Working with Influencers in Times of Crisis – How Investing in Influencer Relations Helps Businesses These Days

A few weeks ago, hardly anyone would have expected that the Coronvirus will have such a drastic impact on our work lives. There’s no more “business as usual”, our day-to-day work is being disrupted and the plans we’ve made for the next few months have been impacted significantly or become completely obsolete. Some industries like the travel and hospitality sector as well as small brick and mortar stores have been hit hard. Working with influencers might only be one part of your holistic marketing strategy but investing in influencer relations and building strong bonds with your collaboration partners can help you out tremendously these days.

Influencers help to spread the word – in good times and bad

It is still too early to say how severe the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on our economy will be. A recent study by Digital Commerce 360 shows that almost half of retailers say they expect some downside revenue implications due to Coronavirus.

Digital Commerce 360

Especially for brick and mortar stores, hard times are ahead since in most countries, these stores had to close for the foreseeable future.

Numerous influencers now use their reach to promote these stores via their channels, like @theoriginalcopy.de. Content creator Swantje frequently showcases local brands in her stories that are struggling in times of Coronavirus.

Investing in influencer relations

@theoriginalcopy.de

Online magazine très CLICK has dedicated their Instagram Stories completely to the support of small local businesses: Every day, très CLICK reposts Stories of business owners that are trying to stay afloat amid Coronavirus.

Investing in influencer relations

@tresclick

You might wonder whether social media users are even open to seeing regular content in their feeds besides content that is dedicated to the topic of Coronavirus. Let’s assume you even have some influencer collaborations lined up and are uncertain whether to push these collaborations forward or put them on hold for now.

German influencer Bella was wondering the same and asked her followers what they think in a poll in her Instagram Stories:

Investing in influencer relations

@mrsbella

More than 70% of the respondents stated that they do in fact enjoy seeing brand collaborations and regular content on her channel. If this poll is any indication for how a broader user group feels, it seems like many social media users are in fact grateful to see content on Instagram, YouTube and the like that distracts them from what’s going on in our lives right now and inspires them to think about the time when our lives will go back to normality.

So, what could be your action plan for the upcoming months?

Invest in existing relations with influencers (now more than ever)

Even though you might have paused your influencer activities during the Coronavirus crisis, do not leave your influencers hanging! Now is the time for investing in influencer relations and prove to yourself and your influencer partners that you’ve done a great job in the past: 

  • Regularly check in with your partners – no matter if you’re in an active campaign with them or not. 
  • Let your influencers know that you’re aware of their situation and their fears. Be open with them and manage expectations. Get on the same level as to how and when your partnership will continue. 
  • Offer support and distraction: You might think about your customers and how to help them in this situation. Do the same for your influencers: Is there anything you can support them with? Any products that might come in handy in this situation, even if it’s just for distraction for them and their families? Even a personalized note or email will do! 
  • Keep in touch with your partners and keep them updated on your brand’s situation and how you want to handle any scheduled content. Together with the influencers, think about ideas on which content to prioritize and which to push back. Your partners know their audiences best and will probably be able to come up with some inspirational content formats to support their followers.

You’re working with humans and most of us are thankful for any comfort, support and friendly messages right now. Your relationship will only become stronger when bonding in times like these. 

If you continue executing, be aware of the situation and be extra careful about the content you post on your brand channel or that is posted by influencers on your behalf. Now more than ever, the content should offer value to your community in a meaningful way.

Creator Ana Johnson has collaborated with her long-term partner Garnier to give her followers some inspiration for things to do while staying at home. Her idea of doing a home spa session was well received by her community.

Fitness and nutrition brand foodspring has taken initiative and supports their community by providing social virtual gyms, live cooking classes, influencer Instagram takeovers and nutrition Q&A’s.

@foodspring

After having rolled out their initiative on social media and via the brand’s newsletter, foodspring’s Senior Influencer Marketing Manager DACH, Marcel Heinrich, reports via LinkedIn that all of the brand’s country-focused Instagram channels showed a strong increase in followers which indicates that investing in influencer relations and making influencers an integral part of the brand’s marketing strategy is now paying off in times of crisis.

foodspring - investing in influencer relations

Account statistics of @foodspring from the Influencer Marketing Cloud

Activate new partners

It might sound harsh but in the end, you also have to think about your financial well-being. For many businesses, money is sparse in this situation, so keeping your financials in order and your budget well-invested is key.

That being said, influencers are in a similar situation. Not all of them will have adequate financial reserves and are still dependent on acquiring new business. 

Find new partners to grow your influencer network now. Even if you decide to pause your influencer activities for now and do not work with them right away, you can support each other by finding a financial solution that both parties benefit from. 

We’ve put together a guide on how to find influencers that perfectly represent your brand and convey your brand message to their communities. If you need advice on how to approach and negotiate with influencers, our e-book helps you out.

Takeaway

Collaborating with influencers is a relevant marketing strategy amid the Coronavirus crisis, especially in times when communities need to stick together even stronger and social media offers a safe space for distraction and inspiration. Investing in influencer relations and acquiring new partners to work with can help brands to retain their influencer activities. Brands that work together with influencers on creative, inspiring content that offers value to their communities are able to retain their partnerships and keep their communities close despite the current circumstances.

We aim to help businesses that rely on their influencer marketing activities as part of their holistic marketing strategy in this crisis by providing a two weeks free access to our Influencer Database that enables you to find ideal collaboration partners for promoting your products and services.

Reach out to us and we’ll support you!