With social distancing guidelines still in effect, major metropolitan areas reissuing stay-at-home orders and communities across the country confronting social and racial injustice, brands continue to reshuffle budgets, priorities and communications strategies. As the marketing landscape marches on in what seems like a never-ending state of flux, genuine and meaningful consumer engagement has become more valuable than ever.

Though currently shrouded in a cloud of uneasiness, audiences are incredibly attentive and responsive to engagement. Consumers are spending major blocks of time on social media platforms, with Instagram seeing a 40% increase in usage among 18- to 34-year-olds since the start of the pandemic. Not only are folks craving more content, but we’re craving content from credible, personable voices we can relate to and trust.

During this time of social and economic unrest, a thoughtful, well-intentioned influencer marketing strategy with clear goals can help improve your bottom line and build goodwill with consumers too.

Here are 3 of our top influencer marketing best practices to ensure you’re leveraging influencers tastefully and effectively:

  1. Know your influencers: Part of a responsible influencer marketing strategy is properly and thoroughly vetting your target set. Beyond simple metrics like follower count, it’s important to have a solid grasp of an influencer’s perspective on COVID, history of inappropriate or controversial content, competitive partnerships, engagement rate, and more. Once you partner with an influencer, they become an extension of your brand, and now is not the time for a clumsy misstep. It’s also important to cultivate a diverse mix – age, gender and race – of influencers to capture a variety of perspectives and points of view, and to authentically connect with a wide range of audiences as well.
  2. Prioritize responsible, value-added content: If you’ve perused Instagram or YouTube lately, chances are you’re seeing content that’s less promotional and more solution-based. Think about how your brand can equip influencers with the helpful and honest content people need. If your program isn’t inherently useful or designed to support consumers who are busy navigating this challenging time, consider pushing your launch date. A poorly timed, heavily promotional campaign, for example, can fall flat, or worse, rub people the wrong way.
  3. Interaction is key: One-way, static content is becoming less and less common. Consumers are demanding engagement, interaction and a human interface, so encouraging influencers to actively involve their audiences can go a long way. Instagram Lives, virtual events, polls and giveaways, where followers can join in and have their voices heard, deliver dynamic, memorable and impactful content, in combination with higher engagement. A picture might be worth a thousand words, but an experience can last forever.

If your company is looking to implement an influencer marketing strategy, I’m here to help. Reach out to me at info@linhartpr.com.