Learn from a marketing expert how brands are embracing influencer marketing and quality content creation in 2021.
Adam Hadi has been working in influencer marketing for eight-years. Influencer marketing is a tactic that the majority of marketers are using today. With nearly four billion users across a variety of social media platforms, influencer marketing is a very effective way for brands to connect with their audiences – if it’s done right.
Hadi’s journey began with Topps, an American trading card company. Topps designed an app for soccer fans called Topps Kick. Hadi created Twitter campaigns to promote the product and realized that people who play the video game FIFA were interacting with his campaign efforts the most.
Hadi knew that people would record themselves playing FIFA and then upload it to YouTube. Some players had a significant amount of people who would log on to watch them play. So, he decided to reach out to these players and ask them to talk about his product.
“I was pretty naive at the time, and I was just like, ‘Hey, let me just ask them to talk about our app,’ Hadi said. “…it was like lightning in a bottle. It worked out really, really well. Our app was really good with their FIFA content, and it just grew from there.
Today, Hadi is the Vice President of Marketing at Current, a digital banking system that was created to work for “people who are overlooked by traditional banks,” as Hadi put it. He is in charge of all things marketing, from Public Relations, to paid acquisition, to influencer marketing, and beyond.
Current’s target demographic is young millennials and Gen Z. In order to reach this demographic, Current has to meet them where they are: on social media platforms.
In order to effectively do so, Hadi works hard to build relationships with influencers and content creators of all sizes. “It doesn’t really matter how big or small you are. If you’re a small creator, who’s just getting started but you can make great content, we’ll work with you.”
It isn’t the size of an influencer’s platform that necessarily matters to Hadi and Current, it’s the value of the relationship they build together. That’s what influencer marketing is really about, after all: building relationships; creating community. Traditional forms of advertising aren’t as personal. All that has to be done to create an ad online is click a few buttons, pay a fee, and set a duration. Influencer marketing gets companies the same results but has a much different execution. In order for influencer marketing to really work for a company, they need to have the skills it takes to build relationships and establish trust with their influencer marketing team.
“I never sell it as an easy, magic solution. No, I think it’s a hard solution that requires time, effort, and relationships. For us to make this work, we have to trust the influencers we work with, but they need to trust us. The more trust there is both ways, the better the outcome.”
The Importance of Community in Influencer Marketing
In the past, most people were likely to say that their community was the people they were close in proximity to – their classmates, neighbors, friends, and family. In the Age of the Internet, the definition of community has changed. “It’s moved from something that’s location-based to something that is really about shared values spanning the entire world,” Hadi said.
Typically, members of the same community develop a trust in one another. Because they have shared values, they are likely to trust a community leader (influencer) when they tell their audience they should use a certain product or follow a certain brand. However, it’s not as easy as simply asking an influencer to endorse a brand or product.
Trust is important for keeping communities together. If an audience feels as though they have been misled by their leader, they are likely to leave that community or find a different leader to follow. This is precisely why Hadi works so hard to develop meaningful connections with Current’s influencers.
“At the core of it, it’s relationship-based and it’s really understanding their world and what makes them work and good content. And that’s usually a big contrast for people who are used to growing your typical venture-backed businesses.”
Trusting influencers means trusting them to create quality content without giving them too much direction. Of course, it’s important to give them the proper tools for success, but Hadi finds that the best content comes from genuine, unscripted, creative content. He says this is something more brands should embrace.
“Something I would want from other brands is to embrace the value of good content, not just a good promo read.”
Advice for Influencers
Some influencers might think that they have to work with dozens of brands in order to be successful. However, Hadi says that isn’t true. He says it’s more important to work with a few brands that you go all in on. His advice:
“Be more selective, but then ask more of the brands that [you]’re working for, in terms of education, in terms of understanding what there is, in terms of custom integration… [you] should be more demanding there. And that’s going to reduce the amount of brands that you can work with. Some brands are not flexible and there’s going to be some easy paychecks that you say no to, but that makes you far more valuable to the brands that you are working with. Ultimately allows [you] to deliver something of more value to your audience.
In the end, a win for the audience is a win for the influencer, which is a win for the brand.
Finally, Hadi advises influencers and aspiring influencers to apply for a position on his influencer marketing team at Current at Current.com/careers.