Higher audience engagement
According to Nina Zandnia, a high-profile influencer with a huge fan following, influencer marketing can deliver high yield for brands as it has a higher rate of audience engagement, plus a far greater impact than traditional advertising methods.
“Brands want to work with influencers. Traditionally, a brand would pay big amounts of money to buy an advert in a magazine, of which maybe only a few thousand copies will be sold. On the other hand, influencers have millions of followers who connect with the average people a lot more than the advert in the magazine, which eventually ends up in a dustbin,” she says.
Return on investment
Khaled Zaatarah, founder and CEO of 360VUZ, a virtual reality start-up in the UAE, believes his collaboration with influencers has been a huge success. Working with an influencer has bigger and better returns on investment (ROI) when compared to advertising in the traditional media, he says.
“As a start-up, we look at user acquisitions, app downloads and the revenue that is generated from influencers. We pay U.S.$2 to Google for every app download but the cost of working with an influencer minimises the cost and the ROI is much higher. Fees and contracts can be negotiated with the influencers to keep in mind the spend of a start-up,” he adds.
Better connection & authenticity
Influencer marketing is also a more authentic way to market your product as it has a very human component to it, which promotes a better connection with consumers, ultimately leading to long-term brand loyalty.
What’s more, the relationship between a brand and an influencer works both ways. An influencer markets a brand by being themselves, and companies can help influencers further build their personal brand.
This is very important in the case of start-ups because they have one big obstacle to overcome – people don’t know them. With influencers, start-ups can reach out to a wider audience, and get market feedback simultaneously in the form of comments, likes and dislikes, and other modes of engagement.
Followers know and trust influencers, and therefore are open to trying out a product or service that is marketed to them through this channel. “People want to see a real person – someone who has a personality, can make fun of him or herself, make mistakes. In short, be like the audience,” says Zandnia.
Finding influencers with reach
The key is to look for an influencer who is not just willing to work with a start-up, but can also relate to its business idea and isn’t just after the money.
“We use influencers who can relate to our work. For example, our platform covered the meet-and-greet of Logan Paul at Dubai Mall, number one influencer in the world. People just follow whatever he says and this partnership with him has helped us.
“We are covering the Dubai Motor Show and we have partnered with another hugely followed influencer when it comes to cars. We make sure we pick someone in the right category,” says Zaatarah.
Powerful influencers – those that have reach and interact with their followers – are in demand.
“When we look at influencers, we try to identify people with a high level of engagement with their followers. We don’t look at just the number of followers but how many comments do influencers get, how many people actually watch the shared videos and this can show how popular s/he is,” says Zaatarah.
“It is also important that as a start-up, we too add value to the influencer. We do that by giving them content in a new way that can enrich the experience of the audience,” he adds.
“As an influencer, I would work with a start-up if I have a connection with the brand. I will ensure I can connect with them on a personal level and I can deliver the service for what they are paying me,” explains Zandnia.
However, working with influencers is no short-cut to success for start-ups. “They can also be a short-cut to failure. You need the start-up to have the right product and find the right way to collaborate with the influencers. Ensure that the influencer you deal with is not always after money,” warns Zaatarah.
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