In this insightful article, we delve into the world of influencer marketing with Carlton Rose, represented by CFG. Carlton shares his remarkable journey from a gym enthusiast to a renowned men’s grooming influencer. From pivotal “Aha!” moments to ethical influencer strategies, discover how Carlton Rose has not only carved a niche but also shaped the future of men’s grooming content.
Carlton, it’s a pleasure to have you with us today. Can you kick things off by sharing how you first ventured into the world of influencer marketing and what sparked your interest in men’s grooming?
Carlton Rose‘s venture into influencer marketing and his fascination with men’s grooming stemmed from his time at a gym, where he often received inquiries about his grooming routine. This led him to consider creating content for this audience. He eventually decided to share videos on TikTok, where he already had a presence.
His initial viral video featured a hair care tutorial set to Beyonce’s “Drop It.” As Carlton humorously recalls, it began with just a few views but quickly gained momentum, resulting in a surge of followers and engagement.
Through this journey, Carlton discovered an underserved niche in men’s grooming content. He realized that people were drawn to his unique perspective and insights, emphasizing that “Every creator is unique and individual.” This authenticity played a pivotal role in his success as an influencer.
Carlton Rose On The Niche Focus Of Men’s Grooming
Journey & Experience
You’ve been in this space for a while now. What would you say were your “Aha!” moments or turning points that really accelerated your growth?
Carlton reflected on the pivotal moments that fueled his rapid growth in the influencer space. He pinpointed two key “Aha!” moments:
The first was when he realized the power of consistency. Carlton took this advice to heart even before he posted his first video. He diligently created a backlog of 30 videos and began posting them in pairs, twice a day. When his ninth video went viral, accumulating 6 million views, he still had a stash of 20 or so videos to continue sharing. This strategy reinforced the importance of unwavering consistency in content creation.
The second breakthrough came through his hair tutorials. It wasn’t just about offering tips and advice; it was about demonstrating how to achieve specific hairstyles. Carlton found success in sharing his skills and guiding others through quick video tutorials, showcasing what he had already mastered. This approach resonated strongly with his audience and contributed significantly to his growth.
Can you tell us about a campaign or collaboration that you’re particularly proud of and what made it stand out for you?
In Carlton’s influencer journey, there were a couple of campaigns that really stood out:
Firstly, there was this heartwarming Father’s Day campaign where Carlton and his son teamed up. It wasn’t just about views and likes; it was all about the incredible experience of working together as a father-son duo. They got to be themselves on camera, and the best part was seeing how their audience loved it.
The second standout campaign was a collaboration with Google. Carlton had just come back from South Korea, where he’d been using Google’s real-time translation app. So when Google approached him for a campaign using the same technology, he was thrilled. As someone who’s into tech, this was a fantastic opportunity to blend his tech passion with his influencer gig.
Given that you’re represented by CFG, what advantages do you find in working with an agency versus navigating the influencer landscape independently?
Carlton emphasized the advantages of working with an agency like CFG over going it alone in the influencer world: “Working independently, you don’t fully understand the legal complexities and business aspects. Internet gurus can only take you so far. CFG steps in to fill those gaps—contracting, negotiating, communication—they’ve got it covered. Having a team like CFG is a game-changer. They also handle the nitty-gritty, so I can focus on the creative side of being an influencer. It’s a huge difference.”
In a nutshell, an agency like CFG provides essential support and strategy, allowing Carlton to concentrate on his creative work while they handle the business side of things.
Niche Focus on Men’s Grooming
Men’s grooming isn’t a niche everyone decides to focus on. What drew you specifically towards it, and how did you discover this was your calling?
For Carlton, the path into men’s grooming was a calling deeply ingrained in his life: “I’ve always been that guy who takes his time getting ready. Even in high school, I was the one who needed 40 minutes when others said they were ready in five. It’s just who I am.” This meticulous approach to self-care and his belief that outward appearance reflects inner self-worth made this niche a perfect fit for him. Carlton’s journey began when guys at the gym started seeking his grooming advice, leading him to create videos to share his knowledge.
Do you think focusing on men’s grooming presents unique opportunities or challenges in influencer marketing, and if so, what are they?
Focusing on men’s grooming indeed offers both unique opportunities and challenges in influencer marketing, as Carlton explained:
The opportunities arise from brands recognizing the substantial market of men interested in self-care. Carlton pointed out that many brands are eager to tap into this growing segment, especially when they see influencers like him with a significant male following. It creates a host of partnership possibilities as more men seek to enhance their self-care routines.
However, Carlton also acknowledged challenges within the niche itself. While some men fully embrace grooming as a lifestyle and an expression of self-love, others resist it. This contrast can create controversy within the space, with some men rejecting the idea that grooming is a masculine pursuit. Carlton humorously noted how even some of these skeptics may secretly seek hair care advice.
Changes in the Creator Economy
The creator economy is ever-evolving. What are some shifts or changes you’d like to see in the industry to make it more equitable or sustainable?
Carlton’s vision for a more equitable and sustainable creator economy centers on two key shifts. He stresses the need for social media platforms to be inclusive in their creator funding, extending opportunities beyond specific regions. Carlton, residing in Canada, highlights the importance of global accessibility, stating, “I would love to see a shift in the inclusiveness of different funding and opportunities.”
Regarding broader industry changes, Carlton takes a pragmatic approach. He recognizes that every industry has its pros and cons and prefers to adapt as the landscape evolves. He succinctly states, “I kind of just go with the flow.” Ultimately, Carlton advocates for inclusivity in funding as a vital step toward fairness and sustainability in the creator economy while remaining open to other industry shifts as they naturally occur.
Advice for New Influencers
What are the top three pieces of advice you would give to someone who is just starting out as an influencer in your space?
For those venturing into the influencer space within men’s grooming, Carlton shares three invaluable pieces of advice. Firstly, he emphasizes the importance of pursuing a niche that one genuinely loves and is passionate about. Carlton underlines that authenticity and enthusiasm shine through on camera, resonating with the audience.
Secondly, Carlton highlights the significance of consistency. Drawing from his experience, he notes how being prepared with a library of content enabled him to capitalize on viral moments, significantly boosting his growth.
Lastly, Carlton underscores the importance of self-belief in the face of challenges and external skepticism. He advises new influencers to stay true to their vision, listen to their inner voice, and remember why they embarked on this journey in the first place.
These three pillars—passion, consistency, and self-belief—form the foundation for a successful influencer career in the men’s grooming space. As Carlton succinctly puts it, “Do what you love, be consistent, and believe in yourself.”
Can you share a mistake you made early in your career that you wish someone had warned you about?
In hindsight, Carlton acknowledges a critical mistake he made early in his influencer career: not fully grasping the business aspect of the industry. He wishes he had received a warning about the importance of understanding the business side of being a content creator. Carlton highlights the complexities involved, such as managing income, taxes, and the financial aspects of influencer marketing.
He stresses that while creators focus on content creation, engagement, and community building, it’s equally vital to treat oneself as a business entity. Without a solid understanding of the business side of influencer marketing, creators may struggle to scale, grow, and sustain their careers in the long run. Carlton’s advice to newcomers is clear: “Be prepared and ready for the business side of influencer marketing, as it’s a crucial aspect of building a sustainable career in this field.”
In terms of building a following, what one tactic do you swear by?
When it comes to building a following, Carlton swears by the tactic of consistency. He firmly believes in the power of maintaining a consistent presence on social media. Carlton acknowledges that while it might sound like a common piece of advice, it holds immense significance in the world of influencer marketing.
In his experience, inconsistency, often driven by burnout or other factors, can lead to a drop in engagement and a fading presence in the minds of followers. He emphasizes that posting regularly, even if it’s not always a highly produced piece of content, is essential. Whether it’s a polished production or a candid video, showing up consistently every day helps maintain a strong and engaged following. Carlton’s mantra is clear: “Consistency is key in this ever-evolving space.”
Monetization & Business Aspects
How do you approach monetization, and what avenues have you found to be the most profitable?
Carlton’s approach to monetization primarily centers around brand deals, which he found success with early on in his influencer career. He considers brand deals to be one of the most lucrative avenues for generating income as an influencer. He advises others to prioritize brand deals and keep them top of their minds when considering monetization strategies.
Additionally, Carlton mentions affiliate marketing as another profitable avenue. However, he underscores the importance of building a trustworthy relationship with your audience. Being transparent about the products and services you promote is crucial to maintain credibility.
While brand deals and affiliate marketing are his primary sources of income, Carlton also encourages exploring other opportunities for monetization, such as YouTube and other platforms. For him, diversifying income streams can contribute to long-term financial sustainability as an influencer.
As influencer marketing evolves, are there any emerging platforms or technologies that you think will be game-changers in the near future?
Carlton believes that AI will be a game-changer in the evolving landscape of influencer marketing. He anticipates that AI will play a significant role in handling mundane tasks and streamlining processes. However, he emphasizes the importance of maintaining authenticity in content creation and ensuring that AI doesn’t solely generate ideas. While AI can be a powerful tool, it should complement the creative input and vision of influencers to maintain a genuine connection with the audience.
Industry Trends & Future
Sustainability and ethical responsibility are hot topics nowadays. How do you ensure that your brand partnerships align with your own values and those of your audience?
Carlton ensures that his brand partnerships align with his values and resonate with his audience by conducting thorough research. When a brand approaches him, he proactively investigates the brand, visiting its website and scrutinizing its values and mission. His aim is to ensure that any partnership he enters into is in line with his personal beliefs and principles.
Carlton is dedicated to maintaining the trust of his audience, and he believes that recommending products or services that don’t align with his values or the needs of his audience can lead to a breach of that trust. Therefore, he prioritizes the alignment of values and sustainability when considering brand partnerships.
If you could collaborate with any brand or individual, who would it be and why?
Carlton’s collaboration preferences lean more toward influencers who have been influential in his journey rather than specific brands. He admires content creators like Devon Deck and Alex Costa, who have inspired him since high school.
Regarding brand collaborations, Carlton sees them as “icing on the cake” rather than the primary goal of his influencer career. He’s open to collaborating with like-minded influencers, especially in the men’s grooming niche. Carlton has already had positive experiences collaborating with other content creators in the men’s grooming space.
Finally, what’s next for Carlton Rose? Are there any upcoming projects or ambitions you’d like to share with our readers at Net Influencer?
Carlton is gearing up for some exciting projects. He’s focused on creating E-guides to assist and support his community. Additionally, he’s thrilled about an upcoming subscription offering for his followers. This subscription will provide a more personalized and interactive experience, allowing Carlton to address individual needs and answer burning questions directly through live sessions. Carlton is excited about these initiatives and looks forward to further engaging with his audience.