I recently published articles in Forbes and Later (both total “pinch me” moments) that outlined some of my top tips for succeeding as a social media influencer in 2020. The advice I give in both articles is what helped me (and my students) grow businesses online, but there's a lot more I'd like to add considering the current pandemic. So in this post, I'm breaking down what bloggers should focus on during a crisis.
It's no secret that millions have been laid off as a result of businesses closing, but as far as the influencer marketing industry goes, we've seen a few things:
- All collaborations and trips hosted by hotels, tourism boards and brands have been cancelled
- Blog views have decreased as a whole, particularly those of travel bloggers
- Campaigns have been postponed or cancelled altogether
- The campaigns that are a “go” are those that fit with the present situation
But it's not all doom and gloom.
As I mention on this episode of Her Life By Design, I believe that influencer marketing will bounce back better than ever. It is far and away one of the most efficient advertising methods, which is why going into 2020, companies like Estée Lauder planned to dedicate over 75% of their budget to influencer marketing. More than that, digital and social media usage has skyrocketed during this, adding to the ROI a brand would see in a digital campaign.
When the path forward gets a bit more clear, I believe the influencer industry will bounce back stronger than ever. Travel may take a bit longer to come back, but eventually, it will.
So while we're in this place – this kind of “in-between” – what can we do right now so that when we come out of this, we're poised to succeed?
Focus on building community
Putting an emphasis on community building rather than follower building is always important, but it’s never been more vital than right now.
Your followers are all at home. They’re going through the typical day-to-day that you are… Waking up and making the same coffee, working on their laptop from the same table and debating that afternoon workout.
Right now, your people are craving connection and friendship just as much as you are. So, how can you provide that? How can you focus on building depth, not necessarily breadth, in your online community right now?
Here are some examples of things you can do to further build relationships with your people:
- Talk to people in your DMs more than you typically would
- Send voice notes back and forth in your DMs with your audience
- Spark conversations in the comments of your photos and ask people to share on a deeper level
- Host live workouts, live mental health check ins or any kind of live that is related to your niche and would benefit your people
- If you have an online course or a digital/physical product, discount it significantly and/or offer some incentive for purchasing
Think of what your community wants and what would give them a smile & some comfort right now, and give them that. Building this stronger connection with your audience will pay off big time long term.
Build relationships with PR professionals and brands
Even though budgets might be lower and certain collaborations won't be possible right now, it is still vital that you use this time to form & build upon relationships with Public Relations professionals and brands.
Reach out to brands you’ve worked with in the past and ask them how they can be best supported during this time. For example, if a brand sent you a dress in exchange for a post in the past, don’t reach out asking them for a paid partnership. Instead, ask how they’d like you to share about their brand right now.
Remember these businesses are trying to stay afloat, too, so any help you can give them will be remembered.
Introduce yourself to new brands, too! If there’s a brand you’d like to work with, don’t be afraid to reach out even though they may not have a budget to offer right now. Simply sending along an email introducing yourself, telling them why you’d be a good fit to eventually work together, and attaching your media kit can go a long way.
When we come out of this, you'll have positioned yourself as a “go-to” influencer and be top-of-mind for any collaborations they're planning. The same applies to Public Relations agencies as well.
Remember that though many travel collaborations might be cancelled, campaigns with brands that are especially relevant right now (activewear brands, food delivery brands, etc.) will go on and are worth being pursued in a paid capacity.
Consider how you might diversify your income streams
If you’re a blogger or influencer finding yourself without any income right now, it's time to reevaluate. It is never a good idea to rely on one income stream, so this might be the wakeup call you need to better your business.
Here are some ideas for other ways you can bring in income:
- Offer freelance services, like graphic design, social media management, or blog writing
- Create an online course or a digital product for your audience
- Offer coaching services in your realm of expertise, like in health, fitness or business
- Sell your photography prints
- Create & sell a physical product
- Diversify your niche so you open yourself up to collaborations in other markets
To decide what income stream might be right for you, ask yourself what you are good at & knowledgeable in and what you know your audience is struggling with or desires from you.
To read more about how you can find that out and get to know your audience, read this post.
Experiment with your content
We're in an interesting period where brands are looking less at influencers' content in order to decide who to work with. So if there's a specific type of content you've been wanting to test out, now is the time to see how your audience reacts!
I personally have been experimenting more with lifestyle content on my Instagram and more with shooting on my iPhone. It's been really fun and rewarding considering there's no pressure right now.
I've also been experimenting with TikTok – an app that, like most millennials, I was skeptical about at first, but have seriously come to enjoy. You can follow me on there with my username @ChristinaGalbato. As I continue to experiment with the app, I'll be sharing insights here and on Her Life By Design.
Do the projects that have been on the back burner
I bet you could name at least 3 projects that you've been wanting to take on for the last year or so. Well, now is the time to tackle those considering you have nothing but time. 😂
For me? The two biggest back-burner tasks on my list are redesigning my website and transferring my courses over to a new platform!
What are yours?