Skip to main content



Published on

November 3, 2022


influencer marketing, innovation, social media

Season 2, Episode 7: Influencing With Intention

This week on Outsmart, Nicole Allen and Steph Proos are back for the 2nd part of our special series with Social Media & Digital Content Manager at ASTROGLIDE, Emily Davis.

In the episode we discuss:

  • Strategic approaches to partnering with influencers
  • Being nimble on social to capitalize on trending moments in time
  • How consumer behaviors inform product innovation


Nicole: Hi Outsmart listeners. It’s one of your hosts, Nicole Allen. Welcome back to Outsmart. We had a lot of fun and so much to say during our conversation last week that we just had to come back for more. So please check out part two of our episode with social media and digital content manager at ASTROGLIDE, Emily Davis, and the head of consumer PR (Public Relations) here at TEAM LEWIS, Stephanie Proos. I hope you enjoy.

Nicole: So, I want to talk a little bit about influencer marketing because it’s something that we have not talked a ton about on this podcast. And obviously, Influencers, that is a channel that’s very accessible for ASTROGLIDE as long as you know whose ethos aligns with your brand, right? But what has been the strategy? And I know you’ve gone through a lot of trial and error there, so what does that look like?

Emily: Yeah, it’s been a really unique challenge because from the perspective that we can’t advertise on social media, it feels like the absolute best fit to reach a target audience. But it’s not that simple.

Steph: It never is right.

Emily: It’s like, here’s a person, they’re going to talk about our product in an authentic way. And when I first came on to backup, I think we were using an influencer platform

Steph: And another agency.

Emily: It was a different agency, and all the communication went through, like, four different people. We weren’t working directly with the influencers. It was like, I’d give feedback. Our agency contact would give feedback to the contact at the influencer agency. It was like telephone in the worst possible way. And the content came out, like, really inauthentic and sort of strange like, ‘here my bottle of ASTROGLIDE and I’m at the beach.’ And I’m like, ‘nobody wants to lube at the beach. There’s going to be sand everywhere. What are you doing?’ It just was like; this is not great. So, after a few rounds of that, we moved on to like, all right, let’s find our influencers directly, and we’re going to work directly with them. We’re going to manage the process. And we were like, this is horrible. It worked okay but the level of managing contracts and all the back and forth, and sometimes you’re working with their manager. We got better content, but the process was really painful. And for like, a one-off activation, if it’s like, hey, we’re doing a Valentine’s Day campaign and we’re working with 20 influencers, like, 20 rounds of contract red lines, and we’re like, this is not it’s too much. So, we’ve pivoted to having a smaller group of influencers and using them for multiple campaigns where we’re like, hey, we’re going to try all this. We like your content. We feel like you can tell a story about how you use our product. We feel like your values align with ours, and we have a successful campaign. And then it’s like, hey, let’s activate them for another campaign, because we already have all those kinks worked out. So, we’ve gotten a lot better at sort of streamlining and identifying the types of people who they’re generally I would say we’ve done really, like, we’ve done some bigger influencers and we’ve done some, like, small ones.

Steph: Smaller micro influencers.

Emily: Yeah, the micro influencers actually work really well for us. We get really great engagement rates and conversions on those. And then we implemented a program, I think, at Stephanie’s suggestion, where we started doing surprise and delight boxes shipped out to influencers. So, we designed a really beautiful box that includes products and…

Steph: Sexual pleasure items

Nicole: Picturing a customized beach towel in there.

Steph: We have a feather, like an eye mask.

Emily: There’s sex dice, but there’s a card in there that talks about how lube increases pleasure and how ways to implement some fun things, either solo or partnered. And we can put different products to feature in it, but it’s like a fun little pleasure kit. And we reach out to all of our different targets. So, whether it’s like couples or singles or LGBTQ people or menopausal women, we target different people every month and we send out boxes, and we have a great rate of people actually sharing and talking about them.

Steph: Yeah, I think the two are a little different, right? Like, we use some of the bigger influencers or even the micro influencers for, like, specifically for our campaigns, right? Like, we have key moments in time, like Holiday, Valentine’s Day and Pride are some of our biggest moments. So, we’ll look at paid influencers for those. The point with the Surprise and Delight, too, was to make sure that we were peppering in influencer stuff throughout the entire year. So that’s completely organic. We outreach to them, ask if they’re interested in getting a box. If they say yes, we send it. If they post about it, awesome. Then we have some organic content that we can reshare on our channels, so that’s meant to be more relationship building. And if we think that any of those Surprise and Delight influencers are great, we could look at paid partnerships with them in the future. But it’s just a good way for us to have, like, an always on influencer program versus just those three big campaign times.

Emily: That’s a great point, and I think one of the things, too, we’ve learned is that influencers get sent stuff all the time, and so one of the things we try to do is let them know, hey, we really like this content that you create. Would you mind if we shared it and amplified your channel or spotlight you during this moment in time where maybe the cause that you’re talking about or the things that you’re sort of central to who you are is relevant? So, it is a mutually beneficial relationship in some ways. I think that typically works better with smaller influencers, but I think it’s been really successful for us and at a low cost.

Steph: Yeah, that’s a great call out because we do use a lot of influencers to create content on social. Right. If we’re profiling women for History Month, right? Like, normally that’s like, okay, how do you tie ASTROGLIDE to Women’s History Month? Right. We can go out to creators that have been impactful in the sexual health and wellness space and say, hey, we really like what you’re doing. Would you mind if we profiled you with one of your quotes on our social channels? So, it’s been another way for us to tap into the industry without necessarily having to put a lot of spend behind it because we can leverage them and profile these creators that are also doing really great things in the space. And I think that’s, again, one of the things that ASTROGLIDE does really well is we’re not so focused on us and pushing our products every time you turn around. Right? Yeah, we’ve got awesome product, but like, nobody needs to hear about a bottle of lube every time they turn around. So being able to profile different people, different thoughts, all of that has been impactful across our whole content program.

Nicole: Yeah. It’s more about the brand and the brand perception. Right. And ultimately that will trickle down into people making that association when they are on Amazon or in the store and just having that positive association with the brand.

Emily: Absolutely. I always tell my team, I’m like when we think about content, it’s like we’re talking about the product like 15% of the time, maybe. And the rest of it should be about what people really are interested in and what’s useful and informative and funny and valuable to them. And it’s not like this one cleans up really easily in the shower. Like that’s not something that we need to be talking about all the time.

Steph: That just made me think of during COVID. Remember the kid, the college kid that was like he went to Harvard or something?

Emily: Hand sanitizer?

Steph: Yeah. And everyone was like addicted, obviously, hand sanitizer during COVID, right. So, he just threw this bottle in, went to his first day of class, was giving some of his classmates it, and realized he was giving lube. He was squeezing ASTROGLIDE into people’s hands as hand sanitizer and had no idea that he had grabbed the wrong bottle. And so, I think he posted on TikTok or something. Right?

Emily: He posted, I think, on TikTok. And then we ended up sending him and all of his dorm buddies, like shirts and bucket hats.

Nicole: That’s amazing.

Steph: And then he profiled it again and it was just like such an organic thing. We had so many stories like that during COVID of parents whose kids accidentally took their lube to school, into the world. Same thing. So, there’s so many fun things that happen for the brand that we can just naturally be a part of.

Emily: Speaking to that, I feel like one thing that we’ve learned is that you can plan as much content as you want, but if you’re not spending time every day on the platforms looking for ways to engage, that has grown, I think our brand profile and are following so much more. I’ve got a carve out time each day to jump in and try to engage in a funny, meaningful way versus…

Steph: It makes me really, like, stay up to date on my pop culture. Like Bridgerton’s in, we got to post about Bridgerton because there’s so much sex in that show. What’s trending we have even on social, like, in the news, where we find these sex stories that are kind of popping up in the news that just seem kind of random right, that we post on our social, too. So, I mean, it makes you think about things across so many levels because obviously you want to know research and things that are impacting sexual health and wellness, but then what are people doing in their day to day lives? And how can we insert our voice into that?

Emily: Yeah. I think one thing that’s helped us too is getting the collaborative team chat. Because for a long time. It was like. It was just me and then

Steph: Or it was like a couple of us in a text group.

Emily: And now we’ve got a bigger team. And it’s so great to have like I’m a middle-aged woman so what I think is great on social media, some of the people on my team are like, okay, Grandma. Whatever. But it’s great to have those different perspectives from different ages and genders. And the way we collaborate now is like, it’s almost like a one up. Like, who can come up with the best response to this Chris Pine meme disassociating from his body.

Steph: And then it’s like, you have to use it, and you’re like, it’s all over the Internet. We have to be a part of that.

Nicole: Yeah, and that’s such a good point about like you said earlier, 15% of your content is product, and the rest, you’re kind of leaving room for more, I don’t know, relatable stories. Right? But then also having your evergreen content planned and leaving room for those Chris Pine gifs and those moments in time and figuring out how to properly insert yourself into those conversations.

Emily: Yeah, I think that exactly what you said. It’s like, you have to be nimble. You have to have a plan, but it has to be loose enough that you’re like, we’re pivoting today.

Nicole: So ASTROGLIDE has been around since the 90s. Obviously, sex has changed. People’s preferences have changed, their behaviors have changed as we’ve been talking about. Talk to us a little bit about some of your product innovations and how you maybe are using some of this more like social listening data and kind of recent trends and changes in behavior to inform what’s on the product roadmap and what you guys are rolling out.

Emily: Yeah, I wish our innovation team were here, but hopefully I do them justice.

Steph: Didn’t you know we were coming back for more episodes?

Emily: I’m not the expert on everything, but I think I can answer this one. Yeah. So obviously, behaviors and attitudes towards sex have changed so much over time. And as I said earlier, I think that from the time I’ve been at Biofilm, ASTROGLIDE, for the past three years, things have changed quite a bit. So, when I came on, I think Amazon was like, this was a very small percentage of our sales. A lot of our stuff happened in brick and mortar. People are used to seeing us at Walmart, Target, CBS, grocery stores and that kind of stuff. And then with COVID what we found was Amazon sales started booming because people were staying at home. We also found that all of a sudden, people were buying lube at the grocery store way more because if they were making one trip out, they were getting food and they were getting lube.

Steph: Food and lube, the two essentials.

Emily: So, there were some interesting behaviors there where some of that has tapered off. Like the grocery store sales have kind of gone down and gone back to drugstore or pharmacies, but supply chain kind of came in where you’re going to Target, and the shelves are empty. So what people, I think, started realizing was like, if I’m shopping online, I have access to everything I need versus having to make multiple trips to the store. So, our Amazon sales have just been very strong and continuing to grow because I think the people that weren’t shopping online before, they learned how to do it really quick during COVID and that changed behavior permanently. In terms of how that’s, like, informed innovation, I’m not going to speak to how we spin up new products because our innovation team is incredible.

Steph: Also, we can’t get away our secrets.

Emily: No, we can’t.

Nicole: Yeah, trade secrets.

Emily: But things like sex toys, they were growing in popularity before the pandemic. But like, guys, when you’re home for that long, it’s like they were really blowing up. And so, we knew that was like a natural fit for ASTROGLIDE and one of our primary consumers is men. And we felt like there’s room in the space for a male sex toy. They’re not, I don’t think, as common as I think women, we just did a study, right, where it’s like, more women are using sex toys than men, but men are open to it. So, we just actually released a product last month, the ASTROGLIDE Finisher, the Toy and Joy Finisher. It gets the job done, gentlemen.

Nicole: What a fun campaign to copywrite for, by the way. As just an aside, that would be so fun.

Emily: That is one of my favorite things about my job, is copywriting these sort of things

Steph: Yeah, our creative team has a lot of fun developing those videos and doing the voiceovers and stuff, too.

Emily: Yeah, it’s a male massager, we’ll call it.

Steph: Use your imagination.

Emily: Yeah, but that just launched recently, and that was certainly because of the interest in sex toys and the fact that people can buy products online that they would maybe be uncomfortable purchasing in store. The crazy thing about that, though, is, like, you’re now finding sex toys on the shelf at Walmart, Target, and CVS, and in that space there maybe was a couple on shelves a year ago or a few years ago, and now there’s, like, several shelves dedicated to it. So, I think that just speaks to consumer comfort level with sex and attitudes. And that behavior certainly informs what products we choose to go after.

Steph: And it complements the Toy and Joy lube that we came out with earlier.

Emily: That was something that we knew was, with the popularity of toys, we knew a toy-safe lube was important to consumers. If you use a silicone lube with silicone toys, which a lot of sex toys are made from silicon, it can degrade the product, it will degrade the toy.

Nicole: These are things I just did not know so thank you for the education.

Emily: Yeah, water-based lube with silicon toys. So, we came up with a product, Toy and Joy. It’s a water-based lube. And we released that in July of 2020 and that one we released strictly on Amazon. So normally when we launch a product, it is launching in, like, a brick-and-mortar store. But Amazon’s been a great platform for us to, like, test the viability of a product and see how it does. And then we’re able to sell it into major retailers when we can demonstrate, like, look, people love this product and they’re buying it on Amazon, and now it’s in a bunch of different retailers. And the finisher, the sex toy, was like an extension of that sort of Toy and Joy brand.

Nicole: I’m imagining a surprising delight box with the finisher, Toy and Joy, a branded box of tissues.

Steph: Exactly.


Nicole: Well, Emily, thank you so much for joining us. And Steph…

Steph: Did I get the job?

Nicole: Yes. Rex has a run for his money. I don’t know, man. So, we’ll have to put this in his performance review.

Steph: Perfect.

Nicole: Thank you for joining us on Outsmart. It was so great to have you. So great to be here in person. Really appreciate you coming out to the office.

Emily: It was super fun, despite the bright lights and the cameras, the intimidation factors. Thank you for having me.

Nicole: Yes, thank you. That was awesome.

Get in touch