Brands should not think of content creators and influencer marketing as a section of a marketing strategy but, instead, see them as part of the brand’s creative team. The huge value of content creators goes far beyond their follower numbers and their influence to their ability to build highly engaged communities with a shared interest in a niche topic and their ability to produce branded content that appeals directly to the brand’s target audience, often from the comfort of their own home. The recent global coronavirus outbreak has changed marketing as we know it. As consumers are no longer able to go to work or travel to areas where we’d usually see vast amounts of out of home advertising, brands are having to reconsider their marketing strategies. The huge increase in time spent at home has led to a vast increase in time spent online, especially on social media, with people turning to their favourite content creators to see inspiring and morale-boosting content. When paired with the fact that there is a huge amount of uncertainty among brands around how to reach their target audience without appearing insensitive or opportunistic, this is an excellent opportunity for content creators and influencer marketing to prove its true value. 

How has coronavirus changed marketing?

The advice from the UK government to stay inside and limit all unnecessary outings has naturally led to a huge decrease in out of home advertising, with brands opting to focus on digital advertising instead. TV advertising has also been affected, with many businesses opting to cut their TV advertising spend as a precautionary measure. This is paired with the fact that all large sporting events, and subsequently sport sponsorship deals, have been cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future leading to a TV ad market that is naturally in decline. Meanwhile, social media usage has seen a huge increase. Many brands that might previously have opted to take the traditional advertising route are now focusing their ad spend on social media and, more specifically, on influencer marketing. 

How is influencer marketing coming into its own during coronavirus?

Coronavirus has taken us all by surprise. When it first reared its ugly head at the start of the year, people didn’t really take it that seriously. In fact, if you’d have told us that we’d all be working from home, living in isolation and changing how we interact with the world because of coronavirus, we’d probably have laughed. A couple of months down the line and coronavirus is absolutely no laughing matter. It’s changing the way we work and live in unprecedented ways, affecting almost every industry and every individual. During these unprecedented times, we know that it’s important for brands to find new, relevant ways to reach their consumers; but, above all, ensure that any form of marketing is appropriate to the situation which we all find ourselves facing. Thinking up the concepts for this content and then dealing with the logistics of how to actually create it when many studios are closed and everyone is isolated, is the major challenge that many brands are facing right now. 

That’s where influencer marketing comes in

Many content creators are talented artists, marketers and graphic designers in their own right, and have the capability and the capacity to create amazing content that is on par with the quality of work produced in a creative studio. In these times, influencer marketing is giving brands the opportunity to continue creating premium content. With the ability to generate amazing content from the comfort of their own homes, content creators are stepping in to save brands who need high-quality content at scale. Influencer marketing is also proving its worth when it comes to generating content that resonates with a brand’s target audience. At present, brands are unsure of the kind of content that will be appropriate and it is content creators who are best placed to guide them. Content creators are engaging with their communities on a regular basis, whether that be by answering questions or doing Instagram lives. The creators are constantly gauging their audience’s mood and, therefore, are well placed to advise brands on how to proceed. It’s becoming impossible for brands to ignore the elephant in the room that is coronavirus but at the same time, they need to tread carefully in order to create content that doesn’t appear insensitive. For many brands, this means ensuring that they don’t appear to be capitalising on COVID-19, whilst still acknowledging the scale of the crisis and the state of the world right now. The best people to create this engaging, sensitive and niche content are the creators who have spent years building their engaged communities. They are the only people with the experience and insight to navigate this crazy time and generate content that hits the mark. 

E-commerce sales are more important than ever

Moreover, many brands are now relying on e-commerce sales, meaning that they need creators to be promoting their products and services in an engaging and authentic way. In the current climate, creators are best placed to hold on to customer trust and loyalty, as the world seems to be turned upside down. Creators are some of the only people who can continue to reach audiences on the devices and platforms that they use every day for their main source of interaction with the world. By leveraging the connections that people have to content creators, brands will be able to help people make educated purchasing decisions in a time when panic and stress are rife. However, creators are also now holding a kind of social purpose beyond just helping people buy stuff, they are a genuine source of inspiration, stability, and connection in an unprecedented time. 

Proving the value of influencer marketing during Coronavirus

During Coronavirus, while traditional advertising channels are less relevant, influencer marketing has an excellent opportunity to prove its value. The ban on non-essential outdoor activities and travel has led to a huge decrease in the value of traditional advertising methods such as out of home and TV advertising. Meanwhile, we have seen a huge increase in time spent on social media, much of which is spent engaging with content creators. We’re seeing content creators come into their own and prove their value as they work with brands who are unable to access their creative studios or work with their teams as they normally would but, most importantly, we’re seeing content creators and influencer marketing campaigns providing consumers with informative and inspiring content that engages them and may even distract them from the situation that we currently all face. 
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