Covid-19: Influencers become an ‘object of hate’

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An influencer from Germany has revealed that the intense hate and criticism that social media content creators are receiving for posting promotional content during the coronavirus crisis.

A woman taking a selfie with a face mask on during corona times (source: impact.ag)

Babsi B., a fitness influencer from Lindau, reaches up to 120,000 people with her posts. She recently opened up to the public about negative messages and comments she received regarding her and other influencers promoting products and brands during the lockdown.

“I’ve been working full time on my social media profile for the past few years. In the last month, most of my cooperations with brands have been paused or stopped,” says Babsi.

Due to events being cancelled and brands and organisations running out of money during lockdown, the number of job offers has been decreasing for influencers over the past few weeks.

But even though influencers are putting out less posts, they still get criticised whenever they do promote products and brands in these weeks.

Many people question the ethics behind this type of content after German comedian Oliver Pocher mocked them in videos to his 1.9 million followers.

Influencer marketing has become an enormous business with lots of money involved and many people living off it.

According to a survey by the Influencer Marketing Hub 63 percent of marketers were intending to increase their influencer marketing budget in the next year – due to the coronavirus pandemic their plans might have changed.

PR lecturer at Birmingham City University, Kelly O’Hanlon reckons influencers are adapting to survive: “Marketing and PR budgets are often the first to be cut and during a global crisis, other factors are going to be more important. This means that for many organisations, influencer campaigns have been paused or cancelled, so some influencers will find it hard to maintain their usual levels of content”.

Brand alignment is ‘necessary for survival’ for many influencers, according to Babsi. She believes people should not be so quick to judge those finding other avenues to make money.

O’Hanlon believes that once lockdown measures are eased and big brands move back to some semblance of normality, it will all change again: “It may take time for brands to build back up for influencer marketing activities, but then it may prove to be a quick and effective way to develop customer relationships and help steer things back on track.”

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