How 1st Phorm Leveraged Influencer Marketing to Rally 4000 Brand Ambassadors

1st Phorm achieved $13M revenue with 4000 active influencers.

Priya Nain

Priya Nain

September 13, 2023

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Generating a staggering $13 million in revenue is already impressive. Pair that with 4,000 influencers actively promoting your brand on social media, and it becomes an extraordinary achievement.

1st Phorm did exactly that 👏

A bit about them: 1st Phorm is more than just a nutritional supplement company. While they offer a wide array of products spanning sports nutrition, weight loss, and general health, their ethos goes deeper. The brainchild of founders Andy Frisella and Chris Klein, 1st Phorm stands out for its emphasis on fitness education.

They not only sell products but also empower their customers with nutritional and workout advice. Their expansive network of “Legionnaires” passionately advocates for the brand, further establishing its footprint in the market.

1st Phorm achieved its meteoric growth without heavy ad spend, without deep pockets 🚫💸, and without the typical celebrity endorsements that many lean on.

📝 If you’re steering a small to mid-sized DTC brand — regardless of the industry — there’s a lot to learn here.

In this blog, we’ll delve into the tactics and strategies that 1st Phorm employed in their influencer marketing, offering concrete takeaways for you to enhance your own influencer campaigns and drive impactful results.

🗃️ 1 — A handful of influencers are not enough, you need scale

A few years ago, the founder Any Frisella said in an interview

“Now, we have our Legionnaire program with over 4,000 social media influencers who represent 1st Phorm. And it’s not because we post pictures of protein powder. It’s because we know how to have in-person conversations online”

The mention of “over 4,000 social media influencers” highlights the scale at which influencer marketing can be done. 😲

It’s a misconception that collaborating with just a few top influencers will drive growth. While partnering with prominent figures can give you a boost of visibility, achieving consistent, daily traction requires partnering with a large number of creators who might range from micro to macro influencers.

More creators also help you build a strong, large community of people who motivate each other.

📝 Takeaway for you: Diversify your influencer partnerships across the spectrum, from micro to macro to ensure consistent brand visibility. This also fosters a well-rounded and resilient growth strategy which isn’t dependent on a single influencer or channel.

It’s like spreading your message in many circles, big and small, to make sure everyone hears it. 🌍📣

💃 2 — Go beyond product-centric content

One of the most distinct features of 1st Phorm’s influencer marketing approach is its conscious move away from mere product-centric promotions.

Instead of just showing off their products, they ask their creators and influencers to share content that teaches, inspires, and entertains.

Here’s an example of a TikTok showing a recipe for a cake involving 1st Phorm product as one of the ingredients 👇

A simple scroll through the hashtag #iam1stPhorm is illustrative of this strategy. The content isn’t just an endless parade of product shots. Instead, there’s a blend of motivational stories, fitness journeys, dietary tips, etc.

Why does this work?

👉 Engaging, entertaining, or educational content is more likely to be liked, shared, and commented on. This means broader reach and higher visibility for the brand.

👉 When viewers continuously see inspiring fitness transformations and motivational stories, they naturally grow curious. “What’s their secret?” “How did they achieve that?” This curiosity often leads them to probe deeper, to engage with the creator, and, inevitably, discover the products that played a role in those journeys.

👉 By the time a viewer engages with a creator about the brand, it doesn’t feel like a sales pitch. It feels like a recommendation from a trusted friend. The product introduction feels organic, making the potential customer more receptive to it.

They promise to teach creators about fitness & nutrition so they can become authorities or go-to individuals in this field.

📝Takeaway for you: Train and encourage your influencers to be genuine, open, and personal when posting anything related to your brand. It shows authenticity and builds long-term trust in the brand.

⚜️ 3 — Name your influencer marketing program something catchy

The 1st Phorm influencer marketing program is called — The Legionnaire Program.

By coining a unique name for its influencer marketing program, 1st Phorm has given its influencers a unified identity. Rather than just being a group of influencers, they are “Legionnaires.” This promotes a sense of belonging and pride, which can increase influencers’ commitment to the brand.

It also suggests a level of exclusivity and elite status. In influencer marketing, aspirational branding is crucial.

📝 Takeaway for you: The branding of your influencer program, from its name to its overarching theme and mission should resonate deeply with your target audience. It should communicate both the ethos of your brand and the aspirational identity of potential influencers.

🚫 4 — Address any barriers to entry

Reassurance about the effort required removes barriers to entry.

If an influencer feels that they can seamlessly integrate this program into their current activities without extra hassle, they’re more likely to sign up.

1st Phorm highlights this clearly on their landing page —

It also shows that 1st Phorm understands influencers’ work and respects their time, establishing trust.

📝 Takeaway for you: Your influencer program should seamlessly fit into an influencer’s existing routine. The less you demand them to change or adapt, the more appealing your program becomes. Highlight how effortlessly they can incorporate your brand into their conversations and content.

PS: You can also create a landing page like this without spending on web-development costs right inside SARAL

🎁 5 — Offer unique benefits, perks and opportunities

Instead of just focusing on financial incentives, 1st Phorm emphasizes how influencers can grow their personal brand, improve their skills, or enhance their social media presence.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the extra perks they give to influencers above and beyond the sale commission 👇

This support suggests a partnership rather than a transactional relationship. Influencers are more likely to commit when they feel they’re receiving real value beyond just commission.

🤔 Think about what exclusive opportunities or experiences your brand can offer because your creator offer should not be just ‘get 10% commission.’ It’s not motivating enough, doesn’t make your brand stand out, and offers no incentive to stay loyal to your brand.

💰 Having said that, clear and tangible financial incentives remain a powerful motivator. Always be transparent about potential earnings and the reward structure.

📝Takeaway for you: Unique opportunities, be it one-on-one coaching, a chance to ascend in the brand’s ambassador hierarchy, or early access to products/events, can set your program apart. Include some of these based on your capacity and resources in your influencer marketing program.

💎 6 — Highlight exclusive opportunities for top performers

On their landing page, they prominently highlight the pathway to becoming one of their ‘Elite Trainers’.

Why does this matter to the influencers?

It’s the brand’s way of telling its influencers, “There’s more to this partnership than just promoting products. There’s a chance to grow, to rise, and to be recognized among the best.”

🏅 This aspirational tier serves as a motivational tool. When influencers see a clear path of growth and reward, they’re more likely to be invested in the brand’s vision and mission.

By highlighting the fact that all their sponsored ‘Elite Trainers’ started as Legionnaires, 1st Phorm effectively communicates a narrative of possibility and progression. This tells potential influencers that the brand values loyalty, dedication, and results. It’s an assurance that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.

For a new influencer considering joining the Legionnaire program, this is a potent draw.

📝Takeaway for you: Offering immediate rewards grabs an influencer’s interest, but showcasing future growth opportunities keeps them committed. Map out a growth journey for them. Showcase how your influencers can climb up the ladder, and they’ll be more invested in your brand’s vision.

Final thoughts

Understanding and dissecting the influencer marketing strategy of a successful brand like 1st Phorm gives a solid foundation.

But a strategy, no matter how brilliant, remains just a blueprint without the right tools to execute it. It’s similar to having a road map but no vehicle to travel.

❌ And while juggling between Google Sheets and manual methods might seem cost-effective, the true cost is in the opportunities you miss out on — both in terms of revenue and scaling potential.

✅ So, what’s the missing ingredient to transform your strategy into tangible results? — SARAL, an all-in-one influencer marketing tool for DTC brands.

👉 With SARAL, you can:

  • Discover untapped influencers: No more manual hunting. Find the perfect influencers for your brand without the hours of endless searching.
  • Engage effectively: Bypass the hassle of reaching out, shipping free products, following up, etc. Send enticing offers effortlessly and ensure your message is read.
  • Streamline onboarding: Once you’ve found your influencers, bring them onboard with ease and maintain consistent communication through automated messaging.

The best part?

🎉 You can get started with all these features and more without paying a dime upfront. Dive into our free 7-day trial and witness the SARAL magic yourself.

After all, “Saral” translates to “easy”, and we’re here to make your influencer marketing journey just that. Claim your free trial here. Cancel anytime.

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1st Phorm achieved $13M revenue with 4000 active influencers.

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