Ask an Influencer: The biggest misconceptions brands have about influencers

The influencer-brand relationship is experiencing some uncomfortable growing pain. For brands, most of the problems stem from not knowing how to pick or pay influencers, or even how to measure returns on investment. But the influencers themselves are often stymied by how little brands really know about them.

We polled members of influencer agency Sway Group’s community to find out what’s really bugging influencers when it comes to working with brands.

We granted anonymity in exchange for honesty, and answers are lightly edited for clarity.

Gen X mommy blogger
That we are uneducated (many of us have advanced degrees) and will work for the opportunity to have tweets shared. That we need their content to keep our sites going.

Millennial mommy blogger
That my family is up for grabs just because I signed a contract. Do not add on “and a video of your child playing with the product” or “a pic of your kids eating product” as scope creep after I’ve already agreed to something else.

Gen X mommy blogger who also does local news segments
Brands will jump to have me feature one of their products on a TV segment that will reach, maybe, 30,000 people because it is “legit.” But they’ll give me give me the side eye if I talk about it in relation to my site, which has far more reach and stays up forever versus a segment that lasts five minutes. And not every social media platform is a good fit for every campaign. [Brands will often send me a] blanket request to “write a post and promote it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram” without evaluating if my followers on that platform will respond favorably or not.

Makeup influencer
That brown girls, or all and any women of color, don’t have influence, unless they’re in a group. It’s ridiculous that many have to pitch in groups to even be considered for campaigns.

Snapchat influencer
I think sometimes brands forget — or neglect to realize — that we are not on payroll receiving a salary like journalists and editors at traditional media outlets. If we don’t charge for our time, we don’t get paid. By anyone.

Parenting influencer
That we can sound natural and engaging while having to follow 17 rules about their brand’s name and its use while also working in unnatural phrases and slogans. For the love of God, just let us write, or else what you liked about our blogs in the first place won’t shine through in your sponsored post.

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