How Dubai Startups Can Unlock The Power Of Influencers in 2017

Imagine you’re at a party and some guy comes up to you, but instead of striking up a conversation, he only talks about himself and how good he is at football, how his mother thinks he’s the best child in their family, and how he’s basically the subject-matter expert on all things interesting. Chances are, at this stage, you’ll be channeling your inner David Copperfield and devising the most clever disappearing act possible.

Nobody likes a pretentious narcissist.

Then why advertise like one?

People hate being bombarded with advertisements and information they didn’t ask for. The best way to advertise is to be as subtle as you possibly can and, as they say, the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing. We need to attract potential customers in such a way that THEY seek information that is relevant to them.  

A way to do this is by having influencers promote your brand. These are people who are active on social media and act as brand advocates and promoters. The primary goal for influencers is to gain visibility, thus driving action towards the brands they’re endorsing.  

So why do we need influencers?

Influencers are that trustworthy third party who we’re willing to listen to in matters of our interest. Marketers try to use this knowledge to their advantage by getting influencers to endorse their products.

They give you the option to ‘opt in’ to their network, which is why their audiences are more engaged - they choose to consume information because it’s relevant and interesting to them.  

With an influencer, you not only have access to their audience but to the audience’s network too. Therefore, your brand has double the opportunity to grow. Research by Nielsen shows that 92% of global consumers trust earned media such as word of mouth, and recommendations by people of our reference groups more than other forms of advertisements.

It makes sense, right? Rather than an advertisement for a certain product, you are more likely to buy something if your best friend or your celebrity crush vouch for it!

Influencers make use of inbound marketing principles which is why it resonates so well with audiences and has the potential to turn them into consumers. Their efforts to advertise products and brands is very subtle as these influencers generate their own content and offer endorsements as mere ‘recommendations’.  

However, you might face challenges in deciding on an influencer that’s the right fit for your brand, or finding one on a budget. But fret no more, as we address these two obstacles below!

Finding the Perfect Influencer For You

Choosing the right influencer for your brand depends on three things:

Context: The influencer needs to be a contextual fit for your brand. It would not make sense to have Kim Kardashian endorse hunting equipment.  However, if my brand is selling clothes to teens and ‘tweens’, then KK is a pretty good choice!

Several websites such as Zoomph.com, Influencers.ae and Buzzsumo.com allow you to find influencers that are the perfect match. Searches can also be done based on filters such as  geographical area, gender, price, engagement, number of followers and psychographics as those make a significant difference in determining context.  

Reach: You want to choose an influencer that has a good reach. We want our content to go farther with their promotion, so an influencer with 10k followers is a better fit than an influencer with two or three thousand followers. The higher the level of  a brand’s social engagement, the higher the sales.

Actionability: This is the influencer’s ability to cause their audience to take an action. If an influencer is a contextual fit and has a good enough reach, actions typically come naturally. Therefore, marketers would put their efforts on a more suitable influencer than one that has a dormant audience.  

Influencer Marketing On a Budget

Now let’s assume we do not have ample funding for marketing activities, so how can we get an influencer on a budget? 

Here’s four things you can do:

  1. Offer promo codes! Everyone likes a little discount. By giving influencers promo codes to your products that their audience can use, you significantly increase sales! Promo codes also offer trackability and measurability, which means that you can measure and analyze the ROI that was driven in by that specific channel.

  2. Hashtag that junk! Using a branded hashtag is another cool way to boost brand recognition, and ultimately, sales. Influencers can be encouraged to use the hashtag with their content, and in turn ask their audience to use the hashtag too.

  3. Show me the money! A win-win solution for the brand and the influencer could be to offer a revenue-sharing agreement.  An agreed percentage of all sales that the influencer generates will be shared with the influencer.  How do we know which sales came from the influencer?  The Promo Code!  This gives the influencer more of an incentive to promote the brand, the upfront costs to the business are unnecessary, and the influencer has an unlimited commission potential.  

  4. Unsung Heroes!  We all have that friend that is trying to become Instagram famous or a Snapchat sensation.  The truth is, it's not difficult to find lesser known influencers that are on the rise and more be more relevant to your brand. Additionally, lesser known influencers might reach a niche audience for your brand which would otherwise be difficult to reach to on a larger scale.  Why pay a premium to engage someone with 1+ million followers when only 30,000 of them are relevant to your brand?  Find that influencer with 30,000 relevant followers and get your money's worth.  

By applying the these techniques, your brand has the opportunity to grow exponentially. According to Forbes.com, influencers are the new brands. Through them, brands now have the opportunity to tap into undiscovered markets with the credibility of an influencer serving as the face of the brand, which is how they will be perceived and recognized.

With engaging influencers, the name of the game is quality over quantity. And in return, the brand reaps benefits of reach to a more tailored audience, a greater opportunity to get their story across and a unique story as told from the point of view of an influencer.