There are three ways to prospect for influencers for an Influencer marketing campaign. One is to use Google search, Quora, Social Media search engines, Podcasts search, Buzzsumo, and special events speaker lists to search for influencers within your niche. This is the DIY method. The second way is to register on influencer marketing marketplaces and connect with influencers that match your marketing objectives.
However, a third option is to hire an Influencer Marketing Agency to handle all your influencer marketing campaigns. Influencer Marketing Agencies are digital agencies dedicated to creating and optimizing influencer campaigns on behalf of business owners. They serve as links between influencers and business owners. An agency coordinates your influencer marketing campaigns and reaches out to relevant influencers within its network to execute your campaigns.
Why should you hire an influencer marketing agency?
Hiring an influencer marketing agency provides many benefits to your business. Some of them include:
- You benefit from expertise and experience:
An influencer marketing agency is dedicated to just one thing: influencer marketing. They have spent many years creating campaigns, identifying, researching, and evaluating influencers and optimizing campaigns for better results. They have worked with various businesses and many influencers. In the process, they know what works and what does not. They are better positioned to achieve better results.
Also, they are always abreast of the latest trends and changes in the industry. As a result, they can structure their campaigns to take advantages of the latest trends and tools.
- Cost and time saving
The time you will spend racking through the internet for influencers can be devoted to other business functions. An Influencer marketing agency will help you handle all the details and save you the time and stress of looking for influencers on your own or through your in house marketing team.
Moreover, the money you will spend on DIY influencer campaigns and influencer platforms will be better deployed to hiring an agency. They know how to get the best returns on money invested and get better results.
- Continuity and Consistency
Making use of an influencer agency consistently for your campaigns will provide a consistent experience for your customers. The agency understands your business, your niche and they know the kind of influencers that work best with your brand. As a result, you will be delivering a uniform experience and a consistent voice to your customers across every campaign.
- Pool of talents
Digital agencies have a large pool of talents working on your campaigns. They have individuals who are experts in content creation, video creation, graphics design, video animations, etc. They can produce content for your influencer campaigns that you cannot produce with your own resources.
- Lower “Bounce Rate”
What can be more frustrating than investing time and efforts sourcing, researching, evaluating and deciding on an influencer and you find out he or she is not interested in promoting your brand? It is a frustrating and time wasting experience.
With Influencer marketing companies, there is a lower “bounce rate” because the agency possesses a personal relationship with the influencers they deploy. As a brand, you will be benefiting from a personal relationship established over the years.
- High-Quality Influencers
Many fake influencers have found means to inflate their following and deceive people. Even on influencer platforms and marketplace, they exist. You can avoid fake and low-quality influencers by working with an agency. The agency understands that retaining your business is directly connected with their performance and they spend time building long-lasting relationships with quality influencers for their customers.
Factors to consider when choosing an influencer marketing agency
There are many influencer marketing agencies with different specialization and experience. It is important to make the correct decision on the choice of an agency. The decision you make here will determine the success or failure you will experience with influencer marketing.
Networks / Channels
One of the key factors to consider is the networks or channels that the influencer marketing agency uses. Some agencies are more laser-focused while some have cross channel capacity. For example, some agencies concentrate on Instagram influencers. Some might focus only on Facebook Influencers.
On the other hand, many agencies work across these various channels and networks. They have competencies in Facebook as well as Instagram, and the others.
The important thing here is to decide what works best for you. If a bulk of your target audience is located on a single channel, a single channel agency will work best for you. But if you want to explore various channels, you may want to consider the agency with cross channel capacity.
Both models have their advantages and you must base the decisions on your exact needs.
Some agencies are niche based while others are generalists. A niche based agency has expertise and experience in one particular industry; say the telecom industry for example. Other agencies work with businesses and influencers in various industries.
A niche based agency has deeper experience and expertise but is often more expensive. The generalist has a broad range of experience and expertise but is not niche focused.
If there is an agency specialized in your niche, it may be a better choice than the generalist, ceteris paribus.
Some influencer marketing agencies work across various markets while others are market specific. For example, an agency located in California can specialize in the California market. They focus on influencers within the California market. Other agencies work in different markets, across different locations without any specific interest in a market.
Again, base the decision on your business model. Is your target audience localized or across the board?
Is the agency growing or are they fixated on what worked in the past? To be successful in any kind of marketing, there is a need to be abreast of the industry and keeping in step with the latest developments. A marketer must be ready to ditch obsolete techniques in favor of new ones.
Before choosing an influencer marketing agency, ensure they are creative, innovative and adapting to changes in the industry.
What is the experience of those who have worked with them in the past? Do they complain of poor communication? Do they applaud their customer service? Watch out for the trends in the reviews of the agency and evaluate if they will be the best for your business.
Depth of Influencers
Do they have a high number of influencers or they are just recycling some few influencers here and there? Apart from the number, do they have a diverse range of influencers? It is not just the number, but the depth of the influencers that determine the usefulness of an agency for your campaigns.
Range of services
Some influencers will rely on influencer-generated content while others produce the content that the influencer will use. Know the range of services that the influencer marketing agency will be providing.
Influencer marketing agencies vary in the price they charge. More niche focused, market-focused agencies will have higher prices than a generalist. The level of experience will also influence the price. What is your budget and which agency will deliver the best value at your current budget?
Winning with an Influencer Marketing Agency
There is a need for a great deal of cooperation and communication to get the full benefits of an influencer marketing agency. Here are some other tips:
- Carry them along when you are defining your goals and designing your strategy: It is helpful to get the inputs of your agency during the goal setting process
- Keep the communication alive: Don’t just hire an agency and go to sleep. Maintain a constant relationship. Get feedback, look at the progress of the work and give your inputs. It is better to change things when the process is in transit than at the end of the campaign.
- Have realistic expectations: Influencers marketing don’t work magic; they follow a process. Ensure you discuss your expectations with them. You need to agree on what you can expect within what timeframe (milestones)
- Continue to create a favorable environment: Influencer marketing agencies can provide good leads for you, but their conversion still depends on many things outside of the control of the agency. So, while the agency is working, you must also focus on optimizing your funnel for maximum conversion.
Top Influencer Marketing Agencies
Influencer Marketing Hub has a list of the top 25 influencer marketing agencies in 2019.
The Business of Apps website also has a directory of Influencer Marketing Companies.
The best resource is Clutch. The website allows you to filter based on location, minimum project size, hourly rate, number of employees, industry focus and client focus. You can have a more relevant list of agencies.
Another approach is to ask for word of mouth recommendations or watch out for the agencies that people in your niche love talking about.
An Influencer Marketing Agency will make it easier to launch your influencer campaigns and achieve better results.
Instead of the DIY approach or the influencer marketing marketplace, hire an influencer marketing agency that best fit your brand, your focus, and your goals. Co-operate with the agency, and you can achieve tremendous results with your influencer campaigns.