Three don'ts of influencer marketing

There's a lot of nuance in influencer marketing except when it comes to these 3 things.

Read time: 4 minutes 16 seconds

Eleni from Modash here with another issue of Return on Influence. The influencer marketing newsletter that some say makes you a better marketer.

(It’s me. I’m the “some say”.)

I typically share tips in this newsletter. Tips Ryan and I collect from interviewing and surveying influencer marketers. Tiny to-dos that can have a huge impact on the way you run influencer marketing.

Today, I want to share 3 things you DON’T WANT TO DO.

Your to-don’ts, if you will.

Before we get to them, do you have anything you want me dig into? Reply to this email and let me know what you’re interested for me to cover in future issues.

To the don’ts we go 👇

Don’t#1: Don’t let influencer marketing exist in a silo

Silos exist to keep stuff out. 

So when your whole reason for existing is to pull people in, silos actively work against you. 

Working cross-functionally within marketing and across your org can’t only prove the value of influencer marketing as a channel but can also improve the ROI of the channel. 

What to share with other teams?


The easiest way to support other teams is to make influencer content or UGC accessible across marketing.

  • Your paid advertising team can use UGC for creative testing.

  • Your organic social team can repurpose influencer content (if usage rights are included in your contract) for reposting on your brand’ social.

  • Your e-commerce manager can use content created via creators on landing pages.

Marketing Insights

Share information about what’s working and what’s not working. The information you have can help most of the teams across marketing.

At a minimum, share what type of content works well for influencers. (Stories vs. Posts vs. Reels? Static assets vs. video assets? ) and which CTAs are performing best.

And it goes both ways. You’ll learn what’s working and you can all align on tactics, messaging, and style.

Product insights 

Fiona Macpherson, Head of Influencer Marketing at Wild recommends using creators to pitch into other areas of your business efforts. 

Influencer marketers can use their loyal content creator community for input regarding product development, testing of new products, and general feedback of what could be improved. I think this is an untapped opportunity and a huge value, which many organizations don't utilize. 

This is something we’ve heard from other senior influencer marketers. Some creators don’t only have a pulse on their audience but on internet culture as well.

They can be a great feedback loop for product development. 

How to start breaking down silos

It doesn’t need to be anything more complicated than setting up a recurring meeting where you can trade notes.

Don’t #2: Don’t negotiate without data

Paying influencers and negotiating with them can often feel like you’re playing darts – drunk. 

Someone will most likely miss the target. Someone else will get hurt. No one even remembers why we thought this was a good idea in the first place.

This misalignment between creators and brands happens because there aren’t any standardized ways to price influencer marketing yet.

Until we get there, make this your guiding principle 👇

Pay creators fairly AND use your budget efficiently. 

Negotiating isn’t about fooling an influencer or taking advantage of a brand. That’s no bueno.

Instead, build trust (and keep your reputation spotless) by being open and transparent about the reasons your offer is your offer.

You can only do that with data. 

When you have access to an influencer’s performance and follower data, you can use certain metrics to craft a deal that’ll make both sides happy.

Let’s say you’re having initial conversations with a creator with a high follower count. Their content is great. Audience demographics are on point.

But only 50% of those followers live in your target location.

You can use this knowledge to ask for a lower rate.

“You’re a great fit for us, but only 50% of your audience is in London. Because of this, I can’t offer X, but I can offer Y. This helps me be efficient with my budget, making it more likely for us to work together again.”

The influencer is well within their rights to decline. And if they do, you should be willing to walk away, too.

You won't get a positive ROI by paying to reach followers in the wrong countries. On the other hand, a recurring paycheck from a partnership that works for both sides can be a good incentive for the influencer to lower their rates.

But having access to this data isn’t only useful when trying to get a lower rate. Data on creators also makes you more confident that a creator’s rate is a safe bet.

For example, let’s take the engagement rate of this influencer.

This cool graph is from Modash

When comparing it to the engagement rate of other influencers of her size, hers is on the high end. This is a signal that it’s safe to offer the higher range of your budget.

If you don’t have an influencer marketing tool to analyze creator profiles, you can still get some data directly from influencers themselves. Ask them to send you screenshots of their analytics.

You can get data useful for negotiations from Modash for $0 with our free tools.

Don’t #3  Don’t try to copy the big brands

What works for the Ceraves and Dunkins of the world might not work for you — unless, of course, you’re as big of a household name in your industry.

The success of any big brand’s influencer marketing campaigns is a result of a large team, colossal budget, reputation, familiarity, and brand name. 

(Don’t discount just how important brand name is for creators. Every creator in beauty has Sephora on their vision board because it raises their status.) 

Your influencer marketing processes will look different. Your response rates to outreach will be lower. Your campaigns might not be as splashy. Your budget won’t be the same.

The good news is that you don’t need a big brand’s strategy to become a big brand.

AdoreMe went from working with 0 influencers to 6000 and was eventually acquired by Victoria’s Secret. At the beginning, they focused on consistently improving their processes, listening to creators, and adapting their strategy as they grew.

Similarly, if you’re a food business, following McDonald’s current influencer marketing playbook won’t probably get you were you want to go. 

But KetoKrate, running 100 – 600 influencer partnerships monthly with a small but mighty team of three (!), might have a better blueprint to follow.

Instead of copy-pasting the big brands, look around and take inspiration from companies at the same stage as you or a little further along. Look at brands who have scaled influencer marketing and study each step they took, when they took it, and why they took it.

Steady wins could be what make your brand the next household name.

As always, give yourself a high five for reading until the end. You’re my kind of person.

See you in the next one,
Eleni Zoe
Marketing at Modash, Person Who Had To Wash Her Hair with One Hand After A Knife Got In The Way of Her Tomato

P.S. Help me make this newsletter better and more useful to you 👇

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