Localizing influencer marketing for the Malaysian target audience


One of the tried and tested methods that work for any business in the digital age is by influencers. Malaysia has one of the highest internet penetration rates in the world today which stands at more than 80%.

Collaboration is the key

If you are a Malaysian business, regardless of size and brand, you will be losing out on potential revenue if you are not on digital platforms. More so if you are a business operating in the SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) segment. It does not make investment sense to compete with the big brands which mean you need to spend wisely. Working with influencers will be one way to get the word out and to generate quality leads.

Getting started with influencers

It has been found that almost all internet users in Malaysia have a social media account in one way or another. The most popular sites include Facebook and Instagram while other platforms like TikTok are also catching up. The average time spent on the internet among Malaysians is about 8 hours per day. That means you have an extremely high chance of having your brand message heard as long as you are on social media. What should you be concerned with when it comes to influencers in Malaysia?

  • Followers: Quite naturally, the more followers an influencer has, the better it is. For instance, @rotikaya has 2.9 million followers. However, this could mean that they are costlier than others.
  • Engagement: Having millions of followers does not automatically mean having high engagement rates. This is calculated through the views and ‘like’s that the influencer garners. @n.farah has 1.3 million followers but has an engagement rate of 3.5%.
  • Category: Depending on your product, you might want to identify influencers who are involved in the category of what you sell whether it is lifestyle, humor, modeling or others.

Why does influencer marketing work in Malaysia?

The principle is simple. Consumers tend to trust what others say and lesser on advertisements. It is a common trait that consumers will search for more information about a product before deciding to purchase them. They rely heavily on reviews and if there is an influencer that they follow who endorses your product, it puts a lot of weight onto their decision-making. Take note that you are not using influencers merely for marketing but to build a relationship with your brand. In the middle-term, your brand awareness and loyalty will only grow further.

Roles of Influencers in the Post-Pandemic Era

Influencer marketing has had a steady and developing growth in the last few years. But with the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns occurring worldwide, brand owners have started to reevaluate the effectiveness of this channel.

Finding better ways to market

Using influencers have positive effects on marketing if you get the right people and speak the correct lingo. But the challenge has often been gauging the effectiveness of influencers. Consumers might be drawn to the influencer but to be directly impacted to purchase a product might entail more than just viewing and liking. With the challenges brought about by the pandemic, it is no surprise that marketers are doubting the ROI from influencer marketing.

Giving in to market pressure

According to a recent survey, more than 20% of marketers are looking to reduce expenditure in influencer marketing. Almost 90% of them will be looking into using new strategies after the pandemic ends and only about 10% of them are considering using their original digital platforms (influencers included).

With TikTok growing in popularity and many more following suit, the role of influencers are in serious threat. If they fail to stay relevant, they will be obsolete and this is happening at light speed.

Time to create value and be humane

There was a time when influencers only promoted products. That will not work at all in the post-pandemic era. Your consumers will now need you to get solutions from you and not just to buy your products. They are experiencing major changes in their lives and they need you to be their trusted source of inspiration and hope. If you are only to sell and promote your products, they can seek elsewhere. Influencers need to live up to the name.

They should be practicing social distancing (while buying or posing with your product). They should communicate and advocate your brand as a relatable and humane platform. They need to see a purpose from your influencer.

Being relevant matters

Your influencers cannot do what they have been doing all this while. They need to look at the bigger picture of what your brand image is and align. As a brand owner, you need to determine the right influencer who is relevant and one who resonates with your target audience.

There is no compromise on this because you are there to help your consumers and in the long run, help our business to stay afloat. Along the way, you want to build a brand that they can associate with.


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