Debating whether influencer networks are right for you?
Influencer networks come up in conversations with bloggers pretty frequently from what the best networks are to how responsive the networks are to whether they're worth it in the long run.
During my time working on the agency side for a brand, I was able to meet with and vet a few different influencer networks. There were a few differences here and there, but we had found that they were pretty much all alike. Ultimately, we didn't think it was right for the brand and didn't help us build personal relationships with influencers.
However, I've seen a lot of bloggers on the fence about using an influencer network, so I've compiled a pros and cons list to help you decide what's best for you and your blog!
INFLUENCER NETWORKS ALLOW EASIER ACCESS TO BRANDS
If you're a blogger that's new to brand collaborations, and don't exactly know where to start or think that you don't have enough experience, an influencer network gives you easier access to brands. It also gets you one step closer to a "Yes!"
Depending on the influencer network, you'll either be able to apply to work with a brand or the influencer network will pair you with a brand. This can either be done through a platform or through an Account Manager that handles specific brands.
INFLUENCER NETWORKS OPEN UP DOORS FOR FUTURE COLLABS
Once you've landed a few influencer network collaborations, you now have a portfolio of work you can bring to other brands. The past collabs help you build your credibility, especially if you were able to work with a well-known brand.
The experience you gain also helps you navigate the waters for future campaigns by bringing you up to speed on industry lingo, payment terms, contracts, and more.
INFLUENCER NETWORKS HAVE CLEAR COMMUNICATION
Since you're using an influencer network, it's sometimes a lot easier to communicate with the network rather than the brand.
Brand contacts usually are responsible for more than just influencer marketing compared to an Account Manager at an influencer network. This means, they're more pressed for time and might not fully understand influencer marketing.
INFLUENCERS ARE DISQUALIFIED BASED ON NUMBERS
When you join an influencer network, you need to input all of your blog stats and social media numbers. There may be an area for you to include previous brand work, but a lot of times, there isn't.
So how exactly are you going to be vetted? Through numbers. Even if you have high quality content, you could still be turned down. Which, from my previous brand perspective, was not at all ideal since we were looking for high quality content that engages both the brand's audience and the influencers.
Related reading // How Brands Select Influencers
INFLUENCERS DON'T GET TO KNOW THE BRAND
I think one of the most important aspects to brand pitching is building relationships with a brand (or agency rep). You can't really do this with an influencer network because the brand is the network's client and you won't actually be talking to them.
When I talk to bloggers who have done a ton of brand collaborations through influencer networks, I learn that they actually don't have a personal connection with the brand. This is kind of a red flag since an influencer network could go under at any time, and then you wouldn't know who the brand contact is.
When you build a relationship with a brand, they're more likely to think of you for brand campaigns or for a specific project. As a blogger, you want to stay top of mind for a brand. This way, you'll be able to stand out in a sea of other bloggers.
INFLUENCERS TYPICALLY CAN'T NEGOTIATE RATES
With influencer platforms, it's hard to negotiate rates since budgets are pretty much set once the influencer networks starts reaching out. You can even be disqualified from a campaign if your rates are too high as well.
When you aren't able to speak to the brand (or agency rep) directly, it's harder to negotiate your rates and talk through the types of content you're able to provide.
Through my experience, I've learned that influencer partnerships come in all shapes and sizes, and that putting all influencer partnerships into one box really doesn't make sense. Every influencer is different and can provide different things for brands.
That being said, you as an influencer should do what works best for you, whether that's using influencer networks or directly pitching.