Just like so many other elements of life and work, influencer marketing and engagement has changed and evolved due to the pandemic. Influencer campaigns have proven themselves to be an effective digital marketing strategy of the marketing mix over the last few years, and as consumer trust in third party endorsements continues to grow, influencer engagement will be a key medium in which brands can reach wider audiences and share their messaging.
As brands embark on influencer campaigns, there are number of new factors to consider, or factors that have always required consideration but now carry more importance. This article looks in to what brands and marketing professionals should keep in mind when engaging influencers in the age of ‘new normal’.
1 – Budget
Budget is a critical aspect of influencer campaigns as it dictates the tier of influencer that can be engaged, their following and reach, the control that a brand has over the content produced, and the format. Brands are looking at their budgets more carefully than ever before, and allocation is made based on the best perceived return on investment. PR teams must be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of an influencer campaign on a limited budget. For example, instead of partnering with five macro influencers, a brand can consider working with 15 micro influencers that may cost less yet reach the same level of exposure. Quite often, brands will find that the influencer that can share the brands messaging most authentically, is not necessarily the one with the highest follower count, rather the influencer who demonstrates aligned values and has an active and engaged following with audiences that have similar interests.
2 – Timing
Timing and posting of content is now even more important. With world and local events happening so rapidly, brands need to work closely with their influencers to ensure they’re posting their content at a time that is relevant, will not cause offence, and when it will not be missed. For example, when the ‘fourth wave’ hit Hong Kong, it was unexpected as life in the city felt relatively ‘normal’ for many; brands which had content planned that encouraged going places outside of the home, or interacting with friends, needed to press pause immediately as it could have been seen as inappropriate or insensitive to share it as the market faced new challenges.
3 – Content
As people’s lives are becoming more home-based due to social distancing, they are seeking interesting, engaging and relevant digital content to stimulate their minds and entertain them. Brands need to think about whether the influencer they are considering can effectively deliver the key messages in a way that is relevant and desired in today’s world.
4 – Format
More than ever, people now have time to watch, read and do something ‘time-consuming’. Previously, brands needed to get their message across with one image or within the first three seconds to avoid losing the viewers attention. But now that audience behaviour has changed, brands have the opportunity to create longer content, especially video content, as the length of viewing times and attention spans of consumers has increased during the pandemic.
5 – Try something new
People’s interests have dramatically shifted over the past year. Influencers who were previously best known for travel may be focusing on home interiors, or influencers who were always showing us the best new spots in town to eat out, might be creating more ‘cook-at-home’ content. The influencers shifting in to new genres, and with new people growing their followings, it is a great time for brands to re-think who they’re working with and why. For example, a sportswear brand that usually works with high-profile athletes may find that someone who’s championing at-home-workouts may be a way to reach new, engaged audiences.
Despite the challenges that have been presented in the past year to marketers and brands, there have also been a number of opportunities, and being able to re-think your influencer marketing approach is one of them. If you’d like to speak to us about influencer engagement and integrated PR campaigns, get in touch with us here.