As any entrepreneur or business owner knows, peer to peer marketing is the ultimate marriage between the consumer and the product. Increasingly sophisticated digital techniques mean getting the ‘ message across’ is easier than ever for brands to fuse creativity and budget.
‘Influencer marketing’ is widely acknowledged to be the fastest growing marketing segment growing 90x since 2013 globally. Its success is due to the rapid adoption of ad-blocking by consumers and evidence of “banner blindness” to traditional display advertising. This consumer disaffection with traditional marketing is coupled with a desire for more authentic experiences and messaging means that digital influencers are increasingly being called on to help bridge the trust gap between brands and their customers.
According to the New Yorker, the Middle East is the fastest growing new market for ‘ influencer’ strategy and execution. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are seeing a formalisation of influencer outreach as a business tool – cementing the need for transparency, measurement and success rates across the region.
Confirming this, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has ordered the launch of a new club for Arab social media influencers, In line with the second Arab Social Media Influencers Summit (ASMIS), held in December 2016, the new club will provide a new platform to enhance the role and contribution of influencers in the development of their Arab communities. The club will also aim to encourage innovation and creativity in the different fields that influencers undertake, who can in return transfer this innovation to their followers on social networks.
Barbara Soltysinska is he founder of www.indaHash.com a platform that connects brands with influencers via it’s automated portal. indaHash works only with carefully screened influencers with social media following between one and twenty thousand followers.
“ We call influencers within this tier of following our ‘ power users’ – we know that at this level, consumers are really engaging with these content creators and trust their recommendations more authentically than those of ‘ superstar’, whether it be reviews of restaurants, clothing, beauty products or events, business can see a direct ROI on their efforts within this market by using a platform such as ours” says Soltysinska
Recent UAE based research by BPG Cohn & Wolf states that as many as 71% of consumers would be interested in buying from a brand if endorsed by an influencer. Beauty bloggers appear particularly popular with 63% of consumers influenced in purchase decisions by them.
“ With indaHash, a brand can upload a campaign, set budget and within hours can start to see the incoming results. Influencers can accept a project and fee and begin to share their sponsored content immediately. Results are clear for the brands and can be analysed within hours” continues Soltysinska.
More than 30 social media influencers and organisations were awarded on the opening day of ASMIS. The awards were split into two categories, one for individuals, and another for institutions who have made a positive impact on the development and prosperity of their communities, while contributing to the progress and development of people.
This re-inforces the maturity of the UAE market and an opportunity for CSR to embrace influencer marketing as an advantageous way to embrace positive initiatives across Governmental departments as well as commercial organisations.
The very first regional campaign for indaHash was on behalf of Dubai Tourism, which launched at the beginning of December. The campaign, fully ‘ booked’ within 48 hours was conducted across 6 markets (USA, Australia, Canada, Singapore, India and the UK) and promotes Dubai as a centre of luxury, culture and inspiration. The indaHash influencer campaign supports other promotional activity by top Bollywood Star Shah Rukh Khan. indaHash influencers post videos on their social feed promoting Dubai as a destination and recommending to their followers.
With a combination of Government support, new platforms and measurement tools available – embracing influencer marketing is a strategy ‘ must do’ for 2017