As America prepares for a possible recession, there are a few facts that we’ve already learned from the pandemic about how marketing works in times of economic uncertainty:
Authenticity is essential
People trust other people more than ads when it comes to making choices about buying products or services. When economic uncertainty impacts consumer confidence, time and money become even more valuable – investments that consumers do not want to “misspend” on hype. Influencers can provide more than a human touch—they can deliver brand messaging in a way that ads can’t—by creating content that attracts audiences on its own merits. Two recent surveys revealed that while 96% of consumers have doubts about ads’ trustworthiness, 92% trust earned media—reviews from friends and family—and 70% trust online consumer reviews.
Discovery is paramount
When the economy is uncertain, people buy products and services that align with their values, passions and preferences along with experiences that bring them joy. Sorting through offers, ads and interruptions can cause consumers to disengage, even when they are motivated to find new products. Marketers that can make that discovery journey seamless and organic can tap into audiences open to change – those driven to purchase by a desire for product or service features, not exclusively a brand name. Recent surveys showed that 78% of consumers have discovered a new product from watching an influencer’s video.
Communities are vital
In times of uncertainty, Americans look for authentic connections with people—even if they are strangers—that often includes influencers who make their community’s interests visible. A 2020 survey found a 50–70 percent increase in internet use during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and consumers spent approximately 50 percent of that time on social media. Influencers are viewed as relevant and trustworthy when they reflect the needs and interests of the communities they represent as well as those of the new audiences that they attract. Influencers’ value to brands in times of economic upheaval can do much more than serve to drive awareness, they can become key interpreters of consumers’ priorities and interests.
A recent survey found that 78% of brands often engage influencers to help them connect with hard-to-reach audiences. This makes sense: influencers’ content-based outreach helps brands reengage with audiences like Gen Z and millennial consumers who may avoid traditional ad campaigns but are drawn to powerful content.
The social platforms brand marketers are using most are:
- Instagram (96 percent)
- TikTok (63 percent)
- Facebook (56 percent)
- YouTube (47 percent)
- Twitter (33 percent)
- Twitch (15 percent)
- Snapchat (11%)
- Clubhouse (4%)
Here are 3 ways brands can collaborate with influencers to keep consumers engaged when (or if) a recession hits:
- Recognize Influencers as creators who translate brand messaging into tangible value for new audiences
The influencer-led creator economy is much more than a $100 billion-plus industry, it’s a central driver of brand-consumer interactions. Influencers transform brand messages into actionable insights for consumers, accelerating the product discovery journey for consumers and connecting brand promises to their real-life needs and preferences.
- Partner with creators who can find the intersection between community values and brand goals
A significant share of creators (41%) connects with their audiences through websites and blogs, not on social media – that gives them unique insights into how communities interact with long-form content and what really matters to them. That data is essential for brand marketers seeking to discover the values and preferences that deliver sales outside of social commerce.
- Look for a technical solution that uses social listening and performance monitoring to deliver actionable insights in real-time
Brand marketers need powerful tools to get the most out of their influencer marketing strategy. Social listening and campaign performance monitoring are must-haves when it comes to delivering powerful insights that can build ROI and drive consumer engagement.
Learn more about the state of influencer marketing.