Influencers have been an important business tool in recent years. The coronavirus pandemic raises a lot of questions for many industries, and this is no different for influencer culture.
In the ever-expanding social media landscape, ‘influencer culture’ is a phenomenon more important than ever. In recent years, influencers in general have gained popularity and have proven to be incredibly valuable to modern marketing by utilising their following towards business purposes. However, like just about everything at this stage of crisis, the influencer industry is suffering.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused influencer culture to be… less influential.
Instead of being a year of opportunity, 2020 has been the exact opposite, especially for influencers. The most obvious way is that, with the whole world being restricted to their homes, influencers are dangerously limited in what they can post and promote. Not only that, but the worldwide impact of Covid-19 has concerned influencers about the future of their careers, with the model that the vast majority of influencers rely on for income currently falling apart.
So right now, it’s unclear whether the idea of the ‘influencer’ will survive after the virus.
What’s An ‘Influencer?’
Basically, an influencer is a ‘content creator’ who promotes a certain lifestyle through social media. They post a lot of pretty pictures and videos that all show off a certain brand, and they’re often the ones you see on Instagram or YouTube. Their content aims to, well, influence you, by capturing their lifestyle in a glamorous way.
While this new business model capitalises on new technology and has shaped many businesses, the industry has also received criticism. Influencers are often criticised for a lack of ‘authenticity’ in their brand, with unrealistic paid-for posts, promoting lifestyles that are a little too good to be true.
Nevertheless, the career can be very lucrative, and it’s one that has been catching on in popularity.
How do they make money? Well, influencers’ employment is largely based on brand collaborations and sponsored product deals. This is because influencers themselves have built up a loyal following so large that they become ‘trusted’ within their niche, so they have a crazy amount of potential for exposing a business to potential consumers. The partnership between the respected influencer and companies, allows those companies to target a very specific group of people that are likely to be interested in them. So when an influencer endorses a company’s product in a social media post, they get paid.
However, the coronavirus pandemic has raised the question: how ‘influential’ can influencers be in a global pandemic?
How Will Influencers Survive?
Well, instead of being able to scale their businesses, it seems that all they can really do at this stage is try to maintain their following rather than grow it.
In today’s situation, with self-isolation being a thing, many influencers are limited in their ability to promote their brand. The best example I can think of is travel influencers. At this stage they’re barely even able to post travel pictures that encourage people to travel, because you know, you can’t even do that. Sure, they can post old travel photos, but it’s not going to be influencing anyone right now.
So, the solution for many influencers will be to create content that is relevant and appropriate in the context of coronavirus and self-isolation. I’d say it all depends on their ability to adapt and figure out how to stay relevant, in an authentic way of course. They’ll definitely have to get creative in how they stay true to their brand, but I think many of them will find a way. After all, the whole thing means social media engagement is expected to rise, so influencers have that going for them. It’s also easy to assume that there will also be an all-time high demand from consumers post-Covid-19, so if they can maintain their following, it’ll pay off later.
This way, influencers can keep their brand intact and remind their audience that they’re still around. And you know, maybe this whole thing will be a blessing in disguise. A little reinvention might just be the key to success once this all blows over.
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