COVID-19 has witnessed people flock online as they lead their lives in the confines of their homes for an indefinite amount of time. And while most industries have come to a standstill, the engagement on social media is through the roof across various platforms. For this reason, brands have begun reaching out to influencers to enhance their visibility during these difficult times. This has led to a 25% increase in influencer marketing in the midst of the lockdown, making this an interesting trend in 2020.
The outbreak of COVID-19 initially disrupted influencer marketing causing the indefinite postponement of several campaigns. But the importance of having an influencer marketing strategy became evident when influencers highlighted the role of human connection during these times, as audiences look to creators as a source of relevant information and much-needed entertainment.
Using influencer marketing platforms for engagement
There are various types of relevant content that can be leveraged to increase engagement with audiences across multiple influencer marketing platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and more. Many brands have also rolled out important updates related to COVID-19 that you can work into your strategy.
Educate your users
With plenty of rumours and speculations around COVID-19, brands must look to educate their audiences with the right information. Brands must look to spread correct information that has been fact-checked to help audiences stay well-informed and take the necessary steps required to stay safe. Relying on official sources like the WHO and the National Ministries can prove useful here, and an influencer marketing strategy can help spread the message in a more engaging way that also promotes a positive brand image.
Urge users to engage themselves
Time is the one excuse most people use when it comes to fitness, hobbies, new initiatives or learning. Now that time is plenty, brands can look to encourage audiences to take on things that they have always wanted to, but were never been able to. Activities like working out, playing a musical instrument, reading books and upskilling can be promoted through influencers to create a strong brand image. This can also help broaden the upper portion of the marketing funnel for brands if the activity being promoted is related to their brand’s offering.
Extend support to the situation
If a brand is extending any form of support that can help the margins of society that have been severely affected by COVID-19, the best way to ensure wide reach and penetration of the message is to onboard local influencers. These influencers can create vernacular content and ensure people are aware of the various avenues to contribute and receive help. This will create widespread sharing of content creating a positive brand image while creating a positive impact on society as well.
Live streams are an amazing way to connect with audiences in real-time. With influencers on board, brands can conduct live sessions that cover topics ranging from working out to busting COVID-19 myths, and cooking and getting creative to mental health at home. There is an endless list of discussions to be had, and such an influencer marketing strategy is highly engaging and encourages participants to share their work with their own followers afterwards.
Entertain your audiences
Challenges, challenges and more challenges. Owing to the increase in online consumption, brands are launching challenges with influencers to keep them entertained while also building their brand image. TikTok has emerged as one such influencer marketing platform where the number of challenges across varying disciplines is at an all-time high. This is one of the reasons TikTok marketing has seen so much more growth and engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Impactful campaigns during COVID-19
Now that we know the possibilities, let’s take a look at some smart campaigns, ideas and offerings launched by industry leaders to raise awareness of the pandemic and engage their peers and audiences at a deeper level during this period of great distress.
World Health Organisation (WHO)
WHO’s campaign for its COVID-19 relief fund is notable for having a virtual influencer to raise both COVID-19 funds, as well as awareness on safety measures that should be taken. WHO enlisted a computer-generated personality, Knox Frost, for the campaign. The virtual influencer often provides advice on personal empowerment and mental health, which WHO saw as an effective spokesperson to reach audiences who rely on social media to connect with friends and family.
Himalaya Quista PRO
With gyms shut down and people asked to stay home, Himalaya Quista PRO took an optimistic approach and urged audiences to exercise at home. They collaborated with TikTok fitness influencer, Kavita Makhija, and curated a simple home workout without the need for equipment so that people would use their time to stay healthy. The video was shot in Hindi as major consumption on TikTok is from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, while there was a recent surge in urban usage as well. The video has garnered over 150k views organically in 10 days.
Being the young and energetic brand that it is, boAt collaborated with multiple influencers asking them to post engaging videos of them doing activities that would challenge their followers. Each video had the product placed in them to build awareness and recall of the brand while entertaining their audience. This also led to a lot of social sharing, with users tagging their friends to take up the challenge.
Digital marketing and the way forward
Digital marketing trends that have established themselves over the years have witnessed a complete shift with this unprecedented change across the world. Brands across sectors are experiencing difficulty with creating quality content because of the sudden halt in consumption, which is why many are working towards an enhanced influencer marketing strategy.
Influencers will find more and more brands increasing their outreach since establishing meaningful relationships and connections during these times is more important than ever. After all, influencers act as a beacon of communication. Audiences everywhere are turning to them for mental health, fun activities to ward off boredom, and to expand conversations and social networks as we navigate the uncertainty together.
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