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How the global lockdown has shaped the ever-evolving Influencer Marketing industry

Natalia Cortázar

12 May 2020 · 4 min read


Industry opinion piece by guest blogger: Natalia Cortazar

If you’ve spent any time on the internet lately, I’m sure you’ve been impacted by different articles, news, and opinions about how (the new) Coronavirus has jolted the world and, more specifically, the economy. On top of this, if your profession is in the Digital sphere, you’ve probably heard the word ‘pivot’ quite a lot. You’ve probably also been exposed to the seemingly never-ending debate: Is Influencer Marketing (still) here to stay?

To some people’s misfortune (hello, traditional marketers!) Influencer Marketing is not some sort of Blue Ray device which is outdated even before it’s been properly established in the market. Instead, it’s more like a very fast-growing baby whose parents and caretakers do their best to keep up with.

One thing has been made quite clear in recent weeks: Influencer Marketing is here to stay and, not-so-surprisingly, this virus has made us even stronger. Or more powerful, at least. Think about this: How many industries off the top of your head can you name that have been severely affected by the virus crisis? How many people can’t really develop their daily duties? And now think about those in influencer marketing - If you take all the production paraphernalia away (and all those fantastic press/influencer trips to paradise islands) what do we have? What it really should have always mattered: CONTENT.

Who could have imagined we were going to be in lockdown with no (physical) shops or bars for 2 months, and counting? Yeah, neither did influencers. Or brands. Or agencies. So, what does this mean? We need to adapt.

Personally, what I find most interesting is that both talent and companies didn’t really know how these very-much-needed changes would unfold and, more importantly, sit within an ever-hungry audience. How much can you PIVOT (pun intended) and still be relevant?

For total transparency, these are views of someone, (myself), whose experience working with talent, both in agency and on the client side, has made me skeptical of opportunistic campaigns. However, I always keep an eye out for content and changes that can be surprising(-ly good).

These are the three biggest changes and trends I’ve seen in recent weeks, and my predictions on whether they’ll continue on after the crisis has subsided.

Macro talent behaving like micro Influencers

Don’t get me wrong, they are keeping their multi-digit follower audiences but the way they are approaching content creation has certainly changed. From Lorna Luxe (@lornaluxe, 1M followers) telling everyone about her day and doing her daily makeup routine in front of the camera tutorial-style, to affiliate campaigns and beauty draws to lifestyle influencers venturing in the kitchen, to influencers opening up chats (via question boxes) about their personal life. Being super-aspirational influencers hasn’t stopped them from getting closer to their audiences in this weird time. Instead, they’re adapting their content and offering a new and very interesting attitude towards the crisis. Give people something they can relate to and they will love you forever, (or at least, until “normal life” resumes)!

Micros shifting their usual type of content to include new hands-on formats

IGTVs, recipes, carousels with DIYs... You name it, there’s probably someone on it! I am personally loving how influencers are stepping out their comfort zone and trying new formats and topics to engage with their audience. People may follow you because they’re interested in what you portray on your Instagram, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be interested in seeing other types of content that can be of use. Again, the key is: Content is King, now more than ever. If you have something to offer that is entertaining, useful, and, ideally, unique, go for it.

Tik Tok and IG LIVE

Alright, unpopular opinion from me here: I find the overexposed nature of these formats overwhelming. I get there’s a finite number of shows you can watch on streaming apps, and that the lack of real-life gossip needs to be compensated for, somehow. Quoting Plato “Humans are, by nature, social animals,” but do we really need so much UN-USEFUL content? Isn’t this content pollution damaging for campaigns and overall sanity? I feel good content gets diluted amongst tons and tons of funny-but-not-so-funny videos and rambling LIVE chats. But maybe I’m wrong and people need “panem e circenses” (bread and circuses) to mentally escape from this terrible situation?

But the real question is: are these unspecific live videos here to stay, or are they the result of the lockdown? What will happen to them when people can go back to pubs, gyms, etc.? And what will happen to all the older generations that are consuming this content now (see, your Auntie Doris enjoying Tik Tok videos) after they all go back to work? Will we be facing a new wave of middle-aged social addicts? Will social media consumer demographics change dramatically?

Time will tell

Overall, we are seeing a massive shift on digital and social trends; some are being reinforced and some are being lost, at least, momentarily. What I would really recommend to any Influencer or brand during this quarantine is to put the community at the forefront. This is not the time to do hard selling or jump on the bandwagon of the crisis (charity t-shirts anyone?).

If you really care about your business and still want to collaborate with talent and support initiatives, CREATE CONTENT that can help others. At the end of the day, when this all passes, no one will remember your charity tee, but rather all the community service you did, from your home, through the screen.

Natalia Cortázar is an Influencer Marketing Director with 7+ years of experience. After heading the Social, Events & Influencer team at Kindred, she started freelance consulting for different brands earlier this year. Considered ‘One to Watch 2020’ on Top #Influencer50 by Talking Influence, Natalia is an active player in industry debates and has built an audience of nearly 3,000 followers on LinkedIn.

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