How Influencers Can Survive the Coronavirus with Decreasing Brand Deals and Sponsorships
5 Action Steps Influencers Can Take to Generate Revenue During Coronavirus
As influencer campaigns get postponed, the amount of brand deals decrease, and Instagram sponsored post costs slip, it’s a wild time for influencers trying to sustain their business during coronavirus. Here are simple, practical ways to tackle these changes to weather the short-term.
With coronavirus spreading daily, and the US reacting on literally an hourly basis to new updates, it’s a crazy time for influencers.
Business Insider reports “Influencer-marketing agencies are seeing brands postpone campaigns while also observing that engagement on social-media posts is higher than normal as more consumers spend time in physical isolation.”
Current statistical highlights:
- Engagement increases - 76% increase in engagement on sponsored posts.
- Dramatic decrease in average cost per sponsored Instagram post
- Many paid trips and events being postponed/cancelled
The whole marketing industry as a whole has been absolutely rocked by the coronavirus – as many other industries have as well.
This is not to diminish other serious issues and deaths facing people around the globe. However, many creators make a living from their content, and their job stability is paramount to their personal lives and financial goals.
Sometimes, it feels like people are harder on influencers. They need to be perfect, impeccably politically correct, and navigate every crisis situation with absolute grace.
The minute someone messes up, they’re completely roasted all over the Internet.
I don’t know about you, but I have absolutely seen that happen this week. We’re so quick to jump on influencers, critiquing them for sharing outfits or posting a blog post that isn’t entirely on coronavirus and how to help other people. Creators are not schooled in PR and crisis communications; they’re doing their best with the resources they have.
I get it- I feel like yes, somethings can look really insensitive and out of touch, but I still think we are harder than average on creators, especially when they are really some of the hardest affected by this. Just because their job is social media does not mean it’s any less important or real than something we deem “normal.”
Anyway, now that we’ve been encouraged to give influencers a break, let’s talk about some practical ways you guys as influencers can weather this storm. Whether coronavirus lasts weeks or months, get prepared now, start making some changes, and realize all our strategies are in for a major shift.
How Current Coronavirus Economics Are Affecting Influencers
Let’s review some statistics that can help us remove some of the emotion and uncertainty from this situation.
So, what’s going on?
- US retail sales experienced their biggest drop in a year in February 2020, says Reuters .
- Travel industry has taken a 75% hit, aka losing billions in revenue, says CNN
- As a result, many brands are reducing marketing and advertising budgets - eMarketer predicts a $21B decrease in worldwide global ad spend
- Influencers are seeing a decreased in sponsored content, cancelled events/trips, and lower sponsorship costs - reports Izea
What’s also going on…
- Time spent online is going UP - eMarketer says about 40% increase in consumer time on mobile
- Even though overall consumer spending is down, some online retailers are seeing a boom.
- Certain businesses have shifted from “nice to have” to “incredibly in demand” - think food delivery, at-home workouts, any sort of delivery or convenience that can be brought to your home. For example, Techcrunch reports grocery store app downloads at record high.
Keeping all of that info in mind, let’s dive into a short and simple plan for influencer brand deals - it’s simple enough that you can knock out 1-2 steps by the end of the day.
5 Action Steps for Influencers to Generate Revenue During Coronavirus
1.Utilize Amazon affiliate links on your highest traffic blog posts.
Affiliate marketing traffic isn't always the most attractive source of revenue because it can feel like it 1) takes forever to generate anything significant and 2) is pennies on the dollar
However, right now, buying online is still majorly happen at retailers like Amazon. None of us can go anywhere during self-quarantine or lockdown, especially as most stores have shut their doors temporarily.
Amazon has an awesome affiliate program I’ve used personally for brands and my own content online for the past 3 years. Last year, I made $500 on Amazon affiliate payouts - from blog posts on a topic I didn’t even cover anymore. The posts were originally published in 2016 and were about beauty and makeup 🤷🏼♀️
Amazon Affiliates is also incredible because once someone clicks your link and heads to Amazon, it doesn’t matter WHAT they purchase. If they end up buying dog food on that visit after clicking your mascara link, you’ll still get commission from their order.
Let’s be real - everyone needs to buy something from Amazon all the time. Do you ever visit Amazon.com and not walk away with an order?
Especially right now, 2-day Prime delivery is so attractive that we automatically feel like we need to buy something from Amazon once we’re there. There’s something we’re going to run out of, something to stock up on.
Affiliate linking can be time-consuming and feel futile when it’s pennies on the dollar. But those pennies can absolutely add up, and more often that not, it's a one time block of 2-3 hours updating blog posts, and you won't need to touch it again.
What To Do:
- Sign up for Amazon affiliate program if you haven't already - it's pretty simple and you should get approved
- Head back to old blog post content and pepper in Amazon affiliate links where they make sense - focus on your highest traffic blog posts
2.Reach out to brands you’ve worked with in the past.
Using your past relationships with brands you've already partnered with is usually the lowest-hanging fruit. They know you, they (hopefully) love you, and this is when relationship building really comes in to play.
Use your best judgement when emailing these brands and make sure you're accurately articulating empathy for their situation, too. Their brand might be suffering, their revenue might be down, and they might be looking for answers, too.
Truly offer how you can help them with exposure during this time and be aware you're probably going to have to lower your standard rates.
In a perfect world, I'd love for that not to be the case - but realistically, you might need to offer more for less during this time.
3. Pay attention to the brands still doing social media advertising.
Idk about you but there's ABSOLUTELY a handful of brands I see all over Instagram and Facebook advertising right now.
A quick list I've noticed?
- Ritual Vitamins
- Spot and Tango dog food
- Noom weight loss food delivery service
- Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide
- Qapital savings app
Now, I obviously don't know the inner workings of these companies, but fi they're still buying heavily on social media ads, they might have enough cash to be taking advantage of this time on social media.
With many online discussions focusing on how social media acquisition costs are RISING, many brands are backing out of spending their ad dollars.
However, this also causes a decrease in competition.
If 40% of brands say it's too costly for them to advertising on Facebook/Instagram right now, Facebook still needs to fill that 30-40% gap.
A decrease in competition on Facebook advertising usually means a decrease in costs as well. Over the lasts several years, Facebook costs have skyrocketed because there's SO much competition now.
Social Bakers' image below illustrates how clicks increasing causes the cost-per-click (CPC) to decrease.
This Twitter thread from David Herrmann, a Facebook marketer I love following, illustrates this well in the below pic. What normally costs him $8-$12 is now costing 96 CENTS!
This really illustrates how much competition is DOWN - which again is great if you have cash reserves to spend and consumers are still buying your products.
4. Reach out to in-demand brands right now.
Delivery services, meal prep kits, house cleaning supplies, streaming services, household items that make staying at home a little easier (cozy essentials, candles, blankets, etc), work from home supplies (stand up desks, bike desks, blue light glasses etc) - are brands that are really top of mind right now.
Really anything deliverable and on demand that makes self-quarantine and working from home a little more pleasant.
While yes, some brands are being hurt hard and cutting back on advertising because consumers aren’t buying their products, other brands are more in-demand than ever.
Again, reach out to these brands with tact and empathy for their situation, too - it could be a truly mutually beneficial partnership for both of you right now.
They get exposure in front of a new, ideal target audience (yours) who desperately needs their product or service and you get to share a valuable brand to your audience while getting paid.
I know I'm more appreciate now than ever for creators sharing new products or services I might never have come across before that makes staying home easier.
5. Apply on influencer networks.
Influencer networks can sometimes come with frighteningly low budgets even from major brands.
However, right now, the campaigns still running on platforms like AspireIQ, Acorn Influence, or Activate are legitimate campaigns. It can feel tough to cold email a brand you have no idea is doing influencer marketing right now or rely on those opportunities to make their way into your inbox like they normally do.
Even if you apply and get approved for a campaign on a network that's maybe not at your ideal price point, you can still use it as 1) a case study for the future and 2) perhaps an "in" with that brand directly after coronavirus is over
It could be a way to get your foot in the door at a brand you normally wouldn't have and worst case scenario, with Instagram engagement actually UP, you get an amazing case study for the future. (ps - yes duh, you should use Kalypso when we're live to track this partnership and create a beautiful wrap-up report for you at the very end)
Oh, and support your favorite & fellow creators by buying something through their affiliate link.
You’re going to buy it anyway and it takes five seconds to head to their Instagram Story swipe up and use that link on your phone, okay?
Support their sponsored content and regular content a little extra during this time. Share the post if it's helpful and give them a boost. If it's a product you already wanted, YOLO and buy it directly through their swipe up link on Instagram.