Almost every aspect of our lives has been affected in one way or another by the pandemic. Everyone is striving hard to adapt, including businesses, creative influencer marketers, and the entire economy at large.
Considering the stay-at-home economy is a new reality, influencers have been forced to devise new and relatable content ideas that revolve around their homes and personal activities while keeping their followers engaged and entertained. Likewise, the viewership on Facebook Live and Instagram Live has doubled over the last few months.
Most influencers have understood the current coronavirus-centered content demand of their audience and customers. Subsequently, they have had to tailor their social media marketing strategies around such content.
This post will discuss the specific ways influencers have aligned their social media marketing strategies to the current demand of their audience, and its resulting effects on their brand.
The current reality of masks and social distancing means the luxury and lavish lifestyle approach will not work for social media influencers. Designer bags, jewelry, and clothing will simply not pull the numbers.
Having realized this, influencers have ditched the users’ consumption pattern strategy. People are clearly more interested in conscious consumption and not copious consumption. Everyone wants a sustainable life, and will not likely relate to the lavish version.
So, most top influencers stopped putting up posts on expensive clothing and accessories. It is expedient to keep the audience engaged without disregarding sensibilities.
For instance, Nastia Liukin explained that she adopted a fine-tuned social media strategy since the start of the pandemic. The Russian-American former gymnast, with over a million followers on her feed, went from putting out the usual fashion photos and gymnastic shoots to more relatable content that reflects the current realities.
Influencers built their coronavirus and lockdown content such that it was engaging, fun, and connecting content for their audience. It was either bringing us closer to their everyday life in the form of house chores and quality time with family, or keeping us updated about the latest happenings around.
According to eMarketer, the pandemic clearly affected influencer marketing, especially in aspects like partnerships, content creation, spending, and platform engagements.
From the graph above, the UK and US consumers’ interests for May 2020 revolved around entertainment and things that kept them going with their everyday lives despite the lockdown.
Birdies, a slipper company, was about to launch an influencer-focused advertising campaign just before the lockdown. The campaign’s theme centers on how the slippers could be worn for both indoor and outdoor purposes. But with the lockdown activated, it meant we are all stuck indoors. So, the theme was fine-tuned to reflect this.
“We immediately changed it to an indoor slipper message, saying, ‘Take time, take care, feel dressed up, feel your best, you’re staying inside for a while,’” she said.
So, the campaign was redirected to hammer on the possibilities of changing out of pajamas to look cool while still indoors due to the pandemic.
It is important to mention the obvious rise in the demand for social content by the influencer industry consumers.
In March 2020, Statista did a global online survey (by country) on the consumption of media at home due to the global pandemic in 2020. Findings from the survey showed that the pandemic directly impacted in-home media consumption worldwide, with 44% of respondents admitting to spending more time on various social media platforms.
The reason for this is not farfetched; influencers already know that their audience is experiencing new daily routines. Therefore, they created visual content on their Instagram stories to relay inspirational messages to their audience, including asking them to stay at home and cook their favorite meals or do makeovers using their favorite beauty brand products.
For instance, Foster Farms, a chicken company, did a collaborative campaign involving nine different influencers. Rather than the usual various chicken cuts, they opted for a less-scripted message. The influencers made various five-ingredient recipes at home, with the results posted on the company’s page. These generated impressive engagement from the audience.
Simply Real Health’s founder, Sarah Adler, rose to the status of a social media influencer using the official Instagram page of the brand. She regularly fed the 34,000 followers with posts about cooking and motherhood. The brand focused on low-cost meal plans that befits the pandemic situation by using pantry staples. They wanted to show people how to make good meals without taking several trips to the grocery store.
The pandemic has pushed influencers to opt for long-term revenue strategies. The attention has shifted towards alternative revenue streams and direct-to-consumer businesses, including YouTube revenue, coaching, teaching, and consulting, among others.
An excellent example of this shift is the case of Massimo Bottura. The Michelin-star chef closed his popular Modena restaurant, Osteria Francescana, due to the lockdown. But he started the Kitchen Quarantine online show, which airs every night at 8 pm on Instagram TV. The show is a resounding success, with hundreds of thousands of streams.
The coronavirus pandemic came with new priorities for everyone, and by implication, a shift in consumer tastes. In a bid to adjust, Influencers have come up with alternative content types.
The search for new and useful information by audiences has never stopped. Everybody wants relatable content that can help their current indoor lifestyle.
For instance, Shivya Nath, the owner of The Shooting Star blog, revealed that she had to doublecheck the type of content she posts on her blog, considering the lockdown and its implications on global travels. She said, “there is no travel writing without travel, right?”
But she had to compromise on this position after an Instagram poll where most of her followers (84%) voted that they wanted the travel-related posts to continue. Subsequently, Nath started rolling out a blend of content covering previous travel experiences and useful inspirations for her audience in the lockdown.
When is a better time to talk about wellness and fitness than when people are home and doing almost nothing? Wellness and fitness influencers realized this and tailored their content to discuss self-care while indoors.
Home workout videos were the favorites among the YouTube audience. No gyms or fitness centers. People needed a new source of motivation for their workouts to stay fit – a demand well met by fitness influencers on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram.
Considering that most fitness influencers want to sell their programs to make money instead of advertising for brands, the lockdown did not adversely affect them in terms of revenue. The increasing engagement came with a couple of perks, including more followers on social media and subscriptions to their blogs, apps, and other personal platforms.
Customers are being forced to spend more time at home, thanks to the shelter-in-place and social distancing policies. This means influencers are expected to fine-tune their approaches to meet the ever-changing preferences of their consumers.
Users are spending more time on social media. After all, there is almost nothing else to do. This has resulted in increased social media engagement and views for social media influencers. It also puts influencers whose content is not professionally produced to thrive in the form of promoted posts.
One such influencer in this situation is Kate Kennedy. Kennedy is the host of Be There In Five – a famous pop culture podcast. She did an informal survey that revealed that the larger percentage of her audience preferred influencers discussing the latest happenings around the world. However, this must be spiced up with some regular content that centers on books, cooking, and gymnastics.
It is becoming more challenging to get people’s attention during this unusual period, except if you are clear about what they stand to benefit from such engagements.
Influencers understand this and are leveraging their social influence the right way. More influencers are discussing their coronavirus personal experiences openly, in addition to donating generously to charity.
Their content is built around generating awareness and financial assistance for people who need it. Such fundraising and awareness content encourages new donors, gets the message across to the right quarters, and boosts social media reach and engagement.
An example is what Laura Benanti did with her platform. By creating content around the coronavirus’s implications on the mental health of young people, she raised awareness on one of the ways the pandemic is affecting our daily lives.
The popular Broadway actress called on high school students to make a video of themselves singing, practicing, and auditioning for her canceled performance. At the same time, she plays the role of the audience. This gesture was well received.
Yes, COVID-19 is one situation none of us predicted. But influencers have made the most of it. Using the information sources at their disposal, influencers have projected their marketing campaigns to achieve an improved ROI on marketing spend.
The consumer persona at the moment is somewhat apparent. It is either they are consuming COVID-19 related information or looking for ways to escape boredom through visual content, which are never in short supply, thanks to the hardworking social media influencers.
Guest author: Lyuthar Jacob is working as an assistant editor at digital marketing agency – Clickmatix.com.au. He is the type of geek who loves to write about Marketing, Money Saving, Lifestyle and Finance.