Selecting a Influencer Agency, Platform or Database, Which is Best?
**Originally published August 16th, 2019. Updated February 6th, 2020**
For brands looking to evaluate new marketing channels, a huge question on the minds of marketers today is “Should I use an Influencer Marketing agency? Or do I go with an influencer marketing platform?“ Deciding whether to go with an influencer marketing agency, an influencer marketing platform or an influencer database is one of the most important factors to consider when running an influencer marketing program.
What is an Influencer Marketing Database?
Influencer databases are software-based directories that allow brands to find, research, and track influencers across a litany of social media platforms (like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat). With the rise of micro-influencers (influencers with fewer than 100k followers), there are now hundreds of thousands of influencers available for brands to work with. The sheer number of options can make your head spin and can leave many to wonder what steps to take to launch a successful influencer campaign.
Simply put, an influencer database is a tool that brands and agencies can use to vet potential influencers and narrow down which of them they would like to work with.
What is an Influencer Marketing Platform?
Influencer marketing platforms are software solutions that allow brands and agencies to run influencer campaigns. Unlike influencer marketplaces, most influencer marketing platforms provide not only a database of high-quality influencers, but also CRM and workflow tools, and analytics as well.
What is an Influencer Marketing Agency
An influencer marketing agency brings all of the benefits of both an influencer database and a platform, but with added benefits like strong influencer relationships, experience with executing influencer campaigns, and white glove. Take us here at Viral Nation for example. We provide full-service social media representation for our influencer clients, helping them work with brands and ensuring they receive proper compensation. In turn, brands and other agencies contact us to assist them with their influencer campaigns, and our specialists create campaigns based on specific goals.
With the ability to create groundbreaking campaigns, source influencers through established relationships, and report deep analytics around your marketing efforts, we are a one-stop-shop with white-glove service for all things social media and influencer marketing.
Which is best?
Determining whether to use a platform, a database, or an agency depends on what you are specifically looking to achieve. Consider these factors when deciding whether a database, platform, or agency is best.
Demographics match between Brand and Influencer
Brands and influencers need to have aligned audiences for influencer marketing to be successful. The best match occurs when there is an ideal overlap between the demographics of followers for both the influencer and the brand’s audience. Because this is an analytics play, having a platform to give this data in a few clicks can be fruitful. But getting this information through an agency can be just as powerful because an agency also has established relationships with these influencers and have likely activated them in previous campaigns. This makes their knowledge and expertise very valuable when it comes to aligning your brand with the right influencer.
Finding the right price to pay an Influencer
Having a deep understanding of the price of influencer marketing is one of the most important assets a brand can have in today’s digital marketing world. Agencies likely have a better understanding and scope of pricing for individual influencers, due to their relationships and ability to negotiate. Platforms and databases can certainly assist you in determining some ballpark numbers for the influencer services, but they can’t negotiate and leverage relationships in the fashion that agencies like Viral Nation do. Click the image below to see why we were named the Best Large Influencer Marketing Agency of 2019.
Campaign to run with an influencer
Many brands struggle to find both and effective strategy and content cadence for their campaigns. Should they be asking an influencer for 1 or 2 social media posts? Or should you be asking the influencer to post on Instagram, Twitter or Youtube? Should they post on all of them? The answers to these and many other similar questions are essentially based on (1) your specific goals for the campaign and (2) what is working (and not working) on social media as a whole. Agencies may be positioned best to answer number 1, however, number 2 could also be answered by an influencer marketing platform that runs thousands of influencer marketing campaigns and tracks ROI and results from each. With that said, many top-tier agencies also offer deep analytics and industry expertise in following and predicting trends on social.
The ultimate objective of any influencer marketing campaign whether through an agency, platform or run by the brand itself via a database is to see results. For many brands that usually means either increasing brand awareness and/or increasing sales. Some agencies (like Viral Nation) have the tools to track these things in several different ways. If content is king on social media, then data is the emperor. Knowing how influencers contribute to the purchase decision process is paramount. So while platforms, for example, may have some strong analytical tools at their disposal, the specific data sets offered by either an agency or a platform should be evaluated before deciding which is best for your influencer marketing efforts.
To wrap things up, an influencer marketing agency is an amazing resource if you are running any sort of social media campaign. An influencer marketing platform can boost a brand’s influencer marketing efforts and ensure that ROI is tracked, and can assist in finding the right influencers at the right price. As stated above, which is best for your brand is dependent upon several factors. But this information should give you a great head start in finding the best fit for your brand’s marketing efforts.