12 smart questions to ask before choosing an influencer marketing platform
Not all influencer marketing platforms are created equal. To choose the right one, most marketers will vet around 5-8 platforms, comparing features and pricing and getting a feel for the team they could potentially work with.
At the highest level, there are three areas you will want to consider when choosing a platform to allow you to streamline and scale your influencer marketing campaigns. They are:
- Influencer discovery
- Ongoing relationship & campaign management
- ROI and measurement
In this article, we’ve put together a series of smart questions for you to ask during your vetting process to ensure that you choose a platform that has the right technology to support your unique goals.
First things first, you want to make sure a platform has many strong channels of influencer discovery — beyond just a simple search database. This will allow you to easily find new and exciting creators to work with.
Ask these questions to make sure the platform has various avenues to discover well-aligned creators.
1. Do you have an influencer search engine that will allow me to discover all influential creators?
The main objective here is to understand that the platform allows you to search the entire influencer universe across the social channels you operate on, including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest.
However, it’s worth noting that a huge search database isn’t necessarily the best. An extremely large database (ie. 30 million) typically means that the platform does not filter inactive or low engagement accounts. So, if this is the case, make sure to also ask: Does your search database filter inactive, suspicious, or non-influential people?
2. Will I be able to work with an unlimited number of creators?
One of the biggest benefits of using an influencer marketing platform (versus manually operating partnerships) is being able to scale your program and work with more creators. So, make sure there are no limits to how many creators you can work with. In some cases, platforms have an additional charge or other restrictions when you want to partner with more than an allotted amount of creators.
3. Do you have an influencer marketplace?
Say goodbye to ignored DMs. An influencer marketplace is a pool of active influencers who are signed up with the specific platform and are ready to review your brand’s proposals as soon as you submit them. Influencers who already love your brand can also find your campaigns on the marketplace and apply to be a part of them. In other words, platforms that have an opted-in influencer marketplace empower brands to discover and connect with engaged influencers quickly and seamlessly.
4. Do you have social listening tools to allow me to find brands fans?
Built-in social listening tools will enable you to find people who are already fans of your brand (read: your best advocates). If someone is already organically engaged with you online, imagine how powerful it would be to create a campaign specifically for them.
5. Is it possible to integrate with my ecommerce platform to see which of my customers are influencers?
Ecommerce platform integrations with Shopify or Woocommerce will allow you to connect with your customer list to see who already has a large following. Similar to finding brand fans, creating genuine relationships with influential customers is a powerful way to spread the word about your products.
Influencer relationship & campaign management
Every brand runs influencer campaigns in a slightly different way, and for most brands, your influencer campaign strategy will evolve over time. When starting out, most brands want a ton of structure. As time goes on, campaigns tend to get more customized and even evolve into ambassador programs. Because of these nuances — and the ever-changing nature of this industry — you need to invest in a platform that will not only give you structure, but also the flexibility to scale over time. You need a platform that grows and evolves with you and your needs.
Here are the questions you should ask to make sure you’ve got the right tools for managing your influencer marketing campaigns.
6. How robust is your influencer CRM?
To get more specific, ask if you’ll be able to invite and track anyone you want to work with, regardless of whether they have signed up to the influencer platform. Additionally, discuss how easily you can customize data for each person you work with (in any way you want). The platform should act as your central view of all interactions and activations for any influencer relationship.
7. How flexible are your campaign workflows to support my programs as they evolve over time?
You want to make sure that your campaign workflows will evolve with you — not the other way around. Ask if the campaign workflows are completely customizable, even once they are up and running. This is especially important when it comes to creating flexible terms, as some platforms force you to set up a new campaign if you need to edit the terms.
8. Do you integrate with ecommerce platforms to streamline product fulfillment needs?
One of the most important parts of influencer collaborations is sending out products to your brand partners. The best influencer marketing platforms automatically send your creators the products they love with termless campaigns. Look for ecommerce integrations with companies like Shopify to handle address collection, product shipment, and tracking all in one place.
9. Can I run ads through influencer social accounts?
Influencer whitelisting is a great way to elevate your influencer partnerships and create authentic ads. Make sure the platform has whitelisting capabilities that streamline the process of getting advertising access to your top influencers’ social accounts. As a bonus, look out for platforms that have automatic content rights, which will allow you to identify the posts that perform well organically and boost them to a larger targeted audience via paid ads.
Influencer campaign measurement
To measure the true business impact of influencer marketing on your ecommerce brand, you must be able to track short-term and long-term revenue impact.
Ask these questions to ensure the platform has strong analytics tools.
10. Which social media channels can I track in the analytics dashboards?
It’s important that you can keep tabs on all of the channels that your top influencers appear on, whether that be Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, and so on. Ask to see the platform’s analytics dashboard to make sure the metrics you want to track are visible.
11. How will your platform help me measure long-term and short-term value?
Measuring the impact of your influencer marketing campaigns is dependent on your business goals. For example, if your brand is new to the market, then you’ll want to track the growth of your brand awareness. This requires visibility of engagement metrics like follows, impressions, and mentions over time. If you are a well established brand, you will be in a better position to look solely at direct sales.
Either way, it is important to check that the platform you’re working with has clear metrics and strong strategies in place to help you measure the short and long-term impact of influencer marketing on your business.
12. How accurate is your analytics data? Are you integrated with the Instagram API?
Make sure you’re investing in a platform that pulls in accurate data straight from the Instagram API. Some platforms don’t require influencers to opt in to share their real-time analytics. Instead, they use a tool to scrape data from the web, which means the numbers are inaccurate more often than not. Double check with the platform that they are fully integrated with the right API.
Thoroughly vet influencer marketing platforms
Choosing the right influencer marketing platform is the first step to success. The right platform will allow you to quickly connect with well-aligned creators, easily manage relationships, and calculate the ROI of your campaigns — all in one place. Ask these 12 questions to find your perfect match.
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