The creator economy is constantly changing, and influencer marketing managers know better than anyone that you have to evolve with it to keep your brand relevant.
No matter the stage of your program, there is always something to learn to keep your brand on the cutting edge. And with that in mind, we’ve compiled a complete layout of influencer marketing resources, including tools, case studies, and examples to be your guiding light through the influencer marketing landscape.
Common influencer marketing pain points and the resources you need to solve them
1. Setting up your program
Establishing goals and KPIs
The first step to establishing a successful influencer marketing program is identifying your overall objective. To accurately measure ROI, you’ll need to clearly define your campaign goals and break those goals down into actionable KPIs.
Some of the most common campaign goals are:
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive sales/conversions
- Boost social sentiment
- Inform buyers
- Increase website traffic
- Maintain a library of high-quality content
When building KPIs, consider the milestones you’ll need to hit to reach your overall program goals.
For example, the following KPIs might accompany a campaign goal of brand awareness:
- Reach # followers on brand IG page by [deadline]
- Reach # page views by [deadline]
- Get # engagements on branded posts
The ideas above are by no means prescriptive—your goals and KPIs
will always be unique to your brand. By setting goals and KPIs, you will
see what’s working, what isn’t, and what steps you can take to refine
your creator management process.
Identifying your target audience
Identifying your target audience requires a deep understanding of your current and ideal customers. When you know exactly who is buying your products, you’ll be able to dial in your marketing efforts to only those genuinely interested in your product or service.
Ask yourself the following questions when determining your target audience:
- What is their gender?
- How old are they?
- Where are they located?
- What is their financial status?
- What are their interests?
- What are their core values?
- What problems do they have?
Identifying your ideal creator persona
Your ideal creator persona should mirror the attributes of your target audience. The best creators are those whose content and lifestyle resonate best with your customers, so be sure to select partners who are relatable and share the same general mission and values.
2. Finding creators
Characteristics to consider
Once you’ve nailed down the basics of your ideal creator persona, it’s time to dig a little deeper. Consider the following characteristics when finding the right creator to partner with:
Follower count – If you’re an established brand with a large budget, you might consider partnering with macro or celebrity creators to blast your message out to the masses. For smaller brands, nano and micro creators are a more cost-efficient solution for reaching a highly engaged and targeted audience.
Engagement rate – While follower count is important, it isn’t the end-all-be-all. Pay close attention to a creator’s engagement rate so you know your message reaches a captive audience.
Social media platform usage – Determine where your audience spends its time and look for creators who are most active on those platforms.
Niche – “Lifestyle” is often too broad a term. Instead, dial in on creators with expertise in more specific niches so you’re providing the most relevant content to your target audience.
Tips for finding the perfect fit
Authenticity is essential when looking for the perfect creator fit. That means you’ll need a solid radar for “fake influencers.”
Calculate engagement rate. An exceptionally high or low engagement rate might mean that not all of a creator’s followers are real.
Check for quality engagements. Likes are important, but having a lot of shares and comments means the creator’s content is connecting with their audience more deeply.
Be wary of newer accounts with high follower counts. Growing a large following takes time. If a newly active creator already has an audience in the thousands, something might be up.
Check the location of the creator’s audience. For example, if a social media user from the U.S. has a predominantly international following, you could be dealing with a fake influencer.
Google is your friend. “Real” creators usually have a large digital presence, so be on the lookout for blogs, backlinks, and third-party mentions.
3. Creator outreach
Put your best foot forward and make a good impression on your potential partner during outreach. Keep your message short and sweet, but be sure to include the following:
- A subject line that catches their attention
- How you came across them, and what you like about their work
- Why you’re reaching out
- What benefits you can offer them
- A clear call to action so they know how to follow up
Additional resources and outreach templates
4. Negotiating with creators
You have multiple options when it comes to influencer compensation, but the three most common include:
Product seeding – Giving creators free products or samples in exchange for content is the most cost-effective compensation method since hiring a creator is only as expensive as your cost of goods sold. However, most larger creators will not be open to this approach.
Flat rate – A flat rate payment arrangement requires a pay-per-post structure varying from less than $50 a post to hundreds of thousands, depending on creator size.
Affiliate – Affiliate programs offer creators a commission each time their content results in a conversion. This is a popular strategy for brands of any size since they only have to pay creators who get results.
When and how to negotiate
Negotiations for product collaborations should be quick, and you should be flexible with what you ask for. Creators might be on board with your initial offer, but if not, give some more information on why they will like your brand and what you can provide them.
Here are a few tips to consider during negotiation:
Know your number. Any time you initiate a conversation with a potential partner, have an exact number of what you’re willing (and can afford) to pay.
Adjust the campaign specifics. There are times when adjusting campaign specifics like the number of posts or content rights is all you need to do to negotiate a creator down to your desired rate. But this all hinges on effective communication and rapport with your prospect.
Leverage additional perks. Offering additional perks to your creators speaks to the long-term potential of your professional relationship. This could be as simple as subsidizing production costs or putting them in an affiliate model where they can earn additional commission.
Be transparent. Be up-front with the creator if you don’t have the budget to accommodate their rate. They will appreciate your honesty and be more willing to work with you if they truly love your products and identify with your mission.
5. Nurturing long-term relationships
Tips for managing long-term creator relationships
One-off partnerships have value in some circumstances, but influencer marketing really thrives on long-term relationships with creators who become true champions for your brand.
Communication is key. No matter how many creators you’re working with, make sure you’re putting in enough facetime with each one. Whether you’re talking business or just shooting the breeze, holding regular check-ins will go a long way to nurturing valuable long-term relationships.
Be open to feedback. Your relationship with your creators should be a partnership, not a transaction. That means staying open to feedback when your creator has an idea for how you can optimize a strategy or product. Remember, your creators know what their audience wants better than you do, so be sure to listen to them when they come to you with an idea.
Offer growth opportunities. A true partnership means giving your creators the opportunity to grow with your brand. Consider offering payment tiers to reward your highest performers or promoting creators to “ambassador” status if they’ve proven to be a worthy asset to your brand’s mission.
Give back to your creator’s community. Show your creators you care about them and their community. If a specific cause or charity means a lot to them, look for ways your brand can get involved to prove that your partnership is about more than just making a buck.
Navigating difficult conversations with long-term partners
Not every partnership is going to be a home run. And at some point, you might have to have some difficult conversations with creators who aren’t performing up to your standards.
When the time comes, be clear and tactful in your approach.
- Be clear on the “why.”
- Be kind but honest.
- Offer constructive feedback.
- Keep an eye on future opportunities.
- Ghost your creators.
- React if a creator lashes out.
- Publicly criticize the creator in any way.
6. Analyzing data and reporting program success
Identifying the true ROI of your influencer program
The true ROI from influencer marketing goes beyond just dollars and cents generated from discount codes and affiliate links. Ideally, your creators should be adding value throughout the entire marketing funnel. To get the full picture of how each is performing, follow the three pillars for proving influencer marketing success.
- Social media metrics – Everything happening on the social media channels for your brand, creators, and customers, including:
- Follower growth on brand pages
- Creator reach
- User-generated content
- Increased share of voice
- Ecommerce metrics – Everything going on inside of your ecommerce store, including your:
- Repeat conversions
- Cart abandonment
- Return rate
- Web metrics – What’s happening online (excluding social media) like:
- Web traffic
- Earned media
- Bounce rate
Influencer marketing platforms: When to upgrade and what to know before you buy
Before investing in influencer marketing software, you’ll first need to step back and take a good look at your program to determine your must-haves and what you can realistically afford.
Here are a few things to think about when considering whether to level up your strategy:
What stage is your program?
Beginner programs usually leverage fewer than 50 creators, and a dedicated influencer marketing manager can run the program using a manual approach with spreadsheets and traditional email outreach. Influencer marketing software is an investment, and at this point, we recommend sticking with the basics until you’re ready to scale your program.
An intermediate program generally has a roster of at least 100 creators. At this stage, you’ll likely have trouble keeping everything organized on a spreadsheet and spend more time than necessary on manual tasks. If so, it’s time to start looking into an influencer marketing platform to automate your processes.
If you’re running a full-blown influencer program with 100-plus creators, chances are you’re already leveraging a platform—or at least some influencer marketing tools. But chances are you still have some roadblocks keeping you from running your program as efficiently as you’d like. If that’s the case, it’s time to branch out and find a platform that meets your needs.
What to look for in an influencer platform
The influencer marketing software you choose to run your program should enable you to automate manual tasks so you can free up time to build authentic, long-term relationships with high-performing creators. The right platform will keep you organized every step of the way and provide deep analytics to help you prove the success of your overall program.
Here are a few specifics to look out for:
- Ecommerce integrations – Connect your ecommerce store to automate product fulfillment, generate discount codes and affiliate links at scale, and track revenue attribution.
- Connect with creators – Recruit new talent and view creator metrics so you’re always partnering with the right people.
- Email integrations – Custom templates and automated email sequences will help you communicate with creators at scale and ensure no correspondence slips through the cracks.
- Custom CRM – Manage all your creator relationships, track payments, store campaign briefs, and pay all your partners in one place.
- Organize content – Easily find, organize, and repurpose all of your creator content so you’re always getting the most mileage out of your partnerships.
- Analyze and report – Access campaign, creator, and content metrics, so you can tell what’s working and what isn’t.
What’s the solution?
GRIN’s all-in-one Creator Management platform solves all of these issues and more so you can own your direct relationships with creators and easily manage and scale your influencer marketing program.
- GRIN offers the most robust suite of ecommerce integrations—BigCommerce, Shopify, WooCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and Magento—making it a breeze to generate Affiliate Links and Discount Codes, ship products to creators in a few clicks., and track the results.
- GRIN helps you discover and recruit creators with its best-in-class Web Extension, creator-focused Landing Pages, and simple tools to import your roster and find quality partnerships faster.
- GRIN’s email integrations enable you to batch, track, and send personalized emails at scale so you can skip the tedious back-and-forth with prospects and partners.
- GRIN provides end-to-end management from a single, user-friendly platform, bringing all the tools and information you need to run your program efficiently under one roof.
- GRIN enables you to organize all your creator content and easily access each piece when you’re ready to repurpose them throughout your marketing mix.
- GRIN automatically compiles analytics for your creators, campaigns, and overall program into intuitive reports so you know exactly how much value you’re generating with your influencer marketing efforts.
How to pitch influencer marketing software to your boss
An influencer marketing platform can be a costly investment, and you might need to do a little convincing if you want to get full executive buy-in. Be sure to come to your pitch meeting prepared with all data from your current influencer marketing program and outline how investing in a platform will help take your strategy to the next level.
For help with this process, we’ve put together a free resource and downloadable pitch deck you can use when you’re ready to up your game and get leadership on board with your vision.
Successful influencer marketing examples and case studies
Organifi is an organic supplement delivery company. With GRIN’s help, the brand revamped its entire influencer marketing program and partnered with authentic creators to help build brand awareness and drive sales.
In just over 15 months, Organifi generated:
- 250+ active influencer partners
- 10k+ conversions
- 25k+ emails sent
“What we love about GRIN is the fact that we can have a million campaigns and then send mass emails as well from within GRIN and help us stay organized.”
— Lauren Maxwell, Organifi Brand Ambassador/Partnerships Manager
See the full case study.
Mari + Gold
Mari + Gold is a full-service creative marketing agency specializing in the hospitality, tourism, and lifestyle industries. GRIN helps the agency free up time and automate tasks, enabling the team to treat every client like its only client.
From 2021-2022, GRIN helped Mari + Gold generate roughly:
- 4.5x increase in engagements
- 480+ new creator partnerships (27% long-term)
- 2,000% increase in link clicks
- An average of 88% of campaign emails opened + clicked
“GRIN gives us a really high-level view of [creator] content that our clients also get to see. It shows them that the brand is being represented exactly how they want to be represented.”
— Audrey Van Vark, Mari + Gold Senior Influencer Manager
See the full case study.
MVMT is a watch, sunglasses, and accessory company that leveraged GRIN to disrupt the ecommerce apparel industry and become a household name using brand-aligned content creators.
In just over 18 months, MVMT Watches generated:
- 7x influencer growth
- 100k+ affiliate and discount code conversions
- 39k+ influencer-generated content pieces
“I can honestly say GRIN has been my saving grace. I literally was nose-deep in spreadsheets, fixing things for the majority of my day, and now I don’t have to do that. I can think big.”
— Ethan Frame, Senior Influencer Marketing Manager
See the full case study.
Frequently Asked Questions