Co-founder and CEO of SocialPubli, an award-winning influencer marketing platform with 200,000+ opt-in influencers across 35 countries.
“Ask a local.” You’ve probably heard this frequently when you’re planning to travel and want to have a great and authentic experience.
It makes sense. Locals know the area. They know the culture. They know what works.
As we’ve developed influencer marketing programs for companies, we’ve seen that this advice holds true for businesses even better than it does for tourists. Working with influencers can provide the foothold and the leverage you need to be able to move into new markets and expand your business’s global reach.
What makes influencer marketing so appealing to companies expanding into new areas?
Influencers are ideally positioned to connect businesses with audiences in their new markets, especially markets where internet and mobile device use is high. Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, for example, rank among the top markets worldwide for internet usage.
In the past, companies might have brought on a staffer or a local intermediary to act as a sort of “translator” between their home country and the new market and to create awareness of their offerings in a way that fits within the new region’s culture and dynamics. This person or firm would be responsible for building relationships and creating connections, as well as for making sure brands were localizing their efforts and being sensitive to regional preferences and cultural differences.
Today, the networks these partnerships established are often already there — in the form of influencers. When you find an influencer who is connected with your target markets and who has already won their trust, you can smooth the path for your entrance into the market.
What differences can I expect in international influencer relationships?
When you begin a partnership with an influencer from another region or country, getting well-informed about how the industry operates in said market and being sensitive to cultural nuances can help you avoid awkward situations. For example, we’ve found that U.S. influencers and Latin American influencers have very different views on payment. While many U.S. influencers often expect payment before posting for a client, Latin American influencers are generally more flexible regarding payment arrangements.
The U.S. influencer market is one of the most extensive and competitive — 67.9% of U.S. marketers in companies with more than 100 employees are expected to use influencers for marketing. Businesses of all sizes and across industries are investing money in influencers, and the industry seems to be evolving faster in the U.S. than in other parts of the world, which means that U.S. influencers tend to be more flexible and will often agree to partner with smaller businesses or startups. We’ve noticed that European influencers, on the other hand, are more likely to work with established brands and household names.
We’ve also seen that European influencers tend to be more careful with their privacy and personas. They are often not as open to sharing their statistics or campaign metrics, so if you’re expecting metrics from a European campaign, be clear in your expectations prior to the conversation (that piece of advice actually translates to any influencer partnership, regardless of the region).
In terms of performance, we often see Latin American influencers garner higher engagement levels, with a greater proportion of their audience commenting and interacting with their content, regardless of the social media platform.
Which platforms work best for global influencer marketing?
As with most marketing, the best platform for expanding into a new market will depend on your brand, the audience you want to reach and the market itself. Many people automatically think of TikTok and Instagram as the top platforms for influencer partnerships. After all, TikTok is growing rapidly across the world, breaking download records and giving influencers and brands high levels of engagement, while we’ve found that Instagram is the preferred platform for the majority of marketers.
However, research shows that in Latin America, 80% of people discover new brands through Facebook. In Mexico, in particular, we’ve noticed the power of Facebook influencer partnerships to expose brands to larger audiences.
How can I find and connect with the right influencers?
The right influencers for your partnership might not be the extremely obvious ones. Most brands don’t need a celebrity with a following in the millions; in fact, those partnerships might reach many people who don’t fit into your target audience and specific geographic area.
Instead, partnering with an influencer with a smaller, more targeted audience might be the better fit for your business. Through these highly targeted micro-influencer partnerships, you can create visibility with your target audience, and you can usually do it at a lower price and with greater immediacy than working with a mega-influencer.
Pre-social media, building networks and creating connections in new markets could be an intensive, months-long process. Even since social networks have become widely used and accepted, the process of finding, identifying and vetting the appropriate influencers can be quite time-consuming.
Influencer marketing platforms can make finding and connecting with the right influencers and the right audiences quicker and more seamless. My company has created one such platform, but there are many others out there. With these platforms, you can filter influencers by platform, geographic location, audience size and more to find the right fit and begin establishing helpful relationships quickly.
If you’re not using an influencer marketing platform, two practical ways to find influencers are doing hashtag searches on social media or Google searches for relevant topics, keywords and phrases related to your industry. For example, if you’re looking to identify and connect with fashion influencers in New York, you could search for the hashtags #newyorkinfluencer, #nyfashioninfluencer or #nyfashionblogger. This will bring up a list of candidates who you can vet. A Google search for similar terms will deliver a list of profiles, articles and mentions with the terms.
Along with making sure an influencer’s audience is a fit, evaluate potential influencer partnerships based on their alignment with your brand’s values and culture, and then collaborate closely with them to ensure you’re adjusting for nuances in communication and getting the most out of your partnerships.
Influencer marketing continues to be a global phenomenon and can serve a critical role in propelling your brand’s success. Building a strong presence in new markets through influencer campaigns relies on identifying and vetting the right influencers to match your brand, and then working together to build a strategic advantage.