Rory O’Kane is the co-founder and COO of SocialVoice, a technology company that protects and enhances influencer-led campaigns. With SocialVoice’s marketing analytics, brands, and agencies can save time and money when finding the ideal influencer for their campaign, maximizing ROI.
O’Kane shares, “For brands, there’s a lot of insights in video, particularly within social video, that is untapped. Through research and development, SocialVoice ultimately cracked the nut. We are able to get inside video and extract and analyze the voice.”
What Sets SocialVoice Apart?
Most companies creating profiles and data insights on influencers for brands and agencies generate the profiles based on data like hashtags, title information, and commentary on the content itself.
However, these profiles don’t go into the nitty-gritty details and nuance of what an influencer’s content actually says — they only focus on how the influencer and their followers describe them.
O’Kane explains, “We’re removing that element of subjectivity or potential for mini-manipulation of profiles. We’re basing our assessment and analysis on data… we’re looking at an influencer and their entire back catalog of videos across TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram.”
The SocialVoice program extracts and analyzes the influencer’s voice, topics, and sentiment using AI technology. Their technology can also determine if the influencer is a subject matter expert, helping brands find the perfect fit for their campaign.
Another factor is brand safety. SocialVoice identifies issues such as profanity, racism, homophobia, or violence in the creator’s content. For example, the technology assesses whether there is racist music played in the background.
He adds, “Ultimately, we are not making a decision as to whether someone’s a “good” influencer or a “bad” influencer. We’re just providing the data that enables brands and agencies to make more informed decisions during the discovery and selection process.”
The verdict? While SocialVoice can help brands with influencer discovery, its top priority is providing agencies and brands with an in-depth understanding and report on influencers that will help marketers choose the right creator for their campaign based on subject matter expertise, brand safety measures, etc.
The Current State of the Creator Economy
O’Kane shares that while the creator economy has been around for a while, it’s still in its infancy, and he expects a further period of massive growth.
He says, “It’s been described to us as a bit of a wild west. There’s still a lot of nervousness from brands and agencies when it comes to working with influencers, not just in making sure they get the content and the product right, but in making sure they’re picking the right people.”
One of the reasons O’Kane wanted to develop SocialVoice was to help standardize aspects of the creator economy.
For example, helping brands sort through influencers. O’Kane has even had influencers mention that they’re frustrated by other creators who chase the popular topics and “game” the system by jumping from topic to topic for money, resulting in true subject matter experts being pushed to the side. The long-term data that SocialVoice provides helps brands identify true subject matter experts, eliminating this issue.
In the future, the SocialVoice team plans to launch features to empower creators, such as the ability to request an assessment of their content. This feature would give creators the power to show brands that they’ve been pre-vetted, similar to a credit score company vetting you before you apply for a loan at the bank.
O’Kane explains, “That’s an opportunity for us as well to allow influencers to pay a small monthly fee to keep an eye on their own SocialVoice report to make sure there isn’t anything in their background that would trigger red flags for brands.”
He adds that most influencers authentically engage with their community, so they have nothing to worry about. However, the minority who are “bad actors” trying to game the system will be called out with data-driven insights.
Micro-Influencers & Niche Markets
More brands and agencies are realizing that working with celebrity or macro influencers doesn’t have the same impact as partnering with micro-influencers with loyal followings.
The problem with the shift to micro-influencers is that brands typically work with a range of influencers rather than one or two bigger creators, meaning that more human resources are required to vet and manage the influencers. SocialVoice’s technology helps with this by quickly providing detailed reports on influencers of all sizes, eliminating a lot of this legwork.
Determining Influencer Credibility
Brand safety and influencer authenticity are critical components of any successful influencer campaign. So, how can a brand vet an influencer effectively?
The SocialVoice team looks at the Global Alliance of Responsible Media (GARM) standards. This media industry standard rates content on sensitive topics, such as adult, violent, criminal, profane, racist, or religious content.
Analyzing voice and video for these references effectively gives an influencer a green or red light. However, it’s also critical to keep nuance in mind, as the reference and sentiment around the message are important factors when rating an influencer.
If a brand wants further information, they can look into the detailed SocialVoice reports for specific links and evidence about what flagged the AI to assess whether they should be concerned.
Each brand has its comfort level when vetting an influencer. Some may watch an influencer’s content from the last month, three months, or all of it. All of these take time, which is why a service like SocialVoice can dramatically reduce brand risk and manual labor.
Specific industries need to be especially careful with whom they work with. O’Kane shares that a growing community on TikTok is FinTok.
“It’s important to them [Financial Companies] to have the ability to get into influencer marketing but still manage their risk in an efficient way. We’re all about optimizing that.”
Creator Economy Predictions
O’Kane predicts that the creator economy will continue to see more marketing spend because that’s where audiences are going, particularly with short-format videos.
As attention spans diminish, grabbing your audience’s attention within a few seconds will become even more critical. This is especially important for sponsored content because viewers are becoming more discerning and will click away.
O’Kane says, “Brands and agencies have got to continue to be creative. They need to stay completely on top of how users use certain platforms because people use YouTube very differently than TikTok even though they are both video platforms.”
A Vision for the Future
In the future, the SocialVoice team plans on expanding the influencer integrity report by doing ongoing monitoring and compliance checks.
Social listening to video performed by technology is a very new field, so O’Kane and his team are excited to explore the vast potential of this technology within influencer marketing.
His advice for those looking to excel in influencer marketing?
“Preparation is critical in terms of influencer marketing spend. If you get the decisions right up front in terms of your preparation, it makes your execution and your post-campaign analysis much easier and gives you a much higher chance of success.”