As the near-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to be felt across the globe, companies, big or small, have begun scrambling to navigate the pandemic internationally. When movement and travel remain restricted, events, meetings and conferences stand cancelled, marketing enthusiasts are forced to switch gears and come up with alternative outlets, away from traditional marketing techniques, to accelerate pipeline amidst the crisis.
In response to the coronavirus, brands are increasingly shifting their focus towards influencer marketing to strengthen their influencer relationships, humanise their brand and build long-term equity. Marketers are well aware that now is a critical point in time for them to be agile, make necessary tweaks to their digital marketing strategies and use the power of trusted social media influencers for good.
Brands are realising that marketing through social media influencers could be particularly a well-suited business model at a time when DIY ad content filmed at home remains a viable option while commercial ad shoots are shut down.
Social Media Influencers Shifting Their Focus
“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” – Seth Godin
With the rapid inbound advancements in social media, influencers have benefitted the most. They are now dominating the inbound marketing landscape. As per a 2019 report of Influencer Marketing Hub, businesses are gaining impressive returns from influencer marketing, ranging up to $18 in earned media value for every dollar spent, $5.20 being the average.
The influencing wave is gradually developing into a tsunami. The social media influencers are key opinion leaders and advertisers are leveraging their social clout to create a positive impact.
Social media influencers are increasingly joining the fight against the global pandemic, slowing down on their niche work during the crisis. The purpose is to follow a strategy of pushing out awareness and education campaigns to their communities, for instance, the significance of a 20-second hand wash practice.
The focus is shifting towards creating content that is informative; build dialogue; generate and share ideas; lend a helping hand and grow the community. Many have stopped taking regular branded content work for the time being and promoting social initiatives such as a fund to support families of daily wage workers. The aim is to produce an organic piece of content and contribution to the ailing community.
Marketers Leveraging The Opportunity
Though there is not much good that comes from a crisis like global pandemic, there exists one positive from marketing perspective. Brands, now, have the chance to create lasting emotional bonds with their customers, when it is needed the most. At times when consumers are looking for authentic information and connection, brands are going an extra mile to stand out.
Coronavirus has had a huge impact across all the verticals and marketing industry is seeing pivoting their offerings and strategies. In the influencer marketing industry, there is a return to the two core principles: trust and authenticity. Over the years, less aspirational and more authentic content was already becoming a trend for influencer marketing and with a situation like this coming through, any authentic action that a brand can take will go a long way. It will lead to the brand getting remembered positively in the future in addition to providing some relief to the people who are affected during the crisis.
As there is comparatively more engagement than ever before on social media platforms, influencers nowadays are coming up with extraordinary ideas and content to keep engaging their followers during this quarantine period.
Brands like Lifebuoy and Dettol have launched many campaigns since the coronavirus outbreak. Each campaign had their set of influencers where the focus was not to promote the product solely but to encourage the audience about hygiene and teach them how to properly wash hands. This was a new avenue for these brands, as well as, the influencers where they educated the audience by making a jingle out of the handwashing process.
Amazon, through its “Amazon Donate” campaign, collaborated with 25 influencers where they uploaded a screen recording to show their audience how each one can donate using Amazon. The focus was to teach and educate the audience about a donation.
Recently, we had initiated a campaign named #HOMESCHOOLED with their content creators where the creators made use of Instagram’s Live feature to host tutorials for their audiences. Topic like makeup, dance, cooking and storytelling were covered by the content creators. The campaign generated a huge number of traction.
Summing It All Up
Once the recovery starts and we begin to resume normal lives, consumers will remember marketing that made them feel things during the virus outbreak. Whether that is an email that made them feel connected, a blog that gave them motivation when it was at an all-time low, or an influencer’s post that gave them meaningful insights, brands have an opportunity to strengthen their relationships with their customers.