A new report released by Amelia Neate, a Senior Manager with Influencer Matchmaker, examines how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the influencer industry, forcing it to adapt and digitize to meet the new-found needs of consumers.
The influencer marketing industry is renowned for hosting lavish events for press, product launches, and workshops; however, due to current restrictions, social distancing, and the guidelines set out by governments, such events are no longer possible.
The industry has had to think on its feet and adapt quickly. And, it isn’t just influencers that have had to change and alter. Brands too have had to adapt to a completely new way of working with no option but to learn as they go.
According to the report, it is crucial for brands to become digital-first businesses in order to succeed and keep up. And many have managed to achieve just that. Live streaming has soared in popularity with Zoom users increasing by 2,000%. The question is, will it continue?
In the UK, throughout the course of lockdown, Instagram feeds were filled with influencers going live, said Influencer Matchmaker. From general chats and daily check-ins to live fitness sessions and book clubs, social media influencers took to the changes like a duck to water.
A social media platform’s live feature provides a better source of interaction between the influencer and their audience. Any form of video content is also much more engaging and with it being filmed in real-time, it is a great way for followers to feel involved and better connected.
Many influencers have used this feature to get to better know their audience, their interests, and what they want from the influencer-to-consumer relationship.
Even now, as the word comes towards the light at the end of the lockdown-shaped tunnel, influencers are continuing to adopt this new digital-first strategy, incorporating the likes of Zoom, Skype, and other live streaming features. And it looks like it’s here to stay.
Global skincare phenomenon Caroline Hirons has been a regular user of Instagram Live, both through lockdown and beyond. Using the feature to impart her knowledge as well as going live with some of her favorite brands, Caroline is one of many who have implemented this strategy into her work.
A favorite among fitness influencers, Instagram Live provides them with a platform to share real-time workout sessions and classes for their followers to get involved with. Gorka Marquez, Carly Rowena, and Gemma Atkinson have all continued to use live streaming post-lockdown, too.
Digitizing a brand may be more challenging. Brands are so used to hosting events, product launches, and holding their very own workshops, that for a short time, the pandemic put a hold on almost everything.
However, it seems they’ve adapted. As in-person events were ruled out, many brands simply took everything online.
Creating virtual events and workshops as well as hosting online launches, meant that the industry could keep on moving – and not just steadily, but at a rapid pace.
This time of year is especially busy for press events and workshops, and a number of global beauty brands have pulled it out of the bag, creating virtual events for people to enjoy and attend wherever they may be.
Jo Malone took their yearly wreath-making masterclass online, hosting the event online. When people were unable to meet face-to-face, they were able to come together virtually. With packages sent to influencers’ homes with all of their wreath-making essentials, the brand was able to continue to raise awareness and host their usual events.
Also keen to keep up the festive spirit and continue a long-lasting partnership with their favorite influencers, Viktor and Rolph created a ‘Christmas at Home’ event. Sending out bespoke branded biscuits and a package filled with floral crafts, the fragrance brand invited the likes of Fleur De Force to attend their virtual press event.
Platforms such as Zoom and Skype allow brands and influencers to stay connected, regardless of where they are in the world.
And location also plays a pivotal part in the influencer marketing industry. Not everybody lives in Central London or in big cities, and with travel restrictions in place for the foreseeable future, hosting virtual events is a great way for everybody to get involved.
Even without a pandemic, travel can be an issue for many, which is why it seems that live streaming is here to stay.
In a world where digitization and technology are at the forefront of all industries, if brands don’t embrace it, they may not be able to keep up.
And with digital communication strategies accelerating by a global average of six years over the course of the pandemic, it is safe to say that live streaming technologies are here to stay.
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