While we have become desensitized to old fashioned costly advertisements flashing on TV screens and billboards, a more sophisticated and cost-effective marketing strategy using social networks, known as Influencer Marketing – is on the rise.
According to statistics, $ 3-6 Billion was invested in Influencer Marketing worldwide in 2018 alone. The leading platform was Instagram which 80% of influencers consider a key platform; Facebook and Youtube are next with 47 % and 37%, respectively.
Influencer Tbilisi is a marketing group that seized a chance to promote Influencer marketing in Georgia, where more than a half of the country’s population - 2 million people - is registered on Facebook. Through the influencer.ge portal they offer a new unique platform to connect brands with the people who may have an influence on their clientele.
To get some insight on influencer marketing’s benefits we talked to Eldar Pirmisashvili and Nina Pertenava, the founders of influence.ge.
Eldar, why did Influencer Marketing become so important lately and is there any demand for it in Georgia?
I have been working in the strategic communication field for over ten years, observing market dynamics as well as peoples' behavior. New media, social networking and digitization processes made it important for brands to use influencers. We have already had some experience in this sector. International brands operating in the Georgian market initially asked us to design influencer strategies for them. Demand is obviously increasing as more and more brands are becoming aware of this marketing platform and the positive effect it may have on sales. Influencer marketing is experiencing so much rapid growth worldwide that brands just cannot ignore it.
Nina, who are influencers and why are they so important for brands?
Influence and influential people have always been important. Only the tools of influence have changed. If the main venues of influence in the past were television, press and radio, today new media and social networks have created a storm of information.
Influencers are personalities who are adept in certain fields; they have experience, competence and authority and are skillful enough to create impressive content on different social networks. This attracts large numbers of followers, who trust this personality and accept his/her influence. These popular people can render a useful service to brands thanks to their active social life. They popularize branded products through original content on social networks; they create target consumer segments, and kindle conversations with their followers, having an influence on their decision-making process which may end up with a purchase. It's a very effective strategy for companies – it achieves maximum effect through minimal expenses.
Eldar, what types of service will influencer.ge perform and does your service cover only the Georgian market?
We perform these three main services: influencer strategy, event management and consulting. Companies need competent, long-term plans to deploy their influencer-based campaigns. The key is keeping proper balance between financial resources and results. According to research, you cannot rely on just one influencer, who may have a large group of followers but whose interests are vague and fickle, making it hard to identify target groups for products. It's better to have 10 influencers with small but specific groups of followers who are interested in one clear product or service. Otherwise, the effect of influencer marketing will be very little.
We help brands solve this marketing puzzle in the Georgian market, but later on we plan to make our service available within the entire South Caucasian market; with long-term plans to consider expansion abroad. The main idea is that brands operating in Georgia have outlet networks worldwide and we plan to offer a more harmonized, borderless strategy to make marketing simpler and cost-effective for them.
Nina, why brands should trust your infuencer.ge platform?
We have a great deal of experience working with major brands, and we are acutely aware of their needs; we launched our service after consulting with them. And I personally honed my marketing skills in the US for two years, working with major agencies there. Our target groups are mid-sized and large international brands; however, Georgian brands are also interested in influencing strategy. Influencers create significant capital such as trust and sales, and including them in today's marketing strategy is a must. The reality is that in the 21st century old fashioned ads no longer directly affect sales. The mainstream became blind to this, and influencer marketing took a leading role because awareness and sales are centered around social networks today. We identify influencers in compliance with internationally accepted criteria, where trust and reputation is crucial. Our key strength is that we never deceive consumers by focusing on price or size calculations. We never promote low quality products and our influencers never show false emotions; they actually use the targeted products, enjoy them and share true emotions- all will be based on trust and the authenticity that is so important to consumers.