Creating credibility for a new brand is a herculean task for any new start-up. Traditionally, a large number of big Brands made their fate by using the influencer power of ‘celebrities’. Since time memorial, popular Brands like Chanel, Pepsi, H&M, and Lux differentiated themselves by featuring top celebrities. Celebrities like Shahrukh Khan, Ranveer Kapoor, David Becham, Nicole Kidman have promoted these brands. With time, people evolved and purchases are not just made on what celebrities say. Most celebrities don’t resonate with the brands they advertise. Thus, consumers now count on credible influencers for decision making. Influencer marketing is the norm of digital marketing today. New Age influencers like Arunaabh Shah, India’s first male athlete to complete Ultraman Australia, are helping brands engage with community. Incidentally, managing the influencers for developing equity of new brands is crucial.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Of late, Influencer marketing has become a buzz word in the dictionary of digital marketers. However, it is the same old concept repackaged in the new wine bottle. What has really changed today is ‘who’ influences the consumers the most and ‘where’. Consumers today are present on multiple real time platforms including Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube,Twitter, Instagram. Consequently, content on these platforms determine the emotions purchases and aspirations of people. Trends in fashion, food, fitness and travel categories are strongly being determined by Instagram bloggers, youtubers, snapchatters etc.
With time, the meaning of influencer changed enormously. Today, the brands are being promoted by “people from everyday life”. Influencers not only have a strong identity but they possess the power to influence their circle. An example of how Arunaabh Shah, India’s first man to complete Ultraman Australia, is influencing many brands such as Adidas and Garmin. Truly, he is a new age influencer, an inspiration for many Indian young athletes today. He is an ardent believer in promoting only those brands which he is passionate about and trusts completely for himself. Seems like, the destiny of big brands and new startups is in the hands of these young stars.
Illustratively, Ford utilized influencers on social media to promote Ford Fiesta car through the campaign ‘Real People, Real Experience’. Ford invited auto enthusiasts (bloggers, photographers, entrepreneurs, professionals and designers) to drive the newly launched car. They shared their experience on social platforms on twitter.
According to a study conducted by Tomoson through poll of marketing professionals, influencer marketing is the fastest-growing method of online customer acquisition.Thus, it becomes a very crucial tool for startups to effectively channelize influencers.
What does influencer marketing mean for Start-ups or new products?
With the changing landscape social media interactions, the tactic of launching a new product has undergone a drastic change. Internet morphed the launch process by bringing an important element- brand influencers. Brands today give the baton of new products to influencers, engage the consumers through live streamed videos and reward advocates. Thus, This new landscape has created a level playing ground for all the startups when it comes to reaching customers.
For instance, Philips Air Fryer, launched in 2012, is a good case in point where influencer content marketing changed the fate of the product. Despite, the product being a unique fryer allowing frying with 80% less oil consumption. Strangely, its market remained very low until Ogilvy, the digital agency started its cookery show called “Phillips Superchef” using Sanjay Thumma, a popular Indian Chef.
How to integrate content with influencers?
To maximise impact, the marketers should integrate engaging content with influencers. Fans and followers have faith in influencers; if they post videos, pictures, articles or snapstory about a brand, they appreciate it. The openness to try new brands in such cases is very high. Undoubtedly, understanding of various platforms is crucial. In my opinion, it is good to be present on Facebook as it helps to connect with targeted audience and organically improves the performance in Instagram as well. While YouTube is a delight for companies looking to promote cosmetics, lifestyle food; snapchat helps the existing companies create exclusivity.
5 Simple Steps to unlock the potential of influencers
- Step 1: Define: First of all, it is very crucial for any B2C brand to define its online target audience. Once you have identified whom to target, understand the platforms they use. Even though plethora of platforms like pinterest, instagram, youtube, twitter, vine, snapchat, quora, being used, it is absolutely impossible to be present on all the platforms. Therefore, Every business should ideally be present in at least 2 media. Putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea.
- Step 2: Identify: Secondly, look for influencers who resonate with your target community. They help to create word of mouth and recognition for new brand/product. Your influen
cer could be the first few customers, typically the innovators, who can vouch for your product. Happy customers are the best influencers in the digital space. Further, you can engage people such as fashion bloggers, travellers, foodies and athletes as influencers.
- Step 3: Engage: Select the influencers who have a strong reach, and can keep the target engaged. Definitely, they should be relevant to the audience and resonate the brand. Understand the platforms for engagement well. According to a survey conducted by Hashoff on influencer marketing, Instagram will continue to be the leading platform for influencers to connect with community and brands. Additionally, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat will also dominate the influencer marketing space.
- Step 4: Measure: Finally, continuously measure the impact your influencer is creating on your new product/brand. Further, revise the list of influencers from time to time. Provide good incentives to them to create real valuable content.
Is your startup missing out on the opportunity to harness the voice of influencers to amplify the message and create trust for your brand?
If yes, utilize the power of influencers to scale-up your business and engage with the potential consumers in the most effective way. According to a study by Schlesinger Associates in 2015, 84% marketers globally were expected to launch influencer marketing campaign. Presently, 81% of the brands that use influencer marketing were happy with the engagement. Therefore, today the companies that fail to utilize this channel would run the risk of getting lost in the competitive world.
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