The novel coronavirus or COVID-19 is without a doubt at the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment, and virtually everyone has been affected by the pandemic whether economically, personally, or professionally.
Chances are, the COVID-19 crisis has already affected you in one way or another.
This guide won’t be another negative publication on the subject, and we don’t want to further add to the anxiety. However, here we will explore the impacts of COVID-19 in social media marketing, especially so we can think ahead and figure out potential opportunities.
The influencer marketing industry, which is now an inseparable part of social media marketing, is also undergoing rapid changes all around the world. So, many marketers and content creators are now trying their best to adapt to all these massive and swift changes.
1. More People Are Now Using Social Media Regularly
More people are forced to practice physical distancing and work from home (WFH), and there are three main causes why this condition “forces” people to use social media more than usual:
- We naturally want to stay connected to other people, and so we are always looking for ways to do so–including social media.
- People simply have more free time than usual, and social media is in many ways, a form of entertainment
- Social media is also a very important source for news and updates, where sometimes we can get faster information compared to traditional channels
- Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, reported that usage on Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger has more than doubled since the start of this coronavirus crisis.
2. Social Marketing Replacing Brick and Mortar Business
Many physical businesses have closed their doors during this crisis period–some permanently, some temporarily until the quarantine period subsides. So, people are naturally turning to online shops and eCommerce stores to purchase things they need and want.
As a result of this phenomenon, many are expecting huge increases in eCommerce, and many brick and mortar businesses have pivoted to avoid layoffs by embracing social media. Retail businesses and service-based businesses are experimenting with new ways at the moment to deliver services through online streaming, social media, and other virtual technologies.
Restaurants, for example, can now sell online cooking classes in live-streaming platforms, and many have been successful in doing so. Gyms and fitness centers can also use the same concept to stream various classes.
3. Some Niches Shut Down, Some Blooms
In every crisis, there are also opportunities.
Many influencers in the travel niche (which is huge) have reported a significant decline in their earnings because their paid trips and other endorsements/sponsorships have been canceled. The hospitality niche (including restaurants and bars) is also one of the industries that are hit the hardest, along with live events and sports.
However, influencers in the finance niche, especially those covering tips on how to make money from home or to stay financially healthy during the crisis, are seeing significant increases in engagements. Obviously health niche is also seeing an increase, along with nonprofits and charities.
As a result of this, many influencers are shifting from one niche to another just to stay afloat and survive, which we will discuss below.
4. Influencers and Social Marketers Are Pivoting
Many influencers are starting to pivot to other monetization strategies and focusing on long-term sustainable streams like selling products directly to consumers or other revenue streams like online classes or consulting.
In this crisis, influencers, and creators with production skills are better-positioned than others to continue publishing content during this extended quarantine period. This is especially because since outdoor photo and video productions are banned at the moment and as a result, some brands have been reaching out to influencers to create their content.
5. Increase in Social Media Marketing Spend
Due to this increased use of social media marketing, it is expected that spend across social media platforms is likely to increase.
With more people staying at home, it’s natural for them to actively looking for engaging content to keep them busy. So, as we have established above, social media will become a daily source of entertainment and information. Social media will provide people with a sense of community and relieve them from stress.
Many brands will recognize this opportunity and so it is expected that spendings on social media and influencer marketing will rise by 22.2%. A recent study has also suggested that there’s a 76% increase in influencer marketing engagement like daily likes on Instagram ad posts.
6. Changes in Affiliate Marketing Opportunities
With more people looking to purchase things online, many influencers have seen major spikes in affiliate marketing sales as more consumers spend more time shopping on eCommerce sites.
However, major retailers like Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret, and even Amazon have recently shut down or lowered the commission rate on their affiliate programs, so this recent spikes in affiliate marketing might be short-lived.
Nevertheless, influencers and affiliate marketers might need to drastically shift their revenue and marketing strategies in the weeks to come.
7. Expected Changes in Influencer Marketing
Despite the increased social media usage, the price for sponsored posts is expected to fall dramatically in the short term and continue to drop. During the last recession between 2008 and 2010, the average cost of a sponsored post fell by 62.7%, and we can expect to see the same phenomenon.
Many influencers will be more “available”, and so it’s a simple case of excess in supply driving down the prices.
Again, influencers and digital marketers might need to consider other revenue models like mixed compensation, and might also need to manage costs and improve their overall ROI.
With all these changes driven by the COVID-19 crisis on social media marketing, it’s important to consider how you can keep your social media audience engaged and make the biggest impact.
Present positive content that can help people feel good, and show them that your brand is doing good for the community. Showing that your brand has a bigger purpose at the moment than simply chasing for profit will be very important at this time. If your audiences trust your brand and your message, they are more likely to help your message spread to others.