March 26, 2020

Influencer marketing in the age of corona

@klaraverzele

During this period, it is undeniable marketing efforts, and focuses have shifted.
In the period where the majority of consumers occupy themselves with other topics and news, the question is whether or not influencer marketing still makes sense.

The issues of cut budgets, fear of coming off as being insensitive or off-topic, can all have an impact on the decision to further work on influencer projects.

 So we’ve listed up all the reasons why influencer marketing is the best marketing tool you have at hand during this period and how to adapt to the current situation.

Consumers are online

You’ve probably noticed yourself scrolling on your phone more than usual. As we confine ourselves to our homes, we spend more time in front of screens.

Millennials and Gen Z are using their smartphones to stay in touch with their friends and loved ones, now more than ever. It is, therefore, no surprise companies have reported a spike in social media engagements and ad impressions. The behavior of these audiences has always been mobile-first, and the current situation has impacted this behavior significantly.

If you want to reach new consumers, existing ones, or build a community with long-term projects, this is a good time as any to benefit from this consumer behavior.

Consumers are using social media as a tool of escapism, trying to run away from the overload of news and reminders of the chaotic situation in the world. They are turning towards social media to find content that is, for them, relevant, entertaining, educational, and emotionally beneficial.

 Influencers could be your tool to incorporate your brand message correctly into this kind of content.

Creativity is key

Understandably brands and influencers are economically impacted by the coronavirus. There is a significant impact on influencer projects as influencers and brands are reporting cancellation of deals. Many events have been canceled, some projects may come out as tone-deaf, and difficulty creating certain content as influencers stay indoors, are some of the reasons.

Influencers have shifted their focus and content strategies to adapt to this. Some have turned to create at-home workouts, while some are focusing on cooking and food content. There are plenty of opportunities for all influencers to adapt their content to the situation. And it is not an issue to do so since all influencers across the board are doing so. This means audiences will not find odd that mommy bloggers are all of a sudden experts at yoga.

Influencers adapting their content means you can use influencers you usually would not have worked with to become your brand advocates. It also gives you a chance to experiment and play with content, as it is a period of trial-and-error for brands and influencers alike. At the same time, audiences will be forgiving to see different-than-usual kinds of content on profiles of their favorite influencers.

Be realistic about your KPIs

As consumers need an alternative to their usual purchase behavior, you can use influencers to boost sales as physical stores close.

Of course, we need to be realistic about the fact that coronavirus has impacted income for the majority of households. Right now, for specific brands, it may not be ideal to try to sell a product. However, those brands can still use this period to stay top-of-mind and build a deeper connection with consumers. You can come back to sales-focused campaigns once the current situation goes back to normal.

If you want to focus on sales, you need to ensure your product or service fits inside the narrative that can be communicated in this period. Is your product something that could make staying at home more comfortable; is it a necessity; or a solution to a problem caused by current movement restrictions? Then there are ways your brand can remain relevant.

You need content

As marketing teams are putting productions on hold, brands still need a constant flow of content. From social media to newsletters and website content, there is always a need for visual material. You can use influencers to compensate for lost content. They are professional content creators and are capable of creating content on their own without leaving the comfort of their homes.

Consumers still trust influencers more than brands, and there is a more positive response to user-generated content than to brand created one.
With some influencers having extra time on their hand, it would be a win-win situation to use them as your brand’s content creators.

Nobody is trying to “profit” from this situation

There is no doubt; this is a period where influencer marketing strategies are not evident or straightforward. However, with the right tools at hand, it is still very much possible to execute successful influencer collaborations.

Do not be scared that consumers will perceive your brand as trying to profit from this situation. Consumers still require products and services, even though which ones may have changed. Your marketing efforts need to continue. In this economically challenging period, influencer marketing can be the best cost-effective way to keep your engine running.

Things to keep in mind

It is cost-effective: the average cost of influencer collaboration has gone down. In a period that is all about budget cuts for some companies, IM is a wallet-friendly way to keep your marketing afloat.

Adapt your strategy: you will need to be more strategic when setting up your influencer projects to ensure your brand’s marketing efforts are positive.

Keep in mind the narrative: during this period, expecting influencers to simply post about your brand with a link to your webshop is not enough. Consumers do not want to see ads. They want to see relevant and exciting storytelling.

Set realistic KPIs: as we said, for some brands, this is not the time to expect positive sales results. But it can be a nurturing period for consumer relations and staying top-of-mind.

Experiment and try: consumers are used to seeing a different kind of content from influencers during this period. You are free to try and see what works and what doesn’t, while the audience will remain forgiving.

You are not alone: this situation has impacted both brands as well as influencers. Work together with them to figure out what the best strategy for your brand is. They know their advice best, so listen to their input and ideas. They could be your most significant help to make the most out of your IM strategies.

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