Brands know that influencer marketing is a big deal for sales growth and building awareness with new audiences – especially younger consumers. But let’s be real, getting a campaign with the right creators up and running can be a bit of a grind. And not every brand feels like they can jump on the bandwagon. Beauty and fashion brands have clear, colorful products to showcase on social, but what about products and services with less obvious visual appeal?
That’s where influencer marketing software steps in. These tools are like your secret weapon to find creators aligned with your values and your social marketing strategy. But here’s the deal: the market’s crowded, and determining which platform(s) will deliver real results isn’t as simple as it seems.
This guide’s got your back – think of it as your ultimate roadmap. Below, we break down the pros and cons of popular influencer marketing platforms. Get ready to take your social commerce game to a whole new level!
What Is an Influencer Marketing Platform?
As a brand, one of the most challenging tasks is finding influencers who:
- Are in your industry or niche
- Can drive sales with a loyal and engaged audience
- Are aligned with your brand values and strategic goals
An influencer marketing platform is a software or service specifically aimed at connecting brands to the right influencers to drive successful social campaigns. They can have other functions too, like managing campaigns, organizing gifting initiatives, and generating analytics.
What Makes an Influencer Marketing Platform Brand-Friendly?
Some software platforms are more self-serve in the creator discovery process; brands get access to a database of influencers and can input their search criteria to narrow down their list. Others have a hands-on approach to the matching process and will make connections to good-fit creators on the brand’s behalf. Either way, a brand-friendly platform should help you:
- Save time hunting down passionate and professional influencers
- Have a concrete process for vetting creators for brand alignment
- Organize your influencer marketing partnerships in one place
- Streamline influencer marketing with built-in automation and marketing features
- Provide campaign reporting that measures KPIs and ROI, plus recommendations for moving forward
Another important note: Look for a platform with strong relationships with creators. Stronger relationships will yield better value and better results for brands. If a platform offers little for creators in terms of commission, sponsorship opportunities, and resources to keep growing their channels, chances are these platforms won’t have as much success delivering on your brand initiatives.
Combined with an effective strategy, the right YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram influencer marketing platform will help your brand achieve its goals and stay relevant in an increasingly competitive business world.
12 Brand-Friendly Influencer Marketing Solutions to Watch
While there are many influencer marketing platforms available on the market, not all are created equal. Your chosen solution should be comprehensive, high-quality, and focused on results.
Read on to discover 12 solutions you can check out right now to help you connect with the perfect influencer for your next social campaign.
MagicLinks is based in Venice, CA, and works with mega-brands like Best Buy, Sephora, Wayfair, and Nordstrom. This platform has a well-defined mission of connecting brands with video influencers on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.
Unlike other influencer marketing platforms, MagicLinks provides full campaign management from start to finish. Each campaign includes strategy development, creator casting, contract negotiation and management, content review and feedback, creator payment, and comprehensive, full-funnel reporting. When it comes to casting for campaigns, MagicLinks takes the heavy lifting of influencer discovery off of brands. Through Match Intelligence®, a data-driving matching program based on years of proprietary social commerce data, MagicLinks casts creators that are active with audiences and are the best fit for each brand.
MagicLinks also takes a very hands-on approach with its creator network. On top of vetting each influencer application, personalized onboarding also ensures each new creator gets up-to-speed quickly on how to use the MagicLinks platform for organic linking. And, they offer tools like ObsessedWith.It, allowing creators to pull together their content for fans to shop, all from one place.
By taking a partnership approach with both brands and creators, MagicLinks sets itself apart from other influencer marketing platforms.
The primary function of Bazaarvoice is to allow brands to gather, manage, and leverage user-generated content. It also acts as a review consolidator, allowing brands to collect reviews and respond to them from one place. While the platform is robust and offers a lot of flexibility, it is primarily self-serve. Some users note that Bazaarvoice is an expensive option for what it offers, and customer service can be lacking.
The #paid platform prides itself on creating an easy path to match businesses with creators ready to use their influence to spread brand awareness. #paid is a first-party matching program with an algorithm that hinges on pricing. Brands on a limited budget or those with a specific price have found the platform straightforward to use.
Creators can simply opt into a project you’ve created whenever they’re ready and receive automatic payments on a set schedule. Brands can also chat with creators directly on the platform and manage the approval process for content releases. Cons include long turnaround times, lack of influencer selection, rigid pricing structures, and bugs on the backend that hinder functionality.
Unlike #paid, CreatorIQ boasts about its comprehensive software solution and is one of the most established names on this list. A few of the platform’s clients include big brands like CVS, Airbnb, Disney, and Unilever, making brand awareness one of CreatorIQ’s strengths.
The platform uses an Intelligence Cloud to enable data-backed creator discovery. Brands can search 28 categories and over 750 sub-categories to find an influencer they wish to work with. Every part of the campaign-building process can be done from within the platform, from selection, communication, and creator agreements to ensuring that creators get paid for their work. With so many features, it’s a common choice for brands looking to scale their influencer programs. However, some brands point out that the platform itself isn’t intuitive, setting up campaigns is time-consuming, and that creator search could use improvement.
GRIN is a subscription-based platform where marketers can manage all of their creator relationships at once, providing discovery, outreach, product seeding, and the discount and affiliate codes creators need to run campaigns effectively. They offer different pricing tiers and work with customers big and small.
GRIN has a sleek website full of rich content for both brands and creators – they heavily invest in their own marketing efforts. However, GRIN doesn’t vet or have direct relationships with creators — they don’t need to apply to join the network. While some give the platform high marks for usability and streamlining the influencer payment process, the feedback in recent years has largely centered around declining customer support.
Captiv8 offers comprehensive products for both marketers and creators to manage their campaigns, content, and analytics. The influencer marketing suite provides hundreds of filters for creator discovery for brands of all sizes. While the platform provides many of the same features as others in the sector, it is still primarily self-serve in that marketers use the platform to find and negotiate with creators, and manage campaigns.
Users comment that Captiv8’s insights and analytics are top-notch and that support is responsive. Brands have a ton of information at their fingertips to take advantage of, but it comes at a steep subscription price. For smaller brands or budget-conscious teams, Captiv8 may be out of their price range.
inBeat refers to itself as an influencer database, with a focus on the nano- and micro-influencer communities. They have 30K+ creators in their specialized network and have pricing tiers to fit modest and larger budgets.
inBeat offers two options for brands: database access, and the more robust Creator Studio. The database option is limited to talent discovery and exporting, whereas the Creator Studio also includes a content library and campaign strategist. inBeat also offers a UGC Studio to help brands match with creators that can generate relevant content for them.
Creators have found working with inBeat easy and the platform helpful in getting discovered. From a brand perspective, the functionality and insights provided by the platform are relatively limited compared to other options.
Impact.com’s Partnership Management Platform allows brands to create and manage multiple partnership types. These include affiliates, influencers, and business-to-business (B2B) relationships.
Its focus is helping brands and creators build authentic, long-term relationships. Impact.com’s service supports shoppable content and e-commerce integration for insight into the entire customer journey – including tracking purchases and returns.
Impact.com services large clients like Uber, Shopify, and Lenovo. The major drawbacks reported by brands are a lack of customer service and a lower quality of creator and creator relationships.
Mavrck has been a big name in the influencer marketing space for the past several years. Mavrck markets its platform as an all-in-one solution for social proof programs, including influencer marketing but also referral programs, review management, and ambassador programs. From within the platform, brands can automate many aspects of the social media marketing journey, including managing multiple campaigns at once.
While the platform has a ton of features, overall organization and management within the system is relatively easy. On the flip side, some have found that its campaign reporting, progress tracking, and content search capabilities leave much to be desired.
Klear is an influencer marketing platform built by Meltwater, a media monitoring company. A data-driven solution, the platform provides first- and third-party data for robust insights.
It allows brands to discover and vet influencers, pay them according to signed agreements, and measure campaign performance during and after launch. The pros include an easy-to-use interface and organizational tools to streamline processes. However, users have reported that the search functionality is tedious and that Klear creators are always connected to the platform, which limits communication and data accuracy.
11. LTK (LIKEtoKNOW.it)
LTK is known as one of the originals in the influencer marketing space. It has a large influencer community across the globe and a strong reputation with top brands. However, its services remain primarily self-serve and due to high subscription costs, can be prohibitive for brands looking to grow their influencer programs.
In addition, LTK’s area of expertise primarily lies outside of video, which is the most lucrative channel for creators. Check out our in-depth comparison of LTK and MagicLinks for more details on how these two heavy hitters stack up for brands.
Creator.co focuses on building a community of creators and small-to-medium-sized brands. With a database of 175,000 content creators who must apply to work with each client, the platform allows both influencer and affiliate marketing campaigns. Through Creator.co’s Collaboration Hub, influencers can easily search for and discover partnership opportunities with brands.
Creator.co’s has self-serve and full-service campaign options available to brands, with a 3-month minimum subscription required. The big selling point is the expert account managers the platform offers for higher-tier packages. These managers assist brands with marketing campaigns, giving feedback on everything from creative assets to comprehensive strategies.
Building the Best Marketing Partnership for Your Brand
Influencer marketing can be challenging. That’s why having the right partner in the process can make all the difference.
Mutually beneficial partnerships that allow creators to do what they love while helping brands expand their reach and sales are possible. To achieve such a relationship, all you need is a feature-rich influencer marketing software platform with a reputation for success.
While searching for the best influencer marketing platform may take time, the effort you put in will be worth it. Starting now will allow you to take full advantage of the social commerce wave, making the most of today’s trends so your brand can flourish well into the future.