Social Media Influencers in the Time of Coronavirus


Do you know who the highest celebrity social media influencer was in 2019? Football start Cristiano Ronaldo earned the top spot, commanding up to $303,900 per post.

Sports celebrities are ahead by miles in earnings out of the many celebrity influencers from different categories.

Cristiano alone has, as of this writing, over 200 million followers on his Instagram page. Other top sports personalities earning millions from social media endorsements include Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Lionel Messi, and LeBron James.

Influencer marketing has been the toast of digital PR and marketing agencies in recent years. A mere mention or placement of the products by influencers would bring in huge sales. When the COVID-19 pandemic spread globally, the industry was hit hard, and many influencers were put on a tight spot.

The celebrities with millions in their bank account would barely feel it, but those who don’t command millions are now finding it hard to find content to post.

How influencer content is adapting

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With many lifestyle influencers now stuck at home, they had to rethink how to present content and stay relevant to their followers. Travel and active lifestyle influencers are hit hard. Posting and reminiscing about past activities worked for a while. But as the weeks went on, they needed to change their tone.

Some used their platforms to present content related to the current crisis, like tips on how to exercise at home, what to eat, how to stay safe, etc. A few could still put product placements related to these things.

But in the wake of coronavirus and the current political turmoil in the U.S., more influencers are using their voice in support of spreading information. Sending out messages of “Stay at Home” or sharing facts about the coronavirus.

Celebrities promoted the hashtag #ClapforOurCarers on their social platform. Another example is Feeding America, a hunger relief non-profit organization, finding celebrity supporters at the height of the coronavirus crisis.

Followers now looking for authenticity

Celebrities and influencers around the world are also using their platform in support of social issues, most prominently the Black Lives Matter movement. But many of them have been accused of exploiting the matter to promote themselves.

Former loyal followers are also calling out celebrities for their lack of empathy and tone-deaf posts. In one IG video, Ellen DeGeneres compared her home confinement to “being in jail.” During that time, reports came out that coronavirus cases were rising among prison inmates.

How some rich personalities are lamenting that they can’t go out and live a normal life didn’t go well with people. Celebrities are being canceled by their fans who are now looking for authenticity. That is opposed to the aspirational life that was being presented to them before all of this happened.

As things are starting to adapt to the new normal, we can see celebrity influencers slowly going back to product endorsements or selling their merchandise online. But you can tell there are efforts to do them carefully and in good taste.

For the lifestyle influencers, it’s still unclear when they can go back on the road to produce their content. Companies are also rethinking their marketing, as more consumers are demanding authenticity in their messaging.

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