After the Instagram-promoted Fyre Festival failed terrible to live up to the expectations painted by celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, the influencer industry has found itself under pressure to prove its effectiveness to brands and its trustworthiness to consumers.
In Asia, influencer marketing reached peak in 2018 thanks to high smartphone penetrations and the spread of social platforms. Inevitably, there has also been many concerns around lack of transparency, buying of followers, manufactured endorsements, the credibility of micro influencers and more.
As consumers start to become more cautious about believing in the carefully curated feeds and perfect lives of influencers, the latter are learning to expanding the possibilities of influences in more creative ways. In the same vein, brands can use them for meaningful change, for their users and their business, by going beyond deploying influencers merely as human billboards.
In China, influencer marketing industry is three to five years ahead of the rest of the world. Instead of traditional sponsored-post monetisation model, many influencers in China have already created their own incredibly successful brands thanks to the advanced functionality and integration of their social media, e-commerce and digital payment.
With Singapore’s Smart Nation initiatives, brands can explore the potential of the possible technological integration as part of the marketing plans. Combine that with our learnings from China’s digital eco-system, brands can have an early start with the influencers, co-creating content and products with them to truly maximise their influential power.
To create quality content instead of a ‘copy and paste the press release’ content, Mashwire works closely and listens attentively to the KOLs we work with. Whether it’s creating a media kit or providing support to our KOLs, providing the brand experience and forming a relationship beyond the transaction is key for our agency. That’s our secret to winning the Best Use of Influencer/Advocacy in 2018 for L&E awards. By building a relationship with influencers and focusing on brand experience, we can then develop the partnership from ‘endorsement’ to ‘ambassadors’.
Even though there are some bad eggs who have tainted the influencers industry, a 2018 study by Shareablee conducted with Fullscreen Media revealed that the trust in influencers is significantly higher than the trust in brands. As such, with better content developed together with influencers, we can increase the trust between brand and consumers.
For instance, in our influencer marketing campaign for Darlie, we specially created an Instagram worthy media kit that our influencers will be wow-ed by and at the same time deliver the brand experience that we want the influencers to amplify. The results of the influencer campaign were genuine content co-created with the influencers and influencers value-adding with more earned media for the brand. The content eco-system that was eventually build up aid in building product awareness and brand trust with consumers which then indirectly linked to sales of the product.
Stepping into 2019, with an evolving consumer and platform landscape, these are some key points to note:
- IGTV is a unique opportunity to showcase influencers
- Video content collaboration is here to stay
- Empower your influencers, they’re not just a human billboard
- Selecting the right type of influencers to support the brand and campaign objectives is key
- Campaign KPIs must be communicated upfront and understood by the influencer
- The chosen influencer must be a good fit not only in aesthetics and style but also by the existing affinities of their current audience for the best chance of success