Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) - Why it is Important and How to Optimize for Success

July 9, 2024
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Peter Nettesheim
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Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) - Why it is Important and How to Optimize for Success

Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) is key to building lasting partnerships. This article delves into why IRM is essential for your brand's success and offers actionable tips to optimize your strategies. In this article we will also cover some of the most important elements of a good IRM system and what to look for when deciding for an influencer relationship management platform. 

This article consists of:

What is Influencer Relationship Management (IRM)?

Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) refers to the strategic approach brands use to build, maintain, and optimize their relationships with influencers. It involves identifying the right influencers, nurturing connections, managing collaborations, and analyzing performance to ensure mutually beneficial partnerships. 

The definition IRM is derived from the term CRM (customer relationship management) which has been traditionally used by organisations to manage customer relationships which in most cases is being used in B2B companies. As the set up and requirements in a good influencer relationship management tool are very similar to a CRM the term Influencer relationship management evolved. 

IRM essentially encompasses various tools and software designed to streamline influencer management processes, making it easier for brands to engage with influencers effectively.

<img src="influencer-hero-crm.png" alt="Influencer Hero CRM">
Influencer Hero IRM/CRM

Why is Influencer Relationship Management important?

Let's first talk about the importance of building influencer relationships itself and then why the right tools are paramount to achieve success. Below are some important reasons why it is crucial as a brand to nurture and build influencer relationships. 

Enhanced Credibility and Trust

Collaborating with well-respected influencers builds authenticity and trust among your target audience, as they value the influencers' opinions and endorsements. Building long lasting relationships will lead to continuous exposure to their audience further increasing trust, credibility and higher impact as their audience see an influencer engaging with your product or service over a longer period of time indicating genuine value. 

Improved Engagement

Strong influencer relationships lead to more authentic and engaging content, fostering better interaction and connection with your audience.

Consistent Brand Messaging

By nurturing relationships, influencers become more familiar with your brand, ensuring consistent and aligned messaging across their content.

Higher ROI

Probably the most important of all or the one which all the above points lead to: higher influencer marketing ROI. We frequently refer to the 80/20 principle in influencer marketing where the majority of the returns frequently come from a smaller group of people. 

The challenge here is to identify your top performing influencers. Once you have identified them it is crucial to nurture these relationships and maximise ROI through seasonality campaigns. In order to do this effectively a good influencer relationship management (IRM) software is paramount. 

You can read more about our 7 best practices to get higher ROI with influencer marketing here

The Importance of Good Influencer Relationship Management Software

Using good influencer relationship management software / platform can make or break your influencer marketing success. Below are some of the reason why a good influencer relationship management (IRM) software is so important: 

Streamlined Communication

IRM software centralizes all communication with influencers, making it easier to coordinate campaigns, share content, and maintain clear, consistent messaging.

Efficient Campaign Management

A robust IRM platform helps manage multiple influencer campaigns simultaneously, ensuring all tasks, deadlines, and deliverables are tracked and met.

Scalability

As your influencer marketing efforts grow, a good IRM platform can scale with your needs, accommodating an increasing number of influencers and campaigns without compromising efficiency.

Most Important Features of Good Influencer Relationship Management Software

A good influencer relationship management software consists of multiple different features. Below are some of the most important features of a full suite influencer relationship management platform. To make this easy to understand we will structure the features chronologically when organising an influencer campaign from start to finish. 

Influencer Discovery

Every campaign starts with identifying the right influencers to work with which is why a good influencer relationship management platform should offer the tools to identify the right influencers for your brand. This will help you identify influencers who align with their target audience and campaign goals. With Influencer Hero you can analyze both influencer data as well as audience demographics from fake followers, location, age, gender and more. You can read more in detail which metrics impact influencer marketing ROI here

<img src="influencer-hero-influencer-finder.png" alt="Influencer Hero Influence Finder Feature">
Influencer Search Tool

Influencer Outreach

An essential feature of influencer relationship management software is influencer outreach. This functionality streamlines the process of contacting and engaging with influencers, enabling brands to send personalized messages, track communication, and manage responses efficiently. By automating outreach efforts, brands can save time and ensure a more organized and effective approach to building influencer partnerships.

With Influencer Hero each influencer receives a hyper personalized message by including an Ai generated personalized sentence. The Ai powered tool will analyze the last 3 posts on social media and auto draft a personalized sentence based on that enabling brands to maximise their reply rates. On top of this our tool offers drip campaigns automating the process of sending emails as well as follow ups.

<img src="influencer-hero-influencer-outreach.png" alt="Influencer Hero Influencer Outreach Feature">
Influencer Outreach Tool

Campaign Management

Probably the most important element of a good influencer relationship management IRM software is the part which helps brands to effectively manage relationships. Campaign management tools which facilitate an organized overview of your campaign and makes it easy for brands to manage multiple partnerships at the same time is crucial. The Influencer Hero IRM distinguishes between two key parts of an influencer program. 

1. Influencer Outreach Campaigns

These are first time collaborations with new influencers and should be typically structured in a sequence from left to right as you need to go through different processes to facilitate a new partnership. We make use of so-called outreach dealflows which moves the deal automatically from left to right based on certain triggers. Below is an example of how this looks like: 

<img src="influencer-hero-influencer-campaign.png" alt="Influencer Hero Campaign Feature">
Influencer Outreach Campaign

Once the influence replies to your outreach email the deal will automatically move from the outreach column to the negotiation column. In this stage all the details of the potential partnership will be discussed and negotiated. 

Once both parties come to an agreement the deal will move to the next stage, the awaiting post stage. The trigger which automatically moves the deal to the next stage if a product is dispatched from the CRM. This is the case for brands which offer a physical product. If your brand doesn’t sell physical products E.g. software, info products etc.) you can simply drag the deal manually to the next stage. 

In the awaiting post stage as the name already infers you are waiting for the influencer to post. Our system detects once the influencer has posted on social media about your brand and will automatically drag the deal to the final stage of your influencer outreach deal flow the posted stage.

This structure allows brands to have a clear overview of the campaign and manage things accordingly.

2. Influencer relationship management

Once an influencer has posted the first time you can drag the deal into a so-called relationship dealflow. It is a similar trello-like management board but this time it is not a sequence from left to right but rather a place to store and continue to nurture relationships. 

3. The influencer deal page

The deal page is one central page in which we gather all the information of a specific influencer. Every good influencer relationship management IRM software should provide a place where you can continue to gather information and data. From this central influencer deal page you can manage everything related to that specific influencer. This includes: 

  1. Communication
  2. Creating affiliate links & discount codes 
  3. Dispatching products 
  4. Access creative assets (influencer posts) 
<img src="influencer-hero-influencer-dealpage.png" alt="Influencer Hero Influencer Dealpage Feature">
Influencer Dealpage

Affiliate Marketing

This feature allows brands to track and manage influencer-driven sales, providing performance-based incentives to influencers. The reason affiliate marketing is so important is to keep track of your data and being able to allocate budgets based on this data instead of just guessing. This is also the underlying technology for reporting and analytics which is another essential tool within a sophisticated influencer relationship management software. 

UGC & Content Management

User-generated content (UGC) and content management are vital features of influencer relationship management software. These tools enable brands to efficiently collect, organize, and repurpose content created by influencers and their followers. By managing UGC effectively, brands can maintain a consistent content strategy, enhance engagement, and leverage authentic, relatable content to boost their marketing efforts. Influencer Hero automatically captures all influencer posts which you can conveniently access through a content library. 

<img src="influencer-hero-content-wall.png" alt="Influencer Hero Content Wall Feature">
Content Wall

Influencer Gifting

A good influencer relationship management platform also offers the capability to streamline influencer gifting. With Influencer Hero you can dispatch products to influencers directly from the deal page allowing you to save time with product gifting campaigns. The system integrates with your CMS (Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento) and will create a $0 order. 

Reporting & Analytics

The last important element of an all in one influencer relationship management platform is reporting & analytics. These tools provide detailed insights into campaign performance, influencer effectiveness, and ROI. By offering comprehensive data and metrics, brands can make informed decisions, optimize strategies, and demonstrate the value of influencer partnerships. Robust reporting and analytics ensure that every aspect of influencer marketing is measurable and improvable. Below are some of the important KPIs and metrics a good influencer relationship management software should cover:

  • Impressions 
  • Clicks 
  • Conversions (sales) 
  • Earned Media Value 
  • An overview of your top performing influencers
<img src="influencer-hero-campaign-report.png" alt="Influencer Hero Campaign Report Feature">
Influencer Campaign Report

The Best Influencer Relationship Management Software

Now that we know how important influencer relationship management is and what features and tools a sophisticated influencer relationship management platform should cover lets go through some of the best influencer relationship management platforms IRM.

1. Influencer Hero

<img src="influencer-hero-software.png" alt="Influencer Hero Software">

Influencer Hero covers all the essential features mentioned above, including influencer discovery, outreach, campaign management, affiliate marketing, UGC and content management, influencer gifting, and robust reporting and analytics. This comprehensive platform ensures seamless, effective, and successful influencer relationship management for your brand. They offer month to month contract at a starting price of $249 / month.

2. Grin

<img src="grin-software.png" alt="Grin Software">

Grin offers many essential features for influencer relationship management, including outreach, campaign management, affiliate marketing, UGC and content management, influencer gifting, and robust reporting and analytics. However, their influencer search capabilities are limited, requiring you to request curated lists from their team, which can be time-intensive and less convenient. Additionally, influencers need to upload their posts manually instead of automatic post capturing like Influencer Hero. Grin's pricing starts at $2,500 per month with annual contracts.

3. Aspire

<img src="aspire-software.png" alt="Aspire Software">

Aspire includes many essential features for influencer relationship management, such as influencer discovery, outreach, campaign management, affiliate marketing, UGC and content management, and reporting and analytics. However, Aspire lacks automated drip campaigns, making the outreach process a bit less effective. A key strength is their content review feature, but they have fewer influencers compared to platforms like Influencer Hero and Modash. Aspire starts at around $2,000 / month and works with annual contracts. Their pricing is not public and is custom quoted. 

4. Upfluence

<img src="upfluence-software.png" alt="Upfluence Software">

Upfluence provides a wide range of essential features for influencer relationship management, including influencer discovery, outreach, campaign management, affiliate marketing, UGC and content management, and robust reporting and analytics. However, influencers must manually upload their content, which can be more time-consuming. Overall, Upfluence covers the necessary features for effective influencer marketing. Their pricing starts at $2,000 per month, with annual contracts.

Other platforms which could be considered are: CreatorIQ, Traackr and Neoreach. Access our full comparison article on the top10 best influencer management software here. 

How to Maximise ROI Through Influencer Relationship Management

As previously mentioned the majority of the ROI typically comes from relationships with high performing influencers. In this section we will elaborate a bit more on this to explain step by step how you can optimise ROI through effective influencer relationship management. 

We typically split out an influencer program into two key stages:

1. First time collaboration: influencer testing

In step 1 you don’t know yet which influencers will perform well as you are organising new partnerships with influencers you haven’t previously worked with. If you want to organise a performance driven influencer campaign  you ideally want to keep your cost low in this stage in order to be able to allocate budgets based on data. It is recommended to work with these influencers using an affiliate link and personalized vouchers in order to track the performance. Influencer marketing follows a strong power law distribution meaning that the majority of the sales typically come from a smaller group of people. By keeping your cost low by for example working with an affiliate & gifting campaign you are able to identify your winners. 

We call this process “influencer testing” as you are testing which influencers work. This is also considered your engine of growth as you are able to increase your tribe of performing influencers which we will cover in stage 2.

2. Relationship management & seasonality campaigns

Once you identify your winners you need to make sure that you build long lasting relationships with these influencers. Do something special send a genuine gift like a bouquet of flowers, a personalized handwritten postcard whatever it takes to show your gratitude and appreciation. These are the influencers which will generate the majority of your ROI. 

Invite these top performing influencers to participate in seasonality campaigns where you have a special promotion or offer. By having your top performing influencers share about your promotion, giving your target audience a reason to buy, will increase conversions, maximise sales and ROI. Read in detail how you can maximise ROI with influencer seasonality campaigns here.

Conclusion

In conclusion, effective Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) is crucial for building lasting partnerships and maximizing the ROI of your influencer marketing campaigns. By leveraging a comprehensive IRM software, brands can streamline communication, manage campaigns efficiently, and analyze performance for continuous improvement. Platforms like Influencer Hero, Grin, Aspire, and Upfluence offer varying features to support your IRM needs, each with unique strengths and limitations. Choosing the right platform tailored to your requirements is essential for driving successful influencer collaborations and achieving your marketing goals.

FAQs
What are the key benefits of using an influencer relationship management platform?
How do I choose the right influencer relationship management software for my brand?
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How can IRM software improve the efficiency of influencer outreach?

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