SINGAPORE: Working with online influencers offers a unique opportunity for brands in Asia's developing markets, new research has indicated.

Ogilvy and Mather's Velocity 12 research has revealed that one of the defining characteristics of the emerging middle-class in the world's fastest growing markets is a strong sense of community, combined with a growing reliance on technology and social media.

(For more, including the role of content platforms, read Warc's exclusive report: Influencer and advocacy marketing in Asia's emerging markets: what brands need to know.)

According to the data, some 87% of middle-class consumers in the world's fastest-growing markets believe that technology is playing an ever more important role in their lives.

Asia's emerging markets are some of the heaviest social media users in the world, with millions more coming online every week for the first time.

As social media usage soars, online influencers have become more powerful than ever, commanding fan bases of thousands, and brands are already reaching out to these influencers with partnership deals. Indeed, in the 24-hour digital age, a much closer, responsive relationship is an absolute imperative for brands.

A local approach for brands is also key, the report found. For example, makeup brand Maybelline Indonesia employed an Instagram content strategy to drive engagement and grow its base of followers.

Maybelline recognised that to truly win with Indonesian consumers, it had to achieve relevance through visuals and text that resonated locally. That meant creating bespoke content in the local language with local faces, and with content that reflected relevant trends and recognisable fan favourites.

Thanks to this campaign, the brand was able to increase its average engagements per post by seven times, and doubled its follower rate.

The food industry has also been upended by the power of ratings, reviews, and social media, and there is an increasing trend for food bloggers and Instagrammers across the region to hold as much influence as revered food magazines.

For more, there are four further tips about using social media influencers to generate increased reach and engagement available from Warc.

Data sourced from Warc