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Should influencers be paid?

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Should influencers be paid?

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As content marketing has risen, so has the value in attracting and securing the attention of brand influencers in your market.  These people can often hold considerable sway in their particular niche, and as a neutral and impartial voice can be particularly invaluable if you can get them onside.

A recent study however suggested that brands are having difficulty converting influencer support into something of mutual benefit to both parties.  The research found that 39% of those perceived to be influencers had a bad experience with a brand.  The main reason for this negative experience was that the brand had not followed through on promises made, with poor communication the next largest gripe.

It’s a situation that I’ve had personal experience, with some incredibly large and well respected brands proving very bad at doing simple things such as keeping their word on appointments or following through on promises.

Whilst that is interesting, not to mention sad, another fascinating aspect of the study was around the issue of remuneration.  Should brands be paying influencers for their time, and of course, reach?  The study suggested that 53% of influencers expected money for their efforts, with 20% expecting free products.  It basically needs to be a fair exchange, whether that’s monetary or otherwise.

All of which is understandable.  Bloggers in particular seldom earn money directly for their writing, and therefore rely on income sources such as this to support them in their endeavours.  If brands feel the need to pay employees to do content marketing for them, then they should be prepared to reward influencers that help them get the word out.

The impartiality of bloggers is also important, and something that brands need to be aware of.  If you give people a free product or a ticket to an event in return for a review of the same, it shouldn’t be expected that this will guarantee a positive review.  You’re essentially securing a review, not a positive review.

There are of course other issues that go into finding a long lasting relationship with an influencer, but if you can align what you want as a brand with what the influencer wants to achieve then it can enable sustainable wins for both parties.

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