9 Things Influencers Wish You Knew
Thu Jan 25 2018
Why influencer marketing is just like dating and how to score your second date
Influencer marketing is a lot like dating. In fact, at AspireIQ we refer to searching for influencers as “tindering”—your immediate attraction to an influencer is based on how visually pleasing their content is, but how well you’re able to communicate and work together as a team is what will make you come back for more collaborations.
Unfortunately, we can’t help you with your dating efforts. But we can help social media managers with their professional relationships with influencers. Like any relationship, influencer marketing requires lots of compromise and communication in order to satisfy both parties’ needs. And who can tell you that better than the influencers themselves? We spoke with three amazing influencers who did not hold back when it came to revealing the things they’ve always wanted to tell the brands they work with.
Meet the influencers
Seventeen-year-old Natalia Seth, also known by her handle, @escapingyouth, is a self-taught surreal photographer and content creator. She has worked with dozens of brands including Grubhub, Lovesac, and Greats. Next year, she hopes to be a creative advertising major in college.
Claire Thomas is known as @Clairepthomas and has experience on both sides of the influencer marketing process. Claire is a fitness and health content creator as well as the social media manager for the brand Love Your Melon.
Rachel, also known by her handle @vintagedolls, is a travel and lifestyle influencer based in Chicago. She has traveled all over the world and worked with dozens of brands including Klorane, T-mobile, and Zumba.
The influencers have spoken, and you’ll want to listen to what they told us. Here are nine tips straight from influencers that social media managers can follow for a seamless campaign.
1. Give influencers creative control of their content
Just like they say you can’t change another person, as a rule of thumb, if an influencer does not create the type of content you are looking for, do not work with them. Remember, each influencer has already developed their personal content style. When choosing an influencer to work with, familiarize yourself with their content before suggesting a collaboration. If the influencer already matches your brand’s aesthetic, they might be a great candidate for your campaign. If not, keep on looking.
“Brands should not direct the photo. Influencers should have full creative control. I think it is acceptable to provide a visual brief or general guidelines such as “bright, colorful.” However, if a brand is asking me to include specific items other than the sponsored product, then it is too specific.” – @vintagedolls
2. Be specific with your campaign brief, but not too specific
As a brand, you expect to have collaboration guidelines to ensure that influencers are meeting all of your goals. And you should communicate these expectations before content is created, but again, allow each influencer to interpret your expectations in their own voice and way. For example, do not provide influencers with a caption for their content. Instead, provide key talking points that they should mention. An influencer’s audience will be able to sniff out a sponsored post immediately if they can tell it is forced or inauthentic, resulting in a decrease in engagement and conversion rates.
Pro Tip: AspireIQ provides brands with collaboration guidelines templates. We've eliminated the need for paperwork and time-consuming back-and-forth communications by creating easy-to-customize contracts that allow brands to clearly outline their collaboration expectations, rights to content, and the obligations of everyone involved.
3. Influencers know their audience
Similar to giving influencers creative control, remember that influencers know their audience. If an influencer says a specific concept, caption or image with not perform well on their social platforms, believe them. If you need a certain image for your own marketing initiatives, ask the influencer for content without the expectation that the influencer will post on their own social channels.
4. Be personal when you reach out
Stand out from the crowd of hundreds of brands in an influencer’s inbox by creating highly individualized outreach emails. Unlike dating, a little light social media stalking is acceptable before you approach an influencer with a collaboration proposal. Influencers like to see that you’ve done your research and send them personalized emails. A personal message will go a long way when forming a long-term relationship.
“If a brand addresses me by name and talks about how they found me I’m more likely to respond because I know it’s a real person and not a machine. If they don’t include their website or a little bit about their brand, I’m not going to bother responding.” – @clairepthomas
5. Long-term relationships are key
When dealing with long-term influencers, you will have built up a mutual history and a working relationship that amplifies the success of every campaign that follows. Mutual understanding leads to mutual success, which leads to more collaboration in an endlessly positive cycle.
Additionally, long-term relationships with influencers:
- eliminate the need to constantly be recruiting new influencers
- have fewer misunderstandings
- allow you to calculate ROI with confidence
- result in faster campaign turnarounds
“I think repetition is key for a great brand relationship. My favorite brands are the ones I have developed long-term relationships with. Partnering for various campaigns means that the brand is familiar with my content, as I am with their vision. This mutual understanding makes future campaigns flow smoothly.” – @vintagedolls
6. Avoid lowballing
If you know you cannot afford an influencer’s rate, do not insult them by offering them payment that is much less than their value. For some influencers, creating content is their full-time job and they should be compensated accordingly. Don’t ruin the chance of a potential relationship forming in the future. Just be open about your campaign budget and let the influencer know you cannot afford their rate but are open to a cheaper alternative to an Instagram post or YouTube video. If not, plan on working with them in the future when your budget allows it.
Read our free guide, 7 Steps to Negotiating with Influencers for actionable steps you can take to stick to your influencer marketing budget and get the best price for your brand.
7. Limit reshoots to one
If you do not like the content that an influencer creates for your campaign, limit yourself to one request for a reshoot. For most influencers, creating content can take days, or even months in @escapingyouth’s case, so it is important to respect their time and effort. If you are still unsatisfied with content after one round of edits, you may have to cut your losses and pay up.
You can avoid having to ask for a reshoot by following tip number two!
“I’d say one ask for a reshoot is enough. If I have to create content a third time, I’d rather just cancel the partnership because it takes a lot of time and effort to create content.” – @escapingyouth
8. Give influencers ample time to create content
Give influencers at least three weeks to create and post the content for your campaign.
Remember that most of the time, influencers are full-time students or employees, have families and tight content calendars. Be mindful of an influencer’s previous commitments and give them ample time to create content.
“I think content creation timeline is variable. For me, I have a very hectic travel schedule. As a full-time blogger, I participate in over two dozen each month. Brands should be understanding if posts are delayed due to my traveling or posting schedule.” – @vintagedolls
9. Manners are important – Always be gracious and prompt
“Please” and “thank you” always go a long way when forming a relationship! Remember to follow-up with an influencer after each partnership, check-in with them, don’t take days to reply to their messages, and be transparent throughout the entire collaboration process. Manners are even more pivotal if you plan to work with them again.
“In addition to saying they want to work together, the brand should take initiative in the weeks after the end of a project. I am more responsive to long-term relationships if the brand sends a follow-up message.” – @vintagedolls