It’s no surprise that social media usage has seen a surge during the pandemic. With so many people primarily working from home and staying indoors to align with the social distancing regulations, interactivity and engagement on social posts has skyrocketed, resulting in the growth of content creators, sharing everything from beauty tutorials to cleaning hacks.
As the UK unemployment rate is rising rapidly due to the pandemic, the influencer industry has been booming. According to the BBC, approximately 1.5 million Brits are unemployed as of June, leaving lots of people worrying on what to do next. In a non-lockdown world, everyone would be out living their lives, without having to worry if they’ve remembered their face covering.
A year on, everything has shifted, with audiences turning to social media to find people they can connect with – which is why there is a huge increase in micro-influencers over the globe.
Let the influencing begin
As Covid-19 hit and our social lives became more restricted, top-tier influencers had to pause their globe-trotting and start facing the same tough challenges as the rest of the world. Perfectly curated Instagram feeds became perfectly imperfect as realism and authenticity started to show through – helping audiences relate to the content on a deeper level than ever before.
Although top influencers, who tend to pull in six figures a year, have seen vast growth, it’s the micro-influencers who are experiencing the largest growth – as their relatable content is much closer to normality for their audiences’ lives.
Since March, micro-influencers’ Instagram insights have skyrocketed as a result of the average time spent on the platform, which has grown by 14%. At the end of 2019, Instagram was estimating a growth rate of 1.5% for the whole of 2020 and has seen the strongest gains across social platforms. Why is this? It all comes down to people wanting to continue some form of normality and to escape from the constant bombardment of COVID-19 news by using Instagram as a virtual parallel to everyday life.
Skinfluencers on the riseSerena Nardi, a ‘skinfluencer’ from Italy, also known for her golden hour aesthetic, reached more than 10 thousand followers during lockdown.
If you’re not familiar with the term ‘skinfluencer’, it’s a new kind of influencer that hit the block last year and are obsessed with skin products and accessories. They are the ones flooding IG stories talking in-depth about skincare ingredients you’ve probably never even heard of and flaunting their gorgeously glowing faces to their grids. Serena gained popularity during the peak of lockdown and noticed her engagement rising immensely.“I started my Instagram at the end of February, so just as lockdown was approaching. I started on zero and noticed daily that my followers would increase by a large amount. I was posting every single day, sometimes twice and the amount of time and effort I was putting in truly paid off. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I don’t think I would have even had the following I do today,” Serena told us.
“I’ve had so many opportunities from my growth, and I’ve been able to quit my day job and focus on my Instagram full-time, which baffles me even to this day. I never imagined this would be my life, but now it is, and I’m so grateful I could turn a negative situation into a positive.”
Adapting to the new normalWhile the uncertain times continue, and there are many success stories like Serena’s, even though influencers have had to adapt more than ever during the pandemic. The world is shifting, and so is social media marketing. Content creators have had to prepare to change their approach online to suit their evolving audiences.
Valeria Hawit, also known as @itsvaleriahawit on Instagram, has completely switched up her approach on Instagram since the start of the pandemic. Instead of focusing on beauty product reviews and aesthetically pleasing vanity shots, she now has been teaching her audience how to grow and monetise their social media accounts.
Valeria now posts infographics to her grid with all the information needed on how to grow a successful Instagram account in easy steps. As the world is shifting, she is also hosting a series of virtual events called the “Small Biz Lab” on iPhone photography, social media strategies and more.“The world we live in now is crazy; I have accepted that. We need to adapt everything in our lives, even things we never thought we’d have to. Although my Instagram was at an all-time high during lockdown, I have noticed the demand for engaging content has increased. Our audiences need something more than just skincare shots on a vanity. Everyone wants something more, so I started brainstorming what I could give my audience what no one else has done in the community, and that was to provide virtual events.”
As well as adapting the type of content they are creating; influencers are now having to branch out to other platforms as well as Instagram. TikTok has been the social media sensation of lockdown and has grown at record rates; the number of downloads hit 75.5 million in March alone.
Because of this, influencers need to have the ability to create content across multiple platforms to ensure their growth continues, and their existing audiences stick around in a post-Covid world.
Featured image by Maddi Bazzocco via Unsplash
Edited by Natalia Zmarzlik