The Art and Science of Influencer Marketing in Vietnam
How to use data to choose the right influencers
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Every business—online or offline—wants buzz. They want people talking about their brand, what they like about their product or service, and, perhaps most importantly, why others should also use it.
Generating this kind of word of mouth is not easy. Hiip, a start-up based out of Vietnam, aims to address this problem. The platform launched in April 2016 and closed its pre-seed funding in October of the same year, from Expara Ventures; Christian Schaefer, managing partner of Asia Counsel law firm; and Eric Rosenkranz, former CEO of APAC and Latin America of Grey Global Group.
“Hiip is an automated influencer platform backed by data and matching algorithms. We help brands and advertisers connect and partner with right social influencers,” says Phi Nguyen, founder and CEO of Hiip.
Their target market are not the players you would usually associate with influencer marketing, such as huge multinationals out to contract celebrity influencers. Instead, Hiip aims to reach out to medium and small brands who may not necessarily have a large budget. “We help them to find and work with social long-tail influencers,” says Nguyen.
While the influencer platform model may not be new, Hiip is the first in Vietnam. As such, Nguyen cites building trust as one of the biggest challenges Hiip faces in scaling in this space. The start-up has to convince both brands and influencers on the viability of the new concept, so they agree and sign up for the platform.
Nguyen refers to developing this two-sided marketplace as the classic chicken-and-egg problem, except that he feels he has the right answer in the case of Hiip.
Since influencers are always happy to promote brands they like for money, Hiip is concentrating their efforts on convincing brands to invest in influencer marketing through their platform.
Hiip has more than a thousand influencers registered on the platform and has experienced 50% month-over-month growth in terms of customer bookings.
As much art as science
Once brands are on boarded, another challenge is getting them to buy into the working process, for as Nguyen puts it, “we are a technology platform, not an agency.” In other words, brands will not be handheld through the process, but will have to be proactive in order to land the right influencers.
The user journey is relatively simple. Brands fill out a campaign brief on the Hiip platform that includes their campaign information, target audience, ideal influencer, and the influencer’s task. Hiip then recommends influencers, and brands can evaluate them by looking at some of their recent posts, along with demographic information about their followers.
On the influencer side - they have their own dashboard - they then get to bid and detail their content posts. From then on, brands can look at real content shared by the influencers and track the performance of posts, so they can measure their return.
As an example of a successful campaign run through Hiip, Nguyen pointed to the launching of Ice Age 5 in Vietnam, which was solely distributed through the country by Galaxy. Through Hiip, Galaxy tasked 20 influencers to watch the movie, write a review, and share it on social media.
“After the campaign finished, there were 40 thousand engagements,” Nguyen says. He also added that the performance of the film at the box office held steady from its opening week to the next, a rarity credited in part to Hiip.
To create successful campaigns like these, Nguyen says that brands must approach influencer marketing with an overarching strategy, and keep in mind that it’s as much science and art. As an example, Nguyen points to the frequent case of fashion and beauty brands choosing beautiful women models, without considering the data of their fans or followers. Yet the fan base of these female models is predominantly men, and not the women these brands want to reach.
“They target the wrong audience and therefore, get little or no results,” Nguyen says, emphasizing the fact that brands must use data to choose the right influencers, rather than just relying on subjective feelings or their intuition.