The role of influencer marketing during the coronavirus crisis

By Mary Keane-Dawson, Group CEO of TAKUMI,

We are certainly living in strange times! A virus – which was unknown to humankind only four months ago – has spread throughout the world, appearing in six continents, infecting over 350,000 people and changing the day to day lives of billions. And COVID-19’s impact is not limited to society – since January, we’ve seen sector after sector being forced to change tack in response to the ongoing pandemic, including influencer marketing.

With quarantine measures and social distancing continuing to be recommended by governments, mobile phone usage and social media consumption is skyrocketing. Earlier this month, Vodafone reported a 50% rise in internet use and there was a 76% percent increase in daily accumulated likes on Instagram #ad posts during the first two weeks of March.

This situation means that mobile, digital and social channels are now more important than ever for brands looking to reach consumers. However, marketers looking to use social media in place of OOH or events will have to reconsider how they traditionally work with content creators.

With all the doom and gloom in the news, people are using social media as a form of escapism and are favouring content that makes them feel good about the world.

Therefore, marketers will need to design more creative, positive content – rather than product or sales focused – to get traction online. Anyone lacking in inspiration need only look at the content that is currently going viral – such as the High School Musical dance challenge on TikTok or musicians performing on Instagram and Facebook live streams – and think about how their brand can contribute to these movements and create a more positive atmosphere online.

However, influencer marketing can serve a much nobler purpose during this difficult period than just promoting products to consumers. It is a powerful way to add light and levity into a scary, tough situation, such as the one we are currently facing. Especially as Influencers have proven to be incredibly persuasive and trustworthy – our recent whitepaper found that over a quarter of consumers in the UK and US trust social media influencers more than high profile public figures or celebrities.

Given the fear and uncertainty of these times, consumers are crying out for factual content and best practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Due to the high level of trust placed in influencers, they are well placed to execute both responsibilities.

As a result, TAKUMI, has launched multimarket pro-bono campaigns across TikTok and Instagram to drive awareness of the World Health Organisation’s #safehands initiative, highlighting what influencers can do for 20 seconds whilst washing their hands and advising best practice.

Using #TheMindfulMovement, influencers are also helping to support mental health during the coronavirus outbreak. The campaigns which are active in the UK, US, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, are open to all the influencers on TAKUMI’s network and is a great example of how influencers can be used to generate credible, trustworthy and positive information that can play an important role in protecting public health.

While marketers may rush to promote their brands over social media during the coronavirus quarantine, it’s important to remember that influencer content can help make people smile and help tackle isolation, anxiety and boredom in the coming weeks and months. More than ever, social media needs to be carefully considered as a source of entertainment, creativity, positivity and credible, factual information for brands and marketers to tap into.

Photo by Pille-Riin Priske on Unsplash

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