Influencer marketing is one of the latest additions to the tools of marketing with the emergence and popularity of social media as a market and marketing place. Just like we have opinion leaders in the real world, social media has influencers. Influencers that millions of people follow. Marketing a product or a service by using them as a medium to communicate to the target audience is called influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing, unlike traditional forms of marketing, was mostly cheaper and way more effective. In a way, it can be defined as the digital alternative to endorsements done by huge celebrities on television. Only here, the communication is much more direct unlike the scripted format of endorsements.
The world right now, going through a lockdown and many industries including the entertainment industry have faced major obstacles. Many people are losing their jobs and entrepreneurs and self-employed people are also out of work. But has this affected the influencer marketing industry at all? Has it even helped it grow?
How the COVID-19 Impacted Social Media Consumption
To understand the state of social media influencer marketing in the pandemic, we have to first analyze how the pandemic and the lockdown has changed the consumption pattern of social media within people.
More Traffic and Better Engagement:
Unlike the old times when social media was merely a pass-time or a distraction on the side, social media right now is the major form of mass-interaction. With people’s social life being taken away from them, social media has quickly become the compensation for that. People are spending even more of their time on social media, especially Instagram.
According to the statistics collected regarding the usage of social media collected, Instagram’s total user’s size is now 28% more than what it used to be before lockdown. This is because social media, especially Instagram is no longer a platform merely for entertainment. During the pandemic, the users have started to consume social media as a major source for news and updates from around the world. This has widened.
The video streaming apps like Tik-Tok also grew rapidly during the lockdown. Tik-Tok also recently emerged as a platform for influencer marketing after brands realized the amount of engagement that the platform and its influencers received.
So for influencers and marketers, the lockdown only increased the inflow of traffic to social media platforms, increasing their consumption rates and scope for circulating more marketing content.
Lockdown And E-commerce:
Many companies suffered heavily during the pandemic. Shops were shut down, some companies ran out of business, and generally created a tragic situation for the economy worldwide. This is because the physical marketplace has become dysfunctional. This also means that the only means of shopping available to people are now through online shopping and e-commerce. Hence, e-commerce has bloomed by a great degree during the lockdown. This has also helped the marketers to divert their marketing efforts completely to the online platform. In this way, when influencers market a product, there is always a direct link to directly order the product from, making the sales easier than ever. So this switch in people that they moved on from physical markets to the digital market during the lockdown has also led to the blooming of influencer marketing globally. In a study conducted in America, 62% of shoppers have admitted that they shop online more than they used to before the pandemic.
More Content Generation:
Most of the influencers on social media are not full-time influencers. Hence they only produced limited content. Now with the pandemic and the lockdown, influencers are engaging more with brands and creating more and more content. The brands were also fast to observe the changes in consumer behavior during the pandemic and make needful changes to their influencer marketing strategy.
Not only that the brands have started to market the products that are needed and desired during a lockdown phase, like new apps, video games, mobile phone launches, food delivery offers, mental health services, etc.
Along with this, the marketers have also noticed a rise in the scope of content- marketing, viral marketing, and brand integrations. This means that according to social media consumption patterns in the lockdown, people now have the time to engage more and more in creative and entertaining content. Unlike content on the television, the content created on social media by influencers do not need a team and is generated independently. This makes it the most easily available form of marketing tool. Companies are now employing influencers to make suitable content to integrate their products.
This was some of how the COVID-19, however challenging it has been, has helped influencer marketing globally. Not just influencer marketing, but the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to the world that the physical marketplace is not as irreplaceable as we thought. The digital marketplace and e-commerce have showcased its optimum possibility during the lockdown and the marketers and social media influencers have played a major role in this shift. They have created a complete market eco-system by integrating all the marketing tools into digital media.
Shweta Singh is an aspiring Lawyer and a Content Writer. I believe that every business has a story and I thrive to tell that story to the world through my writing. I have been writing for influencer marketing for a long time and have grown exponentially with the industry.
With Confluencr, I have learned that quality content + targeted marketing can do wonders not only for businesses but for any individual.