Influencer Marketing Reboot: Finding the Opportunities in 2020

Influencer conferences and brand events are off the table for the foreseeable future, but marketers can collaborate with influencers in other beneficial ways."

As stay-at-home orders rolled out this spring, much of marketing ground to a halt. But influencer marketing continued, in many ways more relevant than ever as influencers shared their relatable experiences and valuable content – valuable even if it just made us smile for a few minutes – amid the pandemic. PRWeek called it the “golden age of influencer marketing,” because influencers afforded brands the opportunity to engage in authentic and useful ways with home-bound, screen-scrolling audiences while pausing content on brand channels.

 The news cycle continues to shift weekly and influencer marketing must adapt to keep pace and be an effective contributor to the marketing mix. So what have we learned? What is influencer marketing’s role in the second half of 2020 and as we plan for 2021? What are the best practices we must consider to make influencer campaigns work efficiently and effectively? We’ve included 5 tips here to help brands navigate influencer marketing moving forward.

Revisit Content Mix 
As we all spend more time closer to home, real content from real people, including influencers who are adept at nimbly shooting their own content, is having a moment – one that we expect to last for months to come. Dollars that brands may have invested in high-end video production can be used more effectively for influencer-created content that agency or in-house team directs and amplifies.

Influencer campaigns need to represent everyone and we can only do that effectively by collaborating with diverse voices."

Represent All Audiences 
None of us can build authentic connections if we’re only speaking to a subset of our communities. Influencer campaigns need to represent everyone and we can only do that effectively by collaborating with diverse voices. We need to partner with influencers of color, different gender identities, ages, physical abilities and more, embracing those differences. There are ample options to work with influencers from diverse backgrounds and no excuse not to.

New Platforms
With many brands and companies (including 360) suspending their own activity on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram this month, there are opportunities to dial-up third-party content creation on other platforms, such as Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter or the fast-growing TikTok, depending on a brand’s audience Some influencers also have sizable blog readerships or can create content that brands use on their website to create a more engaging experience and reasons to return often.

Be Nimble 
If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that change is the only constant. The pandemic showed us how quickly marketing plans – even quarterly ones – can become obsolete. One of the reasons we like influencer marketing at 360 is that, unlike traditional editorial calendars, influencers are able to quickly adjust to be relevant to their followers. It’s important to support influencer marketing with topic ideas and messaging that flexes and to always carefully vet written and visual content and all links with current events in mind.

Find New Ways to Collaborate 
Influencer conferences and brand events are off the table for the foreseeable future, but marketers can collaborate with influencers in other beneficial ways. Influencers can be a window for brands, offering insights to what’s resonating  with consumers. They’re also readily available for virtual briefings and roundtables – offering opportunities for brands to both learn from influencers and educate them on new offerings, initiatives and value-added content for influencers and the audiences they serve. We’re finding that we’re tapping influencers even more now to produce video and other content.

Authentic content is more relevant now than ever and influencers can help save the day – or at least play a stepped-up role in brands’ content creation and digital marketing moving forward.

Caitlin Melnick is a Senior Vice President at 360PR+ and is a founding member of the Influencer Marketing Association.