Influencer Marketing Platforms vs Agencies – Which is right for your business?
Influencer marketing has quickly become one of the fastest-growing sectors of advertising on the planet. On Instagram alone, ad spend for influencer marketing exceeded $2 billion in 2019. Ensuant to this market growth has been the rising number of companies that have cropped up to offer a wide range of services aimed at meeting the demands of this ever-evolving marketing sector.
For many brands and marketers who are constantly evaluating influencer marketing solutions, the choice is not an easy one. It often comes down to either employing the services of an influencer marketing agency or learning how to utilize an influencer marketing platform. In this burgeoning industry, it can sometimes be difficult for brands and marketers to decide which solution is best to achieve their goals. That’s where we come in!
Differences Between an Influencer Marketing Agency and a Platform
So what exactly is an influencer marketing platform? And how is it different from an influencer marketing agency?
An influencer marketing platform is a software-based program that is designed to help you find the right influencers for your brand and/or target demographic. They allow you to manage tasks like influencer relations, including measuring analytics and the ROI of your campaigns.
There are many differences between working on your own, in terms of using an influencer marketing platform instead of hiring an agency to work for you.
Influencer tools can save you money, but not necessarily time
With the sheer amount of information that exists today, it’s next to impossible for marketers to understand it all and identify what’s relevant for their brand. Not without some help, that is.
That’s where data and tools come in. And influencer platforms offer both to users, making it simple to aggregate all the imperative data about your brand, market and even your competition.
But while most influencer tools are not as costly as hiring an agency to run your campaigns, they take a substantial amount of time and work if you plan on managing an influencer campaign in-house. This is time you could invest in other tasks and obligations you have within your organization.
They require an increased level of involvement
This may come as no surprise to many, but influencer marketing platforms require a much higher level of brand involvement than working with an agency. It’s true that influencer platforms provide tools and software that brands need to plan, launch, and manage their campaigns. However, the tasks themselves will need to be done by the brand’s in-house marketing teams. This puts the ball in your own court in terms of delivering a successful campaign and also takes time away from other tasks within your organization. This alone is not a reason to avoid using these tools, but it’s something to take into account when determining how to go about activating your influencer campaign.
Influencer tools are best suited for smaller Campaigns
Truth be told, many marketers would say that influencer marketing platforms are best suited for one-offs and smaller scale influencer campaigns. Though they boast a number of powerful tools and analytics, they still have their limitations. They typically work best for campaigns that don’t involve strict regulations and guidelines, high levels of engagement, or consistent brand messaging.
Best reasons to work with an influencer marketing agency
At its very core, an influencer marketing agency is designed to create and execute influencer marketing campaigns. Agencies can work with brands and influencers seamlessly to both facilitate and optimize your campaigns. A good influencer marketing agency, like Viral Nation, is able to effectively organize and manage a number of campaigns with many different variables. Here are some of the best reasons to choose an agency over a platform.
They have a network
Agencies that specialize in influencer marketing are familiar with the goals of the brand they work with. They understand the requirements and values that make them unique. For all things influencer marketing, they know what they want to do and how to do it, which is a huge help for brands who know they want to activate an influencer campaign but are not quite sure how to effectively go about doing so.
Another thing that many organizations still fail to realize is that influencers themselves are brands. And that means like any successful person, they are often incredibly busy. Influencers often receive hundreds of solicitations from brands every single day. They don’t always have time to see or even engage with every inquiry. Especially if they don’t already have a relationship with you or your brand.
On the other hand, a well-established influencer agency has a strong network, often having privileged contacts (and sometimes rates) with specific influencers.
When scrolling the market to find the right agency for you, take the time to look at the brands and influencers they’ve worked with previously.
They will choose the right social media channels for your campaign
Influencer agencies also know how to bring a campaign to fruition by identifying not only the right influencers for your brand but also the right social channels. This is an important element of a successful campaign, whether you’re looking to drive brand awareness, conversions, or any other KPI.
Choosing the right platforms on social media is crucial. One reason for this is that you need to work with influencers who possess a strong, engaged community on the social channels that your target audience is using on a daily basis. Agencies have both the relationships and experience to carefully choose the right channels to maximize your brand’s exposure and capitalize on your marketing efforts.
They Connect Brands with Relevant Influencers
One of the most time-consuming elements of an influencer campaign can be finding the right influencer for your business. It’s a painstaking process that is best left for the experts in most situations. The success of any influencer campaign largely depends on the synergy between the influencer and the brands, product, or service they are promoting. Without an ideal match, you’ll likely waste your time, money, and resources on the campaign. And even worse, other influencers may be reluctant to work with you as a result.
Influencer marketing agencies find the most relevant and effective influencers for your brand, and often have a large roster of candidates to choose from.