8 Brands Doing Coronavirus Influencer Marketing Right on Instagram and TikTok

coronvirus influencer marketing

As COVID-19 continues to affect nearly every industry, brands face the unforeseen reality of how to responsibly market to an apprehensive audience. With lockdowns and shelter-at-home restrictions in place, Neilsen reports that media usage has seen a 60% increase, a spike launching many new market trends and presenting unique opportunities for marketers.

We explore how brands are launching relevant influencer marketing campaigns by donating to nonprofits, increasing health awareness, and tailoring marketing plans to support an at-home audience. At a time when brand safety is crucial, we look into how companies are responding to new challenges, adjusting goals and mitigating brand risk with influencer marketing campaigns.

While the coronavirus outbreak has postponed or canceled many branded events and/or activations, many companies are continuing with planned marketing campaigns and re-adjusting their CTA’s to acknowledge the virus. While re-shaping goals differs for each business, many companies are finding success in meaningful cause marketing approaches.

Social and environmental responsibility is a priority for consumers, with 87% of customers willing to switch from one brand to another based solely on association with a good cause.

Marketing and advertising efforts are more effective when brands partner with causes, too — 95% of respondents in a survey of college students said that they were less likely to skip a brand’s ad if it was promoting a partnership with a cause.

Here are 8 impactful ways brands have shifted their influencer marketing campaigns to acknowledge the global health crisis and support at-home audiences in the right way.

How These 8 Brands Are Working With Influencers During Coronavirus

1. Proctor & Gamble Joins Charli D’Amelio for a TikTok #DistanceDance

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Proctor & Gamble partnered with the one of most-followed influencers on TikTok, Charlie D’Amelio, to create a COVID-related dance challenge.

P&G encouraged audience interaction by focusing the campaign around a ‘dance challenge’, a strong engagement driver on TikTok. For the first 3 million user-created #DistanceDance videos, P&G pledged to make a donation to Feeding America and Matthew 25. User-created videos in response to the challenge have already surpassed 90,000.

2. Under Armour Teams Up With Athlete Influencers For “Healthy At Home” Donation Challenge

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Under Armour and MyFitnessPal enlisted health and wellness influencers to create inspiring branded IGTV content for their “Healthy At Home” campaign. The brands partnered with two celebrity influencers along with supporting micro- and mid-tier influencers to transform their social media accounts into a fitness resource for people during social isolation. Additionally, Under Armour will donate $1 to Good Sports, Inc for every MyFitness sign-up to ensure youth sports programs have the necessary equipment, footwear, and funding once play resumes.

‘Home Workout’ Search Sees A 350% Increase In US

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With gyms and fitness studios closed across the country nearly every brand in the health/wellness industry has restructured their social media strategy to offer online classes, live streams, and at-home workout tips. Activewear brand social media accounts are turning into influencer-hosted channels where fitness influencers host Stories, IG Live Takeovers, and IGTV episodes.

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Because of the ease of production time, partnering with fitness influencers allows brands to quickly develop quality content and entertainment for their at-home audience.

3. TRUTH Initiative Curbs Boredom With #WerkItFromHome TikTok Trend

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Truth Initiative partnered with popular Gen Z TikTok influencers to boost morale and show users that “plenty of good times” can happen without leaving home.
Truth encouraged young users to escape boredom by dressing up for the #WerkItFromHome challenge and praising those who are doing the right thing by staying at home. The sponsored hashtag included a link to the nonprofit’s website that hosts mental health tips and CDC information. So far, over 2,000 users have participated in the sponsored challenge.

4. #REVOLVEAroundTheWorld Becomes #REVOLVEAroundTheHouse

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REVOLVE takes its traveling influencer squad indoors with a full livestream schedule on Instagram and IGTV. The $1.2 billion dollar fashion retailer has been emphasizing loungewear, self-care, and activewear during the lockdown and is still generating content as usual by adjusting their campaign to feature influencers in home settings. REVOLVE’s pioneering influencer strategy has long been an aspirational framework for other brands and the company’s campaign modifications during COVID-19 is a model for marketers as well.

5. Gatorade Unites Sports Fans with TikTok #PlaybyPlay Campaign

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Gatorade sponsored six athlete influencers popular on TikTok to make their own “big plays” at home and motivate sports fans to re-live iconic sports plays while staying safe and active. The brand supplied users with three official sound clips to choose from to re-enact iconic moments in sports using items around the house. Collectively, the six sponsored TikTok posts scored an average engagement rate of over 21%.

6. The #CookieWithACause Keeps Fans Entertained During Quarantine

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Oreo kicked off the #CookieWithACause branded hashtag challenge on TikTok by asking fans to post a video of themselves with a cookie on their forehead and move it to their mouth with their own personal flair. For the first 1 million user-generated videos, Oreo pledged to make a donation to Save The Children. The campaign generated over 29.5 million hashtag views within the first 24 hours, and at least two prominent influencers joined in on cause-focused fun.

7. Shoewear Brand Creates a Big Footprint with #AtHomeWithFrye on Instagram

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Frye Company partnered with two established influencers in the fashion/lifestyle space to launch their #AtHomeWithFrye cause campaign to support Feeding America and generate brand positivity. As a part of their COVID-19 initiative, the shoe company is hosting product giveaways every week to generate brand awareness and give back to their loyal customers while stores are closed.

8. EASports Stays Home With Harvey Petito

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The Australian model encouraged his followers to #StayHomePlayTogether while promoting Fifa20 in the sponsored post. The Instagram post garnered over 30,000 likes in the first six hours.

While Esports has seen its share of live event cancellations due to the coronavirus, Esports is distinctly better positioned to adapt to the COVID-crisis than traditional sports, and has fared comparatively well.
In fact, TIME found that viewership on Twitch rose 31% in March and StreamElements reported that the weekend of March 14 saw YouTube Gaming’s viewership jump up by 15%. Acknowledging the uptick in viewership, Ann Hand, CEO of Super League Gaming, tells Venture Beat, Esports is “an important way that people are going to stay socially connected during this time.”

How Brands Marketing With Influencers Can Further Adjust

  • Brands will need to appeal to more conservative buyers due to the resulting economic disruption caused by the pandemic.
  • 47% of influencers recommend that brands should acknowledge COVID-19 in current campaigns
  • Opportunity for brands to spread socially positive messages in campaigns by partnering with charities and nonprofits.
  • View influencers as instructors and resources for branded content

What Approaches Brands Should Avoid During The COVID-19 Crisis

  • Avoid the spread of misinformation. Vincent Racaniello, creator of the podcast This Week In Virology, warns against sharing medical facts without fact checking, “It’s happened for other outbreaks like Ebola and Zika,” he said. “With the onset of social media, it gives everybody the opportunity to be an expert.”
  • Brands and influencers should veer on the sensitive side of content to avoid an influencer marketing scandal and as to not appear they are profiting from the health emergency.

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Australian influencer Skye Wheatley made headlines for the wrong reasons when she posed next to empty grocery store shelves for a sponsored Instagram post.

Influencers can help brands reach audiences in a personal way by using a powerful message. From incentivizing posts to spreading positive messaging, marketing with a cause-focused initiative can help brands rise above the noise and leave consumers with a lasting impression. These top examples of marketing for good can help brands and marketers amplify their campaign during COVID-19.