Influencer marketing has come a long way since its inception. In the early days, it was still relatively unproven, and brands were mostly hesitant to invest in influencer-driven campaigns–partly because they weren’t convinced of the value, but also because it was hard. Setting up and managing influencer campaigns could be labor-intensive and time-consuming.
From finding the right influencers to managing the relationship and measuring the results, building a robust influencer strategy was a challenge. Furthermore, many companies didn’t have the resources or expertise in house to handle it.
But as the industry matures, we are seeing the development of tools and platforms that simplify the whole process. What impact will these platforms have on brands, influencers and the industry as a whole? Let’s take a look, shall we?
Problem No 1: Finding the right influencers
According to the Augure 2015 State of Influencer Engagement report, finding the right influencers for their campaigns is a major challenge for 75 percent of brands.
It’s understandable: With an increasingly huge amount of influencers out there, it’s challenging and time-consuming for brands to find just the right ones for their campaigns–not to mention audiences are expecting more from influencer marketing. Simple product placement no longer cuts it. True success comes from great brand and influencer synergy and a healthy dose of creativity. But how are brands supposed to find the right influencers?
The same Augure study reveals that the tools most brands use to find influencers aren’t the most effective ones. Although Twitter is the most used tool, the brands surveyed aren’t convinced by its effectiveness. Instead, brands are finding influencer marketplaces and identification initiatives far more effective.
These databases tend to help brands find the right influencers for their campaigns and save time in the process. So it should come as no surprise that companies are looking to further develop these services and provide a full solution for brands to find influencers and manage campaigns.
The future and influencer marketing platforms
The recent injection of $14 million in funding into a U.S.-based influencer marketing platform is a clear sign that investors see them as a big step forward in the industry.
It’s easy to see why. If they deliver what they promise, platforms represent a way for brands to save time and reduce manual labor. This means more time spent focusing on the things that will really drive the industry forward.
Rather than wasting precious time manually searching for influencers, brands can find the perfect fit for their campaigns from a database of pre-screened and categorized influencers using the platform’s unique algorithm.
Assuming that the matching algorithm is effective, it will be easier than ever for brands to find the right influencers for their campaigns, which can only lead to an overall increase in the quality of campaigns.
But finding the right influencers is only the first step. For platforms to be truly successful, they will not only need to make it easy for brands and influencers to communicate, but also provide robust analytics and measurement tools. And it appears that’s where we are heading.
Although it’s undeniable that an integrated software-as-a-service platform for influencer marketing solves a lot of key problems for brands, just like most tools, they are only as effective as the hands they are in.
Tools will help, but they aren’t everything
Anything that reduces manual labor and simplifies the management of influencer marketing is a good thing, but it’s important that we don’t forget what really drives great influencer marketing: people. Without intelligent and talented people who are looking to develop creative campaigns, tools on their own aren’t the answer.
The biggest benefit of this automation is that it frees up time to focus on what’s most important. Brands and marketers can spend less time doing frustrating administration tasks and more time developing creative campaigns, improving influencer partnerships and using analytics to enhance future campaigns.
There will always be room for talented, forward-thinking people who can drive the industry forward, and when you automate the tedious stuff and let people focus on what they do best, the results will speak for themselves.
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