Africa Travel Week

Will influencer marketing help brands to bounce back post-coronavirus?

Influencer marketing is often described as ‘accelerated word-of-mouth’. The direct relationship between consumers and influencers allows brands to communicate in a way that feels authentic and in tune with what consumers want. Here’s why you might want to consider an influencer marketing campaign to kick-start your business after COVID-19.

Why are influencers thought to be more authentic than traditional advertising? 

While traditional forms of media can be a great way to advertise to a wider audience, there is a level of intimacy that working with influencers offer. The best influencers have a strong connection with their audiences, and a well thought out campaign will likely result in a large, measurable ROI.  

“I feel as though influencers tend to have more authenticity because they naturally tell a story in the information that they’re sharing,” says Kirsty Leanne, a plus size travel blogger.  

“With a combination of their personality and (often brutally) honest opinions, I feel much more inclined to listen to what fellow influencers are saying about a destination as opposed to other traditional advertising methods.” 

This authenticity, due to their honesty, has also increased in value recently due to the uncertainty COVID-19 has caused. A well run influencer campaign could be just what is needed to restore trust in the travel industry once people are able to holiday internationally once again. Chloe Brewer, a beauty blogger who runs Lady Writes, thinks that now is the perfect time for brands to explore influencer collaborations. 

“During what has been an unprecedented time, the value of influencers has definitely risen. With more people shopping from home and spending more time on their phones, people are taking cues from those they follow on social media in the hope of finding some momentary (or long term) enjoyment in new purchases.” 

Why do influencers have such a good relationship with consumers?  

There’s been some bad press about influencers in the past. However as the industry continues to grow, and brands make $5.20 for every $1 invested, it is clear that when you work with the right people you will see positive results.  

“When it comes to trust, it can definitely be hard for influencers to build it amongst their audiences and in some cases, some influencers may never fully earn the trust of their followers. When it comes to those that are trustworthy, however, they are considered to be influential because they tell the full story,” says Kirsty.  

“This means that not only is their content inspirational and informative, but it’s also honest.” 

How can you determine if an influencer has a good relationship with their audience? Look at the comments on their posts. The quality of the comments will indicate how well respected they are by their followers. Lots of detailed comments (and replies from the influencer) is a good sign that their audience will be receptive to their brands and services they advertise to them.  

How can influencers be used to help brands boost their marketing campaigns?  

If you’re going to include influencers in your marketing campaigns, make sure you create a solid plan and end goals. Whether it’s increased confidence in your cleaning standards or more bookings, decide on one specific, measurable KPI and then find the influencers who will help you to achieve this. 

Including influencers within your marketing plans will help to showcase what you have to offer in a relatable way, and you could even negotiate on usage rights so you can use whatever they create in your paid social campaigns! 

“Post-COVID-19 travel is going to be hard to navigate, potential travellers are going to want to hear first-hand stories from people who have experienced the new normal, says Kirsty. 

“As travel influencers are likely to be the first to travel, people will naturally turn to them for advice. This makes them crucial for brands and DMOs who want to rebuild as travel starts to reopen.”  

Chloe also feels the first-hand anecdotes of influencers will be a powerful way for brands to regain trust and loyalty as lockdowns continue to be eased.  

“I’ve noticed a huge rise in affiliate sales through my platforms during the past three months and have worked hard to connect my audience with products that could be useful, enjoyable or helpful during the pandemic.  

“This is why I think now is the perfect time for brands and marketers to be exploring their partnerships with influencers a lot more closely: people want to be cautious with money so they’re only following advice and recommendations from those they truly trust. It’s a great time for brands to form new partnerships with trusted influencers to rebuild their businesses post-COVID” 

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.