July 1, 2020
More than a month into a pandemic, we’re finding out how the novel coronavirus changed influencer marketing in 2020.
The influencer ecosystem has shifted. Forever. Brands, creators, and the audience have adapted to a new normal. And we can all thank (blame?) the novel coronavirus for it.
With the shift, all of us had to throw our strategy books for 2020 out of the window and regroup. That’s why we created the ‘intricacies of influencer marketing during COVID-19′ series. To talk about the challenges influencers face right now and what brands need to know during this time.
The hope is to prepare the community better for the new normal. This is the second part of the series where the focus is solely on creators. If you are brand (or interested in what happens on the other side of the table), hop to the first part.
How Coronavirus Changed Influencer Marketing Trends In 2020 For Creators?
Cancelled. Pulled. Paused. Those are the three words every creator heard in March and April. Brand campaigns dropped faster than a fitness influencer drops carbs. That’s the first change COVID-19 brought for content creators and the foundation for all others.
Don’t expect a lot of ad budgets.
The economy is f*cked. And the first step brands take to stop bleeding money is to tighten marketing budgets. Almost 70% of brands are expected to decrease ad spend this year. Plus, nearly 74% are slowing down posts on their social media accounts.
For a creator, it means the availability of a smaller number of paid brand campaigns to work on. But all is not lost.
Expect a shift in platforms.
When people went into lockdown, they began spending more time online and that time was tilted towards two paths. One, where they could gain more information on the coronavirus. Two, where they could escape the harsh realities of the pandemic.
This turned social time towards two platforms – Twitter and TikTok. The first gave them news and the second became the feel-good place a user could go to every time the news became too grim.
For a creator, this shift means becoming more active on different social media sites. If Instagram has been your only focus, now is the moment to branch out to Twitter and TikTok. That doesn’t imply that you have to abandon the ‘Gram completely – just change your content strategy to videos.
Make more video content.
67% of creators are either making videos for TikTok or watching them on the app. It’s not just TikTok, video content has exploded on Facebook and Instagram too, mainly due to live streams.
For a creator, it means generating video content is the best way to keep followers engaged. Besides bringing comedy relief, videos connect you to people like no other content form. If you’re a novice at producing video content, use IGTV, Stories, or Lives, and your engagement rate will be through the roof.
Expand your niche.
We’ve said it ad nauseam. To be a popular content creator, you need to find your niche. COVID-19 put paid to that! Currently, viewers are broadening the type of content they consume on social media and the biggest jump has been in the fitness and home life niches.
For a creator, it means expanding to these two verticals is a fabulous step at reaching a new audience. From cooking to cleaning, from workouts to meditation, from DIY to mental health, spread your content to these areas. Just remember, be authentic. Always.
What Can A Creator Do in The Current COVID-19 Climate?
The abrupt left turn in influencer marketing trends due has left many creators floundering. Here’s what you can do:
- If you’re struggling with finding the right post because most content seems irrelevant or insensitive, speak about the present situation. Post about better hygiene practices. Post about charities. Post news on the pandemic.
- If you still have brand campaigns going, then mix your sponsored content with organic posts. For every 2 #ad posts, create 3 posts relatable to the prevailing scenario.
- Before you hit publish on any content, give it a once over, then a second and then a third one. Be mindful of not only the image or video but also the caption. Fine-tune the message if it feels inauthentic or inappropriate.
Influencer Marketing Is Just Taking Off
Now is a good time to be a content creator.
Now is the best time to be a content creator.
With traditional production houses and studios closed, brands need you. You are the one-stop-shop that can ideate, generate, edit, and publish content. Plus, you have the complete attention of audiences right now.
So, our advice is to reach out to the brands you’ve always believed in. If you are a true ambassador of their product/service, they will be clamoring to work with you.
If you’re worried about the slowdown in industries, keep in mind it is a delay, not a halt. Eventually, things will go back to normal. It might be different from what we knew, but stability will come.
Obviously Trend Report
The State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmark Report