Influencers gain importance in marketing mix of the brands. How about taking a peek of its importance and why it gained traction for brands?
Ahmet Erten and Hilal Meriç are managing directors at Boomads, one of Turkey’s leading influencer marketing platforms. It has been operating since 2011 and developed projects more than 50.000 bloggers, celebrities, micro and macro influencers so far. The duo penned a book called, “Dijital Çağın Mesleği: Nasıl Influencer Olunur?” (Profession of Digital Age: How to Become an Influencer / Hürriyet Yayınları, 2019) . The book provides background influencer marketing and refers around 40 Turkish influencers’ view. “…becoming any kind of influencer is not that easy. High level of effort, hard work and social media knowledge are prerequisite for this job. Unlike regular office workers, on influencer’s world, there are no fixed business hours,” said Meriç. I interviewed Ahmet Meriç and Hilal Meriç and here what they told me.
Can you tell me a brief background of the Turkish influencer market?
Ahmet Erten (AE): In 2011, a system was established at Hürriyet, one of Turkey’s leading newspapers, to bring bloggers and brands together. Many of names, we currently call influencers, were writing blogs during that period. They used to write about their experiences, recommendations on their blogs and influence readers through blogs. The diversification of social media channels over time has directed the content producers to use these social media channels. Especially, Instagram has become the most dominant among these channels and content producer started to influence customers through these channels. In short, the background in Turkey comes from blogs
What type of influencers do dominate the Turkish influencer market? Can you provide a breakdown by categories?
AE: There are various influencer categories. We can see so many content productions for different niche topics that we can say there is a wide range. Yet lifestyle, food and mother influencers are predominant categories. Brands generally would like to work with influencers who produce content in these categories. Since these categories address more people, they are preferred more.
How do the Turkish brands approach the influencers?
AE: Brands are increasingly investing on influencers. For brands, it is important to promote their goods and services through influencers. We can say that brands have increased their influencer marketing advertisements especially during the pandemic period.
When you compare Turkish brands with the global peers, how the do the Turkish brands handle the influencers? What are the main differences?
AE: Influencer marketing has quite good standards in Turkey. In general, global brands write briefs and manage processes according to the guidelines coming from their head offices. Similar to the global peers, brands have influencer agencies like Boomads and in general they work with professionals. For brands that do not have sufficient experience in this field, the main problem can be that perceiving influencers as an advertorial ad space. It is important to know that each influencer has their own style and allow influencers for the content production process in brand collaborations
In choosing influencers what points should the brands take into consideration?
Hilal Meriç (HM): The first point that brands evaluate on choosing influencers is harmony between the campaign, category and past post and contents of the influencer. After determination of the influencer alternatives, data of the influencers come into prominence. Details such as engagement rate, real people ratio, demographic information of followers help us to choose right the influencer.
We have developed a tool that shows “tool is really effective especially on campaigns that includes more than one influencer. follower duplications”. This tool allows brands to make their choices by targeting maximum unique accounts/followers.
Do they think that influencers are a part of their marketing mix?
HM: Influencer marketing communications, which did not take part on media plans, become essential for the campaigns. Recently, brands show how they care about and embrace influencer communication by including influencers not only in campaign communication but also in long term projects.
Why is influencer marketing significant for brands?
Hilal Meriç: Influencers became the voice of brands on social media. Recommendations and feedback of the influencers on a product strongly affect the end-user. Influencer marketing is a guide for brands on their current and future campaigns as detailed reporting and data analysis is possible.
Why don’t most social media users can’t become an influencer?
HM: We do not only consider people as “influencer” who has enormous number of followers. There are “macro”/” hero” influencers who has 100K and above followers as well as micro influencers with followers below 100K. Furthermore, accounts with 1K followers are now being called “nano” influencers and we can bring them together with brands.
Besides, as dynamics of social media changes immensely, profiles that able to catch up with these changes can be taken into consideration as “nano” influencer no matter how much followers they have.
However, becoming any kind of influencer is not that easy. High level of effort, hard work and social media knowledge are prerequisite for this job. Unlike regular office workers, on influencer’s world, there are no fixed business hours. In order to become an influencer, regular production of creative and genuine and high-quality contents are a must. Moreover, nowadays, as people value transparency above all, it’s crucial to be seen as “real person”.
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