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Influencer marketing strategies could help sell your products

COMMENTARY
By Maina Gachanjah | June 23rd 2017

There is a new trend being used by start-ups in the fashion and hospitality industry. This is Influencer Marketing. David Gabriele, CEO of digital influencer platform Swayy, in an interview conducted by a journalist attached to the Chartered Institute of Marketers Magazine-Catalyst, argues that marketing habits have to change just like in Darwin’s theory of evolution.

To survive, you need to adapt to the way customers behave and interact with brands. For your company brand to survive the test of time, you have to craft and implement solid partnerships with opinion shapers, bloggers and experts with mass following on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Sensibilities

Due to busy working schedules and clogged weekends, a majority of smart phone users today block unsolicited adverts, fast forward, subconsciously scroll through or consistently switch channels to avoid adverts that are not appealing. Influencer marketing solves this pain point since time is a scarce resource to them.

They instead buy products and services endorsed by a social media influencer they know and can relate with without having to flip through endless lists of unsolicited adverts. They can know, in real time, the best vendors to buy necessaries and luxury goods from through their social media celebrity.

Leading marketers working for brands like Burberry are leveraging partnerships with bloggers like Brooklyn Beckham who has 5.9 million Instagram followers to appeal to their target consumers by sending very subtle, cost effective and organic content that their chosen influencers endorse. Most consumers do not mind influencers being used to advertise products as long as the content they share is engaging and useful.

A market with 2.1billion smart phone users globally cannot be wished away. Most leading global brands prefer working with influencers that have more than 100,000 followers. On the other hand, brands on tight marketing budgets are using micro- influencers that have fewer and quality followers built over time. It’s not all about big names always. Micro-influencers who can reach smaller but more targeted groups are also vital to brands Return on Investments (ROI).

Do not forget that consumers respond and resonate well with live videos of how your products or services will benefit them directly, make work easier, gain respect from their peers, or make them look smarter. Remind your influencer to share the videos consistently and religiously during the entire length of the marketing.

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A challenge is imminent though in the world of influencer marketing. With more and more brands jumping into the influencer bandwagon, it will be harder for less aggressive and under-funded brands to get noticed. To counter this, some safeguards are recommended and quality assurance is vital. First, Gabriele advises, you need to verify whether an influencer’s Instagram account is actually theirs.

There is an algorithm-based ‘fake followers’ detection system which can tell whether an opinion leader has bought followers, or is using dubious means to gain following on social media. You also need to be able to specify what your criteria and objectives are: the market you are trying to target; the number of people you are trying to reach; the type of influencer related to your industry; and the particular part of your product or service you think your potential customers need to know about.

Proper marketing

How then does a brand manager choose the right influencer? Gabriele insists that the key thing to remember is that the whole exercise is about engagement rates and brand affinity. Which influencer can best deliver this with minimal effort? Brand managers can only rely on strategy managers in the organization for answers to this question.

Research on which influencers are being engaged by competitors in your industry is a vital source of intelligence. The influencer you would feel comfortable being your digital word of mouth depends on the nature of your product or service.

An influencer who is an authority in his or her own right, even if only to a few people, whose social media account relates to the message you intend to convey could be the right bet for your social media campaign.

These and many more questions about influencer marketing do not have ready answers but armed with an in-depth market survey, your brand manager might just get the right social media ambassador for you.

Mr Gachanjah is Marketing Consultant

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