Speaking local: Brands tapping regional influencers for higher engagement

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Published: November 11, 2019 1:43:28 AM

Brands are tapping regional influencers for higher engagement.

A RedSeer report estimates that there are about 210 million monetisable internet users in India who consume content in vernacular languages.

Marketers have adopted newer languages and strategies to engage with the rising number of internet users in smaller towns. A RedSeer report estimates that there are about 210 million monetisable internet users in India who consume content in vernacular languages. To tap this burgeoning set of consumers, brands have increasingly roped in regional content creators and influencers.

Insta connect

Ashutosh Harbola, CEO and co-founder of influencer marketing company Buzzoka, says that reaching audiences in the tier II and III markets has historically been a challenge for brands. “By involving influencers from these regions, they can engage with these consumers effectively.”

Realising that internet users in smaller towns follow a specific set of influencers on the internet, e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal reached out to content creators on YouTube and asked them to get enrolled in its influencer marketing programme. After analysing these influencers, the company asked a select few to make videos featuring their products, in all major Indian languages including Tamil, Kannada and Bangla.

Future Group, too, adopts a similar strategy. The company often ropes in regional influencers on YouTube and Instagram to either showcase its fashion offerings under fbb or to announce discounts and offers from BigBazaar. In the past, it has roped in influencers from Karnataka and Kerala to create recipe videos using BigBazaar products during festivals such as Ugadi and Onam.

“These influencers not only help us get the message across, but also give a much better engagement,” says Pawan Sarda, group head – digital, Future Group.

Companies from the FMCG, smartphone, food delivery and BFSI sectors are the ones actively working with regional influencers for their marketing campaigns currently. Early this year, SBI Yono, the digital banking platform by State Bank of India, roped in 2,000 content creators across India for its ‘20 Under 20’ activity to felicitate young leaders. Influencers on platforms such as TikTok, YouTube and Instagram were brought in to reach out to audiences.

Most companies tend to give out discount coupons to their influencers to track conversions from their campaigns. Future Group, for instance, has seen that 15-16% of these coupons are redeemed by users.

Since most of these influencers don’t charge a hefty fee, brands find them to be cost-effective. According to Shekhar Mhaskar, chief growth officer, Isobar India, an influencer with a national presence and around five million followers typically commands a fee of Rs. 1 lakh per post, while a regional influencer with, say, two million followers would charge Rs. 30,000-40,000 per post. However, he adds, if the regional influencer has better engagement metrics to show for previous campaigns as compared to a national influencer, he/ she could command a higher remuneration.

Lost in translation

Ensuring that the essence of the campaign or the content is not diluted, is imperative. However, not being well-versed with different languages is often a hindrance for marketers.

“The content created by regional influencers is in a language that marketers don’t understand; when translated to Hindi or English, the essence and meaning could be lost,” notes Apaksh Gupta, founder and CEO, One Impression, an influencer marketing agency. “So, for a brand manager, it’s difficult to ascertain if he/ she has invested in the right content or if the target audience will find it relevant.”

Moreover, using data mining tools to analyse content is challenging when it comes to regional languages. “A lot of data mining tools do not understand Kannada as a language, for instance,” adds Harbola.

Finding the right regional influencers, too, is difficult since they have a local following, and hence, data mining tools are ineffective. In such a scenario, it is left to marketers to set up local teams to identify the right influencers.

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