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Harnessing the Power of Influencer Marketing

Words: Britney Burger

Imagine you're about to purchase a computer. After doing all the research, analysing the benefits of each model in-store, you believe you're ready to make a decision. But just before you finalise the purchase, you consult with your family. Your tech-savvy uncle raises concerns about the computer you're leaning towards. Would that sway your decision? For many of us, it certainly would.


The concept of opinion leaders isn't new; it's been present throughout history. However, like much of our contemporary communication, it has evolved. In the 1940s, Paul Lazarsfeld defined the role of opinion leaders through the theory of two-step flow communication. This theory assumes that media influences the public in two steps: first, it reaches the opinion leader, who interprets the message, and then, as a trusted member of their community, they share this information, influencing their peers' choices and thoughts. This is just one explanation of how opinion leadership operates among a variety of types of opinion leaders. I've chosen this particular description to draw parallels with modern-day opinion leaders, influencers.


Today, social media serves as an additional information source and a platform for building communities of like-minded individuals. This is exemplified by the TikTok algorithm, which tailors content based on users' past preferences. Whether it's "PetTok," "BikerTok," or "FoodTok," people are sorted into content communities based on their consumption habits.

Through this categorisation, influencers can carve out a niche, establishing trust, association, and expertise within their domain. They communicate with their like-minded audiences, becoming opinion leaders within their community. In a world inundated with advertising and digital media, people crave authenticity and humanity. Content creators and influencers provide just that—they're relatable figures whom audiences can hold accountable, engage with, and relate to on a personal level.


This is where influencer marketing comes into play. It harnesses the power of social media personalities to promote brands and products. A study from UNAM reveals that 92% of Namibians trust influencer marketing over traditional advertising. By embracing influencer marketing, Namibian businesses can leverage the trust audiences place in influencers to strengthen their relationships with customers.


Incorporating influencer marketing into campaigns yields various benefits, including heightened brand awareness, access to new networks, and targeted product promotion based on audience needs. Furthermore, using influencers, particularly for educational initiatives, enhances the brand's credibility and humanises its image. In some cases, ongoing utilisation of influencers as brand ambassadors fosters a distinct brand voice and persona, thereby boosting engagement.


A prime example of effective influencer marketing is the RealGood Chicken Braai Competition. In 2022, influencers were integral to launching the competition, not only raising awareness but also educating the public and vendors about SME opportunities. The campaign not only increased sales and awareness of the Kapana Half Bird but also generated positive conversations, solidifying the brand's image as a community developer.


The public became so invested in the friendly competition among influencers that they actively recommended participants for the next year's event.


In 2024, the second RealGood Chicken Braai Competition was launched, surpassing the previous campaign's engagement and exposure metrics within the first month. The campaign managed to reach 538K individuals with 2.5 million impressions and over 36.5K engagements.


However, influencer marketing isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. The success of the RealGood Chicken campaign stemmed from the seamless integration of influencers across various marketing channels. This encompassed radio, on-the-ground activations, and a cohesive social media campaign, all complementing influencer marketing to amplify the campaign's message and disseminate diverse information.


Another critical factor in the campaign's success was selecting the right influencers aligned with the campaign's objectives. Choosing influencers based solely on familiarity or hype often leads to ineffective campaigns. It requires thorough research and strategy, considering factors such as target audience alignment, reputation, content relevance, and existing affiliations.


Influencer marketing has become a norm in our digital landscape and shows no signs of fading. As social media usage continues to rise, so does the influence of online personalities. By partnering with the right influencers for specific objectives, Namibian businesses can amplify their brand presence, engaging authentically and demonstrating consumer understanding.


Namibia boasts a diverse array of influencers—from fashionistas to foodies, travel bloggers to tech enthusiasts—and this talent pool is poised for growth. This presents ample opportunities for brands to establish meaningful connections and resonate with their audience.

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