In recent years, the UAE has seen a significant increase in the number of influencers, which has created a challenging environment for both brands and bloggers. As a result, the market has become saturated, making it more and more difficult to identify the right influencer for your brand. However, there might be a solution that will benefit both parties.

For brands: 

PR agencies and brands lack niche segmentation when selecting influencers, often collaborating with what I call “a room filler” – someone less relevant to the brand nevertheless is invited just for the sake of having someone over since every other brand is working with influencers.

Instead, I’d recommend working with influencers who are already consumers of similar products and services your brand offers. It sounds obvious, yet it is very puzzling to see an influencer who consumes mainstream goods appearing in the most luxurious venue in town when it is evident that it is the first and last time.

It is a known fact that the more followers an influencer has, the less engagement they will naturally have and here comes the era of micro-influencers and niche influencers. Choose influencers based on the engagement rate, particularly saves and shares, as they are more intentional than just a like or a one-word comment. I would also recommend paying attention to the comments section – who comments and how engaging those comments are. Finally, before an influencer agrees on deliverables, find out which type of content works better, particularly for them – do they have more engagement on reels, carousel posts, or stories?

Collaborate with real-life influencers. Yes, those still exist – someone influential in their communities might not even have social media, yet be more effective in delivering the brand message.  

Needless to say, whichever influencers you choose to work with, it is very easy to vet them for fake followers and the geolocation of their followers.

For influencers:

Focus on building a community – brands are no longer focusing on the number of followers. Having 5,000 engaged and loyal followers will be more likely to land you a brand deal than 20,000 bots – the word social in the term “social media” is there for a reason. Engaging with similar creators and influencers in your niche also helps to build a community and adds credibility.

Niche down as much as you can. For example, instead of sharing lifestyle, F&B, fashion, sustainability, beauty, make-up, travel and fitness content all in one place, choose a very particular topic and preferably just one. I’ve just been lucky to work with two niche influencers, and both create content around just one specific beverage.

Be professional – respect the deadline, as it is the brand’s marketing teams’ main struggle. Respect working hours don’t let the brand team remind you about deliverables and be proactive once you’ve secured a collaboration. You are more likely to be contacted in the future just because you are reliable. Bonus point – overdelivering and that little extra effort will help in the long run and will always make brands remember you. 

Happy influencing!