As influencer marketing becomes an approach that more brands and agencies and influencer marketing companies continue to invest in we’re seeing influencer marketing platforms become more popular. These platforms make it so a brand or their agency don’t have to go out and curate influencers one by one and manage them one by one but can essentially one stop shop an influencer campaign, curating influencers, content, the platforms they use, the spend and distribution all from one program. Many of these platforms make it so easy that you can begin a campaign shortly after some initial sign up steps and procedures. But as the proliferation of these platforms continue how do you differentiate between them and how do you ultimately pick the one that’s right for you. You want to go through a number of steps when choosing a platform including but not limited to looking at case studies and results, considering how much control you have over content , where the influencers come from and how they’re chosen, what social platforms do they use, price and subsequent return on investment.
1. Case Studies
Some of these platforms are new some have been around for a while, either way you’re going to want to do your research and take a deep dive into case studies of brands and companies that have used this platform prior. Ideally you’d like to see brands that are similar to yours or at the very least had similar objectives. Pay attention to the influencers that were chosen and what they actually did for that brand. Last but certainly not least look at what the results where and the metrics they used for success. And don’t just take their word for it either, if you can follow up with the heads if the companies or the person in charge of the campaign on the brand side and see if the successes and metrics that are being touted by the case study are real and if the brand was happy with the results, also if they continue to use the platform that’s a good sign too.
2. Content Control
Each platform is different in terms of how they control, create and distribute content on behalf or your campaign. Some platforms have influencers constantly creating more generic content around certain topic clusters and then when brands who fit those clusters come around they plug and play. This is a great approach if you have to ramp up a campaign very quickly also these type of platforms tend to be more affordable because the content isn’t custom so if budget is an issue this might be the way to go. Other platforms have influencers create custom content specific to your brand that might be evergreen for that brand but for the most part can’t be used by anyone else it’s also usually specific to a particular social media platform where the brands buyer persona is going to be. This is a more targeted approach and also lends itself to more control by you dictating the type of content you want created and even facilitating in the creation of said content. This can be evergreen as well, but more than likely will mean more resources allocated in terms of budget because the content created is for you and you alone.
3. How influencers are chosen
Another important factor to consider when choosing an influencer marketing platform is how the actual influencers are chosen. Similar to the content strategy some platforms have a network of influencers for certain subject and topic matter, lifestyles that can create more broad based content on said subject matter and then they turn around and essentially plug your brand in to the content. Perfectly fine approach if your campaign is an awareness stage one where you’re not talking about the brand too much but addressing more general solutions to the challenges your persona is asking about. Other platforms will curate specific influencers that you may request or they recommend to work on your campaign sometimes exclusively for you during the duration of the campaign. SImilar to what we spoke about with content this latter type of approach to choosing specific influencers is probably going to cost more. A flexible platform may offer a mix of exclusive influencers creating content only for you and specific to your messaging and then influencers creating on behalf of yourself and others offering more generic activity
4. What Social Media Platforms the influencers use
The importance of this is pretty self explanatory. You need influencers that have a presence and klout on the platforms where your buyer persona is. Some Influencer marketing platforms have influencers that specialize only on one social media outlet, other platforms have influencers across multiple outlets. But keep in mind part of the cost is going to be associated with how many different pieces of content need to be created and published and how many different outlets this content is going to be published on, it’s a delicate balance to say the least. Think about what resonates with your persona and how your brand is positioned if it’s extremely visual than common sense dictates you want to focus on IG, but if you have a brand that’s more service oriented and needs a level of explanation i.e. colleges and universities then you may look to a blog format or outlets like reddit or Tumblr.
5. PRICE AND ROI
We’ve addressed this throughout this post but it’s important enough to break out as a separate factor. What are you willing to spend on an influencer marketing platform and what results do you expect? These are the questions you should be asking prior to any campaign, and with the flexibility of these platforms that spend can be implemented in different ways. Going back to one of the initial thoughts use case studies to determine potential ROI based on results of other campaigns and you can also base your spend on the amount of content created, number of influencers used and the platforms. Pull these levers up and down fine tuning your campaign till you reach the desired pace and outcome maximizing your efforts and resources.
Influencer marketing platforms have already become a staple of marketing plans for some brands and agencies and as they become more ubiquitous in the marketing landscape you’re going to have to have criteria for making the choice as to which platform to use. When doing so looking at a platforms case studies and referrals, considering your budget and desired roi, the social media outlets that’s part of the mix, how the influencers and content are curated you’ll be able to choose a platform that works well for your needs. Are there additional factors you’d consider when choosing an influencer platform? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, the depth of knowledge among our readers is something we’re always amazed by and cherish.