So, you’ve decided to use influencer marketing to grow your business, and you want the support of an agency. Influencer marketing is a wise choice. 89% of companies say their ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels.
The right agency will certainly be able to get you impressive results with influencer marketing. Now in 2023, there are numerous agencies to choose from. All of them are promising to be the perfect fit for you. Many claim they can help you achieve your goals – guaranteed!
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Not every agency is equally professional and effective. Even some that are excellent still might not be a good fit for your business, for different reasons.
Influencer Marketing Agency Red Flags
No brand wants to work with a service provider that isn’t capable of getting beneficial results. You obviously don’t want to risk launching campaigns not backed by a proven process, with a high risk of failure.
If an agency is focused more on their own revenue streams than understanding your business’ unique situation and needs, the campaigns they run for you might fall flat.
Another issue to consider is chemistry. If the process of collaborating with the agency is unpleasant and filled with friction, you can end up very frustrated. You want to be working with humans who are open, who care, and who you can talk to and contact with your concerns at any time.
Likewise, you don’t want to end up working with someone who doesn’t use the latest technology and is unable to capture all the analytics that are required for running effective social media marketing campaigns.
After all, when you hire an influencer marketing agency, you are making an investment that’s supposed to pay off – you don’t want to be burning money and time on something that ends up being ineffective. Learn more about effective influencer marketing campaigns here. It’s worth putting the work in up front to evaluate influencer marketing agencies, so you can pick exactly the right fit out of the high-quality agencies out there.
We have created this guide to help you in that process, so you can make the right choice and experience the amazing results that influencer marketing can create for your business, while avoiding pitfalls.
Let’s dive in.
1. Get clear on what exactly you need from them
If you know what you are looking for, the chance of finding it increases significantly. This saying holds true for influencer marketing agencies too!
Every influencer marketing agency has different specialties, budget, and project size requirements. This is exactly why you should know your marketing goals and the goals you want to achieve together with the agency.
Once you have defined your goals, you can evaluate agencies through that framework, see how well they fulfill your criteria, and rank them accordingly.
The right agency will also be able to show you exactly how they are going to help you achieve your goals and do so convincingly. Find tips from Universal how to make influencer marketing work here.
2. Get to know their team
You can learn more about a company's team by visiting the team section on agency websites, and viewing agency staff on LinkedIn.
During the consultation, you can ask who exactly would be working on your project.
Do they have the experience? And the ‘people skills’?
Look for team members who have relevant experience in running the types of influencer marketing campaigns you will be requesting. The goal here is to find an agency whose team is both qualified and pleasant to work with – this includes the human aspect of the relationship.
3. Examine their process
Now, you want to have a deeper look at exactly how the influencer marketing agency you’re looking conducts their work. Their approach to any new project will tell you a lot about how successful they will be once they’re working for your brand.
How do influencer marketing agencies evaluate a project?
Find out how the agency treats any new customer’s project. Look for signs that you will get a strategy that’s not cookie-cutter, but uniquely tailored to your brand. A good agency is supposed to be very creative in adapting their process to you in a way that makes sense.
How are agencies kept accountable?
An important piece of information to know is if the agency has senior professionals supervise your project. It’s fine if some newer people are going to also work on your campaign – as long as they are being checked by those with more experience. At Kingfluencers, every client is supported by at least one senior professional, with over five years of experience in social media and influencer marketing, to balance the diligent efforts of our newer marketers.
When and for how long are agencies available to you each week?
Also, you want them to be available and accountable to you directly. This means you can reach them easily and there’s always space in their schedule to discuss matters with you. At Kingfluencers, we respond to client emails within the same or the next day, the latest.
Are agencies readily sharing this info with you? Will they be able to make their process work for your needs?
If an agency is being very opaque about what working with them looks like, that could be a red flag. It probably means they will – in spite of their promises – not be able to take your unique needs into account and craft a strategy that will actually get you the results.
4. Study their strategies
The best influencer marketing agencies use strategies that work.
What does that mean?
Are they planning for the long term?
Yes, a one-off influencer marketing initiative can be impactful. But the best agencies also specialize in running long-term campaigns that get your brand to the next level, and make sure it stays there sustainably. Obviously this depends on your goals and budget.
But brand strategists who have experience creating more comprehensive strategies are always at least considering the long-term impact of any campaign they’re involved in, which is definitely a plus.
Do they consider the big picture, or is your campaign going to be working in isolation?
Influencer marketing should not be a stand-alone measure. Social media touchpoints should lead to specific actions taken in the context of your campaign.
A holistic, or integrated, approach is key and vastly superior to isolated strategies.
Does the influencer marketing agency in question commit to combining different outlets and marketing strategies in order to serve you best, or is there no mention of such an approach? Read about Kingfluencers focus on holistic, omnichannel storytelling.
Are they creative, hip to trends, and versatile in their tactics?
Influencer marketing is evolving quickly. New trends are popping up all the time. Anyone playing in this field must be highly creative and adaptive. The best agencies show they can capitalize on these trends, and are always finding the right kinds of messages and campaigns that fit the times. Constant reinvention is the name of the game in influencer marketing.
You can gauge which agency possesses these qualities by reading their marketing materials and looking into their history and portfolio. For example, the best influencer marketing agencies are creating influencer partnerships that are even more interactive and collaborative than typical social media content – they are encouraging the audience to participate in new and fun ways.
Are they using the power of storytelling to full effect?
Again, you can tell by looking at how an influencer marketing agency talks about what they do. Do they grasp the vital importance of good, creative storytelling?
Effective influencer marketing evokes the right emotions and creates a special connection with the audience, which is best done through telling captivating stories. In order to do that, the content produced for you must be both creative and authentic – not feeling disingenuous in the slightest. The right influencer marketing agency is doing just that, and creating a precious opportunity for your brand to be connected with an engaged audience, leading to the result that you came for.
5. Screen their technology
What is their campaign management like?
Starting a campaign for you is one thing – managing it successfully is another. Check out how the agency in question is going to handle managing your project. If they are doing it right, they will be using sophisticated technology in order to keep up with and manage your influencer campaign.
They should have the latest technologies and best practices at their fingertips. Digital marketing agencies need to be familiar with the latest software, because tools such as Upfluence, Modash or Creator IQ, for example, are useful to achieve faster results through deep insights. At Kingfluencers, we have our own developed tools with which we can simplify our work, because we do everything within the system, from influencer research and sourcing, to campaign reporting and beyond predicting ROI. Thanks to the advantage that our system is based on data truth – e.g., through creating automated briefings and analysis – both, influencers and clients, share and get insights, so every process and crucial step is happening within our system based on the included real-time data.
Are they performance driven?
This means they are paying attention to and tracking the correct metrics – and have processes and strategies in place to learn from these analytics and use their learnings to adjust and improve your initiative.
Familiarity with other third-party data sources and creative tools is also helpful. Ultimately, this helps your brand gain more popularity through better campaigns – both in terms of creativity and effectiveness.
6. Learn about their network of influencers
Technology, team, and tactics aside, what can really make or break your influencer marketing campaign is what kind of influencers you end up working with.
Of course, picking the right influencers for you should be a core competency of an influencer marketing agency!
But there is a little more to it.
Here’s how you can evaluate whether they will be able to connect you with the best people for the job, or whether there is a chance they’ll leave you with a mismatch that’ll end up hurting your marketing efforts:
How large of a network do they have?
While this does not directly ensure the quality of those contacts, a decent-sized network at least means that the agency has put in the work of creating many connections and has been working in this field for a good amount of time already. If the network they are working with isn’t large, they won’t have as many choices of influencers to find exactly the right ones for you.
Are all the influencers carefully vetted? What’s their vetting process like?
It’s true, people trust influencers – but only those who have shown to actually be deserving of their trust. It’s the agency’s job to filter for influencers with integrity and who are not just out to make a quick buck while carelessly disrespecting their audience and the brands they represent.
A good influencer marketing agency will take the time to get to know each and every one of their content creators. They might accomplish that task with personal onboardings, influencer trainings, and co-creation workshops. That way they’ll make sure to connect you only with quality, committed, and authentic people to represent your brand.
Will they be able to pick the right type of influencer for the job?
Do they have access to nano-, micro- and macro-influencers and can they offer the type of channel that is right for your goals? For example, while nano- and micro-influencers have a much smaller following, they are able to create a much closer connection between your brand and their community, because they are highly trusted and their audience engagement is typically much higher.
When an influencer and their following are a great fit for your brand, you have the chance to create amazing content that leads to extraordinary results.
How do they ensure quality control and accountability for their influencers?
This requires functional working relationships with their network, as well as processes for managing the workflow. See if you can find out about their process for ensuring influencer accountability.
7. Review their portfolio & skills
The influencer marketing agency you hire should have the skills you need to achieve your goals, whether it's generating more quality leads, increasing online sales, increasing store visits, or getting more website visitors.
Do they demonstrate a deep understanding of the relevant platforms and what good content looks like?
The only way to get results is to hire an agency that has mastered the art of creating engaging and targeted influencer marketing campaigns.
You can make sure this is the case by checking out the content they’ve produced in the past.
8. Check their social proof
The best way for you to check if the agency is reputable and gets results is to look at their history and portfolio of past work. Finished work, after all, is the best demonstration of skills – far superior to any marketing promises.
Do they have a high-caliber, diverse portfolio?
The portfolio is the ideal way for the agency to showcase their best work. This will help you get an idea of what type of work they do and what type of clients they select.
What do their testimonials say?
Over 90% of clients look at testimonials before hiring an agency. Social proof is therefore an effective tactic for agencies to convert prospects into buyers. If you can't find any testimonials on websites, it likely means:
- The company may not have any previous customers
- They are not the experts they claim to be
Good testimonials indicate that future customers may have a similar experience. Plus, agencies with happy clients shouldn't have a hard time getting testimonials.
Be aware that testimonials on online review sites are easy to fake. Look for testimonials of past clients prominently featured on the agency’s website – they can’t afford to fake those!
Social proofs like testimonials and previous client reviews can be a great way to gain insight into an influencer agency's work ethic.
Another great way to further vet an agency and ensure good collaboration is to get an idea of the agency's past customers. Get in touch with them and ask them about their experience working with the agency. In addition to helping you choose the right agency, these discussions could also give you insight into best practices to copy.
9. Discuss their prices
Finally, be sure to discuss prices and deliverables. This is the final piece of information that will tell you if an influencer agency can give you what you are looking for, in the right way, and at the right price.
It's crucial to find the target groups that are most likely to be interested in your offer in order to keep the advertising costs per new customer as low as possible and thus win the most new customers for your budget.
Will they be able to align with your expectations regarding budget and deliverables?
Starting influencer marketing in your business can be a daunting task. If you don’t first get to really know the influencer marketing agency you’re going to work with, your efforts could end up being in vain and losses could occur.
It pays to hire the best, most experienced influencer marketing experts to help you achieve your goals. You need someone who can create exciting influencer campaigns and deliver them accurately to convert your audience into customers.
To keep up in a dynamic field like social media marketing and successfully work with third parties influencers, it's best to work with an agency with proven expertise.
Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing