Influencer marketing as a strategic campaign has changed with the business landscape. Despite the fact that it has only been a few years since influencers really became an integral part of any marketing campaign, a new approach that enhances this strategy is now making its rounds.
For many brands and campaigns, an influencer marketing platform has become brand managers’ favorite tool for optimization. There’s undeniably still a lot of value in finding and relating with influencers in an organic manner. But in the same way that businesses evolve for more efficient operations, marketing platforms have also evolved to become the hub where brands and influencers can effectively work together.
Choosing a Platform: What It Takes
Before purchasing a platform, it’s good to take a step back and look at your overall strategy. Even though the basics of influencer marketing remain the same, there are nuances that help you decide if specific features and functions are important or not to your campaign.
Always ask these three questions before embarking and embracing a new platform into your strategy.
Do you need a platform?
The simple answer here is yes. Whether you are at the beginning of your campaign or you already have a roster of influencers to manage, it pays to have an influencer marketing platform.
For start-ups, think of this as the first step of many. Even if you decide to only engage one influencer at launch, your campaign will likely change. Everything starts with the awareness goal in every campaign. Soon, it will go into engagement and sustainability. When your brand reaches these next two steps, chances are you will need more influencers to let your brand gain traction.
Treat influencer marketing platforms as investments. Familiarize your team with the ins and outs of its features, even if they are essentially managing just one influencer. This prepares them for the future battlefield of managing more than five influencers for one product—and, if the business goes well, it will only grow from there.
How will I use my platform?
The question of how to utilize a platform begs the other question, “What are you looking to utilize or optimize with the platform?” Platforms are usually used to engage with influencers. If you are tapping a lot of influencers, communication features may be a necessary function.
Still looking for more influencers? Make sure you have a search engine incorporated. Need to watch over specific logistics and procedures? Create a system that simplifies this for more efficient operations.
It’s also good to remember that your entire team may be given access to the platform. If you are a brand manager, it’s easy to assume all the responsibility needed to operate the platform. But don’t forget to choose a platform that can easily be understood by your team.
What analytics will I use for my metrics?
One of the most important uses of influencer marketing platforms is metric tracking. For most marketing strategies, results usually signal the performance of a campaign. You need to understand and choose which data will be most meaningful to your strategy.
So how do you track influencer marketing? Always keep an eye on your goals, because these determine the metrics that are important to your campaign. Second, know how your influencers work. Apart from different audiences, influencers will also have different skills to contribute to your campaign.
Some may be good at engaging already-existing followers. Others may be suited to bring your brand to new audiences. These two scenarios require two different approaches and measurements throughout the campaign.
How is your budget?
Just as influencers may be the tipping point for sales from unique audiences, budget can be the big determiner of whether the campaign can even push through or not.
It’s good to consider the costs of every part of the campaign strategy. Influencer marketing platforms can take some of your budget, especially for customized and specific features. But think of it as an investment. Even after a campaign is finished, engagement continues.
You may change influencers or change a campaign vision. But your platform will remain a useful tool for managing new influencer marketing campaigns.
Will it work with different campaigns and niches?
Not every business is the same, and this means that marketing strategies will differ immensely. Despite this, there’s a good chance that the available influencer marketing platforms will infinitely help your campaign, regardless of the niche your brand is in.
Remember the basics of marketing. Most campaigns go through the sales funnel. Campaigns start with awareness of the product. Then, they need to interact with the product or at least witness someone who is interacting with it in their daily lives. From here, the goal is to garner enough interest, so that the audience will take action. This action is the final step, as it leads to potential sales of the product.
In each step of the way, your brand will need an influencer’s help to guide the audience at every step. They enhance the overall marketing strategy, especially since influencers open the door and invite the audiences to partake in the brand’s activities.
Working Influencers Into Different Campaigns
Almost all niches and industries can find engagement with influencers. If you need more proof, here are a few industries where influencers can definitely make a difference in achieving marketing goals.
An influencer marketing strategy can lead you to answer the question, “How do I get my influencer to wear my product?” Gone are the days when models and known celebrities exclusively dominate the retail industry.
If you are a small start-up clothing brand, influencers can your first step into the fashion scene. Connect with both macro and micro influencers, especially if your goal is to bring your brand to more people. It helps to have a micro influencer platform that lets you manage a wider scope of partners.
Retail companies also have the advantage of creating their own influencers. Influencers can become typical models for your apparel, which can add new faces that can be associated with your brand.
Any lifestyle, whether it is in hobbies or travel, can definitely tap influencers as partners. Think of these as the niches that require experience to sell.
For example, many vacationers want to know if a specific resort or travel package deal is worth it before shelling out for it. These are industries where smaller businesses are slowly gaining traction. This means more competition will be on the rise.
Influencers can allow businesses to differentiate themselves from the market. An influencer’s background can speak volumes to the kind of market you want to reel in. Want a more family-friendly vacation? A mommy blogger will likely reel in families looking for a fun adventure. Need a fun honeymoon getaway? An influencer couple will definitely resonate with couples looking for their next dream destination.
SaaS Products and Companies
For the most part, influencers may seem to be most at home with lifestyle products. Particularly for macro influencers, they would not need specializations to explore what lifestyle brands can offer.
Thus, you may wonder if influencer marketing SaaS (Software as a Service) may even work. When it comes to speaking with a B2B audience, influencers should definitely play a big role in this campaign. Specifically, you may find that micro influencers may shine brightest with this particular approach.
Micro influencers are in the middle ground of influencers. They do not have a very big following, but they have made enough so that their name and reputation are known. This is because micro influencers can also be entrepreneurs and industry leaders. They specialize well enough in their industries while also expanding their own knowledge base to better incorporate industries into their specializations.
This can work to a brand’s advantage. Micro influencers understand the business perspective of an industry, but they are also open to becoming customers and audiences in their own right. This gives them a balanced perspective. When they speak, their knowledge is more holistic, giving potential followers and customers more grounds to hold on to.
Top 5 Features To Include
Brand managers can’t expect a one-size-fits-all approach to influencer marketing platforms. There may be no easy answers to the question, “How do you build a marketing platform?” Worry not, as top campaign managers and campaigns swear by these five features.
Think of the customization process as a way to get the best buck out of this marketing tool. Always consider the features that you need for a successful long-term execution.
Influencer marketing goes beyond content and engagement. It begins with proper relationship management with your chosen influencer. Bigger brands need to manage many influencers, so it pays to have a platform to collate all information needed. Yet even smaller start-ups can choose to connect with influencers through an influencer management platform.
These platforms have the advantage of automating all the minor tasks involved in keeping tabs on your influencers. Anything, from contract signing to negotiations and payments can all go through the influencer marketing platform.
Even more customized aspects, such as emails for campaigns can easily be tailored to your needs and programmed at the start of the campaign using the platform. This frees your time to collaborate more on content.
Metrics and measurements
How do you track influencer marketing success? It usually begins with setting the right parameters and metrics. These dictate what needs to be measured in your campaign.
At the beginning of planning your strategy, you need to establish KPIs and share them with your influencers. They need to know the targets, not only for the compensation but also gauge how realistically they need to work on the goals to achieve them.
Search engine for influencers
Already found your influencer? That doesn’t mean that the search is over. Unlike brand ambassadors, which usually become the only spokesperson for an entire campaign, influencers are essentially both a point person and customer of a brand.
When you ask, “How do I find my niche as an influencer?” it means expanding your horizon whenever possible. Incorporate a search and discovery engine as a core function for your chosen platform. This helps brand managers find more influencers who best match your brand’s personality.
Algorithms for analysis
Some features have become a staple in most influencer marketing websites and platforms. What can make or break your decision on which platform to use may be the algorithm it offers. Algorithms go through many analyses involving the metrics and your influencers’ backgrounds.
The more powerful your platform’s algorithms are, the more you can utilize it to analyze the impact and influence of your strategy on your niche. Specify demographics and interests, and your algorithms will help optimize your content and target them to your strategy’s goals.
Professional influencers and growing brands will make use of more than one channel to reach an audience. Each social media platform has a specific approach and appeal to audiences.
Having an influencer marketing platform makes it easier to use more channels while seamlessly integrating them into your strategy. What this does is reinforce the strategy by customizing the needs of the campaign depending on the audience involved.
Some platforms like Upfluence can specialize in different niches. They can also utilize search engines for blogs to help your brand get more engagement with your audience.[visualizer id=”2116″ lazy=”no” class=””] Source: mediakix.com
Some Cons to Remember
There is no campaign that remains bullet-proof from failures. A brand manager’s role is to ensure that this is minimized. Keep an eye out for these potential areas of setbacks when you deal with influencer marketing.
There’s a reason why you need to establish a good working relationship with your influencer.s If you know more about them, you will also see if their followers are real people behind the numbers. Marketing platforms may be sophisticated, but cunning influencers do exist, and they know how to cover their tracks.
Forgetting to complement it with an organic approach
Just because a lot of influencer marketing platforms can already do research does not mean it is not expected for the marketing team to continue with organic searches. Relying on the search and discover function is not bad for those who are just starting out. But it’s crucial to build your brand around people who have been deliberately chosen for the good match they bring to your brand.
Also, always keep an eye out for possible micro influencer you can partner with. This will keep your campaign interesting and fresh.
Read more about targeted marketing in our “Hitting the Bulls’ Eye: How Influencer Targeting Can Help Your Business.”