Founder of Social Beat LLP, Vikas Chawla is a member of the Facebook India SME Council, has been recognised as Top 100 Digital Marketers by Paul Writer/Pluralsight and has been awarded the Most Influential Digital Marketing Leader by CMO Asia.
This interview comes as a part of our #DigitalQandA sessions where a panellist makes use of an entire week to share their knowledge and expertise on our Facebook Group.
Read on to know what Vikas Chawla has to talk about Influencer Marketing.
Q1. Sorav: How do you rate the influencer marketing business in India at present? Don’t you think the market is quite unaware of the impact?
Vikas: Influencer marketing is still at a nascent stage. From our estimates, there are about 25,000 quality content creators and that’s a small number. While some of them do have a large reach, brands are still waking up to the impact that both macro and micro influencers can have on their brands. 2-3 years ago it was predominantly the large brands that were leveraging influencer marketing but now we are seeing many startups and SMEs also leveraging it – and that’s a good sign.
Q2. Sorav: How do you distinguish your platform influencer in when compared to many others – there is a sudden rise in influencer marketing platforms?
Vikas: We were one of the early ones in the market and it helped us understand the market and grow with it. We have been consistent with our marketing efforts to drive both brands and influencers on the platform. There are three things that set us apart. The first is our ability to attract brands through our inbound marketing efforts. The second is the relationships we have been able to build with influencers across genres over the last 2 years. Lastly, our native app along with the web app (which is being upgraded as well) allows us to launch campaigns at a faster pace than others.
Q3. Sorav: What influencer marketing strategy would you suggest for a launch of a local salon in your city?
Vikas: It could start with influencers visiting the salon and then sharing their experience, followed by them interviewing the senior stylists and showcasing how they approach everything. Influencers could also get a complete makeover done. The ideas are limitless – only constrained by your creativity.
Q4. Sorav: How do you define the quality of micro-influencers there are so many who buy fake followers just to win brands?
Vikas: We judge the micro influencers on the impact that they create for the brand – in terms of engagement and users to the brand – but it is indeed hard sometimes to filter them out. That being said many times the quality of their content and the engagement they get also gives signals of whether they have real followers or not.
Q5. Sorav: Influencer marketing has a huge impact on SEO and not many knows of this. Can you tell us how and share some relevant case studies?
Vikas: Absolutely, quality backlinks from bloggers is a critical metric of success for influencer marketing campaign. Gehna is one of the retailers we work with, which leverages this in an excellent way (https://www.influencer.in/blog/case-study-influencer-marketing-gehna/). Cambridge English (https://www.influencer.in/blog/case-study-cambridge-english/) and Craftsvilla (https://www.influencer.in/blog/case-study-influencer-marketing-fashion-e-commerce-craftsvilla/) are other examples
Q6. Sorav: What are those 10 things one needs to do to become an influencer?
1.Know your niche
2.Be consistent with the content
- Amplify your content across channels
- Build an emailer database over time – to help gain traction
- Focus on SEO
- Ensure great UX and Speed (including AMP)
- Ensure no plagiarism (Copyscape would be a good tool to start)
- Treat each social media channel differently and create content based on what will be more engaging/share-worthy in that platform
- Network with fellow influencers
- Finally, monetize so that you can make this self-sustainable
Q7. Sorav: How would you rate influencer marketing in B2B domain, is there any scope at all? If yes, how? If no, why?
Vikas: There are influencers in B2B domain but very limited mostly owing to the fact that many of them tend to be working with larger organisations and they cannot publicly support one brand over the other – especially in an unbiased way.
Q8. Sorav: Shouldn’t influencers be loyal to brands they sign for almost like a long haul influencer campaign, where someone is tied up for a year long campaigning instead of short stints?
Vikas: Yes, but not all brands have long campaigns. For example, we have a long-standing influencer campaign running for Sterling Holidays but that is still a rarity in the market.
Q9. Sorav: How much does a celebrity usually charge to promote a brand and are there any rate cards?
Vikas: No, there are no rate cards and it’s custom pricing depending on the brand and what is the goal. Typically celebrities tend to charge upwards of a lakh.
Q10. Sorav: Bloggers meet has been an age-old practice, does it still hold relevance in the market? If yes, how to set expectations with bloggers who turn up but don’t write about it?
Vikas: Yes, it’s still relevant as its not only an amazing way to experience the product but also for them to network with fellow influencers. If the product is good (and with the right incentives) most influencers tend to write about it, but it’s difficult to control that.
I have some more interviews with experts coming up pretty soon. So, stay tuned to my blog!