Intricacies of Influencer Marketing During COVID-19. The Brand Side of the Story.
More than a month into a pandemic, we’re finding out how the novel coronavirus changed influencer marketing in 2020.
We are not ashamed to say that it took us a minute to accept the most sobering of realities that all of us are in this for the long haul. All that we predicted for 2020 — the social media trends and where influencer marketing was heading — has gone out of the window.
So, we are now focusing on how the novel coronavirus has changed the path of influencer marketing. We’ve already spoken about travelling virtually and food blogging trends in the time of coronavirus. We’re even branching out to a new channel and starting a podcast, Formal Gossip to help provide as many useful insights as possible to our community.
This post is part of the series ‘intricacies of influencer marketing during covid-19’ where we talk about the challenges influencers may face right now and what brands need to do during this time. The hope is to prepare them better for the new normal of the coming months.
How influencer marketing in 2020 changed because of Coronavirus?
When this year began, we were prepared for an increase in influencer marketing. That was a given. When the pandemic struck and more people started spending time on their phones, we expected even a bigger jump. What we did not expect was the drastic change in influencer marketing trends.
So, here’s shedding some light on the new trends that brands can use to put out an impactful message during such a sensitive time.
- Influencers are it.
When you are surrounded by uncertainty, you look for the familiar. It is why nearly 80% of influencers have seen a higher engagement since lockdown began. Influencers have the implicit trust of followers plus they symbolise normalcy — something viewers are in dire need of currently.
As a brand, you cannot do better than rope in an influencer to talk about your product/service.
2. Influencers wear all hats.
Professional studios and production companies are shut. This has given rise to a new era of content creation. The influencer, who was already adept at making videos at home, has now become the director, producer, editor and creator of videos.
As a brand, you can capitalise on this new face of content creation — one that is generated entirely by an influencer. It helps you close the gap created by shutdown studios and it reduces your cost. The price of creative production by an influencer is considerably less. Moreover, ad performance of an influencer-created content on social media has risen by 40%!
3. Video content is it.
Videos were already outperforming all other forms of content for the past year. With everyone now practising social distance videos have exploded:
- Instagram stories: 87% of influencers are creating more of them.
- IGTV or YouTube: 24% of influencers are making more content for them.
- TikTok: 24% of influencers have joined it.
Couple this surge in video content with live streams and the stats are mind-blowing. 23% of influencers are starting their own Lives. Instagram and Facebook Live views have increased 2X driving Facebook to allow anyone to view the Live, even if they do not have an account on the networking site!
As a brand, you need to hop on the demand for Live video content. The best part? Influencers are already game for it.
4. Focus content around coronavirus.
A software platform for influencer marketing found that the total engagement on coronavirus-related content is more than 2.9 billion. They combed through 1.4 million influencer posts. Of which, 8 lakh posts had the most engagement because they included hashtags such as #coronavirus, #covid19, #covid, and #pandemic.
As a brand, you need to be sympathetic to the current mood and use influencer-generated content that connects to the pandemic. Campaigns oriented towards community or well-being of the consumer will perform better. Positive messages, charitable content and how people can give back to society are three other avenues a brand should explore.
5. Price has become flexible.
The global economy has taken a hit due to entirely unforeseen circumstances. It means your marketing dollars are limited. Add it to the fact that consumer spending is going to decrease in the coming months; you need those dollars to generate more robust results. Thankfully, influencer pricing is highly flexible right now because of the lessened workload.
As a brand, you can leverage this to capture the reach and engagement of influencers (which has increased in current times) and get the most bang out of your restricted bucks!
Don’t Step Off the Influencer Marketing Pedal
Social media has proven to be the most potent toolkit during this crisis. And influencers are the biggest weapon in it. Whether it is to escape the horrors of COVID-19 or to seek entertainment or find comfort in relatability, more and more people are looking towards their favourite influencer.
For a brand, it means now is not the time to ditch advertising on social media. Rather you need to double down on influencer marketing in 2020!
The State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmark Report