influencer-marketing-coronavirus-kongres-magazine-covid

The power of influencer marketing during Covid-19

You’ll think I’m crazy if influencer marketing should be on your to-do list at this moment. Huh? Why? We are in a crisis, we have other priorities right now! Yes, I fully agree we are in a crisis but that should not mean we have to stop the communication. No, we have to adapt the content to this crisis, change the message and perhaps the channels we use. Your audience is now more online than ever before. But never, ever stop communicating because you need your (potential) clients now more than ever and vice versa.

Let me explain
Influencer marketing is about trust, we do business because we trust each other, especially in a B2B environment. We are all scared, we don’t feel safe, our lives have turned upside down and we might be sick or worse, we have lost people during this pandemic.

We understand we are all humans, but how can we send out a message, a communication that is appropriate during this pandemic?

Most sales managers, teams of convention bureaus, agencies and others are working from home, but what do they do? We are not talking about sales or leads, that’s not the priority of your target audience, what do they need? Trust! The same as you. They want to see that you are still there, safe and healthy, perhaps sharing tips and suggestions about how your life looks like today. They want to maintain the relationship, despite the circumstances. And you don’t want to lose your loyal clients. We are in this together and every one has its personal and professional challenges. It’s like a marriage, you don’t leave your partner when you have the first discussion. You will come out much stronger if you can talk about it, understand each other’s point of view and continue to support each other.

Choose your influencers
If we mention influencers, we might think of beauty or fashion influencers, paid external people, yes, that’s correct but in fact, everybody can be an influencer.

Have you thought of other people outside of the ‘regular influencers’? What about your employees, suppliers, loyal clients, or even speakers that have been in your destination, hotel or venue and are now also ‘out of work’. And the advantage is, we are all so eager that this ‘nightmare’ may end soon, that people are willing to collaborate and eager to contribute.

Choose your influencer wisely, especially in these dynamic times. Because the last thing you want to do is to ‘harm’ your target audience, or reputation. Besides, it’s important to have perspective, to work towards a common goal in these dark times. Your ‘influencers’ would only value if you would approach them to work on a common project.

Inspiring examples

There are many inspiring, funny and original examples from hotels, destinations, venues and even airlines trying to make the best out of this situation. It’s not easy because we are all personally affected and it’s hard to be creative. And to find a way to reach your audience with an appropriate message, it’s a huge challenge.

Hotel
Vienna House created a simple video created by the sales team working from home, made with their cell phones. Spreading the message, stay at home, stay safe, that’s what we do, and that’s what you should do. The content of the sales team has shifted completely from sales to take care of others. We could not have imagined sending this message 3 months ago. Let your employees spread the message about your property, hotel or destination. Don’t look too far, be creative (and fun!!!) because we can use some distraction and a sense of humour.

Convention Bureau
What do event planners need at this moment? Their job will change and one of the topics they will focus on will be cancellation policies. Not a very attractive topic, but a crucial element to choose in the near future for your destination, city or hotel (or perhaps not). But at least show what you are doing today to attract your audience back into your destination or venue for the near future. You can’t sit back and wait until it’s all over because it might be too late.

Airline
And what about airlines? Not easy to show what you have to offer if you are not even allowed to leave your own house. Corendon Airlines showed the inside of their aeroplane explained by the pilot, just a simple thing to do. Again, your pilots can’t fly anywhere and they are proud of their job.

Destination
From a destination point of view, I found the Faroe Island initiated a nice initiative. You can book a virtual tour where a guide will take you around the island, and you can even choose from different transports, including a helicopter. If you would switch it to the MICE industry, you can show your hotel and venue adapting to the new 1,5 meters policy. Like the hotel chain, Postillion did in the Netherlands by showing as the first how they implemented the new rules for meeting and event attendees. Well done, because they received a lot of attention from the press.

Conclusion

Focus on what your audience needs, and choose your influencer wisely who can spread your story in an appropriate way. Your audience is online more than ever. If you find it hard to create content, call your employees, clients or partners. Ask them for advice, ideas and suggestions. Don’t focus on sales, focus on your values and maintain the relationships with your target audience. Be visible. And don’t forget to take care of your loved ones, and to stay at home and stay safe.

mariska_kesteloo

About Mariska

Entrepreneur, public speaker and Past-President of Meetings Professional International in Belgium. With more than 15 years of working experience in tourism and the MICE sector, she’s an authority in the industry. Passionate about influencer marketing Mariska founded her company Word of MICE in 2017. Her company connects the MICE industry with the right social media influencer, to tell the story of the suppliers in an authentic, creative and fun way within the right target audience. She is convinced of the impact and potential of influencer marketing and her mission is to create a globally active community of influencers and ambassadors. She is a visionary, forward-thinking entrepreneur and loves new challenges.