How has coronavirus changed influencer life?
Just a few months ago, I was schlepping duffel bags around NYC, luggage-sized carryalls that were filled with so many outfits, I often broke the zippers.
Every weekend, my mom and I would scour the internet for the city's hottest pop-up shops, calling ahead of time to see if they would assist with Instagram photoshoots. Museum of Ice Cream, Mickey True Original, Color Factory and more made the list, although working around the general public's screening of the exhibitions often got me in trouble (I'd skip ahead of my assigned group to avoid crowds). Some days, I'd simply visit a neighborhood and play it by ear as to where I'd capture content; in fact, in early March, I was strolling around the relatively-empty Meatpacking District shooting tons of images at the High Line.
But the coronavirus outbreak turned influencer life upside down. Considering the major economic decline, not to mention a drastic decrease in shooting locations, several brands seem to be at a loss. As a result, social media stars have been forced to deal with the repercussions—they shared with GL how they've been coping through these tough times.
Many brands are halting product distribution while sorting out funding during this difficult time. However, certain companies are actually using the coronavirus to their advantage, taking on the pandemic as a clever marketing tool. "I've managed to land deals with brands that I [had] had trouble securing, like an online school and some new apps, because there was no immediate reason to partner before." explains Alexa Curtis, blogger and CEO of Life Unfiltered with Alexa. "There's a sense of urgency from those types of companies to utilize this time on social media while other brands are out of business."
Teen TikTok star Charli Elise has taken on more collaborations over the past month as well. "I have tons of free time to film and try new products, so I'm trying to make the most of this situation," she says. Elise recently teamed up with Ivory Ella for their #SpreadHope" campaign, which donates 100% of proceeds to children who are isolated in hospitals.
Fashion influencer Meghan Ross has noticed an increase in skincare partnerships, as people have more time to take care of their complexion indoors. "I've noticed a lot of bigger companies such as Neutrogena taking advantage of their online platforms and using influencers for marketing," she explains. "It has been great to see brands giving back to various COVID-19 organizations over the past month as well." Neutrogena has been posting "#FrontLineFaces" every week on their Instagram, spotlighting healthcare heroes making a difference, while L'Oréal is producing hand sanitizers instead of beauty products and fragrances for medical practitioners.
Type of Content
With limited time spent outdoors, social media stars have been forced to shoot content within their own homes. "I've been posting lots more casual photos and outfits," shares 17-year-old influencer Gianna Ferazi. "I've been promoting vitamin companies and loungewear as opposed to street style looks." Ferazi also had to switch up the typical backdrop of her images: "I've been posting photos of myself cooking in the kitchen, lounging on my bed, washing clothes in the laundry room and hanging out in the backyard."
Ross, known for her living room try-on hauls, is now putting a new spin on her style presentations. "I've been shooting a lot of content in my parents' backyard and childhood bedroom instead," she says. "I miss doing hauls in the Hamptons and discovering new coffee shops to photograph in New York. It has been a challenge, but it has allowed my creative juices to flow."
The increase in downtime has allowed for Curtis to dip her toe into TikTok: "It's getting great traction on social media, so I'm posting fashion videos that coincide with my platform, such as 'Slip Dress 3 Ways.'" Curtis has also been active on Instagram Live, and she recently interviewed Gossip Girl's Kelly Rutherford (aka Lily van der Woodsen) by "guesting" the actress from across the country.
Income and product distribution go hand in hand, so it's no wonder influencers are seeing a decrease in their salaries. "Lots of my paid campaigns have paused," says TikTok star Madi Webb. "However, since I have more time on my hands, I've been live-streaming a lot more on monetized platforms and making money that way." TikTok has coins that people can buy and donate to their favorite streamers, a way of capturing the creator's attention for a potential shoutout.
Considering the poor state of the economy, Curtis is handling matters of money very carefully. "I'm definitely saving more than spending," she explains. "I don't have much to spend on these days anyway. This past month has really inspired me to stay inside and save up once in a while."
Ross, on the other hand, is using time indoors as an opportunity to profit from her own boutique: "My brand, Your Darling Style, has skyrocketed because I'm making close to 50 bracelets per week." Her main goal, however, is to spread positivity through the company during the outbreak. "I love making a client's day by creating something special to put a smile on his or her face," she says. Influencer life may never be the same—yet adapting to this tumultuous time seems to be the key to social media success amid the spread of COVID-19.
How would you handle influencer life right now? Comment below!