Influencers Are Now A Cheaper Way To Boost Engagement On COVID-19 Messages

It turns out there is a little bit of good news -- or at least a slightly more positive angle -- to talk about in digital marketing and for once, its influencers.

When you think about it, although traditionalists might see the channel as a little flakey, it makes sense that influencers may have something to offer in these very unusual times.

Look at where attention is right now and it's unlikely to be on print, it most certainly isn't on outdoor, and while it may well be on the television, it's likely to be around streaming.

That leaves digital, and display has always had an issue with low click-through rates. So, if you're looking to get the public to buy online, a display ad might work partially but there's an awful lot of impressions you will be putting down to brand awareness.

Which brings us to social. There are obviously a lot of people out there right now with a a lot of time on their hands checking out each other's humorous lockdown videos and memes.

So it was little surprise to hear from my go-to guy on influencers -- Ryan Detert, CEO on Influential -- that social is doing well, particularly when amplified by influencers. 

There are a couple of things at play here. First of all, a lot of celebrities have as much time on their hands as the rest of us. Sports aren't happening, tv shows are not being filmed and the people who are seen in all the best places have nowhere to go.

That means -- to be crass for a moment -- Ryan's observation is that it has never been more economical to get a celebrity with a large following on your side.

Ryan uses AI to look at what's working, and what isn't, with influencer campaigns and he's seeing two major trends here.

First of all, forget the outdoors. There has been a fivefold decrease in influencers referencing going outdoors for very obvious reasons. They can't go out and we don't want to be reminded of the great outdoors we can't explore right now.

Secondly, influencers are having a massive impact in amplifying two types of messages. One is where a brand wishes everyone well in these uncertain times. It's a lot less salesy than a brand saying they have the perfect snacks to get you through this difficult time.

Instead, major brands are pumping out messages of love, hoping that people stay safe and healthy. At the same time, they are also pushing out messages about their philanthropy around giving cash to good causes, dropping delivery charges, providing free accounts, no quibble money-back offers on cancelled trips, and so on.

The computers have crunched the numbers and when these messages are amplified by relevant influencers, engagement goes up by five times and positive sentiment soars ninefold. 

The reason is that a brand can wish you well, but if you prefer their rival or have had a bad experience with them, you may well post a sarcastic response to them passing on their best wishes.

Put a human face that is well known and liked alongside those messages, and the very same post will get much higher engagement and far more positive responses. 

So, for now at least, it can be a little cheaper to get a celebrity influencer working with your brand, and the figures are showing engagement is up too -- a tiny ray of sunshine in these dark, troubling times.

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