Social media usage in South Africa has been increasing and this has affected content creation, consumption and platforms. With a social media population of 22.89 million, GlobalStats states that as of last month the most used platforms are Facebook (48.89%), Pinterest at (35.92%), Twitter (9.65%), YouTube (3.19%) and Instagram (1.25%). However, where social media influencers are concerned, the focus is more on Instagram and Twitter, instead of Facebook and YouTube.
Brands partner with influencers to gain access to an audience they wouldn’t ordinarily reach and influencers help brands communicate with their audience through different types of campaigns. There are also different levels of influencers. According to a 2019 study conducted by the data-driven marketing platform, Humanz, there are more than 220 000 influencers on both IG and Twitter and they are rated as follows:
- 1 000 – 4 999 followers = Nano-influencer
- 5 000 – 49 999 followers = Micro-influencer
- 50 000 – 249 999 followers = B-lister
- 250 000 – 1 million followers = A-lister
- Over a million followers = Superstar
While Facebook is the most used app, Head of Social Media at the world’s largest brewer AB InBev, Sanele Mawisa, says Instagram is the most popular in the world of influencers, “because of the content creation possibilities [and] a lot of people use it to boost their profile in terms of lifestyle content which is quite prevalent right now”. He adds that Twitter is suitable for social commentary and topics of interest. Mawisa gave us some pointers on how to approach paying brands.
ATTRACTING BRANDS AND BRAND MANAGEMENT
Mawisa says the most important aspect is your branding and what it stands for. Although brands are interested in the creativity that goes into your content, according to Mawisa, they are more interested in engaging with your audience and opening up a new target market – all of which is reliant on your authenticity. As part of managing your brand, he warns that “the industry is very small and news travels very fast across categories” therefore to be sustainable, influencers must “network properly and build relationships”.
Mawisa says “brands are looking for the influencer to add value to the brand in a way that the influence of your work directly has an impact on the product’s sales”. This means monitoring your impact through analytics. Considering the nature of their work, engagement was a top priority for brands. However now that there are a few technical data aspects that can be used to create value, he says brands are now looking for “the return on investment on what they’re paying content creators and how it affects the business objectives”.
Approaching brands for collaborations is a contentious issue in the industry, but Mawisa says it depends on the brand you want to work with but “you have to propose a solution to the business”. Mawisa suggests that you point out where you see a problem, show how your content can help bridge that gap and how that might affect the brand. He adds, “that means you’re improving the brand’s sentiments, which is important to brands. Those metrics can be correlated between your content and the brand’s one”.
Sometimes influencers tag brands they aspire to work with, an act he refers to as ‘brand advocacy’. He says they will explore their profiles and investigate if their content resonates with the brand. “But it’s not very often [that] those situations turn into a collaboration unless we see something we like in what they’re doing”.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT BRAND:
“There are brands you don’t consume much or aspire to consume so before you approach one for a collaboration, you must first ask yourself, ‘with everything that I post on my feed, is it believable that [this brand] is something that would fall into my natural environment?’ If not, then that’s not somewhere you should go because as an influencer/content creator you are only as valuable as what your audience feels like is in your particular realm of your influence.
PRICING AND PROTECTING IDEAS
“A lot of it is a thumb suck. It’s a negotiation so whatever value you place on your content and what it takes to produce it, you need to put a Rand value to that,” Mawisa says. Another useful tip he suggests is gauging your value based on previous quotes you’ve given brands and what they were comfortable with along with what you feel you are worth. He says it’s not just about the following but the equipment you use as well.
Mawisa warns that confidently charging brands is going to take a while, but he adds that there are tools that use metrics that can aid. At the same time, he says you should scrutinise and compare the platforms because some overcharge.
He says a non-disclosure agreement is the easiest way to protect your intellectual property so that they don’t share or pursue your work with other entities.