Social media influencers appear to have a more captive audience now than they did at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent report [download page] from Influencer and GlobalWebIndex shows that close to 7 in 10 consumers who follow influencers report spending a little more (39%) or much more (33%) time on social media since the outbreak, with about two-thirds (64%) saying their usage is likely to remain at its current level even after restrictions have been lifted.
With content creator followers spending more time on social media, here are a few points about what they are seeking out from influencers and what’s important to them at this time.
1. Consumers Seek Out Different Content
Prior to the outbreak, some of the top categories of content followed included Food (45%), Music (43%), News and Current Affairs (39%) and Travel (36%). But, as needs and activities have changed due to the pandemic, followers have sought out content in areas that fit these needs. Physical Wellbeing and Health Food/Nutrition are some of the new top categories that consumers have followed since the outbreak.
2. Followers Want More How-To Tutorials
Perhaps due to stay-at-home measures in the US and UK finding more consumers trying their hands at home DIY or bread baking, some 40% of influencer followers cite how-to tutorials as the type of content they’d like to see more of. Gen X (43%) and Boomers (47%) are particularly interested in this sort of content.
3. Three in 10 Follow to Learn About New Products
While some of the top motivations for following a content creator include learning something new (51%), entertainment (49%) or to pass the time (49%), 30% of consumers say they follow in order to learn about new brands or products. Indeed, about two-thirds (68%) go on to research a product/service after viewing an influencer’s post.
4. Seeing A Product in Action Is a Key Benefit
Along those lines, one of the benefits consumers value when it comes to discovering products through creators is being able to see the product in action (40%). Followers also say they value finding products they wouldn’t have found otherwise (35%), as well as offers or promotions (30%). Another one-quarter (23%) trust the influencer’s endorsement.
5. There is Value in Authenticity
Close to 4 in 10 followers (37%) say they value influencer content that is more real and has greater authenticity. This is also seen in earlier research from Morning Consult, which showed that authenticity is one of the top reasons why younger US consumers choose to follow an influencer.
6. Gen Z Wants Brands to Be Purposeful
Consumers put a lot of stock in brands that are purpose-driven, especially when it comes to younger consumers. When asked what they want brands to do more of in the future almost half (46%) of Gen Z respondents who follow influencers say they want brands to stand for something/be purposeful, making it the top response for this age group.
7. Trustworthiness the Top Ranked Trait Since COVID-19
Generally, likeability (51%) and humor (50%) are influencer traits that are important to followers, while trustworthiness (46%) ranked further down their list of important qualities. Nonetheless, the report notes that since the outbreak, trustworthiness has become the top-ranked trait.
Passion (74%), in-depth knowledge (73%) and transparency (73%) are some of the qualities that followers say come to mind when they think about trustworthiness.
8. Content Creators Help Followers Emotionally
Some respondents say that influencers have helped them feel positive (43%), provided a sense of normality (36%), offered encouragement (33%) and provided a sense of companionship (23%) during the outbreak. This emotional impact is likely to be remembered post-pandemic and influence how consumers view brands in the future.
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 2094 consumers from the US and UK, ages 16-64.