According to insights from 400+ influencers in the U.S. responding to a Mavrck survey sent in July, 46 percent of them still don’t know what school will look like for them or their kids in the fall given the COVID-19 pandemic. Out of these respondents, 67 percent of those primarily create content within the parenting space and don’t know what school will look like for their children. 

Why does this matter? Brand marketers need to be able to pivot back to school (BTS) marketing strategies in the coming weeks as schools continue to analyze how they’re going to proceed in this unprecedented time.

The below guide will walk through additional survey data and recommendations when it comes to influencer marketing campaign ideas that brands can activate with sensitivity for back to school.

Hybrid Learning and What that Means for Content

When we asked the group of survey participants what school will look like for them in the fall, 14 percent of the respondents answered that their kids or they themselves will be attending online classes while at home. This being said, we recommend that marketers consider running influencer campaigns with an “at-home” theme in response to creators and/or their children virtually learning in their houses this year.

Of those respondents who typically incorporate BTS messaging in their content calendar, 18 percent said they will be centering their content around a homeschool setup within their household. This provides brands the opportunity to align their marketing initiatives with helping parents create a better space at home and helping them get a better handle on homeschooling. For example, a CPG food brand may consider a campaign focused on easy meals or snacks parents can make for their kids. A crafting or DIY brand may direct influencers to create content on activities to keep their children entertained while at home. Or perhaps campaigns can recommend DIY projects to get their houses ready for homeschool or working from home.

Outside of a completely virtual learning environment, 7 percent of the survey respondents will be participating in a hybrid approach to school with classes online and in-person, while only 5 percent attending classes entirely in-person. This means that brands need to consider that some creators will have safety precautions top of mind, thus marketers should incorporate proper safety measures – i.e. mask wearing, social distancing, etc. – into influencer briefs when applicable for the campaign.

Out of the respondents planning BTS content, 18 percent want to promote safety within their content, which further solidifies the point of including relevant safety guidelines into influencer briefs. This also poses an opportunity for campaigns to incorporate safety into their overall campaign theme. For example, marketers can encourage creators to mention CDC guidelines alongside the main focus of the campaign, which is the brand’s product or service. If influencers are outside producing content while wearing masks and social distancing, the CDC callout would flow naturally within the creator’s messaging. 

An unexpected opportunity also exists for fashion and apparel brands. Our survey found that 7 percent of influencers with a BTS focus still plan to showcase outfits, accessories, and makeup regardless of whether or not they are going to be physically in school. This means that fashion brands can still capitalize on the “back to school look” theme within their influencer campaigns, shifting them to center around an at-home look this year. In tandem, brands can also expand on the importance of self-care by dressing up for yourself and no one else, honing in on the idea of supporting good mental health, which is extremely important, especially during the time of the pandemic.

Embracing the Unknown

Despite some creators having a semblance of an idea in regards to how they are going to change their back to school content, 29 percent of the 160+ U.S. respondents are still unsure how they are going to adapt the content they’ll be posting this fall. For those within the parenting category, 22 percent said that their BTS content plan is still to be determined based on their school’s ultimate decision. With so much still unknown, there’s a huge opportunity for brand marketers to provide influencers with content ideas for the BTS theme, giving creators multiple options in case they have to pivot their content according to the changing times. 

It’s clear that there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to the current state of the world and we’re all having to change many aspects of our lives to cope with the pandemic. Based on this recent survey data, there are many opportunities for brand marketers to help influencers – parents and students alike – to adapt their content accordingly. Above are just a few key takeaways from our research and subsequent ideas of how marketers can support creators during this time. Always remember how important it is to build connections with the influencers you work with on your campaigns. They’re the experts in their space, but even they can’t predict the future and will have to pivot their content creation strategy as needed. Consider surveying the group of influencers you want to work with to collect their direct feedback and incorporate this into your campaigns. Be mindful of everything they’re trying to handle in their lives during this time and be willing to extend deadlines or update your influencer marketing strategy as needed.

To learn more about how you can partner with influencers and come up with a great back to school content creation plan, schedule a free consultation with one of our expert strategists here.