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Trying to find social media influencers for a campaign but your results are mixed at best? Looking for influencers on your own is similar to searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Even when you find people who fit your brand, getting in touch with them is close to impossible. The other option is to tap into a social media influencer network. Depending on the network you use, it might be able to revamp and revitalize your influencer marketing efforts.

What Is a Social Media Influencer Network?

A social media influencer network is a marketplace where you can find influencers to partner with on a campaign. Some networks stop at providing contact information and stats on various influencers. The best ones go much deeper. They allow you to build up relationships with influencers directly through the platform.

Additionally, many influencer networks take the guesswork out of finding the “right” influencer. They have tools to target specific influencers based on their age, language, location and other demographic data.

Once you’ve found an influencer or group of influencers, some networks don’t quit. Look for features that let you create projects or opportunities for influencers, accept bids from them, review and approve the content they’ve created, and distribute and promote that content. Additionally, look for a network that can measure your campaigns and arrange for influencer payments.

The Benefits of Using a Social Media Influencer Network

Perhaps the biggest benefit of using a social media influencer network is it reduces you and your team’s stress. Finding influencers is hugely stressful, not to mention time-consuming. That’s especially the case if you don’t know where to look or what to look for.

Social media influencer networks do the hard work for you. Some networks employ proprietary software to sort and categorize influencers. All you need to do to pull up a list of potential matches is put in your search criteria.

Another significant benefit of using an influencer network is you’re likely to come across a diverse group of influencers. While some networks do limit the influencers they work with to certain categories, such as celebrity influencers or micro-influencers, a few have a mix of people on their networks.

It might make sense for your brand to partner with a micro-influencer or a celebrity. In some cases brands want to work with a mix of influencers, including people in the celebrity and micro-influencer categories. If that’s the case, it’s easiest to work with a network that has access to the most diverse group possible.

Finally, working with a social media influencer network can jump-start a stalled or stagnant influencer marketing campaign. If you’ve been struggling to get a campaign going or have started one but gave up because you had no means of tracking it or following through, the tools provided by an influencer network allow you to streamline your tasks and workflow, making influencer marketing a seamless process.

Steps to Finding the Right Social Media Influencer Network

Once you’ve decided that working with a social media influencer network is a good option for your brand, how can you get started finding the right network?

First things first:

Ask yourself what type of influencers you want to work with. If you know you only want to partner with fashion influencers or pet micro-influencers, you might be better off looking for an influencer network that caters to influencers in those niches. Otherwise, there might be too many people to sift through if you end up working with an open-to-all network.

But if you want to keep your options open or you need to partner with people in a range of niches or subject areas or with influencers who might have one million followers as well as those with 10,000 followers, you’re better off searching for an influencer network that has connections to many different influencers across different subject areas and with different follower rates.

Next, take a look at the track record or history of the influencer network. Is it new? Does it work with well-known brands or does it keep its client roster a secret? Have other brands successfully partnered with influencers and, if so, what sorts of campaigns have been the result?

After you’ve gotten the 411 on the influencer network, take a look at the services it offers. Is it just a network or does it go beyond, offering a full influencer marketing software suite? Some networks also offer the option of managed services, so your brand has the opportunity to work with a team of strategists and influencer marketing experts.

Choosing a Social Media Influencer Network

Still need some help finding the right social media influencer network? Keep an eye out for these five things.

Industry experience

Whenever anything gets popular, it seems that everyone wants to climb on the bandwagon. An influencer network that’s overseen by people who have years of experience in the industry and who keep their finger on the pulse of what’s going on with influencer marketing today is a must.

Legit influencers:

You want to verify that the people the network claims to represent are real people and influencers who know they are included in the network. There have been cases of “fake influencers” popping up on certain networks. Additionally, some networks inflate their numbers by claiming to have access to influencers who’ve never even heard of them.

Range of features

If you just want to use a social media influencer network to find influencers, that’s fine. But if you need more help, it’s worth connecting with a network that offers more such as promotion, distribution, and analytics.

Social media platform options

Just as some influencer networks only work with certain types of influencers, a few limit themselves to one platform, such as Instagram or Snapchat. Check out the platform options the network offers, especially if you want to post across platforms.

Ability to scale/grow with your brand

If you sign up for one level of service with a network today, what happens when your brand wants to expand its influencer marketing efforts in the future or when you decide you need more help, such as assistance with influencer marketing strategy? It’s often easiest to partner with a network that can grow with your brand.

One last piece of advice when you’re looking for a social media influencer network: Give the network a try before you commit to one over another. Ask for a demo or to use the network on a trial basis so that you can see how it works and if it adequately meets your needs.