COVID-19

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

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

Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?

This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.

Could waiving patents increase the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines?

India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

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