The Complete Guide to Influencer Marketing in the Arab World

Published July 17th, 2020 - 06:00 GMT
The Complete Guide to Influencer Marketing in the Arab World
Internet data has pointed at a growing significance of reviews made by online celebrities. (Shutterstock:

Being a well-known YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok star is no longer limited to online fame or popularity only. Ever since the term "social media influencer" became a well-known title, often used to refer to people's means of making money, the need for rules and strategic planning has become more relevant.

Over the last three years, internet data has pointed at a growing significance of reviews made by online celebrities, especially ones who have offered credible and decent content for years.

Due to a major decline in internet users' tendency to click on banner ads, various brands wanting to market their own products are turning to highly trusted online faces to feature their promotion campaigns.

For example, the Digital2020 report noted that while 95% of internet users in Saudi Arabia spend an average of 3 hours and 21 minutes watching videos every day, 49% of them are using ad-blocking tools to stop watching traditional advertisements.

In 2016, influencer marketing platform MuseFind reported that 92% of consumers expressed more trust in online influencers than in ads found in public spaces, TV, radio, or internet websites. During the same year, Bloomberg reported that brands are spending more than $250 million per month in influencer marketing campaigns. 

This growing significance of influencer-based marketing makes it such a competitive market, especially as internet culture is increasingly sensitive, pressuring content creators to be very careful with what they're posting out there and how it could make them a potential face of a certain brand.

1. Don't buy followers

Looking for a quick and easy online stardom, some people utilize internet tools to buy followers to expand their fan base. Bots and fake accounts are so common online and are often traced and removed by social media platforms. 

You don't want to have a million users at one day, and then 300k the next one. 

2. Be a credible influencer

Due to a large number of controversial internet figures, ones whose activity is focused on providing product and service reviews regardless of the true quality, it's hard to build trust amongst your audience.

However, it is not mission impossible. Try your best to offer honest and transparent reviews at all expenses. Being courageous to mention every pro and con of each product boosts consumers' confidence in your reviews and helps you draw brands' attention.

3. Keep it entertaining 

If you look up review videos on any social media network, you'll have tons of credible content that is not even promoted, yet, you can't watch full 7 minutes of it. Why not, you ask? It lacks fun, that is why. 

People are always interested in identifying the best brands and their latest products, but if your videos are not appealing, or are not entertaining, viewers will just lose interest. 

Avoid unflattering settings, use good microphones, and energetic music in the background. Also, avoid using a monotonous voice tone. Crack a few decent jokes, and don't be afraid to get a little personal. This is, after all, your personal review of the subject of the video.

4. Take pride in engagement figures, not followers

Quality matters much more than quantity:  While this could apply to any field of life, it becomes especially important as we talk about the social media world.

When businesses contact you for marketing purposes, don't cite the number of followers to show off your popularity. Instead, the average number of people who like, comment, or interact with your content is what matters.

5. Don't rush into success

Building a high reputation online does require a lot of patience and persistence. You can't just assume that one video will make you a star.

It could take you several months of continuous production and content creation before you attract brands interested in marketing deals. 

Outline a long-term plan and don't be bummed by low viewership at the beginning. Slowly growing your fan base means that you're on the right track.

6. Choose the right channels to reach your target audience

Make sure you study your target audience carefully. For instance, if you're promoting high-tech products, you might find a bigger audience on Youtube. If your target audience is young teenagers, today's hype is definitely TikTok.

Don't waste your time on the wrong channels, because it will only make you doubt your content.

7. Be picky about the brands you promote

While I know how exciting it can be to receive marketing proposals from well-known businesses, make sure you don't promote products that will disappoint your followers. 

No matter how tempting the offer, if you know that a certain product will break fans' confidence in your reviews, don't hesitate to say no.

8. Don't keep it commercial

People want to connect with content creators on a personal level. If you would like to keep your personal life a private matter, maybe discuss major issues of interest to your target audience. 

Your fans will appreciate a less-commercial type of content every now and then, and young internet users like to follow people with whom they share similar values and interests.

9. Be mindful of what you say, especially considering the local culture

Don't engage in racist or sexist conversations unless you're raising awareness. Additionally, be mindful of the local culture of your fan base, because one mistake, even an honest one, will end your online presence and make you lose everything you've worked to achieve.

Ever since being an "online influencer" became a source of living, being mindful of every word and every photo posted on any social media channel has become more necessary than ever. Have you ever felt unsatisfied or offended by an online post that you had to unfollow the content creator? 

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