Firms focus on influencer marketing to hook in clients

Guests take a group selfie during the launch of the Oppo F3 phone in  Nairobi. Influencers were used to market the phone. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG
Guests take a group selfie during the launch of the Oppo F3 phone in Nairobi. Influencers were used to market the phone. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

Companies globally are spending more than $255 million (Sh26.3 billion) on influencers every month on Instagram alone and are now choosing it as their main marketing channel in a bid to gain consumer trust.

This has led to an increase in competition in the Internet personalities scene and thus the influencers have been tasked to market themselves in order to appeal to their clients; companies.

“Companies are changing their marketing approach and turning to influencer marketing. The numbers do not lie: 81 per cent of brands see the difference in influencer marketing,” said Krishna Subramanian, the founder of Captiv8, a company that connects influencers with brands, in its study on influencer marketing spend.

“Influencers truly know the meaning of connecting with their audience to create authentic experiences. They have a deep emotional connection with their audience.

These connections have created moments we like to call the Oprah effects.

‘‘We are seeing big brands engaging their audience by leveraging the influence of creators through entertaining and authentic sponsored campaigns.”
In the Kenyan market, the sway of influencers can be felt on social media with viral posts and hashtags used to influence consumers’ purchase choice.

Companies such as Chinese electronics firm Oppo have used them to promote their products, most recently when the firm launched its latest smartphone Oppo F3 in May in the Kenyan market.

The hashtag #SelfieExpert, its slogan for the smartphone, was trending on social media.

Influencers took pictures using the smartphones and posted them online to depict its camera performance and picture quality in a bid to prove that it is indeed a #SelfieExpert.

Besides this, they also posted some of the Oppo F3 specifications and described their experience using it, a strategy that can win consumers.

Such as trending hashtag is likely to garner the interest of consumers and increase their trust in the brand.

Research shows that 92 per cent of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or a celebrity endorsement.

In this, influencers are key for brands to reach consumers.

“When it comes to what one posts, the winning factor is to identify a niche in which one is well-versed in, posting content that will draw in audiences and encourage consumers to interact,” said Stella Kimani, a brand marketer.

“In choosing a personality to promote its products, companies review the engagement between the influencer and their audience, their number of followers or subscribers, previous brands they have worked with and the content they post in order to determine whether the message is relevant to what the brand wants to convey.”

In its state of influencer marketing survey, online marketing platform Mavrck found that bloggers were the most sought after influencers by brands with 59 per cent of companies preferring them.

Micro influencers, existing customers or employees, were the second most preferred by 47 per cent of companies, executives and journalists were third appealing to 45 per cent of companies.

YouTube and Instagram personalities were fourth with 39 per cent while celebrities and athletes were the least preferred with 28 per cent appeal. “In the 2016 survey, we learned that 80 per cent of senior-level marketers are planning to use influencer marketing in the coming years.

The rapid adoption rate of influencer marketing by brand marketers was eclipsed only by the explosion of influencer marketing technologies available: the increase in new ‘influencer’ platforms grew 85 per cent year on year,” reported the Mavrck researchers.

“Of the marketers we surveyed 67 per cent strongly agreed that influencer marketing worked on their brands and only two per cent strongly disagreed.”