When starting an influencer program, you have to decide which platform to start with first.
Should you do Instagram? Everyone seems to be on it.
Maybe Youtube? YouTubers are almost like celebrities these days.
or TikTok... It’s the next big thing, right!?
Read along to find out.
Which platform to choose for influencer marketing?
If you don’t have a few minutes to read the rest of this blogpost, don’t worry. I’ll give you the answer right away: Instagram.
When starting out on your influencer marketing journey, just go for Instagram creators to start with. You can diversify to other platforms later. Here’s why.
Instagram creators are the most mature when it comes to collaborations, they know what to do, they’ve seen other so do it and they have likely done it before for other brands. You will have an easier time.
They also are more receptive to such requests as the barrier to creating an Instagram story or post is much lower than creating a proper Tiktok sketch or a Youtube video. When starting out, you need to get the momentum going. Creators on Instagram will make it easier for you.
Now, let’s move on to discussing the pros and cons of each platform and what you should keep in mind when diversifying into each channel.
Instagram for Influencer Marketing - Pros and Cons
Ease of getting started
Like I mentioned before, Instagram is one of most mature platforms of all that are available, eg: Twitch, Youtube, TikTok, LinkedIn, etc. Creators on IG are more likely to say yes thanks to it being the lowest friction ways to start creating content while still reaching a huge number of people.
Instagram creators are open to affiliate-only deals and usually don’t demand high upfront fees for shoutouts. This means you stay profitable when you start out and only spend money when you get sales.
This is a consequence of the content being so easy to create. It’s also short lived. Most stories peak out in their first 8-12 hours of being live and most posts within the first 24 hours. You will not see long term consistent traffic coming from Instagram shoutouts, only spikes.
Be emotionally ready for this, don’t expect one creator to drive consistent traffic for weeks.
You can work with this though, if you have a set number of creators posting about you every week, you can get a roughly fixed amount of traffic from Instagram every week. I wrote here about how to make influencers post more often.
TikTok for Influencer Marketing - Pros and Cons
Tiktok is new enough to be growing fast as a platform but it’s old enough to not be the wild wild west. This places it in a very unique position where you get to piggy back off the growth of the platform and build your brand. Plus, creators on TikTok are generally the most open to affiliate-only deals.
When you move to TikTok from IG, you can make deals with the same creators whom you partnered with on Instagram to get momentum on TikTok.
TikTok creators tend to be the most quirky and funny of them all. If it fits your brand’s image, give them the creative freedom and watch them create attention-grabbing content for your brand.
You can then ask them for usage rights and use the same content in your ad campaigns as well.
Hard to take action
There is no “Swipe up” or “Link in description” for TikTok. Creators have to add the links in their bio (which usually is a linktree with a lot of other links). Their audience has to click on their profile, visit the link in bio, and find your link there.
Don’t expect as many conversions for every TikTok video as you expect from an Instagram story for example.
Variability in results
TikTok’s algorithm is extremely stochastic and not predictable. On Instagram or Youtube, you can take a guess on how many views on average a creator with 100k followers would get. On TikTok, you can’t.
The algorithm may randomly choose to promote a video or randomly decide a video is just not worth it. I’ve seen creators with an audience of 300k get less than 2000 views on their promotion. I’ve also seen creators with an audience of 50k get over 20,000 views. It’s hit-or-miss.
The best way to mitigate both these cons is to make 3-5 video deals with creators and spread the posts out across a month or two. This way their audience gets to see you multiple times, and your results average out.
Youtube for Influencer Marketing - Pros and Cons
Long term traffic
Youtube’s content brings long term value. It spikes out in the first week or two of launch (so even the spike is much long lasting) and keeps generating traffic to your website for a long time, potentially forever, if the creator uses the right keywords in their description and if your ad is placed in a relevant video.
High Converting Audience
Placements on IG and TikTok are still advertisements. People didn’t ask for them. Placements on Youtube are more relevant to the viewers because they either searched for the video topic or found it through recommendations (which means Youtube thinks they’ll find it useful).
This makes an average eyeball on Youtube much more valuable than one on TikTok or Instagram. Viewers on Youtube are much more likely to try new products recommended by creators.
Old Boring Content
Content on Youtube is pretty standard. Everyone creates the same 10+ minute videos and has the same “let’s take 30 seconds to thank our sponsor”. If you are not mindful, you’ll end up being the ad that everyone skips.
You want to avoid this. Ask your creators to make the placement feel more organic and authentic, never do the “30 second sponsor segment”. It will generate subpar results. Your product should be weaved into the video, not mentioned for a short segment.
Ask them to mention you in the description and importantly in the pinned comment. This helps you maximise traffic and conversions.
I recommend starting off with Instagram, moving to Youtube, and then testing TikTok. You can eventually move on to leveraging blogs, LinkedIn influencers, and maybe even Twitch if it fits your kind of product. For now, stick to the three main platforms and you’re good to go for your first 200-400 influencers!