With the rise of COVID-19, many brands have chosen to pause influencer advertising to encourage a shift in awareness from brand recognition to education and public safety. While brand partnerships are slow, and social distancing is hindering content creation in your favorite public spaces, the time now is an opportunity to refocus efforts on relationship building, and use your platform as a voice for social good.
Refocus on Relationship Building
Isolation is an opportunity for reflection. Industry influencers are often focused on getting the perfect photo to tell the perfect story, creating interesting new edits , or finding new ways to create brand chatter from collaborations that there can be a loss in sight of what matters most: the audience. Influencers are constantly offering value and entertainment for their followers. Now is an opportunity to go to them.
Respond to all DMs and comments. Designate more time to respond to your followers’ questions, comments, or compliments. This is a great opportunity to respond to those DMs sitting in your ‘other’ inbox or comments that your followers shared on last week’s content. Giving them the attention that they deserve inspires a loyal following.
Ask your audience how they are feeling. Whether you want to know their opinions about breaking COVID-19 news or your new spring recipe, engaging with your audience is a way to keep them involved on your channel (BONUS: brands love to see these relationships)! Some of our favorite ways to do this is through story features such as polls, quizzes or question stickers. Keep in mind that a lot of people are in need of social interaction due to social distancing and self-quarantining!
Start a one-on-one conversation. Starting an intimate conversation through DM or live video is a great way to follow up on quick comments your audience has posted to your feed. IG live in particular is a face-to-face communication tool that is powerful for establishing authenticity with your audience. By its very nature, video provides real-time, unstaged content that is a breath of fresh air from static posts.
Use Your Voice for Social Good
While many festivals, sports organizations, and businesses are closed for several weeks, there is a silver lining; we have a unique opportunity to support one another. As an influential leader, here are a few things you can do to promote community support:
Share educating content. Help your followers stay safe and informed with content and information that is not just relevant, but also useful, and comes from reliable sources like the WHO and CDC. Avoid posting memes, images, or other pieces of content that might only be myths.
Give back to your community. If you have more products than you need (from PR packages or brand collabs for example), donate them to people that might be needing them, or even hold a mini auction that will have proceeds donated to community services or local businesses.
Reduce panic and anxiety. Remind your audience that following the recommendations from the CDC and WHO will drastically improve their chances of staying well. People who are immunocompromised or over the age of 60 are at the highest risk and need to be considered in all situations. If there’s an opportunity to help your elderly neighbors, pitch a hand!
Offer support. Encourage your audience to reach out to you through your platform or family and friends through phone calls, video chats, texting and email if they are experiencing anxiety.
Above all, there is a world of trusted scientists who are working to aid in the stop of the virus spreading through vaccine development, advanced treatments, and innovative clinical endeavors. This won’t be the last health crisis of our generation, but the way we respond to COVID-19 will dictate the response next time, and influencers are at the forefront to create the standard.