Begin with purpose, deliver value – Nuggets of wisdom on Influencer marketing
On June 30, 2020, Adgully organised a knowledge session on ‘Deep Dive into Influencer Marketing’, which was joined by an expert panel of well-known influencers and marketers.
Moderated by Neel Gogia, Co-Founder, IPLIX Media, the panel included speakers Ashna Zaveri, Actor, Stylist and Fashion Model; Deepika Lalwani, Fitness Influencer; Mansi Zaveri, Founder and CEO, Kidsstoppress Media; Shilpa Arora, Co-Founder, ChicLifeByte.com; Shudeep Majumder, Co-founder & CEO, Zefmo Media; and Tanya Khanijow, Travel Influencer.
The discussion began with each influencer discussing and analysing their individual successes as role models for their multitude of followers.
Tanya Khanijow is a content creator who operates a YouTube channel under her own name and posts vlogs about her solo trips to travel destinations. She quit her well paying corporate job in 2018 to follow this passion. According to her, it all comes down to creating value for your audience. She says, “An audience interested in travel will look up informative content and eventually find my YouTube channel or blog. Then it is up to me to consistently deliver value.”
While Tanya is a full-time influencer, you can still exercise influence without being an active content creator. Actor Ashna Zaveri, who has appeared in Telugu and Tamil films, is also a fashion and fitness Influencer. She opines that it is important to create a niche for yourself as an influencer. “Since I was a celebrity, I already had a good base of followers with me. I would regularly post modelling and workout photos. Eventually, I started getting a lot of queries on my daily regime, beauty, and nutrition, which prompted me to start posting content that is not just a picture but more informative.”
“Whatever you put out there has to resonate with you first,” says Deepika Lalwani. She began her social media journey when she was determined to lose her post pregnancy weight and began to focus on fitness and nutrition. This helped her create a powerful differentiator on social media compared to someone who just got up one day and started posting fitness content. Today, she has 20,000 followers on her Instagram account and posts content on about meal-plans, exercise routine, nutrition and wellness-related topics. “If your audience catches you lying or pretending, you’re done,” she cautions.
Shilpa Arora had a decade of experience in PR and Corporate Communications and was an expert storyteller. But she didn’t just want to tell stories about brands. She says, “Back in my PR and Corp Comm days, I realised there’s so much I could talk about which is not related to my field. That’s why I started my blog to speak about lifestyle, travel, food and fashion.” She echoes Tanya’s sentiment that unless you create value, you cannot gain traction. Shipla operates her own website, called ‘ChicLifeByte.com’, which presents her experience on inter-related lifestyle topics in a fun and engaging way to readers.
Mansi Zaveri is also someone who left behind a corporate life to tackle a strong niche subject – Parenting. She is the Founder and CEO of ‘KidsStopPress.com’, a discovery platform for parenting and child care. From the get-go, Mansi had the vision to build a platform that could scale. “Today, we offer online courses, publish surveys and books, and we accomplished that not by relying on a ‘rented audience’ or depend on any social media platform for our user base.” The platform is a strong influencer in the ‘parenting space’ and reaches 10 million digital users every month. She recounts, “I began my journey based on a blogger model and not an influencer model that is popular today. I never had any intention to monetise my audience via advertising deals and sponsorship, but actually convert them into paying customers. We spoke to parents in the 28-40 age group and because they are creatures of habit, I leveraged by background in consumer research and psychology to create habit forming content, evolve the product and ensure that I have a non-perishable time line.” Mansi opines that her Direct-to-Consumer approach has helped her weather uncertainties like COVID-19, which has impacted influencer marketing.
With two decades of experience in marketing via traditional and digital channels, Zefmo Media’s Shudeep Majumder shares an overview on the current influencer ecosystem. He says, “Three years back, brands leveraged influencer marketing to push their brand quotient and reputation. Influencer marketing was a tool that was being utilised from an awareness perspective. Today, brands are increasingly talking about RoI.”
He observes, “It is a far more collaborative ecosystem, where the conversation is not limited to the brand and agency, but rather all stakeholders, including influencers, have to understand the campaign and bring value.”
“Influencer marketing is no longer a pay-per-view transaction-oriented relationship. Influencers bring a certain value and want to be associated with a certain subset of brands. They may even decline opportunities from brands if they are not the right fit, so it is not purely a commercially driven proposition,” he continues.
He signs off with some advice for future influencers, “Don’t be limited to a single platform, but reach out to a cross-platform audience. Ultimately, it is your brand at stake, so create a unique positioning to connect with your audience. Spend time and observe how content is getting created. Initially, there is a learning curve, but once your content gains a certain momentum then you can focus more on output.”
Watch the entire session on YouTube.