Advertise with

Though there is room for both macro- and micro-influencers, the latter tend to come across as more authentic.
Though there is room for both macro- and micro-influencers, the latter tend to come across as more authentic.

Gen Next: Micro-influencers offer authentic engagement


By Lynette Dicey - Jun 25th, 15:31

Today’s youth consumes a collective $44bn of spending power. However, traditional advertising appeals less to today’s youth than to previous generations. In this environment, influencer marketing has shown exponential growth in recent years. 

To be successful, influencers must tell authentic stories that their followers can relate to, a panel of experts agreed at the recent Sunday Times 2019 Gen Next conference in partnership with HDI Youth Consultancy.

The field is not without its critics, with calls for influencers to be honest from the outset about which of their posts are sponsored and which are not. Last year mouthwash brand Listerine found itself the recipient of a social media backlash when a paid-for Instagram post featuring an influencer went viral for all the wrong reasons.

It’s time to redefine what successful influencer marketing is, said Atiyya Karodia, lead strategist at VML SA. Her definition? Brand ambassador campaigns that have evolved.

The panel agreed that there is room for both macro-influencers (typically people with a known name and a large audience following) and micro-influencers (with no more than about 10,000 followers). Micro-influencers, given their smaller and more focused community, tend to come across to consumers as more authentic, the panel said.

An influencer with a large following but who does not engage much with his or her followers is less influential than an influencer who actively engages with them. “Engagement is the most important element of influencer marketing. People want to be spoken to and want to feel as if they are part of the conversation. Micro-influencers, because they are still trying to build their own brand, tend to engage more with their followers than many macro-influencers,” said Farah Fortune, director at African Star Communications and Brand South Africa Play Your Part ambassador.

“Influencers achieve different kinds of reach,” said Karodia, “and what I’m starting to learn is that their depth of reach is more important than their quantity of reach.” Micro-influencers, she said, frequently champion subcultures and micro-communities, and this provides a completely different angle and opportunity for marketers.

They’re also unlikely to champion a brand that doesn’t resonate with them, added Mongezi Mtati, marketing manager at Ornico Group.

Social media is becoming an increasingly valuable way of allowing consumers to connect with brands. The communication flow works both ways, allowing brands to also get feedback from consumers.

The problem, said Mtati, is that many brands spend too much time looking outward, and are missing an opportunity to harness the efforts of current brand evangelists who already support the brand without payment.

Mbali Ubisi, SA’s biggest Twitter influencer of 2017 and 2018, said the key to being a successful influencer was finding the gaps, taking the initiative and approaching marketers with suggestions.Business Live 

Related News

Push and pull strategies work together to keep consumers coming back for more
26/11/2019 - 10:20
The retail sector is under increasing pressure as consumers have shrinking disposable income in a strained economy. Maintaining share of wallet is critical. Relying solely on a push route to market strategy from manufacturers into retailers is not enough to get consumers buying products. A pull strategy needs to coexist with the push to drive brand consumption. Integrating these strategies requires intelligent and insightful decision-making. This, in turn, requires data generated through smart technology which provides line of sight across the value chain from manufacturer to distribution, retailer to the consumer.

Pick n Pay shares five of its Black Friday deals
25/11/2019 - 10:10
Pick n Pay has released five of its nationwide in-store Black Friday deals as a teaser of what customers can expect this Friday.

AB InBev reports weak results in "challenging" third quarter
01/11/2019 - 14:49
AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, reported weaker-than-expected third-quarter profit and sales, due to higher cost of sales, marketing investments and price increases in two major markets, South Korea and Brazil.

2019 South African Loyalty Awards winners announced
01/11/2019 - 14:14
The 2019 South African Loyalty Awards, developed specifically to celebrate loyalty excellence and innovation, announced the awards winners on Wednesday, 30 October, in Cape Town.

To spend or not to spend, that is the brand question
24/10/2019 - 14:54
During a downturn brands should reinforce the attributes that make them appealing and differentiated in the eyes of existing customers.