5 Key Questions to Ask in an Influencer Marketing Vendor Review

 In Social Media Today

5 Key Questions to Ask in an Influencer Marketing Vendor ReviewInfluencer marketing is on the rise. Today 35% of marketers use it in some capacity, with another 28% reportedly looking to launch influencer marketing programs within the next year. In response, there has been an influx of agencies and platforms launched to help brands improve the management and accountability of their influencer marketing programs.

But with all of the influencer marketing providers on the market, how do you determine which is the best fit for your business goals?

Asking the following five questions of your potential influencer marketing vendor will help narrow the options in your search for a long-term strategic partner.

1. Is it a self-service platform or turn-key program provider?

The main difference between a self-service platform and a turn-key program provider is the level of automation involved. With self-service tools, brands login to the platform and seamlessly manage the more time consuming aspects of a program, from influencer selection to reports and analytics. Turn-key platform providers offer many of the same capabilities, but require little setup and configuration by the brand or agency. All of the matching, communication, program management, and performance analytics are automated through the platform and complemented with services.

There’s no one-service-fits-all option when it comes to influencer marketing. The key is working with a vendor that provides the right balance between platform automation and human insights.

2. How do they charge for their services?

There are three main influencer marketing pricing models: pay-per-post, pay-per-click, and SaaS subscriptions.

In a pay-per-post model, brands pay influencers a flat rate for each piece of sponsored content they create, with the cost varying dependent on content type (photo, tweet, pin, video, blog post, etc.) or influencer type (micro, power-middle, or top-tier/celebrity).

Pay-per-click models compensate influencers based on the performance of their content. Program metrics are typically measured by clicks to a brand’s landing page, driven through a unique hyperlink in the influencer content.

For a set fee (usually monthly), SaaS subscriptions give marketers access to an influencer marketplace where they can quickly search for influencers based on specific criteria (follower count, demographics, interests, etc.) and reach out through the platform to negotiate deals directly.

Whether you’re running a program in-house or working with a vendor, select the pricing model that not only fits your budget, but also gives you the best chance of meeting, or exceeding, your program goals.

3. Do they have established relationships with the influencers?

A common complaint among marketers is that vendors falsely advertise who they work with. According to the Wall Street Journal, “many of these startups seem to employ the same database of influencers without having any established business relationship with the talent.”

Keep in mind that different vendors offer varied levels of access to the influencers. For example, talent agencies that work with celebrity and top-tier influencers exclusively manage their contracts and negotiations. Similarly, turn-key program providers have a dedicated team managing the outreach and ongoing relationship between micro or power-middle influencers and the sponsoring brands. Self-service platforms simply offer the software needed for brands and agencies to do their own outreach and relationship management.

If you’re interested in working with a particular influencer or set of influencers, verify that the vendor has an authentic working relationship with them.

4. Is there a dedicated Brand Success or Influencer Success team?

Influencer marketing takes time. Some marketers estimate spending a minimum of two hours per influencer per program, which quickly adds up when working with multiple influencers across various social platforms. As a result, many brands and agencies choose to work with a provider that offers dedicated brand and influencer success teams to manage program performance and up to hundreds of influencer relationships. These teams collaborate on the strategy and execution while simultaneously managing towards the program’s goals and quickly identifying and resolving any issues that may arise.

Brand and influencer success teams are an added bonus because they’ve worked on hundreds, if not thousands, of influencer programs, amassing a wealth of knowledge that they apply to future activations to ensure success.

5. Do they offer long-term value for your program(s)?

Most influencer programs deliver hundreds, even thousands, of pieces of unique content in the form of blog stories, photos, videos, recipes, and social posts. But what good is all of that content if it’s only used once?

Partner with a vendor that offers services to optimize your influencer programs over time by running segmented/longer-term programs or by amplifying the top performing content to look-alike audiences to scale the success of the program.

When strategically built into the media mix, brands can use influencer marketing as an always-on, evergreen content channel that continues to drive business results over time.

Effective influencer marketing is hard, but it doesn’t have to be painful. The right partnership will automate the more time-consuming aspects of influencer marketing, leaving you with more time to focus on building a successful, effective program that delivers real results.

This post was originally published on Social Media Today

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