Developing a partnership with an Influencer typically occurs in one of four ways: browsing social media and connecting with someone you find directly, analyzing competitors’ campaigns to identify a potential partner, hiring an Influencer agency to match you directly with a good match for your campaign, or utilizing an Influencer marketplace to connect with and vet potential Influencer partners.
While each of these strategies comes with its own unique benefits and challenges, marketplaces as a whole are an increasingly popular resource for brands looking to fast track their influencer partnership search— especially for those brands keen on managing talent in-house.
Due to the specializations of each marketplace, brands are offered an array of potential good matches to vet on their own before choosing those that would be the best match for their campaign.
What are Influencer Marketplaces?
With the influencer marketing industry on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022— almost double the $8 billion it was worth in 2019— it comes as no surprise that more and more brands are looking to form meaningful, long-term partnerships with Influencers.
Influencer marketplaces are platforms that connect companies and brand marketers with Influencers who are capable of creating engaging branded content in order to reach new audiences. There are general influencer marketplaces as well as industry-specific marketplaces that specialize in matching wellness, foodie, and fashion Influencers. Marketplaces specific to platforms specialize in partnerships with those who are big on a certain social media platform like TikTok, Instagram, or Clubhouse.
With over 60K Instagram followers, Matt, the man behind @realfoodbydad has perfected his niche across multiple platforms.
How to Use Influencer Marketplaces to Source Top Talent
With so many influencer marketplaces to choose from, finding legitimate marketplaces with top-tier influencers available for partnerships takes a trained eye and thoughtful strategy.
Determine Your Goals
Before you begin your search, take the time to determine the goals of your upcoming campaign. Otherwise, you won’t know what you’re looking for.
The most common influencer marketing campaign goals are:
- To increase customer engagement across all social media platforms
- To increase brand awareness by expanding your audience
- To increase traffic to your website and ultimately improve conversion rates
- To reach a previously untapped demographic of customers and followers
- To gain customer insights by monitoring engagement patterns
Beyond goals, you’ll want to have a clear idea of the type of Influencer your brand is looking for, the budget you’re working with, and the demographic you want to reach during the selection process.
Looking to understand the ROI of your last influencer campaign? Read our guide to Influencer Marketing ROI 101.
Research Influencer Marketplaces
Now that you know what you are looking to accomplish with your partnership and upcoming campaign, it’s time to research influencer marketplaces. Not all platforms are built the same or designed to support every industry or brand.
To find the marketplace with the best chance of partnering you with a primo candidate that matches your campaign, look for an influencer marketplace:
- That meets your industry-specific needs
- That meets your platform-specific needs
- With subscription prices that fit into your budget
- That host Influencers whose fees also fit into your influencer marketing budget
- That host Influencers of the specific tier that you want to work with
- With free trial periods that allow you to test out the platform before committing to a subscription
Choosing the Right Influencer
Once you choose the marketplace, you can begin finding the right person for your campaign. Those campaign goals we talked about earlier? This is where they come in to help you determine who is a good match for your goals and brand voice.
I mentioned earlier how essential it is to choose someone whose specialties and social media presence lend themselves to achieving your campaign goals, but it is just as important to only partner with those who share your company values and match the voice of your brand. With additional vetting and brand safety considerations, brands save a ton in the long run.
Here’s a story that will resonate with brand marketers. You find an Influencer for your campaign, you reach out and move quickly to contract since you need the content created and shared ASAP. You shoot over the creative brief and your chosen Influencer is not able to meet the requirements of the program based on their expertise (or lack thereof), content quality, or availability. Back to square one.
When these experiences happen, it encourages you to be smarter next time and learn how to avoid these types of setbacks— hence the thorough screening process. It’s a failsafe for all parties involved and only creates stronger partnerships over time.
Influencers’ followers can spot a false post and unnatural branded content a mile away. For many content creators— especially nano and micro Influencers— their authenticity is their strong suit. If you force a partnership that results in the production of inauthentic content then not only will your campaign be less successful than you intended it to be, but the Influencer you partnered with will likely lose followers and credibility.
To get a holistic view of an Influencer’s values and voice, analyze their past brand partnerships. By taking a thorough look at their past campaigns you will gain valuable insights into:
- The scope of their creativity
- Their authentic voice
- What makes them successful as an influencer
- Their limitations as an influencer
- Their format specialties (photos, videos, Reels, GIFs)
- How they engage with their audience
Once you have analyzed the Influencers who fit your campaign goals and whose values match yours, you will be able to reach out to the Influencer of your choice through the marketplace.
Top Influencer Marketplaces
There are so many influencer marketplaces in business in 2021 and a new one pops up seemingly every day. To help you navigate the top influencer marketplaces, here three examples and how they work.
Julius connects Influencers of any tier ranging from micro up to celeb with agencies and brands. Julius works primarily with highly visible, trusted contacts so you know you’re being set up for success by the marketplace. As a bonus, Julius’ analysts run their own extensive vetting process before signing off, giving brands the confirmation they need before finalizing any partnerships.
Another marketplace with a stellar reputation is Grin, an end-to-end influencer marketplace that boasts an added degree of in-house involvement. Grin team members help brands identify the best Influencers for their campaigns and can match you up with Influencers similar to those who have worked well for your brand in the past.
If you researched influencer marketplaces before, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of IZEA. And with good reason! This popular platform has been in the game since 2006 and offers great benefits to brands. IZEA is not a casual tool for brands looking to dabble lightly in influencer marketing, it’s designed to support long-term partnerships. IZEA works with influencers on YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, and more, while offering a free subscription plan.
A successful campaign starts with the right partnership. When you use these best practices for sourcing talent using marketplaces, you’ll find the perfect match for your next campaign in no time. If you have trouble choosing the right tier of Influencer to partner with, here’s The Benefits, Pitfalls, and Differences of Influencer Marketing Tiers From Micro to Celeb.