Influencer marketing has been around since the earliest days of TV and radio. It’s true! Sort of. Back then advertisers learned quickly that someone is more likely to buy their cereal or shoes if a celebrity is promoting it. The notion of using an influential person to sway public opinion in favour of your product is hardly new, but the rise of social media has dramatically changed the playing field. Popular creators have grown large groups of followers, resulting in millions of mini-networks devoted to mini-celebrieties. As corporations recognized the reach, authenticity, and audience engagement of these influencers, marketing dollars soon followed.
Each year, the discipline of influencer marketing advances, with more sophisticated means of measurement, and more powerful digital tools for creating and running campaigns. In this article, we’ll help you explore the potential benefits of influencer marketing for your business, and profile some of the influencer marketing software that makes it easier and more effective to find great influencers and manage campaigns.
The business benefits of influencer marketing
There are several benefits of influencer marketing that appeal to corporate brand Marketers:
Attractive results & ROI: Done right, the return-on-investment of influencer marketing tops all other paid marketing tactics. According to Statista, 60% of marketers agree that influencer marketing has a higher ROI than traditional advertising. Like the early days of paid search advertising, influencer marketing is an emerging paid media opportunity, and the early innovators will reap the greatest rewards until widespread demand drives campaign prices higher.
Access to existing, highly relevant audiences: Influencers exist in virtually any category you can think of. They are often highly-engaging enthusiasts of a niche focus area. Let’s take surfing for example. A surfboard manufacturer simply couldn’t win with mass media – you’d be paying a lot for exposure to an audience that mostly doesn’t surf. Influencer marketing allows brands to connect with people who are passionate about what they offer. By aligning with the most popular surfing enthusiasts on social media, that manufacturer can reach an exclusive audience devoted to catching waves.
Perceived credibility: There’s a halo effect that comes with having your brand or products recommended by a third party. Social networks are participatory – no one follows an influencer unless they respect their opinion, enjoy their character, or want to hear what they have to say. They come to the channel with some degree of accumulated warmth based on past interactions, a positive factor that can extend to your brand.
On-brand (usually) and positive: Unlike unsolicited reviews or presumably unbiased reviews from journalists, influencer marketing is a paid promotion. As a buyer, marketers have some liberty to direct the wording and presentation associated with their brand. There’s give-and-take here, and some influencers will push for editorial freedom more strongly than others. But you have some ability to craft and shape the influencer’s positive messaging about your product.
Less process and lower risk: Your company has an accountability for every public-facing word it produces, and for some marketers that means an ad campaign or a social post goes through multiple internal reviews including Brand, Legal and Compliance teams. Does that same obligation exist for paid campaigns associated with a third party influencer’s social media account? Well, that’s for you to assess – but for some marketers it’s a much faster track from concept to execution.
How to choose the right influencer marketing tool
If you search Google for an influencer marketing platform, you’ll be able to create a list of about 50 providers in minutes. Overwhelmed yet? Here are some ways to take a collaborative and methodical approach:
- Engage the team: It’s always a good idea to gather input and feedback from your subject matter experts and any team members that will use the tool regularly. You’ll likely get some useful ideas from them, and it helps ensure you have their full support for onboarding and using the software you choose.
- Document your requirements: Before you begin the evaluation process, write a list of feature requirements that suits your business needs, aligns well with your Martech stack, and conforms to all of your organization’s policies.
- Map your channel needs: One of your requirements should include the specific social media channels which you would like to launch campaigns in. You want to ensure any platform you consider can integrate with those channels and surface the top influencers.
- Delineate core features from “nice-to-have”: It’s critical to determine how influencer marketing software can add value for your organisation. Without a firm grasp of this, your evaluation process can be swayed by superfluous features that may get rarely used in practice. A core capability sought by most Marketers are the tools for searching and sorting influencers with high engagement levels. Beyond that, some platforms offer a complete communication suite that stores all messages with influencers, and others offer modules for payments and gifts to influencers. These “extra” capabilities may seem appealing, but in reality may not align with your organisation’s workflows or information security policies. Having a clear view of your essential needs up-front is the surest path to the best solution.
- Create a comparison grid: Stack your requirements in a spreadsheet column, and list the software solutions in columns beside it. As you evaluate vendors, check boxes for the requirements that they meet. Once complete, you’ll have a grid showing which platforms deliver the most of your requirements.
Top influencer marketing tools
If your company is serious about developing an influencer program, you need influencer management software. These platforms can significantly improve your team’s speed and effectiveness by helping them find influencers and micro-influencers aligned with your business goals. Here are some of today’s top solutions:
Buzzsumo – Buzzsumo allows you to easily find influencers on any topic. You’ll see which influencers have the highest engagement rate, with links to explore their most popular content. Additional filters allow you to select a time period, geographic location, or language.
CreatorIQ – CreatorIQ is designed for enterprise-level clients. It has APIs that enable connections with your company’s business intelligence tools, CRM, and e-commerce. The platform’s core functions allow you to find influencers and establish partnerships with infuential content creators.
Klear – Klear has capabilities for finding influencers, as well as campaign measurement and reporting. Klear stands out for its campaign collaboration capabilities. Klear Connect is a CRM-like hub for managing relationships, communications, and campaign assets.
Mavrck – Mavrck takes an innovative grassroots approach, helping companies find social influencers from within their existing customer base. When customers login to your website using their social profile, Mavrck scans their social media data to determine their level of influence. If customers have some social clout, the platform surfaces digital activities (e.g. sharing, reposting) involving your brand’s content, with rewards for completing them.
NeoReach – NeoReach allows you to search a database of over 3 million influencers. You can sort by topic, social channel, social metrics, and audience demographics. Once you’ve selected some influencers, NeoReach has campaign management tools to coordinate and track your influencer relationships and produce detailed campaign reports.
SentiOne – SentiOne Listen mines millions of digital touchpoints across the web and social media to help you easily find the most influential voices on any topic. The platform generates an Influence Score and Brand Health Index, allowing you to asses the performance of your brand’s content across multiple social platforms.
Traackr – Traackr allows you to find influencers, manage your relationships with them, and report on the results of influencer-driven content. Traackr has a unique network visualization map that shows how influencers are connected with other people, both inside and outside your network, which can be useful for finding new thought leaders relevant to your industry.
Upfluence – Upfluence maintains a database of nearly one million influencers. You can filter by psychographic qualities such as cultural interests and brand affinity. The platform also includes custom campaign workflows for contacting influencers, as well as functions for payment management. It has support for affiliate programs as well, including automated generation of unique promo codes.
Ready to find the best influencer tool for your business?
Social media influencers can be a phenomenal source for expanding your brand’s reach, growing your social following, and advancing leads through the sales funnel. Many social media marketing tools offer valuable features to help you find, connect, and collaborate with influencers. Some go further, with tools for creating influencer campaigns, reporting on results, and coordinating payments. If you are in the market for these capabilities, first take some time with your team to document the specific requirements that suit your business needs. With that in hand, and the list we’ve provided of the best influencer marketing tools, your search will be off to a great start.
Find your industry’s top influencers with SentiOne Listen
SentiOne Listen is a powerful social listening platform that connects you with the opinions, questions, and pain points of your clients and prospects. Listen can guide you to the most engaging voices in your industry, enabling you to research and develop a powerful influencer marketing program. Once your campaigns are launched, you can monitor brand mentions, conduct trend analysis, or gather insights from SentiOne Listen’s extensive reporting capabilities. To learn more, visit SentiOne.com or book a demo.