As the global pandemic made an entrance into our lives, the landscape of business has completely altered. The economic setback with COVID-19 forced brands to halt and assess their current marketing strategies, ultimately ditching their traditional ads for influencer marketing.

When people started spending more time in their homes, social media usage witnessed a sharp hike. New data suggest that social media engagement has increased by 61 percent in the later stage of the pandemic. People are also using video platforms more frequently, and many brands and celebrities are making use of Instagram Live to connect and entertain their audiences.

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The times are unprecedented, and social media influencers offer a sense of stability and reliability in the spread of information through their authentic way of communicating with their audience. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: In Brands We Trust, around 63 percent of young adults, aged 18-to-34 years, trust the opinion of an influencer of a brand than how the brand portrays itself in ads. Therefore, it is safe to assume that influencers can come to the rescue of brands – in earning trust, authority, and sales.

Influencer marketing can truly be your golden ticket if you’re doing it for the right reasons and with trustworthy influencers. According to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer: Special Report on Brand Trust and the Coronavirus Pandemic, 71 percent of people mentioned that companies and brands that put profits before people at the time of crisis would lose all of their trust forever.

Thus, having trusted voices represent your brand has become more critical than ever, especially because whatever decisions you make now will directly impact your brand image in the long run. But before you start recruiting influencers for your brand, you must ensure that influencer marketing is the right move for you. Asking these questions could help make it clear for you –

~What’s the goal of your influencer marketing strategy?

~How will your influencer marketing strategy add value to the lives of your audience?

~Will the information you provide be perceived as valuable in the current reality of the situation?

~How will someone deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic react to your campaign? Do you think it could be seen as tone-deaf, insensitive, or opportunistic by others?

~Do you plan on adding value to the community outside your target audience? If yes, how do you plan on doing so?

Once you have answers to the most important questions, you have put an airtight plan together along with contingency plans at every step. If you’re wondering how to curate an authentic yet effective influencer marketing strategy for your business in the post-pandemic world, we have a few tips to share. Keep reading!

1. Finding the Right Influencers: When you browse through the best influencer marketing platform in India, your job is to partner with the right influencers who will match the values and voice of your brand, reach your target audience in the desired social media channels, and fit your budget at the same time. With wrong influencers on board, the most awe-inspiring marketing campaigns could end up falling flat.

Some of the questions you must ask yourself are mentioned below –

~Who are you trying to reach, and which social media platforms do they use?

~What would you like your audience to do when you reach them?

~What type of influencer would make sense of your campaigns – celebrities, top-tier influencers, or micro-influencers?

It is important to note that the pandemic was able to highlight the lack of representation and diversity in influencer marketing, which has ultimately led many marketers to act. It is a trend that’s not expected to die anytime soon. As a result, brands need to be inclusive when looking for the right influencers. From influencers with disabilities to diverse backgrounds, you must consider broadening your horizon while looking for influencers.

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2. Assessing the Influencers: As mentioned earlier, you must only partner with trusted influencers to create true impact – and it is only possible through intelligent vetting. Fortunately, there are plenty of influencer marketing tools that can help you vet potential influencers based on engagement, audience geography, follower spikes, percentage of fake likes/followers, comment quality, competitive partnerships, history of posting offensive content, and general approach towards COVId-19 pandemic.

3. Co-Creating Content: Influencer content doesn’t just appear out of a vacuum. It requires the effort of both the brand and influencers. An effective influencer marketing campaign during the pandemic would involve genuine collaborations between influencers and brands, resulting in compassionate and compelling content at the same time. Such campaigns will be able to leave a lasting impression on the minds of your target audience.

When it comes to content, you can pursue a variety of topics and subjects. But one that has particularly come to the spotlight during the pandemic would be mental health. Social media platforms can play a significant part in supporting the mental health of consumers, and many brands are already using it to their advantage by creating sensitive content. If it aligns with your goals, you can educate and prioritize mental health with the help of your influencer marketing campaigns.

4. Evaluating Influencer Campaigns: If you have a strong measurement plan in place, you can expect to have a successful influencer marketing strategy. It is paramount to accurately measure and analyse your campaigns from beginning to end, and that’s how you’ll understand its real impact. It calls for spending time and effort into developing a measurement strategy that incorporates KPIs throughout the journey of customers, ensuring that the strategy will effectively deliver the desired effect.

Though traditional KPIs, such as engagements, link clicks, and impressions, are important, you must also analyse audience sentiment along with it to measure the progress of campaigns.

Closing Thoughts: Influencer marketing has a critical role to play in your general marketing strategy. In the post-pandemic era, it requires a much more thoughtful and nuanced approach to achieve specific goals. As the world continues to change, brands will have to continue evolving their work to serve customer needs the best way.

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