There’s no denying that it’s a crazy time to be alive. For most of us, it feels as though the world has been completely turned upside down by the COVID-19 outbreak. As such, we’ve been looking to our favourite brands to lift spirits and guide the way in these turbulent times.
When done right, brands have reacted well to the outbreak and solidified customer relationships. Brands that have supported their people and their customers through this period are successfully building their online communities, whereas those that have let people down or acted in negative ways are turning away consumers that have been loyal to them in the past.
How brands come across in this period really counts, as there’s an opportunity arising for brands to boost their brand image and strengthen trust. Here, we’re discussing why now is the perfect time for brands to build their creator community.
During this unprecedented time, people are changing their opinions on brands based on their values and the way that they are navigating the situation. Everyone’s finger is on the pulse with what’s going on in the world and how brands are responding to the outbreak, and therefore both positive and negative reactions are likely to be noted by your target audience.
Those brands that are behaving in ways that are aligned with their target audience are reaping the rewards, whilst those that aren’t are suffering the consequences. It is in these times that your target audience will create a vision of what your brand is about, and it will stick. For that reason, conveying your values to your target audience and proving to them that you care is essential.
Brands like Aldi have led the way when it comes to reaching their target audience and placing people at the heart of their message, as opposed to products. They are paying a 10% bonus to their staff to thank them for working hard during this difficult time. This kind of value-led reaction to COVID-19 has been very well-received by their target audience (and beyond) and has humanised the brand and made them more relatable.
With all that’s going on in the world, brands can no longer rely on the product to drive the sale. In order to be considered and remain at the forefront of people's minds, it is now their actions and the way they approach their target audience that will be remembered.
To create the kind of positive brand image that should be strived for in these times, influencer marketing can be used to tap into a specific market that has been built and nurtured by the creator.
Creators and their communities are coming together during this time to keep each other motivated and positive and by getting on board, brands can harness these powerful networks. Influencer marketing initiatives such as live streaming workouts, creating informative IGTVs and formulating online courses are going a long way in this time.
You should also bear in mind that different platforms are flourishing at present - for example, TikTok saw an 18% week-on-week uplift in downloads in the US, so before you start thinking about approaching creators, ensure that you do your research and choose the right platforms.
Here are our top tips on how to build a creator community in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak:
Brands should work with creators who align with their values, but not just through the quality of their content. It's also about what they discuss in their stories, what behind the scenes snippets they choose to share with their audience and how they’re coming across in the current situation. Are they brand safe? Are they open to discussing potentially difficult topics? How do they make your target audience feel?
Showing genuine care for what people are going through during this period is essential. Choose creators who are proactive with their content, are tailoring it to the situation and possibly upping their volume of posts and interactions in order to nurture their audience. They should understand the importance of being authentic and be able to use your vision, mission and values and show your community that you care.
Working with creators from different industries and choosing creators who fit one or two categories is ideal. This way, you’ll increase brand reach and produce results on a number of different KPIs in order to support your brand. Moreover, your community should be diverse and able to represent a variety of people.
At this point in time, you want to be creating content that resonates with your target audience and engages them. The content you’re producing with creators should make consumers feel compelled to respond to take action. That doesn't necessarily mean sales - if you are a sportswear brand, it could be encouraging people to take up a new sport or skill, helping them to push boundaries and keeping spirits high. Positive community building with high engagement is the goal.
When building a community, it’s important to respect the trust between the creator and their community. Brands should let the creator take control of the output of content, so long as your key messages are delivered. You should find the best channels to reach your target audience by conducting your own research and then once you’ve found creators working on that platform you should give them adequate creative input.
By Hayley Shortman, Campaigns Director at Influencer.
For more information on how to build your creator community during the coronavirus outbreak, get in touch with us today!