Why You Should Pay Influencers For Their Reviews
So let’s say you’re a consultant. You have a client that asks you to develop and execute a marketing campaign for a product. You charge them a fee (usually by the hour), and you get paid for your work. This is the right thing to do, and nobody will object you doing this. It is your business, your profession. Now let’s move over to the online influencer. A brand approaches the influencer with their product, and pays them to do a review. Somehow, a large community of social media purists dubbed this as unethical. But why? Why shouldn’t you pay influencers for their time? Why are paid reviews so bad for the digital marketing world?
The answer is – they’re not. Think of it this way: An influencer is a digital publisher. Their job is to create a blog, create a community, grow a community around an idea, develop thought leadership, and influence people about these ideas. Online influence is their business – and like any other business, the goal is to make money.
Time Equals Money!
An influencer is an online marketing consultant. They are creating a digital campaign for your product or brand. They have to first demo the product, do some research, create an opinion, write content, decide when it will be published, promote it through their various social channels, moderate engagement and comments, report analytics, etc. This is a lot of work, and you would never expect a consultant to do this all for you for free. So why are you expecting influencers to do so?
Think about the amount of hours that it took to build their blog, develop connections, grow their social networks, develop authority, grow an email list, invest in branding, etc. The one blog post you’re asking for might take a few hours to write, but the channel that they created to deliver that blog post most likely took years to develop. How insulted would you be, as a PR or Marketing agency, if your client decided to pay you in coupons? I’d be pissed!
All of this takes time. You’re not buying the influencer’s love, you’re simply paying for the time that it took for them to develop a digital campaign for you. Much the same way you would pay a consultant.
Here are a few best practices for writing paid reviews:
- Brands – don’t tell the influencer what to write. They have their own voice, they know what they’re doing, they know what their audience likes. Just give them the demo/product sample and the information they need to form an opinion, and let them shine.
- Brands – Pay influencers for their time. Don’t expect the most popular influencers to develop a social media campaign for you for free, or for food stamps, or for product samples. The compensation needs to reflect the time it will take for them to execute your campaign.
- Influencers – Make sure you declare that you got paid for your TIME, and not your opinion. Always declare that the opinions in the review are your own.
- Influencers – Be as authentic as possible. It doesn’t matter how much the brand paid you, if there’s something about their product you didn’t like, say it. Authentic reviews do a lot better than reviews that are 100% positive – these are the reviews that look like they were bought. Nobody likes that.
So please, next time you do an influencer outreach campaign, don’t be cheap – pay influencers for their time. It’s the right thing to do – after all, they can’t just live on toothpaste!
Have you ever done paid reviews for your products? Have you ever written a paid review on your blog? What worked, what didn’t? Please leave a comment below!