Interview with Hassan Soukar on Influencer Importance, Part I

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I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Hassan Soukar, one of the well-known automotive and tech influncers in the GCC region, who co-authored some ground-breaking reviews on many products; thus, helped heaps of  brands jump-start sales and increase their brand awareness and reach.

Hassan Soukar-automotive Influencer-Bentley

What’s your definition of an ‘influencer’?

it’s clear that an influencer comes in many shapes and forms, but the most important two factors that define influence are an engaged audience, and a level of advocacy which is driven by conviction. I think a lot of people tend to use the words influence and followers interchangeably, but you don’t need a particular large audience to have influence, you need conviction and trust. I know that when I recommend a cellphone, a watch, a perfume, or a car to one of my friends or family members, they will consider buying it, because they trust my recommendations.

Hassan Soukar-Mercedes-Benz C300-01

What do you usually do when you get paid to share an opinion about a car of anything else?

If I get paid to share my opinion about a specific car model or any other product on Instagram to 200k followers, I may have an audience to spread awareness to, but the #ad created is not a form of earned media, and as such is not as powerful as my organic recommendation.

Hassan Soukar-automotive Influencer-Jaguar F-Type

What’s the difference between an earned influencer and a paid one?

It’s important to distinguish between an earned influencer and a paid influencer– earned being a brand advocate/brand fan and a paid influencer being someone who has been paid to promote.

Hassan Soukar-Aston Martin Rapide S

You said once that ‘brands are starting to get it right’, what do you mean by that?

When I say that brands are starting to get it right, what I mean is that in the past, companies took it for granted that a blogger would be thrilled to promote them in exchange for a few free products. I was a part of that early wave, and let me tell you — it sucked. We, bloggers, spend a great deal of time getting to know the product, taking photos of it, writing about it. Thankfully, brands are beginning to see that influence marketing is something of great importance; especially, at this digital era. It’s one that still requires a budget, like any other strategy.

Is paying an influencer worth the investment?

Yes, for sure! Paying an influencer is worth the investment. Once you define what it is you require, he will work hard for you and deliver results on time. Having a long-term relationship will also net better results.

Hassan Soukar-automotive Influencer-Nissan Patrol

 

What are the best ways through which brands can work with an influencer?

There are many ways you can work with an influencer:

  • He can become a brand spokesperson at events.
  • He can contribute expert content on your blog.
  • He can lead industry Twitter chats on your behalf.
  • He can host your ad on his website.

Because he knows the audience you’re trying to reach, he will likely have ideas about the most innovative ways to engage that audience.

Hassan Soukar-Volvo S90

One last word?

I’m thrilled that influencer marketing is finally coming into the mainstream. I look forward to seeing how brands learn to interact with influencers and finally compensate them for the value they provide.

27 Comments
  1. Marie-Louise Fritz says

    It’s really interesting interview. Thanks for the great info.

  2. Thomas Turner says

    Love everything about the interview.

  3. Katy Pearce says

    I think the role of influencers is very important marketing-wise.However, influencers should be selected very carefully.

  4. Sandra Schneider says

    I think brands should rely on the right influencers – the ones who can deliver results and help generate sales.

  5. Roy McMurtry says

    I believe influencer marketing needs a real steady budget in order to have good results on the long run….

  6. Yolande Pineda says

    Love the topic you shed light on through this interview. It’s the trend nowadays.

  7. David Baker says

    Great interview Bryan! Thanks for presenting this info.

  8. George Killy says

    Interesting subject, indeed! Thanks for addressing this kind of trendy topics.

  9. Jim Guy says

    I think this depends on the products as some products, cellphones for example, need to be showcased via social media platforms since this way of marketing will appeal more to the young generation who will be more interested in this kind of gadgets..

  10. Sharon Salazar says

    Great interview and cool information. I wish brand could understand that pretty soon.

  11. Mark Reed says

    Good to know that brands are finally beginning to see that influence marketing is very important and requires a budget, like any other strategy.

  12. Sue Nigoghossian says

    The details which are covered here are good to be grasped by the people who are in charge of the marketing department in every company.

  13. Donald Hill says

    In fact the influencer marketing is still pretty ambiguous and a bit foggy.

  14. Mary Moussa says

    Love the topic of the interview…Looking forward to reading the other parts.

  15. Silke Brigl says

    Interesting topic, indeed.

  16. Hannah Raven says

    We really need to know more about this important topic.

  17. Sandy Barqawi says

    Very cool interview, indeed!

  18. Mary Moussa says

    The interview highlights many important issues some of which we are not really aware of.

  19. Osama Tinbakji says

    Hassan Soukar is a versatile talented man. I wish you all the best in all your future plans.

  20. Stephanie Farah says

    Very cool interview and interesting info. Thanks for publishing this nice piece.

  21. Karis Thomas says

    We badly need to know this.Thanks guys!

  22. Pete Baker says

    Interesting interview really! Looking forward for the coming parts.

  23. Niyati Mehta says

    Good stuff. Keep it up guys!

  24. Hiromi Sakamoto says

    This is great indeed.

  25. Dan Redpath says

    Good interview and very important information.

  26. David Adams says

    Cool interview!

  27. Grace Barnie says

    This is really interesting!

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