Since 61% of marketers say it’s hard finding influencers for their campaigns, you certainly aren’t alone here.
Some brands look for Instagram influencers starting with the Instagram search bar and an Excel sheet. But filtering through hashtag after hashtag takes hours, and there’s no guarantee you’ll even find quality influencers with a DIY approach.
Even if you find the right influencer, you can’t message them out of the blue. You’ve got to have a trustworthy relationship with that influencer, which takes a lot of time (that you probably don’t have).
If you need to move fast, it’s time to go with an influencer marketing platform for your next campaign, stat.
Influencer marketing platforms versus influencer marketing agencies
But if you’ve done a bit of Googling (and we’re sure you probably have), you’ll see that there are so many options out there. Agencies, databases, and platforms—oh my!
Influencer databases: Databases scrape the internet for data on influencers and compile it into one place. Sounds great, right? While this will keep you from sifting through Instagram manually, it’s not much better. The data here is pretty questionable (it’s rarely correct), and even if it’s decent-quality, you’re paying for the same data every month. It can cost you a ton of money and give you very little to show for it. Boo.
Influencer agencies: Your second option is hiring an agency. Agencies cost an average of $4,000 a month, so this is no small-potatoes option. The biggest downside of using an agency is the cost, but they also mean you have significantly less control over your campaign.
Influencer platforms: Spoiler alert, this is your best option! Influencer marketing platforms like Trend give you the convenience of a database with the white-glove service of an agency (but without the sell-your-kidney prices).
How influencer marketing platforms help your business
But neither of these options serves your business.
Consider this: 68% of influencers prefer to work directly with brands instead of going through agencies.
That’s totally doable with Trend, which also gives you more benefits like:
Legit influencers: We aren’t having any of that shady stuff that the databases are doing. Trend is invite-only, which means we personally vet every influencer in our network.
Flat pricing: There are no fees to sign up, look for influencers, or start a campaign. That’s why influencer marketing platforms are so great—you only pay when you decide to work with an influencer.
Quick setup: Just create a free account, add your parameters, and influencers will start applying to work with you.
Influencer marketing platforms help you connect with influencers who are interested in brand partnerships. Best of all, the trustworthy platforms pre-vet and qualify these influencers for you, ensuring you get results.
Influencer marketing platforms give you end to end help with everything, including:
Communicating with influencers.
Managing your campaign.
Paying each influencer.
Tracking your performance, per influencer.
But there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Every platform has a different structure, so you have to know what works for you.
Use this 6-step checklist to evaluate each influencer marketing platform.
1 - Do you need an Instagram influencer platform?
Well, it’s a question you have to ask yourself. Do you really need this platform right now?
If you’re new to influencer marketing, chances are, a platform is the fastest way to get started.
86% of marketers say brand awareness is their most important goal for influencer marketing, and an influencer platform will definitely do that for you.
However, if you already have a collection of influencers you work with, you may not need a platform at all. If the campaigns are firing effectively and your team is managing it without headaches, by all means, keep doing what you’re doing.
Even if your influencer strategies are on point, you’ll still need a platform to manage the craziness of influencer marketing.
With that said, most brands will still need an influencer marketing platform. They help you:
Expand your reach to relevant influencers in your niche.
The relationships between influencer and platform: Many influencer marketing platforms are a glorified Yellowpages, meaning they don’t actually know the influencers on their platform. You want an influencer marketing software that has relationships with the influencers, like Trend.
Relationship management tools: Does the platform facilitate conversations between you and the influencer? Does it offer integrated contracts, payments, metrics, etc.?
3 - What features does the platform include?
Instagram influencer marketing platforms are software, after all. Aside from the quality of the influencers themselves, you need to look at the quality of the software.
Not all platforms work the same way, so choose one that will give you the experience you need to get results.
Before you look at any social media marketing software, make a list of the essential functions it needs to perform. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Communication: Does the software let you have a conversation with influencers? How does communication work? Is it built into the platform or outside of the platform?
Payments: Can you directly pay influencers through the platform?
Content rights: Does the platform give you the rights to the content automatically? Or do you have to negotiate that on a case-by-case basis with each influencer?
Price negotiation: Does the platform give you a fixed fee per influencer, or do you have to negotiate payment with each influencer individually?
Once you have your list, compare it against each influencer marketing platform you try out. That ensures you’re partnering with a platform tailored to what you actually need, not the fancy bells and whistles.
4 - Do you get the data you need?
Data should be the lifeblood of your marketing department.
Since data makes the world go ‘round, you need a platform that tracks and reports on the right metrics.
What are your goals? You’ve got to know what you want before you look for an influencer marketing platform.
When you know your goals, you can track the most relevant metrics for your brand. For example, if brand awareness matters to you, you would want to track views, clicks, and shares.
Or maybe you want to create user-generated content that you can use in your marketing campaigns. The influencer marketing platform should seamlessly transfer content rights, and all the data that goes with that.
Ask the platform for a demo of its analytics capabilities.
You should be able to not only get real-time analytics, URL tracking, and engagement rates, but an overview of your campaign ROI.
If the reports aren’t intuitive to you or the platform doesn’t track essential data, move on to another software.
5 - Is the platform easy to use?
Does the software make sense to you? A good platform should be fairly intuitive; if you need 5 hours of training to learn the software, it might not be for you.
You want to hit the ground running with your influencer marketing campaign on social media, so choose a platform that’s easy for you and your team to understand.
Does the platform offer an escrow system for payments?
How does the platform price each influencer? Is it a flat fee for every influencer, or does it change depending on their level of experience?
What does the pricing model look like? Is it contract-based or campaign-based?
Trend could be a good fit for your influencer marketing campaign, especially if you’re trying to preserve marketing dollars. We don’t charge subscription fees and offer per-campaign pricing, much like how you would pay for a Facebook Ads campaign.
To see if an influencer marketing software fits with your budget, have a number in mind first. This way, you’ll know how much software you can afford when you shop around.
If the software is too expensive (or suspiciously cheap), view it through a critical lens. Make sure it’s an intuitive, straightforward platform that works for your team before committing.