This year began filled with clarity and stabilization for the influencer marketing business. Many brands incorporated influencers into public relations, marketing and advertising campaigns to raise awareness, drive sales and support their digital strategy. The authenticity and transparency influencer marketing offers resonates with consumers and in recent years, brands continually increased their influencer marketing budgets.
That is, until the coronavirus pandemic started. As non-essential businesses closed, travel became restricted, plans cancelled, employees furloughed and for some businesses, operations screeched to a halt, companies were forced to make tough decisions and budget cuts.
Many social media influencers saw sponsorship deals disappear or campaigns postposed as the sudden economic disruption from the pandemic unfolded. Despite the financial hardships many businesses continue to face in 2020, the influencer marketing business model of cost-effective, DIY content may be well-suited for many brands.
If your business is struggling to understand if influencer marketing is a sound strategy right now, we’ve outlined developing social media and influencer trends that are greatly benefiting brands at the moment.
INCREASED SCREEN TIME LEADS TO MORE CONTENT
People are on their phones more than they have ever been. According to Sprout Social, Instagram users spent an average of 53 minutes a day on the platform in 2018. Today, daily time spent on Instagram is increasing by 13.8 percent, according to emarketer.com. Because of this, influencers are now producing more content to stay relevant with their audiences. More influencer-produced content means more opportunities for your business to gain exposure in front of a large audience.
BRANDS RESONATE WITH USERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Ninety percent of Instagram users follow at least one business on the platform and 83 percent of users noted Instagram helps them discover new products or services, according to a survey from Facebook, Instagram’s owner. Because influencers are focused on providing exceptional value and great content for their communities, audiences are more likely to trust influencers’ opinions about specific products or services.
REMAINING CAMPAIGNS SEE HIGHER ENGAGEMENT
As the COVID-19 crisis began, brands drastically slashed advertising and marketing budgets to cut costs. According to Launchmetrics.com, sponsored posts from influencers dropped from 35 percent of their total content just to six percent in a matter of months. Yet sponsored campaigns that haven’t been cancelled are seeing even more engagement than before.
Business Insider recently published an article stating engagement on sponsored and unpaid posts is now soaring. In a survey of 389 digital creators conducted by the marketing firm Influence Central, creators reported seeing increases in audience engagement across social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest and their personal blogs.
SPONSORED POST PRICES COULD FALL IN THE FUTURE
Despite the increase in time spent on social media and higher levels of engagement, the price brands pay to sponsor posts could drop significantly due to the effects created by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Izea, a company that connects marketers with influencers. During the last recession, the average cost of a sponsored post fell by 62.7 percent between 2008 and 2010, according to Izea’s data. For businesses considering sponsoring an influencer post, the price drop could lead to more bang for their buck.
INFLUENCERS TRANSFORM INTO PRODUCTION STUDIOS
For brands unable to make large budget video ads, due to either cost cuts or the inability to shoot commercials because of social distancing measures or safety concerns, more companies are turning to influencers to create simple, yet effective video content.
If there’s one thing the shutdown proved to us, it’s that full-blown video production isn’t always necessary. Many interviews aired on national TV were conducted over Zoom and some of the biggest brands turned to influencers to create content shot on smartphones. Before, this approach was viewed as amateur or unprofessional, but now simple, honest video content is resonating with audiences more than ever before.
Despite the drastic changes rippling through the influencer marketing industry, many brands are finding themselves in advantageous positions. Consumers spend more time engaging with brands and influencers on social media than ever before, creating a high demand for fresh content. DIY video production is becoming the norm and persuasive, targeted influencer posts are suddenly much more affordable for brands to sponsor.
If an influencer marketing approach is resonating with you, the next step is figuring out where to begin. It can be a challenge figuring out what type of influencer your company should work with, how to find the right influencer, what size their following should be, deliverables and pricing, how niche their audience should be and what types of posts your company should sponsor.
At The Vox Agency, we’ve experienced great success creating and managing influencer marketing campaigns for our clients. As the digital world evolves, keeping up with trends and developing proven strategies to share our clients’ messages is what we are passionate about.
We’re here to offer additional advice and guidance. For more help determining if an influencer marketing strategy is best for your company, finding the right influencer and handling the logistics of an influencer marketing campaign, contact us for more information.