Nano-influencers were a key element in Eskort's campaign, The Real Hot Dogs of Mzansi awards, that ran over March and April, leading to a combined total of nearly 20 million impressions for its influencer posts - enough to reach nearly two-thirds of all social media users in the country.
Supplied. Schalk Bezuidenhout hot dog, a cheese griller wrapped in bacon and covered in a woollen knit jacket
With over 32.7 million active social media users across South Africa, the growing impact of influencer marketing is a force that no brand can afford to ignore.
According to Statista, the value of the global influencer market more than doubled in the three years between 2019 and 2021, climbing from $6.5bn to $13.8bn.
In South Africa alone, experts estimate that the influencer economy has nearly reached the R1bn milestone.
The meteoric transition to digital platforms fuelled by the pandemic has increasingly forced companies to innovate to stay connected with their customers.
SA age of the influencer has arrived
While the South African influencer industry is relatively young, the age of the influencer is officially here.
Significantly, the rise of influencers has not been driven by celebrities and the famous names one might expect, but rather the smaller nano- and micro-influencers that represent brands’ everyday customers.
These nano- and micro-influencers are part of close-knit communities that typically share a personal connection with one another, enabling marketers to reach niche, highly targeted audiences.
As real, relatable people unobscured by the haze of celebrity status, nano- and micro-influencers content also tend to be seen as more genuine and authentic.
Nano-influencers deliver a higher engagement rate
This works to enhance trust and credibility, increasing the likelihood that audiences will instead actively engage with brand content.
For example, a 2020 study by influencer marketing platform Humanz reveals that South African celebrities with over one million followers typically deliver an engagement rate of just 1.7%, compared to over 7.1% delivered by nano-influencers with less than 10,000 followers.
Evidence proves that smaller influencers can deliver far greater returns on investment for marketing spend than one big-name celebrity, delivering higher engagement rates at lower costs.
By leveraging the power of numbers, brands are also able to help social media campaigns gain greater momentum, creating more memorable moments for their audiences, and achieving far greater impact.
Eskort’s latest brand campaign, The Real Hot Dogs of Mzansi awards, is an example of this.
Running throughout March and April this year the campaign celebrates the people, places and experiences that tie South Africans together, featuring a series of 12 tongue-in-cheek videos with hot dog recipes inspired by local heroes’ unique characteristics.
From the Schalk Bezuidenhout hot dog honouring his slapstick comedy and trademark style with a cheese griller wrapped in bacon and covered in a woollen knit jacket, to the saucy Load Shedding hot dog with “just enough flavour to knock your lights out”, the videos have proved popular on social media.
But the success of the campaign is ultimately attributable to the support of a legion of 400 nano- and micro-influencers who came on board to join in the excitement.
The idea for The Real Hot Dogs of Mzansi was to bring ordinary South Africans from all walks of life together in the spirit of fun to honour the things that define and exemplify our unique national culture.
In keeping with this, the brand drew on the services of nano- and micro-influencers to boost the campaign’s reach and emphasise the point that there really is a hot dog for everyone.
1.6 million total engagements
The campaign’s total engagements reached a 1.6 million – more than double the local influencer industry’s average engagement rate of 3.5%.
Additionally, Eskort achieved as many as 123,000 clicks through to its website, exceeding expectations by some 6,400%.
While these levels of engagement highlight the success of the campaign’s spirit of humour, it shows the incredible value of the real, authentic content created by local nano- and micro-influencers.