Beauty Influencers Are Shifting Content And Business Strategies Amid The Pandemic

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to the community, we ask 10 beauty influencers: How has COVID-19 impacted your business, and what steps have you taken to pivot?

Andrea Lee Blogger, Organic Beauty Lover

As a blogger, I make a living for myself generally working with small indie beauty businesses. Many of them have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 and are struggling to make ends meet. I've noticed fewer collaboration requests coming through, and it just doesn't feel like the right time to be sliding into companies' inboxes with a pitch, so I'm working on producing organic content. Going back to the good ol' days of pure, unbiased, unsponsored content will be a good thing for my blog and my audience even if it means I have less income for now, and I'm sure we will all bounce back stronger than ever when this is over.

Sammie Kolk Content Creator, Hullosam

As you can imagine, being a makeup artist, COVID-19 has dramatically impacted my business. Being that I am typically in front of a client and/or models creating makeup looks, my work has come to a halt. This is, of course, necessary, as we don't want to be spreading this further. Clearly, maintaining six feet of distance is virtually impossible with a client. So, how have I been pivoting my business to continue to work for me and make me a living? 

To be honest, it's been tough. I am lucky to have the opportunity to work on content creation with some amazing brands and have continued to do so. I also have been creating makeup looks on myself and sharing videos and IGTVs of said looks to promote affiliate links and other incentives. 

It seems that many are counting on IG Lives for traction and now have the time to do so. I've done two Lives with two different makeup artists, where we do a chatty GRWM (Get Ready With Me) and create makeup looks whilst answering questions our followers may have. It's been fun and a great way to connect with others during this strange time we're in.

Nick DiRamio Blogger, Nick DiRamio

Due to the global restrictions in effect because of the coronavirus, at least one of the beauty brands that I have a monthly contract with has had to put a freeze on their influencer spending. So, for now, I won't be making that portion of my expected income. However, there are other brands that I work with, like those that sell immunity products and hand sanitizers, that are experiencing a surge in search related traffic and sales. I've been relieved to see a natural increase in my affiliate commissions from these such products on and via links in my YouTube video descriptions.

This sort of unprecedented time is exactly why I try to diversify my influencer income beyond YouTube ad revenue and brand deals to include my own website with affiliate links and a strong SEO footprint. An active step I've taken is creating lifestyle content that's focused on remaining healthy, safe and happy while social distancing. This type of content is obviously high-performing right now, and it gives me a chance to make up for the traffic I might lose on my typical content that is less feasible such as shop-with-me videos or travel vlogs.

I try to remember that this type of situation means that people have more time and desire to seek out relatable online personalities that make them feel less isolated. This is a great opportunity to start new conversations and be there for my audience, and potentially form deeper connections than before.

Hyram Yarbro Influencer, Skin Care By Hyram

I’m so grateful to be able to work from home when so many can’t right now. I haven’t been negatively affected financially, but I have been creating more video content to keep my subscribers entertained and smiling while stuck at home during this stressful time. I’ve also stepped back from talking about more expensive products and brands to help promote a message of fiscal responsibility when so many incomes are on hold, and focusing my energy on content that primarily entertains and makes people laugh. As companies are shifting to partner with influencers to promote products that cater to pandemic concerns, my goal is to solely create content that uplifts and inspires while we push through this.

Chelsea Bancroft Blogger, One Chel of an Adventure

Being a travel blogger, I have seen my website traffic completely drop off, and I am going into what is normally my best season. I have had to adjust my content and see how I can appeal to my followers while they're stuck at home. I am working on several blog posts around this, but just published one that has been a big hit: a list of the best travel movies to watch at home. I have also been asking my followers what kind of content they want to see and trying to base my strategy around that.

Lisa Fennessy CEO and Founder, This Organic Girl

I've definitely experienced an impact. People are buying less beauty, which is to be expected. However, the real impact is happening behind the scenes. Three weeks ago, I was working full-time on This Organic Girl and Clean Beauty Test Kitchen (launching soon!). And, now, I am hosting six hours a day of school at home for my 2nd grader and kindergartner, cooking 100% of our meals and trying to work full-time with zero child care. It's been a total flip. To pivot, I've been focusing on tasks that move the needle in the short term and pressing pause on side projects like SEO, list building, keyword research, brand outreach and networking. I've been playing with hosting exclusive events, offers, experiences and gifts for my readers. It's creating some new opportunities, and it's been really exciting. I am also currently onboarding two new contractors which was in the works before COVID-19. The timing couldn't be better because I've never needed the help more than I do now. Either way, I can't wait to get my routine back!

Inessa Vike Influencer and Co-Founder, Vike Beauty

COVID-19 has impacted our business in a few ways and we are keeping a positive forward thinking mindset to hurdle the new obstacles. Deals have been pushed to later dates. We had a number of events this month, and they have all been postponed to a later time. We have experienced a delay in responses from some of our clients/partners due to closing offices, which was excepted. The first step we have taken to pivot this situation is to remain calm and focus this time on our social channels.

Everyone is online right now looking for things to do so our main focus has been putting out engaging content and reaching out to our community. We are in contact with all of our partners and understand once everything is back to normal we can move forward. We have also used this time to think of ideas on what our next products will be for Vike Beauty.

Kasey Boon and Lorena Ashmore Creators, Beauty Biz BFFS

Going through an uncertain time like this has definitely been challenging, but has also been motivation to help others in our industry. We know it can be so hard to not think about making money right now, but we believe getting creative, sharing our knowledge with others, and spreading love and motivation to others has really made this tough time a lot more positive. We’re focused on getting our names out there, supporting other small businesses and hoping that it will come full circle.  

We’re both lucky to have e-commerce sites, so we’ve run sales and worked on new product launches and fine-tuning parts of our business that may have needed extra love. We’ve tried new things like free skincare consults, online mentoring and working with women on their social media and websites. Having more free time has really allowed both of us to get more creative and pull the trigger on things we didn’t have time to work on before. 

The time we’ve had personally to relax has also been crucial for business because being your best self personally allows for more energy at work. Our suggestion for this downtime is to think about the one thing you’ve been putting off for too long. Write it down and work backwards to figure out how you need to complete it and take it day by day.

TIFFANY DESILVA Content Creator, Simply Silva

COVID-19 has affected my business as an influencer in many ways. My community is less inclined to respond to sponsored content, purchasing less and, overall, most of them are feeling defeated during this time. Some steps I've been taking have been to make sure that the content I'm posting is uplifting, realistic and relatable.

Christen Dominique YouTuber and Founder, Dominique Cosmetics

During uncertain times like these, putting it back to my audience and asking them what they want to see is more important than ever. I've been checking in with my community on what they want to see from me on a daily basis because, as we know, everyone's sentiments continue to change on a daily or almost hourly basis due to the ever-changing updates we are getting from the news. The feedback so far has been clear that my audience is looking to me for entertainment and an escape from all of the heaviness.

As for brand deals and sponsorships, we are seeing all companies and brands take different approaches, but the common underlying thread that we are seeing is that all of them are pivoting strategies and altering messaging to present campaigns that are relevant to what people are facing with COVID-19.

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