What are the business benefits of working with social media influencers?
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What are the business benefits of working with social media influencers?

What are the business benefits of working with social media influencers?

The first important step is to identify influencers within your industry and narrow this down to those with an audience similar to your own

Influencer Marketing

With Dubai widely regarded as the global hub of influencer culture, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and marketing professionals in the region are uniquely positioned to leverage the economic benefits of influencer marketing.

Spanning almost every market you can think of ranging from video games to cosmetic surgery, social media influencers now play a powerful role in both consumer culture and marketing. When it comes to global reach, the numbers speak for themselves.

A study in 2021 revealed that over 65 per cent of Instagram influencers had between 5,000 and 20,000 followers in the UAE. A further 21 per cent had between 20,000 and 100,0000 followers. For that reason, top influencers command a premium per post. Take Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, for example. In 2020, he had around 187 million followers and was able to charge more than $1m per Instagram post.

As any marketer will tell you, bringing leads into the funnel relies on delivering the right message to the right people at the right time. Tapping into a deep and loyal social network gives your product or service a wider, more authentic social reach.

Depending on your offering, it can also help your business to make inroads into a particular niche and grow your influence and credibility. As your company or brand becomes better positioned within that niche, so does the opportunity and potential for peer-to-peer sharing of your content, with existing customers or prospects spreading the word for you. What that means is that with the right influencer in place, your brand is not just reaching their followers, but their followers’ followers.

Whilst you may not yet be in a position to hire ‘The Rock’, tapping into the lucrative world of social media influencers is an important marketing strategy for ambitious businesses looking for new leads and strong growth.

The definition
An influencer is someone, typically a content creator, with the power to influence others. Influencer marketing is a form of branded content, in which your brand pays for promotion by a content creator. One of the earliest forms of influencer marketing was products with celebrity endorsement. These days it’s a bit more complicated than that.

In the age of social media, content creators typically build niche audiences and cultivate groups of followers who are actively engaged in consuming their content. This is a valuable resource for brands looking to reach out to audiences who share the same values, and are ultimately an ideal match for your product or service.

An influencer is seen as an expert and an educator within their particular field who has gained a large following on social media. Having gained the trust of their following, these influencers hold considerable sway – especially when it comes to new trends and decision-making. When you hire a social influencer, you’re effectively buying their influence on social media platforms.

From a sales and marketing perspective, if you go after everyone, you’ll get no one. Whilst celebrities like Kylie Jenner might have millions of followers, they’re likely to work exclusively with major brands. They may have vast followings as a result of their fame in fields such as music, movies and sport, but it’s an expensive scattergun approach. In effect, their influence is less effective because it’s broader.

That’s where the value of niche social media influencers comes in. Influencers established within more niche markets may have fewer followers, but they command greater influence within that niche – meaning their followers are more likely to take action as a result of their advice. For that reason, it’s important that the influencer is the right fit for your industry.

Different types of influencers
When it comes to the different types of influencers, they’re essentially categorised by their follower numbers, their preferred social media channels (such as Instagram or TikTok), or the type of content they create (like blogs or short videos).

  • Nano-influencers are people with small numbers of followers, typically less than 1,000. They tend to be experts in very obscure or specialised fields and exert a powerful circle of influence within their niche. If that’s a niche you’re in, then that’s great. Otherwise, you may need to work with multiple nano-influencers to reach beyond a very specific target group.
  • Micro-influencers tend to be everyday people with established expertise within a niche. They have cultivated a loyal following of between 1,000 and 4,000 followers, with whom they have become a trusted expert in a specific area. Often when this type of influencer is approached by companies to promote their products or services, they’ll need careful handling as they’ll be conscious of the impact.
  • Macro-influencers are generally less well-known celebrities who are potentially more accessible than mega-influencers. This category also includes online experts who have attracted a following of between 40,000 to 1 million. Their high-profile and plentiful supply means you should be able to find a good match for your brand. And when it comes to working with brands, they’re likely to be savvier than micro-influencers.
  • Mega-influencers are the Ronaldos, the Rocks, and the Kardashians of this world with millions of followers and a celebrity background in something other than being an influencer. They tend to work with equally big brands and their own product lines.

Getting started with influencer marketing
Like any competitive market, increased demand for top influencers means not only can they command higher prices but, depending on your industry, it can be challenging to narrow down suitable candidates for your company.

The first important step is to identify influencers within your industry and narrow this down to those with an audience similar to your own. Once you’ve identified potential influencers, it’s time to build a relationship with them. Comment on their content or engage with them before inviting them to collaborate. There are different ways to connect with influencers. Here are a few tried and tested approaches:

  • Post on your influencer’s website or invite them to post on yours.
  • Push them free products or services in exchange for a review, which can be published across multiple social channels.
  • Pay influential bloggers in your niche to write a blog or article for your company website, and promote it on social media

Influencer licensing in the UAE
Influencers working in the UAE, who accept paid advertising on their social media accounts, need a licence from the National Media Council (NMC).

To be clear, however, for those not taking payment for promoting companies’ products or services, an NMC license is not required. There are many social media influencers who are well known for their particular niche but do not approach it from a commercial standpoint. For example, there is a number who focus on the UAE and all the great things it has to offer residents and tourists alike. Such social influencers can have loads of followers and could, for example, plug certain travel and tourism companies naturally as part of their daily posting – without charging for it.

Whatever position you might find yourself in, being an influencer is a highly rewarding and satisfying undertaking – or indeed career. Are you ready to be heard?

Anisha Sagar is the head of marketing and communication at Meydan Free Zone

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