The Top 6 Things Influencers always wanted to tell brands but never had the guts to say it!

‘Influencers’ deal with brand managers and agencies that represent those brands on a daily basis. I’ve talked to 15 ‘influencers’ in the MENA region from different industries and tiers and here’s the top 6 things they’ve always wanted to say to brand managers or agencies but couldn’t as it would affect their relationship with them.

1. Just because we’re friends, doesn’t mean you can abuse me

While working with brand managers and agencies, influencers develop relationships with these people. In fact, it’s in their best interest to do so as brand managers and agencies are more likely to work with influencers who they have a better relationship with as opposed to someone they’ve never worked with. While this relationship is good, it can be a two edged sword. Many influencers I’ve spoken to have said that a lot of brand managers/agencies try to abuse their relationship with them and ask them to post free of charge. Once they do it once or twice, influencers find themselves in an awkward situation where brand managers/agencies expect everything after that for free.

The Solution:

Influencers should approach this in a professional manner. Tell the brand manager/agency that you’re willing to do this free of charge as a favor this one time but next time, it won’t happen. If you’re an influencer and already find yourself too deep in this position, have an honest talk with the brand manager/agency and they should understand.

Brand Managers/Agencies should assess their relationships with influencers. Asking for a favor once every while is okay but don’t overdo it and don’t abuse it. You’ll end up being the gossip session when influencers get together and they’ll tell each other that they shouldn’t work with you or the brands you represent.

2. Delayed payments isn’t cool ever

Believe it or not, the money that influencers are making from their collaboration with your brand isn’t just extra money on the side that they don’t need. It’s not okay to be late as many of these influencers depend on this money as a primary or second source of income and can forecast the average money they make on a monthly basis from being an ‘influencer’. With that said, it’s never okay to be late in paying them as they have commitments. How would you feel if your pay-check was delayed for a week or two? Exactly!

The Solution:

Influencers should follow up on payments a week before they are due to ensure that the brand manager/agency coordinates correctly with their finance department so that the payment is processed on time. Follow up once every 3 working days thereafter.

Brand Managers & Agencies should coordinate with their finance department to ensure that the payments are processed on time. More importantly, once you agree with an influencer on a collaboration put the worst-case scenario of payment terms and explain to them that you’ll try your best to get them their payment before that but this is the worst that could happen. Keep in mind that most influencers require a 50% if not 100% payment prior to starting the collaboration.

80% of the influencers I spoke to said one of the main reasons they refuse to work with a brand again is due to delayed payments.

Influencers — be flexible and keep in mind that international brands have certain regulations in place when working with people that they can’t change just for you.

3. No, you can’t just change timelines and think I’m okay with it

Imagine this — you have a very busy week ahead of you. Your calendar is packed with meetings and you have various deadlines that you’re expected to meet and 5 minutes before a meeting, the person you’re meeting with cancels — how would you feel?

That’s exactly how influencers feel when you keep shifting around timelines — FRUSTRATED! Influencers that collaborate with various brands in parallel can easily get frustrated if you switch around timelines as many of them have a posting schedule that they put together on a weekly or monthly basis. If one brand changes the dates they agreed on, the result can be a disaster for them trying to reorganize it to meet your new timeline.

The Solution:

Influencers should mention that if the brand wants to change the final timeline that the brand has shared, they might not be able to meet it as they have a pre-arranged schedule that they go by but will try their best.

Brand Managers and Agencies should wait until everything is confirmed. Don’t share an exact timeline from the start if you’re not 1000% certain that this is 99.9% the final timeline. Give influencers a rough timeline for example the second week of October and explain that once you have a more clear timeline you’ll share it with them. Also, try not to switch around the timeline unless it’s a matter of life and death.

4. Sending me something last minute isn’t okay — it’s unprofessional

93% of the influencers I talked to said they absolutely hate it when a brand manager or agency sends them an invite for an event or collaboration that is the next day or in 2–3 days.

I really can’t say anymore than that about this topic. I know that brand managers and agencies aren’t always to blame, that’s the nature of the marketing industries. If you have an event coming up, give influencers a heads up ahead of time — even if you don’t have a clear date just yet.

5. It’s better for you to not offer me anything at all than offer me something stupid

‘The amount of times I’ve gotten a call or e-mail with a brand offering me $10 for a post is uncountable. Just don’t do it, please.’

Imagine someone coming up to you and offering you $100 for the brand new Rolex that you picked up for $7,000 the other day. Wouldn’t you feel offended? It’s exactly the same thing!

The Solution:

Influencers should share their rate cards or rough estimates if they don’t have a rate card with the brand manager or agency once something like this happens.

Brand Managers and Agencies should either ask for the influencers rate card ahead of time (if you don’t have an idea of what they charge) or don’t offer them money to begin with. Create something so personal that they’ll want to share it and talk about your brand on social media for free.

6. Don’t push your content on me, give me the context and let me do my own thing

A brand approaches me and the minute I hear the sentence, ‘we don’t want to limit your creativity and want you to do your own thing’ is when I begin to freak out because what that usually means is we’re just saying that and it’s total bullshit, we’ll send you the content to publish or the minute I publish something that’s authentic to my follower-base they don’t like it! This is one of the reasons I love working with you guys — when you say that you mean it!

I’m personally amazed by the amount of brands that are still taking such an old-school approach to influencer marketing. Those brands that send influencers content to publish or tell them exactly what to do. Influencer Marketing isn’t mean to be ‘IN YOUR FACE’ — it should always be indirect and subtle. Give influencers the space to express their creativity even if you think you know best. There’s a reason they have 300K followers and you don’t — it’s because they can create kick-ass content that their followers engage with!

Some of the brands that are doing it right when it comes to influencer marketing is Salla UAE and IKEA UAE. Some of the brands that are doing it wrong are Activia and Toyota UAE.

And that’s a wrap folks!

Is there another point you’d like to add as an influencer? Leave a comment down below! Are you a brand manager or work at an agency and have things to say to influencers? Get in touch with me and let me know — that’s my next article topic!