Influencer Marketing at Scale: What Brands Need to Consider When Choosing a Platform
If you’ve made the decision as a brand to scale your influencer marketing and also save your team time — congratulations! You are on your way to running effective influencer marketing and social proof programs that prove results. When selecting an influencer marketing platform, a brand should first consider its main goals and outputs — primarily, what you want to accomplish with a platform. Many brands who are looking for an influencer marketing platform have seen initial success with activating influencers or brand ambassadors and now want to save their team time and resources, while also scaling their programs.
The first thing your team should consider is ensuring the platform has useful functionality throughout the entire process of an influencer marketing program.
These are the 6 areas of functionality an influencer marketing platform should cover:
- Discover and recruit the right influencers to create high-quality content for your brand.
- Activate influencers to create content, star ratings, reviews, referrals and insights at scale.
- Manage influencers & advocates with an easy-to-use automated workflow.
- Incentivize influencers in a variety of ways, and track it all within the platform to save time & budget.
- Syndicate quality influencer-generated content to your ecommerce site or retail partners.
- Measure the ROI of your campaigns and programs with a suite of measurement tools.
The Spectrum of Influence and Expanding Beyond Content Creation
It’s important to think about who you should be identifying and recruiting as an influencer partner or brand ambassador. Scaling a program, as well as getting the most out of your influencers, typically involves working with a few different levels of influencers — and designing a program with different tiers and goals in mind. Based on your strategy, evaluate who and which tiers of influencers a platform has in their database.
Here’s what to know about each tier:
- Macro-Influencers: Earn their living as a full-time content creator (i.e. Bloggers, YouTubers, Journalists).
- Micro-Influencers: Have a side hustle creating content, and aspire to become a macro-influencer someday. Micro-influencers are an excellent tier for brands who are scaling their influencer programs, or even still testing the influencer marketing waters.
- Advocates: Consumers and employees who don’t produce content often, but will do so for brands they are passionate about, but with less quality.
- Referrers: Share if the incentive is right, but will put in limited effort (think copy and paste a link).
- Loyalists: Love your brand and purchase regularly, will leave reviews and share feedback but may rarely share on social. Both Loyalists and Referrers may be incentivized by discount codes, product samples or loyalty points.
Influencer Marketing Platform Buyer Checklist
Of course, there’s more to consider than just the process of scaling and the influence spectrum. Have this checklist ready when evaluating influencer marketing platforms:
- Spectrum and Breadth of Influence.The platform database should contain all tiers of influencers, as well as have a breadth of influencer categories and social channels. 100 percent of the influencers should be contactable from the platform so you can automate your outreach.
- Easy-to-Use Workflow & Management. Scaling an influencer program to dozens, hundreds or even thousands requires a customizable workflow and management functionality that is automated, easy to use, and designed to save your team time.
- Fraud Detection. The platform should be able to automatically detect both fraudulent followers and engagement, so you know your creators have influence with real people.
- Search & Discovery. The search functionality should have plenty of search criteria and filters to allow you to customize and easily identify the right influencers for your brand.
- Easy to Scale. Check for automation functionality across the workflow that lets you bulk message or bulk incentivize influencers so you can easily activate many influencers at once.
- Outcome-Based Measurement. The platform should have ways to measure ROI and brand outcomes in addition to reach and engagement metrics in a real-time dashboard.
- Flexible Incentives. Because you may want to incentivize different tiers of influencers, a platform that can handle cash payments (in multiple currencies), gift cards, loyalty points, product promo & referral codes is key.
- Platform Seats & Usage. Ensure everyone on your team and across your organization can use the tool and beware of platforms that charge per seat or activation, which can add up quickly.
- Social Proof Across the Consumer Journey. In addition to quality influencer content, you will want your program to create social proof, such as star ratings and reviews, at every point of the buying journey.
- Own the Relationship & Recruitment. Rather than “renting” influence, you should be owning that relationship with influencer partners and brand ambassadors. Recruitment outreach should come from your brand. Ask the platform if they have functionality to recruit from your own website.
- Don’t Forget the Team. Superior customer service and support is important, as is additional strategic or execution services the company’s team can provide.
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