How To Do Influencer Marketing in Asia

Influencer marketing is one of the most popular marketing technique in Asia. However, creating the best localized influencer marketing campaign can be challenging. In this interview, here are 10 important tips on how to do influencer marketing in Asia from AJ Marketing.

How To Do Influencer Marketing in Asia

Influencer marketing is increasing in popularity in Asia-Pacific especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. From fashion to gaming influencers, brands from multiple industries have been working with social media stars to increase brand awareness.

52% of the global social media users come from the APAC. Therefore, the rise of influencer marketing in the region is inevitable.

However, this marketing technique can be tricky due to the different consumer behavior across different countries. If you are wondering how to do influencer marketing in Asia, here are 10 insider tips from Arthur Sabalionis and Joon Kim, the founders of the leading influencer marketing agency in Asia-Pacific, AJ Marketing.

1. Other than population size, why do you think influencer marketing is a great marketing technique in Asia markets?

High social media penetration rate is a significant factor that is making Influencer marketing a great technique in Asia. For example, by January 2021, South Korea’s penetration rate is at 89%, which is the second highest worldwide. Followed by Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore with social media penetration rate above 80%.

Asia consumers have shifted their consumer behaviour to be more digital. In 2021, social media became the preferred channel for brand research and new product discoveries. 

2. Influencer marketing in Southeast Asia itself is predicted to be worth more than $2 billion in 2024. What are your takes on that? Why do you think influencer marketing is prominent among Asia consumers? 

The number of micro-influencers in Asia is increasing day by day. This number reflects that people prefer user-generated content over paid advertisements. 

Influencer generated content is more genuine and authentic, making the testimonials more trustworthy. In fact, 77% of the consumers in Thailand who are between 25 -34 years old have purchased products because of influencer endorsements.

Therefore, we believe that Influencer marketing will continue its reign and increase its worth in Asia in the coming years.

3. What influencer marketing campaigns in APAC stand out the most? Can you name the 3 most successful campaigns in 2021?

2021 was a great year for influencer marketing as people are spending more time online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We could pick these 3 influencer marketing campaigns that stand out to us in 2021:

- Tokopedia and BTS Collaboration (Indonesia)

In this campaign, one of the leading e-commerce platforms in Indonesia, Tokopedia, created a phenomenon. Tokopedia signed the booming South Korean boyband, BTS, as their brand ambassadors. The kick-start video of their collaboration gained more than 68 million views on YouTube, showing the BTS members promoting Tokopedia. They also used the hashtag #TokopediaxBTS and #Tokopediasaja to achieve great visibility and brand awareness. This marketing technique by merging influencer marketing and celebrity partnership brought amazing results for Tokopedia. They continued to do exclusive content collaborations with BTS on Tokopedia’s YouTube channel and Instagram account.

- Dove Philippines and KZ Tandingan Collaboration

The worldwide FMCG brand, Dove, created an amazing campaign for women in the Philippines titled “My Hair, My Say”. This women empowerment campaign successfully gained more than 19 million views on YouTube as they created a music video featuring KZ Tandingan and other local female singers, FANA, Leanne & Nara, and Maysh. This celebrity partnership is amazing as Dove creates a relationship with its consumers in the Philippines.

- Pantene Malaysia

This worldwide brand also did an incredible influencer collaboration titled #WanitaBesi (IronLady) which conveys the message of strong and beautiful women. Pantene Malaysia did a collaboration with Yuna, the Malaysian singer and influencer, and successfully gained more than 4 million views on YouTube. 

4. What social media platforms are most popular in Asia? How are those different in Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia?

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok are the top 5 most popular social media platforms in Asia. However, each country has their specifics. For example, local messenger apps such as Kakao for South Korea, Line for Japan and Thailand, WhatsApp for Indonesia and Malaysia, and Zalo for Vietnam.

5. From nano-influencers to mega seleb, what are your key tips in choosing the right influencers to work for a campaign? Are there any important KPIs that you always keep consider of? 

Celebrities and mega influencers with millions of followers will do great if your target is to create buzz and brand awareness, while nano and micro-influencers are amazing for higher engagement and increasing conversion rate. So basically, it depends on your campaign’s objectives. 

You should also make sure to choose the influencers by their niches. If you are promoting a fitness brand then health influencers are the way to go while gaming influencers are amazing for promoting games or other digital accessories.

AJ Marketing’s most important tip: Engagement is more important than followers. So keep an eye on engagement rate and average views before choosing an influencer.

6. Let’s talk deep into strategy. What are the important things in designing an influencer marketing strategy in the APAC region? 

When creating strategy for our clients, AJ Marketing focuses on localization, a relatable message and choosing the right social media platform.

Due to the cultural difference among APAC countries, it is important for brands to keep their campaign distinctive. Use a local language and make sure to keep in mind festive events such as Tet for Vietnam, Chinese New Year, and the Ramadan Month for Indonesia and Malaysia. This way, consumers can feel connected with foreign brands.

The second one is to create a relatable message. As Asian culture is big on collectivist culture, family and togetherness is a great theme to be the base of your marketing strategy. Like how Milo Vietnam successfully created a campaign about the relationship between parents and children which resulted to be one of the most successful marketing campaigns in Vietnam.

The third tip is to choose the right social media platform. TikTok and their short-video sharing feature is great for creating hashtag challenges, fast tutorial or review videos, while YouTube is great for creating in-depth audiovisuals.

7. How do you minimize the risk of using influencer marketing?

Like any other marketing strategy, influencer marketing can go wrong if not done properly. Let me share some strategies that we use in AJ Marketing.

We do a thorough research on the influencer. Including content quality, audience insight and online reputation. The last thing you want is to sign an influencer that is controversial.

The second tip is to negotiate, so to decrease price and increase campaign ROI. We leverage our local connections and experience to lower the price.

The third tip is to carefully manage the influencer. Create a scheduling post with a clear creative brief and set the right KPIs in order to make the campaign controlled and measurable.

8. AJ Marketing has offices in 8 different countries in APAC. From your perspective, what are the different influencer marketing trends going on among those countries?

Asia countries have very distinct influencer marketing trends.

For example, in Vietnam, the rise of Vietnamese Rap has been a great marketing trend where brands collaborated with Vietnamese Rappers to produce a music video for their campaign. While in Japan consumers are trending to virtual influencers as brand ambassadors. Such as Imma.gram for GU Japan.

In Thailand, young business influencers are popular for doing collaborations with brands. These business-savvy personas acknowledge to have expertise in the business and entrepreneurship environment, which turns out to be a great contribution to build consumers' brand preference.

In Singapore and Malaysia, it is important for brands to approach more micro-influencers and connect with them long-term. It creates a special relationship between the influencer and the brand which later will positively influence audiences.

Lastly, viral marketing is a great way to do influencer marketing in Indonesia and South Korea. Marketing in these countries requires great creativity to build a sensation and go viral, which can be done through online communities on social media.

9. What do you think would be the next big influencer marketing trends in Asia?

We predicted that the authenticity and originality of the influencer's contents will keep dominating. Brands need to be more creative in minimizing the “sponsored” aspect of the collaboration. In AJ Marketing we encourage brands to use a more soft-selling marketing strategy in order to win the hearts of the consumers. 

Also, the shift in social media platform popularity is happening, such as the rise of TikTok. TikTok can replace the social media giants such as Instagram and YouTube. It is already happening in some markets like Indonesia. Therefore, brands should definitely consider doing collaborations with TikTok influencers ahead.

10. How can AJ Marketing add value to brands looking to expand business in Asia?

There are 3 major advantages of working with AJ Marketing when advertising in Asia:

  • Creative agency: we are cooperating with top influencers in Asia to build creative marketing campaigns that people love
  • Local presence: we have local offices and teams in 8 countries in Asia. It helps us to leverage local resources such as language, network and market knowledge
  • Best price: we have long term cooperation agreements with influencers and can offer prices below market average

Conclusion

Hopefully, these 10 insider tips will help you in creating the best influencer marketing strategy for your brand.

Expanding business in a new region can be challenging, but also rewarding if done properly. Asia-Pacific offers unique opportunities to scale business digitally and grow fast.

We encourage you to stay curious! If you are looking for more insider tips about Asia markets check our blog here.