The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world as we know it, and businesses have had to adjust their marketing strategies accordingly. One area that has seen significant growth during this time is influencer marketing. With more people spending time online, brands are turning to influencers to help them reach their target audience.
Influencers are individuals who have built a following on social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. They create content around specific topics such as fashion, beauty, travel, fitness, or food, and their followers trust their recommendations and opinions. Brands partner with influencers to promote their products or services to their followers, hoping to increase brand awareness and sales.
Before the pandemic, influencer marketing was already a popular tactic for many brands. However, the global health crisis has accelerated its adoption, making it an essential part of any digital marketing strategy. Here’s why:
1. Increased Social Media Usage
With lockdowns and stay-at-home orders in place, people are spending more time than ever before on social media. According to a survey by GlobalWebIndex, 45% of internet users worldwide spent more time on social media during the pandemic. As a result, there has been a surge in engagement rates across all social media platforms.
This increased usage presents an opportunity for brands to reach their target audience through influencer marketing. By partnering with influencers, brands can tap into their followers’ interests and leverage their influence to drive engagement and conversions.
2. Authenticity and Trust
One of the reasons why influencer marketing works so well is because of the authenticity and trust that influencers bring to the table. Unlike traditional advertising, where brands pay for ad space, influencer marketing relies on building relationships with influencers who align with the brand’s values and messaging.
During the pandemic, consumers have become increasingly wary of brands that appear opportunistic or insincere. Influencers, on the other hand, have built a loyal following based on their authentic voice and relatable content. By partnering with influencers, brands can tap into this trust and credibility to build long-term relationships with their target audience.
Another reason why influencer marketing has become more popular during the pandemic is because of its cost-effectiveness. With many businesses facing budget constraints, influencer marketing provides a way to reach a large audience without breaking the bank.
Compared to traditional advertising methods like TV or print ads, influencer marketing is often more affordable, especially for smaller businesses. Brands can work with micro-influencers (influencers with 10,000 – 50,000 followers) who are often more niche-specific and have higher engagement rates than larger influencers.
4. Diversification of Marketing Strategies
The pandemic has forced businesses to rethink their marketing strategies and find new ways to connect with consumers. Influencer marketing provides an opportunity to diversify marketing efforts and reach audiences that may not be reachable through traditional advertising channels.
For example, travel companies that were hit hard by the pandemic could partner with travel influencers to promote domestic destinations or virtual travel experiences. Similarly, fitness brands could collaborate with fitness influencers to create home workout routines or nutrition plans.
5. Increased E-commerce Sales
With brick-and-mortar stores closed or operating at reduced capacity, e-commerce sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic. According to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, online shopping in the US increased by 49% year-over-year in April 2020.
Influencer marketing can help drive e-commerce sales by providing a direct link between the influencer’s content and the brand’s product pages. By including links or discount codes in their posts, influencers can encourage their followers to make purchases directly from the brand’s website.
As we navigate a post-COVID world, it’s clear that influencer marketing will continue to play a significant role in digital marketing strategies. With increased social media usage, authenticity and trust, cost-effectiveness, diversification of marketing strategies, and the potential for increased e-commerce sales, brands would be wise to consider influencer marketing as part of their overall marketing mix.
However, it’s important to note that influencer marketing is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Brands must carefully choose influencers who align with their values and messaging and create content that resonates with their target audience. By doing so, they can build long-term relationships with both influencers and consumers, ultimately driving business growth and success.