6 steps to building a successful influencer marketing strategy to connect with the at-home audience
COVID-19 has prompted a major change in media consumption habits. As a result of lockdown laws, time spent at home has been at an all-time high. Consumers with extra time on their hands, have turned to their devices for entertainment, with 76% of internet users reportedly spending more time on their mobile phones, and almost 1 in 2 consumers worldwide spending more time on social media.
This surge in social media’s popularity is unsurprising when you consider the macroeconomic factors that are at play. At a time when individuals are increasingly isolated from their family, friends and coworkers, they are yearning for greater social connection, and therefore turning to social media to fulfill that void. When looking at the most-downloaded apps in March, this need for connection is clear, with the five most-downloaded being TikTok, WhatsApp, Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Instagram. It’s not just content from friends and family either – many are turning to influencer content as an escape from the 24/7 COVID news-cycle, as pandemic fatigue sets in.
A survey of influencers in Italy revealed that influencers are also spending their newfound free time on social media, with 75% posting more on Instagram stories than before. Yet with downward pressure on marketing budgets, and most of your consumers at home, now might be the best time to utilize an influencer marketing strategy – here’s how you can do it successfully.
- Allow influencers a wide creative scope
Like us, most influencers have extra time on their hands, not only due to adhering to lockdown regulations but also as a result of existing brand partnerships being postponed or cancelled. This idle time can be a true asset to your brand if you allow influencers to get creative with your brief. Influencers have a deep understanding of what content will resonate well with their audiences, so leaving a brief wide open to creative interpretation may produce more impactful results for your brand, leading to larger upticks in brand awareness and purchase consideration.
- Work collaboratively on messaging
During the pandemic, working collaboratively will be key to a successful influencer partnership. Any marketing messages produced during this time will need to be carefully thought out, with additional consideration given to tone and sensitivity during what is a difficult time for many. While most consumers are still receptive to advertising from brands, messaging that is heavily focused on driving sales or promoting heavy consumerism may be seen as insensitive. Ensure you work closely with your influencer partners on messaging that hits the right balance of being effective yet tactful.
- Plan content that can be produced at home
When working with influencers, be mindful that just as your content creation abilities have changed, so too have theirs. Many influencers and KOLs have had to adapt to producing content at home – which may be a major pivot for some who were focused on categories such as travel. While this may be seen as a constraint, there is an opportunity to turn it into a strength. Remember that your consumers are also forced to stay at home, so creating content that is more personal and less heavily produced may resonate better with your audience during this time.
- Consider both short- and long-term influencer strategies
While you may be implementing influencer marketing as a short-term strategy to combat a downturn in sales, you shouldn’t discount the value a long-term influencer partnership can bring in terms of brand awareness and loyalty. The trust and power influencers have over their audiences is incredibly powerful – more than half of young Americans aged between 13-38 have made a purchase based on the opinion of someone they follow on social media. Extending your influencer partnership beyond a single post will allow influencers to act as true brand ambassadors rather than just advertising space, deepening the affiliation between the influencer’s audience and your brand.
- Encourage brand fans to produce their own content
User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool to drive brand awareness, loyalty and consideration – there are few proof points as powerful as your brand fans sharing their own content. The value of user generated content has been accentuated during the current pandemic, allowing brands to tap into this content library during a time when it may not be possible to produce their own content. Airline Cathay Pacific successfully tapped into influencers to promote UGC creation through their dedicated hashtag #lifewelltravelled, asking their influencers to share what the tagline meant to them. Audiences joined in with sharing their own content, and the #lifewelltravelled hashtag now boasts a library of 2.7 million images on Instagram alone. The success of this campaign highlights the value that can be created when you allow your audience to interpret your campaign and make it their own.
- Experiment with emerging channels and formats
When it comes to influencer content that will truly resonate and cut through the noise, you may want to think outside the box when it comes to format. While Facebook and Instagram have been the mainstay of social campaigns for years now, recently we have seen the emergence of new platforms such as TikTok which has now surpassed 2 billion downloads. Yet brand presence on the app remains relatively low. Similarly, gaming livestreaming channel Twitch has recently boomed in popularity as more people stream and watch gaming content during lockdown. Allow your influencers the freedom to explore new channels or content formats and you may reap the benefits of being a first-mover in the space.
At Tag, we partner with brands and agencies to facilitate end-to-end marketing solutions. Our team of social and digital marketing experts help our clients create faster, simpler, cost-effective and consumer-centric marketing campaigns. THP, a Tag company, are specialists in the area of social media marketing and content creation, including influencer marketing and social media optimized content, enabling clients to produce impactful social campaigns that truly resonate with their consumers.
Schedule a call to discuss how Tag can help you with your social marketing needs.