Software as a Service (SaaS) products are hard on SMBs. The money is in enterprise customers, so they placate the little guy with a freemium product that almost does what they need, but requires an upgrade. But, of course, the upgrade is far beyond a reasonable budget for many.
So it’s back to Excel sheets and manual time sucks for everything from content calendar planning to social media measurement. And influencer marketing SaaS products are no different.
But where there is a need in the marketplace, there often begets a solution. For influencer discovery and list building, that solution is here.
Cipio.ai’s search and discovery and community list-building features are now free to all users.
Read that again.
You can search for, discover, save and output your target influencer and creator lists with a sophisticated SaaS product, and the cost to you is exactly $0.00. Free. Nada. Zip.
If I hadn’t tested and reviewed the product, had numerous calls with the marketing and product team, and then signed up to create this content and its associated product review video, you could call me a liar. But it’s true.
Take a few minutes to see Cipio.ai in action, including the feature set that is free, in my latest video review on YouTube.
But Free is Just the Start
It’s one thing to offer free software to the marketplace. It’s another thing for that free software to actually be good. In the social listening space, we had SocialMention.com for years. I don’t even recall who put it out there, but you could get 30-days of social listening data for nothing. You could even download the data in a CSV file.
But there was no sophistication beyond the basic indexing of public mentions, rudimentary analytics and data visualization and no ability to save anything other than the manual download. You got what you paid for.
With Cipio.ai, however, it not only has a sophisticated search engine and list/community management platform, but an innovative and downright game-changing path to influencer discovery to start with.
Most influencer discovery platforms start with a keyword search which produces a list of potential creators. And that list is more often than not too many people, few of whom are relevant to the type you’re looking for. So, you filter and tweak the search based on a number of factors until your list starts to look more relevant.
Cipio.ai asks you what you’re looking for (more on how in a moment) but instead of immediately giving you a huge list of not-necessarily-relevant creators, it presents you with a visual wall of creator content. Think of it as a mood board or array of sample content that prompts you to now filter … before you get a list of creators.
You pick 10-15 images that match the aesthetic or type of content you’re looking for from creators, feed that to the platform and then get an initial list of potential influencers to work with.
Cipio.ai forces you to choose creators that are more “on brand” to prompt its filtering. This produces a more relevant and aesthetically on-point initial list of potential influence partners.
For comparison sake, I typed in a keyword search in a popular influencer marketing platform while writing this and found 118,000 potential creators to work with. To narrow that list down, I click on the platform’s Filter button and start whittling based on audience or influencer demographics, content types, engagement rates and more.
In Cipio, I tell the software what I’m looking for through its artificial intelligence entry point (e.g. – “I’m looking for 25-45-year-old men with beards who like bourbon and soccer.”). I then pick 10-12 examples of content that align with my brand and the quality of imagery we hope to use with influencers. The ensuing list of creators numbers just under 5,000, but all are chosen to be more of a visual match for my content and needs. Filtering from there is just faster.
You Can Start with the Visual
As if the visual filtering wasn’t enough, you can actually upload the type of image you’re looking for from influencers and social content to begin your search. Rather than interpreting what you meant by “I’m looking for 25-45-year-old men with beards who like bourbon and soccer,” Cipio.ai can also analyze an image and search for creator content like that.
Again, this puts your brand aesthetic and creative direction at the front of the discovery process, which gives you better results for the overall success of your work.
You’re a women’s outdoor wear company with a soft spot for dogs? Upload a picture of your CEO hiking with hers and your first layer of aesthetic options will give you creators that hike with their dogs.
For those of you who lead with creative or are looking to bring your influencer marketing efforts closer to the brand look and feel, there’s just nothing out there that will make you happier in finding influencers.
Visualize and Catalog Your Community of Influence
Cipio.ai bills itself as a platform for “community commerce.” It even has an interesting visualization of the circles of influence around your brand.
This visualization is based on perhaps the most powerful feature Cipio.ai has (also accessible for free) which is its list-building functionality. Each of the bubbles you see in your visualization are essentially lists of audience segments.
You have your main list of community creators that you choose and curate from your searches, the way you would in any influencer marketing software. But connect your Instagram or TikTok accounts and you now have a segmented list of brand followers. Put in your competitors and see a list of their followers. Drop in a hashtag and get a segmented list of people using that hashtag.
And within each of those, you can filter and find new potential influencers or consumers to engage.
But then there’s this …
You can upload any list of people – customer list, vendor partners, email subscribers – and they are pulled into the system as a segmented list to use. You can actually see which customers you already have that are influential.
That changes the game on influencer discovery. For the example I used in the video review, I looked at Hall’s Beer Cheese’s community segments. In their Instagram followers, I found @kitchenuproar (65,000 followers) and @fallenleafliving (21,000 followers). Neither of these may have found their way to lists we researched, yet are healthy-audience influencers who already have an affinity for the brand.
Now imagine clicking over to your customer list and discovering someone who already buys your product with 20,000+ followers. I found one Hall’s Beer Cheese customer with over 140,000 Twitter followers. His content isn’t about food or cooking, so he probably would have never surfaced for the brand otherwise.
But How Can Cipio.ai Be Free?
With influencer search and discovery and list building, you’re almost halfway there to having all the features of an influencer marketing software platform. So how can Cipio.ai justify just giving it away?
Well, there is a smart, but reasonable, business model behind it all. First, many businesses will still find they don’t have enough people or time to manage a full program. So Cipio.ai has both a Pro and Premium plan that are subscription-based services. The Pro plan unlocks the rest of what you need to manage campaigns yourself. It includes workflow, influencer communications, content and contact management, measurement and reporting and more.
You can do all that manually for free with Cipio.ai as your front-end discovery and list management partner. When you need more functionality to automate more of the process, you upgrade. If you actually want more of a managed service where an account person helps manage the software for you, Cipio.ai can provide you with its premium service which requires a consultation for pricing.
The second piece that makes it economically feasible for Cipio.ai to offer so much for free is the access to each Creator’s Profile. This is where you get deeper information (called a Cindex Report) about each influencer to prioritize where on your list of priority partners they go.
But there’s not really a catch here. You get 10 credits each month for free. One credit unlocks one Creator Cindex Report. If you need more than 10 in a month, you can purchase more for as low as $1 each.
For free in your list view, you’ll get high level information on each creator like follower count, public bio, topical category, etc. You’ll also see Cipio.ai’s own Cindex score for the creator which ranks each influencer’s effectiveness.
Use one of the 10 free Cindex Credits you get each month to unlock the creator report and you get all the audience and content analysis you would expect to see for a given creator. Cipio.ai also includes a handy Brand Safety score that helps you know if the creator offers risks like profanity, adult or political content and more.
My favorite part of the creator report, however, is the Reach & Performance Data. Here, you can see the typical output of the creator’s content in terms of average engagements, reachability and sentiment. This can help you project what a given creator can produce in terms of success metrics.
A close second to the Reach & Performance Data is the Lookalike tab. Here, I find a bunch of creators whose audience and profile data are very similar to that creator. So, I find one I like and can immediately add a dozen or more to my lists.
The only challenge the credit-for-creator-report setup poses is that some people prefer to be able to see a full Creator Report for every single creator they review. So, if you want to look at 300 profiles and only get 10 free per month, you’ll have to buy more credits.
But take a moment to really think about this! You need 290 credits since you get 10 for free. That’s going to cost you a whopping $300?! (Sarcasm intended.)
Need I remind you that you get all that search and discovery and list building for free?
My approach is to use the high level data and maybe even jumping over to each creator’s Instagram feed to figure out the 5-10 (or even 30-40) I want to dig into, then use my credits. As I need more, $100 gets me 100 credits.
I’m still not paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for enterprise level software just to see the data.
The Final Word on Cipio.ai
As I indicated in the video review, Cipio.ai brings the power of enterprise influencer marketing search & discovery and list building and community analysis, to every business, brand or agency without the burden of cost.
That alone makes this software an absolute godsend.
But Cipio.ai’s unique brand-alignment approach to discovery unlocks an entirely different way to approach finding the right influencers. Cipio has built it into the automated discovery process. And that makes it quite different.
I cannot recommend a new influencer marketing software platform with any more enthusiasm than I can Cipio.ai. I can also not recommend any influencer marketing platform more than Cipio.ai if you need a powerful search & discover tool that is offered at an affordable price.
Cipio’s cost compared to its feature set is unmatched. You’re going to get more for free here than ever before with any influencer software package.
Even if you just add Cipio.ai to whatever software you’re already using, your influencer marketing efforts instantly become more powerful and smart.
Sign up for a free account (NOT A TRIAL!) You get free influencer search & discovery, list building and management and more. Just go to jasonfalls.co/cipio.
Order Winfluence now!
Winfluence – Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand is available in paperback, Kindle/eBook and audio book formats. Get it in the medium of your choice on Amazon or get a special discount on the paperback version of the book by clicking the button below, buying on the Entrepreneur Press bookstore and using the discount code FALLS20. That earns you 20% off the retail price. Read and learn why we’ve been backed into a corner to think influencer marketing means Instagram and YouTube and how reframing it to be “influence” marketing makes us smarter marketers.