Influencer Marketing Strategy

Influencer Marketing Platforms vs DIY Campaigns: How to Choose

Does your company really need an influencer marketing platform? Could you run in-house campaigns instead? This post breaks down the pros and cons of both!

diy vs platforms cover photo (1)

Trying to pick between influencer marketing platforms?

With 71% of marketers ready to increase their influencer budgets this year, you’re not alone. 

But as more brands invest in influencers, the more they realize the legwork involved.

From managing outreach to shipping products and more, running a campaign is no small feat. That’s why brands are looking for influencer marketing tools to help with the heavy lifting.

If you’re not 100% sure which type of influencer platform makes sense for you, we’ve got you covered.

Below we break down the pros and cons of the various approaches to campaign management.

self-service platforms for influencer marketing

diy campaigns for influencer marketing

scalable platforms for influencer marketing

Influencer Marketing Platforms: The Basics

To kick things off, let’s quickly define what platforms and tools we’re talking about.

Influencer platforms refer to software and tools that help brands work with content creators. These platforms can streamline a variety of campaign tasks.

There are two distinct types of influencer marketing platforms:

Self-service platforms are tools that you or your team use to coordinate campaigns yourself. These tools include databases, CRMs and influencer marketplaces. 

Scalable influencer platforms (like Statusphere!) programmatically match brands with creators and execute campaigns from start to finish. While we do the campaign-related legwork, our partners can monitor the progress and performance of campaigns through their brand portal without lifting a finger.

Self-Service Influencer Platforms
(Databases, CRMs and Marketplaces)

Scalable Influencer Platform

  • Search for influencers manually based on specific criteria (ex: industry, audience or demographic).

  • Automatically matches your brand with relevant influencers based on your target audience and creative input.
  • Track influencer communication and campaign progress in one place.
  • Outsourced tasks including matchmaking, outreach, agreements, shipping,influencer relations, content tracking and reporting.
  • Influencers are either aggregated or are part of a limited, opt-in network of creators
  • Creator network is exclusive, vetted and hand-picked to ensure quality.

With the basics out of the way, let’s dig into the pros and cons of these platforms!

Working with a Self-Service Influencer Marketing Platform

Self-service tools typically make it easier to organize your influencer outreach and campaigns.

But we refer to all of the above as “tools” because they don’t actually do the work for you.

Pros Cons

  • Spend less time researching influencers. Influencer platforms provide instant access to thousands of influencers. This speeds up the process of researching creators to reach out to.

  • Risky if you can’t commit the time (and money). You’re still on the hook for coordinating with and negotiating with influencers. This is on top of what you’re already paying to access the platform. If you decide that you can’t realistically wrangle it all, you stand to lose time and money.
  • Increase the chances of successful outreach. Self-service tools also make it easier to hone in on potential partnerships from people who want to be approached by brands. This increases your success rate versus 100% cold outreach.
  • No guaranteed content. At the end of the day, a tool is just a tool. You get out what you put in when it comes to your time and energy. For example, your pitches still need to land and you’re still responsible for managing the content creation process. Like, all of it.
  • Uncover influencers that meet your brand’s criteria. From engagement rates to the specific types of content they post, platforms can refine your influencer search. This also gives you more control of your campaign and the kinds of creators you work with.
  • Influencers in databases and CRMs aren’t always vetted. Fake followers and bot activity are issues that databases can’t detect 100%. The bigger the database of influencers, the harder these issues are to spot. Unless each creator is vetted individually, there’s a risk of running into fake “influencers” with inflated metrics.
  • Easier to track communication with influencers. You shouldn't have to wrangle emails or DMs from multiple team members’ inboxes, right? An influencer CRM can centralize your messages with creators. This makes it easier to conduct check-ins or ask for updates from influencers.
  • Hidden fees and extra costs. Unfortunately for brands, there’s no such thing as a cheap influencer marketing platform. We’ve seen databases that range anywhere from $750 to $4,000 per month (with an annual contract, by the way). Consider also how you’ll need to pay a dedicated employee (or team) to actually manage your influencer marketing campaigns. This doesn’t even take into account costly tasks like shipping and fulfillment.

Self-service databases and CRMs can definitely save you time. Having a list of influencers and a way to reach them beats starting a campaign from scratch, right? 

But a database is just a database and a CRM is just a CRM. 

A self-service platform gives you more control over your campaigns, sure. Yet consider how you’ll still need:

  • An influencer specialist to verify that your creators have followed your creative directions
  • Someone to sift through hundreds of thousands of creators to find the right talent
  • A team to manage fulfillment and shipping of your products

And even if you’re outsourcing all of the tasks above, you’re still paying for a platform.

If you want to get your money’s worth from a self-service tool, you have to be consistent and proactive about building relationships with influencers. You get out what you put in.

The catch? Content isn’t guaranteed when you use a self-service platform.

The more content you want, the bigger your investment of time and resources. This is especially true if you plan on scaling your content beyond just a handful of posts. 

If you have the bandwidth for all of the above, great! If you’re not confident, you’re taking a risk. These platforms can put you in a “use it or lose it” situation where you’re locked into an annual contract. 

Influencer marketing platform pricing and features vary wildly from company to company, too. Some platforms are just influencer directories. Others serve as a direct line of contact with creators. Make sure you read the fine print before you commit. 

Another recurring challenge of these platforms is finding relevant influencers in niche industries. If a platform doesn’t feature the types of content creators you’re looking for, you’re stuck.

On that note, not every platform’s database of influencers is reviewed regularly. We’ve seen some platforms claim to feature over a million creators. Vetting that many social profiles by hand just isn’t possible. Inaccurate follower counts and engagement rates should be the least of your worries. Unfortunately, you have to keep these roadblocks in mind when using a self-service platform.

Self-Service Platforms and Databases at a Glance

Managing Influencer Campaigns In-House Without a Platform

Self-service platforms aren’t the only way to run a campaign. For brands totally new to influencer marketing, a do-it-yourself approach is often the starting point. 

This means no investing in third-party tools or hiring an influencer specialist. Instead, you rely on your existing marketing team and take advantage of free channels to manage and coordinate with influencers. 

For example, a brand running a campaign this way might conduct outreach via Instagram or email to find creators to partner with. DIY campaigns are usually managed within an influencer spreadsheet rather than a CRM or traditional database.

As a startup ourselves, we totally get why you’d want to run campaigns in-house. 

You want to stay lean and rightfully so! The DIY approach is obviously a more affordable influencer marketing option for budget-conscious brands. That said, let’s look at the pros and cons of running the show yourself.

Pros Cons

  • Flexibility. You can scale back or ramp up influencer campaigns at your own pace. If you want to just reach out to a handful of influencers, you can. 

  • Doing everything yourself is time-consuming. What you save in cash is a tradeoff for time. From outreach to managing product shipments, the time required to coordinate posts adds up quickly.
  • Fewer financial commitments. No minimum payments or contracts to worry about here. You can put as much toward influencer campaigns as your business can afford.
  • No guaranteed content. Another hurdle with the DIY approach is that there’s no guarantee that anybody will actually post. With no obligations, influencers can drop off at any point in the process.
  • Control. Since you’re handpicking relevant influencers yourself, you’re in control of who represents your brand and what you want them to say.
  • Don’t expect to scale. With all the tasks and time involved with managing influencers, scaling your campaign is an uphill battle.

Let’s say you’re willing to get your hands dirty and hire influencers yourself.

Like with platforms, you’ll still need a team member with the bandwidth to manage your campaign tasks. This includes vetting influencers, negotiating terms, handling communication and coordinating shipments.

Phew. If this sounds like a full-time job, that’s because it kind of is. 

Although not really scalable, in-house campaigns are viable for brands that just want to source a handful of posts short-term through product gifting. We find that many brands that get started the DIY way soon realize they’re in for more than they bargained for. 

In-House Influencer Management at a Glance

Using a Scalable Influencer Marketing Platform (Statusphere)

Let’s say your company has outgrown the in-house approach and doesn’t have the time to allot to a self-service platform. There is a third option: a hands-off, scalable influencer platform.

These platforms (like Statusphere!) do the legwork of matchmaking, product shipping, and handling influencer relationships for you. In other words, your campaigns are managed and streamlined from start to finish.

Pros Cons

  • Guaranteed content from vetted influencers that want to work with your brand. Since we handpick influencers to be featured in our network, we’re super selective when it comes to creators that make the cut. We only partner with proven influencers that earn legitimate engagement. This results in high-quality, creative content for our brands.
  • Time saved and no stress for your team. Streamlined influencer hiring means the process of running a campaign is almost entirely hands-off for your team. You don’t need to worry about outreach, vetting or making sure influencers post. The best influencer marketing platforms should do the work for you.

  • Serious scalability. If you want to scale your creator campaigns without adding a dedicated in-house team member, this is how to make it happen. Our platform offers short-term (or campaign-based) contracts at a fixed price per post. Short-term contracts also mean less of a financial commitment for you. Want to run longer-term campaigns? You totally can.

  • You trade some creative control for time savings. We don’t typically offer the ability to pick every influencer posting about your product. Instead, we handle that process and make judgments based on what you’ve communicated about your goals.

Statusphere’s approach empowers influencers to post quickly, efficiently and on their own terms. 

Given that micro-influencers like the ones in our network see higher engagement rates on Instagram and TikTok, you actually maximize your reach by working with smaller creators.

As an added bonus, your influencers are encouraged to create content they believe will perform best with their audience. Since they built their own following from scratch, they know what they’re doing. 

If you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of creative control, the time and money saved can be huge with a scalable platform. For reference, we estimate 70+ hours saved per 30 influencer posts.

We take care of the most time-intensive and stressful aspects of any given campaign, too. This includes shipping products to creators and making sure they post.

And unlike other influencer platforms, content is guaranteed when you work with us!

Scalable Influencer Marketing Platforms at a Glance

webinar best-kept secrets of high performing influencer campaigns

Picking the Right Influencer Marketing Platform is Key to Scaling

We get it: choosing an influencer marketing platform is tough.

With so many moving pieces and ways to work with influencers, there are plenty of pros and cons to weigh. 

If you want a hands-off approach with fewer question marks when it comes to the authenticity of influencers and their content, Statusphere's micro-influencer platform can help.

Our goal is to streamline and optimize our brands' influencer marketing strategies with guaranteed content at scale. Powered by advanced matchmaking and a vetted influencer network, our platform helps brands crush their marketing goals in a fraction of the time.

Statusphere Platform Dashboard

We've already generated 75,000+ pieces of authentic content for 400+ consumer brands.

Want to learn more about our platform? We’d love to walk you through it! Get in touch with one of our consumer-to-consumer marketing specialists today to learn how we get your brand content at scale.

This article was first published in January 2017. It was last updated September 12, 2022.   

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