So you’ve got your eyes on a hot influencer that will take your brand to the next level. Maybe it’s a blogger with a large following; maybe it’s an industry expert with many speaking engagements coming up in the next quarter. But are they worth the fee? Will they help your brand speak to your audience in an impactful way? Will they care about your brand as much as you do?

Let’s say you paid said influencer a $150 fee to promote your product on their Instagram. Great, now what?

Congratulations! You’ve just successfully purchased display advertising, the worst converting form of advertising. For that amount of money, you could have purchased more eyeballs from Google or targeted your influencer’s specific audience on Facebook.

Here’s the truth about influencer marketing: It’s usually a win/lose situation where the “win” is for the influencer.

While the reality that influencer marketing might not be the best way to spend your budget may be hard to face when this tactic is all the rage, here are 3 truths you need to know before investing your dollars:

Everyone with over 1,000 followers thinks they are worth six figures.

Determining an influencer’s worth is way more involved than just seeing how many followers they have. Reach does not necessarily equate to conversions for your product or brand. Audience engagement is just as important.

It’s a saturated tactic, especially in industries like fitness and fashion.

Users are smarter than you think and they’re becoming more and more sophisticated. If you’re a fitness or fashion brand, influencer marketing runs the risk of not reaching your audience. Users are familiar with sponsored posts and are prone to tune them out.

Paying up front is a good way to lose.

Unfortunately, the majority of “influencers” are only concerned with their upfront payment, delivering your post and then moving on to the next brand willing to pay them. Paying them up front is a fool’s game.

So, how can your brand do influencer marketing the right way?

Well, the best influencers should be found manually. Yes, manually, as in more work for you. But while it may be more effort up front, it is well worth it in the long term. By building an army of brand influencers that really click with your brand’s goals, you’re more likely to maintain a relationship that will last longer and produce better efforts over time.

Nowadays, it’s too easy to fake a following. You want to make sure that your influencers are reaching their followers and that their followers are actively engaged. Influencers should also connect with and care about your brand.

Here are a few tips on how to make influencer marketing work for you:

If you’ve got a tool that helps you find influencers, great! Use it.

Just make sure to vet them manually. Vetting influencers helps you find the right people with the right audience for your brand. This also helps you make sure that your outreach is going to make the impact it deserves.

Forget upfront payment unless the influencer has serious influence over their audience.

Steer clear of this no-no when it comes to most influencers. What you’re looking for are people who do more than just share your post. You want your brand to be represented by someone who fully engages with their audience.

In probably all cases, one post isn’t going to cut it.

The influencer needs to go to bat for your brand, take ownership of their stake in it and want your brand to succeed. They shouldn’t behave as simple ad servers. They’re influencers.

Remember, influencer marketing can work, just not the way most people are doing it.

Your best bet for influencer marketing success is to find and vet influencers manually before diving into any partnerships. Then once you’ve got the best people onboard, use marketing software to manage those relationships, so you can automate and optimize your efforts.