A Brief Look at Influencer Marketing in the West

by | October 4, 2017

■5 general facets most campaigns have
We have already covered influencer marketing a few times in our blog. This time, following up on our previous post about Asia, we will be covering what’s happening in the West.In recent years, influencer marketing in the West has become quite standardized, meaning marketers have refined their processes of running campaigns. You could say that there are generally 5 major steps in the way they are executed:

・Planning a marketing campaign.
・Choosing an influencer and sending a request to work together.
・Automating work for efficiency.
・Measuring campaign effects.
・Adjusting according to campaign results and optimizing for the next one.

(ref: https://www.tapinfluence.com/the-ultimate-influencer-marketing-guide/)

For step 1 above, it is important that the target audience is clear, the campaign plan is carefully designed, and a measurable goal is in mind, such as total sales gained through your campaign or the number of Likes you’ve earned. Unfortunately, in Asia, there are many cases where marketers start with number 2, not spending the proper time to create a structured campaign plan. They end up just having an article (or other piece of content) being made. Out of all the steps above, though, we’d say that the most important are numbers 4 and 5. These two steps are what will save marketers wasted money as it leads to more optimization and cost-effectiveness down the line.

While the effects of general ad campaigns could take time to appear, influencer marketing campaigns that use SNS have a strong chance of taking off quickly and creating buzz. Effects can be measured within the first few days. For example, on Instagram, about half of the total Likes is earned within the first hour of the post, more than 80% in the second hour, and more than 95% in the first day. Because of this, the 5 step process above would have to be executed more quickly. As mentioned in previous posts, it is actually very rare for an influencer marketing campaign to “go viral”. It can take a good deal of time and money to reach that stage, so it’s important to keep executing the above process, testing and improving along the way.


■Australians love nature; Italians love fashion – design your campaign according market trends
In our previous entry on Asian influencer marketing, we mentioned that we see post content differ by country; you definitely can see many contrasts between the West and East. Below, we want to exhibit some of these differences through referencing to Instagram influencers:

Our first finding is that Australia seems to post the most nature content in the West
(ref: https://www.mydeal.com.au/blog/post/2017-top50-announced/). The characteristics of general Australian posts are that they do not care as much about fashion or cityscapes, but love taking pictures of nature. The pictures are not as colorful; they tend to be simple or monochromatic
(ref: https://www.instagram.com/theygetaround/).

America also sways a bit more towards the nature side and the UK seems to have a good balance between nature and posts about life in the city
(Ref: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianrashid/2017/06/10/15-top-instagram-influencers-you-should-follow/#7d1bc49f6001; https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/25-london-lifestyle-influencers-you-should-follow-on-instagram-now-a3523891.html)

French and Italian influencers tend to prefer fashion related pictures. Italy, in particular, has influencers who post the most visually artistic content. When you look at the posts by a high level Italian Instagramer (one who has a high number of followers), the photos are visually stimulating, taken at varying angles, and are artistic in nature
(Ref: France https://theculturetrip.com/europe/france/paris/articles/the-top-11-parisian-instagram-accounts-to-follow/; https://www.instagram.com/gianlucavacchi/?ref=badge; https://www.instagram.com/chiaraferragni/?ref=badge).

Also, we see currently that ‘fitness’ and ‘cooking’ are trending themes in the West. For example, when you look at American Youtubers, three out of the top ten channels with the most subscribers are related to fitness. People posting information on workouts and yoga are increasing. Australia also seems to be following this trend. Thus, you could say that there is high demand for health-related themes in the West.

As you can see, posts by influencers from the West have their own unique characteristics. It’s necessary to research these elements in order to find influencers who can create posts that will fit your product or brand’s image.

 

■Signs of Reddit and Quora’s popularity increasing
These days, it seems that new SNS are popping up every other year. Popular SNS up to date that Western influencers have been posting include Facebook, twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram. Most recently, “Reddit” and “Quora” are getting popular as influencer media. “Reddit” is America’s biggest news site/forum and has been called the “American 2ch” (without the underground feel). “Quora”, on the other hand, is a Q&A site where real names are used and is especially frequented by specialists.

Either of these sites requires an account to post and if you are planning to utilize them for your influencer marketing campaign(s), then you could try something like having a popular member on one of them reference to your product/brand in his/her post.

 

■Break into foreign markets with influencer marketing
The biggest plus of running an influencer marketing campaign is that you can deliver your brand’s information to potential consumers leveraging real people’s voices. Often, when a foreign company newly enters a foreign market, there is almost no initial trust in its brand because the only information it communicates is through advertisements that are pushed by its marketing/PR representatives. With influencer marketing, however, a corporation can leverage the voice of popular influencers who have a trusting follower base, so there’s a great chance that trust can be instantly earned and even getting followers to vouch for its brand. This can be extremely powerful for securing your brands positioning in a new market.

Currently in the West, targeting potential consumers by using micro-influencers (a micro-influencer is an influencer whose followers are only in the tens of thousands) is on the rise. Usually, advertisers spend a good amount of time themselves looking for the popular influencers, but when approaching micro-influencers, due to the sheer number of them, it is often more efficient to go straight to lists made by agencies. This is even more important when it deals with influencers in foreign markets.

Lastly, it’s also important to note that because followers of micro-influencers are usually looking for content on a niche subject, it’s important that you choose the right micro-influencer to promote your brand so that there is no disconnect between your product and the content that is created.

 

■Connecting your brand to the proper influencer is the key to success!
In Japan and other Asian countries, influencers usually mention the products they promote directly in their content—in other words, it is done quite blatantly. In the West, however, it appears to be common practice to place products naturally in content and only write its name in the hashtag. This gives the content a more natural feel and implies that the product is being used in the influencer’s daily life. Products that cannot be presented in such a way are not recommended for influencer marketing in the West. Make sure that the strategy you develop takes this into consideration.

 Influencers can be powerful brands in and of themselves. True influencers understand how to appeal to their audience to gain the support of followers. Even if there are lucrative requests from clients, many popular influencers may refuse a deal as it would potentially harm their own brand image. If a company tries to force an influencer to promote its product when it doesn’t fit the influencer’s own image, then its request will likely get rejected. And, even if an influencer ends up making a piece of content that doesn’t resonate with his/her own brand, his/her followers will likely find it awkward and thus the marketing campaign will end up with lackluster results.

In conclusion, we have shared several factors regarding influencer marketing in the West, including current trends and how to develop/manage a campaign, but the most important aspects to succeed are two in number: (1) make sure you have a marketer managing your campaign who truly understands your brand and (2) find a proper influencer who fits your brand’s image/values so that there is a pure connection. From there, just leave all the content creation up to them!

Info Cubic Japan
Digital Marketing Team
https://infocubic.co.jp/en/contact-us/