Brands are yanking deals and sponsorship is drying up, but some social media stars are still keeping the faith.
As the former influencer marketing lead at Atlantic Records, the 30-year-old would set up gig and festival access for influencers or pay them to use Atlantic songs on TikTok videos. Just days before the coronavirus pandemic hit Britain and offices sent home staff to work from home, Luisa had gone freelance to work as a full-time influencer and consultant.
“The coronavirus was what we were talking about at Atlantic before I left,” she tells me on the phone from her north London flat. “All the IRL events were cancelled, all the pop-ups which fangirls of the artists love were gone. It was all about how to engage audiences online and remain relevant and not get lost in the noise, and not seem insensitive doing it.”
Both brands and influencers are at high risk of looking crass in the current climate. There has been a significant backlash against influencers (see: Arielle Charnas) producing content about coronavirus. A scroll through any influencer’s feed will show them attempting to grapple with the fact they can’t go out to make content and that some of their followers might be sick or be key workers who put themselves at risk of infection every day. Some post emotional essay-length captions about how we have to stay inside. Others who choose to continue as usual now get questioned by their own followers over whether they should be selling frivolous items.
Even before the pandemic, the media and public were growing increasingly critical of influencers. Now they’re citing a serious case of “influencer fatigue“. So where does that leave influencers in the coronavirus-stricken UK?