With in-person events off the table this year, 2020 has provided IMPACT with some interesting challenges and insights when it comes to working with influencers.
In a normal year, our work with influencers would consist of events, affiliate programs, sponsored posts and gifting. This year we have been able to continue with most of these activities, events excluded.
However, we have had to approach our work with an even greater appreciation of what was going on in our influencer’s lives. Some had lost their day jobs; some were in lockdown longer than others. We needed to make sure any content we shared was in line with their individual circumstances.
Also, in a normal year we would work with our clients to identify the perfect influencer to approach (e.g. do they align with the brand’s values, do they have children, what is their tone of voice, what is their view on a particular topic, what engagement do their posts receive etc)? The number of followers is not the only criteria we benchmark, and in fact, it features quite a bit down the list.
This year, thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, the criteria in our benchmarks are now cemented in diversity and inclusiveness. While we were already doing this with our clients, it was a good reminder to check any bias at the door and remind our clients to do the same. Everyone, no matter what size, race, sexuality or culture can engage with and embrace your product.
Here’s what IMPACT has learned about influencer marketing in 2020.
When advertising is cut, brands turn to influencers
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw many brands reduce their advertising budgets and turn to more cost-effective ways to connect with their target audiences. And why wouldn’t they? Latest figures show 71 per cent of the overall Australian population have active social media accounts.
According to Instagram, 80 per cent of Australians say they’ve made the decision to purchase a product on the platform, and 83 per cent of Australians say they have discovered a new product on the platform.
For most of our campaigns we work with micro-influencers who sit between 5,000 and 150,000 followers. While larger, more ‘macro’ influencers can give you reach, influencers who have a lower, but more engaged following are more likely to start important conversations about your product or service. They also have built more trust with their followers to encourage trial or product purchase.
This year has reaffirmed, more than ever, the importance of allowing influencers to create their own experience with a brand and product; encouraging them to share honest and authentic reviews with their followers.
Thinking outside the box (but within restrictions)
In previous years, influencer and media events have been a large part of many of our campaigns, providing influencers the chance to engage with the product/service in a meaningful way and bring their followers on that journey.
In 2020 we’ve had to think of new, exciting and innovative ways for our influencers to connect our clients with their audience, and for our customers to connect with the product. We also had to ensure that we took into account varying restrictions across Australia and New Zealand and that our content and campaigns reflected the difficult times that many people were facing as a result of the pandemic.
For one client we sent white coats and beakers to create a virtual science laboratory, and for another we focused on creating unique and special toddler moments within the home and celebrating the little moments that make life special!
One of the most important elements of influencer marketing is to create trust with the influencers you are working with – this means making an effort to understand who they are, what they like to post about and paying them on time!
Because of the trust (and relationships) IMPACT has developed with influencers we have been able to reach out ask them for help.
When pads and tampons were being panic bought across Australia (along with toilet paper), IMPACT reached out to our influencers, asking them to share a discount code for our client Modibodi and encourage their followers to try Modibodi while disposable items weren’t readily available.
Through our unique and powerful relationships, we were able to mobilise over 40 influencers who participated out of the goodness of their own hearts, not for sponsorship. Using the hashtag #NoPanicPeriod an organic reach of over 800,000 was realised.