Is Your Influencer Marketing Platform an Asset or a Liability?

Opinion: Identifying which platform to work with is one of the top challenges of the year

Headshot of Maria Sipka

Influencer marketing’s recent surge in popularity has spawned a variety of platforms designed to help brands manage and run effective influencer marketing programs. As a result, identifying which platform to work with is one of the top challenges of the year.

Selecting the right influencer marketing platform can be the difference between a good program and a great strategic investment. As you search for the right technology, keep these four must-have capabilities in mind when evaluating partner offerings.

Audience demographics

Historically, influencer marketing has been challenging because marketers select influencers based on their demographics. However, influencer marketing programs have proven to be most effective when influencers are matched with brands based on their audience’s demographics.

This is critically important to selecting the right influencers because it ensures that brands are working with content creators who reach specific demographics.

As a result, brands should partner with influencer marketing platforms with the ability to determine the demographics of their influencers’ audiences across multiple social platforms. In doing so, brands can reach specific demographic and geographic segments, targeting audiences by age, ethnicity, location, education level and annual income. Marketers can also geo-target consumers and know exactly where the influencers’ followers are based.

Ability to scale

An effective influencer marketing program doesn’t stop just because the program ends. Marketers should partner with a platform that empowers brands to scale the success of their programs by laying a foundation for exponential growth.

A scalable program begins with the perfect pairing between influencer and brand, as the right mix of creators can generate nuanced, authentic content at scale. Brands can then market test the influencer content and put money behind the best-performing pieces to make their digital advertising and paid social media efforts more effective.

FTC compliance

The Federal Trade Commission requires sponsorship disclosure at the beginning of any sponsored blog post, video or social message, stating that the individual was given compensation of some sort (money, product, travel experiences, etc.).

Yet despite the FTC’s regulations, 12 percent of marketers admit to not complying with the guidelines, while one in four influencers has been asked by brands not to disclose sponsored content.

As a result, brands and agencies should only work with influencer marketing providers that are committed to FTC compliance and have features built into their platforms that help automate the process.

Measurable results

78 percent of marketers today cite measuring the return on investment of influencer marketing as their top challenge. Many are starting to move away from metrics like reach because there is no way to verify accuracy, and reach in particular can be easily falsified through the purchase of fake followers.

To know whether or not you are getting a return on your investment, it’s important to look at metrics like engagement, traffic driven, conversions and, ultimately, product sales.

50 percent of marketers report that cost-per-engagement and cost-per-click models are the most effective at driving results, compared with only 17 percent who believe pay-per-post, or “flat-rate” pricing, is effective despite it being the most widespread form of influencer compensation.

As more brands seek accountability from their programs, they are turning to influencer marketing platforms that can track results throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

Influencer marketing platforms need to evolve at the speed of consumer behavior, enabling marketers to effectively engage consumers where they spend their time. This is no easy task, given the extreme fragmentation of the consumer landscape. The capabilities of your next influencer marketing platform could mean the difference between a tactical campaign tool and a strategic content marketing engine.

Maria Sipka is the chief evangelist and co-founder of influencer marketing platform Linqia.

Image courtesy of runeer/iStock.

@mariasipka Maria Sipka is co-founder and vice president of brand strategy for Linqia.