When it comes to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s probably easier to name the parts of your business that haven’t changed than the parts that have. Navigating the use of influencers in your marketing is just one of these new challenges. Fortunately, there are a few best practices that can help you connect with your influencers and encourage them to produce effective, meaningful content.
In this article, we’ll go over the benefits of influencer marketing, and discuss how the pandemic has changed its landscape and impact. We’ll also explore some helpful tips for adapting your partnerships to the new normal for maximum effect. Let’s dive in!
The Importance of Connecting With Influencers During a Pandemic
Influencers can be a strategic benefit to the companies they partner with. These social authorities offer personalized endorsements of your product to their fan bases through engaging platforms. The right partnerships can help you access niche markets in a way that feels more natural than traditional ads.
Influencers’ power to get people to view your ads and trust them is formidable. Marketing professionals have certainly taken notice: the influencer industry is projected to be worth a staggering $15 billion dollars by 2022.
If you haven’t started working with influencers yet, there’s no time like the present. Around 51% of people have reported that their social media consumption has increased since the pandemic began. However, while this means your potential audiences have grown, so has the competition.
Your budget may also be feeling the pinch of a struggling global economy. So might your influencers who will in turn be less likely to work for low or free rates. All of this adds up to more opportunities that are trickier to take advantage of, making a solid connection with your influencers critical.
How to Connect With Influencers During a Pandemic (3 Key Tips)
A robust working relationship with your influencers can be the difference between your ad campaign soaring or sinking. Here are some key tips to help you find—and keep—your connections.
1. Focus on Finding the Right Fit
It’s a safe bet that you did this before the pandemic. Determining your target audience, learning about their online leaders, and choosing people that can help you organically achieve your goals is standard practice for recruiting influencers.
The changes of the pandemic have only made this step more important. Choosing an incompatible ambassador is costly in the best of times. These days, the margin for error is even smaller: 56% of people expect advertisers to adjust their tone during the pandemic.
Finding an influencer with their finger on the pulse of their community can go a long way towards avoiding missteps that hurt your public perception. For that reason, you might want to consider devoting even more time and resources to the scouting process.
You could start by looking through your social media followers for particularly popular and engaged users, or sending out a call for influencers in your email newsletter. Sourcing partnerships from your own fan base makes a natural fit for your brand more likely, and is more convenient.
2. Trust That Your Influencers Understand Their Audiences
A lot of things may have changed for influencers since the pandemic, but they’ve found ways to adapt. If you’ve done the legwork to find a great fit, try to rely on your instincts—and theirs—by giving them a little more creative freedom than you might normally.
As experts in their fields, influencers are more closely aware of what kinds of advertising will resonate with their specific viewers during a pandemic. They’ve seen how previous advertising campaigns have played out with their audiences, and can apply that to their own content.
This strategy will help keep them on-brand, too. A big benefit of influencer marketing is the personal touch that makes it not feel as pushy as traditional ads. You can help preserve that feeling by giving your influencers enough control to integrate your brand in a harmonious way.
One way to make this approach work for everyone is to maintain consistent communication with your influencers. Any partnership benefits from clear expectations and mutual strategy. Transparent conversation on both sides will help make sure that you meet your goals.
You can help foster this by asking your influencers for input before making final decisions on a campaign, starting as early as the brainstorming phase. Ads with a more personal touch have their benefits. Involving the influencer on more levels may make them feel more invested in the process, too.
3. Prepare to Invest in Quality Partnerships
The effects of the pandemic have probably shrunk your marketing budget. If you need to cut back, try to avoid doing so with your influencer funds. It can be easy to write them off as extraneous, but your audience outreach efforts remain crucial.
You get what you pay for when it comes to influencers. Once you’ve found a good match, don’t be afraid to invest in their success. Giving quality influencers their fair share will encourage them to create consistently great content right from the partnership pitch.
Showing your influencers that you value their contributions can also help to foster long-term partnerships. Their consistent brand loyalty will send a strong message to their audiences: your organization is producing a product that they’re willing to connect to their brand for the long-haul.
Now more than ever, this emphasis on few high-quality influencers who require more investment, rather than a small army of cheap but ineffectual ambassadors, is important. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider micro-influencers, however. Those who lean into the influencer culture might find that these niche options make a great investment.
Calling these times “unprecedented” is hardly a new idea, but it still rings true. The pandemic has presented a seemingly endless amount of challenges to advertisers and their influencers. However, approaching the best practices of pre-pandemic times with an adaptable outlook can help you form meaningful connections with your influencers, and create more effective advertising campaigns.
How have your influencer marketing strategies changed during the pandemic? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credit: Gerd Altmann.