If you’re an agency that works on campaigns with influencers then you will know by now that finding the right influencer to work with can be tricky.
Let’s say you have a client who wants you to run a fashion campaign for them, focusing on a new range of ladies hats. You’re running influencer marketing for the campaign and your influencers need to have a blog, as well as robust social media followings and be based in the UK.
Looking down the list you can quite quickly strip out a number of male fashion influencers who are unlikely to be the right partners for us on this campaign. Further down the list a few looked promising, but then turned out to be based in the US. Again, not the right influencers for us to work with on this occasion. Finally there were one or two London-based fashion influencers who also blogged and seemed to fit the bill… although one of them currently features very few posts where she is wearing a hat.
Searching through Instagram’s one billion active users in this manner to find your influencer is clearly going to be time-consuming and ultimately unsustainable, particularly for a brand-based campaign which requires a substantial amount of reach, so where do you turn?
Platform, database or both?
You may well find yourself investigating influencer databases and platforms. The exact services each one of these offers varies, but traditionally a platform will provide services such as mass approval of and briefing of influencers. This may be paired with a database (either integrated or separately), which lets you find the influencers to work with and then handles the platform element for liaising with your chosen collaborators..
Traditional platforms and databases solve your problem when it comes to finding influencers who match your partner specification, but in doing so they can limit the success of your campaign.
Platforms tend to only sift through their own database, which is a limited version of the total amount of influencers available in the first place.
Brands are, rightly, getting more specific in their requirements when it comes to the partners they select to work with. Where ‘fashion influencer’ may once have been the only requirement, now it’s more than likely that a brand brief will include factors like our example; they’ll need to be able to promote ladies fashion, be in the UK, have a blog as well as social profiles and have an interest or even expertise in hats. And that’s before we’ve checked they have the right amount of followers, that their followers are engaged and that their social history is clean.
Perhaps there are 100 such influencers out there, but what percentage of those 100 would any given platform have in the database they use? Perhaps, generously, we might say 10%? The fact that we want influencers who blog as well could be a killer factor that cuts a platform’’s database down even further.
The perfect hat influencer could be out there, but if said perfect hat influencer is not within your chosen platform’s database then they’re not going to be suggested to you as a partner to work with. You’ve missed out on your ideal influencer partner and some all important reach and audience engagement. Your chosen influencer partners are going to number 10, at most, when they could number 100.
Micro influencers and databases
You are also likely to miss out on the opportunities available through micro influencers. Platforms tend to only partner with influencers who have amassed large follower counts. Micro influencers tend to have between 3,000 and 25,000 or so followers, far below the follower count of the influencers who are stored on the database of most platforms. Whilst it might seem logical to chase larger follower counts, micro influencers consistently boast engagement rates which beat those of their peers. They tend to be more responsive on their social accounts, fostering a dedicated audience and driving buying behaviour. They could work for you, but by partnering with a platform (and their database) this segment of the influencer market will remain closed to you.
And that’s the real kicker: by choosing to work with a platfrom’s closed database you will probably never know the results you could have achieved. Your campaign will run with the influencers on the platform’s book and it may well still generate some good numbers. But those numbers will be solely reliant on and relative to the platform’s database. You will have missed out on reach and influence you didn’t even know were there.
Depending on the size of brand you work with, you will also very quickly find that you saturate databases. A recent client of ours estimates that they need to move database/platform provider every 3 months, because it only takes them that amount of time to go through all of the influencers any given platform holds in their database.
There may be a right time and place to use a traditional influencer platform, but be aware of how limiting that choice could be to your success. Frame your reporting in the relativity of the platform’s database to give a fair reflection of the influencer marketplace as a whole - this will help you to assess the other influencer opportunities out there. Make sure you don’t miss out on your perfect hat influencer!
Now… it might seem a little odd that we’ve written the above, as an influencer platform ourselves, warning you of the dangers of influencer platforms and their databases. But that’s because we do things slightly differently.
Databases are dangerous to the success of your campaign… so we don’t really have one.
Instead we have a step in the process we call ‘discovery’, a bespoke assessment mechanism we called Engagement Affinity Score (EAS) and a powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI) to put everything together for us.
The whole of the market is open to you, including micro and nano influencers and the results are easy to digest. Oh, and, we’re also a platform, so after Discovery you can easily progress to hiring, approval, review and confirmation.
If your perfect hat influencer is out there, we guarantee that we’ll find them. If your perfect hat influencer isn’t out there, you don’t pay. Simple really.
Get in touch using the below details and you can find out for sure with a free search,
Influence Network is an influencer platform which identifies the most aligned micro-influencers from the entire social web, then rapidly deploys and manages your campaign at an unprecedented scale, before reporting on trackable engagement and ROI. We’re the Double-Click of influencer marketing and we’re here to solve your influencer problems. Sound interesting? Get in touch on INFO@INFLUENCE.NETWORK or 0207 523 5311.