71 percent of residents in the UAE aged 18 to 40 refer to social media influencers as part of their decision making process before making a purchase according to a survey released last month by Dubai-based PR agency BPG Cohn & Wolfe. So if you are wondering where you should be allocating your marketing spend for 2017, it’s time to start paying attention to influencer marketing for the following reasons:

  • Consumers Use Their Smartphones to Search for Reviews

Tech-savvy residents in the United Arab Emirates use their smartphones to follow their favorite influencers. As part of their research process many consumers seek out user generated content to give them the confidence that the decision they are making is correct. By aligning your brand with respected influencers in your niche who recommend your product through online reviews or endorsements, you naturally position your product or brand as the preferred option.

  • Not Only Millennials Care About Reading Online Reviews

Online reviews are not just sought after by millennials, but the older generations also. The survey concluded that of those aged 18 – 40, 68 percent of residents looked for online reviews before deciding where to dine, while 63 percent said they consult influencers’ recommendations before purchasing fashion or beauty products. The study also found Facebook the number one platform used to follow social media influencers in general.  A total of 35% said they followed food influencers on Facebook and 26% on YouTube, while fashion and beauty influencers were followed highly on Facebook at 32% and Instagram at 24%.

  • Influencer Marketing Expands Their Reach
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Jen Selter

Social media influencers and bloggers have considerable followings of people who are interested in what they have to say. By connecting with an influencer in your field, you have access to an engaged and attentive audience.

However it’s necessary to understand that while reach is important, depth is where the true value is at. It’s about quality over quantity. Having a highly engaged audience is what makes social media influencers truly valuable. If you partner with an influencer on Instagram for instance that has an audience of 100,000 and only 50 people within that group buy your product, versus someone who has 20,000 followers and 1,000 people buy your product then it’s the latter conversion that demonstrates you have an engaged audience consuming your content. It’s especially important to keep this in mind when sourcing influencers in this region as there is unhealthy culture of buying followers and engagement to create the perception of influence.

  • Boost Business Credibility
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DJ Khaled

Influencer marketing is a good way to boost your business’s credibility if you partner with the right person. Take for example DJ Khalid and Ciroc Vodka or the hundreds of fitness influencers on Instagram who share images of their impressive physiques while attributing part of their success to Skinny Bunny Tea or Protein World supplements that just happen to be perfectly positioned in their photo. Once you’ve built a relationship with a relevant influencer and they share your products with their followers, your credibility can increase significantly. However there is an initial investment of time and effort to reach out and connect with these influencers, and not everyone will be open to monetizing their influence purely for financial gain. Many influencers really need to believe in you and your product.

  • Increase Brand Awareness

You could have the best product in the world, but if nobody knows about your business you’re not going to make many sales. Brand awareness is vital for generating leads for your business, especially for product launches, startups and SME’s. Consumers are tired of paid adverts and filter them quickly. Influencer marketing is an efficient way to increase brand awareness because the right influencers already have the attention of large engaged audiences that trust them.

Influencers are a remarkable way to build brand equity and integrate into the storytelling process for your brand, especially if you are trying to spread the word to a specific audience. A positive experience with relevant influencers and appropriate messaging will get your customers to take action.