With these headwinds in mind, brands are having to find new ways to stand out from the crowd. Simply broadcasting a message through a brand’s owned social channels just isn’t enough anymore. The conversation is steered by the online community, and the reality is that it's becoming less about what brands say and more about what consumers say. In 2015 some South African brands took a bet on that, and won.
Looking to trends in Europe and the US, research points to Influencer Marketing as a solution to cutting through the noise. The recent McKinsey study highlights that marketing inspired word-of-mouth generates twice the sales of traditional advertising, with a 37% higher retention rate. Locally, however, South African marketers and brand managers, allocated a large portion of budget to social influencers as an exception.
That’s why it’s important to highlight the brave, the brands that, backed by their research, took one step further and tried something new. With uncertainty of what the finish line would look like, a few bold businesses entered their brands into the race. Webfluential South Africa executed over 400 Influencer Marketing campaigns during 2015. The biggest learnings came from these few campaigns:
When Vodacom partnered with the music streaming app, Deezer
, part of their strategy to increase app downloads was by using influencers to drive the conversation. They recruited 10 music, celebrity and entertainment influencers to create content around why this app was relevant to their audiences. Using paid media, those stories were spread to nearly four million music lovers and that sparked over 11 000 engagements. Through influencer marketing, Vodacom achieved their objectives with more than 15 000 downloads.
Agency credits: Lighthouse Digital, Gloo, Cerebra
Clover and FutureLife needed to create awareness for their new Smartdrink by creating as much online noise as possible. They secretly recruited 34 influencers to seed photo and video footage of UFO sightings in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban - all with their messaging angle of ‘out of this world’. Within the first hour of the campaign going live, #UFOSA was trending and it went on to trend for four days. Over 3.1 million people were reached by influencers, 5206 tweets containing #UFOSA were published and credible news publications reported on the ‘spottings’ daily. In the end, they surpassed their objectives and had the whole of South Africa talking about their campaign.
Agency credits: Emote Africa, Joe Public
The Intel #InsideOut campaign aimed to create product awareness around the 2in1 devices and the new Core M Processor. They recruited eight social, photography, tech, music and entertainment influencers for a campaign with a twist. The influencers became not only the voice of Intel #InsideOut but also the faces. They wrote scripts, created music, worked with a production team to create video content - and became the glue that integrated the campaign across print, digital and radio. In the end, the campaign reached over nine million people online and generated more than 40 000 engagements. The three main influencers documented this journey with a YouTube
series that was watched by over 150 000 people. The Intel #InsideOut campaign proved the power of utilising influencers creative talents as much as their audiences.
Agency credits: Live+, WE Communications, FLIC
“It’s always great to work with brands that push the boundaries and aren’t afraid to try new things. Working with Vodacom, Clover and Intel has helped us discover a common thread when it comes to Influencer Marketing success,” says Hayley Wessels, head of Sales at Webfluential South Africa. “What these brands got right is that they selected the most relevant influencers, allocated fair budgets and ensured influencers tied into their overarching strategy”.
Boosting campaigns with paid media
Vodacom leveraged the power of paid media to carry their Influencers messages to hundreds of thousands of South Africans. With social media becoming more of a pay-to-play environment, results are further secured by boosting influencer content to new audiences. Paid media guarantees prime real estate positioning of iinfluencer-generatedbranded endorsements, ensuring that each influencers content gets the boost it needs to spark those important conversations.
Boosting campaigns with production
Working with Intel highlighted the power of boosting the Influencer Campaign with strategic production elements. Influencers are content creatives by nature, and understand how to best speak to the audience targeted to influence. By creating videos, images and supporting the influencers stories with professional production elements - Intel managed to strike the balance between professional branded content and stories that their consumers actually wanted to watch.
“It was great to see the evolution of brands’ relationships with influencers in 2015,” says Kirsty Sharman, head of Global Operations at Webfluential, “We’re excited to help even more brands discover what their perfect recipe for success is in 2016. Our operational team is growing and we’re now able to offer our clients full production and paid media elements to take their Influencer Marketing campaigns to the next level.”
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