Influencer marketing makes up a huge slice of how businesses advertise themselves in 2020.
A whopping 93% of marketers use influencers in some way, and 84% of them say it’s a smart strategy.
Needless to say, there’s been a big growth in the influencer market as more brands realize they need to focus on influencers.
But many brands fall flat on their faces when they try to DIY influencer marketing. The ecosystem is way too complex today and you’ll waste a ton of time sifting through Instagram.
So, what are your options?
Traditionally, businesses hired an influencer marketing agency to handle everything.
You get an account manager (who’s probably named Steve) and the agency handles everything for the campaign.
In 2020, though, you don’t have to seek out an agency to win at influencer marketing.
Many businesses get better results for a lower cost by opting for an influencer marketing platform.
But what’s best for your business?
Many brands find themselves choosing between an agency and an influencer marketing platform. There are advantages to both, but this is about making the choice that works best for your biz.
Let’s dive into how influencer marketing agencies compare against influencer marketing platforms like Trend.
The down-low on influencer marketing agencies
Influencer marketing agencies specialize in influencer marketing, which is a good start.
They have a large team of experienced folks at the agency who handle everything from outreach to contract negotiations.
A good influencer marketing agency will:
Understand your brand goals.
Match you with influencers who share those goals.
Minimize hands-on time on your end, sending performance reports along once a month.
That might sound peachy-keen, but you need to understand the pros and cons of influencer marketing agencies before hiring one for your campaign.
1 - No negotiations needed
These agencies specialize in influencer marketing, after all. They already have pre-negotiated terms and rates with a lot of influencers.
This is way better than the DIY approach, where you have to individually DM each influencer for negotiations. That’s a pit of despair and wasted time that you’ll never escape.
If the agency doesn’t already have a relationship with a target influencer, they’ll handle all of the negotiations for you.
2 - Less hands-on campaign management
If you’re a, “I don’t care how it gets done, just get it done,” sort of person, you’ll like working with an agency.
Agencies handle absolutely everything in your campaign. That means you spend less time managing influencer campaigns, which is always a great perk.
3 - Experience
Influencer marketing agencies have a staff of folks backing up your campaign. Every employee is specialized enough that they can help you run focused campaigns.
Agencies can often point to past work or testimonials as proof of their quality, too.
Yes, agencies can work for some brands. But here’s the thing: they aren’t always the best option.
Influencer marketing agencies have three huge drawbacks.
1 - The price
Do you cherish your arms and legs? Well, that’s too bad, because the influencer marketing agency is going to charge you for both of them.
Seriously. Agencies cost a lot of money.
They have enormous overhead to pay all of their employees, and that means they pass that cost right to you.
Not to mention the fact that you have to pay a retainer with an agency. You’re on the hook for the agency’s services as well as influencer fees.
The dollar signs add up quickly here, and the costs are rarely stable enough to help you budget long-term.
2 - Less control
It sounds glamorous to pass your influencer marketing off to an agency, but you’re giving up several degrees of control here.
Want a report on last week’s numbers? You can’t pull that report; you need to email your good pal Steve to get it.
And Steve will probably make you wait 48 hours before sending over that report because he’s busy with other clients.
Influencer marketing agencies are gatekeepers to critical information.
If you need quick information, you have to go through several hoops to get it, limiting your freedom and control over the campaign.
3 - Influencer relationships
While some influencer marketing agencies have existing influencer relationships, many of them don’t. That means they’re no better off than you are!
But don’t worry: the agency will charge you for every blessed hour they spend hunting down influencers manually.
The alternative: influencer marketing platforms
If you value your budget, want to scale, and need more control over your campaigns, choose an influencer marketing platform like Trend.
And no, this isn’t like the spammy influencer databases you might have stumbled upon.
Influencer marketing platforms take all the great things about agencies and automate them for bigger savings.
Here’s why your brand stands to win with an influencer marketing platform instead of an agency.
1 - It’s affordable
Influencer marketing platforms like Trend are way cheaper than an agency—and we get results that are equal to or better than agencies.
Why are platforms so affordable? It comes down to:
Automation: We automate nagging tasks that machines do better and faster than humans.
Fewer humans: Human labor is expensive. Trend minimizes staffing bloat to keep our costs nice ‘n’ low.
Better pricing structure: Trend charges flat, predictable fees and pre-negotiates all influencer costs ahead of time.
Pay for what you need and not a cent more with a platform.
2 - Hit the ground running
Unless your influencer marketing has existing influencer relationships, they’ll need to spend time researching influencers, anyway.
That means you’re left twiddling your thumbs for a week.
That’s not our style. Trend matches you with high-quality influencers more quickly with our existing platform.
We have personal relationships with every influencer on our invite-only platform, too, so you can rest assured that these folks are ready to support your campaign.
3 - You’re in the driver’s seat
Not a fan of waiting two days for a simple report? We aren’t, either.
Influencer marketing platforms give you more control. That gives you the power to:
Communicate directly with influencers. No middle-man required.
Get better information at your fingertips, when you need it.
Track ROI in one simple interface.
Influencer marketing platforms are a great way to save money, act fast, and maintain control.
Even then, there are a lot of influencer platforms on the market. Choose the platform that works best for your biz.
The bottom line
Influencers are a critical part of advertising your business in a natural, non-spammy way.
Outsource the heavy lifting for influencer marketing campaigns to an influencer marketing platform.
Sure, there are some advantages to an influencer marketing agency, but platforms like Trend are still the most effective way to do influencer marketing at scale.
Put yourself in the driver’s seat. Access your campaign data whenever you need it, automate tedious tasks, and save more budget dollars with Trend.
Oh, and Trend has another advantage over agencies: you can give us a test drive. Get a free demo of the Trend platform now.