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

What’s the latest on the extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

As of now, those $600-a-week payments will stop at the end of July. For many, unemployment payments have been a lifeline, but one that is about to end, if nothing changes. The debate over whether or not to extend these benefits continues among lawmakers.

With a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, are restaurants and bars shutting back down?

The latest jobs report shows that 4.8 million Americans went back to work in June. More than 30% of those job gains were from bars and restaurants. But those industries are in trouble again. For example, because of the steep rise in COVID-19 cases in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, increased restrictions on restaurant capacities and closed bars. It’s created a logistical nightmare.

Which businesses got Paycheck Protection Program loans?

The numbers are in — well, at least in part. The federal government has released the names of companies that received loans of $150,000 or more through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Some of the companies people are surprised got loans include Kanye West’s fashion line, Yeezy, TGI Fridays and P.F. Chang’s. The companies you might not recognize, particularly some smaller businesses, were able to hire back staff or partially reopen thanks to the loans.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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