“Influencers.” “Influencer.” “Influencer marketing.” “Tapinfluence. “ Chances are if you’re an active YouTube Partner video-blog producer, you are all too familiar with the terms, and the company. “Influencer Marketing”, as it’s called, is all the rage, and today, there are way too many marketing companies, or fly-by-night groups pretending to be above-board organizations, seeking to sign you up for a project that pays less than what you can deliver with your social media followers and YouTube subscribers.
So, what should you do? Should you negotiate your own work deals or leave it to a firm like Tapinfluence? As one who’s been a part of Tapinfluence’s stable of influencers since 2013 and the years they were in Denver and not The San Francisco Bay Area, I recommend that you do both. Here’s several reasons why.
First, let’s start with Tapinfluence.
When I first signed up my Zennie62 on YouTube Partner Channel and Zennie62.com blog and social media platforms with Tapinfluence it was 2013. The offerings for work were plentiful then. Offers for work came, on the average, twice a month. And the assignments ranged widely from one working with a Veterns organization, or another working with firms in the food and hair care industries. Then, there was one working with a smartphone maker – that’s the one I did in 2015 and concerned Twitter.
For all practical purposes, the engagement went well, but I realized that the account manager had not factored in the possibility that the tweet efforts of our group would cause the keyword we were concerned with to hit Twitter Worldwide trends. And that’s exactly what happened. The level of compensation we received per person was far less than what the client got in return.
(As a note, I’m really obsessed with tracking Twitter trends, and you should be too. One tweet can carry a single blog post to stardom. That happened yesterday with The History Channel and my San Diego Comic Con blog post.
We can’t contain our excitement 😻🙌🏼 #SDCC
— #Vikings (@HistoryVikings) July 10, 2018
And that brings me to what’s wtong with the “Influencer Marketing” field right now: too many instances of companies trying to get over on Influencers – many who are young and not really hip to making business deals. That begs the question: how much are you worth? How do you determine the answer?
The best way to do this to determine your own income needs versus what you can offer. Don’t take a project because a firm like Tapinfluence comes calling. Take it because you have a level price based on impact you can make. You should make your own media kit showing what you were able to cause to happen: social media shares or appearance in key aggreagarors, or both. Use common sense: if you’re being paid for a tweet session where there no bonus for hitting any level of trend, don’t do it. If you’re being asked to make a video and a blog post for just $200, and not double or tripple that, and you have a locally popular blog, don’t do it. Know your value because the organization you partner with isn’t going to help you get your value.
It must be noted, that’s not true for Tapinfluence. The firm will not shove a price down your month, and the system does try to form a value match with your follower base. If you think a rate offering is too small you can let them know. Still, even with this dynamic, if you have a set of several blogs and a network of channels to distribute a message, say a 10 blog network, Tapinfluence is not going to represent you properly.
The system Tapinfluence has assumes one blog, one person or one YouTube channel, one person, etc. It’s not designed to accomodate a network and is made to sign up a large number of YouTubers – so you become number 71 in a group of 75 vloggers. Good for Tapinfluence, but not a good thing for YouTubers.
That brings me to “second”: Where you can, when you can, if you can, seek out your own deals as a YouTube Partner. I have found that as Tapinfluence has grown, the work offerings have dwindled to once in a blue moon. Sign up with Tapinfluence and other companies, but don’t rely on them, alone. The reason is simple: more often than not you’re not going to get what you feel you’re worth, unless you’re so large companies throw money at you – in which case you don;t need a Tapinfluence-type company to work with. Assess what you have, and improve where you need to. Be ready to defend your price and be ready to deliver when hired.
This is vitally important because some potential clients are ran by men who think all they have to do is hire a “young girl” to do what they see as social media, but don’t realize is Influencer Marketing, let alone understand what that means. I once had a CEO of a major midwestern company say that to me, that he was going to hire a “young girl” to do his social media work (in fact, I hear this a lot). I calmly showed him how that thinking was wrong. And while I didn’t get the engagement, I realized I didn’t want it, either. If such sexism’s expressed, it’s a fair bet racism’s coming next – count on it. You can’t fear to walk away from a deal. Don’t get crumbs when you are worth the whole cake.
In closing, sign up with firms like Tapinfluence to get work and put your YouTube and social media marketing skills to the test, but also go and hunt for your own influencer work and set your own price. And YouTubers should collaborate more here too. That said, YouTube Partner vloggers forming business partnerships gave us the multi-channel network.