Some of the recent brand, campaign and product launches have been led by influencers, the new celebrities on digital media whose reach and impact can touch millions. Brands have woken up to the importance of influencers and their carefully worded recommendations, that go a long way in cajoling customers to take to the brand. Each sector has certain opinion leaders who have built their own equity with a large follower base and they are being tapped to spread the message. It is now proved beyond doubt that they can be the best mouth pieces for the brand communication, working wonders in creating strong brand engagement. But how can brands find these influencers? How can they get them to understand their positioning and establish a mutually beneficial relationship with them? That’s where Influencer Marketing platforms like Blogmint prove to be handy.
Connecting Bloggers and Brands
Blogmint, backed by TO THE NEW Ventures, launched in January this year. From starting out as a service model it quickly became a DIY model which facilitates the brand and influencer engagement. Today, Blogmint has a registered user base of more than 400 brands and growing. The reasons that brands attribute to this growing popularity of bloggers or influencers are the cost effective nature of the method and its targeted reach. From start-ups to small enterprises to the large brands , anyone in the business of branding and marketing is opening up to this manner of marketing. The platform is now extending its reach to other countries in the APAC region.
Research published in Adweek stated that almost 59 per cent brand marketers plan to increase their Influencer Marketing budget signalling a bright future for both bloggers and platforms like Blogmint.
Exciting the Blogger Community
The current boom in the blogging, vlogging and microblogging talent in India is giving rise to platforms such as Blogmint . What Blogmint is now doing is launching campaigns to give a boost to the network of bloggers it is engaging with. By launching initiatives like #Bloggerdreamteam with Harsha Bhogle and another with Vir Sanghvi, the platform has created the necessary buzz. Aimed at discovering and recognising the emerging blogging talent in the country, the campaign encouraged bloggers to express opinions on the Cricket world cup and a variety of related themes. Irfan Khan, the CEO of Blogmint is upbeat about many more such campaigns. Very recently, Blogmint tied up with leading food connoisseur and eminent media personality Vir Sanghvi for the same campaign to showcase the talent of bloggers in the travel and food genres.
‘Blogmint is committed to building an eco-system that fosters collaboration between online influencers and marketers’, says Irfan. ‘We can see influencer marketing working for brands. Many of them come with requests for a small number of bloggers but when they see the success, they try to scale it up and make it a part of their marketing mix,” he adds.
Why engage Influencers?
Brands are engaging bloggers for a variety of reasons but Irfan says the maximum demand for bloggers is for new product launches. They also use bloggers for content distribution and brand awareness. So what is the current focus area for Blogmint? ‘Initially, our focus was to bring influencers on board with us. We now have close to 10,000 influencers and now the objective is to keep them engaged, educating them about how to leverage the platform to increase their readership. We have now hit the critical mass and engagement is a priority for the future,” says Irfan.
Bloggers are social stars who are growing in their influence and impact. But what about the ethics of this practice?Is it not unfair to provide readers with biased content? ‘We always encourage responsible blogging and ask the bloggers to call out that it’s a sponsored post,’ explains Irfan.
It’s early days yet for Blogmint as it has not yet completed a year of operations. But going by the burgeoning blogger community and marketers’ quest for cost effective ways to stand out from the clutter, there is all possibility that influencer marketing will only increase in scope and relevance.