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Get it right on use of influencers in marketing brands

Social-media#1

Summary

  • Multiple studies have shown that consumers, especially the younger ones, are fast losing trust in paid influencers.
  • Instead, they are shifting towards some sort of peer crowds at the grassroots where they share content and comments about brands, products and services they actually adore.
  • Brands should follow the youthful customers to the peer-groupings and pick valuable lessons and feedback that would guarantee longstanding loyalty.

The uptake of influencer marketing remains strong in Kenya, understandably so.

Many corporates are under deep pressure to shore-up their financial fortunes and are ready to go an extra mile to net more consumers and boost sales revenue.

State ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have also joined the bandwagon in pursuit of publicity for their events and projects.

You would hardly fail to notice the influencers hard at work on virtually every social media sites.

The jury is however still out on the impact of the various campaigns ran by these influencers amid concern that some of the strategies used may since be outdated.

Most corporates in Kenya have failed to read the changing times and are stuck to the old model where the choice of those to drive their marketing campaigns is premised on the number of an individual’s so-called followers on the social media.

The downside of this model is that the corporates have tended to fall over one another for the same small clique of paid influencers, losing sight of the fact that consumer perception evolves over time and soon questions may crop up on the authenticity of the campaigns some of these people ran.

For example, we have seen instances where some influencers attempt to drive up to five campaigns on totally non-related issues. This kills authenticity and trust because consumers can pick out the fact that one person cannot be “the face of everything” and still anticipate to achieve solid trust from consumers across the board.

Globally, smart brands have changed tack and are today increasingly focusing on how they would engage their customers better and win their full trust. Instead of enlisting paid influencers who are mainly after paycheques, the brands are going for special consumer communities and engaging them directly — a strategy which is critical in moulding long-term loyalty.

For example, it makes sense to market automobile spares within a club of car owners and enthusiasts who would provide authentic feedback, which can be handy in developing a product portfolio and boost sales through direct engagement with customers.

Similarly, it would make sense to market irrigation systems within professional groups than fill social media timelines with campaigns that seldom make sense to many users there.

Multiple studies have also shown that consumers, especially the younger ones, are fast losing trust in paid influencers. Instead, they are shifting towards some sort of peer crowds at the grassroots where they share content and comments about brands, products and services they actually adore.

Brands should follow the youthful customers to the peer-groupings and pick valuable lessons and feedback that would guarantee longstanding loyalty.

The peer crowds are a powerful tool because they mainly bring together individuals with shared values and behaviour other than just friendship or the shaky bond of time shared. This is important in brand loyalty because members of such groups are driven by cognitive behaviour and don’t even require in-person contact with other parties to adapt to the norms of the group.