I have talked quite a bit about influencer's behavior towards brands and making sure you don't burn bridges and making sure you're professional and prompt and kind. What happens if a brand is being abusive and they're asking for too much? The example here was somebody who accepted experience in exchange for some posts. They were excited about it. The day before the experience was set to happen, they got a full brief with what they wanted the captions to be, how many stories they wanted, how many in feeds they wanted.
She pushed back, and she said, "This is too much for gifting so I'm going to pull out." The brand then started really aggressively hounding the influencer. When you're working with a brand, it doesn't matter how big they are, it doesn't matter how long they have been around, you need to come to the table as equals. If you ever feel like a brand is treating you less than, I would walk away from that relationship even if it was one that was paying a lot of money.
That's a lesson I learned from a woman who runs all of the influencer work at Nike. She was talking about a certain celebrity who they felt like the celebrity wasn't respecting the Nike staff. So, they walked away from that relationship. For them, it's so important, no matter if it's an up-and-coming athlete or Michael Jordan that they respect the individual they're working with and the individual they're working with respects them and that they're on the same level. If a brand is treating you thus then if they're trying to get stuff out of you that you think is unfair, I would absolutely just politely exit and say, "Thanks so much for the opportunity, right now this isn't going to work out and I think it's best to just part ways."
A good life rule is just never to get angry over email. If a brand is pissing you off, always, if you're detaching yourself from that, and even if you are totally valid and being like, you are abusive, you're terrible, all of these things. It's best to just be polite in writing because you're just a screenshot away from somebody taking that story and turning it into you being completely unreasonable and totally out of control and now you're trying to explain this email without all this other context. It just gets you into a very bad situation.
So general James noted life rule, "Don't say anything shitty in an email ever." You want to say something shitty to someone? Pick up the phone. If you want to yell at someone or something, just do it over the phone, don't do it over text message, don't do it over email. That is one rule.
Two, in general, if a brand is gifting you something, an experience or a product, when we do it, we suggest the type of content we might like. We provide a mood board of what we hoped it would look like but we also understand that by not paying you, we cede control of that post. We cannot give you a full brief, we cannot tell you what your caption could sound like.
We make suggestions, we hope that you follow those suggestions but we are respectful of the fact that there is no contract and there's no payment and thus we cannot control the outcome of that. That is why we tell our clients to pay even if it's a small amount, we tell them to pay so we can control those things. If a brand is gifting you, and they're asking for too much and they're pushing you and trying to control what your post is going to look like or say, I think that is an abusive relationship, I doubt it's going to turn into a paid relationship. If it doesn't feel good, it probably isn't good and I would just again, respectfully walk away.
If they've already sent you the product, send it back. I do the right thing. Even if they pissing you off, and you're like, I'm not sending this back, screw them, send the product back. Never give somebody a reason to say that you screwed them over. Just, again, in general in business, where you can just do the right thing, do the right thing because again, if you don't send that product back, and then they screenshot your angry email and say you stole the product from them and freaked out you lose control of that narrative.
- Impact of Hiding Likes, Best Influencer Qualities, Brand Harassment