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3 Insights to Assist You in Adapting Your Influencer Marketing Campaign to the COVID-19 Pandemic

In times of crisis, it can be a natural human response to lose sight of our ultimate goals. For businesses, this may also be a natural response. What we have to remember is that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we have to keep pushing forward. Well, Black Girl Digital will provide you a few ways to be impactful in these times, specifically in regards to your influencer marketing campaign.

Due to the increase in user generated content, story viewership, and audience rate, it is more likely now than ever, that you are likely to reach your audience. It's also interesting to note that there is a rapid increase in movement towards Facebook groups and Instagram live viewership. Since 40% of influencer state that their main source of income is through the generation of content, it is evident that the urge to create content is important.

On March 31st, CreatorIQ conducted a webinar with Lina Renzina from Ad Council, Reesa Lake from Digital Brand Architects, and Natalie Silverstein from Collectively. Topics included how current events are affecting the industry, partnerships, and creator content; what brands and agencies can do to keep business humming while pushing the industry forward; and how content creators are helping with social good initiatives. These 3 insights will help you to adjust your current influencer marketing campaign.

1. How current events are affecting the industry, partnerships, and creator content

There is a social need that we are lacking due to #saferathome constraints. These needs include physiological, safety, and love/belonging. Because of these needs, individuals have looked to social media in order to receive these social needs through digital connection. Here are a few updates about social media usage:

Campaign Data Insights

  • Instagram story view rate is up 33% as of March.

  • Instagram feed engagement rate is up 24% as of March.

  • Facebook feed engagement is up 60% as of March.

2. What brands and agencies can do to keep business humming while pushing the industry forward

What are brands doing well?

Many companies and brands have been making great social and community efforts during this time. It is important to acknowledge what brands are doing well. It is important that brands are as useful as possible to the community by combining value and purpose to their brand messages. Some brands have donated a number of essential products, and other brands have been waiving shipping fees for customers. Some brands have leveraged their audience by positioning their brand message in subtle ways. Coca-Cola and Nike have successfully done this.

Brands are also using influencers to leverage their audience. Creators can provide a positive

escape for their audience. For example, mental health is an important topic right now. Netflix announced that they will be broadcasting a weekly Instagram live series centered around coping during the crisis. Other influencers have used their Instagram platforms to acknowledge the moment and provide some positivity on their daily story posts. See here for a list of 20 brands that are helping with COVID relief efforts.

What can creators create that is inspiring and will resonate with their brand partnerships and audience?

Some content creators have been using their social platforms to spread positivity as well as provide useful ways to occupy their time while staying at home. Some examples include activities with their children, DIY tutorials, creative recipes, and of course, Tiktok videos with different dance challenges. Overall, content that is solution-based is a trend that influencers are moving towards. Content has shifted towards being more community based and interactive with their audience.

How can brands that are struggling get creative?

Constraints help us be creative, but content needs to be timely. We are absorbing a lot of scary information daily, so figuring out how to navigate is challenging. Brands are asking influencers to bring good conversation to their audience. Brands should also be thinking about the power of collaboration right now.

Luxury, ready-to-wear fashion, and travel brands are a few industries among others that are having a difficulty right now. These brands/companies can use influencers to drive engagement. One example is that influencers can provide content that fantasizes traveling.

How can smaller brands engage with influencers with no or a limited budget?

  • Build a relationship and common ground with that influencer. Maybe you have a connection with them based on where they live, etc. The key is to find a connectivity with them.

  • Find the right talent. Maybe the influencer doesn't have 1million followers but can reach your audience. Find micro-developing creators and building a connection with them.

  • Find the non-monetary proposition with the influencer

How can influencers manage from week to week?

It is important that influencers are having real conversations with their audience. They can do this by holding Q&As. We know that content is more restricted now, especially for influencers whose content is centered around travel or involves shooting content outside and with the public. Q&As will allow the influencer's audience to tell them directly what it is that they want to see. Most importantly, how they can be impactful while providing content from their homes. Instagram live is so pertinent because it allows for real-time content and feedback, and can provide a lot of information about content criteria moving forward. Influencers can also use this time to explore their options for partnerships with other influencers in the future.

3. A data-backed look at how creators are helping with social good initiatives

Here are some key updates about social engagement since January:

  • In general, engagement on PSA/information sharing posts by creators have surpassed 1.5 billion

  • Substantial increase in sharing/safety posts - more than 480,000 since January.

  • Volume of attention maps directly back to spread of cases.

Based on the insights presented above, we see that there is a rise of social good in campaigns.

Social campaigns such as the #alonetogether campaign, are activating with different partners and working on a mental health initiatives, working with different companies to spread this message, and have adjusted their existent campaigns to ground the social cause. See Influence for Good During COVID-19 for some social initiatives that are being implemented that display that social initiatives have brought a bright side to the current economic climate.

How can brands reach young people?

Younger people may not be taking the COVID-19 as serious because they feel that they aren't at risk. This is certainly not the case as younger people have been reported as testing positive as well. The question that brands should be asking themselves is: "How can we reach young people that believe they aren't at risk and are less concerned? Here are some ways that they can reach the younger audience and also provide a message that helps them understand why social distancing is so essential.

Tiktok is a great way to reach the young audience. It is currently a hot app that is widely popular amongst teens all around the world. 41% of users are between the ages of 16 and 24. Brands have gotten hip to this. Some brands have started to run Tiktok campaigns about social distancing and how to get the message out. For example, P&G teamed up with teen Tiktok star, Charli D'Amelio to create a dance challenge for social distancing.

Influencer Marketing Closing Insights:

Influencer marketing has been an upward trend and is now a top-three priority investment. Influencers can be an essential component in brands reaching their target audience. Since they have a loyal following, their followers are more likely to take a recommendation about a particular brand from that influencer rather than from the brand itself. Here a some essential take-aways from Collectively's 2020 industry report about influencer marketing:

Influencer marketing is now a full-funnel strategy that spans far beyond sponsored posts.
The practice is more performance-driven than ever due to new levels of data transparency.
Sophisticated content reuse and amplification unlocks the full value of influencer investments and impacts business goals with metrics like sentiment, sales, and return on ad spend.

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Renelle Davis - Black Girl Digital Writer

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