COVID-19

The influencer model has taken a hit during COVID-19. Can Instagram help?

Jasmine Garsd May 28, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
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Can the social media app keep its influencers in the face of competition from TikTok? AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

The influencer model has taken a hit during COVID-19. Can Instagram help?

Jasmine Garsd May 28, 2020
Can the social media app keep its influencers in the face of competition from TikTok? AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Love ’em or hate ’em, influencers have been a staple of the economic and tech boom of the last decade. 

They’re people who get paid by companies to post on social media, pictures and videos of everything from weight loss tea to makeup kits. With the COVID-19 pandemic, and the economic crisis, that business model has taken a hit. Because of widespread quarantine orders, people are spending more time online. But Marshall Sandman, a social media consultant says, “marketing budgets have completely disappeared and so it’s going to be really, really hard for influencers, creators in the digital space to make a full-time living.”

Now, Instagram has announced some new features so influencers can keep making money, for example, by allowing ads on IGTV, an Instagram feature that allows longer videos to be posted. About half of the revenue from those ads will go to the influencers themselves. It’s something other social media platforms have been doing for years. 

According to Professor David Craig from USC Annenberg, Instagram is starting to feel the competition. “They’re losing to TikTok. So this is definitely a big attempt to try to keep from losing more to TikTok.” 

But, with less consumer spending right now, can the influencer economy survive? Experts say that depends on what they’re selling. Take fitness, like  Brittne Babe, a workout guru with 1.6 million followers on Instagram, she’ll likely fare better than say, a travel and leisure influencer. Because, exercise is something anyone can do. Traveling right now … that’s a tough call.  

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

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