Influencer marketing is a powerful tool with the potential for a strong return on investment. The companies improving in influencer marketing are those that take time to study and understand this relatively new method of advertising. If you’re approaching content creators to develop your own marketing strategy, take note of these 14 common misconceptions about influencers.

1. Influencers Work for Free

A common misconception is that many influencers are happy to work for free samples and review copies of products. This has resulted in situations where influencers claim less than half of brands offer cash, according to research by influence.co. With 45 percent of influencers receiving at least four offers every month, you should consider monetary compensation as the best way to stand out in the crowd and seal a deal.

2. YouTubers Make Their Money from Views

YouTube gives content creators an opportunity to run advertisements on their videos. Such adverts generate additional revenue, but that revenue is not a reliable income source. Don’t expect YouTubers to create sponsored content for your brand for a small fee just because they have other revenue streams.

Creating videos is time-consuming and requires specialist equipment, so the work should be paid for accordingly. This means you need to have your own advertising budget nailed down before you approach content creators.

3. Paid Influencers Are Sellouts

The best influencers enjoy great success because they’re authentic. In fact, 40 percent of millennial YouTube subscribers believe their favorite creator understands them better than their friends, according to Google. The concern is, when influencers are paid to talk about a brand, they lose that sense of authenticity.

Fortunately, most fans understand that influencers need payment in order to continue creating content. As long as influencers are transparent, and the information is useful or fun, the audience engages just the same. Additionally, many influencers only partner with brands they truly believe in, lending more weight to their endorsement.

4. More Subscribers Is Better

If you’re promoting a brand, it may seem sensible to contact influencers who have large audiences. You want to leverage those numbers. However, it all depends on your marketing goals. Many smaller influencers actually have more engagement with their fans. Think carefully about whether you’re more interested in extending your reach or building a rapport with fans.

5. Influencers Work Alone

Small influencers may work alone, writing, filming, editing, and promoting everything they do. Large influencers often have a production team to take on a lot of those responsibilities. For example, many Instagram influencers require photographers for their photo shoots. Keep in mind that if you want to work with the professional influencers, expect to pay larger sums because there’s more than one wage packet to fill.

6. Amateurs Are Unprofessional

Small content creators may not have the most expensive equipment, and they may have a “shoot from the hip” approach to content creation. It doesn’t matter. They have a powerful tool at their disposal: Authenticity. Audiences like influencers because they’re easy to relate to. Most of them aren’t superstars with big houses and fast cars. They’re just passionate people with great personalities and something they want to say. They also know the industry, and they work incredibly hard to build their audiences.

7. Big Audiences Equal Success

Influencers with big audiences may have found the winning ticket and built a loyal fan base. Unfortunately, some influencers have simply paid a company to like and follow them to give the impression of greater influence and success. If a content creator has little engagement, or grew an audience rapidly, it’s worth doing some more research to see if that content creator is genuine. To make it easier to find authentic influencers, consider joining an influencer marketing platform.

8. You Can’t Measure Campaign Success

There are plenty of ways to determine how successful an influencer’s marketing has been. The first thing is to establish your metrics for success, such as number of sales, income, or engagement. It’s possible to monitor this type of data using online tools. It’s also possible to employ tactics such as giving your influencer a promotional code to share. Whenever people use that code, you know where they came from.

9. Influencers Don’t Need Disclaimers

If influencers are promoting a brand in exchange for money or free products and services, they must disclose that information. In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission had to send warning letters to more than 90 influencers who were advertising products without full disclosure.

10. Influencers Are Driven by Money

Many influencers are trying to make a living, so it’s important that their work generates an income. However, creating content is a labor of love. These people have transformed their passion for a particular subject into a way to share information, entertain, and earn an income. This pride in what they do means that some influencers may choose to partner with brands for reasons other than money. For example, many influencers are more likely to partner with brands they admire, or brands that show a genuine interest in what the influencer does.

11. Celebrities Are the Best Influencers

While it’s true that celebrities have massive followings and huge amounts of influence, they aren’t always the best option. They charge incredibly high sums, which means most marketers need not apply. Furthermore, celebrity status makes them less approachable than other influencers, and often a skilled or knowledgeable influencer is better positioned to talk about your brand.

12. You Supply the Content

If you’re thinking of giving an influencer a script to read, you might want to think again. Influencers are at their best when they talk in their own voice in the way their audiences expect. Trust the influencers to promote your brand in their own style to get the best results.

13. Influencers Are Mavericks

It’s intimidating putting your brand message into the hands of an outside force. Will they ruin your reputation? Will they misrepresent your product? You don’t need to worry. Influencers know how to promote a brand, and they know how to work with companies. Good influencers keep you involved in the process and ensure you’re happy with the results. If you use an influencer marketing platform communication and cooperation is much easier.

14. Influencers Guarantee Success

Improving in influencer marketing is essential if you wish to remain competitive and extend your brand reach. Like all skills, it takes hard work and dedication, but the rewards are worth it. Take the time to better understand influencer marketing and common misconceptions about influencers to improve your chances of success.

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