Questions that tell us you’re not ready for an influencer marketing campaign


It is never easy to turn business away. But a smart company knows when a client is a good fit– when you are speaking the same language, measuring the same metrics, and striving for common goals– and when they’re not. Sometimes we have to have a heart-to-heart with brands who are getting into the influencer marketing game for all the wrong reasons. Tough conversations are necessary to reset a client’s expectations and make sure that everyone has realistic objectives. Here are some common questions that tell us you’re probably not ready for influencer marketing.

5 Dead Giveaways

How many sales can you promise if we buy this solution?

While we understand that the desire to increase sales is the driving force behind all brand marketing, this question raises alarm bells for several reasons. First, this implies that influencer marketing is the “solution” to the brand’s awareness problem. Influencer marketing is an excellent tool when implemented as part of a holistic marketing strategy, but it should never be the only area of effort or investment. Content creators can provide positive brand association for a consumer on the path to purchase; the rest of the journey to purchase should have mile markers for print and digital advertising, surprise and delight, branded experiences, sponsorships… all the other pieces that turn a regular brand into a can’t miss lifestyle brand. So the first problem is: influencer marketing can’t be the whole “solution.”

The second problem is “sales you can promise”… the ROI elephant in the room. As we mentioned before, influencer marketing is part of the path to purchase. It is not designed to be the point of purchase. Therefore, if you’re trying to attribute sales directly to influencer posts you are you are going to end up disappointed. Networks don’t always make link tracking– or even link clicking– easy. And while some third party solutions are helping to solve for this, the bigger issue is that asking for CTR means you’re looking for influencers to create advertisements for your products instead of creating genuine native content that includes your products. There’s a big difference.

*A special note about app downloads: There are a plethora of reasons that an Instagram influencer campaign is an especially difficult place to promote an app. The content is tricky for influencers to create. The platform does not allow for easy click through to download. The market is highly saturated, so the high-quality influencers are inundated with requests for app partnerships daily. If you’re looking to promote an app, think long and hard about your larger digital advertising plan (digital ads, app store optimization, etc), where influencer marketing fits into your strategy and whether putting boots on the ground in key markets might be a better move for you.

Can influencers share images we have created?

This one is the fastest tip off. This question tells us immediately that you are not interested in having your brand message creatively interpreted by talented content creators. This question tells us that you’re actually looking for is an Instagram ad campaign.

We spend time with brands determining their campaign goals, their creative look and feel and identifying a set of guidelines under which influencers will create content. We pride ourselves on doing the sleuthing to find the exact right brand match for you– whether you make athletic apparel or sell a delicious candy bar– we want to find a content creator whose images and persona embody your brand values. When done correctly, this yields beautiful content that you’ll be proud to associate with your brand without having to dictate the images or copy.

Can we pre-approve all influencer content?

See question above.

We know it is hard to release the reigns. But if you’re doing the prep work to make sure that you have the correct people and you’ve provided them with all of the necessary brand education, then you should trust the content creators to get adventurous and innovative with your brand message or product. It’s more exciting this way!

How big is your network?

Well… we don’t have one. So let’s start with why the concept of a network is the wrong way to think about what we do.

When you have a network in the literal sense, you end up being restricted to a finite group of people and this can lead to an allegiance to the talent instead of an allegiance to the brand story.

We do have a group of people we’ve worked with on past campaigns, some of those people might be a great fit for your brand. If so, we’ll include them as potential content creators for you to evaluate. Then there is the whole rest of the internet. The majority of the people who are the perfect fit for your brand are out in the internet– not in our (relatively) small group. We want to find them for you and put them to work for a killer campaign.

Will influencers work for free?

Sometimes we hear brands say things like “can they throw in some Snapchats for free?” or “We’re going to send them tons of product and swag, why do we have to pay them?” The short answer: because creating content is their livelihood. Most of these individuals are approached with many opportunities each day to represent products and brands. Just as you would pay a graphic designer to put together a print ad or a radio announcer to voice your 30-second spot, you have to pay content creators to represent your brand in their expert medium. We work with content creators who bring a level of thought and artistic expression to their projects that goes beyond just showing the brand in a photo.