SACRAMENTO, Calif. — GRIN, the world’s leading Creator Management platform, introduced the industry’s first discovery-as-a-service tool, GRINup. GRIN customers can register for the free service, input information about their ideal creator partners, and receive a list of up to 50 vetted Instagram-based creators with verified email addresses per request.
Want to get the inside scoop on how GRINup works? Click here to book a demo.
While on the surface, this may appear to be similar to the services offered by opt-in influencer marketplaces, in reality, it’s quite different.
This innovative tool uses a unique approach to identify potential partners and allows influencer marketing managers to decide who to reach out to and how rather than facilitating the relationship on their behalf. While this may mean more effort on the end of the influencer marketer in regard to running outreach and managing partnerships, it allows for closer, more authentic relationships, and better content.
Why? Opt-in influencer marketplaces serve as middlemen and have creators sign up to be in their databases. From there, these marketplaces connect brands with creators in a way that is purely transactional and not built on genuine brand love and alignment. Brands that take this route are limited to the pool of creators who have actively signed up within these databases, which means other brands (maybe even direct competitors) are likely already partnering with them.
When a creator partners with a large number of brands, their followers can get ad fatigue. And when a creator is promoting different products in quick succession, viewers are left to question whether they actually like the brand or are just in it for the paycheck. This downside is especially apparent among opt-in marketplaces that only allow brands to partner with creators who pitch to them first.
When customers participate in GRINup, they receive a list of up to 50 leads that the team discovers just for them. From there, customers can do a deep dive into their social media profiles, online presence, and more. As the influencer marketing managers get more info on each creator, they can decide whether that person is a good fit for their brand and send an outreach message to kick off the partnership.
And unlike some opt-in marketplaces, GRINup leverages expert human touch rather than relying on AI or an algorithm to discover these creators, leading to more trustworthy results.
What about open-network creator search databases?
An open influencer network is one where brands can interact with creators directly without having creators opt-in first. An open network database would have to aggregate all existing creator profiles, but this is only possible with actionable third-party data.
“Third-party data is any data that’s collected by a business or other entity that doesn’t have any direct link to the visitor or customer,” according to HubSpot.
And social networks, like Facebook and Instagram, are cracking down on the use of third-party data in favor of first-party data. With growing privacy concerns, Meta (which owns Facebook and Instagram) requires database platforms to receive individual creator consent to share their account information and metrics. So even if a platform has the ability to pull in data via Meta’s API, every creator still must grant permission before anyone can access their account in the database.
To summarize, there is no way for any platform to access first-party creator discovery data programmatically and at scale across all networks. However, it turns out filterable open-network databases aren’t as helpful as they seem.
Research suggests that a database-sourcing strategy does not deliver high-quality creator partnerships, no matter how large the database. In fact, GRIN’s data revealed that only 13% of successful brand/creator activations resulted from this method.
“I don’t need an internal database to find creators. I know specifically what is best for my brand, and I have found 100% of my creators through Instagram, recommendations from creators I trust, and other social media channels,” said Jess Doherty, social media and influencer marketing manager at Osmo Salt. “The power of scrolling is real, and the relationships you create with your influencers matter.”
GRINup is changing the game
While still in its infancy, GRINup has already begun to earn rave reviews from influencer marketers in a variety of industries.
“I just used [GRINup] last week, where they find influencers for you based on your demographic, niche, age, ER%, etc., etc.,” said Lauren Maxwell, influencer marketing manager at Dreamland Baby. “They ask you a series of questions to find potential influencers. I just got my list back and will have to say I was pretty happy with it. Just did an outreach, and more than half already responded. PLUS, they provide you with their email addresses as well! WOOP WOOP!”
Discovering great creators requires a multichannel approach
As beneficial as GRINup is for influencer marketers, the team at GRIN recommends using it in addition to other creator discovery methods rather than as the sole tactic.
Other recruitment tactics include:
- Analyzing inbound requests. It’s likely you have people sending you DMs or emails and asking to work with your brand. And since these people are genuinely interested in your business, you can be sure that the brand love is there. GRIN allows users to create Landing Pages, which are unique URLs that house creator applications, so you can gather inbound requests and all the data you need to make a decision in seconds.
- Asking for referrals. If you already have some star influencers on your roster, ask them if they know of other creators who could be a good fit for your program. They often follow other influencers in their niche, so some quality candidates will likely come to mind.
- Utilize your employees. No one knows your brand better than the people who help run it every day. Create fun incentives to encourage them to hype up your business and promote your products or services through their favorite channels.
- Looking through existing fans. Scroll through your brand’s social media followers, and search for untagged mentions of your brand on various platforms. You’re sure to find some influential people who are already repping your brand organically. From a creator’s native account, you can then use GRIN’s free Web Extension to import them into your CRM.
- Check out social media marketplaces. Meta recently launched their Creator Marketplace, which is currently on an invite-only basis for brands in the U.S., while TikTok’s Creator Marketplace is open to all brands. You’ll find a valuable amount of first-party data from the social platforms for each creator, but the downside is that these marketplaces often require a minimum follower count and thus exclude smaller (and more affordable) creators from search.
Free download: Click here to get GRIN’s How to Find Influencers Guidebook.
Win in the creator economy
Beyond helping you discover the highest-performing creators for your brand, GRIN helps streamline the entire creator management process, from scalable outreach to campaign analytics to payment processing.
Visit grin.co to discover how GRIN can help you scale your creator program and drive massive brand love.