With influencer marketing being a buzzword at present in the marketing space, it seems to be on almost every marketer’s lips. And now a new company has arrived in the mix in the South African market, Humanz.
Speaking exclusively to The Media Online during its launch event, Pierre Cassuto, chief marketing officer of Humanz and CEO for Sub-Saharan Africa, explains why the firm decided to move into South Africa.
“South Africa is an interesting market, because it’s a market where influencer marketing wasn’t really developed, there’s a lot of sceptics about influencer marketing, not a lot of budgets are being spent on it, not a lot of competition and tech in the market, so we thought it’s an easy market to scale and also learn, not only how to enter a market and take over from existing players but also how to grow the market as a whole.”
Asked how Humanz stands out from other influencer marketing companies, which seem to be a dime a dozen these days, Cassuto responds, “We are one of very few companies in the world that are not only looking at social data, but also auditing social data from the ground up using artificial intelligence. Very few people do that, and almost no one in our field of influencer marketing. And so to stand out, we decided to stand not for the promotion of influencer marketing, but for highlighting the truth around influencer marketing. Talking about data, science, and scientific methods to vet influencers and to understand the true ROI of influencer marketing.”
The company has already secured two high profile influencers to be a part of the team; former Proteas captain Graeme Smith and actress, model, television and radio presenter Pearl Thusi (left) have already come on board.
Fraud and technology
Despite it being top of mind for marketers, influencer marketing is plagued by some challenges, most notably fraud. This includes bots, bought followers, confusing metrics and lack of regulations.
Cassuto admits, “We’re seeing a lot of influencer marketing that is not sincere, pricing models that are all over the place from number of followers to price per engagement, it’s an industry that has not yet settled and in South Africa there are a lot of predators in this space. Like any gold rush, you get gold diggers and vultures, and fools that get lost in the desert.”
But he re-emphasises that data and technology are crucial elements to counter these challenges related to fraud in the influencer marketing space.
The gathering concluded with a panel discussion featuring influencers/content creators and marketers. It offered some interesting insights into this marketing strategy including the following:
- Becoming an influencer opens up many more opportunities for a person outside of the traditional influencer marketing role.
- You have to treat influencers as a brand and ensure they fit in to your brand and its strategy and values.
- A lot of factors are taken into consideration when influencers are pricing themselves, including the size of their following, number of engagements, who the brand is, the amount of time and work required etc.
- Remuneration for influencers can go beyond monetary compensation. It can include trade exchanges, product and service gifts etc.
- Some influencers work for free or very little money when first starting out in order to build relationships and learn more about the influencer marketing industry.
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