Influencer marketing is one of the most effective and cost-efficient strategies for brands in the creator economy. In fact, recent research shows the approach generates as much as $6.50 for every dollar spent on influencers.
But nothing worth doing is ever easy, and influencer marketing is no exception. As the digital landscape evolves, new challenges of influencer marketing management constantly arise that IMMs must address to keep pulling in positive returns.
Luckily, there are tools available to overcome nearly all of them. And we have 11 must-haves for every brand looking to level up their strategy.
1. Detailed creator search features
One of the first steps to launching an influencer marketing program is figuring out which creators can best represent your brand. You worked hard to establish your good name, and you need a creator team to help uphold your reputation.
But there are millions of creators to choose from out there. So, how can you possibly narrow it down to the ones who truly align with your brand?
Some influencer marketing managers choose to search hashtags and keywords on various social platforms. But this approach is time-consuming, and it can be tough to narrow prospects down to the specific niche you’re looking for.
That’s where detailed creator search features become a life-saver.
With these tools, you can filter influencers by location, age, engagement rate, keyword, and more, meaning your perfect partner is always just a click away.
2. Influencer auditing
Once you find a creator you think will be a good fit for your brand, you need to make sure they’re legit before you propose a collaboration.
Remember, influencers with a high follower count and engagement rate can make a comfortable living in the creator economy. And unfortunately, many find ways to inflate these metrics to appear to have more influence than they actually do. In fact, research suggests more than 50% have bought followers, engagements, or artificially boosted their stats in some way, shape, or form.
The best way to avoid working with “fake” influencers is by performing an audit. Tools like GRIN’s Influencer Analytics tool show you what percentage of an influencer’s followers are real people and how many of their engagements come from bots. You can also use the GRIN Web Extension to view advanced creator stats and any provided contact information as you’re clicking through social media.
3. Creator outreach tools
A good first impression is critical in every aspect of life—and the same is true for influencer marketing. That’s why your initial creator outreach has to be on point. If it’s not, you risk turning the prospect off completely and ruining your chance at a future partnership.
Some brands send as many as 100 emails to new creators per week. And sending all those messages out can be a full-time job if you don’t have the right tools in place.
Luckily, email integrations exist for exactly this reason.
Whether personalizing a template to send to prospects en masse or automating follow-up messages so no communication slips through the cracks, choosing the right tool is essential for getting the most out of your outreach efforts.
4. Influential customers
If you’re a more established brand, there’s a good chance plenty of people are already out there singing your praises on social media. Some of them might even have a substantial following.
The best influential customer tools connect with your ecommerce platform and help you identify devoted customers with highly engaged followings and recruit them as influencers for your brand.
Influential customers make great partners for two main reasons:
- Genuine brand excitement – Influential customers already know and love you. By leveraging them as influencers, they’ll pass that excitement on to their audience.
- Product seeding potential – Influencers who are already fans of your product are more likely to post on your behalf in exchange for free products and help you avoid the growing creator demand for a high flat rate.
5. Discount code/affiliate link generator
Affiliate links and discount codes are great for catching a consumer’s eye with a good deal on a product. But they’re even better for tracking where your sales come from and identifying your top-performing creators.
Not only can the right tools help you generate them at scale, but they’ll help you disable compromised discount codes and reconcile commissions for each to ensure you’re achieving the highest returns on your campaigns.
6. Advanced product seeding capabilities
Product seeding campaigns can be a major headache—especially if you’re still using spreadsheets to manage your program. But tools that integrate with your ecommerce platform streamline the process to the point where you and your creators barely have to lift a finger.
When searching for the right tool, be on the lookout for the following capabilities:
- Product selection – Your creators should be able to choose the products they want to promote via a branded landing page made specifically for them.
- Order creation – Once an influencer selects a product, your tool should automatically create orders in your integrated ecommerce platform.
- Fulfillment tracking – You’ll want to be able to monitor the status of your product orders and generate tracking numbers for each one.
7. Access to ‘lookalike’ influencers
So you found your perfect creator. Now, if only you had 100 more just like them…
Fortunately, it’s not as big of an ask as it may sound.
Tools like GRIN’s Influencer Lookalike tool help identify creators similar to your top performers using key metrics like follower count, engagement rate, location, and more.
Remember, finding the best creators means understanding that not every creator is equally effective and that not every effective creator is the right fit for your brand. But influencer lookalike tools will help take the guesswork out of recruitment, so you’re only reaching out to people most likely to kill it for your brand.
8. Social listening
It’s easy to see what people say about your brand if they tag you, but what about when they don’t go out of their way to get your attention?
That’s where social listening comes in. With these tools, you can always be a part of the conversation—even if you aren’t mentioned by name.
Like influential customer tools, social listening is a great way to dial in on potential influencers already enjoying your products. But it’s also helpful for gauging your overall brand sentiment online.
If the conversation is mostly positive, great! Keep it up. If not, you can get a better idea of what you need to work on and even ask customers for feedback on how you can improve their experience.
9. Organized content library
The more creator content you accumulate, the harder it will be to keep it all neatly organized and accessible. And when your creator roster approaches triple digits, a tool to manage your content library becomes essential.
The tool you choose should enable you to collect and view content delivered by creators in your program across all your campaigns and partnerships. From there, you’ll need the ability to filter, tag, and organize assets so you can repurpose them in other marketing channels. Just make sure you get all the necessary content rights, so you don’t run into any legal issues down the road.
10. Intuitive reporting and analytics
Here’s the million-dollar question: Did your campaign work?
All creator relationships—no matter how strong—need to be measured. And you’ll need an analytics tool that can help you track it to the cent.
Before selecting a tool, make sure it can do the following:
- Measure campaign success – That includes KPIs like budget, spend, revenue, conversions, and more so you can identify the true ROI of each campaign.
- Track content and creator performance – Are your creators up to snuff? You’ll know right away with the right analytics tool.
- Evaluate program success – Campaign, creator, and content performance are only individual pieces to the puzzle. With the right tools, you’ll have a clear look at brand growth and how your program is performing as a whole.
- Build custom reports – While it isn’t essential, coming to your next marketing meeting with all the performance data from your program is a good look.
11. A creator management platform
Now you have two options.
You can find an individual tool for each point listed above and jump back and forth between them while running your program. Or, you can invest in a creator management tool that houses everything you need in one easy-to-use platform.
Sounds like an easy choice, right? Then let us introduce you to GRIN’s top-ranked Creator Management platform.
GRIN empowers its users to overcome the challenges of running and scaling an influencer marketing program by helping them find the right influencers, manage relationships with each, track every post, and measure associated sales and ROI.
GRIN’s all-in-one Creator Management platform makes executing influencer marketing seamless, from recruiting to fulfilling product orders to attributing revenue to pulling in content. As a software solution, GRIN helps brands build direct relationships with their influencers, eliminating the middlemen seen in traditional influencer networks.
Overcoming the challenges of influencer marketing management: strategies to find influencers for your brand
Reach out to brand-aligned influencers.
As we’ve mentioned, partnering with brand-aligned influencers is the key to establishing a successful collaboration. Remember, for your campaigns to flourish, your creators must know your brand, use your products, and truly believe in both. Not only will these influencers perform better, but they’re also more likely to want to partner with you if you share the same values.
Personalize your outreach.
Every influencer brings something different to the table, even if they share the same niche. With that in mind, you should avoid a cut-and-paste approach to influencer marketing and put a personal touch on each message.
It might sound simple, but addressing your outreach to each prospect by name goes a long way in establishing trust right off the bat. From there, point out a specific piece of content you like from them and explain why you think they would make a good partner for your brand.
Get to the point.
Even though you want to take the time to explain to your prospects why you think they’d mesh well with your brand, you don’t want to get carried away with the word count of your message. Just keep things short and sweet. And be sure to include a call-to-action at the end, so your prospect knows exactly how to follow up.
Send some free product.
If your prospect isn’t already familiar with your products, make sure to send them a free sample so they can try it out and understand how it works. Your gift is also a sign of good faith and shows creators you’re serious about the partnership.
And if the creator already uses your products? Send them another one anyway! It never hurts to show appreciation for a brand fan (especially if you want to convert them into a brand partner).
Be open and honest.
It’s important to be open about your program from the onset. If your budget only allows for a product seeding approach, be sure to let your creators know right away you aren’t in a position to offer a pay-per-post model. They might be disappointed, but they’ll respect you for not leading them on.
You’ll also want to draw up a mutually agreeable contract so everyone knows their expectations. And as the campaign gets underway, let your creators know if there are any tweaks they can make to produce more effective content. Likewise, be open to constructive criticism if your influencers have any advice on optimizing your campaign.
Key takeaway: The right tools are essential to your influencer marketing program. Bring them all together in one platform.
As you scale your influencer marketing program, you’ll shave hours off your workload by implementing the right tools. GRIN’s all-in-one Creator Management platform brings everything home to one simple dashboard you can use to manage your entire program from end to end.