Traditional media platforms like television and print publications begin to lose their appeal. Especially with an increasingly tech-savvy generation of Singaporeans, advertisers are moving away from traditional advertisements on these platforms, and are beginning to explore the benefits of advertising and marketing on social media platforms.

One of the ways to do this is influencer marketing. It is defined by a change in strategy from attempting to appeal to the whole target market, and instead going for individuals who are seen as influencers. Businesses find social media influencers to reach out to a wider audience. The rationale behind influencer marketing is that these influencers are opinion leaders and has the power to reach out to a wider audience.

Two types of influencers

According to a white paper published by UK-based social media analytics company PeerIndex, influencers come in two groups, connectors and specialists. Connectors refer to those with a large number of connections on their social media platforms. They are extremely active on social media and are able to provide a wide outreach and engage in viral activity.

A local local influencer is Naomi Neo (@naomineo_), who boasts 306,000 followers on Instagram and 84,265 followers on Facebook. She engages in influencer marketing for a wide variety of products. Examples includes  food products such as ice cream and fruit juices to makeup and beauty products.

Specialists, on the other hand, refer to social media influencers who have a smaller network, but closer connections. These influencers usually focus on certain areas on their social media platforms. It can range from areas such as fashion, technology or photography. With, influencers specializing in these areas, it would allows them to be perceived as more trustworthy.

An example of this is fashion blogger Mae Tan (@marxmae). Mae Tan has 67,700 followers on Instagram and 4,756 followers on Facebook. Her social media content clearly specialises on topics related to fashion, and she is often perceived to be a key opinion leader when it comes to fashion in Singapore. This is also reflected on her social media pages, where she does influencer marketing for clothing labels and makeup brands.­­

Choose the right influencer

When planning their influencer marketing strategies, businesses have to consider many factors in finding social influencers that are suitable for their campaigns and cause. Aside from basic criteria such as the public image and statistics of these social media influencers, businesses also have to consider their areas of expertise and the demographics of their followers on social media.

For example, if a fashion label wishes to engage in influencer marketing, it might serve them better to approach a social media influencer who only posts about fashion, and most of her followers are people who care about fashion trends in Singapore, as compared to another influencer who may have a larger following, but posts about more generic content, as her followers maybe mostly be people who are just interested in lifestyle topics outside of fashion. The former may also be perceived as a more trusted opinion leader when it comes to fashion as compared to the latter.

Kobe’s influencer selection model

An ideal selection model for influencer marketing can be found in local startup Kobe. Kobe utilises algorithm involving both visual recognition and text recognition to analyse its database. The database is a compilation of micro-influencers. Micro-influencers are everyday people with more than 500 followers on Instagram. The database also allows Kobe to determine each influencer’s area of expertise (food, lifestyle, fashion etc.).

At the start of the campaign, businesses are asked on the number of people they hope to reach out to. The campaign opportunity is then sent out to influencers in the database whose profiles may suit the business’s profile. These influencers are then asked further questions. These questions include whether they’ve been customers of the business, or the extent of knowledge for what the business does, to further determine how much of a fit they are for the business.

As many companies simply engage influencers with high followers, they might end up with an influencer that is unsuitable. Kobe helps companies to avoid this pitfall by looking at the suitability of the influencers other than their reach.

As an added measure, influencers are required to upload their posts on Kobe platform first . Businesses will then vet through the post to ensure that it is in line with their image. From there, they can approve or reject any posts that may potentially be offensive or detrimental to the business image.  After which, when the posts are approved, the influencers would post it on their account. These posts would then reach their followers which is the target audience that the businesses are hoping to pursue.

Credits: Chong Yoke Ming