A Guide to Avoiding Pitfalls and Reaping Benefits of Influencers During COVID-19

Allison Fitzpatrick, Partner, and Paavana Kumar, Associate, Davis & Gilbert LLP

Many marketers are hesitant to engage influencers during the pandemic owing to a fear of seeming out of touch with the virus’s grim reality.

Indeed, marketers could face significant PR backlash for running influencer campaigns that promote luxury items to consumers who need basic necessities. In addition, campaigns could subject marketers to legal liability if influencers go off-script and make unsubstantiated claims regarding health benefits of products to treat the novel coronavirus.

Despite these risks, influencer marketing can reap significant benefits during COVID-19. Influencers are uniquely poised to capture consumer attention, particularly as social media becomes many consumers’ primary communications outlet, replacing friends, co-workers and even family.

Faced with a largely homebound fan-base, marketers can harness the power of influencers to connect with consumers in a genuine and authentic way, provided campaigns are structured appropriately.

Below is a list for structuring influencer marketing campaigns during COVID-19.
Build Goodwill
While marketers hire influencers to tout the benefits of their products, this is not the messaging most consumers want to hear now. Instead, they want to hear about positive steps that brands are taking to help those in need during these tumultuous times.

Influencer campaigns should shift their messaging from product benefits to an organization’s charitable endeavors, such as a recent donation to a COVID-19 non-profit organization, or efforts to support small businesses.

Influencers should encourage their followers to promote the same worthy causes, thereby promoting positive messaging that ultimately builds consumer goodwill.
Provide Help
Consumers are becoming increasingly bored and isolated as they run out of stay-at-home activities.

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