How are influencers driving value for brands?

Influencers are key opinion leaders (KOLs) that have become an integral part of many ' digital marketing strategies. Brands are turning to these media gurus to put products and services in their target audience's eye-line.

Why influencers? Well, they can be a highly effective means of connecting with a unique audience that are engaged and, well influenced, by the content they are consuming. Ultimately, while TV advertising and online banners may be falling on deaf ears or embroiled in debates over privacy, influencers are trusted by their followers.

The influencer marketing landscape has matured over the last few years, however. Now, the market is saturated, but that offers brands more options when it comes to choosing the right KOLs to work with, allowing them to tap into a more diverse audience pool — not just those with the biggest reach.

That's all well and good, but how can brands ensure that influencers deliver value to the business in practice?

Industry expert and Head of Marketing Ausha Segaren told TechNews that it is key that brands thoroughly evaluate and assess the quality of influencers in the market before leveraging them as the brand's voice on social media platforms.

Looking at their previous posts, how they interact with their followers, and the general impact they have created so far can help brands lead marketing with better decisions.

For one, it is important for brands to invest in influencers that are relevant to the respective industry. Having influencers that do not resonate with the content of your brand would not only result in minimal impact, but it will also leave unfavorable impressions on the audience.

Segaren, who oversees brands like Celebrity Fitness, Chi Fitness, GoFit and Fitness First Malaysia, revealed that her teams regularly engage with influencers to touch base on their marketing progress.

She also touched on how influencer management and relationships matter. Brands need to ensure that they build a solid relationship with their influencers and provide them with all the necessary access to the products or services.

In other words, empowering influencers with brands' perks is worth the investment as it allows them to curate better marketing content on their social media pages later on. But they must also ensure there is authentic belief and passion in the products they are featuring on their channels.

“We perform audits from time to time, so if we find that their goals or motivation have changed over the years, we also consider shifting them to another brand within our portfolio that may suit them better,” said Segaren.

For those working in the fitness brands under Segaren's watch, interestingly, many of them are influencers themselves: “We're in a really unique position in that many of our group fitness instructors command a legion of fans, and are therefore influencers in their own right.

“They are a big part of our marketing strategy and have a positive effect when it comes to brand awareness and creating close engagement with our members and prospects alike,” she explained.

In short, influencer marketing is becoming a critical arm of marketing for brands to connect with a new generation of users, especially for those looking to explore new business opportunities. However, brands need to always be tactical before investing in any influencers and make sure that they build contracts that can motivate influencers to drive value consistently.

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