Date Posted: Friday 29th May 2020
DIARY directory caught up with nine of Gleam Futures' fashion, beauty & lifestyle influencers, to gain a better insight into how the professionals are navigating their way through the coronavirus pandemic.
How has communicating with your audience and PRs changed?
I think this experience has made us really want more and more human connection and so the bond I have with the community feels a lot stronger. I'm responding to more DMs than I would normally, I have done over 50 Lives across Facebook and Instagram and I've re-launched my blog. I'm finding, understandably, that my audience wants comfort, reassurance and to know we're all in this together.
For PRs and industry bods, I've left all of this to my amazing management (#GleamTeamIsTheDreamTeam), my publicist Charlotte Tobin from Belle PR and my Creative Assistant. I have limited time and limited brainpower with the juggle-struggle of everything so I've just focused on the audience. I feel safe in my team's capable hands.
What changes do you think influencer marketing will have?
I think brands will see us as safer than ever because we can operate without staff/studios/presenters, etc. I think our audiences will be warmer to our marketing because they appreciate this is our livelihood and it feels as though we are all wanting to help people get back on their feet.
How has your content changed since the pandemic began?
I’ve used the opportunity to experiment with featuring more personal elements of my life, I’ve used various formats such as Q&As and having more intimate discussions with my audience, which you wouldn’t typically find on my page.
What changes have you made across your social media platforms?
I have started to use TikTok a lot more, firstly for my own personal use and recently uploading and creating content that I am really enjoying. Instagram is still my home social media platform but I’m finding real energy with uploading to TikTok.
Has Coronavis changed influencer marketing?
I believe influencer marketing is the most undervalued marketing technique for businesses; if anything, the current climate has shone a light on what we do, which will only help to continue the growth.
How has your content changed since we've been in lock-down?
My challenge is trying to keep it fresh whilst staying in the same location. I’ve also found it harder to take pictures that will get high engagement on IG but we are all in the same situation, so my content reflects the realness of the current climate right now.
How are you communicating differently?
I think the current climate has encouraged everyone to collaborate more and discuss how we approach marketing in general. It’s important that we are sensitive to what’s going on, whilst also being honest and raw by not putting on a rosy gold façade. I believe it’s important for brands to approach marketing with an empathetic view, which is why engaging with influencers is a useful way to channel brand empathy and personality.
TikTok has exploded during this time, has this platform been a focus for you?
Yes, I am trying to build an audience on TikTok but I still continue to upload frequently to YouTube and Instagram.
Do you think the ways brands & influencers work will change?
I don’t think it’ll change after the pandemic, and if it will I believe it’ll only be stronger between influencer and audience. This time has allowed people to spend more time online and grow a deeper connection to the people they follow.
Tell us about the changes you've made since lock-down
It's forced me to be more creative with ideas, do things that I haven't done before such as creating playlists, baking IGTVs, quizzes and print-out bread-making guides as part of my new 'Something For The Weekend' series that I put live every Friday.
What differences have you seen with your audience and connecting with PRs?
My audience is much more engaged as we're all spending more time on social media - myself included! With PRs I feel like I'm connecting more through Instagram DM's, which is really nice and gives a more personal touch.
What have you taken during this time when it comes to working with brands & PRs?
One thing it has shown me is that there’s less need for fuss - fewer meetings, less fancy brunch dates to pop on Instagram stories, and less cocktails at events. We can streamline - both in how we work with PRs and how we communicate with our audiences. Just like glamorous street style has been swapped for casual snaps in pyjamas, brand meetings over coffee have been swapped for Zoom calls. I like that it’s stripped back but also excelled the whole industry.
You've created more content on TikTok since we've been on lock-down - how have you found that?
Instagram is my primary platform, but I’ve been loving creating content for TikTok over this period. There’s a real sense of creativity on there and I think it’s inspiring a lot of influencers to come up with new ideas and different ways to engage with their followers. I think the relaxed nature of TikTok really resonates with people right now too - a quick ‘meme’ style clip about quarantine life can be gaining as much engagement as a thought out fashion lookbook.
Has your content changed since the pandemic began?
I’ve altered my content during the pandemic. I started a weekly pub quiz on my Instagram stories the week before lockdown was announced and have continued this to keep people entertained. I have also switched my usual ‘London date night’ content to ‘date night ideas at home’, to help couples keep the spark alive throughout this time, as well as being really honest about how I’m dealing with the situation in my weekly vlogs.
What changes, if any, have you noticed when communicating with brands & PRs?
I’ve still been in touch with many of my usual PRs and brands throughout this time. I attended my first ‘virtual’ blogger event (for BareMinerals) last week which was really fun and so lovely to still feel engaged with the beauty blogger community.
What social media platforms have been working the best for you during this time?
I’ve actually started posting to TikTok for the first time during the lockdown, I probably now spend the same amount of time creating content for it, as I do for Instagram. YouTube has still stayed my most focused-on platform though, as I find I’m watching a lot more of it through lockdown.
Do you think that influencer marketing will change after the epidemic?
In a way, I do hope there are more ‘virtual’ blogger events going forward. I think it’s proved that they can still be very successful for brands and also as there’s no need to travel, a lot more content creators can attend. I hope this also shows brands that influencers can still create great, high-quality content from their own homes!
What changes have you made during this time?
I'm posting more content that I love rather than content I know my audience engages with which makes it all feel a lot more personal. I've been experimenting much more creatively and making use of my home and my surroundings. I've also been focusing a lot more on what my feed looks like as a whole rather than concentrating on each post separately.
How have you found your relationship with your audience has changed?
I feel much closer to my audience as we all going through the same thing; the pandemic has affected everyone no matter your age, background, gender or ethnicity and it definitely helped form more of a sense of community within social media, especially for me.
What about working with PRs?
I almost feel like it’s the opposite with PRs as there’s no face to face meetings, it’s a lot harder to introduce yourself or get your personality across via email or even zoom calls as it just doesn't come as naturally when you're not in person. I feel like brands are sticking with the influencers they know and trust, which is understandable but it is, therefore, making it harder to build new relationships.
Has TikTok and Instagram been more of a focus for you during lock-down?
I have been spending less time scrolling aimlessly on Instagram and more time scrolling aimlessly on TikTok! I have found the content being put out on TikTok is much more light-hearted. I also now have an endless list of new creators who I love thanks to TikTok’s algorithm and creative vibe, whom I may never have found if we were not all stuck at home.
Have you changed how you connect with your audience and brands?
My audience is looking for more meaning and connection and I am trying to give that to them in a simple and accessible way.
In terms of PRs, not much has changed apart from less communication altogether and I think that's because talking about products constantly just doesn't feel right. I find everyone is far more kind and compassionate on email. It's a breath of fresh air for this industry to slow down a pace or two if I'm honest.
What social media platforms have you loved to be apart of during this time?
TikTok has definitely become a place of fun and escapism. The algorithm is amazing and I love the content I am recommended - especially the cooking videos! I also think the content on Instagram is far more relatable now. It feels like we are in the same position - wearing nothing but loungewear and praying for McDonalds to open!
How do you think influencer marketing will adapt after this period?
I think influencer marketing will focus more on the talent that has grit, as well as more campaigns with messaging and meaning. More than ever, people are concerned about what actually matters. The lens of Influencer Marketing & fast fashion may also take a new direction. Within my industry, I'd like to see more inclusion, diversity and long-term ambassadorship roles. Let’s stop focusing on numbers and focus more on people and relationships.
What have you been focusing on during lock-down?
I’ve launched an Interiors account, @welcometohelens which I love creating content for. My YouTube has become more interiors focused too, I’ve recently uploaded my Home Office Tour and my Garden Transformation.
Will influencer marketing change and adapt after this is all over?
I think it might be a little less wasteful and extravagant.
Anna Newton in 'Influencers'
Helen Anderson in 'Influencers'
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