Marketers: chances are, you’ve had to purchase marketing tech in the past. And if you’re like me, you’ve got some great wins and some absolute horror stories. Software that doesn’t do something you just assumed it would, but it takes two months into the implementation before you realize it. Tech that’s not intuitive. Consultants that promise to help you get started fast, but you’re pretty sure are slowing you down.
The good news is that every time you have one of these less-than-perfect experiences, you get a little better about thinking through your requirements and what to ask potential software vendors. That said, it’s always challenging when you and your team are considering your first software of its kind (versus, say, your fifth go at an email automation provider) and when the software is for a relatively new category, like influencer marketing.
So, if you’re thinking about buying an influencer marketing solution, what questions should you ask? Here’s five we’d recommend asking when evaluating a potential influencer marketing software provider:
1. How do you build your influencer profiles?
It’s not just about quantity, it’s about quality. You want to know how they’re getting profile data, specifically if they’re scraping data off the internet and giving you profile data of questionable accuracy and value. See if they have systems in place to ensure the profile data you’re getting is not just accurate, but rich enough for you to make a decision about if an influencer’s right for your brand. Once you find influencers you want to work with, make sure you’ll be able to organize and manage that information in a way that works for your team.
2. What sort of campaign management tools do you offer?
Some tools focus on search and discovery, others give you the full end-to-end. Think about your team’s needs, and make sure you’ll be able to manage everything you want through the tool. Ask about how you’ll be able to contact influencers, track or manage the administrative stuff like obtaining e-signatures on contracts, and track influencer deliverables. Find out if the tool can help you make sure influencer campaign posts are FTC compliant, and whether you’ll be able to run 1,000 campaigns at a time if you want, or be restricted to just one.
3. What metrics will I be able to see to measure the results of my campaigns?
Influencer marketing sits at the intersection of a lot of marketing disciplines – social media marketing, PR, content marketing, and performance marketing, to name a few. A good place to start the evaluation process is to simply think about what your goals are, and ask them how they’d help you measure on those dimensions.
The metrics around influencer marketing are still evolving, but you’ll want to make sure you can track:
- the engagement metrics of every post and campaign you execute across social platforms
- posts related to your brand and roster of influencers for easy monitoring
- earned media value and spend analysis
Depending on what’s important to how your organization operates, you may also want to check that you’ll be able to easily export data you need to share with key stakeholders. As an agency, you may want a service that provides white-labeled reporting, so your logo and brand appear in client presentations and pitches to prospects.
4. Can you describe the support and services you provide?
Like with any software, even if the tool is designed to be completely self-serve, you want to know who you can call or email when you have a question. More specific to the challenges you may have with an influencer marketing solution, probe on how you can get help finding influencers to fit your specific needs, and what sort of managed services the company can provide either directly or through partners to help you execute your campaigns. Even if you’re pretty sure your team can self-serve, having the option for easy support and help when you need it – and knowing how much it will cost up front – is always a plus.
5. How will you keep my team ahead of trends and developments in the industry?
The past few years have brought a bunch of influencer marketing solutions to choose from, and influencer marketing will continue to change and grow. You want to make sure that the company you choose to work with will help you scale your influencer marketing, and bring you the tools and resources you need as the space evolves. While this is a hard one to nail down, get the vendor’s perspective on what they think the biggest challenges for influencer marketing are in the years to come, and how they’ll be at the forefront of solving them for their customers.
Ultimately, you’re looking for a good partner for you and your team as you build your influencer marketing program. These questions are a starting point for helping you find the right fit.