2020 is the year that has changed businesses. It has made people forget globalization and adopt local goods once again. It has changed the entire marketing scenario with brands showing more concern and safety than ever. With no traveling and social outings, influencer marketing and influencers have also changed to a new normal with home-bound content creation.
The unforeseen circumstances ahead have led many influencers and brands to believe that the pandemic will last longer than anticipated. At least in a few countries. This would mean that the entire followers’ and customers’ acquisition and retention cycle needs to be revised for 2020 and beyond.
In this article, we will understand how influencer marketing has changed with the COVID-19 pandemic and what’s the new expected normal for the entire industry. We will also look at some of the examples for other influencers and brands to take inspiration from.
The new normal for Influencer Marketing:
Influencers empathizing and sharing messages of solidarity and unity:
The new normal: The message from the influencers has been clear: Stay safe and support each other. Every celebrity and influencer has spoken over and over again on how to help one another. They are seen collaborating with more charities and ngos to help increase their funds and provide support to the ones in need.
Example: Millie Bobby Brown, a British actress, and a famous Instagram influencer with more than 33M followers has all her recent Instagram posts on how everyone can come together and help. She has started AfrikaYouthMovement to empower girls during the crisis and help them adapt to e-learning.
Takeaway for brands: The key takeaway for the brands and large corporations would be to invest more time in projects aimed at empowering the needy. They can start a fund or support groups or collaborate with ngos and promote them with influencers. This would be the ideal time to showcase your corporate social responsibility and put it to a positive use.
An example of such a collaboration is Lyft, an American ride sharing company that collaborated with NewYorkCares by helping their volunteers reach their destinations.
Influencers promoting local products and services:
The new normal: Instagram started a wave of promoting local businesses by rolling out a “support small business” sticker in May 2020. The sticker was quickly adopted by all Instagram influencers in promoting theirs and others local businesses. Influencers have also been collaborating with small businesses and promoting their work through posts and videos.
Example: Eva Chen, Director of fashion partnerships at Instagram and influencer with more than a million followers worked with @hereweread, that promotes diverse educational books for kids. She promoted them on her Instagram stories as well as posts which helped them increase their Instagram followers and reach out to a bigger community.
Takeaway for brands: When finding influencers, brands need to search for local influencers that can help them gain new followers and customers locally. By hiring local influencers, it would be easier for brands to give them product trials and for influencers to promote. As more and more people are looking for products and services closer to home, this would definitely work in the brand’s favor.
In the example below, we can see Avani, a famous beauty influencer with more than 11M followers promoting a local beauty clinic.
What influencer specialists have to say about the new era of influencer marketing:
We need to understand what influencers are doing, but we also need to know what they are saying about the marketing strategies in the near future. Here are the words from some of the famous influencers specialists:
“Where possible, influencers need to revert to a more altruistic message and find ways to help get through the crisis with constructive suggestions. In times of instability, people look to trusted sources and those that deliver will be remembered after the crisis is over.” – Michael Solomon, author of Social Media Marketing
“People want to see home content right now as it’s relatable and we are all in the same boat. With more eyes now online, people are scrolling more than ever, so actually, as long as it’s fitting, authentic and tasteful, now is a great time to work with influencers.” – Em Sheldon, lifestyle influencer
“It has made me hit the drawing board to find different ways to give me value that are ‘pandemic proof’. I’ve resorted to funny content and eased up on motivational content – after all, you can’t inspire someone and fire them up just to watch Netflix.” – Chris Ruden, fitness influencer
While everyone is trying to survive the economic downturn, it might not be the best time to showcase your best work, but it’s definitely the time to showcase your best self. For influencers, it’s time to strengthen their bonds with their followers so when the time comes they can reap it.
For brands, it’s time to collaborate with local influencers keeping in mind the sentiments of their customers. To find influencers relevant to your niche, in your location, try out HypeAuditor’s influencer discovery tool. With the right filters, you would be able to spot your influencers within minutes. And, the extensive influencer report will help you find influencers that resonate with your brand.