They say we’re all made equal but that certainly doesn’t apply to the newly popular “influencer”. In more ways than one, influencers can fall on the spectrum from being awesome to total disasters. In a time where social media marketing has skyrocketed, just about everyone is coming out of the woodwork to try their hand at this career path. The problem with that is that it really isn’t cut out for just anyone.
When a brand collaborates with the right influencer, their audience and the trust they have with them is invaluable. Professional influencers know their value and treat what their doing as a business, which is exactly what it is. Collaborations done right are beneficial to both the brand and the influencer. The brand benefits from gaining access to the influencer’s audience and the influencer gets to expand their visibility, get paid, and gets to offer their followers awesome giveaways and cool content.
Unfortunately, the influencer industry is overflowing with people who just don’t have their act together. Brands are learning the hard way that just because someone has a ton of followers and an above par engagement rate, it doesn’t mean they’re easy to work with. While there are still an insane number of advantages to influencer marketing, it’s important to identify the not-so-great aspects to this booming marketing strategy. Keep reading for 4 types of influencers that brands hate working with.
The One Who Cooks Their Books
Cooking your books and altering your numbers was only cool when Skyler did it for Walter. If you don’t get that reference, stop reading right now and go watch Breaking Bad. Unfortunately for brands, influencers (and influencer wannabees) have caught on to the tricks of the trade that’ll help them inflate their popularity. Buying followers, likes, and comments has almost become the norm. Some people do it to give themselves a tiny boost while others depend on it entirely. By doing this, influencers are misleading brands to thinking they have a wide reach. Brands are getting stiffed by paying these so-called influencers the big bucks only to find out that their posts are generating little to no engagement or clicks.
To avoid these phonies, do your due diligence prior to choosing an influencer. Keep in mind that on top of buying followers, they’re also buying likes and comments for each of their posts. To avoid falling into their trap, look into the quality of their followers and the quality of the engagement they’re getting. If a large majority of their followers seem to be from faraway countries, have few posts, or don’t have profile pictures, chances are they’re bought.
There’s no doubt that influencers work hard and deserve to be compensated for their work. They are, after all, tiny little micro-marketing agents. When hiring an influencer though, it’s important to weigh the cost-benefit for both parties before curating an offer.
Influencers often collaborate with brands for perks like events, travel, amazing meals, and free swag. Depending on where they are in their influencer career, many up-and-coming influencers will accept this as an equal exchange for their promotion. While some brands certainly have the budget to pay a healthy amount to influencers they see to be a perfect fit, many invest a ton of money into the aforementioned events, travel, amazing meals, and free swag. That’s their form of payment.
While there is a time for paid content, be weary of influencers who care more about the money than the job itself. Sure, influencers have bills to pay and food to buy, but the ones that care only about the paycheque are likely doing it for the wrong reasons. Try to gauge their interest in the work and overall goal to give you an idea of where their priorities lie.
The worst thing is to hire someone who doesn’t deliver on their job. When brands or organizations invite influencers to their events, for example, they expect that they’ll cover the event thoroughly for their followers to see. If the brand did their homework, the event should be a good fit and an on-brand experience for the influencer. So why wouldn’t they want to share it, right? A sad reality is that there are many “influencers” out there who just want a free ride. They’ll accept an invitation to an event but won’t take care of their end of the deal by covering it properly. Though they may talk about it to their friends, this is impossible for brands to track. What they can track are InstaStories, photos, videos, and mentions.
The Hot Mess
The interesting thing about social media influencers is that they can be anyone. That man on the corner of the street shouting that the world is about to end? He can be an influencer. The woman in your building with 80 cats? She can be an influencer. If you have an Internet connection, a phone, and a good work ethic (or luck), you can be an influencer. There’s no application process, no vetting, no manager to supervise their work, and very little accountability. This is awesome but can sometimes be a problem.
When scouting for influencers to work with, make sure you check their past work. Check their older posts for spelling errors in their captions, factual discrepancies, unanswered comments, and overall brand image. While it’s important that influencers are partnering with the right brands for their image, it’s just as important that the influencer is a good representation for the brand as well. Check out their collaborations with other brands to see the quality of the work put forth. While there are a ton of professional, kind, smart influencers, there are a few sloppy ones too. Be cautious.