As government officials continue to discuss how to slowly reopen the country, it's also time for marketers to revisit and discuss their 2020 influencer strategy. Not only do plans need to be adapted to accommodate changing consumer behaviors, but adjustments need to be made in a timely manner before influencers get locked into contracts with your competition.
Because many of our clients have been able to continue running successful influencer programs during this sensitive time, we're sharing 5 tips to help your brand have a successful second half of the year.
5 Tips for Updating Your 2020 Influencer Strategy
Adjust Budgets Accordingly
The COVID-19 crisis impacted many business across the nation, and while some are still able to function, many budgets have been drastically cut. If you're in this situation and trying to figure out how to move forward, take the following into consideration.
Influencer rates have rapidly increased over the years as influencer marketing gained popularity. That said, this trend is likely to slow as influencers compete for contracts and make up for lost income during the crisis. If you're trying to determine what the right rate to offer is, it's going to be different for each influencer. We recommend you calculate a fair bid based off the results they're able to prove so that you're not overspending and ruining your ROI. You'll also want to keep an eye on their saturation rate in case influencers heavy up on multiple contracts.
Additionally, while paid media costs are running rather low right now, that's not going to last forever. More and more brands are going to begin to reactivate media buys and costs could even inflate with the heavy competition. In addition to that, 2020 is an election year, and political ads are going to ramp up the closer we get to November. With that in mind, you may be considering cutting paid media completely from your influencer strategy, but because organic reach can only do so much, we recommend against that. Instead, to most efficiently spend your media budget, avoid boosting every single influencer post and instead identify those assets that perform the best (in respect to your objective) and put paid dollars behind those pieces.
Optimize for eCommerce vs In-Store
Although most retail locations will re-open to the public, consumer behavior and shopping habits have changed. Many have discovered the convenience of using services they previously hadn't, such as Instacart or Grubhub, that make it so that they never have to set foot inside a store. While this is unfortunate for shopper marketers looking to promote in-store purchases, it makes sense that influencer campaigns should shift towards ecommerce purchases.
Furthermore, your brand now has the opportunity to move away from awareness based influencer campaigns and elevate to a more results driven strategy by promoting ecommerce purchases. We just advise that you properly set-up your attribution model (do not, I repeat, do not, just use last touch attribution) during this strategy revamp so that you can properly calculate that ROI.
Consider New Channels, Such as TikTok
As influencer marketing has evolved, we've noticed the requests for YouTube influencers declining while the focus on Instagram influencers grows. While Instagram certainly has its place, for your 2020 strategy we suggest including influencers on new channels where your brand may not have a presence. TikTok is an obvious place to start, with the network's popularity rising every day. But that's not the only reason to consider TikTok influencers.
First, and more importantly, TikTok could be a lower-cost alternative to an Instagram focused strategy as the average TikTok creator has a much lower price point while they work to establish themselves. To help put that into perspective, IG influencers are asking $5-20 per 1,000 followers versus the average TikTok influencers' $1 per 1,000 followers.
Secondly, TikTok is no longer the teen-centric app that it was pre-pandemic. Both Millenials and GenXers have flocked to the video network in an effort to find more ways to entertain themselves while at home. Even so, it does pose the question: will these older audiences adopt the channel for the long term? Unfortunately, we'll have to wait and see.
Consider Influencer Assignments Carefully
Moving forward, you're going to need to think carefully about what you're asking influencers to do. Requests for influencers to attend large events, travel to specific locations, or even go in-store may not go over as well as it once did. Plus, consider brand safety here. You certainly don't want to put your brand at risk for putting influencers on a path that resulted in them getting sick.
Furthermore, and this should go without saying, the key to any successful influencer marketing strategy is authenticity. Creating partnerships with the right influencers can drastically improve the performance of your campaigns. Now take into consideration what a crazy year 2020 has been so far. Social media behavior has evolved and consumers don't want to see sales pitches, they want truly authentic content and for influencers to show them helpful information. Keep that messaging in mind as you work with your influencers on story angles and messaging.
Prepare for COVID-2.0
Lastly, while many of us are optimistically looking at the summer ahead, it would be irresponsible to not consider that this could happen all over again in a few months. If a second wave impacts us at any point, be sure your brand is ready by compiling key learnings from what you did (and let's be honest, what you didn't do) well when COVID-19 first hit the scene. This plan will also be beneficial should any other major crisis occur this year. After all, 2020 has proven to be pesky so far.
Updating your 2020 influencer marketing strategy is no easy task. The items above are just a few key considerations we recommend you keep in mind while planning, but there are certainly over variables that will come into play. If you're struggling to figure out how to adapt and move forward, contact us using the form below to set up a free consultation with our team. Good luck, and be safe!