Influencing During a Pandemic | An Insider’s Perspective

by Bianca Hanson, Senior Social Media & Creative Specialist

Year over year we have seen both the use and the impact of influencers in brand marketing strategies skyrocket. Social influencers have earned the trust of their communities and brands who want to reach their audience. But, as it has on many other industries, an unexpected pandemic like COVID-19 can take its toll.

Along with grocery shelves emptying, the public is staying home, and non-essential businesses closing their doors, influencers are bound to lose work. I, myself, have had brands delay or back out of contract partnerships entirely due to the state of our nation. Since I only run my blog part-time while being a full-time SM&C Social Media Specialist, I was not too affected by the change. However, those who run their blogs and channels as a full-time job face a very different reality.

The influencer space has suddenly become quite uncertain. While many people feel that it’s wrong to promote and sell non-essential goods (such as beauty products or travel experiences,) you also don’t want to lose your audience that you worked so hard to build up. I have seen creators get shamed for sharing photos that are ‘too perfect’ during times like this, follower numbers are dropping across the board, and the competition for engagement is overwhelming. So, how can one’s influence be used for good while also feeling real and authentic?

1 | Support your local community

With consumer’s average screen time up at least 18%, using your influence to bring awareness to small businesses and non-profits can have a major impact. Visit a local restaurant and capture photos of the take-out order, share photos from home that highlight small businesses with available online merchandise, or re-share charitable opportunities that allow for others to support organizations who are in need of help during this scary time.

All of these will have a lasting impact on your authenticity as an influencer while simultaneously building a great rapport with the organizations. Plus, you will feel good about using your influence for good.

2 | Be a voice for the new normal

Instead of speaking negatively about the new normal, influencers can use their voice to bring positivity to their feed. As the Dalai Lama said, “In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.”  Sharing thoughtful advice, authentic stories of change, and content that encourages togetherness, can show that one is present and heighten a community’s appreciation and trust.

Your positive affirmations and authenticity could be enough to change the state of someone’s mind during an otherwise stressful and complicated time.

3 | Connect with other influencers

Now that we all have the time… now is a perfect opportunity to nurture relationships with like-minded influencers and work together on content that will bring communities together. Local and national influencer groups, such as  Style Collective and Bloggers Live Boston, have been hosting virtual chats and meet-ups that are a great place to do this. Partnering with others is a collaborative way to brainstorm and create content that will engage new audiences while also helping to keep your creative juices flowing.

Once you have come together, consider the above recommendations to combine your influence for good and make content more meaningful.

No matter your level of influence, you have an impact on those who follow you. By using social media to support your local community, be a voice for the new normal, and to connect with others, you will leave a positive footprint on society while also feeling good about yourself for using your platform for good.

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