Digital marketing is still a buzz word in Pakistan, every company and agency is trying to find ways to make their digital footprints stronger. But are they doing it the right way? Well, that’s a debatable topic and can consume hours to come to a unified conclusion. I still remember the time when huge brands used to flaunt that they don’t need digital marketing in Pakistan as their audience is fine with traditional marketing and it’s a sheer waste to invest both time and resource in digital. And today same businesses are on their toes to get spotlight on digital platforms. Adaptability is the key.
Over the last 10 years I have witnessed many changes, both good and bad, in the field of digital marketing in Pakistan. Don’t take me wrong when I mention ‘bad changes’ as they aren’t properly planned and executed, and at times don’t even fall under digital marketing practices which should be followed. They are followed because agencies or professionals don’t know the other way out on digital sphere. The interesting thing is that the speedy growth in digital marketing has been observed over the past decade. The field is becoming cutting-edge, detailed and for some complicated too. The current buzz-word in digital marketing is Influencer Marketing. Brands are keen to hire influencers to promote their products, services and the King i.e. “Content”.
Before digging deeper to find out how to find niche specific influencers, it is crucial to understand why influencer marketing is needed at all;
Why Influencer Marketing?
Through influencers, businesses get a set audience with much ease. Every influencer has an audience which follows them religiously. Brands take influencers on board to promote their services or products in a way that the tone doesn’t look so very salesy and this creates an impact, a much greater impact on their followers. What else makes influencers ‘go-to’ people for brands? Well, influencers from a community are respected for their dedication in respective niche, authoritative tone and informative content which they produce on regular basis. Brands smartly utilize influencers’ networks to get extra mileage – by creating a win-win situation for both. So, what does an influencer bring? ‘CARD’ i.e.
- Reach and
What To Look In An Influencer?
Today, in Pakistan, every one claims to be an influencer; those who are active on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with a massive following of tens of thousands consider them as influencer. Or at least that is how they portray them in front of brands and digital agencies in Pakistan. But the question arises, “How would a brand know if anyone with massive following on social media platform is actually an influencer?” The most simple and easy way to find this out is to ask their specific niche. I am sure more than 70% of the lot will share more than 5 to 7 niche – and that’s where you will get your answer. In the game of influencer marketing relevance and niche play essential roles. To make is easier, an influencer has to have PUNK factor in them.
- Passion: The knack of passion for the subject and field is a must. If you are looking for an influencer to promote a film then that influencer should have innate PASSION for films and breathes the subject with command and authority over it.
- Understanding: Passion makes people impulsive and emotional, but understanding gives passion a balance. Understanding of the field, subject and topic makes an influencer sound in sharing their ideas and content very carefully.
- Native: Creating native content is in demand these days. The content is primarily created for the audience keeping the tone, content curation style and relevance in focus.
- Knowledge: Knowledge beats everything. Influencers are influencers because they possess knowledge related to their field of expertise. Look out for influencers who bring in knowledge and based on that can take your brand to another level.
One question which many ask me when discussing influencer marketing is that how to find relevant profiles for influencer marketing? The answer is simple i.e.
“Go For Relevance”
But to achieve this simple answer one has to do a lot of homework, planning and lastly execution which require a lot of detailing and focused thought processing. Following are just a few steps which brands or agencies should take before finalizing influencers for their marketing and promotional campaigns.
1 – Use the power of keywords/hashtags:
Before the creation of Hashtags on Twitters, Keywords on Google used to play a significant tool in finding the right influencer. Even today if you use both i.e. Hashtags (on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn) and Keywords (on Google search) you will get an immense data of profiles against the relevant terms. This is one of the simplest ways to create an initial list of influencers followed by next step.
2 – Be judgmental – based on content creation:
Now that you have a rough list of all the possible influencers, it’s time to carry out a quick scrutiny and profile analysis by finding out what sort of content they produce (and whether they produce any content or just share others’ content). If they create their content on regular and frequent basis on the relevant field and topic, it’s great; if not, you can think about skipping them as they don’t fall under the category of content creators which means they lack their own voice. Retweeting others, sharing others’ statuses and liking others’ posts and not having one’s own voice don’t make anyone an influencer. Short list the ones who create content frequently.
3 – Engagement rate calculation:
Now find out what sort of engagement they are getting on social media or on blogs against their posts and content. If they are getting retweets, shares and replies or comments on their posts it means that they are good fit for your brands’ promotions as they can drive discussions and create engagement with their audience which might possibly turn out as your customers (but this isn’t 100% guaranteed – as social media marketing is not sales).
4 – Character & Credibility:
Analyzing the content and finding out what sort of responses influencers’ posts are getting is very crucial. An influencer with credibility and positive character mostly receives good responses and their followers create a healthy dialogue with them. A credible and reputed (unbiased) influencer is a feather in cap for the brand.
5 – Published or not?
The problem with detailed wordy posts shared on social media platforms is that they don’t most appear in search engines and we all know how critical search engines are for businesses. This is why it is significant to find influencers who are published i.e. those who write for online publications and blogs with greater domain authority and are skilled in back-linking. Published blogs and content amplify the reach and search-ability for brands which benefit them in longer run.
6 – Create a list of influencers:
Now that you have shortlisted influencers from a master list based on relevance, keywords, niche, content creation, engagement, followers, publications and authenticity you have a list of the best fit of influencers for carrying out marketing campaign.
Connect with influencers:
Create a win-win:
Brands need to be very cautious about selecting influencers for influencer marketing in Pakistan. It has been observed that a few brands in the past had taken influencers on board who didn’t suit the brand persona and failed to resonate brands’ image. For instance a brand once sponsored a Pakistani film (in 2017) where more than 25+ influencers were taken on board as film reviewers but the interesting part was that none out of 25 knew anything about Pakistani films, the kind of content which rolled out was nothing but a reason to laugh for those who knew about the product and Pakistani movies’ history. This is one of the examples how brands, and at times agencies, ruin the campaign as well as the brand image by neglecting the essentials of brand identity.