In college, good friends Austin Rosenthal and Chris Buetti worked on building businesses reliant upon large social media followings they cobbled together through inexpensive tactics and hacks. However, as they continued to work with more and more Creators, they ran into challenges associated with finding the right partners, tracking posts, facilitating payments, upholding contracts, and most of all… delivering on expectations. It was complex and time consuming. Even when they found the right Creators, they were too bogged down with all of the back office work that came with management. This compromised the entire creative process.
About four years ago, Austin (working as a consultant), and Chris (working in data science) decided that they had a better way to find and manage Influencers – at scale. They quit their day jobs and started their own Influencer Marketing agency, which morphed into the software company, Lionize. “We started leveraging some of the tools that were out there and found them to over complicate everything. It just wasn’t an efficient use of our time. This is when we began automating the process to service our own accounts,” shared Austin.
They soon found themselves programmatically in over their heads, and brought on their now CTO Ben Devore, the master of technology and dear family friend. Ben helped build out the technological infrastructure, and Lionize was born.
The Lionize Platform
The platform acts as a matchmaker and easy-to-use backend office for brands and agencies looking to partner with Creators. Yes, anyone can go online and figure out which Influencers have the largest followings, but that method of crowdsourcing has proven to be both inefficient and outdated. It’s all about finding the right Influencers that can share your story in an authentic way.
The most prominent Influencers are extremely expensive, and when you have a huge following, the connection to the audience is less intimate. The Lionize platform showcases and matches brands with Influencers of all sizes for a higher-quality reach. For example, someone with a million followers may have a broad reach. But how many authentic touches are you really going to get for your dollars? Are you cramming your product into places where they won’t be appreciated, just for the visibility? The team found that using many Creators with smaller followings garner more attention than one Creator with a large following — because you are directly addressing the people that care most about your brand.
It’s easy to use. Marketers plug their requirements into Lionize, and they are matched with Influencers that fit the bill. As applications roll in, they can then choose the Creators who best match with their product/service, and the system handles all the management, including tracking, reporting, paying, reactivating, communication, reminders and everything in between.
A key difference is Lionize’s open network of Influencers that it sources from. Think of its search engine as a virtual recruiter that goes out to the ecosystem of social media to identify the right influencer for your brand. No more tapping into preexisting, over saturated databases of over-used Creators that brand after brand is working with.
Micro-Influencers for Every Brand.
Austin shared that “There is a use case for everyone. You just need to be creative with your strategy. For example, we work in wellness, fitness, cosmetics, beauty, consumer goods, food and beverage, services… all kinds of niche businesses. The idea is telling stories in an authentic way by getting a product or service in the hands of these passionate individuals. Then, let them vocalize their experience using it.”
Time to Get Creative.
The right Micro-Influencers can help virtually any brand, because they are advocates for what brands do. For example, “one clever program revolved around a Type 1 Diabetes registry, finding a way to enhance the number of submissions. So we built a team of 100 plus Creators that have Type 1 Diabetes and developed a community revolving around their mission. There are a lot of angles you can take, whether it’s a physical product, app, service or nonprofit looking to raise awareness or drive conversions. It’s all about implementing the right strategy to tell your brand’s story in a creative, yet authentic way” said Austin.
Lionize and its team is there to make Influencer Marketing easy, and stand by your side throughout the piloting process. The Influencer market is set to grow from $14.27 billion to $143 billion by 2030. This form of marketing is not going away. Visit Lionize for more information on how to start an Influencer pilot around your product or idea today!