Carusele influencers open up about some of the struggles they encounter when working with brands.
We recently held a webinar in which we talked to some of our favorite millennial influencers about different aspects of blogging and producing content for brands. It was great to hear candid and honest influencer perspectives.
We talked to Jenna Stocks of A Whimsy Wonderland, Amy Loochtan of Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins, Katie Manwaring of Katie’s Bliss and Taylor Walker of Taylor Walker Fit about lots of different things but one of the really interesting discussions was on the problems influencers encounter when working with brands. Let’s look at a few of the things that were raised during the discussion.
Lack of Rules or Guidelines
Influencer marketing is such a new frontier It’s been humming along without any specific rules or guidelines. The influencers all agreed that some rules are needed to keep expectations in check – both for brands and content creators.
Jenna from A Whimsy Wonderland:
We need specific direction on what brands want. Good direction results in content everyone is happy with. A lot of work goes into those pretty pictures – even though they look like they’re just taken while we’re out and about.
Katie from Katie’s Bliss:
One of my biggest pet peeves when working with brands is unrealistic expectations regarding turnaround time. I’m better now at being clear about how much time I need. For a blog post, it’s 3-6 weeks. I work with photographers from time to time so I need time to organize everything. I plan out my content about a week in advance so I really appreciate it when brands leave it a little more open-ended.
Use of Imagery
Influencer marketing campaigns give brands content that they can use for days, weeks, months and even years to come (depending on the nature of the product). As a result, influencers often find that their images are being used repeatedly. They’re generally really happy about this … when they’re properly recognized and the brands are respectful about their relationship.
Taylor from Taylor Walker Fit:
I wish brands would be more upfront about the use of our imagery. In the modeling world, there’s an additional usage rate for images resulting from a photo shoot. We work hard to make it look as natural and as beautiful as possible. All it takes is an upfront discussion about where these images will be used after the campaign – and then we’re all happy!
Budget and Finances
Again, because of its fairly recent arrival on the marcom scene, budgets for influencer campaigns vary widely (some to the point of being absurd!). All the influencers agreed that they would like to see a consistent form of payment. They’d also like brands to know that they’re happy to negotiate.
It’s really important for brands to have a budget in mind. There’s always room for negotiation but there needs to be an understanding that we put a lot of work into these posts (whether original blog posts or social shares on Instagram, etc.). I’d really like to see brands keeping the dialog open with regards to budget and finances.
In order for influencer marketing to do its job well for brands, the content needs to feel organic and authentic. Some brands try to exert too much control over the message and the timing. The influencers all agreed that this results in content that’s not effective because it often comes across as forced … and it doesn’t fit with the influencers’ own brands. This is why you use influencers in the first place – for their expertise in developing authentic content that is woven cleverly around your brand.
It’s really challenging when a brand doesn’t give guidance but on the flip side, it’s also challenging when they ask for too much – it’s not going to be organic if there are too many rules. I still need creative freedom. We know our audiences the best. There’s a balance – we need direction but that direction must be balanced with creative freedom.
I really appreciate it when brands leave the timing a little more open-ended. I also appreciate it when they leave it up to me as to the time of day to post content. I use analytics so I know what the most popular times of day are for my channels. It just makes sense. Brands trying to micro-manage timing just doesn’t work.
To hear more from these insightful influencers, please download and listen to the webinar. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog and register here to listen live to our March webinar: How to Spot (and Create) Effective Influencer Marketing.