Brandon Perlman on The Gramlist's 6th Anniversary - Social Studies

Brandon Perlman on The Gramlist’s 6th Anniversary

Remember The Gramlist? That was 6 Years Ago! 🎉 💫 For those of you that don’t, The Gramlist was the mother of Social Studies, the OG. On the Gramlist we shared lists of our favorite influencers in every niche you can think of, and it eventually led to where we are today : Social Studies, Inc. AdWeek’s Fastest Growing Influencer Marketing Agency two years in a row. To celebrate the 6th year anniversary of The Gramlist we sat down with our Founder + CEO, Brandon Perlman, to pick his brain on where and how it all started:

“In early 2015 I had just completed a project with a social analytics company that sold to Facebook, and my first startup, StyleCaster, just sold to SheKnows Media. I was trying to figure out what my next move would be. Having been a magazine editor for many years, I’m always inspired by a compelling story, so I knew it was time to evolve my own. My experience at the analytics startup gave me an “MBA” in data science and showed me just how much of an appetite there was from big companies wanting to get into social media///specifically, Instagram. And the question that everyone asked me at the time was “who should we be working with on social media? Celebrities? Bloggers? Influencers?” When I heard that question for the 100th time I felt charged to leverage the qualitative and quantitative sides of my brian to build “a business.” The challenge was: I didn’t know what that business would be, who would pay for it, and how much they would pay. So I explored the resources of my own history and trusted what I knew best: content and content marketing. The Gramlist started as an email newsletter that simply advised readers of who was worth following on Instagram in unique and niche areas. The editorial side of me allowed me to curate and calculate which accounts to feature that aligned with stories I wanted to tell. The quant side of me backed it all in data. So we were able to show not just people who had appealing accounts, but also which accounts “performed” the best. We launched July 2017, 2015 with 200 subscribers and got to 2,000 within a month.”

So, who was THE GRAMLIST originally created for?

“It was originally created for social media managers, influencers themselves, brand managers, but really it was for anyone who was interested in learning about new people to discover and follow on Instagram. When Eva Chen and other prominent members of Instagram’s leadership signed up, I knew we were onto something.”

In what ways has THE GRAMLIST evolved since its original launch?

“The concept of a Gramlist is ridiculously simple. Lists of people to follow on Instagram…I always knew there would be a revenue-generating component and that would likely take the form of custom lists sold to brands and agencies, but I had no idea how fast that would be. I said to myself, “once we sell 10 custom lists I will incorporate the business.” By August 1, 2015 we became official. Of course, the lists would be just the beginning, we grew an entire agency and technology platform out of that initial insight. From 2015-2019 we published more than 400 Gramlists discovering and featuring more than 10,000 micro and mid-tier influencers from all parts of the planet and I am very proud of that. Over the last two years we changed our strategy, especially when we rebranded as Social Studies.”

What can we expect to see more of from Social Studies? 

“While Gramlist is no longer our brand, the concept of “Gram-Lists” are now a cultural standard and I want to reinvigorate them in countless new ways. Social Studies exists to “study” social media, an ecosystem that touches roughly 1-3 people on the entire planet. It requires its own thinking, its own point of view, and most importantly its own personality. Additionally, when we published our last Gramlist in 2019, we were only a tight team of 11 full time people and now we are growing beyond 40! That gives us a lot more weight, more people in our corner, and most importantly: more perspectives. The opportunity is limitless and we are up to the challenge, stay tuned…”

Going forward, we plan to revive and update these lists to keep The Gramlist alive and a living component throughout our Social Studies website. Creating lists is in our DNA so we will continue doing so as long as we are here, for our clients and for you. Thank you for another Gramlist birthday, can’t wait for many more. 

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