8 reasons to execute influencer and social marketing during COVID-19’s reign.
When the COVID-19 pandemic starting making up 90% of news headlines over the last couple of weeks, we released our thoughts about how it would impact marketing.
While consumers, brands, and influencers were starting to panic, we wanted to do our part to help brands and influencers understand that consumer behavior was simply shifting. Our abilities were changing, and how we react to restrictions was going to open up new markets and new opportunities for brands who could see this as a behavior shift.
Over the past week, we continued to monitor both human behaviors, impact on our business as influencer marketers, as well as top notable cases of what brands are doing from a publicity and marketing perspective to keep their businesses strong in tough times.
There is outstanding evidence that supports that those who are focusing on their digital marketing, which includes influencer marketing, may positively benefit during these hard times, but even more so be primed for a strong comeback when this has all blown over.
1. Digital content consumption is at an all-time high
Nielsen data has projected that quarantines, work-from-home, cancellation of sports and other shifts in behavior are going to cause the media to boom in the upcoming weeks – banking on historic data retrieved from Seattle last week. Livestreaming has increased by over 66% in Italy in the first week of February, with studies awaiting the impact quarantines will have on the US.
Content consumption is increasing, with smartphone usage reporting an increase of 2.5 to nearly 4 hours per day. Our current-running campaigns are seeing higher than average reach and engagement as people are refreshing and scrolling their content feeds at higher rates than normal.
Your best shot of staying relevant right now is to engage online.
What this means: for the cost of your influencer campaign right now you are receiving higher than normal digital consumption, increasing brand awareness, and lowering the overall cost to do so.
2. Digital “experiences” do not require an in-person exchange
In 2019 we made headlines when we challenged brands to be more than just a hashtag “#ad” and offer a brand experience online. With brand “experiences” no longer happening in-person i.e. events, trade shows, and more traditional physical marketing practices due to cancelations or prohibitions, there are tremendous opportunities for those experiences to happen online.
3. Influencers have the resources brands may lack right now
While product shoots are being canceled, influencers often have the resources and skill available to self-shoot content for brands who want to keep their social presence strong. Their built-in audience is an added benefit.
Many are a one-stop-shop – meaning they have the capability to create content while still maintaining social distancing or quarantine.
What points 2 & 3 mean: we can recoup marketing dollars and attention by bringing our physical experiences into an online realm, creatively using influencer resources.
4. There is a need for content right now!
Have you seen it? With consumption up, people are looking to EACH OTHER more so than other brands for ideas and advice on how to live life with such drastic measures in place. In the past week alone I have seen a resurgence in demand for puzzles, books, tv shows, streaming services, people cleaning and gutting their houses, closets, pantries you name it. Industries are being affected positively – the question is, does your product fit in this change of BEHAVIOR?
When we develop strategies we urge brands to consider being “value-centric” and sponsoring content that ultimately has a positive impact on the audience, which helps increase brand affinity, loyalty, and purchase consideration.
There is a tremendous opportunity for content and value-centric content right now in a way that does not turn a blind eye.
What this means: coupled with an increase in content consumption, there is greater opportunity for brands to create content that positively impacts our current situation, which is seen by more people and ultimately increases brand awareness, affinity, loyalty, and purchase consideration.
5. Canceled campaigns in some industries affect supply and demand, making influencer prices more flexible and competitive
With some cancellations in industries with mandated shutdowns (like influencer favorite festivals and travel), influencers are looking to bring on active campaigns, and are willing to negotiate more than ever. Our active campaigns showed more efficient and competitive negotiations when it came to influencer pricing.
What this means: we have an increase in impressions, views and engagements, and a decrease in pricing – meaning statistics like Cost-Per-Acquisition, Cost-Per-View, CPM, and other common campaign performance metrics. Brands electing to move forward will be receiving more bang for your buck!
6. Influencers are looking for opportunities to do “good” and make a social impact right now
Through content, through partnership, through anything – they know their voices matter. The brands we view “as doing good” are more likely to gain the brand affinity to positively impact brand sales and/or conversions. It’s a prime time to consider what we can do for “good” and how we can partner with influencers to achieve and communicate it. Some of our campaigns that coupled brands with social empowerment were among our top-performing campaigns, period.
Can you incentivize sales by spreading kindness through showing gifting campaigns? Can you team up with an influencer to help consumers understand how to eat for the best immunity at this time? Can you create something that is promotionally spread through influencers that help people workout at home?
Think about your consumer and their lifestyle – because positively affecting their lifestyle right now will have a more tremendous impact in the long run.
What this means: what you do now matters for the future.
7. We have been shown at this time that influence matters
We know shelves are empty. We know toilet paper has been hard to find. Yet no brand and no media was advising that we stock on groceries or toilet paper. We have watched people continue to justify going out because others are doing so.
Psychologically, we know that we often put more stake in human words than we do in brand words. If the response of consumers and shifted behaviors has caused panic, we can tap into the same influence to establish calm and continue to stimulate our economy to our best abilities.
What this means: there is a different perspective of the consumer when they see “advice” from a brand vs. advice from another human – with the latter being more impactful and trusted. Now more than ever, we need to consider using influential voices to keep the economy strong and restore from panic.
8. We will likely see delay rather than a halt
We can take this cue from the travel industry. It’s not a matter of “if” at this point for many consumers – it’s a matter of when. With many airlines waiving change fees, offering full or even partial refunds on hotel or bookings – we have seen many influencers and consumers reference delays to plans rather than cancellations – meaning industries that were “delayed” will likely see a boom when this is (again inevitably) over. Meaning, consumers are still using their time to purchase and share items for upcoming trips and celebrations.
What this means: Consider that if you are promoting yourself to stay relevant during this time it will benefit you in the longterm and an increase in activity will likely come as a result of quarantine restrictions. People often don’t forget what they see – especially at times where competition may be lower if certain industries are logistically refrained from being able to market services (like hospitality).
We want to be careful to draw a distinction between exploitation and helpfulness. We want to assure we are not turning a blind eye to what is going on – instead, we should be stepping in with influencers as our partners to create and keep spirits high.
As marketers we do have a say and control over the conversation around our brands – how will your brand shift this in a more positive direction?