Interview with an Influencer

Interview with an Influencer

Working as an influencer marketing provider, we act as the liaison between the influencers and the brand or agencies. Because most brands and agencies go through an influencer platform, like us, there is often a disconnect between these influencers and the brands they are working with. Most campaigns they never even communicate with one another. For this reason, we wanted to start a new series of articles, “Interview With an Influencer” to show brands how influencers feel about different changes happening in influencer marketing. Each article we’ll ask different questions pertaining to any pressing issues in the industry and, of course, get their burning questions of what they’ve always wanted to ask the brands they are working with. 


This month we were lucky enough to talk with two influencers we have worked with in the past to get their insight into all that is going on with Instagram and where they see influencers going in the future. 

Starting out we have Marquis Clarke, a Houson based family and lifestyle influencer who runs the successful blog SimplyClarke.

Mattr: “How do you determine your rate? Do you base your rate more on your reach or engagement percentage?”

Marquis: “My rate is determined by a combination of my follower count, reach/engagement percentage, time required for posts, and any other fees associated with the project (for example photography fees or exclusivity fees). My rate also fluctuates based on demand at the time, for example – during the holidays, I receive a lot more requests for coverage and only have a certain number of spots to fill.”

Mattr: “How do you think Instagram hiding likes will affect influencers? Do you see this as a good or bad move?”

Marquis: “ I am honestly really interested to see how it affects brand collaborations. I feel like it won’t have too big of an impact because most brands focus on follower count, engagement rate and reach already vs likes. There has just been a steady decline in people liking anyways so I don’t see it as a big issue moving forward. I think it’s more about consistency. My readers connect with brands they see multiple times throughout a month or over the span of three months. The consistency of posting the same brand gives them more trust in the product and creates more brand recognition.”

Mattr: “Seeing all that is going on with Instagram, what do you think your future is with the platform? Do you see yourself on other platforms in 5+ years? If yes, which ones?”

Marquis: “I honestly I have no idea and my plan is to go with the flow. When I first started blogging eight years ago, Instagram wasn’t even around. Now, Instagram makes up a majority of what I do to reach my audience. I think it’s all about adaptability and going where your audience is.”

Mattr: “How closely do you pay attention to FTC guidelines? Are you up to date on all FTC rules or do you lean more on the brand or agency to tell you?”

Marquis: “I pay extremely close attention to this – it is very important for your authenticity and the brand authenticity to do things the right way and follow all laws.”

Mattr: “Finally, what is something you want to know from brands? Any burning questions that you have for brands and agencies getting into influencer marketing?”

Marquis: “I would love to know their goals for their influencer marketing campaign and why they are choosing influencer marketing. I feel a lot of times there is a disconnect between what influencers believe they do and what agencies believe they do. I think by sharing each others goals and collaborating together on how to reach them would have a greater impact.”

Next we got to get some insight from Aubrey Williamson, an Austin based influencer focusing on lifestyle and motherhood and all things Austin!

Mattr: “How do you determine your rate? Do you base your rate more on your reach or engagement percentage?”

Aubrey: “I calculate my rate based on reach, market, and the number of sponsored posts I do.  For example, I typically only take on 1-3 sponsored posts a month, which keeps my sponsored content below 10%. This allows me to keep a higher trust with my audience vs bombarding them with sponsored posts and allows me to be more selective and genuine with brands.”

Mattr: “How do you think Instagram hiding likes will affect influencers? Do you see this as a good or bad move?”

Aubrey: “I think it definitely will affect Influencers, whether good or bad, I’m not quite sure yet.  I think the most important thing will still be a combination of reach and comments.”

Mattr: “Seeing all that is going on with Instagram, what do you think your future is with the platform? Do you see yourself on other platforms in 5+ years? If yes, which ones?”

Aubrey: “I’m not planning to leave Instagram anytime soon.  I am keeping an eye out for new platforms but none have really caught my eye yet.

Mattr: “How closely do you pay attention to FTC guidelines? Are you up to date on all FTC rules or do you lean more on the brand or agency to tell you?”

Aubrey: “I know the basics, but when there are updates, I usually hear them first from the brands.”

Mattr: “Finally, what is something you want to know from brands? Any burning questions that you have for brands and agencies getting into influencer marketing?”

Aubrey: “What’s the most important thing you look for in an influencer when you are preparing for a campaign?”

About Mattr 

MATTR, leaders in influencer campaigns for highly regulated industries, is the only full-service influencer marketing provider with detailed audience insights from PersonaMesh™. We go beyond demographics into psychographics such as values and interests so that your influencer campaigns align with your campaign targets.


When Instagram Takes Away “Likes”

When Instagram Takes Away “Likes”

The Question You Should Be Asking Yourself

It’s only a matter of time before Facebook/Instagram pulls the rug from under our Doc Martens. We know Instagram have tested eliminating the display of Likes from the audience (but not the user) but do not know their plans for a pandemic rollout of the experiment.

We can expect a couple of things to happen: 1) they will stop displaying Likes worldwide; and, 2) we will not get a heads up. There are compelling reasons and empirical evidence to back up these claims. First, they’ve made major policy changes in the past, unannounced. Next, there’s mounting public and government pressure for Facebook to mend its ways. And last, influencer marketing is in direct conflict with their business model. So the question you should ask yourself is not so much “if it will happen,” but rather, “what are we going to do about it when it happens?”

A History of Bold, Anti-Competitive Moves

Facebook has a history of brash moves. Startups reliant on Facebook’s API in 2016 for their super cool new app woke up a slew of broken endpoints – automated connections to user and friend information on Facebook – which would never be fixed. The same issue happened with companies using Instagram’s API in 2018. Essentially, if you don’t own Facebook, relying on them for your business model is like buying week-old raspberries from the store. Speaking of raspberries, the entirety of the US government is giving Facebook fresh raspberries on a regular basis.

It’s Easy to Hate a Winner

Whether it’s a football team, a massive tech company like Google, or a ubiquitous media company like Facebook, it’s easy to hate the team on top. And Facebook’s chief Face, Mark Zuckerberg, made the haters job even easier. In October 2019, the Zuck fumbled through answers asked by congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, displaying remarkable cognitive dissonance regarding which kinds of misleading political ads would be acceptable.

There’s also a rapidly growing awareness about technology’s “race to the bottom of the brain stem”, as Tristan Harris writes. The benefits of social media are by now well known. But the shockingly cold shower of an ad-based culture are just now bluing the skin of global societies. Because of solid research, we can count on future scrutiny to come backed with substantial data persuasive to anyone who’s angrily shared a Facebook post with a like-minded friend.

Of course the timing of this scrutiny is driven in large part by the upcoming US elections, which apparently remain riddled with Russian proxy accounts fomenting anger and spreading misinformation.

Then Twitter goes and drops the mic on October 30, 2019, banning all political advertising. Although Twitter’s value is a fraction of Facebook’s, they did poke the bear. How will Facebook react? The answer, as with so many questions about future motive, lies under the topsheet of their business model.

Follow the…You Know What to Do

Facebook’s business model actually has a few strata that are not necessarily apparent. The most simple answer is “ad revenue”. The more mysterious layers deal with exactly how you are targeted for particular ads. A lot of the quantitative “properties of you” are selectable by advertisers: your age, location, and interests. What is nearly 100% opaque is Facebook’s algorithm for who is shown which posts and ads.

Regardless of transparency, Facebook makes its money from brands and agencies creating ads. Advertisers see ROI on conversions but only billboard ROI from those ads without a link to visit a product page. Because these ROI match those of influencers, In the eyes of Facebook’s CFO, influencers take a portion of their addressable market, which is currently anywhere from 5-15% of a brand’s digital ad spend. CFOs are known for providing hard data to executives and Boards of Directors, who then drive strategy. And influencers have worked their way up from amusingly nipping at their heels to chomping hunks of flesh from their butts.

So back to the question you should be asking: “what can you do to keep your influencer business going?”

The Bear’s Breath Will Be Dank

When Instagram removes the Likes count, the doppler effect will be more intense for some segments within the Influencer Marketing world. The category which will take the brunt of the bear’s breath is “Programmatic”. These influencer solutions look a lot like buying a social ad – very scalable for the provider but the brand’s control over the content is minimal. If their pricing model depends on Likes engagement, as some do, they will have to depend on influencer self-reporting through their platform. The temptation to game this solution are obvious: these are nano or micro-influencers earning as low as $5 on a post.

For the old school influencer marketing providers, this will also mean relying on influencer self-reporting. But the level of professionalism is miles above the nano influencer so it’s less of a concern than an added step in this wonderfully human, but non-scalable process. 

Is it time to look at options to Instagram? We all remember a time before Instagram, when market spend on influencer marketing totaled a few hundred million dollars. But transitioning off Instagram won’t mean the market will fall from its current $5 billion (or so) to $500 million. Influencer marketing is now a fast moving stream, deftly dodging rocks and dams to continue its course toward relevancy when budgets are set.

Instagram: Your Parents’ Social Platform

Other platforms are absolutely itching to be picked: YouTube Stories has tons of potential and, like the millennial wearing a hoodie at an upscale SOHO bar, under served.

Instagram Stories, even with their 24 hour life, are wonderfully engaging for brand sponsored posts. At Mattr, we’ve led campaigns with 100% Instagram Stories and saw engagement and conversion rates significantly higher than in-feed posts. YouTube Stories are unknown, at this point, but we’re testing now. Stay tuned!

Even more ambitious social platforms are promising–TikTok, for example. As millennials are elbowed aside by Gen Z, Instagram will become your parents’ social platform, an honorific currently held by Facebook (your grandparents’ social platform). Regardless, influencers have always found a way to get paid for spreading the word.

RELATED: Influencers Existed Before Instagram and They Will Exist After

Everything Has a Shelf Life

Facebook has the wherewithal, history, and solid financial reasons to take away Likes. They will because they will eventually cave to their Board and governmental and/or public pressure. But regardless, Instagram’s shelf life is finite and may be no longer than your milk’s; so make your plans for a replacement today.