized for founding a number of profitable ecommerce ventures together with SkinnyMe Tea, The fifth Watches, and Hey Influencer. Leveraging revolutionary social media advertising methods, notably on Instagram, she has considerably impacted the ecommerce and digital advertising spheres, additionally sharing her experience by coaching programs to assist different entrepreneurs thrive within the digital market.

What’s the story behind SkinnyMe Tea?

SkinnyMe Tea (SMT) emerged from Gretta Van Riel’s ardour for tea and detoxing, which she blended right into a novel product known as ‘Teatox’, aids in weight reduction and reduces bloating. She launched it from her household house in Melbourne in Could 2012 and, regardless of a modest starting with simply $24 in her financial institution, Gretta harnessed the budding potential of Instagram for enterprise progress, propelling SMT to achieve 200,000 followers by yr’s finish.

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