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What will shape influencer marketing after Covid-19?

The pandemic has changed the way we live, work and socialize. The huge increase in the use of smartphones and the change in content consumption behavior has important implications for brands trying to build lasting relationships with consumers.

Karl Haechler, Co-Market Manager and Managing Director, BCW Africa

As we enter this new world, influencer marketing offers brands a vital way to reach audiences in meaningful and relevant ways. In an age where brand building and audience engagement are key, here are the top trends shaping post-Covid-19 influencer marketing:

1. E-commerce will play a huge role in the future as brands seek better return on investment

Consumer experiences are amplified with the introduction of social commerce, as purchasing a product directly from social media is an increasingly fluid experience.

Soon we will see more and more consumers prefer social media-driven shopping, as the platforms will be more engaging than traditional shopping experiences. And innovative technologies like VR, AR, and AI chatbots have propelled visual retail to the forefront. These new technologies will not only improve the shopping experience, but also make the process more authentic, trustworthy, practical and positive.

2. Video is the future of influencer marketing

It goes without saying that digital video is vital for brands to inspire, engage and engage with their consumers. There has been a massive increase in the popularity of short videos. TikTok has led to an explosion in the popularity of small-sized video content, and now other social platforms are refining their video offerings such as Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts.

TikTok reaches 1 billion users worldwide - these are the top 5 trends

Video content will continue to grow after the pandemic, as the rise of social platforms like TikTok demonstrates the ever-growing thirst for video content. They inspire users to not only watch, like, and comment on videos but also create them, giving brands a whole new approach to getting their products seen through user-generated content.

The competition for people’s attention has never been so fierce. Brands that wish to capitalize on the popularity of video should develop short video strategies to stay in the mix.

3. Live content begins to emerge in the mainstream

Live streaming allows viewers to interact with popular influencers on a whole new level.

Interactive streaming breaks down the barrier between audience and brand, which provides a deeper level of immediate engagement. Your viewers are more than just viewers – they are a community. This means that it’s important to really understand what your audience wants to see from branded content.

For example, for a sustainable automotive company that wants to promote carbon footprint reduction, it could partner with an ethical living influencer who can produce a live video in the factory, showcasing the ‘making’ of it. here as behind-the-scenes videos.

When it comes to sustainability, consumers want to know where products come from, who made them and what their environmental impact is. Live content offers that kind of genuine engagement that audiences are looking for.

4. Virtual influencers have gained more attention

With innovations in facial rendering software, collaboration tools and virtual reality, fully realized digital twins are quickly becoming a reality and could be a solution to the global disconnect.

An emerging trend is the application of “virtual avatars” to the online creator space. These virtual influencers are designed to interact with real people online and sometimes even offline at events. Developers choose their appearance, dress, and behavior. Many of these virtual influencers are starting to appear on social media, especially Instagram, and start building their profile by creating engaging and impactful content.

We are entering an era where more and more brands are encouraged to embrace new, immersive technologies in ways that enhance their storytelling. In the future, these changes slowly become more common – the lines between what is real and what is unreal are already blurred. Our role is now to support brands in innovation and to revolutionize the relationships that audiences have with these brands.

5. Build long-term relationships with influencers

Influencer marketing started out with brands dipping their toes in the water and testing them out, so a lot of campaigns are run on a pay-per-view model, which is very transactional. However, we are starting to see the nature of brand-influencer relationships change.

Many consumers are increasingly savvy about spotting paid influencer campaigns and have no problem ignoring a brand or influencer that turns out to be inauthentic. To be able to maintain true influencer partnerships, many brands are now moving from ad hoc campaigns to ambassador programs.

Now is the time to turn the influencer relationships you developed during the lockdown into long-term partnerships – turning influencers who already love your company’s product or service into brand ambassadors, ultimately getting better ones. results that promote long-term success for both parties.