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In the era, when almost every second a content creator is born, riding on content trends and Reels is very important to stay ahead in the race. But according to Sakshi Sindwani, the popular content creator who rose to fame during the Covid-induced lockdown, more than Reels and trends, it’s more important to understand what kind of content the audience of a particular content creator connects with and being authentic.

Sindwani said, “The primary focus for most content creators was to build a community until 2020. The huge wave of trends only started with the advent of Reels in 2021. Now the deal is that a community of followers is only interested in the kind of content and value a content creator is bringing to them. So, being authentic to your content’s voice is of utmost importance.”

She further said that it’s important for content creators to always remember that they are creating content for their audience and not the platforms. “While it’s important to create content using trending Reels to garner reach, a content creator must not jump on to every single Reel just because it is trending.”

She went on to add that she is a huge believer in refined briefs. “With the help of refined briefs, we can find the sweet spot which works both for content creators and the brands. The way advertising is done on content creator pages is very different from the way it will be created for the brand’s page. Both content creators and brands should be mindful of how a brand is integrated into the content piece. Even with the new guidelines in place where content creators tell their audience that it's a paid partnership, the audience is not following the content creators for the ads, but good content while showcasing that ad.”

Sindwani was speaking at ad:tech in a panel discussion “Solving for influence: Marketing to and with communities and fans”. The panel consisted of Sindwani; Shuchi Singhal, Associate Vice-President - Marketing, Emami and Shipra Srivastava, Head of Media, CRM and Partnerships, Spotify. The panel was moderated by Aditi Mathur Kumar, Associate Vice-President - Content Strategy and Partnerships, Interactive Avenues.

Sharing the brand's perspective on picking up Reels and trends, Emami’s Singhal said that just like content creators, it’s equally important for brands too to be authentic and true to what it stands for. 

“It doesn’t make sense to jump on any trend for the sake of it. The context for brands is really important before banking on trends. Consumers can see through what is genuine and what is not. The brand that has really done well in trend spotting is Amul,” said Singhal.

Spotify’s Srivastava then spoke about finding the right balance between the influencer’s essence and the brand’s messaging. She commented, “Identifying the influencer correctly is extremely important. It’s been about three years, we’ve been doing influencer marketing. We give all the relevant information about the brand and its objective and let the content creator create content as per their tonality.”

While there are tools, analytics and data to cull out content creators’ performance, Interactive Avenues’ Kumar asked Sindwani how a content creator measures content performance.

Sindwani answered, “We are constantly in touch with our community. We look at comments, DMs, views and story views. We are on Instagram talking to our community the whole day. My audience is very vocal if my content is performing or not. Otherwise, Instagram, our agencies and managers have tools for us to know insights into what’s working and not.”

Generally, when a content creator makes a brand post, the comment section is mostly filled with emojis and how beautiful or good-looking one looks. But Sindwani is more concerned if her content has been able to start a conversation around the brand. 

Singhal then went on to emphasise that although influencer marketing is growing and there are tools available to measure ROI in influencer-driven campaigns, it still needs more transparency and accountability. 

Srivastava said that Spotify views influencer marketing as affiliate marketing. “We try to integrate influencers with features that are popular with the brand’s audiences. This framework of affiliate marketing for influencers gives us the scale and metrics we desire.” 

She added that another metric to judge the influencer-brand’s partnership is the growth in mutual audience. “For example, we never thought of using Moj as a platform. But Punjabi music on Moj does wonders.”