The pandemic has dramatically changed how advertisers work with people of impact aka INFLUENCERS. Not only have industries been accelerating to figure it out, but it also presented new challenges and opportunities for good beneficial win-win influencer partnerships. Brand principles have changed and the ROI of influencer’s marketing campaigns is now measured in a whole different way. This has meant industries now have to adapt and invest more in the new personal way of marketing.
But before we go any further, what is an Influencer?
Influencers are people who, due to their knowledge and expertise on a specific subject, have built up some form of reputation. Social media influencers are independent, third-party advocates who shape public attitudes through social media channels such as blogs, tweets, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. They create content that promotes specific brands intending to obtain organic follow-up and brand recognition. They regularly post themes on their preferred social media channel and therefore generate large follow-ups of enthusiastic, engaged people who pay close attention to their views and are inclined to change their decision-making.
Influencer marketing is the process by which individuals who are aligned with a particular brand are identified and recruited to engage in conversations with the customers of a brand. This trend is mainly used in public relations and marketing initiatives. This strategy focuses primarily on social media, creating opportunities for brands to market through social media. The use of social media has broken the barriers between the consumer and the brand, changing the way they interact.
How the pandemic changed the rules of the game in terms of marketing?
Since the pandemic hit, the slowdown was noticeable in partnerships between brands, obviously, some sectors suffered more than others, some leveraged technology since we’re all connected and reaching consumers can be achievable in most cases. But between May and June, there was strong evidence of partnerships started to go back on track through online canals, in different forms depending on the industry. We also noticed that these partnerships looked different from the age before the pandemic, you can, for instance, find that in reading Stephanie’s story, it’s an illustration of how influencer marketing has changed in this era.
What changed in regards to Content?
The biggest culture shift was that brands and influencers shifted their advertisement more towards highlighting brand awareness and moved away from product focus. There was a realization that it was difficult to sell products in an unstable economy, the crisis rearranged the market towards forging relationships with influencers, rather than pushing Ads, the classic way. This ultimately meant brands significantly being open in regards to content, giving influencers a lot more freedom at forging the message. This semi-autonomous arrangement saw good influencers being very effective in the manner in which they represented their brands.
How advertisers measured ROI?
When it comes to evaluating ROI, there are two ways to the analysis: brand goals and brand awareness or value on one side, and an intense focus on e-commerce and KPIs on the other side. If you’re trying to measure the impact of an influencer campaign, you can’t just look at the direct sales that come from your affiliate, because they make up a very small part of the contribution. You need to look at the engagement metrics and then analyse it downstream to see if it generates any sales or increased interactions with potential customers. At the end of the day, it’s not one-size-fits-all, and it’s really important to understand the data.
TikTok and how it impacted the influencer marketing industry
At a time when the world was feeling gloomy, TikTok brought about a different atmosphere that played a big part in their success. It wasn’t about pushing fake news or focused on politicians fighting. Instead, TikTok has enhanced creativity amongst young people, which has made it a top-tier network very quickly. Before the emergence of the new social media, Facebook had it all, as for the world of influence. Yes, there were Twitter blogging, and Snap Chat, and other platforms, but checking the overall contribution in influencer marketing, there was a huge inclusion of Instagram. So in this regard, it’s been really interesting to see how TikTok changed things, because it gave brands different options in their attempt to engage with audiences, and gives influencers options too as to how to come up with content.
Marketers have learned that Social media influencers promoting their brands can be more successful at interacting with consumers when they are authentic, confident, and interactive in their content. The use of authentic influencer marketing campaigns has broken down the wall between the consumer, the brand, and followers through relatable social media content. Before the rise of social media influencers, advertising to consumers was a one-sided affair and consumers would only see a product through traditional channels such as print advertisements, billboards, radio, and television. Now consumers can interact with brands through social media in real-time.