Personal Finance

Three ways to get influencer marketing drive right


The influencer-marketing trend is in full steam. FILE PHOTO | NMG

In a world where we’re inundated with subjective messaging and endless choice, our demand for authenticity is greater than ever. As consumers, we’ve become weary of the traditional advertising narrative. Welcome to the age of Influencer Marketing.

Our decision-making is already predisposed to the content we consume digitally and the social setters we follow on social media. As a result brands can no longer afford to ignore this trend. In 2017 alone the term ‘influencer marketing’ grew by 325 per cent in google search, with 70 per cent of marketing departments already looking to increase their influencer budget over the coming year. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.

The basic psychology of buying involves finding someone we believe to be an expert and relying on their advice. One of the biggest misconceptions about influencers is that they are someone with a large social media following. Popularity and influence are not one and the same. A successful influencer must have the trifecta of credibility, salesmanship and reach. Think of an influencer as the mutual friend connecting your brand with your target consumers. You are the company you keep.

On the Kenyan scene, the influencer-marketing trend is in full steam. Whether it’s new whiskey kid-on-the-block Tullamore D.E.W activating its launch with a stream of millennial bloggers to African fashion labels clamouring to dress #100DaysofAfricanFashion pioneer Diana Opoti.

How to navigate this space?

The simplest way to work with influencers is to pay them. But this does not generate authentic, personal endorsement. Collaborations should instead be centred on building relationships where your brand values and company ethos aligns with those of the influencer. An influencer should speak about your product not because they are being paid to do so, but because they find your company interesting and the information useful to their readers. Here’s our three-step checklist for any brand wanting to engage in an influencer marketing campaign:

1.Start with the influencer, not the communication.

Ask yourself which influencers do you admire? Whose content resonates with your brand? Does their audience match your demographic? It becomes much easier to develop a value proposition based on mutual interests, motivations and needs instead of trying to force a campaign into a shoe that does not fit.

2.Co-creation is key.

Involve your proposed influencer in the planning stage. You want their input after all they know just what works. Remember authenticity is the name of the game.

3.Communicate expectations.

Influencer marketing can be a grey area when it comes to measuring success. You need to be clear what you want your influencer to deliver. Is it just increased awareness? A conversion to direct sales? Or to drive more followers to your channels? Spell it out so all parties know exactly what to do.

Ultimately there are no short cuts to influencer engagement. If you’re going to use it as a marketing tool invest the time to do your homework. And remember the aim is advocacy not mass promotion.