If COVID-19 taught us one thing, it is that every business needs a digital presence. The pandemic has resulted in an influx of businesses into the digital space, many of whom are going online for the first time.
According to a study by McKinsey Consulting, B2B companies currently view digitally activated sales interactions as two to three times as important as they were before COVID.
In addition to their digital presence, companies have turned to social media to create awareness and interest in their products and services.
As companies in different industries go through a digital transformation, influencers become a reliable and effective channel to connect and connect with audiences. But why should your company enter into influencer partnerships in the middle of a pandemic, and how can this help make your company recession-proof?
Here are five reasons why you should include influencers in your marketing strategy now.
1. It is mandatory to stay in front of your audience
When the economy suffers, cutting advertising costs can be tempting. After all, every penny counts when you are trying to stay afloat. However, companies that strategically promote and market their business through an economic downturn often perform better and maintain a stronger market position than those that do not.
Your ads don’t have to be for sale. Many people dealing with financial problems have no appetite and a tough pitch can dissuade them from your product or service. This is where influencers come in to create value.
Maintaining brand relevance in the event of uncertainty requires the disposition and the ability to adapt quickly. Influencers can be strategic partners who help you navigate successfully in digital space and increase your company’s presence to keep you up to date with customers.
Customers want a better understanding of what your company is doing, to be sure how your practices have changed, and what you’re doing to help others. They want to feel safe doing business with you.
Consider influencer collaborations to focus on your philanthropic endeavors or to highlight how confident your customers feel about you.
2. On social media, your audience gathers during a socially distant pandemic
The question about advertising is not if, but where. And where do people spend more time now? On social media.
The use of social media platforms has increased dramatically across the board. Facebook and Instagram usage increased 40% in 2020, and LinkedIn’s user base grew: the number of active sessions increased 26%. TikTok also rose to prominence and became the most downloaded app of 2020.
In short, networking opportunities are now happening online.
Working with influencers can make it easier to position your business in front of the right customers at the right time as they scroll through their feeds. It can also play an important role in helping brands new to social media make a place for themselves.
Influencers promote a sense of community. Accordingly, focus on building relationships and planting seeds for future sales. Approach social selling as a leadership strategy.
Depending on where your ideal audience typically resides, Facebook and LinkedIn Lives are great options for hosting virtual chats. Start a series of industry-related livestreams and integrate influencers as hosts or guests to increase your brand’s visibility, expand the digital reach of your event and attract new audiences.
3. Influencers can control your messaging customization
When a crisis hits, people often have different needs. Target groups that previously focused on convenience may become more price-driven. Different population groups face different and new challenges: Due to the pandemic, parents are struggling with the stress of working and caring for children at the same time, and people of all ages are faced with loneliness, fear and isolation.
Do you know how your audience is feeling? Do you know what their needs and preferences are? Ask yourself how your company can contribute and become an ally.
Once you have a better understanding of your customers and their situation, adjust your messages and offers accordingly. You want to be present and in tune with what is happening and demonstrate stability amid uncertainty.
Influencer marketing can help you present yourself authentically. Use their feedback to build your campaigns and customize your overall messages as needed.
4. Every dollar counts – for your potential buyers too
As the pandemic drags on, your customers are likely to be paying close attention to their finances, trying to make every dollar count. They are less likely to make impulse purchases than they are to seek social evidence before making a purchase decision. Seeing their favorite and most trusted influencers talk about companies they do business with can kick start the sale.
Appeals to emotions are just as important at the moment as appeals to practicality. Working with influencers can help you humanize your storytelling and introduce the story-based side of your product to your potential customers. That way, you’ve connected to stay at the top of the list even when you’re on a budget and need to prioritize expenses.
To motivate your customers and potential buyers, ensure a steady flow of influencer content promoting your products and services. You now have great opportunities to maximize your effectiveness as other brands are ceding part of their marketplace due to financial considerations and the influencer rates are likely to be more cost effective.
5. Prioritize the now, but be ready for the after
To survive the economic aftermath of the pandemic, marketers need to be agile to transform their organizations and drive long-term growth. Interrupting communication with your target audience negatively affects the perception of your brand.
According to research by Millward Brown (now Kantar), 60% of brands that “go dark” during a recession decline due to at least one key brand metric related to consumer loyalty. It’s important to build sustainable brand preference by continuing to meet your target audience at different touchpoints and delivering value where they are.
Those who understand the benefits of influencer marketing and invest their resources now will increase their voting share, which will have a positive long-term impact on their market share.
More resources on the benefits of influencer marketing
Influencer Marketing Strategy in 2020: What You Need to Know [2 Infographics]
What’s next for influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing isn’t broken, you’re just doing it wrong