How Can Influencer Marketing Platforms Help Build Greater Trust & Confidence In Influencers?

Where brands and agencies seek the perfect voice, personality and community engagement levels for their social campaigns, influencer marketing platforms have become the go-to destination. 

You log in, filter through a sea of influencers, and cherry-pick the ones that seem like a perfect fit. It all sounds like a dream, right? Well, not quite. Despite the promises, there’s a huge problem all the marketing platforms pass onto their users – ensuring that the influencer can be trusted and that they have the right qualities to enhance the success of a campaign. 

The current world of influencer recruitment forces brands and agencies to play detective, pushing them to manually spend hours background checking a shortlist of influencers to ensure they are brand safe. Because this is such a manual, laborious and tedious experience for relatively small recruitment teams, these brand safety checks are never robust enough. 

What’s needed is the power of AI technology to automate this process for the agency or brand. The question is, shouldn’t this be the responsibility of the influencer marketing platforms instead of the end user? After all, they are the ones with the technical infrastructure, technical expertise and manpower. If you look at the websites many of the platforms state that they vet influencers, but are they really? How can they if they are only looking at the metadata and not analysing what the influencer is saying in their videos? At SocialVoice, we know this is important because research is showing that up to 93% of brand mentions are verbally spoken within a video rather than appearing as a hashtag. 

While the influencer marketing industry is one of the fastest growing in the wider world of marketing spend, this remains a pressing issue – and one that remains largely unaddressed by the influencer marketing platforms. Instead of looking at better ways to ensure brand safety, they choose to win clients on influencer data volume, ease of use and end-to-end management capabilities.

The Differentiation Problem:

To start, there’s an abundance of influencer marketing platforms that have search and recruit functionality. It’s estimated that revenues to these companies were approximately $14bn in 2022. However, from researching their own websites, they all seem to provide very similar services for brands and agencies to find influencers and manage their campaigns. How do marketers know which one to choose and trust when they all say they are the best, the first or have the most influencers on their database? 

This lack of differentiation reminds me of a quote from Jim Collins’ book ‘Good To Great’ where he states that being ‘Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great’.

Most if not all the influencer marketing platforms are good when it comes to helping you search through millions of influencers to find those that meet your demographic and engagement criteria. Being ‘great’ though requires those that want it, to go that extra step by telling you whether the influencer you’re about to invest in and associate your brand to, can be truly trusted. 

It’s also not just about brand safety. There’s a whole range of crucial information that isn’t being presented within the page showing an influencer’s profile. What brands and agencies really want to know is:

1.    Has an influencer ever said anything in the past that could undermine their brand?
2.    Do they have good synergy with the brand? Have they said anything about a competitor brand in the past? What’s the sentiment behind what they’ve said?
3.    Do they have the right type of personality? Are they engaging, do they have compelling speech patterns?
4.    Are they topic specialists, or do they move from topic to topic?
5.    Is the quality of their voice compelling? Are they engaging with their communities? 

If the influencer marketing platforms provided all of these features, lack of trust as a risk would no longer exist, and all the puzzle pieces that make up influencer selection would slot into place. 

The Voice Problem: You can’t hear!

The heart of the entire issue is that influencers talk but no one is listening. Yes, what an influencer writes on X (Twitter), Telegram or Facebook could impact hugely on a brand that is associated to that influencer. However, in 2024 the greatest threat to brand safety is what the influencer is saying verbally in their videos to their loyal followers. As it stands, brands and agencies are not receiving any of this vital intelligence from the influencer marketing platforms they use to recruit influencers. As a result, it’s the responsibility of the users of these platforms to put the headphones on and manually watch the videos.

So, we’ve identified that accurate brand synergy and brand safety insights are absent within influencer profile pages on the marketing platforms. However, what about information that tells you if an influencer has the needed topic knowledge or credentials, the right production qualities that reflect well on a brand, the right personality fit for a brand or whether they are evoking the right emotions?

None of these can be got through scanning the metadata such as hashtags and comments. Only by watching and listening to the back catalogue of influencer videos is it possible to have the confidence you’re recruiting the right influencers for a campaign. Once again, this is impossible for any agency to achieve at scale. Furthermore, this shouldn’t have to be their responsibility. It should be the objective of any influencer marketing platform that wants to be great at serving its customers.

The Solution: 

So, the actual solution is clear: Influencer marketing platforms must evolve from offering generic services to providing rounded, actionable and robust intelligence that gives agencies and brands confidence that they are recruiting the right influencers for their campaigns. They need to go beyond being good at offering basic metrics of follower count and engagement rates.

Secondly, if an influencer discovery, recruitment and campaign management platform is stating in its marketing that they vet influencers, then they need to follow through on this promise. To achieve this they have to analyse everything that an influencer has ever said in their social videos. We at SocialVoice have spoken with too many agencies and brands that go into a campaign with a lack of confidence that it won’t be delayed or cancelled because of a last-minute influencer trust issue.

In the end, authenticity and resonance are key factors that can make or break a brand’s association with an influencer, and the success of a campaign. However, the burden of manual vetting should be lifted from the shoulders of brands and agencies, placing the responsibility squarely on the platforms. Advancements in AI mean that the capability to analyse everything an influencer has ever said in their videos is now entirely possible and within reach of the influencer marketing platforms.

For example, through, brands and agencies no longer have to do the boring, tedious work of background checking influencers. The company’s Influencer Integrity Report analyses everything an influencer has ever said across TikTok, YouTube and Instagram. As a result, their agency clients no longer worry that there may be hidden surprises lurking within an influencer’s back catalogue. 

Imagine if this crucial brand safety, brand synergy, true topic specialism, quality of voice and influencer personality was available at scale and integrated into the influencer marketing platform that a client agency uses every day. Actually, go one step further and visualise yourself as the user, logging into your platform account and within minutes having absolute confidence that you’ve found the perfect influencers for your campaign, based on ‘Voice of the influencer’ intelligence that really matters – Now wouldn’t that be worth paying for.

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