Some weeks into lockdown and marketers are grappling with the best way to engage and influence during these unpredicted times. The pace of change has been momentous; what was appropriate just a few weeks ago is now no longer fitting in a world turned upside down by the deadly virus.
Social media influencers reported mass-wide cancellation of campaigns with brand managers taking stock and reviewing their marketing plans; however, there are still plenty of opportunities for nimble-footed brands to achieve significant cut through at this time with influencer marketing.
Firstly let’s understand why is influencer marketing is more effective than ever. There is no disputing influencer marketing is an efficient and effective route to market, particularly now with consumers spending more time connecting online.
The lockdown has certainly defined our priorities and to be successful, brands must be mindful of the ever-changing world in which we now live. Attentive and empathetic are the watchwords – those brands that speak with integrity and authenticity will achieve standout and build brand advocacy. Represent Comms founder Judith O’Leary addresses 3 correct ways to do influencer marketing during COVID-19.
So where to start?
Being relevant is imperative, so a good place to start is to revisit target personas and consider what your brand can do to add value to your target audiences just now. Apply a ‘reasonability’ test to all your communications, run your messages through a ‘Coronavirus lens’ to make sure your comms are appropriately pitched for today’s world.
Consider what consumers are looking for and contemplate ways to help them tackle obstacles they may currently face, many of which they might not have ever encountered before. From DIY beauty to homeschooling to keep fit, there are many brands finding ways to add value and bring light relief to online audiences through influencers.
Harnessing new norms
The appeal of online influencers is their accessibility and relevance to target audiences’ lives. While consumers have more time to connect with brands; they are also being bombarded with messaging so cut-through can be challenging.
Now is the time to be agile – mine social feeds to identify trends and be responsive by creating great content that informs, educates or simply entertains. From fabric brands partnering with crafters on mask-making to DIY stores working with enthusiasts to share home-based projects and beauty bloggers showcasing make up tips for mask-wearing the key is to add value at every turn.
Be faithful to your brand values
A carefully chosen influencer can be considered a fast-track way of telling your brand story, however, don’t be seduced by the numbers, it is definitely a matter of quality over quantity.
At a time when a community is central to our lives, creating brand advocacy seems more important than ever with new influencers coming to the fore. From Joe Wicks who has got the nation exercising, to Captain Tom Moore who has captured all our hearts – consumers are connecting with a new breed of influencers where previously there would have been little to no crossover.
Without doubt, this is a time for organic partnerships to flourish and in doing so marketeers can create opportunities to connect with consumers on a deeper level. If successful, the benefits will extend well beyond the current lockdown.
A word of caution, to those primed to ‘reach out’ to a batch of appealing influencers. Be mindful that they are also going through challenging times, juggling work at home with family life and other responsibilities. They might even be dealing with illness or loss. Harness the existing relationships you have built up over time with influencers and be kind. Influencers are being inundated with requests from agencies, so apply your own reasonableness test before hitting the DMs.