Influencer marketing has earned a well deserved spot in many brands’ digital marketing initiatives. The numbers don’t lie. Research shows that influencer marketing earns $5.78 for every dollar spent. And this number can be as high as $18. Around 60% of marketers say that their influencer content outperforms branded posts. Whether you’re running your first campaign, or you’re a seasoned expert, you are going to find that when it comes to influencer marketing, there are a lot of moving parts. From finding the right partners to work with to nurturing the relationship to handling payments — logistically, it is a lot.
This is where an influencer marketing platform comes into play. But what is an influencer marketing platform, exactly, and why would your brand need one?
What is an Influencer Marketing Platform?
An influencer marketing platform helps you find new social media influencers at scale, as well as streamline the management of your campaigns from start to finish. An influencer marketing platform will help you do things like find and connect with new influencers who are relevant to your brand, manage communication, drive sales through affiliate links and promo codes, as well as monitor analytics to measure the ROI of your influencer marketing campaigns.
An Influencer Marketing Platform should alleviate you from manual processes and transactional emails to focus on more strategic work and nurturing the relationship you have with the influential partners you work with.
How Can an Influencer Marketing Platform Help Your Brand?
Let’s talk about some of the more common capabilities of influencer marketing platforms, and how they benefit your brand.
1. Find the Right Influencers in Less Time
Imagine sifting through all your social media platforms, one by one, and looking through influencers, one person at a time. Sounds painful, right? Maybe you’re already doing this, so you know what we’re talking about.
An influencer marketing platform can help you scale your search efforts by giving you the option of searching for collaborators based on various factors — like keywords, location, industry, aesthetic, engagement metrics, and audience demographics.
Look out for standout features such as whether a platform has a Creator Marketplace, Ecommerce Integrations to discover customers or social listening tools that will allow you to discover who is already speaking about you online so that you can invite them to join your campaign. In other words, influencer marketing platforms help bring potential collaborators to you.
2. Streamline & Automate Manual Campaign Processes
The days of tracking and executing everything manually should be a thing of the past. Create customized workflows to help you track every stage of the campaigning process, from reaching out for the first time, to sending products and making payouts.
Most platforms will also allow you to automate transactional emails and notify you when you need to get back to someone so that nothing gets missed. Automate the busy work to your influencer marketing platform and free up your day for what matters most.
3. Manage All Of Your Influencer Contacts Under One Roof
Managing influencer relationships is so important. Unlike running paid ad campaigns, with influencers you are investing your money in people and relationships. It is important to be able to track the lifecycle of a relationship which is why all of the best platforms will have an influencer CRM. This is a contact database where you can organize your influencer contacts to easily see which relationships are performing best. Bulk email your entire list or just certain segments to ensure it is up to date. Store all past communication and campaigns so that nothing goes missing. Think of it as your ever-growing little black book of influencers.
4. Create Content with Less Friction
Influencer marketing platforms will often have features that allow you to organize your content in a much more streamlined way. Sometimes it can be tricky to keep track of which content you have ownership rights to and which you don’t, so organizing it in a way that makes it easy for you and your social teams to see which content you have permission to use and which you don’t is a really great efficiency.
It’s also really helpful to be able to look at all your content together to ensure that you have a diverse mix of content types and that you are working with a broad range of diverse influencers.
Look out for features that allow you to filter content by variables like SKU, campaign, whether you have permission to reuse their content or not. And when you’re ready, boost this content with paid ads so that you can reach an even bigger audience.
Content creation is the epicenter of telling a story and building a community. An influencer marketing platform will help you do it right.
5. Drive Sales with Coupons and Codes
Of course with every marketing initiative, the ultimate goal is to drive sales and grow the business. Best in class influencer marketing platforms should have mechanisms to help you drive sales. This can look like promo codes that provide discounts, or affiliate links where influencers earn based on the amount of products they sell for you. They’ll also allow you to set up clear and transparent commission structures.
Sales tools such as these are a huge incentive for influencers to work with you and promote your products even after the initial campaign is over. Some influencer marketing platforms will directly connect to your ecommerce platform such as Shopify and WooCommerce, making the sales process all the more streamlined.
6. Track Your Progress and Measure the ROI
Where did you start, and where are you now? The only way to know if your influencer marketing campaigns are working is to diligently track the numbers and compare them over time. Read this article for tracking how to measure ROI of an influencer marketing campaign.
An influencer marketing platform will help you collect valuable data to analyze so that you can make more informed decisions moving forward. Whether you’re measuring ROI by clicks, promo code usage, total reach, or another metric entirely, your platform should help you gain the insight you need.
If you’re a newer brand, you’re going to need a way to effectively measure the reach and impressions of your campaigns. If your goal is building awareness, then engagement metrics (likes, comments, shares, etc.) matter. If people are consistently engaging with your brand, then you’re talking about a lot of very warm leads.
Beyond this point, you can begin to focus on direct sales. Over time, you can monitor your metrics in a unified dashboard to watch trends and see what types of content and influencers work best for your brand.
When is the Right Time to Invest in an Influencer Marketing Platform?
In the beginning, you’re likely going to be doing everything manually, and this is normal! However, you’re going to get to a point when this is no longer feasible. Leaning into a platform is going to be necessary if you want to continue scaling. That’s an indication that it’s time to invest in an influencer marketing platform. Additionally, this will help you more accurately tie sales to your campaigns, which — as you now know — is important for tracking your return.
By this point, you should have also demonstrated that you’re able to get a return on the time, money, and energy you’ve spent on your campaigns thus far. This means that you can expect a return on your investment in an influencer marketing platform.
Lastly, a platform will come in handy if you’re ready to take your campaigns to the next level and make them more official. You’ll need a tool like this to build out and automate formal ambassador and affiliate programs.
When you’re ready to move your campaign efforts to an influencer marketing platform, you certainly have options. We invite you to experience Aspire and see how we can help you boost your brand through influencer marketing. Ready to take things to the next level? Request a demo today.