Influencer marketing has been all the rage over the past few years.
You probably have a good idea on how to get started with it as there is a ton of useful information on how to get it right.
But do you know what CGI influencers are or how to implement CGI influencer marketing?
Who are CGI influencers?
CGI influencers are influencers who are designed using computer-generated imagery (CGI). The accounts are owned and run by an agency or by a brand.
The CGI influencers ‘behave’ like regular influencers as depicted in their pictures. They post pictures of fun things they do every day. An example of a CGI influencer is Zoe Dvir.
She posts pictures describing something she did recently.
But she isn’t real. She was created by a CGI influencer designer, who also manages her account.
Why would someone follow a CGI influencer when they aren’t exactly ‘real’?
When I first came across CGI influencers, I was baffled by it and maybe even a little creeped out as to why people would follow something that isn’t real. But after thinking about it for a while I realized that I too follow accounts that aren’t exactly real.
I don’t follow any CGI influencers, but I do follow online personalities that aren’t completely real. One of them is Aunty Acid who is just an illustrated character who posts funny quotes on networks like Facebook. By her, I mean whoever is running the account. She isn’t exactly ‘real’.
I also follow many animal accounts like Tucker Budzyn.
We know that the animal isn’t really controlling the account, but we follow them and engage with their posts because they entertain us. We like their personalities.
This is the same with CGI influencers, people follow them and engage with their posts because they like their characters. They might not be ‘real’ but that doesn’t matter as long as they entertain and/or educate people. Also, 42% of people who follow CGI influencers don’t know that that they aren’t exactly real.
Does it work?
CGI influencer marketing does work as these influencers are attracting followers and driving good engagement just like regular influencers. The biggest CGI influencer is Lil Miquela who has over 1.8 million followers and has worked with brands like Samsung and Chanel.
There are also many others like her with hundreds and thousands of followers.
Some companies prefer this to traditional influencers as it works out cheaper. This is because when you run a regular influencer marketing campaign, you need to hire an agency first. They will then develop a strategy, search for influencers and work with them on your behalf. Or, you need to look for and work with the influencers directly if you are running the campaign by yourself. This is an expensive and time-consuming process.
But with CGI influencer marketing the agency or the brand owns the influencers directly. This ends up costing less as you need to pay fewer people.
How do you get started with CGI influencer marketing?
As mentioned, you have two options while getting started with CGI influencer marketing. One is to go to a CGI influencer agency. These agencies will have different influencers who reach different audiences. They will handle everything from designing the strategy to executing it.
The other option is to create CGI influencers for your brand or your own marketing agency. This is a lot more time-consuming process as you will need several months to gain engagement and followers for your account(s).
Here is a step by step process you can follow to create your own CGI influencers…
1. Understand your audience
The first step you must take before you go about creating your CGI influencer is to understand your audience. If you understand your audience better, you will be able to create an influencer they will follow and interact with. So, start off by doing plenty of research to learn everything you can.
You should first get this information through surveys and interviews. After that, you should create empathy maps to understand your audience at an emotional level. Finally, put all this information together to create an audience persona(s). This will help you develop an accurate picture of those you are targeting.
2. Generate a persona for your influencer
The next step is to use the persona you created for your audience to create a persona for your influencer. Close your eyes and think about your ideal customer’s persona and then picture the type of person they will like and want to be friends with. Your influencer should fit this description. The influencer should be able to entertain or help your audience in some way.
Next, go into more detail and give your CGI influencer a personality and visual characteristics that will suit this personality. If you can draw, you should create a brief sketch.
3. Design your CGI influencer
Once you have a personality and know what your influencer should look like you can create a CGI influencer. Creating this influencer for the first time can be complicated, so it would be better to hire someone who specializes in creating CGI influencers or someone who just specializes in CGI.
They should be able to look at your descriptions and sketches and create a matching influencer. How real you want your influencer to look should be up to you and your brand. There are influencers like the aforementioned Lil Miquela who look realistic and then there are others like Noonoouri, who look more cartoonish.
4. Build up their social media presence
Once you have a CGI influencer you can build up their presence on social media. I recommend that you only build their presence on the networks your audience is active on. You should be able to obtain this information when you conduct the survey and interviews.
Also, don’t try to sell any of your products in the starting stages. It can be tempting to sell your products, but till you hit 10,000 to 20,000 followers, you should only focus on sharing quality content and improving engagement.
Once you have a good number of followers you can start using the account to promote your own products if you are a brand, or to promote your clients if you are an agency.
CGI influencers are growing in popularity. More and more influencers are being designed and they are building a presence, especially on networks like Instagram. So, if you are interested in venturing into this niche, I recommend that you do so now and build up a strong presence before it gets too crowded.
Have you used CGI influencers to promote your business? Which techniques have worked best for you?