An Influencer Marketing Platform Works for Your Brand

If you want to promote your brand or have even been paid to help market a different company, you probably know how powerful influencer marketing has been. Anyone who uses social media can see the impact of this type of digital marketing. However, you may wonder just how to get started with influencer marketing or may have failed to get it right in the past. An influencer marketing platform may be the key to your success.

The Benefits of Working With a Platform

While some brands may be tempted to go the DIY route (do-it-yourself) when it comes to influencer marketing, they certainly don’t have to. Influencer marketing platforms take the heavy lifting out of influencer marketing. They also offer protection for both the brands, which could be scammed out of money or product and influencers that risk not being paid for their hard work. A platform ensures you find vetted influencers.

We cannot overemphasize how much time brands can save if they choose to use an influencer and content marketing service. While it might not seem like a big deal if brands only wish to work with a handful of influencers, imagine how much more time and effort it would take to work with 50, 100, or even 1,000 influencers.

How to Find the Right Platform for Your Brand

Before you can begin to find the right influencers, you must identify the right platform for your needs.

There are hundreds of these third-party marketing platforms to choose from, some of which have survived the test of time. In fact, according to Influencer Marketing Hub’s State of Influencer Marketing 2019: Benchmark Report, there were 740 such platforms (and similar agencies) in 2018. A surprising 320 of those platforms didn’t exist before 2018. This means brands must do their due diligence to find the right fit.

New influencer marketing platforms seem to pop up every day, while others quietly shut down and become forgotten. Brands may wish to avoid those platforms that are still in their infancy and have not yet earned industry trust based on their track records. Fortunately, a quick search will usually turn up reviews and comparisons for the various platforms. Make sure that there is a free trial, with no high monthly fees or agency fees, before you even know if the platform gives you any added value.

Aside from the platform’s reputation, brands must consider if the influencer marketing platform will really help connect them with influencers who use the platforms on which the brand wishes to advertise, or just show the profiles of a million influencers who may not be active at all. Youtube, Snapchat, Instagram, podcasts, blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are all home to influencers. TikTok and Twitch have recently become increasingly important as well. But while some platforms may focus on a single site, such as Instagram, others track a variety of social channels. This may be beneficial if you want to use the same platform for multiple influencer programs or want to launch one campaign over multiple social networks with custom messaging for each.

Brands may wish to work with a platform that is geographically local or works with influencers based in a specific location. Furthermore, platforms may help companies find influencers who speak a specific language, such as Spanish, for their campaigns.

Standard Platform Features

Although each platform may present these functions in unique ways, the following features are standard for influencer marketing platforms.

Influencer Discovery

One of the main ways that these platforms make it easier for brands to get involved with influencer marketing is by providing access to databases of influencers, which can list hundreds of thousands of influencers. Companies may be able to browse lists to find potential influencer campaign partners or enter search queries to find the perfect influencers who best match with their brand - including the influencer's audience demographics. These databases also contain information about network size, which can impact how much brands must pay, and some platforms allow marketers to view ratings provided by companies with whom the influencer has worked in the past. However, it's essential for companies to look at an influencer's properties to determine if their brand fits with the company's ethos.

Communication

Brands must communicate with influencers to invite and accept them into campaigns, discuss details and provide instructions, exchange files, and request changes. While brands may spend precious time sending out cold calls to social media users who are not influencers, these platforms ensure that every user is generally interested in working with brands, even if they choose not to work with every brand. If your brand wants to continue these relationships with influencers, you must keep those lines of communication open.

Contract Management

This is closely related to communication. Both brands and influencers agree to certain terms. Contracts may describe what happens if either party fails to meet their end of the agreement. Influencer marketing platforms can also step in if there are disputes between the client and influencers.

Content Management

Brands may provide location tags, hashtags, URLs (and shortened links), key messages, and visual content for influencers to use in their posts. Some brands offer a piece of content for influencers to use, while others allow influencers to create custom content as long as it includes the necessary elements. Of particular importance is the fact that influencers must mark sponsored content according to rules set forth by the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook is a social networks that allows influencers to select a sponsor that will be tagged in a post. On other sites, influencers must use a disclaimer or hashtag to indicate that content is sponsored. An influencer marketing platform can ensure compliance.

Amplification

Some platforms enable companies to share content created by the influencer, which can benefit the influencer while engaging a brand's existing network. However, you may benefit from manually sharing that content in addition to these tools or if the platform does not offer them.

Financing

Influencer marketing platforms usually act as brokerages between clients (the brand) and influencers. This ensures that influencers will always be paid and will receive payment on a specific schedule. These platforms may also handle things such as issuing 1099 tax forms to influencers, who are basically freelance contractors. Companies will often pay based on views or clicks of an ad, so mega influencers with larger networks can potentially make much more than those micro influencers with smaller ones.

Analytics

Brands and agencies can only tell how successful their influencer marketing campaigns are if they set and track goals. Analytics is how this is done. Some platforms allow brands to see hits, clicks, comments, and other facets of consumer engagement with the sponsored content, often in real time. These systems may be AI powered and offer statistics or even advice based on that data. Brands and their influencer programs can benefit from a data driven approach rather than just following instinct or making a guess, even if it's an educated guess. Although social networks may provide some of this information to brands, these platforms provide more detailed data about each campaign. This data can be used to change the campaign while it's running or adjust future campaigns.

Of course, brands may overlook powerful platforms if they are not easy to use or understand. Remember that usability matters for influencers, too. It can be helpful to view a demo of the platform to see how it handles the functions above of influencer campaign management.

Can an Influencer Marketing Platform Help With the Creative Process?

Different people using influencer marketing platform

In addition to the factors mentioned above, these marketing platforms may even help brands develop their content marketing campaigns and brainstorm creatives. However, even if you have your own marketing team, the staff at an influencer marketing platform can guide you through the processes to increase the chances that your campaign will be a success.

If you find that customer service is poor before you even sign up with a platform, you may want to keep looking for one that values you as a client. After all, it’s your hard-earned money paying for the service.

You Still Need Human Involvement With an Influencer Marketing Platform

Marketers and brands should remember that these tools can reduce labor, but cannot replace the human factor. According to the 2019 influencer marketing survey by MediaKix, 96% of marketers recognize that influencer marketing campaigns cannot be fully automated.

In fact, many companies rely on both marketing platforms and marketing agencies. A marketing agency is a group of people that devices creative campaigns and may even bring the campaign to the marketing platform. These agencies can ensure that a brand works with the right influencers. The best solution is of course to find a platform behind which there is also a creative agency with capable experts.

Smaller companies may not have a lot of money to spend on digital marketing and influencer marketing in particular. But enlisting the aid of a social influencer platform can ensure that every dollar works as hard as possible and produce a higher ROI than going the do-it-yourself route. And a platform that can scale as a company grows further proves its value.

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