See the original story in Japanese.
Tokyo-based Withfluence officially launched an influencer marketing management platform geared toward the Asian market under the same name on the 24th of August. For companies wishing to implement influencer marketing, Withfluence provides complete support from campaign planning and negotiation with influencers into execution and finally performance measurement through its dashboard system.
Becoming the facilitator of influencer marketing in Asia
It is true there are many influencer market platforms in existence so to more easily understand where Withfluence fits in we can borrow from CEO and Co-founder Hiroyuki Okamoto and broadly classify the current environment. The following list includes famous platforms both within and outside of Japan.
- Managed Campaigning services: Tagpic, 3Minute, ENGN etc.
- Influencer marketplaces: Rooster etc.
- Matching platform between contracters and influencers: Bizcast, iConcast, Spirit, Fambit etc.
- Influencer management SaaS (For in-house influencer management for enterprises): Traacker, TapInfluence etc.
Now in Japan an overwhelming number of management campaign services are increasing their shares, and with the demand from Japanese firms for influencer marketing aimed at Asian markets high, Okamoto first attempted to create a matching service to connect Japan and the world with influencers in the Asian market. Certainly, the same structure is working for 99designs and designclue, among others, in the world of design crowdsourcing.
However, Okamoto notes in the world of marketing, with clients using relatively detailed terms and English not being a native language in Asia, as well as differing conceptions of business ideals, it is difficult to expand into a cross border matching service. Withfluence, being in between a management campaign and a marketplace, thus seeks to also be a facilitator. Withfluence’s team members across Vietnam (covering Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore), Taiwan, and Hong Kong comprehensively search for influencers of marketing companies, serve as a tool for communication between influencers, and improve the success rate of marketing campaigns in an effort to assist their clients.
The dashboard of the Withfluence platform shows each influencer’s frequently used hashtags, their number of followers, and changes in their engagement rate, among other features, in a chronological timeline format. It becomes possible to see “influencer doping” (when an influencer “buys” their followers or engagements, most do not lead to conversions) as well. Currently the dashboard is compatible with influencers using Instagram, and in the very near future will become compatible with Facebook users.
Actually, type “Influencer Marketing” and “Asia” into Google and Withfluence already appears as the third result. A possible outcome being, even before the official launch, many inquiries have flooded in from the US and Europe. Based on the largest number of inquiries, Taiwan is so far the most popular target market for influencer marketing.
Helping brands and entertainment companies manage global social media marketing
The development of Withfluence has led to a number of related services being born
First, there is the social media multi-language operation. Previously introduced on The Bridge, Japanese pastry start-up Bake is making the most of social media to expand their brand around the world, and in order to unify their branding the team uses separate social media accounts in different languages and marketplaces from their headquarters in Tokyo. With Withfluence, representatives from Bake can simply post messages in Japanese; the contents then gets translated into the desired languages and uploaded to the corresponding social media accounts. So to speak, it becomes the social media version of WOVN.io, known for its translation of websites. Withfluence’s staff around the world then check the machine generated translations, with unsupported languages outsourced to human-powered translation service Gengo.
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Additionally, Withfluence supports the multi-language expansion of artists and talent for major entertainment companies across social media, as well as displays the aforementioned influencer’s number of followers and changes in engagement rate in a timeline format that is easy to track. This information then corresponds to the popularity ranking on the online mediasphere. Until now, the reference index for deciding the guarantee fee for artists and talent was based on the viewing rate on mass media released by companies like Video Research and Nielsen. Withfluence provides the world with a new tool, giving us the ability to see each artist’s individual degree of influence with special attention to their online influence.
Withfluence indicates the posts that can increase followers and engagement rate, then be used by entertainment companies to advice their artists for better marketing. Making use of these functions, casting agencies and others are expecting to dive into the pool of influencers in their search for fresh talent.
Withfluence was founded in May of 2016 by Hiroyuki Okamoto (CEO), who was previously running media and ad companies in Vietnam, along with Keiichi Honma (CTO) having developed web services and a translation app for foreign visitors to Japan. Before Withfluence, Okamoto and Honma developed a Thailand-based instant e-commerce platform described as an “Asian version” of Shopify, but after attending the 12th batch of Open Network Lab’s Accelerator Program shifted their attention to the launch of Withfluence.
From now, the Withfluence team plans to focus on acquisition of clients both within and outside of Japan, in addition to generating funding during a seed round before the year is out.
Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda