The world has locked itself indoors. Habits that imply any short trip are no more. Instead, the quarantine forced people to recreate their entire universe in a couple of rooms. Gym, work, hobbies, sports, vacations – each of these activities once needed a different destination around the globe to take place. Now, they have to make do with a few square feet.
Based on these changes, it might seem that each household has been reduced to an isolated island, working by unique rules. But that’s not the case. Despite the lockdown, these micro universes have started showing similar traits. Online users talk about same fitness routines, same social causes to contribute to, same cooking recipes, and the list goes on.
What seems to be the common denominators are social media and influencers. Confined to their own home, popular social account owners continue to do what they’ve always done: inspire their community.
Based on the support they’ve given their communities despite the spectral of a multi-layered crisis, influencers showed they can inspire in times of crisis. Therefore, the right influencer marketing plans can generate a massive impact for brands. How? This is what we’re going to debate in the rest of the article.
Influencers facing the pandemic
Social influencers were always the first to test the latest trends, products, and habits. Lots of invitation lists to the hottest parties and events included their names.
By following their social accounts full of content, anyone was able to have a taste of what these modern innovations were like. Naturally, influencers’ recommendations were quick to take root across consumers.
However, what happened to them once the pandemic became a global concern? Just like everyone else, social media creators retired to the safety of their homes. Yet this withdrawal gave way to a slew of new hurdles.
Coronavirus impacted influencer marketing in a number of ways. However, this pandemic is, after all, a crisis. It can either break those who stubbornly hold on to the old ways and furnish opportunities to those who tackle it.
These are the main drawbacks influencers have to confront:
- Lack of professional assistance – Some accounts have grown bigger than their owners. As such, numerous macro-influencers resorted to hiring professional help so that they could keep delivering quality content.
- Loss of glam topics – With events and product launches canceled all over the world, influencers have been cut out from their primary topics of discussion on their platform.
- Canceled partnerships – Companies immediately switched from strategies for growth to those for business optimization. This decision also had ramifications in influencer marketing with many brands ending their promoted posts in collaboration with content creators.
How are influencers coping so far?
Nonetheless, influencer marketing is one industry very well acquainted with extreme changes. Unpredictable Instagram algorithm changes and the removal of “like” counts are just a few agents of change that taught account owners how to stay flexible in a volatile environment.
Therefore, content creators have harnessed formidable coping skills. More than that, social influencers have already cracked down on how to overcome the effects of isolation:
- Forming new habits under quarantine – With the old lifestyle torn to pieces, influencers have been building new norms for living at home. As always, their community was quick to test these versions of modern quarantining.
- Going live more often than ever – They can’t film the catwalk, exclusive parties or even a walk in the park. But now, they have more time than ever to sit down with their community and engage with them in real time through Instagram Live.
- Test out and approve of useful products and services – New habits require different tools. Not even influencers know how to dedicate 100% of their time to home activities. Yet they are experimenting together with those who are following them.
How are brands coping?
In the meantime, companies have been struggling to keep their businesses afloat. A number of optimizing measures emerged in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Get the facts straight. Businesses can’t afford to let emotions get the better of them. To fight fear and misinformation, companies are continuously filtering the news and take action accordingly.
- Communication systems. Equally important, leaders made sure that information is flowing between managers and their teams unrestricted.
- Health and crisis initiatives. Q2 plans are under revision as they’re being adjusted to the effects of a global crisis. In the meantime, CEOs are making sure their employees benefit all resources and protocols to continue their work from their home office.
- Brand safety. With consumers practicing caution, their filters when choosing the next brand to purchase from have multiplied. Shopping intent has been growing weak. So a poorly chosen speech, partner or ad can cost companies clients.
- Go digital. Social distancing urged people to reconnect online. Businesses have to carry out their activities where their clients are. eCommerce is now in full swing while traditional marketing is coming to a halt.
- Show solidarity. In times of abundance, marketing began handling social missions to connect audiences to something bigger than a product, a movement. After the coronavirus outbreak, some companies lived up to their claims by showing acts of solidarity.
- Adjust product features. Online ads have swiftly changed their concept to bring to light product benefits relevant to a global crisis. Classic features that have now become of interest resurfaced (home delivery, digital versions, credit card payments, etc.). Other companies needed to make significant product changes. For instance, gyms are now merchandising digital recordings of their classes.
Brands and social influencers working together in a crisis
At this point, we’ve seen how both influencers and brands are transitioning to uncharted territories. While influencers are closer to their audiences than ever before as they’re going through the same major life changes, brands are drifting apart from clients.
Years of researching consumer behavior lost relevance overnight. Companies are now rethinking their digital marketing strategies based on educated guesses.
They know their audience is now staying at home. Apart from home-friendly products and services, what else do they need? How long will it take until online users switch from coronavirus news to lighter topics?
Right now, not even consumers know what the best course of action is for them. So that knowledge that would get businesses through in these times is yet to be found. But together with influencers, people are learning what works to make their seclusion better and seek to acquire the necessary tools.
As such, influencers can be the means to business sustainability just as much as brands can continue to support their creativity.
Influencer Campaign Concepts Customized to Industries
Give them a relevant and timely topic, and influencers will ignite the awareness brands need in times of crisis.
- Hygiene standards – Especially in food delivery, influencer campaigns can shed light on the parts of their food people can’t see – food prepping and package delivery. By reassuring consumers that their ordered meals are coming from responsible professionals, they regain trust in their favorite restaurants.
- Nutritious choices – Lockdowns are known for being detrimental to mental and physical well-being. What influencers can do under these circumstances is to raise awareness about restaurants that provide nutritious dishes and deliver them to customers’ doors.
- Daily inspirational menus – For grocery stores and markets, it’s the perfect moment to share their best recipes on a daily basis. The news kept covering how consumers rushed in and emptied entire shelves of all kinds of foods. With their pantries and fridges full, all they need is a daily dose of recipes that turn staples into wholesome meals.
- Create new norms for shopping – The world of retail can find influencers helpful in familiarizing their communities with new rules overnight. Instead of waiting to see how consumers adapt, it’s more efficient to proactively educate their shopping habits.
- Emphasize essentials – Consumers are open to investing in products that they wouldn’t have otherwise considered under normal circumstances. In coping with the effects of self-isolation, consumers are looking into kitchen items, home office supplies, but also new means of entertainment. For instance, social creators can start conversations about toys, games or family-friendly furniture that boost quality family time at home.
- Vouchers – Since the rise of the pandemic, social media has encouraged support for local businesses. Popular Instagram accounts are already urging followers to buy local. They are posting lists of brands in the neighborhood that were left vulnerable to Coronavirus. Gift vouchers provide a timely aid where customers buy for later while keeping local businesses open.
Beauty and Self-Care
- Fill the professional void – In the aftermath of imposed quarantine, people were cut off from professional beauty services. With the help of influencers, beauty brands and salons can focus on digital brand-building. Roll out influencer campaigns that reveal online tutorials on how to achieve perfect makeup, hairdos, and manicure at home.
- Accent on hygiene products – Cosmetics sales are definitely dwindling during this period. Nonetheless, the beauty industry is shouldering crisis management by making available hand sanitizers and moisturizers. This industry can seize the opportunity to commit to health authorities’ recommendations by opening the discussion about responsible handwashing and shopping behavior.
- At-home pampering – For quite a while now, skincare routines have been associated with rituals and moments of relaxation. Influencers can reveal their beauty tricks that make them unwind from daily tension.
- Spread awareness about device disinfecting – Smartphones have been integrating so deeply with the modern lifestyle, that they’ve reached ubiquity. Therefore, it’s no surprise that mobile screens are unsanitary. Tech companies can launch micro-influencer campaigns to inform users of the importance of keeping their devices clean.
- Smart solutions – The technology has been developing at lightning speed. Therefore, not everyone was able to keep up with the latest solutions technology streamlines for them. Tech companies could benefit from influencers by getting more exposure to smart solutions. These can be VR business meetings, virtual assistants, wireless charging stations, time-tracking software, 5G wireless networks, social media sentiment analysis, etc.
- Offer digital versions – Lots of gyms have already adapted to the lockdown. They’ve been streaming fitness routines that gym-goers can safely perform at home. However, they need the mass spread effect influencers are guaranteeing.
- Bring classes to their homes – There’s one key ingredient that makes gyms addictive – the support of a driven community. Gym owners have been recreating this element from a distance by furnishing live streams of their most popular classes. To widen the exposure to their digital programs, companies can cast fitness influencers as trainers.
- Digital counsel – One of the areas that are first to receive a major blow in times of crisis is the finance industry. This leaves anyone in confusion regarding their financial stability. By collaborating with social influencers, financial institutions can earn people’s trust by educating them to take care of their savings.
- Focus on contactless services – There’s one modern asset banking institutions have recently added to their portfolio that is highly practical during a health crisis: transactions without any form of contact. Whether online or IRL contactless payments, these actions help curb the spread of a pandemic. By promoting this feature, companies are not only ensuring safer commerce standards. They are also providing solutions to pressing problems quarantines are posing.
As we’ve seen so far, both companies and influencers are transitioning. Keep them separate, and they remain on their own. Connect them, and everybody gains real value.
In a crisis, consumers are stopping from their shopping habits, putting their financial protection first. What companies can do is maintain themselves under public attention until the situation straightens up.
Social media influencers are best at harnessing brand loyalty with their followers. Therefore, influencer campaigns can alleviate the effects of a crisis by bringing up relevant issues and timely solutions.