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It’s no surprise that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed almost everything about our lives. We’ve already experienced so much change, and the changes won’t stop post pandemic. We can expect changes to just about every industry in the post pandemic world, and the influencer marketing industry is no exception.
What is influencer marketing?
At its core, influencer marketing is a type of marketing that uses social media to endorse products from influencers, individuals who have a loyal social following and are considered experts in their community. For a long time, the influencer marketing industry was exclusive to celebrities, but with the rise of social media influencers, especially over the course of the pandemic, the industry is expanding. Influencer marketing relies on the trust an influencer’s followers place in them to recommend products.
Social media is always changing
When Instagram first came out in 2014, becoming an influencer with a large following was much easier. Now, Instagram has grown to a community of around one billion monthly users, and the influencer market has changed. As human beings, we are influenced by appearances and aesthetics, which is why social media influencers have become so popular. Millennial pink and carefully crafted beverages quickly became the norm. But as quickly as it became popular, it went out of style.
Keeping up with influencer marketing trends can be a full-time job. Luckily we’ve done the work for you and you can read all about the latest trends here.
Social media trends are constantly changing, perhaps even more so in a post pandemic world. Even before the pandemic the carefully staged aesthetic Instagram is known for began losing popularity. As Gen Z became more involved on social media, more and more new trends arose. In her article on The Atlantic, Taylor Lorenz described these fast-rising Gen Z influencers’ aesthetic as a rejection of “a curated feed in favor of a messier and more unfiltered vibe.” This has become even more popular amidst a pandemic where people have been encouraged to stay home rather than travel and attend social gatherings.
Teens and young adults are trading the pristine Instagram aesthetic for the more candid TikTok. Influencers on TikTok are more open about personal experiences, thus building more trust with their followers and making them the perfect new market for influencer marketing campaigns. Even unbranded product recommendations go viral on TikTok and many brands in this new post pandemic world have been taking advantage of the new market that TikTok has created. Here are some younger influencers who take a more casual approach to their social media feeds:
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How will the pandemic change influencer marketing?
Creators everywhere have had to change the way they create. Staying at home is the new norm, and creators have had to adjust the way they put out content. The amount of impact the pandemic had on influencers largely depended on their industry.
For example, travel and fashion influencers took a big hit since they couldn’t travel, while fitness and wellness influencers saw a surge in engagement. With many gyms being closed, many people had to find new ways to get their exercise in, turning to home workout influencers, like Chloe Ting, for guidance.
According to an article on Business Insider, “some brands delayed campaigns so they could make logistical adjustments to influencer work that once required travel or on-site production. Others pushed back launch dates to retook campaign messaging that was written before the coronavirus outbreak and felt out of touch.” When the pandemic began, many influencers lost brand deals due to budget cuts, but a year into the post pandemic world both brands and creators have learned new ways to create content. Here are some ways the influencer marketing industry is changing:
1. Creators are finding new sources of revenue apart from branded content.
With more people staying home, social media traffic has been higher than ever, and advertisers have found that the influencer marketing business is particularly well-suited for a post pandemic world. But while sponsored content is a reliable source of income for influencers and digital creators, many have begun to prefer other sources of revenue, like the sale of merchandise and subscriptions through sites like Patreon. Many influencers have even launched their own businesses amid the pandemic, like Emma Chamberlain with Chamberlain Coffee and Scotty Sire with iCBD.
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2. Live content is becoming more and more popular.
With more people staying home and tuned into social media, interest in live content has spiked since the beginning of the pandemic. Influencers can now earn money by promoting a product on a live stream on apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitch. Creators are also heavily leaning into the use of stories. Many influencers have seen surges in story engagement, making it a fresh way of reaching more audiences.
Want to take part in these unfiltered, real time interactions? Check out this blog to learn how to best use Instagram Live for influencers and brands.
3. Brands and influencers are using their platforms for positive messaging.
With the Black Lives Matter movement surging at the beginning of the pandemic, it has become increasingly popular for brands and influencers to use their platform to speak out against social injustice and spread positive messages. People now are trying extra hard to be socially conscious on social media, and brands are no exception. Although social justice is not a trend, and there’s the danger of performance activism, greater awareness and accountability is a positive adjustment.
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4. Zoom conferencing is changing the way we interact.
With in-person events and meetings not being possible during the pandemic, instead of wasting the efforts of their event planning, many have turned to platforms like Zoom for social gatherings. Zoom is the perfect place for influencer meet-ups, branded events, and even concerts post pandemic. In August, Marc Jacobs hosted a fragrance release party via Zoom. Guests could “watch a musical performance, get their portrait drawn, have their photo taken by a fashion photographer, and participate in an experimental art project – all from their couch,” writes Liz Flora in an article on Glossy. With more widespread availability of the Covid vaccine, hopefully, in-person meet-ups and events will become possible soon, but it is likely that any in-person events will still need to follow mask mandates and social distancing protocols for the foreseeable future.