The traditional “celebrity” figure is being reshaped. The young audience today is hyper aware of marketing tactics and won’t stand for it. Prettied up celebrity endorsements, staged, inauthentic and neatly tied with a bow- nobody falls for these anymore. Take Shahrukh Khan, for instance. The Bollywood star who has endorsed luxury watch brands, fairness creams and everything in between now struggles to be taken seriously with a legion of endorsements under his belt. So, how do we get consumers to notice our brands? Enter influencer marketing.
A social media influencer is anyone with a social media reach which can be used to exercise influence. Just like Kim Kardashian with a 100 million Instagram followers, your friend who loves bookstagramming can be considered an influencer too! Basically, these are the kids who decide what all the other kids talk about. In fact, ROI on influencer campaigns is 16 times higher than the average digital campaign. Influencers enjoy a high level of trust among followers; these close-knit digital communities are changing the advertising landscape.
Brand preferences of the millennials are being shaped by these next generation leaders who are all over social media. Seemingly “one-of-us” on the surface, influencers are those everyday figures we aspire to be like- inspirational yet relatable. This explains why influencer merchandise such as Logan Paul’s Maverick clothing line gets sold out within a matter of a few days. Besides, a simple name drop by these social media stars can cause a frenzy among their loyal fan base. Relatively unknown songs featured on Kylie Jenner’s Snapchat, for instance, turn into straight-up Spotify hits. Closer to home, we have our very own Salman Muqtadir, the first Bangladeshi Youtuber to gain mass popularity, who is leveraging the power of the digital influencer. More such names are cropping up in Bangladeshi media every day.
Influencer marketing works best for high-on-lifestyle brands, targeting the millennials. And just about any social media personality won’t do. Their online presence needs to be aligned to your brand and within the context of the story you are looking to tell. The Bangladeshi female footwear brand, Zaar, recently collaborated with popular fashion and beauty influencer, Zohaina Amreen, to launch their latest shoe line. Zohaina being a trusted name in the scene, the response has been simply astounding. There are many such examples from the local and global landscape, which testify to the efficacy of social media influencer marketing when done right.
It is natural for brands to want to rope in influencers with the highest reach. However, it is important to remember that followers don’t necessarily translate into reach. Brands these days are increasingly falling for fraudulent social media followers who, in a bid to boost their social persona, buy heaps of bot followers. Instead of looking at the followers, keep an eye out for the engagement rate. Higher the engagement (reactions, comments, shares, etc.), stronger the reach. And this is what your brand needs to tap into for a successful campaign.
Influencers aren’t just the spokespeople of your brand; these are your advocates. Working well for small businesses looking for visibility as well as bigger ones which are now struggling to find relevancy with the young crowd, social media influencer marketing is fast becoming the poster child for advertisement in the age of digital. Authentic, trendy and dynamic- social media influencer marketing is here to stay and thrive.