The emergence of coronavirus/COVID-19 has shifted the way we, both around the globe and in the United States, live our day-to-day lives. Its onset has caused many issues that people never expected to arise, from a severe public health crisis to the rise of a recession predicted to be worse than that of 2008.
This oncoming recession has been fueled by a few different factors: shelter-in-place orders to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, which has fueled an economic shutdown, causing the closing of businesses and subsequent mass layoffs.
For businesses still trying to get by, you might feel as if you’re reaching your limits — that there is only so much you can do to continue moving forward during this economic shutdown. Perhaps you’ve already laid off employees and cut business costs wherever possible. While these are immediate methods that can be undertaken to protect your business, there are more proactive measures that can be taken.
Your business can consider basic realignments to protect itself during this economic shutdown. It might even help your business grow!
In particular, your business can benefit by formatting and growing your affiliate marketing program, particularly your social media affiliate marketing strategy. This might be strange, as in, “Why would you expand your marketing efforts and costs during an economic crisis?” But the truth is that your business will garner more benefits from expanding and realigning marketing efforts than it would just slashing budgets.
But, before you can begin making changes to your company’s social media affiliate marketing strategy, you need to understand exactly what’s happening to the economy, how it’s expected to recover, how it’s affecting your affiliate marketing strategy right now, and what you can do right now to benefit your business.
What’s Happening to the Economy
The economic impacts brought on by Coronavirus/COVID-19 are already being felt, but how long those economic effects will last is still up to debate. But what is it that’s causing this economic shutdown, and why has it become as widespread as it has?
The reasons for the COVID-19 economic shutdown are numerous, but they are best explained by the following:
- This is a disease that has a high rate of transmission and is potentially fatal, causing a public health pandemic. To promote public safety and limit the rate of transmission, it is recommended that people practice social distancing and self-quarantining measures — i.e., to remain at home, avoid public places, and limit social interactions.
- These shelter-in-place orders have meant that many businesses have had to shut their doors while others have had to move to online platforms and telework options. This has caused unemployment rates to skyrocket; moreover, people are spending less money, meaning that our economy’s supply-and-demand model is not working, creating massive piles of dead stock.
- The longer this shutdown continues, the worse things will get for businesses unwilling to change their business model.
How the Nation Plans on Reopening
While the economy is currently under a nationwide shutdown, some states are starting to reopen their doors. Whether this is being done too early is up to medical opinion; however, the federal government has proposed a three-phase guideline to reopen the economy and country for the near future. The proposed model for reopening the economy includes the following:
- First, the state and locality must show signs of a downward trend in confirmed coronavirus cases over a two-week period before they can be considered.
- Phase One: Places of entertainment and hospitality may reopen, but they must follow strict social distancing guidelines. Schools and bars will still remain closed, and hospital visits are not allowed. Vulnerable individuals should remain home.
- Phase Two: Schools can gradually reopen and nonessential travel may resume. People may gather, but moderate social distancing rules must remain in effect. Vulnerable individuals should still remain at home, and businesses should continue practicing telecommuting.
- Phase Three: Vulnerable individuals can begin socializing while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Public venues are allowed to reopen and hospital visits may resume, but social distancing should still be kept in mind.
If this three-step reopening paints any picture, it’s that the effects of coronavirus are not going away anytime soon. This economic shutdown is expected to continue, so your business needs to begin making immediate adjustments to ensure that you can continue working and making sales throughout this time.
If you’re a business affected by the economic shutdown, possibly having to shutter your doors, you’ll need to find a way to work around the current orders, possibly moving your business online. For many businesses, an affiliate marketing strategy implemented across social media can provide just that.
How Your Affiliate Marketing Strategy Might Be Disrupted
As this economic shutdown continues, there are ways that traditional affiliate marketing strategies will be affected too. While having an affiliate marketing strategy is a great way to protect your business at this time, it needs to be implemented in the proper way to ensure that you’re truly benefiting your business. Here are just a few ways that traditional digital marketing and affiliate marketing are being affected:
- Media advertising, particularly advertising spending reliant on supply chains and referral shopping sites, is expected to lessen due to decreased cash flow across digital platforms.
- Digital media consumption is expected to grow as this economic shutdown continues. While people are self-quarantining at home, many are using social media apps like Instagram more than ever before. Businesses thinking ahead should consider jumping on these platforms to remain relevant throughout the economic downturn.
- Traditional networking events have been canceled en masse and have either been shut down outright or moved toward a virtual-only platform like Instagram Live, Zoom meetings, Skype conferences, etc.
- Affiliate marketing strategies that were once relied on will require updating, as certain platforms and language will not prove to be as beneficial at this time.
- Affiliate management software should be given more attention than ever before, both to support affiliates who are promoting your business and to closely monitor engagement and conversion statistics to determine where useful adjustments can be made.
- Cooperative partnerships with fellow businesses within your professional network are more important now than before, as this will allow customer-bases to be shared between businesses in the hope of increasing brand engagement and sales conversions.
The changes occurring across the spectrum of affiliate marketing are varied, but there are common ways through which your business can reformat your affiliate marketing strategy to meet them. One you should most focus on at this time is that of your social media strategy, particularly affiliate programs for Instagram.
How You Should Realign Your Affiliate Marketing Social Media Efforts
When analyzing the state of your company’s affiliate marketing strategy, you should provide particular focus to realigning your business’s strategy when it comes to Instagram. Affiliate programs for Instagram are especially important, as they provide an apt means to share both your brand image and voice with your niche audience.
Whether using your own business’s profile, Instagram influencers, or fellow businesses, you can target specific people who will potentially engage with your brand, products, and services. Here are several ways you can enhance your company’s affiliate programs for Instagram.
1. Continue marketing.
During times of economic despair, many businesses rely on cutting costs wherever possible. For many businesses, that involves cutting back on certain marketing campaigns, considering them to be wasted money at such a time. However, such an opinion is misguided. As mentioned earlier, cutting marketing and advertising spending actually hurts brands in the long run, diminishing their relevance during and after a recession.
Social media platforms are an ideal place to focus your attention during this time, as many people are flocking to apps like Twitter and Instagram while in isolation. Social media influencers are reaping the benefits of this time, marketing themselves to their followers with empathetic content during this time.
Rather than allowing for this opportunity to go to waste, you should put your affiliates to work, offering them the opportunity to earn money from conversions while also promoting your brand across the social media platform.
2. Do what you do best.
Now is not the time to change your entire business model. Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability at this time. This means sticking to your lane — having your niche and running with it. But what you can do is try out different marketing tactics to bring in a wider audience, all while not spreading yourself too thin.
In regards to affiliate programs for Instagram, this means renovating your affiliate marketing program to bring more influencers into the fold who can promote your business across the social media platform. You can equally update content to meet a more empathetic, humanistic tone that is in accordance with the coronavirus pandemic, relating to people for the issues they are struggling with.
It might be a good time to begin experimenting, trying out different marketing tactics to bring in wider audiences, but don’t begin dividing your attention too much.
3. Find ways to gather attention within your niche.
If you’ve seen your business has been lagging, now is the time to do your research. Beyond seeking the help of fellow influencers and affiliates, you should take the time to see what other successful and unsuccessful businesses are doing.
This is an easy way to determine where you can make incremental changes to your company’s affiliate marketing approach, both to increase audience engagement and better sales conversions. Consider talking to your best-performing affiliates to find out what they’ve been doing so you can motivate fellow affiliates.
4. Be authentic.
Your brand image and voice matters quite a lot during an economic shutdown. Now is not the time to rely on an objective, scientific tone that feels non-human. Give people a brand they can relate to — one that is empathetic, compassionate, caring, and human. This authenticity will help you stand out to other businesses, giving your company a feeling similar to the influencers promoting you.
5. Give support to your affiliates.
Collaboration with your affiliates is always a must. To get the most out of your partnerships, you need to consider the skills that they bring to the table; otherwise, you’re telling them what to do and who to be rather than allowing them to be true to themselves.
Hold regular office hours where you can discuss business with them, both to discuss how they’ve been doing, both personally and professionally, and to go over what tactics they’ve been using to promote your business. You might stumble onto some useful information that can be shared with the rest of your affiliate network.
6. Support your fellow businesses.
Expanding the efficiency of your affiliate network also involves partnering with fellow businesses. An economic shutdown causes business troubles to be felt all across the world. Collaborative affiliate relationships with fellow businesses can help lift up your company during such a time. Such a relationship can make it easy to share audiences with one another and other affiliates, creating a larger network with individuals who support each other within.
7. Focus on the positive.
Just as you should focus on brand authenticity, now is the time to remain positive. People are dealing with a lot of personal struggles, dealing with mental health, physical health, and financial health. Rather than reminding them of their troubles, phrase your content so it reassures them that things will be okay. Your affiliate marketing program will benefit from it, as you’ll be providing both your affiliates and your audience with content that aims to talk directly to them, not just about your products and services.
Learn and Improve
There’s no one way to craft a successful affiliate program for Instagram, but you can implement certain affiliate marketing strategies to increase the effectiveness of your company’s engagement. Consider learning more about affiliate marketing if you’re looking to improve your business even throughout this economic shutdown.