Influencer marketing is rapidly growing. In Ghana the number of influencers have grown by huge margins over the last few years. And as experimental as brands are more brands are switching to or adding influencer marketing as one of their major marketing strategies.
Undoubtedly we’re in the age of influence; and brands like Rocomamas are leveraging the power of influencers to change the way it attracts and engages with its customers.
In more modern times, influencing has become more identifiable with people who are seen as experts, or ‘leaders’ on their social platforms. So a person who is able to build a community around a specific topic or industry such as bitcoin, or gaming could be perceived as an influencer within that community.
It provides a seemingly authentic way for brands to reach their customers through the people that matter to them. These influencers have built credibility among their following or audience and possess the power to influence their buying habits, perceptions and patronage of a brand. In that case, it feels less salesy but more of a recommendation through word-of-mouth from someone they know, trust and interact with often.
Trends from the advent of digital from the late 90s till date have shown how brands have always leveraged different channels that give the the best chance to appeal to their audience, interact with them and convert them to loyal paying customers. From Search Engine Optimization, email marketing, web banner ads, paid social ads, content marketing, affiliate marketing and recently the use of video and memes on social platforms like Tiktok and Instagram, brands will always drive their limited resources towards a channel with the best ROI.
After working on multiple influencer campaigns for brands like Flutterwave, Treepz, Pizza Inn and Rocomamas, I have maintained that influencer marketing in Ghana (in it’s current form) is a bubble waiting to burst – unless something changes. Brands are experimental, and the less value and ROI they get from a marketing channel the faster they move to explore other channels that give them more.
So what’s next?
Both brands and influencers will have to do things differently in their effort to get more value from this supposedly mutual beneficial partnership.
Presently, most Ghanaian brands spend a large chunk of their marketing budgets on influencers. But these partnerships might not necessarily meet KPIs of the business and directly influence their top line through sales conversations, which is one of the key incentives for brands to continuously spend on a particular marketing channel.
There’s needs to be a drastic yet intentional shift by influencers – to keep providing value to brands and staying relevant, and by brands – to keep optimizing value from influencer partnerships.
What should be done?
1. Clarify your key objectives and goals for doing influencer marketing.
The key reason most influencer campaigns don’t achieve the intended result is not being clear on what the expectations are. Are you looking to drive sales, to gain more awareness, to drive conversations online or to position your brand as a cool, fancy brand or an industry leader? Identifying what you expect to achieve with your marketing will inform which marketing channel to use, and if it’s influencer marketing, inform the various strategies, tactics and choice of influencers.
2. Choose influencers that embody the persona of your brand.
There’s usually a disconnect between the brand persona and the persona of the influencer. First identify what your brand persona is, which can be done during your brand strategy development process. Is your brand friendly, authoritative, feminine, classy, funny, formal or sophisticated?
Whatever your persona is identify an influencer that has the same or similar persona for the a better brand-influencer fit. The influencer is a representative of your brand and whatever they communicate should come out as organic and authentic as possible, and a great fit helps you achieve this.
3. Think influence over followers, always.
Brands sometimes take a large following to mean high influence. But that’s not always the case.
Some influencers with a large number of followers do not possess the influence over their audience because there’s usually a disconnect between their type of audience and what the brand is offering. Some also gained their huge following through alternative and inorganic means as as such do not have a special connection to them.
The hack is to find an influencer that had built a deeper, meaningful connection with their audience and can influence their decisions regardless of the number of followers.
4. Choose influencers that specialize in your niche.
One thing that is very common to see in today’s influencer marketing landscape is a disjoint between the niche of the brand and the niche of the influencers. Influencers that evidently represent fashion promoting tech brands, those representing business doing food brands — just because they have a huge following. This can be attributed to the fact that a lot of influencers in Africa are across board and do not specialize in a particular niche.
In planning your influencer collaborations, put a little more effort into identifying influencers that are key opinion leaders in your industry. They come off more authentic when they recommend a brand that specializes in something they are known to represent.
5. Think beyond just posts and content.
Here is how the typical brand-influencer engagement happens currently:
A brand has a product they want to promote > they approach an influencer > send them artworks of the product to be promoted > the influencer posts on their socials > the influencer is sent a sample product > they create content featuring or using the product > tadaaaa!
It’s time to rethink it. Influencing must come alive through more creative ways that merge and tell the story of both the brand and influencer through co-created content and strategic campaigns.
Rocomamas’ recent #NotNormal campaign told the stories of influencers like Zigi and Chukwu The Painter without specific reference to the brand’s products.
1. Consistently deliver valuable content.
As an influencer, just posting product photos and artworks provided by client get stale and boring over time. Even regular videos while dancing featuring or showcasing products might not cut it anymore since consumers are beginning to expect more from influencers.
A key ingredient to creating valuable content is storytelling. Storytelling lets you make the product the hero of your daily experience by sharing how it makes your life easier, simpler, better, cheaper etc.
Sharing why you prefer that brand or product due to how it makes your life better through your content portrays to your audience how authentic your recommendation of the said brand/product is.
2. Build a deeper connection with your community.
Being an influencer comes with an added responsibility of building a brand. An influencer is a brand, and the product you sell is your audience. Which means the more meaningful and deeper connection you have with your audience the higher the chances of they patronizing whatever brand you recommend. Which consequently affects the number of happy clients and new business.
To grow a loyal community you should engage in community building activities like Q&A sessions where your audience get to know you, host Twitter spaces or IG/FB live sessions and offer valuable insights and content on topics of interest to your audience.
3. Specialize or identity with a niche market.
You can’t be everything for everyone. As an influencer you should be known as an authority or go-to for industry (such as banking, entertainment, fashion, food etc) or a niche market (such as luxury cars, food tourism, affordable real-estate etc.)
The goal is to dominate a specialized segment of the market or industry where you stand for something.
When you have a niche as an influencer, brands think of you as a specialist source of knowledge and ideas for that industry. That means they’re more likely to make you, rather than a more generic influencer, their first port of call. And because they see niche influencers as specialists, they are often more willing to pay a premium price for what they perceive will be better results or higher level of expertise than they would get from a broad-based influencers.
4. Propose strategic partnerships to brands.
The time of waiting for brands to approach you is over. Due to the increasing number of influencers and, staying relevant as an influencer means always putting your self in spaces where you’re at top-of-mind recall to stand a higher chance of being chosen among other influencers.
Now is the time to shoot your shot at brands. Strategic influencer partnerships can be anything from a co-branded marketing campaign, co-created content, account takeovers, branded content, giveaways and contests, etc.
First identify are brand that you’ve always wanted to work with, make sure it’s a fit for your niche, identify an objective for your proposition like awareness for their brand, increased patronage for their new product, driving traffic for their web or social platforms. Then recommend various strategies and tactics on how you can work together to achieve that.
Here are a few steps and template on drafting an influencer marketing proposal for a brand.
5. Deliver value and results for clients.
Above all else, deliver results. Because above everything that’s what matters most to brands.
As stated earlier, brands are experimental. They always want to hop on a new trend to see if it gives them any value. Over time when they realize the only thing they actually gain is awareness, which doesn’t compensate for the investment they make, they’ll begin to explore channels with better ROI.
First, always be clear on the brand’s objectives for engaging you as an influencer as well as KPIs. Are they looking to drive sales, awareness, etc. Then you outline the strategies, tactics and mechanisms you’ll use in achieving those objectives. To further increase your value to the brand, provide insights from your influencing activities regularly plus recommendations on how to improve and achieve the set KPIs. This will help both you and the brand to adjust in a timely manner to achieve the results that matter.
Obviously influencer marketing is going to be around for a long time so long as social media exists. But it being a hot where brands keep spending money for the best ROI really depends on what both parties do this year to gain more value out of each other.
With years of running successful influencer campaign for local and multinational brands, iSupreme can help your brand plan and execute compelling influencer campaigns. Just submit a brief and we’ll put you on the path to growing your brand.
If you’re an influencer and want to join our growing community of influencers to help you position yourself to attract top brands and work on the coolest campaigns shoot us a dm and let’s do cool stuff together.