One of the biggest marketing headlines from 2019 to 2020 was that influencer marketing was on the decline. However, we now know this is definitely not the case. In fact, with all the people that flocked to social media to kill time during the pandemic, influencers hold more power than ever before.
Join us as we explore how the Coronavirus pandemic has altered the influencer marketing landscape as well as how they can improve a brand’s communication.
Influencer Marketing Not On the Decline
I like many others decided to download TikTok in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The crazy thing is that I wasn’t the only person seeking entertainment during this unusual time. By the end of April, TikTok had seen a record-setting Q1 of 315 million installs. Sensor Tower reported this as the most downloads any app has ever had in a single quarter.¹
And, the usage of TikTok is not the only thing that has increased. In fact, The Harris Poll conducted a study between late March and early May and found that since the start of the outbreak between 46% and 51% of U.S. adults had increased social media usage.²
Providing Comfort During A Difficult Time
Influencers are also dealing with the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic and there is something comforting in the fact that these people with millions of followers are just like all of us. E29 Marketing Account Executive, Megan Wood believes that the coronavirus has strengthened the bond between influencers and their followers.
Wood stated, “During coronavirus, there’s a connection between influencers and followers that is closer than before because everyone is struggling with the same issues – not being able to see family, anxiety about getting sick, new schedules, home dynamics and more.”
“During coronavirus, there’s a connection between influencers and followers that is closer than before because everyone is struggling with the same issues…”
– Megan Wood, Account Executive, E29 Marketing
As these influencers document their lifestyles across various platforms it’s become extremely apparent that they are no different than us. And, it’s this authenticity that can make influencer marketing an extremely powerful avenue for your brand.
Brands Turn To Influencers Throughout The Pandemic
Influencers have the unique ability to be authentic, which is exactly the reason why this marketing strategy has gained popularity among so many brands. Nicole Eaton, Content Marketing Director at HireInfluence mentioned that another reason for influencer marketing’s popularity during the pandemic is a result of the shutdown of all large-scale ad production.
“We’ve seen influencers seamlessly relate to their audiences to bring comfort, encouragement, resources, and even laughter.”
– Nicole Eaton, Content Marketing Director, HireInfluence
Eaton mentioned, “Due to the pandemic, brands have had to find other ways to connect with their audiences in a way that was and is sensitive to the times. We’ve seen influencers seamlessly relate to their audiences to bring comfort, encouragement, resources, and even laughter.”
Brands And Influencers Team Up
During the pandemic, brands and influencers have come together to not only spread awareness but also provide entertainment. Eaton said, “…brands started partnering with influencers immediately to help bring more awareness of ways to get involved, share resources, insights, tips, and at-home activities to stave off boredom during the quarantine.”
Not only does this content serve as a way to inform and entertain an audience, but it also allows a brand to stay top-of-mind. Maintaining your presence is crucial, especially during a crisis. The last thing you want to do is cease communication, and by partnering with an influencer you are able to have that necessary content.
Madewell and Parachute Home & Jamie Chung
At the start of the pandemic, many influencers adapted their brand partnership’s messaging and choices. Wood highlighted that Jamie Chung’s partnership with Madewell and Parachute Home was a perfect example of this.
Wood explained, “She donated her earnings to the NYC Coronavirus relief fund, which showed sensitivity and awareness to the pandemic and its effects.”
Over the past few months, Walmart has partnered with quite a few influencers. In this video, Walmart worked with Jason Derulo to promote its express delivery. This was a great partnership, as this TikTok video is entertaining, informative, and memorable.
@jasonderuloR U kidding me ##IceDerulo ?? 😅😱 Have you tried the ##Walmart2hrExpress challenge? @walmart ##ad♬ Getaway – CHUNNYT
As mentioned earlier by Eaton, some brands have worked with creators to provide content to keep you busy while being locked up in the house. Walmart did exactly this by working with a popular mom on TikTok.
@sherinicoleeAre you looking for some fun activities to do with your kids this summer?Check out ##CampByWalmart in the services tab of the Walmart app! ##ad @walmart♬ Royalty Free Music – Music For… Anything
Why Your Brand Should Consider This Strategy
With so many people on social media, using an influencer can help you break through the crowd.
Wood added, “During the pandemic, more people were on their phones and social media looking to connect in a safe way. Brands have turned to influencers during the pandemic to be where their consumers are.”
Influencer Marketing Yields Financial Gain
A 2019 survey by The Influencer Marketing Hub found that businesses are making $5.20 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. In fact, this same survey found that marketers have found influencer marketing so successful that 63% of marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing budget in the next year.³
When I asked Mikhail Alfon, President/Co-Founder of Blue Light Media if it’s worth investing in influencer marketing, he provided a very candid response.
Alfon said, “Yes, even if it’s strictly for content purposes. If you can save thousands on production costs by partnering with the right influencers, it’s worth the time to find influencers that work with you.”
Finding The Right Influencer
There are a few options when it comes to finding the perfect influencer for your brand. One option is to utilize influencer discovery software. Another alternative is to find an agency that specializes in influencer marketing. These agencies will have first-hand knowledge on influencer strategy and selection. You can find the perfect agency to help you in your influencer search with the help of Agency Spotter.
Concluding Insider Tips
We received so much great information from these agency experts, however, not all their insights found a place into the main body of the article. Keep reading to see some words of wisdom in regards to influencer marketing.
“Be sure to select your influencers based on style or quality of content, not just follower counts and engagement rate. It’s not as easy to prove ROI there, but you can be saving thousands of dollars on photoshoots by working with influencers as content creators.”
“If you are active on social media channels where your consumers are at, there are most likely influencers already following you and/or interacting with your content. Partnering with influencers who are passionate about your product or service leads to better content. When doing your daily community management, start keeping an eye on who is following you and liking, commenting and sharing your content.”
“Brands looking to partner with influencers need to approach it from a relationship-building angle. Whether it is a one-time or long-term partnership, building a relationship with influencers helps ensure brand loyalty and alignment Once alignment is in place, clearly communicating creative direction and objectives to your influencers will set them up for success in crafting a message that resonates with their followers and stays in line with campaign goals.”
¹ Business Insider | ² The Harris Poll | ³ The Influencer Marketing Hub