Influencers are immensely valuable tools for businesses of almost any description. If your company has some sort of online presence, it almost certainly does, then an influencer can help your marketing massively. Influencers are individuals who are able to use their own private fame and following (usually through social media) to ‘influence’ on behalf of a brand. The most famous instances of influencers are the Instagram models who tout diet supplements or work out gear. But, in truth, there are influencers of all different sorts, on all different media platforms. Speaking of platforms, this opens up a question about how you go about sourcing and interacting with influencers. The central two possibilities are going through an influencer marketing platform or an influencer marketing agency. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages that are worth exploring before you commit.
But First: What Do They Both Mean?
An influencer marketing agency, is a formal agency, much like a film and television agency or a literary agency that has a list of talent on their roster, organized by fields and by specific areas of influence. “An agency can be looked at a bit like a middle man, putting together brands with brand representatives and making matches that will best suit a certain campaign, explains Deepak Singh, marketer at PaperFellows and EssayRoo. The agency will take a cut, naturally, of the marketing fee that your company provides.
An influencer marketing platform is a digital solution to the issue of putting together brands and influencers. The platform is optimized as a method for trying to show brands all of the most ‘influential’ influencers that are contactable and can be collaborated with to help elevate the brand. In some ways it’s like an electronic form of an agency, acting as a less intrusive middle man that can be paid for by a company when they set about trying to hire an influencer.
Influencer platforms intrinsically take this battle, since they’re usually entirely comprised of very slickly designed electronic interfaces, not clunky human interaction. The software can be downloaded in minutes and your search for the right influencers for your brand can begin and end in a few hours. Naturally, when you go through an agency, it’s a lot more complex, with lots of discussions and billing requirements to deal with.
Swinging back in the other direction, influencer agencies offer that tailored approach that no amount of search filters will ever get you. “When you’re searching for influencers it can be hard to explain exactly the sort of person you’re looking for or strategy you have. This is especially true when you’re trying to tell a computer, not a human”, says Gloria Radcliffe, tech writer at AustralianHelp and Essay Writer. Filtering results in an influencer platform is nothing like as flexible and fit-for-purpose as going to an agency, where agents can talk with nuance about what they offer and what their clients will achieve. It’s a bespoke service that should feel much more made-to-fit.
Sadly, all of that polish and flexibility comes at a price that simply can’t match the inexpensive software package that a platform will give you. There might be a few devs releasing the occasional updates but that will be nothing compared to the office full of paid employees that the agency has to support. If you want cheap, you should go with the platform.
With the program, your opportunities for connecting to influencers that could improve your marketing is very limited. Whatever influencers are connected to such a program are there to be used, but any larger scale, more exclusive influencers will be very difficult to reach. An agency, by contrast, will have access to anyone you want to reach, even if they’re not signed explicitly. Influencer agents have a much bigger network to take advantage of.
So, it’s a tough decision on balance. You have the program that offers you a limited but fast and inexpensive service standing opposite the agency approach that is clunky but can bring in some really valuable targets that perfectly suit your branding tactics. Whichever seems to suit you best should be your avenue.