After collaborative efforts achieved so much during 2020, Engine’s CSO argues the industry should work together to bring about change.
SOFA SESSIONS #8: HOW BRANDS & INFLUENCERS PIVOTED IN THE YEAR THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
Welcome back to our eighth and final Sofa Session of 2020 – a whole year of zooming best-in class social expertise straight to your screens.
To wrap up the year, ENGINE’s Head of Influencer, Gemma Glover, was joined by Influencer Manager at Sky, Rianne Payne, CEO & Cofounder at Influencer, Ben Jeffries, and Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Content Creator, Kerri Northcott (@life_with_ivycoco).
As an eventful year draws to a close, we looked back at 2020 and reflected on the hights and lows for both brands and influencers.
2020 has certainly been a year for content with 58% of influencers posted educational and supportive content related to coronavirus this year.
Gemma opened by asking our panel about the biggest changes they’ve seen over the course of the last twelve months. Rianne mentioned that, whilst the influencer team at Sky have rolled out a whopping 32 campaigns this year, there has been a shift in their content strategy: “we’ve moved from talking about sky in a very broad sense, to really focusing on the themes of our shows, so that we can create richer and more authentic conversations.”
Kerri remarked she has seen brands move away from conventional product placement ads and collaborate with influencers like herself more creatively to maximise content engagement: “there’s a lot more trust in content creators now as we know what our audience wants to see.”
Whilst the panel touched on the rise of TikTok and Instagram reels, they acknowledged that this content only performs well if it feels natural for both the creators and the brand.
CREATING VIRTUAL FAMILIES
With so much of the year spent apart, our guests referenced the need to foster strong relationships between brands and creators, as well as creators and their audiences.
Rianne referenced Sky’s work with content creator, Lorna Luxe, for her appearance in hit show, Riviera. She emphasised the importance of nurturing these connections to facilitate for collaborations such as this, saying, “one of the biggest things is that making sure that they feel part of the Sky family.”
Both Rianne and Kerri also touched on an uplift in long form video content this year such as Instagram Lives, with Sky hosting a live ‘watch-a-long’ to mark Lorna Luxe’s show appearance.
Kerri also highlighted the ability to establish a personal connection through lives saying hers have been “really well received” but warned they don’t always fit around her audience’s schedule, particularly post-lockdown.
SAVES ARE THE NEW LIKES
As brands invest more in influencer marketing, Ben nodded to the fact many “really wanting a deeper understanding of the return of investment that they’re going to be getting.”
Whilst he said, there is a trend towards more clients demanding guarantees of success, there is also a changing perception of social media metrics. In reference to Instagram he said, “we see the saves and the shares as the most valuable. They show further down the marketing funnel much more towards consideration and intent and not just from awareness.”
Rianne agreed, stressing the fact that shares show “content has been validated by that person’s followers and they’re forcing it on.”
As an influencer, Kerri said whilst content may seemingly have low engagement, individual conversations often demonstrate a deeper connection with the content and the creator through Instagram direct message. In this vein, Kerri added: “they (followers) just want to know that I’m going to reply and have a conversation with them.”
NEW YEAR, NEW TRENDS
When questioned about his predictions for 2021, Ben reinforced the importance of results for brands moving into the new year, “it’s now no longer acceptable to say that you can’t understand the ROI of influencer marketing, because there is now so much measurement out there.”
Kerri and Rianne also agreed there is a necessity for content creators to become an extension of a brand’s creative team moving forward.
With this in mind, Gemma’s final words touched on the two most important things brands must leverage moving into a fresh year: creativity and relationships.
Thank you to all our guests and those who have for tuned into our Sofa Sessions this year! Watch this space for more exciting ENGINE webinars to come in 2021.
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