In the past five years, online presence of Zimbabwean millennials has grown substantially to the extent of creating business opportunities for those that have been clever enough to convert their followers into customers. Largely, in the fashion Industry. The fashion industry in Zimbabwe has been stagnant for the longest time in terms of growth.
We have the same business of fashion trends that seem to be going back and forth for the past decade. Whereby we have anyone and everyone with little capital opening a boutique and a year later they shut down. The economy hasn’t helped either, which probably explains the lack of growth in our fashion industry. All of this goes back to advertising 101 and Marketing 102 (reminding myself of the good old college days). Perhaps there is a way to overcome this. What if you tried growing your business by working with Zimbabwean online influencers?
I have been working on this post for the longest time. I probably started working on this about 8 months ago. Keeping in mind that 8 months ago I had not worked with
many brands and my experience was rather non-existence. So I decided to put it on hold for a bit. Fast forward to the present, the number of brands I have worked with has increased quite a bit but not enough to claim the ‘expert’ tittle in this notion. However, those few brands I have worked with, and the ones I am currently working with, are sufficient enough to support all the facts that I am about to share with you.
What is blogging? What is fashion blogging? How does working with you benefit my business? Is Deffinatlyshaz an independent company? How do I measure the results? These are some of the questions that have been bounced at me when I approach brands to collaborate with as an influencer. All reasonable questions if I might add. Suffice to say, those questions are also the reason why I am about to share this post.
Who/What is an influencer?
An influencer is a person who is well-connected and who is regarded as influential and in-the-know; someone who is looked to for advice, direction, knowledge and opinions. Individuals like PR professionals, creative people, Bloggers and Journalists. Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire / hire / pay influencers to get out the word for you.
Our Zimbabwean traditional mediums are quite restrictive which makes it even more difficult for a regular business person aiming to promote their brand. By this I am talking about how our traditional channels of communication have been structured: a monopolistic system which leaves zero opportunity to a layman trying to earn an honest buck. To advertise on those channels, you will need to reach deeper into your pockets which most people can’t afford. Speaking from a Zimbabwean perspective, using traditional media channels to market your fashion brand will not attract enough business for you compared to using new media technology. Traditional media channels are your newspapers, radios or television. If your target market is between the ages of 18-40, then chances are online marketing is your biggest bet. Especially if you are in the business fashion. Not many of us buy news papers daily and not many of us tune into ZTV daily.
Companies such as Samsung, Range Rover and Nike are collaborating with online influencers daily. We might as well fully utilise the same strategies.
As a blogger, I have realised the power of the World Wide Web aka the Internet. Our generation has been blessed (some would argue the opposite) to live in a time were information is a click away. News travels faster and online advertising has boosted sales for so many international brands. With the use of online influencers, bloggers to be specific, brands such as Adidas, Puma, Guess e.t.c have managed to successfully convert followers into buyers. In Kenya and South Africa, companies such as Samsung (see here), Range Rover and Nike are collaborating with online influencers daily. We might as well fully utilise the same strategies.
Please note that this concept is not just limited to fashion bloggers or those that are in the fashion business. If you look closely, there are online influencers in different niches. Technology, travelling, fitness, religion, food, events, you name it. Also, there are individuals who attract a huge online following on different platforms and some are not necessarily bloggers per se. While on the other hand, there are modern businesses like mobile companies, vehicle companies or event companies that need exposure on these new millennial digital platforms. How about working together?
These online influencers build a following during a long period of time and by producing interesting, quality images or articles, people begin to trust these sources. They have created a voice that their followers trust. Their followers relate to them and respect their opinions. Internationally, It’s no secret that “doing it with influencers” has become one of the most powerful digital PR tactics.
Here is a break down of three important reasons why your brand should partner up with online influencers:
Creating A Name For Your Brand
Be Known. What is it that you do? Who are you? Who is your target market? Do your potential customers know that you exist? All of this goes back to the need to be known and the megaphone effect (having influencers helping you to spread the word about the existence of your business). Having people talk about your product is the best way to start. Working with more web influencers simultaneously on the same content, is even more of an opportunity to gain visibility. People like to be associated with something they already know as it also establishes a level of trust.
A business without a sign is a sign for no business. Back in the day it made sense to make use traditional forms of advertising because again those where the only channels that where available. Times have changed and more and more people now rely on the internet for information. How many adverts have popped on your news feed while you were on Facebook or Instagram? Well let me tell you something my friend; those adverts are by someone trying to attract a new customer every second of every hour. Visibility! By collaborating with an online influencer, you will be taping into a new audience that on your own you would never come across. You become visible to new 5000+ audiences which could potentially turn into customers. Which brings me to the next point; turning followers into customers.
Influencers + followers = Sales
Influencers have built their brands as trustworthy and their voices carry more weight to their audiences. It is possible to convert Followers to customers, but remember you need to find the right influencer with a substantial amount of followers. Personally, when I am looking for some inspiration, I have my go-to influencers whom I know are in the know-how. If I spot a something I like, Then instantly find myself looking for it. That’s how followers become customers. If you would like me to explain this more, let me know.
Influencer marketing has become a powerful strategy for brands who want to reach their audience in a non-pushy, non-promotional way. Instead of pushing their own message, they can leverage online influencers to get their message out in a more palatable way.
If you are looking to grow your business in this age, then new media technologies should be your best friend and knowing the right influencer to work with I s more likely to do wonders for you.
I hope you will find this useful. I would love to know your thoughts on this topic.
Love & Light.