Tapping into Influencers as True Content Creators Amidst Office Closures

Photo by Catherina Schürmann on Unsplash

While COVID-19 has created a multitude of challenges for brands over the past few months, the ability to sell products online and market them via social media has been a stopgap for the anticipated loss of revenue attributed to brick-and-mortar closures. While consumers are obviously no stranger to e-commerce, recently they have turned to online shopping for not just essentials, but also as a form of entertainment. Forbes reported that many DTC brands, such as TULA and The Sill, “have experienced record-breaking online sales in recent weeks.” Additionally, many consumers who typically spend money on work related expenses (commuting costs or daily lunch) may treat themselves more frequently given their new lack of recurring expenses. Almost 20% of shoppers have purchased a “new video game console impulsively,” while nearly one in four have sought out apparel and “18 percent splurg[ed] on a home improvement item,” according to a recent survey by OnePoll.

As e-commerce spending and social media usage continues to rise, yet offices remain closed, brands are faced with major questions around content development without their in-house production teams or creative agencies available to work in a studio. The ability to produce premium content at scale is necessary for brands that are sharing static and video content on their e-commerce sites and social channels on a daily basis.

ACTIVATE is working with a handful of retail and CPG brands to leverage influencers for content creation purposes in order to keep their content output diversified at a time in which their consumers are more engaged online than perhaps ever before. While UGC has long been utilized for reposting on Instagram and supplementing imagery on branded websites, our clients are now turning to influencers for content creation with no requirement to share these assets on their own social channels. Contracting influencers in this way can save thousands of dollars compared to the costs of producing a photo shoot in a professional studio, yet the results are on par and the timeline is significantly reduced. Many influencers on the ACTIVATE platform have high-quality cameras and editing software that rival production studios, supplying brands with dozens of assets in just a few days. Brands and agencies looking to provide their teams with production equipment and resources for remote work could even consider consulting with an influencer for recommendations given their expertise in content creation from home.

Here are some best practices for both brands and influencers engaging in a content creation partnership:

For Brands:

  • Be on the lookout for influencers whose imagery aligns well with your branding and visual direction across your website and social media channels. Consider the lighting, background, editing style, and props when selecting partners for content creation campaigns. If you’re unsure where to start, our Studio team at ACTIVATE has decades of experience analyzing content and can happily determine the best matches for your brand.
  • When contracting an influencer, make sure to pay close attention to usage rights. Be transparent about how you plan to use the assets, when they will be posted, and how long you anticipate using them. If you need flexibility, consider agreeing upon a mutual rate per month of organic and/or paid usage so you have the option to extend beyond the original term.
  • Once the partnership is secured, we recommend compiling clear, detailed guidelines with example imagery to guide creators and ensure the output is what you were looking for. Be sure to note what “not to do” as well, including any specific colors or backgrounds to avoid. Include spec requirements and always ask for both the original and edited versions of each asset upfront.

For Influencers:

  • At a time when brands need content, now is the perfect chance for you to take your production quality to the next level (if you haven’t already!). Remember that you’re building a business, so if you’re able to, we recommend investing in your equipment, especially your camera and lighting. Carie Trutanich, President of Gold Standard Sports & Entertainment, says it best:

“I firmly believe that it’s a great idea for influencers, athletes, celebrities, anyone who is looking to create strong brand ties and equity, to invest in themselves by investing in certain pieces of equipment so that their content is high quality. Owning a ring light, and even a collapsible reflector can make a difference when shooting a campaign. These aren’t expensive pieces to have in your home. Having your content look as professional as possible can be the difference between booking a ‘one-off’ collaboration [versus] creating a long term partnership.”

  • Provide brands with your creative concept, in accordance with the brief, in advance of producing any content. This often eliminates the need for a re-shoot and reduces back-and-forth rounds of edits. Communication is key!
  • Brand timelines are tight, and while we know your schedule may be crazier than ever, delivering content in a week or less is highly desirable. Try not to overcommit yourself, be realistic about timelines, and stay on top of deadlines to give yourself the best shot at a long-term partnership!

With years of experience producing assets at home, minimal budgets, and short timelines, influencers are the ultimate agile creators and brands that tap into their content creation will be better prepared to meet the new demand from shoppers at home.

For more information about ACTIVATE, please email demo@activate.social or go to try.activate.social/contact-us.

ACTIVATE is an end-to-end influencer marketing platform, covering influencer discovery, program workflow, measurement, and analytics. The platform consists of an opt-in network of 46K+ vetted and authenticated influencers. Pinpoint niche groups by leveraging our geo-targeting and micro-survey capabilities or dive in deep with our curated networks of creators. Notably, the networks span a diverse variety of influencers including ‘vegan foodies’, ‘outdoor enthusiasts’ , ‘bohemian stylistas’ (and more!). Need a hand? Leverage ACTIVATE Studio, our in-house team of influencer strategists to build out and execute custom influencer initiatives.

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