Seven alternative solutions to get started in influencer marketing right away!
Influencer marketing is undeniably thriving today. The reason? Quite simple actually: Customers are looking for authentic content, and they are trying to avoid any form of advertisement they don’t trust.
A staggering 95% of millennials believe people they know as the most credible source when it comes to product information. This includes friends in their own social circles as well as people they follow and admire on social media: influencers.
Facebook and Instagram ads are slowly becoming old school, failing to engage the audience with a cost per click (CPC) between 0.3$ and 0.6$. The CPC for product recommendations on influencers’ channels drops as low as 0.1$. It is now a proven fact that influencers have a much higher conversion rate from their followers, which is especially true for smaller influencers, which have proven to be even more efficient in their promotion. Brands need to jump on this bandwagon!
However, a lot of challenges remain. Fake influencers and other scams being one of many. With a myriad of marketing platforms trying to solve these challenges, it can be confusing to get started, especially for small-business owners with no prior knowledge in this area. We have selected the seven best ways for you to start collaborating with influencers right away!
DIRECT CONTACT THROUGH INSTAGRAM
The most straightforward way to get in touch with influencers is to reach them directly on Instagram through their DM.
Simplicity: No need for a middleman, Instagram allows you, as a business owner, to reach influencers directly. As soon as you create an Instagram account, you can start with influencer marketing straight away at least in theory.
Price: The price for the post promoting your product or service could be rather expensive, with a minimum of $1000-1500 for an influencer with 100k followers.
Time: Finding the right influencer to promote your business is rather challenging and time consuming with the thousands of potential influencers on the platform.
Visibility: If you manage to avoid fake accounts and frauds, the other problem you will face is finding small and medium-size influencers with high engagement rates from their community. You will mainly find big (expensive) ones due to their visibility.
Fraud: There is no protection against fake accounts and fraudulent behaviour, like paying upfront and then receiving nothing in return. It is estimated that more than 60% of the so-called influencers are purchasing likes, comments or involved in other fraudulent behaviour
THIRD PARTY ANALYTICS
Third party analytics tools have some powerful analytics features that can help social media brand managers analyse influencers and campaigns.
Our favourite tools include the likes of Hypeauditor and Sylo (solutions allowing a full audit of the influencer’s audience to develop an understanding of how genuine their follower base is) as well as tools like Analisa (used to improve campaign management. It can help you determine when the best time is to post for each influencer and with which hashtags)
Convenience: As they are outside-in tools, these platforms do not need influencer
approval to analyse their audience. All there is to do is type the influencer’s
name in the case of Hypeauditor and its audience information is readily
Price: Some of these tools are quite accessible if you want to audit a few influencer profiles, with a price starting at 2$ per profile for Hypeauditor. Keep in mind, with the ever-growing number of fake account on Instagram, you could quickly end up auditing 5-10 profiles before finding a right fit.
Scope: While in some cases helpful, they are just supporting tools and are not intended to be used to launch and manage influencer campaigns.
Experience: Put in the wrong hand, these tools can quickly be rendered useless. It will take a bit of time to get used to them and truly exploit their full potential; it simply is not a plug-and-go solution that anyone can use right away.
Influencer databases allow you to classify and list millions of influencers according to your brand’s needs. Our favourite app is Heepsy by far with its somewhat consequent database that can be accessed right away (no need to book a demo with a specialist before logging in)
Price: With a much lower price than third party analytics, influencer databases allow you to have access to vast databases upon account creation. Heepsy, one of the main players, starts subscriptions at $29 per month.
Reach: Heepsy, for example, is a real juggernaut with up to 5 million influencers referenced.
Effort: A major disadvantage of these database solutions is that they focus solely on having a database without providing an easy way to contact, manage and track influencers. You will have to scroll manually through social media platforms to do that, with no guarantee that the selected influencers will promote your brand.
INTEGRATED CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT SOLUTION
Integrated campaign management solutions help you select influencers as well as manage and analyse their campaign performance at scale. They are all-in-one solutions per se. Our favourite and some of the most-used apps are Upfluence, Hypr and Stellar
Powerful engines: These tools can help you tailor your influencer campaigns. It’s not a plug and play sort of solution and it takes some time to get used to them, but once learnt it can quickly become a powerful tool.
Integrated tool: These solutions are integrated, meaning that they can help you discover influencers and manage your campaigns simultaneously.
Price: They are very expensive for small and medium business owners with Upfluence starting at $795 per month. Their focus is mainly on marketers and large-sized professionals.
Reach: There is another big drawback, since you as a brand can contact influencers, but they cannot contact you. This will be a big problem for some companies that would rather have trusted influencers that already like their brand to contact them.
DIGITAL PRESS AGENCY
Digital press agencies are close to traditional PR agencies, meaning they are actual people helping you become visible as a brand with influencers on social media as well as traditional media platforms, with an (expensive) end to end service of influencer identification to product promotion.
All in one: Digital press agencies usually offer all in one solutions from finding the influencers, taking care of logistics to social media management of your product or service. It is effortless and extremely fast for the business owner.
Multi-platform: These agencies can get access to a wide variety of old and new media like magazines and newspapers, and social media platforms.
Price: One of the biggest drawbacks is the high price starting at minimum $1000 per month which can be a real pain for small to medium-sized business owners.
Visibility: For this high price, your brand gets limited visibility with posts from only three or four influencers a month.
Transparency: The other main issues are the lack of transparency along with the inability to track ROI and overall performance of the marketing strategy.
Reach: Digital press agencies are empowered and limited by their own network. Yes, it is faster to get an influencer promoting your brand, but they will rarely go out of their way to truly find the best influencer for you
These apps allow brands to select the most relevant influencers themselves, and they also allow the influencers to choose the brands they want to promote. You need to think of them like an eBay. The biggest names in that space today areTribe, BrandSnob, Indahash, and HeyInfluencers.
Price: The biggest advantage for business owners is that the price is negotiated, and as in most marketplaces, there is competition among influencers to get deals, leading to fairer deals.
Safety: Another great feature of the marketplace is that they act as a safe deposit between parties. That means that the brand will pay within the platform, and the payment is released upon approval of the influencer content, thus avoiding fraudulent influencers.
Transparency: They act as hidden digital press agencies and have a practice of hand-picking influencers for you. Most of the time, they don’t provide you with a directory of users on their platform, which makes them quite opaque and not true marketplaces.
Fee structure: As they often act as digital press agencies, they might ask for a minimum budget for the campaign and similar stunts. They also usually take a substantial fee that consists of a minimum fixed amount such as a subscription fee and up to 20% of the transaction. This is quite impractical for transactions that don’t involve money such as gifts.
Unbalanced platforms: Most of these solutions face an imbalance between the number of active brands and influencers as these marketplaces don’t combine influencer and companies’ databases. The service they provide is limited by the number of influencers and businesses on their own marketplace. The risk is that when influencers can’t get enough deals, they become disengaged, which leads to fewer brands listed on the platform, leading itself to less and less influencers and vice versa. There is therefore no guarantee your brand will find the right people to get promoted.
Hybrid solutions like Snikpic combine influencer discovery tool features with those of the marketplace and third-party analytics. The idea behind Snikpic is to be a “real marketplace” that is free to use and not regulated by the provider. Most other platforms are for the marketers or advertisers, while Snikpic is mainly suited for small-business owners and micro to medium-sized (up to 100k followers) influencers.
Price: One of the main advantages is the free access to a database. There are very few fees, which are in line with any eBay-like marketplace, not overbearing for the user.
Safety: Like other “marketplace” solutions, Snikpic will also act as a trusted partner between influencers and businesses, meaning that brand payments to influencers will be released upon approval of the content.
Transparency: The most significant difference between Snikpic and other solutions is that, while other companies are advertisers or marketers, Snikpic, on the other hand, is a tech company. Transparency and a positive user experience are two of the main goals, and they believe that both parties should freely contact one another and make deals in the free marketplace. For instance, the app also scores the genuineness of each influencers, except it’s much cheaper
User access: Both businesses and influencers can reach and connect with brands and influencers using 3.5 million proprietary influencer databases and its gigantic business database. Users can be reached out to even if they are not on the platform, which makes Snikpic truly unique when compared to other “marketplaces” like Tribe.
Statistics: Users are provided with very detailed information and statistics on every influencer and business on the platform. Snikpic also allows businesses to track the performance of each post and story published by each influencer they are in contact with.
Effort: Snikpic is mostly intended for small and medium-sized business owners and social media managers. Unlike Integrated campaign management solutions, as it is costless, it will not manage and select influencers on its own. Business owners will therefore have to spend some time engaging with it and interacting with influencers themselves.
The Snikpic app is in development, but it already looks quite good based on the test we did (accessed via pre-registration on our website). A closed beta with 200 businesses is intended to start in Summer 2019.