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Free Influencer Marketing Series

Success! Enjoy the series Part 1: How an agency took a brand from 0 to $1MM in 4 months using influencers & ads

MightyScout helps brands & agencies track and manage influencer campaigns – Learn more.

How to evaluate influencer marketing tools before you invest

Joe Anderson
Founder at MightyScout
March 31, 2024

Influencer marketing tools are a valuable part of your tech stack. They can help you automate tedious, time-consuming tasks, lower your costs, and improve results—which makes choosing the right tools a bit of an art.

Bear in mind that your needs might change over time. While you might not require comprehensive tracking and management features now, there’s a good chance you’ll need them as your brand and campaigns grow. This adds to the complexity of choosing your tools—after all, how do you know what you’ll need in the future?

To help you make the right choice, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to assessing the right influencer marketing tools for your needs, as well as some common mistakes to avoid when evaluating tools that currently are on the market.

Step 1: Beware of the bundle

Consider how much time your team will spend or save on each job versus the cost of a tool. This is harder to do when you’re considering a bundle of tools, which may sound like a deal, but only if it’s reliable and does all the tasks you need it to.

Choosing a tool that has a ton of features you don’t need (or has plenty of features except the ones you need) just because it saves you money defeats the point of using an influencer marketing tool.

So make sure you evaluate each tool based on how well it automates the hardest, most time-consuming jobs, and those that can’t be done manually with reasonable accuracy—things like campaign reporting, tracking unpaid influencer content, or generating reports.

Also, evaluate the performance and customer satisfaction of the various tools and bundles. A tool may promise to do all the work but be difficult to use and end up taking more time than if you were to do tasks manually.

Step 2: Choose what “jobs” to automate with influencer marketing tools

To choose the right influencer analysis and marketing tool, define the most time-consuming tasks that are critical to the success of your campaigns.

These might include:

  • Finding suitable influencers.

  • Conducting influencer outreach.

  • Managing influencer relationships and payments.

  • Managing and tracking content.

  • Analyzing influencer metrics.

  • Generating campaign reports.

Next, identify the tasks you want to prioritize, which will mostly involve number crunching or data handling of any kind—things that are ripe for human error or that are mind-numbingly tedious and fiddly.

For example, vetting influencers and tracking and analyzing campaign performances. These tasks are crucial to the success of your campaigns and should form an integral part of your automation strategy.

Finally, evaluate the job based on the number of hours, team labor, and costs it saved. If you save more time using the tool, then it’s a no-brainer addition to your tech stack.

Influencer marketing jobs made easier with tools

The top three most challenging aspects of influencer marketing programs include:

  • Driving return on investment (ROI)
  • Automating influencer marketing processes
  • Discovering new influencers

Influencer marketing tools can help automate these challenges and streamline your campaign management workflow.

Here are some key jobs an influencer marketing tool can help with.

1. Finding influencers

Tools often have a powerful search function that lets you filter influencers by industry, follower count, and content.

Here are some ways tools can help:

- Influencer marketplaces. Discover an influencer database relevant to your niche and needs.

- Look-alike tools. Look for influencers similar to your favorite ones. With MightyScout’s lookalike algorithm, you can create multiple influencer lists with a tool that finds more like your favorites, taking into consideration factors like category, aesthetic, location, and follower count.

- Social listening tools. Track brand mentions or competitor mentions to find influencers already talking about your brand.

2. Vetting influencers

If you want to increase brand awareness and trust, you’ll want to vet the influencer to make sure they truly have influence.

  • Do a quick human review of each influencer’s content, making sure it’s on-brand and not offensive.

  • Keep an eye out for engagement pods that artificially inflate engagement numbers.

  • Review the influencer’s historical performance metrics and decide what your cutoff is for engagement, followers, etc.

  • Look for spikes in follower count and make sure they’re not due to purchased or fake followers.

  • Look at audience demographics like geographical location and gender.

The criteria you use to select influencers should align with your goals.

If your ultimate goal is to have influencers produce content for your Meta ads, then you may not focus on analyzing the influencer’s target audience or demographics. But, if your goal is to filter potential influencers and find the best influencers to increase brand awareness in your target market, then audience demographics are important.

3. Communicating with influencers

You might start messaging an influencer via Instagram DMs and then move over to email or Slack. This leaves a scattered trail of communication that can be hard to track and search.

With influencer marketing tools like MightyScout, you can integrate your Instagram account and communicate with Instagram influencers directly via team-wide Instagram DMs or emails.

4. Tracking and capturing paid content

What we mean by tracking is keeping a log of all the content and metrics from influencers you pay. This is a common feature, which you’ll find in most influencer marketing tools.

5. Tracking and capturing unpaid content

Imagine how many hours of work it takes to track down and capture content and data from each influencer. If your tool can’t track the content from unpaid campaigns, then you may have to resort to asking influencers whether they liked the product you sent them, because you’ll have no idea if they posted or not.

The problem is, most influencer marketing tools track only paid campaigns.

With the industry trend toward using authentic content from micro- and nano-influencers—which often starts with seeding or gifting campaigns—the need for tracking unpaid influencers can easily be overlooked when buying an influencer marketing tool. And that’s a big mistake.

So if you’re a brand or agency that does product seeding, gifting, or unpaid events, you need to understand exactly what a tool can and cannot track. Because if you can’t track this content automatically, the workload to track it down manually is monstrous—and it’s almost certain that you’ll miss something if you try to track it manually.

The solution? Unpaid tracking. While most influencer marketing tools focus on paid tracking, MightyScout offers unpaid content tracking, too. All you have to do is enter the username of the influencers you want to track.

6. Tracking Stories

Stories are hard to track. You can’t ask your team to spend their weekends counting and screenshotting influencer Stories before they expire, and most tools don’t offer robust Stories tracking features. MightyScout is one exception. If you find your tracking tool is missing some of your Stories, you’ll want to find a more reliable tool, like MightyScout. You can automatically save influencer Stories before they expire and gather story insights in one place.

7. Tracking influencer metrics

Are you adding up likes and reach to calculate the engagement rate of each influencer’s social media posts and doing all the guesswork to find the ROI from these campaigns?

If you are, then you’ll know this is a time-consuming task with questionable accuracy. With influencer analysis tools, you get full coverage of an influencer’s content performance, sales, and overall ROI.

8. Keeping track of influencer deliverables

The last thing you want to do is spend your precious time scanning influencer feeds and asking for screenshots. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a dashboard to show you who is on track – and more importantly, off track?

9. Managing influencer relationships

Do you want a CRM-level tool to segment influencers by performance, metrics, content, type of influencer platforms, relationship, lifecycle stage, and lifetime value? Need a list of influencers who missed the posting deadline? Or a list of your affiliate partners? Want to send a special message to your ambassadors?

If so, leverage influencer identification and influencer relationship management tools to track influencer content, communication, influencer payments, and ROI from a single dashboard. Usually, this comes as a standalone or bundled tool.

10. Filtering data and automating reports

Influencer marketing tools can automate reports for influencer campaigns. You can filter the data by campaigns, timeframe, and social media platform, and generate different types of custom influencer marketing reports depending on your goals and KPIs.

Influencer marketing agencies know the pain of having to create different reports for different clients. Or responding to an ad hoc request for a custom report that can tie you up for days.

MightyScout creates multiple reports that highlight different parts of your campaign:

  • Campaign performance report. This report breaks down specific influencer marketing campaigns with metrics like the total number of influencers who posted, total brand mentions, number of views, engagement rate, links clicked, and sales made per campaign.

  • Content insights report. This report gives a post-by-post breakdown of total reach and engagement.

  • Influencer performance report. This report gives the breakdown of an influencer’s performance, with metrics such as number of posts, engagement rate, Reel/Story views, reach, and estimated impression for each influencer.

  • Social platform performance report. This report gives a breakdown of channel-by-channel performance and allows you to compare KPIs such as engagement and video viewed for different social media channels.

Crunching these numbers and generating reports can take days or even weeks to do manually. So look for tools that provide visibility into each social platform and all content formats instead of using three different reporting platforms or oodles of spreadsheets.

11. Allowing influencers to order or choose products

If it’s important for your social media influencers to choose product size or color (e.g. fashion brands), you may want a tool that automates this. This isn’t a particularly repetitive or time-consuming task, but it helps you keep track of important influencer information so you don’t have to ask again and again. And automating order taking helps with order accuracy, making sure each influencer receives what they want.

12. Shipping products to influencers

As your influencer campaigns grow, so will the time spent preparing to ship and the cost of shipping. Choose a tool that integrates with your ecommerce platform so you can track and receive automated updates from a single dashboard.

13. Tracking sales data

If sales are an important result for you, consider how you will track, access, and report your sales. Influencer tools can connect to your sales platform and aggregate sales figures and revenue to show which influencers are tied to which sales.

14. Paying influencers

Are you paying influencers? If so, consider how you will track their performance and get them paid. This could be a standalone tool or it could be part of a bundle.

15. Tracking organic mentions

Track organic brand mentions on multiple social media platforms using social listening tools. However, this may or may not be an important feature for you to have—it solely depends on your brand’s or agency’s needs.

Step 3: Avoid making these common mistakes when buying influencer marketing tools

Here are four common mistakes when choosing influencer marketing tools:

1. Buying a bundle of mediocre tools

Bundles are tempting because they offer a ton of features at once, but if those features don’t have the capabilities you need, it can be a waste of money.

For example, if the bundle includes an influencer discovery feature but doesn’t offer advanced filtering options, it can add more steps to the discovery process.

Or, it may offer you a reporting dashboard but the interface is outdated and the data visualization is complicated, making it difficult for you to analyze your metrics.

2. Buying a bundle of bloated tools

Some bundles may be high-priced, but not really what you need. A common example of this is influencer marketing platforms that do not track unpaid campaigns.

So, if product gifting, product seeding, or influencer events are a big part of your strategy, then you must make tracking unpaid content a high priority for your selection criteria—whether as an add-on tool or as part of a platform.

3. Buying a tool that doesn’t fit your purpose

If you’re managing multiple successful influencer marketing campaigns, you need tools that are built with key features in mind for influencer marketing agencies or holding companies. This can include easily moving between client portals without having to log out or log back in, as well as flexible pricing that meets your brands’ or clients’ needs.

For example, if you only run influencer campaigns once a year, will you need to pay for an annual subscription? Or if you manage influencer marketing for multiple ecommerce brands throughout the year, will you need a separate subscription for each brand?

Does the vendor make your clients subscribe directly – and treat your agency like you’re not the customer?

Make sure the influencer marketing tool you choose meets all your needs before you invest.

4. Overpaying for features you don’t need or use

Buying a complex tool is hard. We get it. It’s not uncommon to pay $20,000 to $30,000 a year for an influencer marketing tool because you think it does everything, only to find out that it doesn’t offer accurate tracking, unpaid tracking, or story tracking, meaning you have to add on an additional tool.

💡 Pro tip: MightyScout plays well with other influencer marketing tools that don’t have such robust tracking capabilities.

Influencer marketing tools FAQ

How do you choose what influencer marketing tools to use?

To choose the three best influencer marketing tools and platforms, focus on the following factors:

  • Ease of use. Is the tool easy to navigate and user friendly?
  • Price. Does the platform’s price fit your budget?
  • Features. Does the platform offer the features you’re looking for?

What features should influencer marketing tools have?

Your influencer marketing tool must include the following features:

- Influencer search. Do influencer discovery tools offer advanced searching capabilities to search and filter influencers?

- Influencer relationship management. Does the platform help you manage influencer relationships? Check that you can manage influencers, affiliates, and partners, and track content, costs, communications, payments, and ROI.

- Paid and unpaid content tracking. Make sure the tools let you track the paid and unpaid mentions by influencers on social media and track the influencer’s performance.

- Campaign analytics and reporting. Monitor analytics such as impression, reach, campaign engagement, saves, and earned media value, and generate reports automatically.

- Integrations. Make sure your influencer marketing tools integrate with social media platforms, CRM tools, and ecommerce integration like Shopify and WooCommerce.

Why do you need influencer marketing tools?

Influencer marketing tools help you:

  • Connect with the right influencers
  • Stay on top of the latest social media trends
  • Make informed influencer marketing decisions
  • Analyze your competitor’s influencer campaigns
  • Track the progress of your influencer marketing efforts

Pick the right influencer marketing tool

It’s common in this industry to pay for a tool that offers way more than you need or that doesn’t quite have the features you want.

The best strategy for buying an influencer marketing tool is to identify the features you need (even if you don’t need them yet but will need them in the future). Then, find the tool—or tools—that have all these features.

Enter: The best influencer marketing platform—MightyScout.

With MightyScout, you get: - An influencer CRM to manage all the influencer communication, content, influencer payments, and ROI in one place

  • Influencer marketing reporting to gather KPIs, sales and ROI, and auto-generated custom reports

  • Paid and unpaid tracking to get a top-level view of every piece of influencer content

  • Influencer identification capabilities to find more of the right influencers

Want to try it for yourself? Book a demo with MightyScout.