As brands start to plan out campaign calendars and develop their influencer strategy for 2021. Awin’s Influencer Marketing Manager, Francesca Dakin, speaks to Omar Dacosta Shahid, Director of Growth at MIN (Muslim Influencer Network), to shed light on what we can expect for the year ahead.
Let us start with introductions. Who is MIN?
MIN is an Influencer Marketing agency connecting brands with the global Muslim market of 2 billion people.
What key learnings have you taken during the global pandemic within the context of influencer marketing?
It’s important never to get too comfortable! At any time, something drastic like a pandemic can come your way and it’s important to be prepared on both a personal and business level. This is why it’s important to do a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) at the beginning of every year. You may need to pivot.
What trends do you envisage for the influencer industry within 2021?
It seems as if more brands are shifting towards gifting, rather than paying for content, as brands are trying to protect their limited budgets. But gifting doesn’t seem to generate the same results.
We’ve also entered into a world where people more than ever want feel-good ads, positive content that is warming and shows togetherness. This has to be the way forward in 2021.
We will also continue to see the increasing use of Micro-Influencers, over Macro-Influencers, who tend to be less expensive and often have more loyal, tight-knit communities online, which is good for driving conversions.
What advice do you have for a brand looking to be more inclusive within their marketing?
I’d recommend five things:
Recognise that Diversity & Inclusion is an on-going process. There are structural changes that need to take place within many organisations that can’t be fixed with a single hire.
Put in the work of understanding inclusivity. Research and educate yourself on what it really means to be inclusive. Bring in trainers, host seminars and build resources for your teams for their on-boarding and development process.
Listen. Include the voices of the very people you are marketing to. They are key to building an authentic campaign. So listen to customer feedback, bring on consultants and listen to your staff who are from diverse backgrounds.
Have a diverse marketing team. To truly be diverse, you need to hire from a diverse group. This will help you to create natural messages that resonate with varying demographics.
Prioritise data. Collect and understand data around the markets you are trying to capture.
Are there any brands you think are executing this well in the current influencer space?
In all honesty, nobody stands out! A lot of brands are delivering diverse campaigns and use diverse models, but delivering something truly authentic is a different story and much harder to get right.
Our sister agency Creed & Culture was born to help exactly with this.
If you had one key message for brands new to influencer marketing, what would it be?
I would recommend six things, especially if you can’t afford an Influencer agency:
- Spend time researching what type of Influencers work best for your industry
- Vet Influencers! You want to ensure they don’t jeopardise your brand
- Create a theme for your campaign that Influencers can get behind
- Provide strong briefs with good examples of the type of content you’d like
- Monitor and track the success of your campaign
- Build good relationships with influencers by not making the relationship too transactional, pay on time and be on hand to answer any questions
How do you measure success with influencer marketing?
Social media is a lot easier to measure results, rather than TV, radio, billboards and other offline activity.
You can have UTMs, which are unique tracking links to see how many website visitors or downloads are created.
But the first thing is to really understand what your goals for the campaign are, you can then create ways to measure them.
What has been your favourite campaign of 2020?
It was great to work with brands from Gymshark, Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Asda, the NHS and UN.
But if I was to pick a favourite it would be our campaign with Canva, helping them enter the Indonesian market.
Have you got anything exciting coming up in 2021?
Oh, plenty! We’ll soon be going through a hiring round and we’re securing contracts with some really cool, innovative brands.
We also own the platform Mvslim, which is possibly the world’s most important Digital publication which reaches millennial and Gen Z Muslims across the world, it has 500k social followers and gets millions of website visitors a year. We’ll be taking Mvslim to the next level this year.
Feel free to connect with me on Linkedin.
Influencer marketing is continuing to thrive throughout the pandemic, as brands are shifting focus to maintain authentic conversations and connections with their customers.
For more information about how to develop your influencer strategy, you can reach out to the Awin Influencer Team here.