6 Questions Brands Ask Before Hiring Influencers
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This is the golden age to be a creator on social media.
Because of that, there has never been more people trying to be influencers, and that can be both good and bad. Good because billions of advertising dollars are flowing in to influencer marketing, but bad because it's as competitive as ever to land those brand deals. With so many creators to pick from, you better believe that brands are doing their research when it comes to choosing who to partner with. After all, they wanna get the best return on investment, or ROI as they say.
So when I read this great blog post over at later.com about the six questions brands should be asking themselves before they work with an influencer, I thought to myself, "You know, there's a lot that creators can learn from this." That way the next time a brand reaches out to you with an opportunity, you already know exactly what they're looking for. Question number one brands are asking: Is this influencer a natural fit for our products or services? And translated for creators, is this brand a fit for you? Seems obvious enough, right? But the key is how you define fit. For one, there's content fit. Let's say your content vertical is tech. Does it make sense to work with a hair products brand? Probably not, right? I mean, your audience probably comes to you for tech advice, not hairstyle tips. But fit goes much further than that, right? Think about the values that you stand for as a creator. Maybe you're really collaborative. Do you want a brand sponsorship where you can influence the creative, right? You'd be compromising your own values by partnering with a brand that forces you to cold-read their script without any input from you. At the same time, don't forget about your audience. After all, this is probably what the brand partner is most excited about, right? Reaching and connecting with them. You understand your audience better than anyone. Ask yourself, what's the best way to engage them? A short form video, an Instagram image, making them laugh or inspiring them, these answers will help you create a compelling piece of content that's tailored to your audience. Honestly, this starts and ends with knowing yourself and your audience. So write down the content style and values that you both share, and then that way, you can evaluate brand fit point by point. So the more overlap between you and the brand, the better.
Question number two that brands ask: Does this influencer's performance data align with my campaign goals? Translated for creators, does your platform warrant this brand deal? Remember earlier when I said that brands are looking for ROI? Well, they are. And they most likely already have goals in mind for their next partnerships. So goals on reach, or engagement or sales, right? And they'll want to know that you can hit those goals. So how can you prove it? Well, you show them your analytics, right? At a high level, you can start with average impressions, average views, audience demographics, maybe click-through rate if you have that. But don't stop there. Go deeper and show them posts that you did in partnership with a similar brand to them. That way it's easier for them to make an apples to apples comparison. In my experience, some creators absolutely knock it out of the park on certain types of brand deals but fail miserably with others. So if you can show a brand your media kit or a case study where you killed it with a product in a similar category, that is absolute money.
Question number three brands ask: How engaged is this influencer's community? Translated for creators, how engaged is your community? Notice that I said community and not audience, right? There's a difference. Audience is everyone you talk to. But a community often means everyone talks to each other too. Remember, one of the big reasons that brands wanna partner with creators is to leverage the know, like, and trust factor that you have with your community, and it's on you to show brands how deep your relationship with them goes, right? You can do this with more metrics like engagement and past examples. Also show that you actually care. Show that you constantly reply to your followers. I can't tell you how many times I've seen creators completely abandon their comment section, right? In my experience, that is the number one way to create a deeply involved community and ensure that anytime you do a brand partnership, your followers will be super supportive.
Onto question four that brands ask: Does this influencer align with my budget? Translated for creators, what do you charge? Ah, yes. You knew this was gonna come up, right? Most brands have an influencer marketing budget, carved out months or even a year ahead of time. You'll have to fit within that. Plus, there will likely be influencer-specific budget benchmarks that the brand has to adhere to. If you're stuck on how much to charge, I actually have a more detailed breakdown in this video, so make sure to check that out. But the main thing I wanna get across is that you need to understand that the brand is operating with constraints. So if they're not able to meet your rate, don't get mad. It's not personal. Okay, yes, there are some brands who will try to get you to do a gazillion posts for next to nothing, but most legitimate brands understand that they'll need to compensate you. But understand, it's like a game of Tetris, right? The brand has x thousand dollars and they're trying to make it work amongst, let's say, 15 different creators, right? And not every creator charges the same amount, right? And not every creator is gonna post on the same platform, so sometimes you got to cut the brand some slack. So you can say, "Okay, well, I'd love to find a way to make it work. So because your budget is y dollars, we can still post on, let's say, YouTube or Instagram or TikTok or whatever, but I'm gonna remove these other posts. What do you think?" You'd be surprised at how often that will work.
Question number five brands are asking: How is this influencer already working with other brands? Translated for creators, what is your current brand deal strategy? Brands are analyzing your feed without you even knowing it, right? They're going back and looking at your past partnerships to see who you've worked with, right? How you executed it? How compelling the content is? what people are saying in the comments? This is all being done in the background before they ever reach out to you. So anyways, because you know that brands are looking at this kind of stuff, have those links ready to send to them, right? Even if they don't ask. I hope it's clear that you know you need to be including this kind of stuff in your media kit so that you can put your best forward. But there's one more thing that you need to consider, which is a potential conflict of interest... Your best forward, but there's one more thing that you need to consider which is a potential conflict of interest. If you're a creator in a very specific vertical, there's a good chance that you'll be working with different brands that are in direct competition with each other, right? This could be an issue, especially if the two deals happen within a short time of one another, right? Some brands like baking an exclusivity clause into their sponsorships to prevent you from working with a direct competitor during that period. And if you volunteer to a brand that you've worked with one of their competitors a few months back, and they choose not to move forward with you because of that, don't get mad, right? It's also in your best interest because you also wanna ensure that you're maintaining integrity with your audience.
And the sixth question that brands will ask: How is this influencer disclosing sponsored posts? Translated for creators, are you protecting brands? If you're working alongside a brand in the U.S., you must remain in compliance with the FTC, aka, Federal Trade Commission This is when you publicly state that you're partnering with a sponsor. You've probably seen this on YouTube when creators thank their sponsor outright or on Instagram with the paid partnership tag that appears below your username on a post. Most brands take disclosure very seriously. If they don't, they face a potential penalty from the FTC for deceptive advertising and also, bad headlines, right? So to check this box, you just need to show that you've taken measures to fully disclose previous brand deals that you've done.
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