If any­one had any last­ing doubts about influ­encer mar­ket­ing, Face­book’s sud­den atten­tion to the mar­ket may erase them.

This June, Face­book launched their own influ­encer mar­ket­ing tool enti­tled Brand Col­labs Man­ag­er (sub­scrip­tion required). Short­ly after, it was report­ed that Face­book played a major role in influ­encer mar­ket­ing com­pa­ny Deep Social’s deci­sion to shut down after the plat­form revoked its autho­riza­tion to use Face­book-owned data.

Although per­haps more aggres­sive, Face­book is not the only major social net­work to enter the influ­encer space. Take, for exam­ple, Pinterest’s Pin Col­lec­tive or Google’s acqui­si­tion of FameBit in 2016.

As in the case of Deep Social, this trend could hurt a thriv­ing indus­try: third-par­ty influ­encer mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies. Plat­form-owned influ­encer tools could be seen as an alter­nate, supe­ri­or solu­tion to mar­ket­ing agen­cies that lack access to the same pro­pri­etary data. (Full dis­clo­sure: Upflu­ence offers influ­encer mar­ket­ing soft­ware and ser­vices.)

All hope is not lost, though. Influ­encer mar­ket­ing is a boom­ing, lucra­tive mar­ket with thou­sands of play­ers.

Here’s what small­er influ­encer mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies can do to stay com­pet­i­tive:

Spe­cial­ize in your offer. Many com­pa­nies in the influ­encer space can dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves from com­peti­tors by offer­ing a niche ser­vice, such as out­doors, busi­ness-to-busi­ness or microin­flu­encer mar­ket­ing. The idea is that by focus­ing on a spe­cif­ic group, you can pro­vide a more tar­get­ed strat­e­gy than big­ger plat­forms.

Devel­op dif­fer­ent busi­ness mod­els. Direc­to­ries, mar­ket­places, search engine tools, cre­ative agen­cies, soft­ware-as-a-ser­vice (SaaS) — the list goes on! The real­i­ty is that For­tune 500 brands, pub­lic rela­tions firms, small busi­ness­es and indi­vid­ual mar­keters may all want to work with influ­encers, but not on the same scale. Expand the num­ber of solu­tions you offer to ensure every actor gets exact­ly what match­es their needs.

Become a mul­ti­plat­form agency. Mar­ket­ing and adver­tis­ing agen­cies can do some­thing that plat­forms can’t: adver­tise their influ­encer ser­vices for mul­ti­ple social net­works. This gives you a sig­nif­i­cant edge in an envi­ron­ment in which most influ­encers are “mul­ti­plat­form” and some nich­es, such as esports, are native to spe­cif­ic net­works.

Cov­er the cam­paign from start to fin­ish. It’s doubt­ful that social net­works will want to take on the respon­si­bil­i­ty of micro­manag­ing cam­paigns that often require exten­sive mon­i­tor­ing and hands-on sup­port. As an agency, how­ev­er, you are able to deliv­er end-to-end accom­pa­ni­ment for the entire influ­encer process — from influ­encer iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and pub­li­ca­tion review all the way to the pay­out.

Focus on rela­tion­ships. In a recent arti­cle by PRWeek (sub­scrip­tion required), influ­encer mar­ket­ing was described to be “held back by short-ter­mism and a lack of col­lab­o­ra­tion.” Sur­mount this men­tal­i­ty (and the poor con­tent that comes with it) by match­ing brands with a tai­lored selec­tion of influ­encers. The amount of time and effort that goes into hand-pick­ing these col­lab­o­ra­tors is a dis­tinc­tive ser­vice that sets agen­cies apart from sta­t­ic tools.

Pro­vide addi­tion­al ser­vices. Influ­encer mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies are inno­vat­ing many areas of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, from social lis­ten­ing to arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence. By pro­vid­ing addi­tion­al ser­vices, such as results track­ing, con­tent mar­ket­ing or influ­encer rec­om­men­da­tions, you can help your com­pa­ny stand out from the crowd.

Focus on data, data, data. Inde­pen­dent­ly aggre­gat­ing ana­lyt­ics and pub­licly avail­able data is the safest way to go. It might require a lit­tle more heavy lift­ing on your company’s end, but it’s a lot more reli­able than count­ing on some­one else to build your data­base.

Are influencers really worth fighting for?

As dis­cussed in a pre­vi­ous arti­cle, social net­works seem to show an increased depen­den­cy on influ­encers, who pro­duce valu­able con­tent that dri­ves user engage­ment and reten­tion. If this is the case, it’s no won­der why social net­works are becom­ing more invest­ed in sup­port­ing their influ­encers.

Con­trary to what one might think, Facebook’s influ­encer mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tive could have a pos­i­tive out­come for com­pa­nies that spe­cial­ize in the strat­e­gy. The more net­works that get involved, the more main­stream the strat­e­gy becomes.

As more brands want to work with influ­encers, there will be a greater need for pro­fes­sion­als to help man­age cam­paigns. Small com­pa­nies can adapt (and thrive) when sup­ple­ment­ing the gaps between social plat­form, influ­encer and brand.

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