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(Left) Ayush Shukla and Sharan Hegde (Right)

Finnet Media, an influencer marketing agency, has been making waves in the influencer marketing space. In just about a year, the company has managed to clock in Rs 13.8 crore in revenue.

While they are primarily an influencer marketing agency, they also provide ad production and IP content creation services to influencers. 

Speaking about their journey, Ayush Shukla, Founder of Finnet Media, said that they are a creator-first agency. He explained that he attributes success to several factors. 

“It was not all me. We got a great team doing all the aggressive sales. I also feel a lot of it worked in my favour. It was the right effort matched with the right time and place. When I was reaching out to folks and trying to get more and more people to adapt to influencer marketing the bull or the funding market was going on. So, it was slightly easy to get into the doors,” Shukla said.

Unlike most agencies, Finnet is focused solely on financial influencers and brands. Asked if that feels like a limitation since so many types of influencers are out there, Shukla said, “Sometimes yes. However, what we are trying to do is get into the depths rather than the lengths. If I start working with all the fashion or beauty influencers, then I am as good as any other agency out there which have been there in the space for 10-plus years. The reason we have been able to establish ourselves in such a short period of time is because we are a niche.” 

“Finnet stands for ‘finance’ and ‘network’. It also stands for the word finesse. We believe that creative work can’t be done haphazardly but with finesse,” he explained. also caught up with Sharan Hegde, a financial influencer and one of the very first creators to be handled by Finnet. 

Speaking about how it has been associating with Finnet, Sharan Hegde, a leading financial influencer said, “I have been associated with Finnet for almost two years. When I joined them it wasn’t even called Finnet, it was just Ayush. I was their second client and it has been an incredible journey.”

He said that as influencer marketing was and somewhat still is at a nascent stage, nobody knew that money could be made creating this kind of content. “People didn’t know how much to charge. People didn’t know how to make this a continuous source of income and make it a full-time profession. This is what Finnet has done for me and I was able to make that call earlier this year.” 

Challenges in the influencer space today 

According to Shukla, one of the big challenges they face is managing negotiations between the brand and the influencer. "The number one challenge as an agency is to balance between brands and creators. It’s like becoming a sandwich. Brands want something and creators want something else, so balancing the creative freedom of a creator and a brand’s control is the number one challenge. Being a creator-first company, we focus on creators first and then the brand," said Shukla. 

He said another challenge is explaining to marketers how influencer marketing works differently than performance marketing. “You can’t expect the creators to be your salespersons.” 

Giving a creator’s perspective, Hegde said diversifying content across platforms is a challenge. “If you are able to crack one platform, how do you translate or migrate that audience to different platforms? While it's easy to establish yourself on platforms like YouTube Shots how do you sustain that audience? When you are new, the algorithm will favour you because they want to encourage new creators but sustaining that audience is a challenge.” 

To tackle this Hegde has now ventured into long-format content, started his own newsletter and is also influencing on LinkedIn and through WhatsApp. 

“The second challenge is that we need to keep innovating every week, which creates a creative burden. You also have to keep hiring people in the space. It is difficult as the space itself is very new; I can’t just hire anyone from ad agencies or someone who has been handling content at an MNC. The mindset required here is very different,” he explained. 

Expectations from 2023 

Speaking about what the agency expects from 2023, Shukla said, “We had a good run this year given the market recession. The goal now would be to focus more on quality and go deeper with the brands that we work with. We want to help them sustain themselves because it's not a good time for brands as well. The next quarter is about working very closely with our partners and brands and making sure they are going deep with their target audience.” 

Shukla stated that while the crunch of ad spends from crypto brands did impact them a bit, but he added that the effect was balanced by the many fintech brands working with them. 

The teams at Finnet include quite a bunch of young people. Upon being asked if it's intimidating to operate in a market where people have decades of experience, Shukla stated, “It’s a fun challenge. I do sometimes think that others have 20-30 years of experience but it mostly works in our favour. Our target brands are also the brands that are looking for young people. We don’t associate ourselves with brands whose outlook towards the space would be traditional. The type of brands we work with want new blood and people who are hungry. Many brands don’t understand the influencing world anyway, so because we are not trying to be anywhere and everywhere, it works fine for us.” 

“That being said, I am very passionate about mentorship and speak to experienced people day in and day out,” Shukla said.