Imagine a matchmaking website, but designed to facilitate connections between brands and influencers. These technology-based solutions, known as influencer platforms, let marketers search influencer databases, automate influencer outreach, and track campaigns.
On the surface, influencer marketing platforms sound like a great idea — but brands should think twice before ditching the experience and hands-on management that a professional agency provides. When it comes to creating engaging, memorable content marketing campaigns, platforms simply can’t measure up.
Challenges You May Be Facing with Influencer Platforms:
1. Lack of Geo-Marketing & Tailored Recruitment
Want to reach audiences in specific locations? Your chances of doing so aren’t good with self-service influencer platforms, which typically only allow brands to choose the location of the influencer, rather than the more complicated (and valuable) service of geo-targeting their audiences. Plus, finding the right influencer can involve plenty of factors that go beyond keywords and checkboxes: here at Sway we can personally query our influencer network to create tailored campaigns, while software-based services are limited to searching within predefined criteria. Agencies with close network relationships create opportunities for deep dive marketing — for instance, if you want to partner with pet-owning millennial influencers who love gadgets and play video games in their spare time, in order to reach like-minded consumers on the west coast.
2. Influencer Communication Pitfalls
Search and recruitment is just the beginning; running a truly effective influencer program takes a lot of back and forth. Once influencers have been targeted, campaign communications include payment negotiations, contracts, brand instructions, asset transfer, troubleshooting, and more. Even the most automated software solution still requires management, and increases the risk of important information getting lost. In comparison, a full service influencer marketing agency allows brands to outsource all the work while remaining confident every detail is being handled with their unique campaign in mind.
3. Promotional Limitations of Influencer Platforms
There are plenty of powerful outreach activities that can’t be handled by clicking a few buttons on a web form. Twitter parties, for example, are closely managed at Sway, and for live events we send in a full team the day beforehand to set up products, branding, decorations and refreshments. For every ‘real time’ activity, our team ensures everything looks great and runs smoothly, which allows clients to focus on the big picture.
4. No Backup Plans for Lost Influencers
Agencies can make sure brands have additional resources if unforeseen circumstances prompt an influencer to drop out of a campaign. When you’re working with a software program, you’re the one who has to scramble to find a last-minute replacement or carry out the program with fewer influencers than needed.
5. Quality Assurance Definitely Isn’t Assured on Influencer Platforms
A platform isn’t capable of checking content quality. FTC disclosures, brand messaging, assets, links, and more need to be manually verified — not to mention the qualitative process of determining whether the content meets campaign goals. A full-service influencer marketing agency will include comprehensive QA as part of the overall program, which saves time and ultimately drives better results.
Amazing Content Marketing Comes from People
Influencer marketing works best when there is an authentic, organic fit between messenger and message, which is why we at Sway Group work so hard to create and manage the right kind of partnerships. Whether we’re finding the perfect person to share your brand, developing content strategies that truly resonate with audiences, or making sure your campaign is executed without a single hitch, we know how to help you succeed. At the end of the day, software algorithms simply can’t replace the all-important human element.