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Influencer Marketing & COVID-19: Navigating the future

What does living in a COVID-19 present world look like for influencer marketers?

If there’s one thing we’ve learned so far in 2020, it's that nobody can ever be 100% prepared for the future. We can strategise and plan all we like, but the number one learning from this year is that we all have to be highly responsive and adaptable, ready to shift marketing and business strategies at any time.

However, specific post-COVID consumer patterns are emerging that brands must respond to as we look towards Q. 3 & 4 of 2020, and tentatively eye-up 2021. We’ve identified 4 hot trends which will likely define the next 4 quarters.

🔥 Digital creativity is more important than ever before

Everyone has had to rely more on technology over the past few months. The terms ‘WFH’ and ‘Zoom’ might have once made us say “Huh?!”, but they’re now part of our everyday jargon. Everyone has had to lean into digitalisation during COVID, and consumers of all ages have gone online in greater numbers than ever before. A staggering 82% of people increased their social media consumption while at home during the pandemic, 63% of whom use these platforms for shopping. Necessity, as always, is the mother of invention.

The brands that rolled up their sleeves and got to work on their social media efforts during the pandemic to communicate with consumers will reap the rewards when the crisis starts to recede. Some businesses may have even found a new niche of online business and will continue to grow that area post-COVID, as consumer behaviour is highly unlikely to ever revert to the way it was before. Brands that have underinvested in their digital strategies will be experiencing quite the awakening and must catch up quickly if they are to survive, let alone thrive.

🔥 The more authentic the content, the better

The key to cutting through a noisy marketplace is authenticity. Influencer marketing is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down, and brands now strongly opt for influencers over celebrity sponsorships. Businesses need to adapt their influencer strategy to keep pace with consumer preference for organic, authentic content to maximise the ROI of influencer marketing.

If the product placement is too obvious or unimaginative, audiences immediately see the post as inauthentic. Critically for brands, 71% of consumers report being able to tell when an influencer is “performing”. Read our blog post about how to create organic-looking content!

🔥 Short-form video content will continue to rise in production and demand

TikTok. Instagram Reels. Snapchat. These are the platforms that experienced an exponential surge in demand as consumers turned to the internet to alleviate their anxiety and boredom during lockdown. Brands that caught on to this quickly and became early-adopters achieved a very healthy ROI.

We are market leaders in influencer marketing, and official partners of Instagram, TikTok, and Snap. Our work has been recognised by Forbes, Influencer Marketing Awards and TEDx, amongst others. As a creative and media agency, we focus on right influencers, creative content, and data-driven strategies to tell your story.

🔥 Brand transparency, empathy, and social consciousness will continue to get traction.

Social Media Marketing will need to continue to be sensitive to the needs and values of the audience. Millennials and Gen Z have matured to become the dominant force in the market, and they gravitate to content/brands that consistently align with their values. These demographics are increasingly aware of the social, political and environmental impact of where they invest their time, loyalty and money. 65% of Gen Z and Millenials identified sustainability as their top motivating factor when making purchasing decisions. More than 75% of Gen Z also said they would stop buying brands and actively advocate others to stop purchasing from brands they identified as homophobic or racist.

To quote Albert Einstein: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” In a recent survey, the majority of consumers responded that they had tried out new brands for the first time during lockdown: this presents an excellent opportunity for brand conversion. The task at hand is finding the most efficient way to reach them, and with 95% of consumers spending more time on in-home media consumption, the answer appears obvious. Your audience is online, reach out to them through influencer marketing.