Digital Chai Pe Charcha – Secret to a successful Influencer Campaign

The sixth edition of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha was held at our office on 27th August 2016. It received an excellent response with about 15 participants including entrepreneurs, professionals, digital marketers and social media influencers taking an active part. The topic of discussion was the secret to a successful Influencer marketing campaign.

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Here’s a quick summary of the key takeaways from the session:

What is Influencer Marketing?

  • Word of Mouth – Digitally
  • Brand Ambassador
  • Key/Celebrity Influencers, Social Influencers and Peer Influencers

Word-of-mouth advertising has always been the most powerful tool, and influencer marketing is WOM Advertising 2.0.  In simple terms, it means shaping the opinions about your brand using the most influential people amidst your potential customers. If you are a brand, you make friends with the most influential people at a place where you want to sell. Now, they talk about your brand and recommend you to their followers (potential customers).

Why use Influencer marketing?

The main reason that brands are looking at influencer marketing are:

  • Ad Blockers
  • Neutral + Engaging – Not an Ad
  • SEO + Organic Growth

Given that word of mouth, marketing generates more sales than paid advertising; more brands are beginning to think about influencer marketing as part of their branding strategy. In the last 12-16 months, we have seen many interesting influencer marketing campaigns in India run by the likes of Cadbury, Allen Solly, Ford & much more.

How to identify right influencer?

For any influencer campaign, selecting the right influencer and partnering with them is crucial. Checking the influencer’s reach is the first thing you would need to do. This can be measured in terms of the number of followers/fans or the number of visitors to their blog/posts. Always remember to choose quality over quantity.

The following are the parameters you should be using while choosing the right influencer.

  • Moz Domain Authority– This is a score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines.
  • Reach in Social channels– This will include page likes on Facebook, followers on Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.
  • Estimated traffic from similar web – This tool provides user engagement statistics for websites.
  • Blog Alexa Ranking – This tool provides commercial web traffic data and analytics.

Challenges in Influencer Marketing

  • Inability to attribute to ROI
  • Getting the right influencers and Lack of large quality influencers
  • Focusing on wrong goals/metrics – e.g. Twitter Hashtag
  • Transparency of Pricing – No metrics/benchmark

What ROI to expect?

  • Short Term: Engagement, Content Creation
  • Mid Term: SEO
  • Long Term: Brand Building, Loyalty, Sales

Challenges for an Influencer

Based on our interactions with influencers, the survey we ran amongst influencers, and learnings from various events such as Social Media Week Bengaluru, there are a few challenges in influencer marketing.

  • Brief is not always clear
  • Not enough freedom given
  • Payment delays
  • Changes mid-way during campaign
  • Not communicating expectations upfront

Those of you who missed the first four editions of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha can check them out below:

 

You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter! Check out the hashtag #DigitalCPC for more details on the next Digital Chai Pe Charcha meet.

Vikas at MDI, Gurgaon on Role of Content & Influencer Marketing

It was an interesting evening spent at MDI Gurgaon with students of Consumer Behaviour. We were talking about the role of Communities, Content & Influencer Marketing on Consumer Behaviour. See the below slide share for details on the discussion we had.

The students had a lot of questions, especially around influencer marketing and its ethics. Many of these can be found in the FAQs of Influencer Marketing here.

MDI-Gurgaon-Influencer-Content-Marketing-Lecture-Vikas-Chawla

 

Learnings from Social Media Week, Bangalore

It was a full house at the Social Media Week, Bangalore this year! A great line up of speakers and interesting mix of panel discussions kept us all hooked to our seats. The event was organized over two days and witnessed some great industry experts share their knowledge and experiences with the crowd. Be it two 18-year-old drop outs building a child-caring app – ‘MyChild’ which is now used in more than 135 countries or a ladysingle-handedlyy fighting against one age-old social stigma – Menstruation by using comic books and social media – It was everything a Social Media Week should be.

The event started on a high note with India’s Ad Guru, Prahlad Kakar’s session on Brand Building Through Story Telling. He took us through a journey we would never forget. Sharing stories from his personal life and experiences captivated the audience. A maestro at storytelling, he gave away some important tips on how to build a brand by telling its story in a manner that makes the brand a hero!

Following Kakar’s session, we had Arnav Ghosh from Blippar India talk about Visual Marketing and Changing Consumer Context. The session addressed the scope of Visual Search and how we’re moving towards a future where Physical reality and augmented reality will blend into one. He was highly lauded for his talk and presentation of Blippar, an app that turns everyday objects into consumer-centric interactions. We will be writing a blog post later this month on how Visual & Voice search are going to change digital marketing forever.

Speaking of Visual and Voice, how can one not mention one of the most interesting sessions on cricket by cricket journalists Prem Panicker, Gaurav Kalra and Bengaluru-based popular Twitter personality Ramesh Srivats. Cricket has not only changed as a game but also how people look at it now and what they have to say about every little aspect. Apart from taking part in debates and writing out blogs, Twitter has become the new medium to express or oppose one’s opinion. Though Twitter is infamous for its social media ‘Wars’, it has also given an option for fans to follow the game through live-tweeting. Ramesh agrees saying, “Discussions on cricket are like everything else on Twitter; part stupid and trolling, part insightful and intelligent.”

There were a couple of more interesting talks on People Intelligence and Monetizing Digital Content by Amartpreet Kaur and Mahesh Narayanan, Saavn respectively. There was a very interesting panel discussion with Ganga Ganapathi, VP, Ogilvy as the moderator and Anshul Chaturvedi, G.M, Wohoo and Anjali Gupta, IBM as panel members discussing on ROE (Return on Engagement). They talked about how digital has become an integral part of marketing strategies for brands and what engagement means to the brands. The three of them shared their views and thoughts on how to measure engagement and the effectiveness of campaigns online. Many a times engagement is a great short term goal before arriving at return on investment (which for many brands is leads, sales, revenue and referrals).

The evening continued on an exciting pitch and witnessed digital expert Kiruba Shankar shared his knowledge on the future of communication and how podcasts play an important role in it. The session was interactive and had a lot of guests sharing their thoughts and ideas. Kiruba himself has multiple podcasts which can be seen here.

Day one of the Social media week ended on an exciting note and anticipation for the second day was higher. Sandy Carter from IBM shared her views on Social Intelligence and how important it is for a marketer to identify negative and positive sentiments. She is responsible for IBM’s worldwide focus on startups and having her kickoff day 2 at the event was an absolute delight. She spoke at length at about how even startups are starting to leverage big data and actionable people intelligence to connect with consumers around the world. She gave an example of Chocolate Jhony who has been able to leverage SnapChat and other social media channels to expand to multiple geographies.

Following Sandy Carter’s sessions were various more interesting sessions on Influencer Marketing, Snapchat and on breaking a taboo through social media. A gripping debate on “The ugly face of influencer marketing” amongst some of the industry experts like Kiruba Shankar, NanditaIyer, Karthik Srinivasan and G.Nivedithwas probably one of the best sessions of the day. There was a lot of discussion on whether influencers should sell their soul by reviewing and writing about topics that they don’t personally use. For example, should a technology blogger partner with a beer brand or a fashion brand. Challenges faced by influencers were also covered and many of these are similar to the Influencer Industry Report we had launched earlier this year.

There was also a stand-up comedy by Satish Perumal whose rib-ticklers cracked up every single soul in the room! His joke of the day had to be – In a city where people are dying because of potholes, the only person who can use a helipad has left the country!

A jolly-good week with people from all walks of life coming together to tell their story on how social media – a medium – is more than just Sharing, Liking or Commenting, was what SMW’16 was all about. While leaving the event with the same enthusiasm was one thing, learning to ‘Tell A Story To Sell Your Brand’ was another insight that we take back to our working desks.

For those who could not make it to the event, here are some key bytes from the sessions from both the days –

Storytelling is the heart of every communication” – Mr. PrahladKakar

Visual Marketing is the bridge between the physical and digital worlds” – Arnav Ghosh, Blippar

Content is always paid for, either the brand pays for it or the users pay directly to consume the content” – Mahesh Narayanan, Saavn

A brand is the strongest when it is clear about what it has to offer to its customers” – Ganga Ganapathi, VP, Ogilvy

As the industry matures, most Influencers will have disclosures and be more true to their identity” – Kiruba Shankar

Social media gives you a new kind of surround sound from cricket matches. – PremPanicker

Social intelligence moves the needle of your social media presence to social business”. – Sandy Carter, IBM

Occasional trending does not build long-term emotional connect with consumers” – Alokedeep Singh, Titan

For those who attended the event, do share your experiences and highlights in the comments below!

Blogging as a Career Option

Have a particular interest that you are extremely passionate about? Then blogging is the perfect way to start exploring your interest. Blogging is a hobby or a way to build your brand. It is a powerful tool, which can be a great PR for you and your brand. A blog is a simple, easy-to-use platform for connecting with and sharing timely and relevant information with customers. It’s your direct communication channel.

From an online journal at 1,000 words per post to a simple 140-character Twitter feed, blogging has taken center stage largely because of how useful it has proven itself to be in almost all areas of business. If successful, blogging can be a good way to make money and a full time career path as well. However, before we start talking about making a career out of it, the first step is to determine a topic of interest and set up the blog.

 Top Blogging Platforms

To set up your blog hardly takes 30 minutes.  If you are planning to start the blog, then here the various top blogging platforms that you can use.

  • Word press

WordPress is one of the most popular free blogging platforms that is excellent for the bloggers. It has numerous templates to choose from. Apart from this, have the option to go for the WordPress customization to personalize the blog with your own designs.

  • Blogspot

Blogspot is an extremely convenient platform and it is also one of the most common one that people use.  It has few template designs at your disposal, but the good thing here is that the Blogspot allows you to customize the blog and create splendid fonts, images and lots of other important things

  • Tumblr

Yet another free blogging website, Tumblr has gained a significant amount of reputation over the years simply because of its user-friendly interface and easy to understand features. There are plenty of stunning blogging themes and awesome features that help you to create a fine blog. The best feature though is the fact that you can synchronize Tumblr account with the various popular social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter to update your feeds made in the social sites at a distinct location.

  • Weebly

Weebly comes with a drag and drop feature to create a website. It’s simple and easy to understand interface makes weeebly one of the best blogging platforms. A very unique thing about this particular website is that you can also use it as a content management system that provides you an opportunity to earn some money by designing the websites for the other clients.

  • Livejournal

A service for journals and blogs, that also offers privacy controls, photo storage, publishing tools, style templates, and online communities for many interest.

 Driving Traffic To Your Blog

Once you have finalized on the topic and template, you need to concentrate on increasing traffic and your following. For a blog to be successful, you need more than great writing. You need to market your blog to the right audience and generate traffic to your blog. So how do you build that traffic? Here are a few tips you can follow.

  • Participate

Commenting on other blogs and participating in social media networks and groups is vital to building traffic to your own blog.

  • Marketing

Even a great blog post in useless without a little bit of marketing and promotion.  Promote your blog on social media like Facebook or twitter and post links more than once to get some attention. Whatever method you choose for your blog, take it seriously and don’t leave marketing your own blog up to chance.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Get your blog SEO optimized by using common search queries throughout your writing. This will move your blog closer to the top of search engine result pages, and make people more likely to read your posts.You can also access the traffic by using website traffic statistics software Google Analytics or the simpler traffic statistics software that should come for free with your hosting account.

  • Guest blogging

Guest posts are the articles, which a blogger writes for some blog/websites other than his/her own blog. Such guest posts have a link-back to the author’s blog, this helps in getting recognition, reader’s attention and search engine’s attention as well. Writing on other’s blogs is a great way to tap into their audience and introduce yourself to new people. Find blogs you enjoy would be able to write great content for.

Monetizing the Blog

The blog is now popular? So how do you make a living out of blogging? A common misconception is that bloggers in India cannot make substantial income via blogging alone. However this is not the case. There are many leading Indian bloggers who are making lakhs of rupees from blogging. So if you have a blog and have not monetized it yet, now is the time! There are a number of things you can do that will help. Here are a few tactics that you can use to monetize your blog:

  1. Be an influencer

Influencer marketing is a new concept that is picking up in India, where brands connect with popular bloggers and influencers who promote products by creating original articles, reviews, videos & social posts to over their followers. With increasing internet penetration and digital spending, influencer marketing is all set to grow in the near future. According to a McKinsey study, marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising, and these customers have a 37% higher retention rate. Bloggers have become important influencers because they are seen as authentic and have loyal followings. When a blogger recommends a product it seems more trustworthy than traditional advertising.  Websites like  influencer.in lets you register as an influencer and be part of their campaigns.

So keeping this in mind, brands are willing to pay influencers to promote their product. There are bloggers who work for free as they are passionate about writing, but there are bloggers charge a huge fee and we most brands are willing to pay for them.

  1. Freelance

If you have a popular blog running for a while now on a particular subject, then a lot of websites, paper or magazines will be willing to let you write for them and pay you for it. Freelancing is a way of earning money through your skills and expertise. For example, if you have a fashion blog that is doing well, you can write for fashion lifestyle websites. You will be amazed at the number of people willing to pay you money for your advice, which you were probably giving out for free until now! To implement this, you can have a landing page on your blog and have a catchy title like “Hire me” for potential recruiters to find you.

  1. Direct ads on your blog

This is a great way to make money out of your blog. How it works is that you get to choose which ad will be displayed on your blog and you also set the price for the ads. In this method advertisers get in touch with you directly to place ads on your blog, thus eliminating the middleman. When a reader click on the ad, you get paid a commission or you can choose to charge a flat fee to the advertisers on a monthly or weekly basis. Advertising networks such as Google AdSense, BuySellAds, TribalFusion, and BlogAds have made it relatively easy for bloggers to monetize their work.

Top Platforms to discover Influencers for your Brand

With the quick rise in demand for Influencer Marketing, there is a need for tools and platforms to aid brands identify the right influencers and engage them. Many platforms have cropped up that either aid you to identify the influencers yourself via a DIY tool or connect you to the right influencers for your brand based on your requirements. Some of them are free while others are either freemium or paid platforms. Let us take a look at the top platforms to discover Influencers for your brand and help you connect and engage them in your marketing campaigns.

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1. Klout

Klout is one of the most well-known tools in the Influencer Discovery and Engagement space. Launched way back in 2008, it analyzes the social network presence of an individual to arrive at Klout score. Last year, the tool was updated to serve as a content curation and content discovery platform for users.

Main features:

  • Research, segment and manage influencer lists
  • Quick overview of the social influencer of your brand’s potential influencers
  • Perks program feature to engage influencers (in Klout for Businesses)
  • Amplify reach via native ads (in Klout for Businesses)
  • Keyword search for influencers, though the functionality is not as advanced as others

2. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a paid tool that offers content marketing plus influencer identification on a single dashboard. Quite useful for content marketing by brands, it allows you insights into what type of content works best in your industry / target audience. There are multiple subscription plans available based on requirements of your brand, with the basic plan starting at $79 per month.

Main features:

  • Topic Search for the most popular content being shared
  • Research and track influencers based on keywords & hashtags
  • Influencers search has an option to segregate influencers based on different profiles like bloggers, journalists, etc.
  • Option to export data(csv/xls) for deeper analysis

3. Kred

Kred is a paid tool for influencer measurement that helps you to identify and engage with influencers based on its Kred Scores. The metrics behind the Kred Scores is more complex in comparison to Klout. The platform provides two types of score- the main Kred Influence Score and the Kred Outreach Score.

Main Features:

  • A more comprehensive scoring system that takes into account all aspectsofinfluencer activities on Twitter to arrive at the synopsis of an Influencer’s influence
    • Kred Influence Score based on followers, retweets, mentions and replies for a profile
    • Kred Outreach Score based on the frequency of the tweet/retweets, replies and mentions
  • Community level influencer filtering like sports, technology, marketing, etc.
  • Additional services like Rewards Service and Email Marketing to engage influencers

4. FollowerWonk

A simple tool from the house of Moz, FollowerWonk is a search engine & analytics tool that focuses exclusively on Twitter for Influencer discovery and tracking. Rich engagement metrics and competitor influencers following are some great insights provided by the tool.

Main features:

  • Twitter Profile Search based on parameters like bio, location, name & url to help you identify influencers based on your requirement
  • Breakdown followers based on Follower count, tweet count and authority
  • Audience Comparison Tool that allows comparison of profiles to check audience overlap and mutually exclusive audience vis-à-vis your competitors
  • Visual infographics and interactive charts for your tweets, followers and RTs
  • Export reports for future reference

5. Keyhole

Keyhole is a freemium Hashtag tracking tool to discover content & influencers associated with an event or campaign on social media. It can pull-out influencer profiles, conversations and top trending content using a particular hashtag.

Main features:

  • Currently available across Twitter & Instagram
  • Detailed insights such as top influencers, recent conversation sources, top links/sites & top posts
  • Easy exporting of any data to your clipboard
  • Additional features like Audience Intelligence Reports for paid subscription users

6. Influencer

Influencer.in is one of the leading influencer marketing platforms with more than 5000 influencers listed on the platform. The platform offers brand influencers across a wide range of categories such as lifestyle, fashion, sports, travel, healthcare, technology, etc.

Main features:

  • Tracking and identifying the right influencers for your brand
  • Campaign ideation and Influencer engagement
  • Customized Campaign Analytics and Tracking reports
  • Content marketing and amplification
  • Strong influencer network for the Indian market

7. Topsy

Topsy is an interesting tool that allows you to track the influencers who are sharing a specific piece of content – it can be your competitors article, link or a tweet. It allows you to pull out all users who share a content relevant to your industry and automatically filter the most influential sharers. It supports upto 10 different languages that includes English, French, German and Spanish.

 

Popular Influencer Marketing Campaigns in India

The latest buzz word in the digital marketing world that is steadily catching up with brands is ‘Influencer Marketing’. Western companies have leveraged this strategy of marketing for the past few years and the trend is quickly catching up with Indian brands as well. Brands in India have actively come up with successful influencer campaigns for the past 2-3 years.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a term that has risen from the realization of brands about the power, peer influence and customer recommendation has over other forms of marketing. Especially in a time, where consumers have started using social media in huge numbers and have been public about their views about brands and products. Brands have realized that people are largely influenced by second-hand information from opinion leaders and this has led to a lot of brands identifying top influencers in their respective fields to try and reach out to consumers better.

Once brands have identified Influencers in their particular domain, it is important that they find a means with which they can connect to them and make them speak about the particular product. The engagement plans have to be well thought out and shouldn’t look too commercial. Here are a few popular influencer marketing campaigns in India, that companies have used to engage and leverage the power and reach of influencers.

  1. Lenovo Yoga 2 tablet – YoGa2bFree

One of the top influencer marketing campaigns in the country came from Lenovo for their Yoga 2 tablet range. Lenovo hired four famous twitter celebrities namely film critic Mihir Fadnavis, gadget guru Ankit Vengurlekar, actor Ashwin Mushran and food blogger Kalyan Karmakar. Rather than using these four influencers to simply do the customary sharing of features of the tablet, they were actually shown being trapped inside a box.

The campaign invited consumers to answer questions and find clues that could help free their favorite Twitterati. Participants who answered all their questions rightly would win a free Yoga Tablet. 

  1. Launch of Cadbury Glow

 A few mid-range twitter influencers along with Bollywood fashion and lifestyle blogger Miss Malini were roped in to promote Cadbury Glow which targeted the super-premium chocolate market. The campaign focused on the key aspect of Cadbury Glow which allowed people to share personalized notes, songs, photo albums and videos along with it.

One of Miss Malini’s friend made a video for her and shared it on twitter which she retweeted bringing in a lot of traction towards the product.

  1. Philips Air Fryer 

Philips had introduced its latest kitchen appliance Air Fryer in 2012 and there were very few who knew its application and use. It allowed deep frying of a variety of food items with 80% less oil consumption. Despite such a huge feature, the Air Fryer remained relatively unknown in the market.

This is where Philips along with its digital agency Ogilvy One roped in Sanjay Thumma who is known for his cookery channel on YouTube called Vahchef. The campaign started a six month long show called “Philips Superchef” that managed to create a lot of awareness amongst consumers.

  1. Colgate Charcoal Toothbrush 

Colgate launched its new SlimSoft Charcoal Toothbrush and decided to bring it into public view using an innovative and unique campaign. The campaign was for 3 days where key influencers targeted by Colgate were sent an item that was completely black in color each day. The first day was a black mug followed by a WhatTheBlack Times newspaper and on the final day the black charcoal toothbrush.

At the same time Colgate also started a #WhatTheBlack contest on Twitter where bloggers and top Twitteratis had to write their top 5 black things without actually revealing anything about the brand or product. This led to a lot of speculation among consumers who came up with a variety of guesses as to what the product was going to be. These two campaigns brought about a great deal of attention to the debut of the Charcoal Toothbrush.

  1. The Madras Song 

The Madras Song was released by the Murugappa Group to celebrate the 375th anniversary of Madras. Murugappa Group teamed up with socialbeat.in and roped in bloggers from diverse fields to blog and talk about the song. The song went viral and within 5 weeks generated almost 2.5 lakhs views.

Twitter hashtags like #FavMadrasMemory and #Madras375 Celebrations were created which turned out to become very popular among Chennaites.

  1. IBuyFresh

IBuyFresh’s campaign to reach out to its audience interested in cooking & recipes online invited influencers to visit their warehouse and blog their experience to help spread the word. The campaign received attention from local bloggers in the respective field and helped a great deal in popularizing the brand among consumers.

  1. Raintree Hotels

Popular luxury hospitality chain Raintree started an interesting influencer campaign to promote their recently renovated hotels. They invited top travel bloggers to stay and share the experience to fellow travel enthusiasts following them. The campaign worked remarkably well in letting people know about the renovation and the various special services offered.

  1. Opera Coast Campaign 

Opera’s latest browser, Opera Coast had features that would change the way people would use a browser in the iOS. The browser was designed without an address bar, forward and backward button and other features that made it completely unique from any conventional browser.

The campaign used kinetic sand which is a soft, stretchy and non-sticky sand that can be used to make innovative shapes. The brand identified a particular set of creative professionals as influencers which included artists, media & ad folks, illusionists, entrepreneurs and musicians. Each of the influencer was sent a surprise package containing kinetic sand and a personal note asking them to spend time making something with the sand.

The influencers pleasantly surprised by the package, shared their experience about the iOS browser and also how they liked the surprise campaign.

  1. Ford India Campaign 

Ford launched Ford Fiesta Powershift Automatic via social media to promote the ‘Real People, Real Experience’ approach. It invited auto enthusiasts in the country to drive the newly launched car and thereby prompted them to share their experience through their respective media.

The event was held in Buddh Racing track in Noida and the track was specially designed for drivers to discover the key features in the car. The list of people included bloggers, businessmen, photographers and designers who were all known to be auto enthusiasts. The campaign drew a lot of attention from people across various social media like Twitter, Facebook etc.

  1. Allen Solly #ShootforSolly 

To promote the brand’s entire chino range, Allen Solly came up with the #ShootforSolly campaign. The brand handpicked 22 people across 7 cities in India consisting of 11 eminent personalities and 11 budding photographers.

The models were asked to pick up a pair of Allen Solly chinos and shirts and then coordinate with the selected photographer for a photo shoot to be planned completely by the model and photographer.

Allen Solly not only managed to make the 22 influencers talk about the campaign, but also created a buzz about the chinos and how they suited different styles and body types.

All these campaigns focused on the essential aspects of Influencer Marketing. They targeted the right influencers and built a campaign that would naturally make influencers directly or indirectly endorse their product. These campaigns are excellent examples of Influencer Marketing done right.

Click here to launch your Influencer Markerting campaign in India

Influencer Marketing–Final nail in coffin for traditional marketing?

Voice of the Brand or Customers?

Social media marketing has brought about a quantum shift in the way marketing is done. It has moved the focus from “The Voice of the Brand” to “The Voice of the Customer”. The balance of power in the purchase funnel is now more skewed towards the customer & his peers, slowly changing the way brands market themselves. Earlier, the entire focus used to be about roping in a brand ambassador and roll out your story. Today, your story is okay but what really matters is the story that’s going on between the millions of bubbles on the social cloud. Add to that, the “bigger bubbles”- the social media influencers, and you are in for a different game altogether.

Word-of-mouth results in 200% sales in comparison to paid advertising

Yes, the above statistic is true, according to a McKinsey study. To delve deeper, they also result in 37% higher retention rate of customers1. Riding this trend of word-of-mouth/recommendation marketing, a form of marketing has gained prominence – Influencer Marketing.

What is Influencer Marketing?

The term “Influencer” in itself can be defined in 10 ways by 10 different people. And, each can be vindicated. A 2014 study by Augure2revealed the following:

  • 79 percent say influencers are able to mobilize opinions and create reactions
  • 73 percent say influencers have large online communities focused on specific topics
  • 62 percent say influencers have a significant share of voice on a given subject

In simple terms, it means shaping the opinions about your brand using the most influential people amidst your potential customers. If you are a brand, you make friends with the most influential people at a place where you want to sell. Now, they talk about your brand and recommend you to their followers (potential customers).

With the explosive growth of social media, the process explained above happens digitally. The influencers talk about your brand on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter or on their blogs, which impacts the purchase decision of their followers.

How do you get to know if he/she is the “right influencer”?

Who knows, he might be! Okay, so a brand wants to engage with influencers to talk about the brand and their product / offerings. But, who to connect with? It can be quite tempting for a brand to connect and partner with an influencer with large number of followers but is “number of followers” the right metric?

Brand Influencer selection is very important step for a brand before jumping in. This has to be dealt with in 2 steps:

1.  Qualitative Filtering

The first step is Qualitative Filtering that allows you to filter out the “Social media influencers” who cannot be “Your Brand Influencer” no matter how many followers they have. The parameters to be considered here are:

  • Content Relevance & Quality – Look at the domain of the influencer and whether the domain matches your brands requirements and the quality of the content being churned out is right for your brand to be associated with. Example- A sports blogger cannot be the right influencer for a packaged food brand)
  • Audience Relevance & Quality – The followers of the influencer might or might not be the audience you are looking out for. Example- If you are a lifestyle brand, targeting a premium audience, then it would pay to target influencers with a similar audience following.

2.      Quantitative Selection

Once you have a shortlist of Influencers you can associate with, comes the next step of finalizing the list of Influencers you would like to reach out to. This can be done based on the following formula:

Influencer Influence = Audience Reach*Audience adhesiveness*Quality Score

Audience reach: calculated by the no. of followers

Quality score: a relative scale of 1-10 for the expertise & credibility of the brand

Audience adhesiveness: Engagement with his audience; can be based on the number of retweets, likes and replies over the period of last 2 months

This approach can provide you a decent shortlist to kick-start the influencer marketing efforts for brand-building and lead generation. There are umpteen case studies that showcase how brands have been able to amplify their marketing efforts. Most importantly, it has not been the case only with the medium/smaller brands but the bigger brands too, are laying focus on influencer partnerships.

Miss Malini makes Cadbury ‘Glow’- a case study!

When Cadbury Glow was launched in India by Mondelez International, it turned to social media influencers to create buzz around the offering. It roped in Miss Malini and other Twitter Influencers to talk about Cadbury Glow, its special features like personalization with notes, songs, photos or videos. For example- Miss Malini’s friend did a video of her and uploaded on Cadbury website. The link was then shared and tweeted by Miss Malini.

Start building influencer relationships before need them – it’s a coin with 2 heads!

Building relationship with influencers and leveraging them, works on a foundation of quality offerings and superior customer experience. In cases of mismatch between expectations and offerings, social media easily amplifies negative sentiments about your brand. This not only puts your brand at stake, but also marginalizes the credibility of the influencers associated. It is possible for some brands that at this point you may not require influencer marketing. But, as the proverb goes – you don’t dig a well when you are thirsty. Drawing an analogy, this is the time to build a strong influencer network. Moreover, influencer partnerships act as a validator for your own content marketing campaigns. So you see it’s not a zero-sum game. One of the few ones that give you a win-win hand! Whether this rings the death bells for traditional marketing, only time will, tell but what’s for sure is that marketing shall never be the same again.

References:

  1. http://tribalmedia.co.uk/blog/2015-online-influencer-trends/
  2. http://www.augure.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Influencers-marketing-Report-2014-Augure.pdf

 

Social Beat Influencers & Bloggers Meet in Chennai

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Riding on the social media wave, #Influencer #Marketing has emerged as the next big thing. We have also recently launched our new initiative for Influencer Marketing in India which can be seen at www.influencer.in. In this context, the Social Beat Influencers’s Meet was held at the Hotel Vestin Park today. The guest list included content marketing experts, bloggers and social media influencers, as follows:

  • Mr. Rajasekar, Head – Content & Social Media marketing, Bharat Matrimony
  • Naveena Vijayan, Sub-editor, The New Indian Express
  • Sarath Babu, Twitter Influencer & Blogger
  • Shrinidhi Hande, Travel & Lifestyle Blogger
  • Pari Vasisht, Food & Home Blogger
  • Balaji Vijayaraghavan, Co-founder, Insightz Media Pvt. Ltd.

The agenda revolved around content marketing, its evolution and future trends. The key discussion points that came up for discussion are briefly mentioned as follows:

  • Content Strategy for blogs: With content marketing driving businesses, brands who haven’t taken to blogging as a marketing medium are missing out. According to Mr. Rajasekar, Head of Content Marketing at Bharat Matrimony – blogging by brands should not just revolve around lead generation in the short-term. The blog strategy should have a 360-degree approach whereby they should look at brand-building as well as providing relevant information to the readers who can be their future customers. This is a long-term strategy that can yield multi-fold returns for their efforts.
  • Key goal of influencers: The influencers need to develop a niche for themselves in their area of  interest, like lifestyle, travel, etc. Apart from various monetization opportunities, it also gives them a chance to establish themselves as an industry or domain expert.
  • Monetization of blogs: If you have an excellent blog, then you can look forward to monetizing it easily via various ways like collaboration with brands and Google AdSense. Google AdSense is an advertising program that works based on relevant content targeting. For example, in case a food blogger activates the AdSense program, then ads related to restaurants, food, etc. shows up next to the blog posts.
  • Freedom of speech working with brands: The freedom of speech issue discussed was one of the key points discussed. When bloggers work for brands, there is an important question involved – while reviewing a product, a blogger has a responsibility towards his readers but when one is paid by the brands on the other side to review the product, do you have the freedom to write about the cons? What should be done in such a case of conflict in interest? The panel was of the view that it’s ultimately the readers who should be the priority in the above scenario, as they have a responsibility towards their followers.
  • Creating the DNA in organizations to take user feedback from social media and implement policies: When brands go online, it is a double-edged sword. While it makes it easier for brands to reach their customers, it also opens an easy way for their customers to share their feedback in the public space. While good feedback is welcome, but negative feedback is dreaded by many brands. The discussion brought about an important aspect that it’s not the negative feedback that matters, but how you handle them. The organization’s DNA should have the ability to quickly handle negative feedback and improve the organization. Once a negative feedback is addressed appropriately, the now-converted happy customers will be the biggest brand ambassadors for their brand.

The meet ended on an enthusiastic note with demand for more such events in Chennai. We are equally excited about the next Influencer meet. Watch this space for more updates.

 

Top lifestyle bloggers in Chennai

Firstly, thanks for the positive response to our article on top digital marketing courses and top venue booking websites in India. Now, we have come out with the list of top lifestyle bloggers in Chennai, as part of our series on top bloggers & influencers in India. So, here goes the list, in no specific order:

 

mADHU

Blog: http://theurgetowander.com/

This blog, aimed at individual travelers, inspires you to cut your strings holding you back and go out exploring. A great array of experiences and cultural perspectives from her travel. The visual aesthetics of the blog is worth mentioning. The lines – “Come wander with me”, aptly describe the essence of the blog.

Srinidhi

Blog: http://www.enidhi.net/

This blog has existed for more than 8 years now and has a good following. It has posts on a wide spectrum of topics ranging from travel, product/service reviews, event coverage and print media articles. The product / services review section is a good catch, with lots of details available for each review on autos to services.

Naveena

Blog: http://naveenavijayan.wordpress.com/

Her blog talks about a whole spectrum of things under the sun ranging from lifestyle to health and environment. Her style of writing is unique with well-articulated thoughts put down. A tinge of poetic fervor is apparent in her writings.

Vinod

Blog: http://citychennai.wordpress.com/

It’s easy to find blogs that go gaga over Chennai or blogs that lie at the opposite end of the spectrum. One of the rare blogs to find that talks about all facets of the emotion called Madras. As the title goes – Good, Bad & Ugly Chennai, is an excellent read for someone who wants to learn about life in Chennai.

Shantaram

Blog: http://chennaimadras.blogspot.in/

This would give you a chance to peek into the soul of “the Queen of Coromandel”. A unique thing about this blog is that one Chennai photo is posted daily here.

ashwini

Blog: http://ash-aqua-girl.blogspot.in/2012/04/chennai-bloggers.html

An excellent blog to read everything “Wow” about Singara Chennai.

abhirami

Blog: http://am-howtonameit.blogspot.in/

An ex-journalist, her blog talks about the life and times of Chennai. Her reviews of simple aspects of Chennai life like an auto-rickshaw ride, make for an interesting read.