Influencer Marketing Resources: A Complete Guide of Tools, Case Studies, & Examples

GRIN also recommends this free guide:
Influencer Marketing Best Practices

Perfecting one’s influencer marketing strategy takes time. And keeping up with the ever-changing trend of social media platforms can oftentimes feel like a daunting task. If you’re eager to learn more about how to launch, scale, and optimize your program, here is a list of the top influencer marketing resources for 2021.

Bar graph of "Leading Challenges with Influencer Marketing According to US Marketers, June 2020"
Image via eMarketer

Transcript:

Leading Challenges with Influencer Marketing According to US Marketers, June 2020

% of respondents

Measurement: 79%

ROI: 76%

Tapping into newer, channels, such as Twitch and TikTok: 63%

Finding the right influencers: 59%

Keeping up with new trends to stay relevant: 50%

Building an always-on strategy: 48%

Legal compliance and disclosure: 42%

Note: n=34; top 2 responses on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1= not a challenge and 5 = great challenge

Source: Association of National Advertisers (ANA), “The State of Influencer: Challenges & Opportunities in Influencer Marketing,” Dec 8, 2020

What stage is your influencer program in?

Beginner

“In your early stage, you’re beginning to reach out to influencers and may have only run a few campaigns… So far, you’re just figuring it out. This is a great place to be, because you have the ability to put some healthy habits into place.”

– GRIN, Stages of an influencer marketing program

Starting from scratch can feel intimidating. When establishing a new influencer program, you’re going to need resources that are simple and straightforward. It’s too early to get lost in the details that more advanced programs face. 

Your best tools will be those that simplify the creator collaboration process to help you overcome the initial learning curve and get your first set of campaigns off the ground.

What resources you’ll need move to establish your program

  • Courses designed to get you started
  • Beginner-focused eguides
  • Interviews/panels with experienced influencer marketers
  • Forums and groups where you can pose beginner questions

Intermediate

“By mid-stage, you’ve run several successful influencer campaigns, and you have a handful of top performers that you intend to use again. The main problem you’re having in this stage is figuring out how to keep track of all the details.” – GRIN, Stages of an influencer marketing program

Once your program is up and running, you can look for ways to streamline. When gathering resources, you’ll want to target those tools that address specific problems related to growing your creator community, improving workflow efficiency, and increasing ROI.

What resources you’ll need move to scale your program

  • Q&A, FAQ, and how-to resources from experienced influencer marketers
  • Brand case studies
  • Tips and tricks, best practices, etc.
  • Influencer software product reviews and buyers guides

Advanced

“If you’re running a full-fledged influencer program, you likely have an influencer platform that everyone on your team uses to recruit influencers, manage campaigns/workflows, report performance, and maintain a creator content library. But at this stage, you’re able to refine your program.”

– GRIN, Stages of an influencer marketing program

Once your program is moving at full speed, you can continue increasing your campaign performance by testing new ideas, recruiting only top-performing influencers, growing your team internally, and integrating your creator content into other marketing mediums.

What resources you’ll need move to increase influencer ROI

  • Up-to-date, relevant influencer marketing blogs
  • Brand case studies
  • In-depth industry research
  • Expert-led podcasts, webinars, groups, etc.

Influencer marketing courses & self-paced instruction

1. 1-100: Getting Started with Influencer Marketing

Cost: Free

Katya Allison (Director of Content at GRIN) and Ethan Frame (Director of Brand & Special Projects at Cuts Clothing) guide viewers through the influencer program launch process. The course includes six episodes that cover all the basics for those attempting influencer marketing for the first time.

Who will benefit the most from this resource?

  • Marketing directors/managers with a new influencer program
  • Influencer relationship managers
  • Social media managers tasked with creator management tasks
  • Startup founders wanting to use influencers to grow their business

2. Influencer Marketing Hub’s Influencer Marketing 101

Cost: $97

Influencer Marketing Hub teams up with Ed Lawrence (entrepreneur and social media expert) to educate new influencer marketers on building and maintaining their very own program. The course exists as 12 modules, complete with additional resources and quizzes.

Who will benefit the most from this resource?

  • Marketing directors/managers with a new influencer program
  • Influencer relationship managers
  • Social media managers tasked with creator management tasks
  • Startup founders wanting to use influencers to grow their business

3. Hubspot & Sprout Social’s Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing (ebook)

Cost: Free

Hubspot is the leading authority on inbound marketing, and Sprout Social is a leading provider of social media management solutions. These two brands partnered to create an ebook for those interested in launching and growing an influencer program for their brand. The guide offers beginner tools, templates, and more in a handy PDF download.

Who will benefit the most from this resource?

  • Marketing directors/managers with a new or intermediate influencer program
  • Influencer relationship managers
  • Social media managers
  • Startup founders wanting to use influencers to grow their business

4. Jessica Williamson’s Influencer Marketing Course on Udemy

Cost: $12.99

Jessica Williamson is the founder of Ete Swimwear, social media expert, and business coach. In this 6-part Udemy course, she discusses influencer marketing beginner basics and helps viewers build relationships with the right social media creators.

Who will benefit the most from this resource?

  • Marketing directors/managers with a new or intermediate influencer program
  • Influencer relationship managers
  • Social media managers
  • Startup founders wanting to use influencers to grow their business

5. Brands Working Remote Talking Influencers Webinar

Cost: Free

GRIN’s Katya Allison hosts a series of informal fireside chats with the industry’s leading influencer marketing brands. Each episode reveals stories of real brands launching and growing their program into an influencer marketing powerhouse. Viewers of all experience levels will gain invaluable insight into the challenges and opportunities of collaborating with creators.

Who will benefit the most from this resource?

  • Marketing directors/managers with a new or intermediate influencer program
  • PR directors
  • Influencer relationship managers
  • Social media managers
  • Startup founders wanting to use influencers to grow their business
  • Advanced influencer marketers seeking to upgrade their program

Creator economy and social commerce research

1. GRIN Report: Power of Influencer Marketing in Numbers

In this industry report, GRIN surveyed social media users about their purchasing behaviors and how their favorite influencers inspired those purchases. 

Who will benefit the most from this resource?

  • Marketing directors/managers with an intermediate influencer program
  • PR directors
  • Influencer relationship managers
  • Advanced influencer marketers seeking to refine their program

2. The State of Influencer Marketing 2021: Benchmark Report (Influencer Marketing Hub)

Influencer Marketing Hub surveyed marketing professionals and agencies on their plans to utilize influencer marketing over the next few years. The report reveals ROI stats, as well as forecasted budgets from digital marketers.

Who will benefit the most from this resource?

  • Marketing directors/managers with an intermediate influencer program
  • PR directors
  • Influencer relationship managers
  • Advanced influencer marketers seeking to refine their program

3. Influencer Monetization 2021: The Creator Economy Is Expanding. What Does that Mean for Brand Sponsorships? (eMarketer’s Insider Intelligence)

eMarketer examined the creator economy landscape and identified current trends impacting brand-creator collaborations over the next few years.

Who will benefit the most from this resource?

  • Marketing directors/managers with an intermediate influencer program
  • PR directors
  • Influencer relationship managers
  • Advanced influencer marketers seeking to refine their program

4. Takumi’s Into the Mainstream: Influencer Marketing in Society

Takumi works directly with creators and delivers industry reports on influencer trends and audience insights. The report above expounds on how creator mindsets have shifted and evolved over the last couple of years as influencer marketing has become more popular within modern retail.

Who will benefit the most from this resource?

  • Marketing directors/managers with an intermediate influencer program
  • PR directors
  • Influencer relationship managers
  • Advanced influencer marketers seeking to refine their program

Influencer marketing forums & groups

1. LinkedIn: Influencer Marketing 2021

The Influencer Marketing 2021 Group is over 17,000 strong and includes a host of digital marketing members who post and comment daily. 

2. Reddit: Influencer Marketing (r/influencermarketing)

The r/influencermarketing discussion board is the oldest and most popular influencer marketing forum on Reddit. There are 7,000 members with daily posts, polls, and discussions.

3. LinkedIn: Influencer Marketing Association

This LinkedIn group is moderated by experts from Popular Chips, an influencer marketing analytics company. There are over 5,000 members who post and comment regularly.

Influencer marketing podcasts

1. GRIN Gets Real

GRIN’s Director of Content, Katya Allison, is back to “talk shop” with experts across multiple industries. GRIN interviews top influencer marketing brands, as well as best-selling authors and marketing experts.

2. Beyond Influencer Marketing

Cloris Kylie has spent almost 20 years helping brands leverage influencers to promote their products and services to consumers and businesses. On her podcast, she features various industry experts to discuss influencer marketing best practices, tips, and tricks.

Influencer marketing charts & infographics

1. GRIN’s influencer marketing funnel

Influencer marketing funnel infographic

Influencer Marketing Funnel

How to incorporate influencers and their content in your marketing strategy.

Top of the funnel (TOFU)

TOFU Goal:  Introduce your brand and broaden your reach of your target audience.

Brand Awareness

Key influencer metrics:

  • # of active influencers
  • # of influencer campaigns & posts
  • Influencer reach
  • Follower growth on brand pages
  • Ongoing user-generated content (UGC)

Influencer content types:

  • In-feed post
  • Unboxing video
  • Branded hashtags
  • Blog
Middle of the funnel (MOFU)

MOFU Goal:  Stay “front-of-mind” with your audience and educate them on your product or service.

Audience Nurturing

Key influencer metrics:

  • # of influencer engagements
  • Quality of influencer engagements
  • Top-performing posts & content types
  • # of influencer reviews
  • Organic social growth

Influencer content types:

  • FAQs
  • How-to tutorials
  • In-feed post
  • Contests
  • Informational videos & livestreams
  • Product offers & promotions
Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)

BOFU goal:  Convert prospects into customers.

Conversion

Key influencer metrics:

  • Link clicks (CTR)
  • Subscriptions
  • Leads
  • Discount code redemptions
  • Sales
  • ROAS on repurposed influencer-generated content

Influencer content:

  • Product reviews
  • In-feed post
  • Video testimonials 
  • Experiential video collaborations between brand & influencer
  • Product offers & promotions

Part of growing your influencer program is understanding how different influencers and campaigns can assist at each stage of your marketing funnel. The graphic above is specifically designed to help marketers refine their creator campaign strategy within the context of their greater marketing plan.

2. The Ultimate Influencer Marketing Blueprint for 2022

Please include attribution to influencermarketinghub.com with this graphic.The Rise of Influencer Marketing

For more visual learners, the infographic above illustrates findings from Influencer Marketing Hub’s The State of Influencer Marketing 2021: Benchmark Report. 

3. GRIN’s 4 KPIs that Measure Influencer Marketing Success

When setting influencer campaign goals, it’s critical to break those goals down into relevant KPIs. The graphic above demonstrates the most common KPIs that brands use when collaborating with creators.

Transcript:

4 KPIs That Measure Influencer Marketing Success

As you start to define what “success” will look like for your brand’s influencer program, it’s important to know what KPIs to use in order to assess your brand’s performance. We breakdown KPIs by objective to give you a better understanding of what they mean and how to use them to analyze your program’s success.

1. Awareness: Influencers have access to massive audiences which enables you to increase your brand visibility significantly. That exposure is the first step to increasing brand awareness and paves the way towards achieving not only your objective of awareness, but also of other subsequent goals.

Metrics to look at: 

  • Follower count: The potential number of people who can see the influencer’s content.
  • Reach: The number of people that see your content.
  • Impressions: The total number of times content is seen.

2. Conversions: If your primary objective is to drive conversions it’s important to define what that means. Any time a prospect completes a desired action, that counts as a conversion. Which includes driving sales, signing up for newsletters, downloading an ebook, clicking on a link, or any other action you want the end user to take after viewing or engaging with influencer content.

Metrics to look at:

  • Conversions: The number of instances a prospect completes a desired action.
  • ROI: The gain or loss from a campaign relative to the amount of the money spent.
  • CVR: The percentage of visitors who ultimately purchase.
  • CPO: The dollar amount spent per order to end with a sale.

3. Content: Understanding the qualitative metrics from content is just as important as understanding the quantitative from other objectives. You’ll want to keep close tabs on how much is being posted and the quality of what is being posted.

Questions to determining the qualitative:

  • Can I repurpose the content across other marketing initiatives?
  • How much and how often are influencers posting?
  • What type of content is being posted?
  • Is that content getting engagement?

4. Website traffic: The amount of traffic that influencers are driving to your site is incredibly valuable. Site traffic not only provides insights into your campaigns effective reach, but it can also tell you a lot about the overall success of your campaign.

Metrics to look at:

  • Total visitors
  • New vs returning visitors
  • Page views
  • Pages per session
  • Time on site
  • Bounce rate

4. eMarketer’s Influencer Marketing Spend

Bar and line graph of "US Influencer Marketing Spending"
Image via eMarketer

Transcript: 

Influencer Marketing Spending

US, 2020-2024

2016:

Influencer marketing spending: $903,571,800.00

% change: 61.57%

2017

Influencer marketing spending: $1,317,016,500.00

% change: 45.76%

2018

Influencer marketing spending: $1,911,342,600.00

% change: 45.13%

2019

Influencer marketing spending: $2,415,706,100.00

% change: 26.39%

2020

Influencer marketing spending: $2,898,788,800.00

% change: 20.00%

2021

Influencer marketing spending: $3,903,528,300.00

% change: 34.66%

2022

Influencer marketing spending: $4,988,706,800.00

% change: 27.80%

2023

Influencer marketing spending: $6,155,507,100.00

% change: 23.39%

2024

Influencer marketing spending: $7,137,171,900.00

% change: 15.95%

Source: eMarketer, July 2022

If you’re curious about how influencer marketing spending has grown since 2019 and how experts predict it will continue to grow, the chart above will show you. These figures demonstrate that influencer marketing is not just a fad – it is a tried-and-true strategy that’s here to stay.

5. GRIN’s Affiliate Marketing vs Influencer Marketing

influencer affiliate marketing vs affiliate marketing infographic part 1
influencer affiliate marketing vs affiliate marketing infographic part 2
Influencer marketing vs affiliate marketing infographic part 3

Transcript:

Influencer Affiliate marketing vs Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing Pro; Affiliate Marketing Basic

What is it?

Influencer affiliate marketing: 

Leveraging influencers to share your brand story.

Affiliate marketing: 

Transactional pay-per-click promotion.

How is it promoted?

Influencer affiliate marketing: 

Social media (Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, etc), blogs brand newsletters.

Affiliate marketing: 

Online publications, display advertising and external newsletters.

Who is in this type of program?

Influencer affiliate marketing: 

Influencers, ambassadors, creators, brand advocates.

Affiliate marketing: 

Media publications, applications, shopping platforms.

What is the payment method?

Influencer affiliate marketing: 

Commission and product.

Affiliate marketing: 

Commission.

The benefits

Influencer affiliate marketing: 

  1. Control of message and branding
  2. Incredible results
  3. Inexpensive
  4. Brand awareness
  5. Content creation
  6. Third party validation

Affiliate marketing: 

  1. Easy to implement
  2. You only pay for results
  3. Third party validation

What marketers are saying

Influencer affiliate marketing: 

79% of marketers use influencers as a marketing tool

Affiliate marketing: 

75% of marketers use affiliate marketing to engage existing customers

Return on investment

Influencer affiliate marketing: 

Influencer Marketing ROI: $6.50 in revenue for each $1 invested in influencer marketing

Source: Target Marketing – Maximizing the ROI of an Affiliate Marketing Program

Affiliate marketing: 

Affiliate marketing rates run from 5-30%Source: Convince & Convert – Why Influencer Marketing is Creating Huge Returns for Business

For many brands, there are some similarities between their affiliate and influencer programs. However, there are key differences between the two strategies, as the graphic above explains.

Influencer marketing case studies & brand examples

1. Mutesix & Magic Spoon

Mutesix, a marketing agency, partnered with fitness, wellness, and lifestyle influencers to help their client, Magic Spoon, generate unique content and repurpose into high-performing ads. The campaign yielded over $100,000 in revenue and a 143% return on ad spend.

2. Mutesix & Snibbs

Mutesix recruited healthcare creators to promote Snibbs’ new work shoe product line. Not only did the campaign donate hundreds of shoes to healthcare workers, it drove over $200,000 in shoe sales and a 580% growth for Snibbs’ Instagram page.

This campaign was so successful that it was a finalist for the Influencer Marketing Awards 2021, “Most Effective Campaign for ROI.”

3. Darn Good Yarn

Darn Good Yarn wanted to do more than sell yarn – they wanted to inspire their audience to create new things. The marketing team commissioned social media creators to compose craft patterns, promote those patterns to their audience, and allow Darn Good Yarn to package as a complete kit.

Not only did the campaign generate over a million impressions, but it also gathered 1,400 pieces of authentic, lifestyle content and a collection of new products.

4. Subaru

Subaru launched their brand awareness campaign in the United States and leveraged influencers to promote their #meetanowner branded hashtag. While the company did not release sales results or ROI, marketers estimated that the influencer campaigns drove almost 2 million Instagram engagements, as well as 2.5 million views on YouTube.

5. Nutpods

Nutpods is a great example of what brands can accomplish by integrating their affiliate marketing with their influencer campaigns. Additionally, this case study demonstrates the power of automation over spreadsheets when managing hundreds of creators across several campaigns.

Nutpods was also a finalist for IMA’s “Most Effective Campaign for ROI” in 2021.

6. Warby Parker

Warby Parker is arguably one of the first direct-to-consumer brands to master influencer marketing on Instagram and YouTube. This case study from 2018 reveals how a small venture exploded into a powerful enterprise seemingly overnight with the help of lifestyle influencers.

To this day, Warby Parker considers their creator relationships to be central to their marketing strategy.

Influencer marketing management support tools

1. GRIN: How to Set Up Influencer Marketing Management with Spreadsheets (step-by-step guide)

The key to knowing whether or not your influencer program is working is tracking as much data as possible. Additionally, treating your creators as valuable relationships will increase your brand’s authenticity online.

When launching your program, you should set up a collection of spreadsheets to help you manage details about your creators (both active and prospects), goals/KPIs, campaigns, costs, content, and performance. The resource above will help you set up these spreadsheets so that you are ready to launch your first campaigns. 

Who will benefit the most from this resource?

  • Marketing directors/managers with a new influencer program
  • Influencer relationship managers
  • Social media managers tasked with creator management tasks
  • Startup founders wanting to use influencers to grow their business

2. G2: Top influencer marketing platforms

Once you’ve launched your program and have a good workflow, the spreadsheet approach is going to feel cumbersome. Outgrowing manual tracking tools is a natural side effect of influencer marketing success.

“As a peer-to-peer review and software discovery platform, G2 examines software solutions across multiple industries to deliver user-based recommendations.”

As you scale your program, your next step is to build your influencer marketing tech stack. G2 is one of the best resources for identifying which software solutions are a good fit for your brand.

Who will benefit the most from this resource?

  • Marketing directors/managers with an intermediate influencer program
  • PR directors
  • Influencer relationship managers
  • Social media managers
  • Advanced influencer marketers seeking to upgrade their program

3. GRIN: Influencer marketing tools hub

For budding influencer programs, GRIN offers a suite of free tools to help you establish sustainable processes. The hub includes six tools, including an engagement rate calculator, influencer lookalike finder, and a fake influencer checker.

Who will benefit the most from this resource?

  • Marketing directors/managers with a new influencer program
  • Influencer relationship managers
  • Social media managers tasked with creator management tasks
  • Startup founders wanting to use influencers to grow their business

4. Capterra: Influencer marketing software product reviews & comparisons

Similar to G2, Capterra verifies and sorts software user reviews across multiple industries. Once you are ready to build your influencer marketing tech stack, Capterra allows you to examine and compare top solutions.

Who will benefit the most from this resource?

  • Marketing directors/managers with an intermediate influencer program
  • PR directors
  • Influencer relationship managers
  • Social media managers
  • Advanced influencer marketers seeking to upgrade their program

Conclusion: Use these influencer marketing resources to refine your program goals and improve relationships with creators.

Doing influencer marketing well takes time and experience. By learning all you can, you will be able to avoid common pitfalls and capitalize on tried-and-true methods for maximum ROI. 

At the heart of every leading influencer marketing program are genuine brand-creator relationships. The steps you take to nurture deeper connections with your creators will help your brand stand out from the rest.

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