Q&A with Vince Golangco on Influencer Marketing

Vince Golangco is one of the leading online influencers in the Philippines and founded one of the country’s top blog, When in Manila 10 years ago. In this interview, he shares with us the latest updates on influencer marketing, mistakes brands do and how they can correct their practices.

Q1: Why does influencer marketing exist?

A1: Influencer marketing exists because every one now has the power to create content and spread that content which may lead their followers towards buying certain products or getting specific services, meaning they were influenced to spending their money toward something the “influencer” was promoting. 

Q2: Is influencer marketing on the rise or on the decline?

A2: Influencer marketing is definitely on the rise. From my experience, the Philippines and other countries that may not be as advanced, tend to lag behind around 5-10 years in terms of trends, technology and practices. So the influencer marketing industry is still in it’s infancy here in the Philippines, but may already be hitting it’s peak in the America or Europe. According to SocialMediaToday.com, global online ad spending is growing at around 4% per year, meaning companies are spending more and more money online for their ads. Part of these online ads are the influerncers and the influencer marketing. According to the same site, close to 43% of advertisers plan to increase their online spending on influencer marketing this 2019. Locally, you can see the power of influencer marketing from the statistics, where 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference, according to digital agency starngage.com. That report also states that 86% of women turn to social networks before making a purchase, and that 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencer opinions over traditional celebrities, which further shows the power and rise of influencer marketing. 

Q3: What are the trends nowadays in influencer marketing?

A3: It’s hard to talk about trends in influencer marketing as this changes on a daily basis; what is “cool” or trendy today, may not be tomorrow. But for the most part, in the influencer marketing world, the trends nowadays seem to lead towards authenticity, and audacity – so you have to be either very genuine and authentic, or completely stand out by being crazy and audacious. 

Q4: What are some tips for businesses looking to get into influencer marketing? 

A4: There’s a virtually unlimited number of ways brands and influencers can collaborate, but the trick is to find influencers who truly believe in your brand. Also, it is not just about the numbers nowadays. There is a growing trend of very strong micro-influencers – this means influencers with smaller followings, around 100-10,000 or so, but who’s followers are much more in-tune with the niche of that influencer. For example, a hiking gear brand might get more sales and interaction from a hiking micro-influencer who really specializes in hiking, and who’s 1,000 followers are all hikers themselves, rather than getting an influencer who has 50,000 followers, but only 2 or 3 of which actually hike. So nowadays, it is smart to diversify with the influencers you work with, where you get some big overlapping influencers that cover cover all lifestyle angles, but also getting some micro-influencers who have a smaller but more loyal and more concentrated niche following. 

Q5: What are some of the biggest mistakes of brands in influencer marketing? How do you think should this be corrected?

A5: The biggest mistake is how some brands who don’t fully understand influencer marketing, try to turn it the content into a TV commercial or press release. These brands do a hard sell of their products which ends up making the content not fit for the “REAL” online audience, as consumers will rarely view or share something that they know is an advertisement. People online want to see authentic and real reviews or information from people they trust, not a talking billboard that just tells you to buy a phone, because they were paid to say so, or because they got a free phone to do that. So the best thing to do is to just soft sell your product, and let the influencer do something that is within the scope of what they really do on their channel. Although the brands might think that this is bad for them, it is better as more people will actually watch and share the content. 

Q6: Where is influencer marketing headed in the future?

A6: There is definitely more to earn in this industry so I am predicting a lot more people taking this seriously and pursuing a career in it. In the United States, the number one aspiration for teens is to become an “influencer” now, rather than the past professions like doctors or actors or astronauts. Part of the reasoning for this is probably the accessibility, where these young people can see and follow the current influencers and see the portrayed amazing and lavish lifestyles. As mentioned earlier, the Philippines may be a few years behind so we may just now be entering the peak influencer marketing days. Other than that, I also see lot more selfies coming in the future. 

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