I got an interesting request a few months back, from a new client I was consulting for. He had received a proposal from a social media influencer promising to promote his brand at a fee.
Naturally, my first question was what deliverables were my client being promised?. So I requested to see his contract, I got it and reviewed it. It was very scanty on any results to expect if any. It seemed both the influencer and the one being sold the service did not understand what to promise or what to expect.
So, today, I will walk you through these two aspects.
First things first, let’s break down who an influencer is.
So, Who is A Social Media Influencer?
According to January 2021, We Are Social report, 3.96 billion people use social media worldwide, according to platform reports on the current number of active users. This is equivalent to 58.11% of the world’s population is active on social media, and the numbers will keep rising.
Inevitably, people on social media look up to influencers on social media to guide them with their decision making.
Influencers in social media are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. They make regular posts about that topic on their preferred social media channels and generate large followings of enthusiastic, engaged people who pay close attention to their views.
Brands love social media influencers because they can create trends and encourage their followers to buy products or services that they promote.
In Kenya however, the above definition does not translate 100%, like the Kenyan saying, “kwa ground vitu ni different”. In loose translation, a social media influencer in Kenya is simply someone with a considerably large following on the chosen social media accounts, regardless of the reason for such followership.
Types of Influencers
You can separate different types of influencers in multiple ways. Some of the most common methods are by follower numbers, by types of content, and by the level of influence. You can also group influencers by the niche in which they operate. This means that influencers who may appear in a low category by one measure may seem more influential when looked at in another way. For example, many mega-influencers are also celebrities. Yet both these groups often have a less real influence on their audience because they lack expertise in a dedicated narrow niche. Some micro and even nano-influencers can have a tremendous impact on followers in their specialist niche. They may be of significant benefit to a firm selling a product targeting that sector.
By Follower Numbers
Mega-Influencers Mega influencers are the people with a vast number of followers on their social networks. Although there are no fixed rules on the boundaries between the different types of followers, a common view is that mega-influencers have more than 1 million followers on at least one social platform.
Many mega-influencers are celebrities who have gained their fame offline – movie stars, sportspeople, musicians, and even reality television stars. Some mega-influencers have gained their vast followings through their online and social activities, however.
Only major brands should approach mega-influencers for influencer marketing, however. Their services will be costly, up to $1 million per post, and they will most likely be extremely fussy about with whom they choose to partner. In virtually every case, mega-influencers will have agents working on their behalf to make any marketing deals.
Macro-Influencers Macro-influencers are one step down from the mega-influencers, and maybe more accessible as influencer marketers. You would consider people with followers in the range between 40,000 and 1 million followers on a social network to be macro-influencers.
This group tends to consists of two types of people. They are either B-grade celebrities, who haven’t yet made it to the big time. Or they are successful online experts, who have built up more significant followings than the typical micro-influencers. The latter type of macro-influencer is likely to be more useful for firms engaging in influencer marketing.
Macro-influencers generally have a high profile and can be excellent at raising awareness. There are more macro-influencers than mega-influencers, so it should be easier for a brand to find a macro-influencer willing to work with them. They are also more likely to be used to working with brands than micro-influencers, making communication easier.
However, you do need to be careful with this level of influencer. This is the category most likely to engage in influencer fraud – some have only reached their position thanks to the followers they have purchased.
Micro-Influencers Micro-influencers are ordinary everyday people who have become known for their knowledge about some specialist niche. As such, they have usually gained a sizable social media following amongst devotees of that niche. Of course, it is not just the number of followers that indicates a level of influence; it is the relationship and interaction that a micro-influencer has with his or her followers.
Although views differ, you could consider micro-influencers as having between 1,000 and 40,000 followers on a single social platform.
A micro-influencer may not be aware of the existence of a company before that company tries to reach out to him or her. If that is the case, the company will have first to convince the influencer of its worth. Micro-influencers have built up specialist followings, and they will not want to harm their relationship with their fans if they are seen to promote a lemon.
This requirement for the relationship between micro-influencers and brands to align with target audiences means that influencers are often picky about with whom they work. Some micro-influencers are happy to promote a brand for free. Others will expect some form of payment. Regardless of the price, any influencer is unlikely to want involvement with an “inappropriate” brand for their audience.
The nature of influence is changing. Micro-influencers are becoming more common and more famous. Some have risen from virtual obscurity to being nearly as well known as traditional celebrities. This is particularly the case for Generation Z, who spend more time on the internet than watching television or going to sports or movies.
In all reality, micro-influencers are the influencers of the future. The internet has led to the fragmentation of the media into many small niche topics. Even if you are into something relatively obscure, you are likely to find a Facebook group or Pinterest board devoted to it. And it is in these niche groups and boards that micro-influencers establish themselves as genuine influencers.
Nano-Influencers The newest influencer-type to gain recognition is the nano-influencer. These people only have a small number of followers, but they tend to be experts in an obscure or highly specialized field. You can think of nano-influencers as being the proverbial big fish in a small pond. In many cases, they have fewer than 1,000 followers – but they will be keen and interested followers, willing to engage with the nano-influencer, and listen to his/her opinions.
While many brands would consider nano-influencers as being inconsequential, they can be of extreme importance to firms who make highly specialized and niche products.
For most firms, however, nano-influencers probably lack sufficient influence to be of much use. They may be cheap and carry tremendous sway with a small number of people, but in most niches, you would need to work with hundreds of nano-influencers to reach a broad audience.
By Level of Influence
Celebrities Celebrities were the original influencers, and they still have a role to play, although their importance as influencers is waning.
Influencer marketing grew out of celebrity endorsement. Businesses have found for many years that their sales usually rise when a celebrity promotes or endorses their product. There are still many cases of companies, particularly high-end brands, using celebrities as influencers.
The problem for most brands is that there are only so many traditional celebrities willing to participate in this kind of influencer campaign, and they are unlikely to come cheaply. The exception will if a firm makes a product that a celebrity already likes and uses. In that situation, the celebrity may well be prepared to use his or her influence to say how good he/she believes the product to be. I am sure many musical instrument producers benefit from musicians playing their instruments by choice.
One problem with using celebrities as influencers is if they may lack credibility with a product’s target audience. Justin Bieber may be highly influential if he recommended a type of acne cream, but would have little chance of influencing the buying patterns of those looking for a retirement village.
Celebrities may have many fans and gigantic social media followings. However, it is debatable exactly how much real influence they hold over those who follow them.
Industry experts and thought leaders such as journalists can also be considered influencers and hold an important position for brands.
Industry leaders and thought leaders gain respect because of their qualifications, position, or experience about their topic of expertise. Often, this respect is earned more because of the reputation of where they work. For instance, a journalist at a major newspaper is probably no expert on the subjects he writes a news report on, but he is respected for being a good enough writer to work as such a prestigious publication.
These experts include:
- Industry experts
- Professional advisors
If you can gain the attention of a journalist in a national newspaper, who in turn talks positively about your company in an article, then you are using him or her as an influencer in much the same way as you would a blogger or a social media influencer. There is a bonus in this situation in that the journalist will most probably write his/her report for free.
Bloggers and content creators often work with industry leaders and thought leaders, and it is not uncommon to see them quoted in blog posts and even used in social media campaigns. The line between traditional media and social media is blurring.
One thing to be aware of when working with key opinion leaders is that many have built up their reputation in an offline setting and may not have a large or active social following.
People with Above Average Influence on Their Audience In many ways, the best influencers have built their reputation online for being an expert in some particular niche. They are similar to key opinion leaders but usually have gained their reputation more informally through their online activity. And they have created that reputation through the quality of the social posts they make, the blog posts they write, the podcasts they speak, and the videos they craft and post on their YouTube channels.
Although nobody has yet created a generic term for these people, the British agency, PMYB, has come up with their trade-marked name – Chromo-Influencers™ . These are the agency’s highest-performing influencers, based on 46 crucial factors that impact consumer behavior.
These influencers have the best communication skills and engagement with their audience. They have enticed their followers and become recognized as experts in their field.
Their follower numbers very much depend on their subject of expertise. However, you will find that these people have incredibly high followings in comparison to others in their niche.
How many followers does one need to have to be called an influencer?
The number of followers needed to be an influencer very much depends on the niche in which they operate. Mega influencers have many followers on their social networks, often more than 1 million followers on a platform. People with followers in the range between 40,000 and 1 million followers on a social network are macro-influencers. Most influencers are micro-influencers with between 1,000 and 40,000 followers. In really specialist niches, you have nano-influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers.
Now that we know who social media influencers are, let’s talk about what they can do for a business.
How Can A Social Media Influencer Benefit My Business?
Social media influencers have niches, in developed markets. In Kenya however, most of the social media influencers are mostly celebrities. And thus, it is not very easy to classify their followers in product niche-specific terms.
Depending on their level of influence, they can generate sales for your business by recommending or endorsing your product/service to their followers. It is then up to your business to convert this interest into sales. This can be done by offering promo codes, special offers, and specific links for their audience to use to enjoy a tailored service or product.
How Do I Choose A Social Media Influencer?
There is, a simple way to determine if a social media influencer will be a good fit for your business. Influencers are people and they have personalities and stories. Look for one whose personal brand and image will blend well with your business brand. Ask the influencer the following questions;
- Is there for my business to gain new clientele in their followership?
- I’m I comfortable having my brand associated with the social media influencer?
- Have they ever marketed another brand similar to mine successfully?
- Do they have an existing contract(s) with my competitors that will limit what they can do for my brand?.
The goal is to establish the approximate size of the audience you will access when using their platforms to push your brand. If the answer to the last question is yes, you might be better off looking for a different social media influencer in Kenya.
When I Hire Social Media Influencer, How Will I know If I Got any Benefit?
It always boils down to the numbers, and numbers never lie. There has to be a way to measure the value a social media influence brings to your business. Here is what to look for;
- Sales – How much revenue did they generate for your business?. To hack this give them a specific referral link or code to use with the clients they send your way.
- How much brand growth did they give your business?. Mesure the growth in followers on your socials, traffic to your website from their platforms etc.
- The longevity of the content they create around your brand. How many times will they mention you? Do they also share the content via other platforms like email marketing? Will the videos remain on the platforms for posterity? Are you allowed to resue them?
And finally to the big question.
Does Social Media Influencer Marketing Work in Kenya?
The answer is yes it does. If you match their niche to your brand and measure.
The client I mentioned at the start of this blog got very good returns from his investment. I helped him craft a good contract and put in place ways to measure his return on investment.
I can do the same for your business, just reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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