It is incredible how the human mind can get influenced in innumerable ways without even having the option to consent. Marketers worldwide rack their brains over deciphering unique and seamless ways to steer your thoughts in the direction they want. Influential people like entertainers, sportspersons, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, etc., are tools for achieving this mastery over the audience’s mind with the help of digital platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. Such individuals have an online audience of thousands or even millions of users, making it perfectly sensible for brands to leverage this influence to position themselves the way they want.
Let us look at the journeys of the most influential people in the world who collaborate with brands, giving them access to their massive followership.
• Influencer: Dr. Tanaya, aka Dr. Cuterus, is an award-winning trained doctor who aims to break all taboos related to menstrual health and sex education in India. With a followership of a whopping million on Instagram, she influences millennials and gen Z to discard myths about their bodies. She encourages youth to explore their preferences without any hesitation.
Collaborations: She collaborated with Penguin India and Shelfebook to launch her book “Everything Nobody Tells You About Your Body” through online marketing campaigns and meet & greet sessions at various bookstores.
• Influencer: Tanmay Bhat is a multi-faceted Indian Youtuber, comedian, scriptwriter, performer and producer. He has an enormous fandom of subscribers who receive entertainment as well as financial advice from his streams on Youtube. Because of his diverse followership, he collaborates with countless brands who sponsor his videos and get a shout-out from him in his Youtube videos.
Collaborations: With excellent comic timing, Tanmay has marketed for brands like KFC India, Britannia, Flipkart, Spotify India and many more. Comedians like Ajey Nagar, Bhuvan Bam Kusha Kapila, Dolly Singh, Ankush Bahuguna and Gaurav Kapoor follow the same trend of posting content sponsored by brands.
• Influencer: Komal Pandey and Kritika Khurana top the list of Indian fashion influencers, followed by Roshni Bhatia, Isha Borah, Anthony O. Gomez, Somya Gupta, Malvika Sitlani, and Siddharth Batra, among others. As a fashion video coordinator and comedian, Komal started appearing in Popxo’s YouTube videos. People started loving her features in Popxo’s videos which encouraged her to quit her job to set up her own YouTube channel. Today, with an Instagram following of 1.8 million users, she stands as the most followed Indian fashion blogger. This was how the fashion blogger was born.
Collaborations: She has collaborated with numerous brands like Swarovski, Myntra Fashion, Fab Alley, Loreal Paris, Vaseline, Colgate and many others.
• Influencer: Gaurav Chaudhary, aka Technical Guruji, is by far the most trusted tech advisor for India’s netizens. He started building his influence in the minds of audiences with YouTube videos in which he reviewed the latest technological advancements and products.
Collaborations: Today, he has successfully collaborated with the biggest names in the tech industry, like PlayStation, Apple, Snapdragon and more. He was also among the select influencers invited by Consumer Technology Association for the CES Summit 2023 in Dubai.
These were some examples of influencers using their impact for brands. However, because online influencer marketing has become a common practice now, audiences have become skeptical about who to trust. It is difficult to believe in the authenticity of the word an influencer puts in for a brand because it could very well be just for business.
To solve this problem, one of the ways brands adopt is to keep collaborations private. They want influencers to make their content precisely as they would typically do – entertain, educate, encourage – just make the brand a part of your routine. For example, a brand collaborating with a podcaster would want the influencer to converse with guests just like they do. Instead of shooting a podcast that solely revolves around the brand, the key here would be to identify a link between any topic being discussed on the podcast and the brand to seamlessly spark a conversation about the brand, making it look like a genuine conversation taking its natural course.
As profitable as this engagement with influencers is, it also involves the risk of being misunderstood or being classified as just another advert only to be overlooked. The way to build this gap is strategically planning the online influencer marketing campaign with experts.
Following are some tips to successfully maximize your impact on the audiences of an influencer:
Eyes on the prize – It is always a good idea to have a goal in mind and work your way backward. Your goal could be to build awareness, strengthen your image, boost engagements or improve conversions or all of them. The important thing is to have clarity regarding what you want to achieve.
What are the stakes? – You could choose to pay influencers in product or engage with them over monetary compensation. There is no such thing as a small budget. A nano influencer (less than 10k followers) has a genuine and dedicated follower base compared to a top-tier influencer whose followers’ interest tends to get diluted with the increase in popularity. The key is to be able to track the ROI no matter what size of budget you choose to have for the project.
Finding a match – This aspect can be likened to determining your reach for a campaign. The size of an influencer’s follower base determines how much of a new audience you can unlock. Also, keep in mind to carefully study the composition of the audience. For example, collaborating with an Australian influencer won’t make sense if you’re an Indian brand shipping only within the country.
Get creative – Brainstorm with the influencer to create content that highlights your brand without making it obvious. The influencer doesn’t necessarily have to be within the same industry as yours as long as their audience qualifies as potential prospects. The freshness of content can be mutually beneficial.
No two industries and no two brands are the same. Neither is the impact of any marketing activity. However, trying to see what works for your niche is a good idea. Establishing credibility and genuine authority in the audience’s minds has an alternative route. You don’t have to start building your impact from scratch. Instead, influence through influencers.
Mallika Dhupar is an Account Manager with WeYou Partners and specializes in brand strategy and positioning.