Is influencer marketing really dead?

By Penny Atkinson

Since the COVID-19 pandemic sent countries across the world into lockdown, it would seem that there isn’t a single industry left unaffected.

The short term repercussions of the crisis are still being analysed, and the long-term effects are still subject to debate, and it is more interesting than ever to speculate on what the future of various industries will look like when the dust settles after we emerge from this crisis.

Among those industries effected, not least is that of influencer marketing.

From Instagram, to TikTok, to blogs, influencers are everywhere. The pandemic drove people worldwide into their homes, and online. Statistics on social media usage in lockdown vary invariably show a huge increase, estimated at 44% by Statista.

An ever-more captive audience can only mean good news for influencers, right?

Unfortunately not.

Since the pandemic took hold, many influencers have seen their campaigns put on hold, or otherwise completely cancelled as brands take a more cautious approach to communications to avoid seeming insensitive, and in some cases rethink the use of their marketing budgets.

Does that mean we’re seeing the death of influencer marketing? Far from it.

Influencers have proved once again their resourcefulness and ability to adapt. Lockdown has seen a shift in content to live videos, tutorials, cross-influencer collaborations and fresh, original content. The world of B2B influencers is emerging as we see a shift from the B2C models we’ve grown used to over the past few years.

According to econsultancy, in Finland the government has even designated influencers as key workers, bringing them onboard to ‘help communicate information about the pandemic’. This positions them alongside mainstream media as important information sources.

What’s more, according to Gartner, 31% of consumers say that they’ve bought a product based on a social influencer post. That kind of sway over consumers is the kind that traditional marketing channels can only dream of — and one that brands won’t be willing to relinquish.

So, it seems clear that influencer marketing is here to stay, but also seems impossible for the industry to bounce back to its pre-pandemic way of working. Brands will be more budget conscious than before, and more aware than ever of how crucial it is for them to work with the “right” influencer for their brand.

That’s where there is real room for exciting innovation and change.

Companies like French start-up Foxy Nerds, who offer a unique B2B influencer marketing programme, are well positioned to supply the solution that the industry so desperately needs.

Using a unique algorithm, they help companies to find influencers who match their brand values, and with whom the companies can build longer lasting relationships. They’re social scaling solution looks to create a system where an influencer is more of a brand ambassador, so companies can optimise the allocation of resources rather than paying for a single post.

This offers more than just time-saving and reassurance to companies, however. What makes Foxy Nerds’ proposition really exciting is their ‘pay as you grow’ model, meaning brands are playing within their means, and have a long-lasting social marketing solution that will grow with them.

As the influencer industry and marketing departments across the country find their feet in post-pandemic Britain, it seems inevitable that Foxy Nerds will be the marketplace that leads the charge on the road to recovery in B2B social media marketing.

Foxy Nerds is part of 2020 cohort of the Impact UK accelerator programme, powered by Business France.

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