Covid-19 has acted as an accelerator of pre-existing trends, rather than a life-changing shift in the market. For instance, the rise of Tik Tok got a boost during the pandemic but was already out there or the trend towards the “unfiltered” life or the so-called “Everyday Influencers”. Influencer marketing played and is playing an important role in brand management and brand awareness due to the ability to provide powerful storytelling. This leads to opportunities for all the small or big brands that hit the market both recently or in the past. The concept of influencer marketing was seen as an add-on strategy or tool to the existing marketing plan rather than a focal and vital part of it. Now it is time for brands to rethink the entire marketing strategy including influencers from the beginning.
In 2019 the influencer marketing was already flourishing, revealing itself as an industry about $8 billion in valuation. The forecast for the following years were very optimistic predicting a rise over $15 billion by 2022. Surely, Covid-19 was not planned or expected by industries but the impact showed was enormous almost for everyone on the global economy. Subsequently, the prediction changed and with that also the strategy applied to overcome the worst crisis in the new century.
As revealed from different survey, brands expected to decrease in terms of brand equity and as a consequence have less money to spend.
Lockdowns have been highly disruptive to many industries. Business have coped applying the concept of smart working. However, this case could not be applied to the influencers who typically prepare and record content also from home. As a result, the troublesome effect displayed in other businesses was easily adjusted for the influencer marketers. They were able to shift to some of the most prevalent topics during the pandemic such as focusing on fitness, healthy eating and life advices. In this way influencer marketing presents its core strength, namely, the trust between influencers and the audience.
While the pandemic is drastically changing the marketing landscape, brands started questioning the morality and ethics in pushing advertisement and sales during such a sensitive time. The answer to all these questions can be found in influencer marketing as it introduces a human element in authentic brand / consumer storytelling. Thus, influencer marketing is much more valuable right now than it was before.
Vogue business stated: “Carefully managed, close relationships with influencers can help companies continue to deliver higher quality content during uncertain times.”
The next question is: “How can brands find the right influencers?”
The answer can be summarized into four easy steps:
1.The research should start within local influencers. Given the current situation it is the perfect time to start looking for local influencers and support those in your direct sphere.
2.DYI. Begin the exploration by searching your tagged posts and reflect on all the past collaborations your brand has done.
3. Encourage brand loyalty. As we saw above, relationships and trust matter more than ever now. Consumers seek out a sense of ordinariness and stability as the pandemic has caused concerns about the present and future. Public want to be engaged with content that are authentic.
4.Try to be part of the solution rather than the problem. The last is the most meaningful during Covid-19 because people are looking for new stimuli and solutions. For instance, influencers can share advice on how they have coped with the new situation on a practical basis such as smart working, caretaker of the kids, or university advice.
In conclusion, because marketing budget changed due to the crisis, allocating the right amount of money with a suitable strategy is essential to handle the tough moment everyone is facing. Influencer marketing can be a key finding in this hostile situation.