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Build a Lean Influencer Marketing Strategy: 3 Types of Tools

Marketers are moving away from programmatic content development and embracing an “always on” collaborative approach — creating strong content all the time in partnership with influencers. Influencers are a powerful resource because they are trusted, have targeted audiences, and are available to help feed real-time marketing initiatives. —Holly Hamann, Co-Founder and CMO, TapInfluence

woman whispering in woman's earThink your company needs an influencer marketing strategy? I’d argue you likely already have one.

Think of it this way: Have you ever invited analysts or industry experts to write a guest piece of content or speak at an event? Have they contributed quotes to a case study or white paper? These interactions are the fundamental elements that, when compounded and amplified, can become the driving force behind a successful influencer marketing program. And I bet it’s already happening within your organization. 

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a term that gets used in a variety of ways. For the purposes of this article, I’m defining influencers as people who have an established credibility and audience; they are able to persuade others by virtue of their trustworthiness and authenticity. Influencers can be bloggers, customers, industry experts, or even celebrities.

You’ll note that advocates are not necessarily influencers. Advocates may truly love your company or products (and even share their opinions with others), but advocates don’t have industry credibility and/or the reach required to be influential with large numbers of your audience members.

Lean teams need powerful tools

Influencer marketing, unfortunately, tends to fall to the bottom of marketing priority lists because, as budgets tighten and priorities creep, the notion of a truly robust influencer marketing program can seem too complex or intangible to launch.

Fortunately, many tools exist that enable even the leanest of teams to reap the benefits of influencer marketing. Below you’ll find three categories, or “buckets” of tools you may want to consider as part of your potential influencer marketing strategy. Once you know the type of tool that will fit your needs, take a look at the representative list of suggested tool options CMI and I have compiled within each category. These are but a few of the myriad tools available to help throughout all stages of your influencer marketing. From content development to influencer selection, distribution, measurement, and more, they can help you take your influencer marketing strategy from zero to 60 in no time flat.

Bucket 1: Content campaign tools

These are comprehensive platforms that can help your business manage the entire influencer marketing program process. From identifying influencers to conducting outreach, helping create and deploy content assignments, and tracking results, these platforms are typically connected with a community of influencers and can provide you with tools to create, curate (i.e., build hubs and widgets), distribute, and monitor your programs efficiently — at varying levels of support.

Providers include:

  •       TapInfluence
  •       BzzAgent
  •       Markerly
  •       Influitive
  •       SocialChorus
  •       Ivy Worldwide

Bucket 2: Discovery and connection tools

There are people uniquely positioned to influence your audience by communicating your brand’s value to the people in their communities — you just need to find out who they are. Discovery and connection tools can help you search and find key influencers based on topic searches, see their influence ratings (like a Klout score), and can even help connect you to the influencer so you can take next steps.

Technologies in this category range from basic (e.g., social listening tools) to advanced algorithms that search and rank influencer content for you.

Providers include:

  •       Visible Technologies
  •       CMP.LY
  •       Traackr
  •       Little Bird
  •       GroupHigh
  •       Insightpool

Bucket 3: Distribution tools

Your amazing influencer content will need a strong distribution strategy — whether you want to amplify the content you’ve co-created with your influencers, publish content you’ve received from influencers or even distribute content you’ve discovered unsolicited.

Here are a few of the tools that are available:

  •       InPowered
  •       GaggleAMP
  •       HubSpot
  •       Buddy Media

No matter whether you require just one influencer marketing tool or multiple tools working in concert, let this last piece of advice guide you through your technology consideration: Clearly identify your goals first before considering what types of influencer marketing programs or tools you want. Do you want advocacy? Lead generation? Website traffic? A specific and targeted focus will ensure that you and your tool providers and influencers are best set up for a successful program.

Want a full list of influencer technology tools?

This article mentions just a handful of companies in the influencer marketing space. To add another tool to our list, or learn about other options, visit our about influencer marketing technology.

This article appears in the upcoming June 2014 issue of Chief Content Officer. Sign up to receive your free subscription to our bi-monthly magazine.

Looking for more guidance influencer marketing? Download our toolkit, The Complete Guide to Influencer Marketing: Strategies, Templates & Tools, which walks you through a simple 10-step process and provides three customizable templates.