Building relationships with creators, cooking up innovative marketing campaigns, building a brand—these are just a few of the things to love about influencer marketing. But there’s no time for any of that if you’re trying to scale a program with your nose buried in spreadsheets.
If that sounds like you, you’re way overdue to invest in the tools to make influencer marketing fun again. In this blog, we’ll introduce you to some of the benefits of automation software and when it’s time to make the change.
What is influencer marketing automation?
Influencer marketing automation refers to specific tools that allow brands to streamline repetitive tasks and optimize their influencer marketing campaigns. Automation tools save time and resources, enabling brands to easily manage creators and campaigns and report on overall program success with a lower risk for human error.
11 benefits of marketing automation for your influencer program
Personalize outreach at scale.
As you scale your influencer program beyond about 25 creators, you’re looking at an overwhelming amount of back-and-forth messaging via email. But the right automation tools integrate seamlessly with your email provider and allow you to perform outreach at scale, as well as send mass updates to your current creator partners.
With GRIN’s Creator Management platform, you can personalize each Email Template you create to give your messages the human touch needed to build strong relationships from the first outreach message. And with automated follow-up messages, you can ensure that no correspondence ever slips through the cracks.
Automation tools keep creator content organized by filing and storing it in a central location, so it’s easy to find when you need to repurpose it on other marketing channels.
This type of tool should provide:
- A content library where you can store and organize every photo and video your creators produce.
- Tagging and categorization, making it easy to find the content needed for specific marketing campaigns.
- Content approval workflows, enabling you to review and approve creator content before it’s published to ensure it meets brand guidelines and quality standards.
Identify potential brand advocates.
The best advocates for your brand are the ones who genuinely enjoy your products and have a strong relationship with their audience. There are two main ways automation tools can help ensure you find partners who check both boxes.
The first is calculating a creator’s engagement rate (the higher, the better). You can get there manually using the following formula:
Engagement rate = (Total number of engagements / Total number of followers) x 100
Or, you can use a tool like the GRIN Web Extension to calculate engagement rates automatically—no math required. Check out the chart below for guidance on what an ideal engagement rate looks like for each major platform.
Setting up a landing page on your website encouraging creators to apply to your influencer program is another way to help recruit brand advocates. With the right automation tools, you’ll get a notification when someone applies. From there, you can vet them personally using the aforementioned web extension and whatever other methods will help ensure they meet brand standards.
Fulfill product requests and make payments promptly.
Automation tools integrate with your ecommerce store and allow you to send products to creators with just a few clicks. With software like GRIN’s Creator Management platform, you can even provide creators with an accurate and up-to-date product list from which they can choose what they want to promote in their content.
GRIN’s ecommerce integration also includes payment processing features that enable you to pay influencers for their work directly through the platform. This streamlines the payment process and makes it much easier to manage your influencer marketing budget.
Maintain a thriving affiliate network.
Maintaining an extensive affiliate network is a total headache using a manual approach. But the right automation tools can take the stress out of the entire process. At a minimum, your affiliate tool should help you:
- Generate links and codes: This is the crux of affiliate marketing and much easier to accomplish with an automated approach.
- Track success: Automation tools help track affiliate clicks, conversions, and commissions to help you monitor performance and make data-driven decisions on how to optimize your program.
- Manage commissions: Set commission rates for your affiliates, manage payouts, and automate payment processing so you can ensure you pay your affiliates promptly and accurately.
Access detailed reporting metrics.
Did it work? That’s the million-dollar question you’ll need to answer at the end of every influencer marketing campaign. And with the right automation tools, that answer will always be at your fingertips.
Here’s an idea of what you can access with those tools:
- Performance metrics: View engagement rates, clicks, conversions, and revenue generated to get an overall view of campaign and program success.
- Data visualization: Access graphs, charts, and tables that make it easy to digest the data and identify trends, patterns, and insights to inform future campaigns.
- Customizable reports: Tailor reports to your specific needs and schedule them for automatic delivery to your leadership team.
Keep headcount low.
With the right influencer marketing automation tools, one person can often do the work of an entire team. That means you can keep headcount low while decreasing the workload for the staff you already have in place.
When choosing the right tools or platform, take a look at which processes you’re spending the most time on and pick the solution that streamlines that workflow best. The chart below will give you an idea of the time brands save leveraging GRIN’s Creator Management platform.
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Improve brand sentiment.
Influencer marketing automation tools won’t just make life easier for you and your team. They’ll also help improve audiences’ perception of you and produce a halo effect for your brand. Here are just a few of the ways you can use these tools to improve brand sentiment.
- Identify the right creator partners: Influencer marketing automation tools can help identify creators with a positive image and reputation in their respective fields. Collaborating with them will enhance credibility and trustworthiness among your target audience.
- Personalize campaigns: The right tools help you leverage creators to generate engaging, memorable, and personalized content that resonates with audiences.
- Increase reach: Leveraging automation tools helps brands blast those creators’ messages to the masses, increasing visibility and brand awareness. If you’ve chosen the right partners, your brand sentiment will improve as a result.
- Boost authenticity: Automation tools can help ensure the content created by the influencers is authentic and aligns with your values and messaging.
Nurture long-term creator relationships.
Nurturing strong brand-creator partnerships begin with the first outreach message. We’ve already discussed how automation tools help during prospecting, but their value for relationship-building only increases from there.
Long-term relationships are critical to the success of your influencer program and should be the most time-consuming aspect of your strategy. With the right automation tools, you’ll have all the time you need to work on the relationships that will add value to your brand year after year.
Have more time to innovate.
There is little worse in this business than a stale marketing campaign. And if you’re spending all your time in spreadsheets as a glorified task rabbit, you’re not leaving yourself any time to come up with the kind of innovative ideas your brand needs to reach the next level. The right automation tools take all those menial tasks off your plate and give you a chance to think big.
Increase influencer marketing ROI.
It might sound trite, but it’s 100% true: Time is money. Investing in influencer marketing automation tools will take some cash upfront. However, saving time with simplified workflows and unlocking power data to optimize campaigns is an absolute must if you want to level up your program and compete with the biggest names in the industry.
Signs it’s time to automate your influencer marketing processes
You or your team spends more time organizing spreadsheets than building relationships with creators.
Keeping track of influencer spreadsheets can take hours. Each team member will only be able to manage a limited number of influencers before your influencer relationships begin to cool.
Influencer automation software will allow each team member to effectively manage an exponentially higher number of influencers. In some cases, one influencer marketing manager can oversee the entire program with the help of the right tools.
Your program moves across different social media channels.
If you’re like most brands, you can achieve more substantial ROI by using influencers from multiple social channels.
Spreadsheets work well if you initially use one or two social media platforms. But once you’re ready to branch out, the right IRM software will allow you to scale your program smoothly across multiple social channels.
You need to add and vet new influencers in your creator community.
As you gain experience recruiting and managing influencer relationships, you’ll want to employ new ways to vet new influencers. If you’re doing this manually, it often means that you’re spending hours digging into individual creators. When you’ve reached this stage, the right software will provide the same information in just a few clicks, so your team doesn’t have to waste valuable bandwidth.
Your email platform is overwhelmed by back-and-forth correspondence with creators.
It’s easy for information to slip through the cracks when communicating with creators over email and social media DMs. But automation tools integrate with social channels and your email inbox, ensuring your creator correspondences end up in one easy-to-find location.
You struggle to fulfill all of your product orders and pay creators.
If you’re working with a large number of creators, chances are you (or someone on your team) have a ton of product orders to fulfill. It takes hours to organize, track, and ship all that merchandise, and leaves plenty of room for error.
But the right automation tools integrate with your ecommerce store, allowing you to keep track of all your product orders and fulfill each one automatically. That way, your creators stay happy and your team can relax.
You need to prove the success of your influencer program down to the cent.
Whether it’s for your own benefit or at the behest of your leadership team, you’ll eventually need an accurate reading of the success of your influencer marketing program. If you have automation tools in place, you can automatically accumulate campaign and program data and easily access them in detailed reports whenever you need them.
Key takeaway: The benefits of marketing automation become crystal clear when applied to an influencer program.
If you find yourself stressed out with an overwhelming amount of busywork as you manage your influencer marketing program, chances are it’s time to look into a software that will help free up some of your time. Automating menial tasks will put the fun back into influencer marketing as you have more time to build relationships with your favorite creators and scale your program to new heights.
Frequently Asked Questions