In light of the coronavirus pandemic, marketers are scrambling. Sporting events and festivals are canceled for the foreseeable future, leaving traditional advertisements out of the equation until further notice. Large gatherings and events break social distancing protocol, putting staff and potential customers at risk. Brand and product launches have been delayed, causing a halt in marketing efforts in order to best promote a product.
The tourism, restaurant, and hospitality industries are going to suffer throughout the coming months. This means that the remainder of marketing budgets for beauty, household, fashion, and even food are going to need to be shifted elsewhere. As more people begin to stay indoors and spend their time online watching content from influencers and content creators they follow, influencer marketing will become the wisest use of your marketing budget.
Influencer marketing takes over traditional marketing
Influencer marketing has been disrupting traditional marketing for years and has been rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel. 51% of marketers who have adopted influencer marketing practices in their strategies have found that they acquire better customers through the influencers that they work with. There are countless benefits to working with influencers, like bypassing ad blockers installed on browsers, pure scalability, and building more trust with potential consumers than more traditional advertisements.
At the end of the day, people trust people and it shows in the data: 92% of consumers globally trust earned media, especially from friends. The lines between friend and follower become blurry due to their relatable nature. Influencers create content focused on aspects of their lives through personal style, beauty recommendations, and in-depth looks at their day-to-day. These behind the scenes perspectives on normal people–compared to celebrities and traditional public figures–make their audience feel more connected to these creators, adding a new level of trust to their relationship.
How will marketing shift over the next few months?
With the implementation of social distancing, brands aren’t able to use traditional content generation tactics like editorial shoots, events, speciality launches, or large scale productions. But amid all of the chaos, marketers know that the need for content doesn’t decrease – in fact, the content requirements are only increasing as people stay home and consume more content.. As brands cut large productions, many are looking to influencers as a substitution. They can produce high-quality on-brand content at both a fraction of the cost and without running the risk of breaking social distancing protocols.
We already know that people are spending more time online in impacted regions causing a 30% spike in web traffic in Italy alone. Humans are social creatures, and the longer self-isolation is being practiced, the more we will crave their usual day-to-day socialization and interaction on social media. Everyone practicing social distancing has the option to turn towards social media, leading to a potential spike in activity across a multitude of apps. Influencers are a huge source of entertainment and inspiration for their followers, but much like TV shows and movies, they also provide an escape for their audience.
How can you organically begin new partnerships?
Navigating the influencer marketing space right now may seem tricky from the outside. We’re already seeing that sales are shifting from brick-and-mortar to online, starting the digital migration while mandated curfews and quarantines are being enacted and public places are being avoided.
It’s important for your new partnerships to make sense and come about organically. Octoly’s marketplace mimics real-world buying habits with our Free Store, allowing creators to shop through different campaigns and raise their hands for products they want to try that fit seamlessly into their current routine. Feel-good content during times of isolation is more important than ever, so your next influencer partnership should reflect this.
Instagram Stories are hugely beneficial to brands in terms of easy-to-create yet effective content. It’s important to remember that creators may not have access to their normal editorial capabilities, but a series of Instagram Stories versus an in-feed static post is a way to allow them to create organic content for their audience in a way that seems authentic rather than a full scale production. Whether you’re a beauty brand marketing your skincare products to be used in an at-home self care routine or a food and beverage brand featured in their “what I eat in a day” stories from home, these short video concepts may perform better with an influencer’s audience.
Creating video content on YouTube can work hand-in-hand with short-form videos on Instagram Stories. Now is the time to give creative freedom to the influencers so they can communicate with their audiences in a way that feels natural and organic. Allow them to seamlessly integrate your product into their usual content and lifestyle to provide relief for their audience when they need it the most.
Consumer patterns are shifting towards online shopping. It’s important to leverage your influencer and consumer partnerships to include organic text reviews on your website as well as relevant retailers. 95% of 18 to 35 year-olds consult text reviews before making a purchase. As sales begin to decrease from store closings and lack of foot traffic in public places, a heavier focus is already being placed on eCommerce traffic.
It’s important to take two things into account. First, your products should have text reviews published for them to provide insights on how consumers felt about the products to positively influence shopping patterns. Second, you should know the value of site traffic being driven by influencers. If you activate the right influencers during your partnership and provide them with unique affiliate or UTM links to be used as a swipe-up on their IG stories or YouTube videos, you can increase your site traffic and have the potential to convert that influencer’s audience into actual sales – something all brands need to weather the storm.
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