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HERstory: Shayna Macklin

Director of Brand Strategy & Influencer Marketing @ Rainbow Apparel Co

Today, we’re thrilled to introduce Shayna Macklin, a seasoned marketer who has left her mark across a wide range of companies and sectors. From social media manager to brand strategist, her journey is a testament to the power of a multi-faceted approach in marketing.

Shayna shares her insights on a spectrum of subjects such as influencer marketing, content creation, brand partnerships, and more. She also shares about media kits, scaling programs, and strategies to align influencer partnerships with overarching brand goals. Beyond that, she delves into the importance of team collaboration and being open to the constant learning and adaptation inherent in the our field.

Don’t miss out on the free templates Shayna shares at the end of our interview!

You’ve had the opportunity to work across a multitude of companies as a social media manager and now focus on brand management and influencer marketing. How has your background in social influenced your approach to your work today?

I’ve always said the best way to know exactly what needs to be done is to do a little bit of everything! Throughout my career, I have been able to touch social media, production, influencer marketing, public relations, talent management, experiential, and so much more. It’s really helped round out my skill set and given me the ability to approach strategy and tactics from several different points of view. 

I love the approach of dabbling in a lot of things to find what really resonates with you. On that note, let’s dig further into what you do with influencers. What information do you typically look for in an influencer media kit? How does this information guide your decisions when forming partnerships?

My media kit ask is based on a platform standpoint. Just as each platform has its own audience and purpose, the same can be said about how you should measure what you’re looking for. I ask for the following:

  • YouTube: demographics, watch time and average view duration, comments, shares, and link clicks 
  • Instagram: shares, saves, average views, and average comments
  • TikTok: shares, saves, average views, and comments

The goals of that specific campaign will tell me what platforms I need to activate on, and having the above stats from prospective partners helps me decide if I should pull the trigger or not. Sometimes I receive kits with beautiful creative, but look at their stats and immediately know they will not be able to influence a purchase. In some cases, I go back and ask them if they’d like to partner on content creation instead.

As companies seek to expand their reach, scaling influencer and creator programs becomes increasingly important. How have you approached scaling these programs?

It starts by identifying what key indicators I am looking for from each platform/partner and which of my partners has been able to drive purchase intent or direct sales. From there, I create look-alike audiences that have the same indicators of a potential successful partnership. I typically test out a partner for three months and if they continue to work, I will sign them for another three months.

When it comes to creators, it’s all about finding someone who is authentic to your brand and, although you’re not hiring them as influencers, your brand is authentic to their personal brand. If you hire a creator that makes amazing content but doesn’t fully understand your brand persona, that piece of content might not perform as well as partnering with someone who completely gets your brand. Just as we need to be selective with who we hire as influencers to represent us, we need to do the same when picking our creator partners.

Something brands tend to miss the mark on is skipping the learning phase and trying to scale way too quickly. I have been guilty of it too and had to learn from experience. 

I still see it today where a brand will waste big budgets on partnerships that don’t produce or dwindle down product through seeding campaigns with zero or little return. 

Building any program takes a minimum of six months to test and learn. After that six months, you can apply the foundational learnings for the next six months. Even after that year mark, you need to test and learn all over again. As quickly as the Influencer economy is changing, so is the content viewers expect from brands. You’ll never be able to just have one strategy. It is something that you will always be testing, learning, and improving upon

You’ve previously mentioned a shift in influencer marketing toward content creation and creative brand partnerships. Could you share more about this and how you anticipate it will impact the future of influencer marketing?

Many of us in this industry are already seeing the split between Influencers vs Content Creators. There are still a lot of people out there calling themselves “influencers” but the truth is they aren’t actually influencing purchase decisions. While they may have a following, viewers have become numb to posts that have #paidpartnership, #sponsoredpost, or #ad.

Even for those who are not tuning out those posts, they are no longer easily influenced because the market has become so saturated with everyone calling themselves an Influencer. 

I’ve spoken with a lot of brand managers that have started scaling back their influencer programs and focusing more on content creator programs – my brand included. This allows us to partner on several assets to be used across multiple platforms with no pressure on the partner to drive a sale. 

Influencers are just beginning to see this trend from their end and understand they can build their business simply by partnering with a brand on creative as opposed to trying to influence their audience through purchase decisions.

It all starts with someone understanding which one they are – influencer or creator. 

What strategies do you use to ensure that influencer partnerships align with the overarching brand strategy? 

Team collaboration.

My teams do not work in silos. If we’re talking about social media, I have the influencer team there. If we are talking about an influencer campaign, I make sure to have the social media team there. 

The beauty of what we do is that we are all in creative positions. I always say to my team “Tell me what you know and I don’t, and I’ll tell you what I know and you don’t.”  The more creative input and transparency, the more alignment we have across departments. 

As a team, we decide on the creative direction and brand strategy across the board. 

While I see things from the top level, my team is boots on the ground. I love the amount of insight they have, the creative initiative they take, and collaboratively how we decide to take strategic risks together.

Strategy is not linear. It’s a little bit all over the map, but that’s what makes it so much fun. You have your foundation, but you change things as you go along. That is how you evolve and grow!


Huge shoutout to Shayna for sharing these amazing resources! To use, make a copy then edit away!

Influencer strategy template

Influencer reporting template

Shot list template

Flatlay shot list template

As a reminder, these templates cannot be copied and sold. Freebies only!

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