If you punch the words ‘influencers’ and ‘pandemic’ into Google News you’ll find a raft of headlines about Covid restrictions seemingly being broken by high-profile celebs and anger at sunshine-filled posts as Instagrammers fled the UK for glamorous holidays in Dubai.
Despite the controversy, the past 12 months have been ripe for brands to invest in influencer engagement. According to recent stats, the number of social media users has jumped by more than 13% over the past year bringing the global total to almost 4.2 billion, an increase of over 1 billion new users over the last three years.
Social media consumption and content creation in lockdown
We’re a captive (quite literally) audience. We’ve all spent more time tethered to our devices recently than ever before and terrifyingly we spend almost as much time online as we do sleeping.
While the unparalleled business uncertainty that came with the start of a global pandemic meant that brand investment in influencer engagement dipped to next to nothing this time last year, we’ve seen an upturn as digital content became more important for reaching target audiences.
In our recent blog ‘Covid-19’s impact on the rise of social media influencer marketing’ we talked about how influencers have had to pivot their content creation. For example, those who have built a following based on travel focused content have (Dubai aside) had little opportunity to create new content within their usual niche.
This enforced need for creativity has led to some incredibly positive results. Influencers have had to find ways of expanding their content in a way that doesn’t alienate their existing audiences. Many have also used the time to experiment with different platforms or content formats within more established platforms – the likes of TikTok and Instagram’s Reels.
Consumers are crying out for new forms of entertainment (we’re all Netflixed out, right?), so this variation of digital content as a result of something we’re all experiencing on a global scale, when executed well, continues to drive engagement.
So, what does this all mean for the future of influencer marketing?
While the widespread Dubai backlash will have undoubtedly impacted on brands being willing to work with some of the influencers involved, it won’t mean that the marketing channel as a whole will diminish.
It’s no secret that over the course of the pandemic, influencers have helped brands to drive online sales (Dyson Air Wraps, anyone?), so we can expect to see some brands that have not considered influencer marketing previously to try this route.
The growth in online content consumption is not going to reverse itself any time soon, so marketers will continue to maximise on the opportunity to reach their readymade audiences with their brand messages through increasingly creative and diverse content types. It’s a win-win.
Over the past few months, the team at Siren have been working on a number of influencer marketing campaigns. Keep an eye on our blog over the coming weeks to find out more.
If you’d like to chat about a potential influencer campaign, get in touch with us.