With influencer marketing becoming so important to the growth of brands, it’s natural that marketers want to find influencers more easily. After all, influencer discovery is one of the more difficult aspects of the business. Not only that, but you have to figure out which potential influencers are genuine, and which ones aren’t. Fortunately, we marketers have a new tool: influencer marketing platforms. Let’s take a look at this new tool, and then identify the best ones available today.
What is an Influencer Marketing Platform
Influencer marketing platforms are a place where influencers and brands can meet each other. Some act like complete intermediaries, helping you interact with and pay the influencer. A few will even let you exchange all the files through the platform, which lets you avoid giving up your email address and other information. On the other hand, others are little more than a database of influencers who offer their services. Each of these platforms have profiles for the influencers listed, no matter their service level.
I have also covered a more broad selection of influencer marketing tools as well as those that are specifically influencer marketplaces on my blog, but influencer marketing platforms are usually more sophisticated influencer search engines which also have the option of additional agency services to help you in your influencer marketing. They usually provide a broader selection of influencers than do influencer marketplaces and can help you in your implementation, becoming a “one-stop shop” for your needs. For that reason, many of them only work with larger brands and agencies and have an enterprise business model versus the self-service influencer marketplaces.
The Benefits of Working with an Influencer Marketing Platform
Working through influencer marketing platforms is beneficial for several reasons. For instance, it reduces your workload in the area of influencer discovery. While you might want to find influencers by going through your social media profiles and using other methods, these platforms enhance your efforts. Just look for influencers using keywords, then engage with the ones you think will be beneficial.
Depending on the influencer marketing platforms you use, they’ll also help you keep track of the results. More comprehensive platforms will offer you analytics tools to demonstrate ROI. Who doesn’t like help with the bean counting?
Let’s Take a Look at The Networks
Now that we can see how useful these platforms often are, let’s take a look at my top 15 picks for you. I’ll show you what is unique about each platform, which networks they cover, how many influencers they have, and what it costs to use them (note that most do not list prices on their website so only those that do are noted below). With this information, it should be easier to pick the perfect one for your brand or agency.
Perhaps the biggest thing to notice about this platform is its age: it predates the term “influencer marketing” itself. Once upon a time, Activate was formed to help bloggers monetize their websites. Now, it’s one of the most comprehensive influencer marketing platforms around. Search the database of over 75,000 influencers by niche, locations, audience size, and more. Then, take advantage of the ACTIVATE studio to craft the best influencer marketing campaigns possible. Finally, Activate helps you manage and scale relationships with your influencers.
Like some other services out there, AspireIQ is one of the more complete influencer marketing platforms. There’s a discovery engine for marketers to find influencers, and you can handle payments over the platform for free.
However, AspireIQ is more than just a platform. Their whole idea is to build a community around your brand. This includes brand employees, influencers, and even fans, the very brand affinity model that I wrote about in The Age of Influence. In addition, AspireIQ will let you use their platform to hold brand events, solicit customer reviews, and much more.
Besides having a lot of features, Aspire is compatible with many platforms. These include Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and even blog posts. We didn’t see any evidence they’ve worked with TikTok, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.
Clever has a different approach than most influencer marketing platforms, because it’s advertised as a full-service influencer marketing agency. Consequently, this is not a self-service platform. Instead, you engage the company and let them do most of the work to produce “custom content on a massive scale.” In addition, this work is done using primarily micro influencers. That means that Clever doesn’t work with influencers who can get their own clients easily. Rather, they’re a great place to engage with the newer ones.
To accomplish client goals, Clever uses a variety of platforms. In addition to the standard Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, they hire influencers on Pinterest, Vimeo, TikTok, and blogs. Quality and compliance are guaranteed, while you are freed up to do more difficult tasks.
Do you have a larger brand that needs an enterprise-level influencer marketing solution? CreatorIQ is a cloud-based solution for brands that need a lot of influencer marketing support. At the heart of this application is almost exhaustive analytics. These are intended to eliminate many of the problems that surround influencer marketing, such as fraudulent followers, fake engagement, and more.
As for influencer discovery, CreatorIQ focuses on the quality of content. As important as many followers might be in some situations, it’s ultimately the content that gets people to engage or buy. You can pay the influencers through the platform, collaborate, and join hubs. Meanwhile, the app supports you with CRM integrations and a wealth of API options.
You can use CreatorIQ on a variety of platforms. These include YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, Pinterest, and blogs.
If you want to leverage the power of product experts, try ExpertVoice. What this platform does is a bit different from typical influencer marketing platforms. People who recommend products regularly, called Experts on the platform, sign up. They demonstrate industry expertise in a number of ways, such as by revealing industry affiliations. For example, a sports equipment Expert might work for a sporting goods store, or they might be a hiker with demonstrated expertise. In return for signing up, the Experts get an advance look at your latest product launches. You’re also expected to provide them with product discounts.
The core idea behind ExpertVoice is simple: influencers and other professionals interact with brands. It’s a sort of consumer education for sales and industry people. In turn, they can become brand advocates in retail, ecommerce, and more, boosting sales. Best of all, they’re working for almost free because you only pay them through discounts. Platforms supported: any, really. You aren’t paying people for influencer campaigns, so they’ll pitch your brand as they have organic opportunities. They might use social media too, but that’s up to them.
Find Your Influence (FYI) is a full-service platform that lets you run the campaign yourself or let their staff marketers do it. They also have a talent agency for top influencers called FYI Talent. With Find Your Influence, you can locate influencers and benefit from advanced AI algorithms. There’s one which recommends influencers based on your preferences, a pricing algorithm, pre-approval, analytics, and more. In other words, this is a platform where you can do as much of your own work as you want, but you have digital assistance with influencer selection, engagement, and tracking.
FYI is relatively versatile in terms of compatibility. They have API support for Facebook, Insta, blogs, Pinterest, and more. Platform access plans start at $200 per month and go up to $1,500 per month.
If you’re looking for largely automated influencer marketing platforms, check out Heepsy. This SaaS platform gives you access to over 7 million influencers, and provides their statistics gathered through AI. Made to help the little guy monetize, Heepsy specializes in Instagram micro influencers who are rewarded with free product. However, the platform is also compatible with other social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, and blogs. As a bonus, it’ll help you with influencer outreach and social listening. In practice, this makes Heepsy a great option for small brands and those who are new to influencer marketing. Pricing is highly competitive: there’s a free version, and then paid plans priced between $49 and $269 monthly.
With IZEA, you can do as much, or as little, as you want using their platform. This is because their services range from just paying for access to their database, all the way up to full-service marketing campaigns made to order. With Discovery Suite, you get access to profiles of over 5 million influencers. Alternatively, check out the Unity Suite, which is really a form of campaign marketing software. Lastly, you can choose managed services, where everything is done for you. IZEA influencers work on all the major social media networks, TikTok, and blogs. Pricing: Discovery suite is $149 per month, with other services having custom pricing.
For brands that want access to information on a truly massive 900 million influencers (who knew there were that many, anyhow?), Klear is a great choice. Not only does the platform help with influencer discovery, but it also has advanced analytics and relationship management tools. That includes keeping track of all the correspondence, including contracts and payments. That way, everything to do with a Klear influencer can be found in one place. Handy. Unfortunately, Klear is limited to just YouTube and Instagram, so it isn’t as versatile as some other platforms.
At the heart of LINQIA is a web trawler that finds influencer information and compiles it into their database. Then, analytics help you determine which ones might be of interest for your next campaign. From here, you can engage with influencers, though you’ll have to work on the campaign directly with them. Not your cup of tea? LINQIA offers an automated paid social service. Whichever route you take, the platform lets you see the return on investment you’re getting through analytics information. Their platform works with Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.
Unlike some other influencer marketing platforms, Mavrck is designed specifically for enterprise-level brands. They also are comprehensive, with end to end campaign management. They’ll even work to help you find brand advocates that are enthusiastic, but don’t cost much to work with. Mavrck goes beyond traditional influencer marketing to allow for loyalty promotions and referral marketing. It works with literally any social media platform, in addition to industry boards, blogs, and websites. In other words, this thing is comprehensive.
Although Shoutcart is more of an influencer marketplace, I include them on here because of their sheer popularity and as a way of showing the difference in working with more of a marketplace than a platform. On Shoutcart you find an influencer you like using their search engine, place an “order,” and get the exposure you want. It’s kind of like ordering from a catalogue. Shoutcart does the payment processing, and holds the money in escrow until the influencer has done what you asked for. Then, Shoutcart keeps track of an influencer’s analytics from purchased services. This helps you and other marketers decide if you want to use that person. It should be noted that Shoutcart is primarily a platform for engaging with Instagram influencers.
More comprehensive than typical influencer marketing platforms, Socialbakers is an all-in-one solution. It starts by helping with influencer discovery, but it focuses on more than just the paid variety. Rather, they aim to find existing brand advocates as well. With the power of AI, Socialbakers helps you define your overall social media marketing strategy, and lets you craft influencer marketing campaigns in that context. Part of this includes social listening and consumer analytics. Then, they help you avoid influencer fraud and many of the other headaches inherent in this mode of marketing. It isn’t clear how many influencers they work with, but they are compatible with Facebook, Insta, Twitter, and YouTube. Essential pricing starts at $200 per month, with custom plans having different pricing.
For those that want a tool that’s both comprehensive and easy to use, Tagger is one to check out. They’ve combined analytics information about 3.5 million influencers in 70 countries and taken stock of their audiences. With Tagger, you can use efficient search filters that help you find just the person for your brand. Next, manage all your communication with influencers in the platform. Along with analytics and social listening, you can see all the numbers at a glance. Check out reviews from other marketers and manage contracts without using another program.
Want to see who’s already in your corner? Upfluence claims to be the only platform that helps you identify influencers who are already excited about your products and services. This is because they trawl through organic social media content in addition to taking registrations. However, that’s not to say they don’t have a lot of people. In fact, there are over 3 million influencers on Upfluence. Another one of their claims is that they literally work with all platforms to some extent, taking registrations from anybody with verifiable influence. After that, analytics help you pick the right people and run your campaigns efficiently. They’ll even give you reports to help you measure your influencer marketing ROI.
As you can see, there is a wide variety of influencer marketing platforms available. Some are little more than a database that helps find verified influencers, while others will do the entire campaign for you. Most are in the middle. By looking through this list of 15 different influencer marketing platforms, you should be able to find one or two that fits your needs.
Hero photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash
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