Just Authorize Already!

Most people working in established industries rarely see the rulebook change. In the years I’ve been working with social media influencers, I’ve seen the rulebook change about every 6 months. That’s what you get when you’re defining a new medium, I guess!

Let’s talk about data permission through the lens of influencer marketing. In order to bring creators and advertisers together, the content needs to fit the sponsors’ identity, and there needs to be some true synergies between each party. But most importantly, advertisers need to check that the creator’s account reaches their target audience demographics and geography, and verify the authenticity of that audience. It’s easy to see if an influencer aligns with your brand message, identity, and values but much harder to understand audience and performance data by simply looking at an influencer’s social profile.

The best way for advertisers to access private audience data for an influencer’s social profile is by providing authorized data access to a trusted, secure third party.

The authorization process allows an influencer to grant permission to a third-party platform to access private data about his or her social account. For example, you’ve probably encountered a social authorization when logging into a tool like Spotify using Google or Facebook. At Paladin, our platform allows influencers to provide authorized data access to their trusted agents and managers in order to help identify ways to grow their audience and work with advertisers on branded content campaigns.

Providing an authorization offers valuable insight beyond publicly available metrics like followers, views, and engagements into meaningful data like audience demographics, impressions, and watch time. Such data points are essential for helping advertisers make an informed decision about which influencers to work with on a given marketing campaign.

Influencers, I know you’re worried about your account security and data privacy, but this system gives you complete control, unlike past relationships with MCNs. Let’s examine why this approach is also better for your needs :

  • Provide data access without sharing login credentials – Sharing your social media passwords, even with someone you trust, can lead to accidents or data breaches. Authorizing a third party to access your data is a much better alternative because it allows you to grant or remove data access at any time via your social account settings. Further, you can choose to only grant authorization to apps requesting ‘read only’ permissions (like Paladin), preventing others from posting, deleting, or changing your content.
  • Demonstrate your value to potential advertisers – There’s a ton of money up for grabs at the moment. By providing your agent or manager with real-time data, they can work on your behalf much faster and share your story with potential sponsors.
  • Ditch the Screenshots – Tired of sending screenshots? Agents and managers are sick of asking for them too. The faster your representation can report on a campaign, the faster you get paid, and they can start working on the next one.
  • Be a Market Leader – The more you know about what sponsors expect and how agencies operate, the more likely you’ll be frequently approached with offers.

Influencer agencies, there’s a ton of you popping up, seemingly overnight. I’m not the only one who’s noticed; brands have picked up on it too. Claiming that “influencers just won’t authorize” is the equivalent of trying to sell TV inventory without a Neilson report. Let’s think more about the advantages of authorizing:

  • Outshine the competition – With a complete roster of authorized social accounts, you can crank out RFPs at light speed, rather than individually sourcing data from creators and manually building presentations.
  • Get REAL data – Unfortunately, some influencers exaggerate their reach or even photoshop screenshots of their data, which can lead to unrealistic expectations and false reporting. Authorized data doesn’t lie. It gives you a direct line to real-time data to make sure you’re working with the right partners every time.
  • Streamline your communication workflow – Continuous access to authorized data allows your team to move much faster. Build RFPs that demonstrate your trusted relationship with the influencers you’re recommending to help shorten the sales cycle and inspire confidence in your client.
  • Be a greater asset – With the right data permissions, your team can offer more complete support to creators. Channel optimization and audience growth are established services that have been offered for years. *Prediction* The first influencer agency that can offer effective channel management at scale will break the model and move onto the next level of industry recognition.

As the changing nature of this industry has forced me to do, I’m always anticipating what’s coming next. But what isn’t changing is the basic data points on which we buy and sell media. Therefore pushing for 100% authorization within your stable of influencers is a safe goal to aim for.

Need some help getting that strategy off of the ground? Shoot me a message. I’m happy to help!

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How Brands Can Work with Niche Creators, as Told By Creators at Buffer Festival

Canada’s premier event spotlighting digital creators, Buffer Festival, wrapped up last week in Toronto. In keeping with its mission, the four-day festival festival showcases independent creators who embrace authentic storytelling and create high quality content.

Brands want safety, but they’re missing viewers.

If you follow the digital media industry, you’ve heard about a dramatic shift that’s happened over the past 18 months: demonization of ‘unsafe’ content categories. When social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook launched, they were eager to support a variety of creators and perspectives. However, in response to advertisers’ concerns about brand safety, social media sites have begun to prioritize family-friendly creators and traditional media content ahead of the diverse and, at times, controversial voices that have found a home on these platforms.

Buffer Fest addressed this issue head on through its Insight Series, a sidebar from the main festival where creators could speak freely to brands and agencies. Much of the discussion revolved around embracing creators whose content caters to niche audiences.

Edgy and niche creators can make viable branded content.

Several influencers demonstrated the power of unique voices to connect with these highly engaged online communities. For example, Stef Sanjati is a transgender YouTube creator who explained the diversity of her audience and her content. She spoke directly to brands about how to partner with a channel focused on LGBT issues. To gain the trust of her audience, brands need to show support all year long, not just during pride month.

Hannah Witton also shared her experiences as a lifestyle and sexual health influencer. She advocated her value as a trusted figure to young women who visit her channel to learn about their bodies and find a supportive community. Unlike traditional TV programs that offer broad content for a mass audience, creators like Hannah can provide more personalized recommendations to a specific audience niche.

And finally, intimacy expert and TV personality Shan Boodram shared her struggle to monetize the brand that she’s created. To highlight the challenges she has faced in attracting sponsors, Shan told a story about a technology hardware company that reached out to work with her, only to retract the offer after discovering that her brand was primarily centered around sexuality.

Embrace the voice of the creator and their audience will respond.

That said, Shan also offered several anecdotes about how brands have benefited from aligning with the brand she’s built. Those partnerships were successful when the brand accepted her content strategy and understood that her audience appreciates her brutal honesty when handling challenging subject matter. Brands that can harness a creator’s best elements end up doing the best rather than attempting to water down her content strategy to fit their sensibility.

All things considered, Buffer Festival’s message is powerful and consistent: whether you’re a viewer looking for good content or a brand hoping to reach an audience, search for authenticity and quality. Don’t be distracted by vanity metrics and glossy content. Looks for creators that build trust with their audience and engage a community to deliver a valuable partnership.

Once you find such influencers, make sure to support them! If that means becoming a donor on their Patreon account, tipping on Super Chat, or partnering with them to promote another brand it’s important to monetarily support the voices you believe in.


If you’d like to learn more about how Paladin Software can help you manage your creators and influencer marketing campaigns, contact us at [email protected].

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