We often emphasize to how influencers, by definition, have such rich knowledge and consumer empathy that not including them at the point of initial campaign research, ideation, strategy, and planning is a significant missed opportunity.

As brands struggle to remain influential and trustworthy themselves, not inviting the influencers who are influencing target audiences is lost business insight. Yet influencers’ perspectives on the industry are often overlooked. So we surveyed and interviewed over 100 micro- and macro-influencers to share what inspires and motivates them to collaborate with brands, which social platforms have the highest influencer affinity (and best features), how marketers are enforcing FTC guidelines, and how marketers can be better partners in the creative process.

In this first segment on our series on influencers’ perspective on the current state of the influencer marketing industry we dive right in: what do influencers what from marketers?

Several of the influencers we interviewed mentioned the disconnect between marketers and creators – especially between what content they are posting and the style of their feeds, and understanding what brands are looking for. They create content, hoping it fits with a brand’s aesthetic, but do not really know without trial-and-error loops. And like many marketers, they too, want deeper analytics, audience growth, and are concerned about the impact of algorithm changes.

All responses were kept anonymous in exchange for influencers’ unfiltered perspectives.

01. Keep It Real 

“Followers do not always want to see photos and messages that are so perfectly curated they could be straight out of an actual ad. They follow and trust you because you seem real and they relate to you. It is important to remember that being YOU is what drew people in in the first place.”

02. Professionalism 

“Professional, grammatically correct messages are key. I am hesitant to work with a brand immediately, even if they seem to have a good product if their messages are short and unprofessional.”

03. Long-Term Collaborations

“Keep long-term relationships with bloggers. More beneficial for both your brands.”

“Long-term partnership opportunities are so much more successful – more organic, more authentic, more dynamic.”

04. Think Outside the ‘Content’ Box

“I don’t think marketers remember to engage their followers enough by asking what they want to see. I think readers and followers to often are seen as numbers on social media instead of real people with real lives and real interests.”

05. Use Hashtags

”I feel like digital marketers are very against the usage of hashtags. I think hashtags are important, but taking the time to study, track, and analyze popular hashtags can be useful to growth and expansion of ones brand.”

06. Access to Better Analytics & Insights

“Many influencers do not have marketing or business backgrounds. Those who do are able to understand trends and analytics far better than the other. I think there is a balance between influencer and marketer which create for a successful campaign.”

For more insights, access our 2018 Influencer Perspective report and survey here.