Expert Interview Series: Hazel Bernadette Gapuz of Blogapalooza on the power of influencer marketing

This interview is part of Payoneer’s Expert Interview Series. Stay tuned for more insights and inspiration from experts from around the globe.

Hazel Bernadette “Ace” Gapuz is one of the Philippines’ top young entrepreneurs and is revolutionizing the way influencer marketing is done through her company, Blogapalooza Inc. We recently checked in with Hazel to get her insight on the power of influencer marketing. Here’s what she had to say:

Can you tell us about your background in digital marketing?

I’ve been in digital marketing since I was fresh out of university five years ago. My first job was in corporate relations and what I did was introduce social media to selected stakeholders of the company and integrate use of it in the company’s loyalty marketing program. After this, I worked as a PR & Marketing consultant for a Malaysian startup when they were setting up operations here in the Philippines. The product is a mobile app and so all the marketing campaigns that we had to run were highly digital in nature.


How would you define influencer marketing? How does it work?

Influencer marketing is a strategy of connecting with influencers or key opinion leaders (KOLs) and integrating your brand’s message to the content strategy of these influencers and KOLs in order to drive this message to a broader market (usually, followers of the influencers and KOLs).


What are the benefits to brands of using influencer marketing? Why should brands be using influencers?

A study I’ve read some time ago says that influencer marketing is more effective than paid advertising or using celebrities because people believe that influencer endorsements are authentic and credible.

Consumers these days have become more critical, intelligent and wise in making decisions for their purchases. KOLs like bloggers and social media influencers have worked on building solid follower bases of people who genuinely trust their content and are more likely to purchase products that they endorse. They say influence is something you earn, not something you buy.

The primary reason why it is strategic for brands to have influencers in their campaigns is the trust that the followers have towards these influencers, which translates to a level of affinity toward the brand, ultimately leading to an increased likelihood to purchase the products of the brand. This is the reason why in choosing influencers to engage with, it is important to find and establish the best brand fit.


How can brands find influencers? What is the best way to connect with them?

Brands can find their influencers online, probably in social networks, or in events. While the process of finding influencers that best fit the brand may take quite awhile and is a tedious trial and error process, Blogapalooza is introducing a solution for this – an influencer marketing platform called BUZZIN that aims to bridge businesses and influencers so they can find more collaborative ways to tell stories and build brands.


“A common mistake that brands make whenever they engage influencers in their campaigns is that they think about follower count more than brand fit – this should not be the case.”


What are some of the challenges of using influencers? What are the most common mistakes you see brands making in their influencer marketing?

The greatest challenge in influencer marketing is really about measuring the ROI, given that there is also no standard as to how bloggers and influencers charge for their content. I think a common mistake that brands make whenever they engage influencers in their campaigns is that they think about follower count more than brand fit – this should not be the case. It is more important to engage with influencers with content that fit your brand, more than influencers that have a large number of followers but do not speak the language of the brand.


How has influencer marketing evolved in recent years? What do you think is the future of influencer marketing?

Bloggers and online influencers are helping more and more businesses reach their target markets faster and communicate the message of the brands easier and better. The key is always putting these influencers in the driver’s seat of the content, so the consistency of the message remains intact and not too hard sell.

Years ago, the term “influencer” was still not a buzz word, if it was ever regularly used in conversations at all. Bloggers were not yet that many and social media was only on the rise. Suddenly, marketers realized the potential of bloggers in making marketing campaigns more successful. A few years after, microblogging became a big hit and even more influencers rose to the scene. As more social networks that focus on certain niches are being introduced, influencers are becoming more and more segmented and specialized.
How I see the future of influencer marketing is this: brands will be more aggressive in engaging influencers for their campaigns (which means that there will be more opportunities for influencers), but unlike before, brands will be more objective in choosing which influencers are the best fit for them. Furthermore, I see that influencer marketing in the near future will be highly quantitative, data-driven and performance-based.


What are your favorite tools for influencer marketing?

For me it’s the classic Google Analytics. And Blogapalooza events, of course (but it’s a clear personal bias right there).


How are you hoping to make influencer marketing easier for both influencers and businesses through Blogapalooza?

Blogapalooza is introducing the influencer marketing platform called BUZZIN, which connects businesses to influencers by using a high technology system that enables streamlined matching, objective measurement of key performance indicators and monetization of content. We are launching version one of this system on Nov. 5, 2016.

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