Coronavirus and the lockdown it caused have had a bigger impact than we could ever have imagined. Who would’ve guessed way back in March that things would end up the way they have? We might have though that after a few short weeks, we would immediately back to normal, but most experts have predicted another year and a half before we can even hope for some sense of normalcy.
So while at one point it might have seemed like a good idea to stop your marketing campaigns at one point, it isn’t really an option anymore- we can’t afford to pause our efforts. Although your campaigns should certainly adjust to the climate, you still have to decide the best way to get your product into customers’ hands. From a safe six feet away, of course.
In 2018, a study revealed that influencer marketing is one of the most cost effective forms of marketing, offering 11x return on your investment. And although social media use has skyrocketed during the last few months of quarantine, sponsored posts on Instagram by roughly 30%. So with reduced competition and an increased audience, now is the perfect time to dip your toes in influencer marketing!
Picking the right influencers
At a time like this, it is crucial that you choose an influencer that you can be confident will market your product tastefully. Because it is plain to see that not every public figure has responded thoughtfully to the epidemic.
So when you’re scoping out a candidate for your marketing campaign, go over their social media activity with a fine-toothed comb. Make sure that they haven’t made any offensive comments since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic; after all, the last thing you want to do is associate yourself with a problematic individual.
It’s also worth considering the following of your potential influencers. There are two main categories: nanoinfluencers, who have less than 10,000 followers, and microinfluencers, who have less than 100,000 followers. Both will have loyal followings, and their posts typically receive higher levels of engagement than pages with millions upon millions of followers. So you will pay less and get better results from working with 10 influencers with 10,000 followers apiece than a single influencer with 100,000 followers.
And once you and the influencer have struck up a deal, be sure to work closely with them to make sure they stay tasteful and respectful. If you alienate your audiences with an offensive advertisement, that’s just money down the drain.
Staying respectful during coronavirus
When you begin utilizing influencer marketing, it is important that you have a definite goal, whether it is the promotion of a singular product/service, or the overall brand recognition of your company.
If you decide to push a single product, make sure it is one that could help people right now. If your product relates to health and fitness, or allows people to make connections, it could be a good option. But luxury clothing and jewelry might not be the best product to advertise at the moment.
If you need to adjust your marketing efforts the past few months, you aren’t alone; many brands have had to. Take Dolce & Gabbana: in March, the company opted to stop posting photos of their clothing line, and opted to share videos of Italians connecting with one another. But since they are an Italian company, they were still able to stay on brand. In fact, they did not even begin posting fashion related pictures until the tail end of May; up until that point, they posted artisans working from home.
You will want to avoid advertising that mentions travel or large group gatherings. This could pose problems for travel brands; instead of working with standard travel influencers, try reaching out to food bloggers. A campaign centering around cooking international meals from home helps to bring awareness to the brand in a tasteful way.
No matter what your business is, make sure that the images you choose are not offensive. An ad featuring a large group gathering without masks would certainly be off-putting; any people in your advertisements should be practicing social distancing and wearing masks.
Choosing a platform
While Instagram is often the platform of choice for influencers, there are a number of new options that are gaining popularity. TikTok and Pintrest have both seen significant jumps in use over the past few months.
If there is a go-to platform for influencer marketing, it’s Instagram. Here, influencers can push their own followers to your account, use the “swipe up” feature on their IG stories to take users to a sales page, or simply raise awareness for your brand. But it is a bit of a crowded market; there is quite a bit of competition on Instagram, despite the pandemic. So don’t avoid it, but be sure to think about other options as well.
What makes it so great for that style of marketing is the organic nature of the “challenges” on the app. The Chipotle #guacdance is a great example; getting something like that going for your brand is an excellent way to get a lot of viral content-for free- out of a single campaign.
Although PintrAlthough Pintrest has seen an increase in usage of nearly 30% from last year, its ad revenue for April has dropped around 10%. This is a great opportunity to spend some ad money. There will be less competition, and since people are doing a lot of online shopping, it will be money well spent.
Pintrest is set up so that there can be unlimited backlinks to your own website. This makes it a much better way to refer people back to your own sales page, especially opposed to platforms like Instagram.
Home goods, art, and other lifestyle products are perfect for Pintrest. So if your brand aligns with these categories-or if you can make it align with these categories- you will see a great return on your advertising investment.
A familiar face you can trust
Since influencers come with a built in audience, they can provide a great boost to your business. Start out small with a few smaller campaigns that won’t break the bank. Once you’ve tested the waters and gotten results you’re happy with, make plans to work with bigger influencers.
But be sure that you keep the current climate in mind when planning your marketing strategies. As long as you aren’t insensitive and don’t encourage dangerous activities, why not keep on promoting?
And in times like this, when people need comfort and security more than ever, a familiar influencer that they trust could make your marketing messages that much more effective.
For more help and guidance on the topic of marketing during this sensitive and unprecendented period, why not also read 7 Tips for adjusting your marketing approach during COVID-19.