For the first time on the continent, both established and aspiring influencers got together to learn about how to co-create value with leading consumer brands, develop authentic brand content and, as importantly, monetise their platforms. The festival offered a rare and valuable opportunity for them to engage directly with brand owners and leading influencer marketing experts, who provided insider insights into how to create, sustain and grow a viable influencer brand.
With the influencer industry growing rapidly – and fast becoming oversaturated – influencers who want to make a name for themselves have to learn how to create a compelling brand, cut through the clutter on social media, and stand out from their competitors. The secret? An authentic voice.
Authenticity was the big buzzword at the festival, which featured brand and PR specialist Zahirah Marty; entrepreneur and influencer Mpoomy Ledwaba; and comedian and content creator Donovan Goliath. And the message they had was clear: when influencers stay honest, authentic and genuine in their engagement with consumers, it builds a sense of trust; trust not only in the influencer as a person but also in the products or brands they promote. Successful influencers also have a defined niche in the social media landscape and, of course, they work with brands that match their profiles and interests. They have to find innovative and creative ways in which to use their social media platforms to deliver something unique and special to their target audiences.
Another hot topic at the festival was monetisation, which has never been more relevant. With unemployment among young people aged between 15 and 24 currently at 66.5% in South Africa (source: GCIS), tapping into the influencer industry could offer an accessible, viable and sustainable source of income for many.
With many opportunities developing in this space, influencers attending the festival were keen to learn as much as possible. They actively participated in both the general panel discussion and the and the breakaway Masterclass sessions in the Youtube, Instagram and Tik-Tok specific tracks. They were not shy to ask some of the hard questions about what to do, what to avoid doing and what to look out for on their brand development journeys.
The Content Hub was a particularly popular feature, with influencers queueing to shoot branded content for their social media pages. The hub provided them with the opportunity to pitch their platforms to leading brands and to shoot posts and reels featuring brands aligned to their social media profiles. Content shot at the hub will be monitored by Fluence Africa and feedback will be shared with the relevant brands. Brands will also have the opportunity to connect with the influencers who have produced the most effective content and to onboard them to help promote products or develop more extensive campaigns.
“I was overwhelmed by the interest in the festival and by the energy the influencers brought to the event,” says Fluence Africa founder, Jolene Roelofse. “I was especially impressed by how intentional the speakers and masterclass hosts were in communicating their knowledge and in getting their messages across. We were also able to confirm how much of a need there is for a Content Hub and we look forward to the opening of a permanent Fluence Content Hub in Randburg Square in March. Our role as an agency is to be the conduit between influencers and brands, providing access and opportunity to influencers an access to multiple platforms and channels to brands. We endeavor to create a professional environment where content creators can work together with brands to drive revenue, has led to the creation of the festival. Our aim is to make content creation more accessible, by removing the cost of photographer/videographer, location costs, and providing access to brands. This is the purpose of the Content hub that we created for the festival, where brands can display their products and lifestyle content can be shot.”
The first Fluence Africa Influencer Festival went off with a bang, demonstrating not only how many opportunities there are for influencers to work with brands, but also the value of an information-sharing and networking event of this kind.
Fluence is now planning to host the second festival later this year and also to expand into Africa, building on the learnings from this event to develop ever more opportunities in this new media category.
If you are a budding influencer and would like to join the Fluence Community please visit www.fluence.africa or connect with @FluenceAfrica on Instagram.