Social media is a reflection of collective aspirations and individual choices. If not who we are, it reflects who we want to be. The dynamic walls on our screens reflect the content we want to see as a society. Images and videos on our social media walls can evoke smiles, laughter, and tears. Brands have long leveraged this emotive appeal to connect with users through real-life stars who can influence others. Influencer marketing was riding a crest before the pandemic crushed the retail, dining, and travel industries to a complete halt.
Before we take stock of this impact’s enormity, it would be prudent to have a reality-check on how this pandemic has affected the general mood of Social media. Locked out and isolated, users have taken refuge in their virtual world of Social media, which has provided much-needed hope, connectivity, and solace. Social sharing has been at its peak, with users taking up innovative ways to create content from basic available resources.
So, what exactly has led to influencer marketing take a nosedive in brand promotion strategies? It’s again the downcast global sentiment that has percolated across all social media channels. Stories about en-masses job cuts, shrinking economies, and the impending closure of small scale ventures amidst rising debts have contributed to a negative sentiment across all buyers’ segments. Users are looking up to social media for reasons to cheer and smile about. Display of glamor, glitz, and uber-luxury is the last thing which brands are looking to get associated with, in the current market scenario. Brands are remarketing their strategies around hope, positivity, and the will power of struggle and survival. This is where influencer marketing, in its original form, has taken the hardest hit. A recent market study by Izea, predicts a dramatic fall in influencer marketing advertisement rates posts the pandemic.
Considering the global economic forecasts for the coming years, is it the end of influencer marketing? Not exactly, because we as individuals would never cease to look up to others before making a purchase decision. As the economy shrinks and purchases get restricted, product reviews, ratings, and user experiences for every individual value purchase will increase manifold in the coming days. Influencer marketing is here to stay only with subtle changes to the tone and tenor of advertisements. Instead of aggrandizing products, influencers will have to wrap it up in real-life stories to retain the product appeal and influence sales.
As leading brands tighten up their purses globally, the rules of influencer marketing are all set to change. Let’s take a look at the major areas where change is expected.
- A Thorough Shake-out
The market will see a dramatic decline in influencer income and the walloping of a significant number of present influencers. Content will occupy center-stage, and only the fittest will survive.
- A Shift in Focus
Brands have already started shifting focus from the insta-famous to great storytellers who can weave a realistic brand story with an emotional connection. The pandemic has shifted the focus from big names to better stories.
- Elevated Responsibilities
The norms of social distancing are now a necessity. In this scenario, more and more youths look up to influencers for inspiration to fight depression and regain positivity. Institutions like the World Health Organization have roped in influencers to spread out accurate messages and fight disinformation. This has entrusted added social responsibility on influencers whose power has been acknowledged globally in terms of crisis.
- Innovation in Approach
In the stiff struggle of survival, brands have drastically cut down on celebrity influencers and focused on unpaid organic influencers. This will gradually give rise to a new breed of influencers who will thrive on local connectivity. One of the first movers, ApexDrop, has bet big on local influencers and clocked record revenues in the past few months of pandemic affected lockdown. A fresh startup Guru Club has come up with the idea of offering instant coupons and discounts in exchange for social media posts. Within a week of its launch, more than 100 companies have signed up to this influencer marketing innovation.
As the world looks to break out from this spiral of incessant negativity, more and more innovative influencer marketing techniques will come to the fore. This will be a refreshing change for the brands and the market.
Influencer marketing thrives on the spirit of trust and credibility. Choppy markets will embrace influencers stronger than ever. The pandemic has driven a major part of brick and mortar store buyers to the online domain. With time, both brands and influencers will strengthen their focus on quality content and transparent marketing. Despite the current ebb in the market, influencer marketing is expected to grow stronger, bigger, and better in the coming years.Tags: Influencer, Influencer marketing, Marketing, Pandemic