Influencer Marketing is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It.

More than anything, brands want professional influencers with real audiences who are truly engaged and loyal to that influencer. With so many different influencers with so many different types (and sizes!) of audiences, brands are working hard to curate the best candidates. This is a great idea! But the sheer volume of influencers out there makes it tough even for some of the best brands to know how to do influencer marketing the right way.

This might seem all gloom and doom, but it’s not – trust us! Influencer marketing growing at a high rate can make things difficult to navigate, but it’s a prime opportunity to be one of the few who can do it right. Basically, influencer marketing is broken, but it’s not irreparable; it can be fixed! Just follow our tips to know how to do influencer marketing correctly.

What’s Broken: First Contact

One problem is the way brands engage with influencers. Sometimes, when it comes to influencer marketing, many brands don’t approach influencers correctly. Most brands have a similar strategy for influencer marketing: collect a few names, hastily send out some DMs, and copy-and-paste an email to a bunch of influencers.

influencer frustrated with brands

While this might get influencers to bite, the real, quality, professional influencers want and expect more from brands. One of the misconceptions about influencer marketing is that all influencers are the same. But there are endless varieties of influencer, both in size, scope, and professionalism. Finding the best ones can be a huge challenge when the only tools you have are email and DMs and influencer directories that don’t give you much more information than name, niche, and audience size.

The best influencers aren’t going to respond to every single email or DM, because they’re not desperate for collaboration – they have the luxury of being picky about which campaigns they participate in, because their highest priority is their audience. A great influencer knows that their audience is the reason for their success, which means they’re not going to partner with someone who doesn’t align with their personal brand.

The Fix

To really crush it when it comes to influencer marketing, brands can’t just send out mass messages to a bunch of people. Well, they can, but if they truly want to create long-lasting partnerships and a huge ROI, they need to take time to learn more about their potential influencer partners than just their follower count and general niche.

Look beyond the follower count to their content, previous collaborations, and how engaged their audience is. Then, create a pitch based on those insights. It may seem easier to send out the same, standard pitch to all your influencers, but taking the time to develop a specific message helps create actual partnerships.

Long-term partnerships make an influencer want to go above and beyond for your brand.

Perlu can help you get these insights easily and effectively. Then, you can publish a collaboration opportunity to groups of influencers who are perfect for your campaign and build relationships with those influencers right on the platform.

What’s Broken: Compensation Negotiations

With any new marketing channel, brands can have a difficult time understanding the compensation landscape. Sometimes this occurs as a brand attempts to save money and leverage in situations, but most of the time it’s simply a lack of understanding.

The truth is many influencers rely on brand partnerships for their income, but some brands treat them as if this is simply a hobby. Like any professional, influencers expect fair compensation, but brands attempt to low-ball influencers, damaging the brand’s reputation among the community. On the flip side, media kits brands receive from influencers fluctuate in pricing immensely – sometimes the same project could cost from $200 to $20K, depending on which influencer you’re speaking tot! When negotiations are all over the map like this, how can a brand know how to compensate marketing fairly?

The Fix

Brands simply have to remember that influencers aren’t just doing this as a hobby; for many influencers, creating content is their job. Each influencer has different rates or expectations.

influencer compensation

Often, brands aren’t even trying to low-ball, they simply don’t understand what is considered fair when it comes to compensation. It’s not like every brand is out to harm influencers, it’s just a matter of simple ignorance. (Influencers don’t always understand the compensation landscape, either!)

Instead of sending out an offer and waiting for a reply, have a conversation and discuss what your prospective influencer (or a Perlu Advisor) feels is fair, and go from there. Perlu gives you the ability to reverse the negotiation process by publishing a Collab with a set compensation so only the influencers whose expectations align with yours will apply, significantly cutting down the time it takes to filter through applicants.

Just remember, compensation is a two-sided issue that is easily solved by communicating effectively. If an influencer’s expected compensation doesn’t align with your budget, that’s fine; both sides leave with a good impression of the other when communication is respectful.

What’s Broken: Partnerships

Each influencer is simultaneously an individual, a brand, and a business. Many brands make mistakes when treating influencers like too much of one of these three things rather than the nuanced, multi-faceted person they are. One problem that comes up often is that, when brands view influencers as businesses, they treat interactions like transactions, when they should instead aim for long-term partnerships that help both parties.

Long-term relationships are the key to producing unique, authentic content, and unique content is key for a successful influencer marketing campaign. But many brands focus on easy, one-and-done collaborations – like having 10 different people post the exact same caption or content at the exact same time, and only once. This is a way to save time… and lose trust in that audience you’re trying to reach. (On the flip side, there’s no use continuing a partnership if the first campaign wasn’t successful!)

influencer taking photo

The Fix

This issue harms both the influencer and the brand, but it’s also an easy fix. The real ROI of influencer marketing lies in creating and cultivating long-term partnerships for effective campaigns. The reason influencer marketing works is authenticity.

Audiences love authenticity and actively seek it out when they choose who to follow. It’s also number one in influencers’ books. While a general, one-time collaboration could get you some exposure, a long-term relationship has 10X (or more!) potential when it comes to your brand. Audiences trust that a brand an influencer actively and consistently promotes with frequency is one worth their time and money.

What’s Broken: Forgetting Influencers are Professionals

When it comes down to it, all of these “broken” elements of influencer marketing can be summed up by brands not treating influencers as the professionals they are. It can be easy to fall into the trap of viewing influencers as regular social media accounts who are eager to help with anything on your plate.

Even when a brand knows and understands how awesome influencer marketing ROI can be, they still often forget that they are professionals. Countless times, brands don’t create unique campaigns or offer fair compensation, then wonder what they’re doing wrong.

The Fix

Influencers are the experts of their field – just make sure you treat them as such! It’s as simple as that. They understand influencer marketing and what works for and with their audience, so truly collaborate with them and ask them what creative and strategic ideas they have to bring to the table. They know their audience best and therefore know how to best represent your brand for the highest ROI.

Brands can easily avoid all the mistakes we’ve mentioned by treating every influencer like an individual who understands their market. They should pitch the right influencers in a respectful way to create a campaign that is irresistible and customized to that influencer or group of influencers. Doing this and then offering fair compensation makes it so influencers can’t wait to collaborate on new projects.

You can use Perlu to find influencers whose audiences align with yours to create a killer campaign.

Join Perlu And Let the Influencers Come to You!