As investment in influencer marketing grows to nearly $2 billion dollars this year, many brands are searching for the right partner to help them execute their influencer programs. In the last three years alone, 550 new companies were formed to address the needs of the influencer marketing industry. So how do you sort through which influencer marketing company is the right partner for you?
First, you need to decide what type of influencer company your brand needs because not all influencer marketing companies are created equal.
Five Types of Influencer Companies
- Influencer Databases
- Influencer CRM Tools
- Influencer Marketplaces
- Influencer Talent Agencies
- Influencer Marketing Agencies
Each of these unique types of influencer marketing companies offers a different type of solution for brands. So, as you start your search, it's important to take note of what type of partner you're really looking for. Download our cheat sheet for full details on the available offerings from each type of influencer company.
Free Instant Download: Cheat Sheet - 5 Types of Influencer Marketing Companies
The Influencer Marketing Agency
Brands looking to hire an influencer marketing agency, like Carusele, are ready to get serious about influencer marketing. Maybe they've already dabbled a bit themselves and realized getting to scale and sophistication is nearly impossible to do internally, or are just starting out but need a best-in-class influencer program they know will drive positive ROI for their business from the get go!
The Influencer Talent Agency
Influencer talent agencies work a bit like any other talent agency. You're working directly with a "talent manager" and sourcing potential influencers from their roster of talent. Some agencies are large and therefore have a greater talent pool to offer but generally speaking, talent agencies aren't set up to offer brands relationships at scale. Partnering with these folks is a great option for brands looking for a few number of macro - to - social-celebrity level influencers to partner with over a long period of time.
WATCHOUT: While you may be required to work with a talent agency to gain access to a specific influencer, influencers represented by agencies cost significantly more than their independent counterparts. Brands needing to show a positive ROI may be better served finding independent talent if searching in an easy to find influencer category like parenting, lifestyle, beauty, fashion, or fitness.
Once you start your search, you'll be amazed at how few of these influencer marketplaces actually exist. Most platforms who position themselves as such are really just databases or CRM tools. Want a good marketplace that's fully vetted and offers the level of data brands really need to make informed decisions about who to hire and how much to pay without the help of an influencer marketing agency? You'll find the list to be even smaller, an annual commitment is required, and the price tag isn't as low as you expected. Still, for brands looking to scale their influencer programs without the help of an influencer marketing agency, a quality marketplace is your best bet for achieving influencer marketing success.
Influencer CRM Tools
For individual brands, these tools really are a waste of time. For agencies looking to build their own roster of influencers or for major holding companies (think a P&G or Unilever) with a family of brands to support, these tools can offer value in terms of keeping tabs on the relationships being built across the enterprise. They can also help streamline and track communication, ensure certain project flows and procedures are being followed, and most importantly, allow for the sharing of proprietary data across business units, like how much an influencer got paid and for what.
For brands looking to run a scrappy influencer program internally and surface potential partners in harder to find niches, influencer databases can offer a cost efficient way to do so. These platforms are often built off social listening and have algorithms that surface accounts via search using criteria a simple Google, Twitter, or Instagram search won't take into account. They often work by pivoting data available via public APIs like keywords used in content or profiles and engagement counts to predict the most influential people around a certain topic or category. Some have even built in tools to help flag influencers who may have purchased fake followers or engagements by looking at trends in behavior. While these tools are often lacking in sophistication, they can be a very cost effective starting place for brands looking to dip their toe in the water with influencer marketing.
Don't need full-service but rather help with some of the blocking and tackling? We offer influencer marketing services for in-house teams as well.
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