Influencer Marketing and The Recession

Signs point to a possible recession (more to come from economists this week) but what does that mean for influencer marketing?

If this will be anything like the 2007-08 recession, brands’ financial belts are about to get tighter and advertising budgets will be carefully allocated based on the best-performing tactics. 

For many brands, influencer marketing may get the cut. But for others, this digital marketing tactic will be the main focus of ongoing campaigns. In fact, some brands like Peace Out skincare and babycare brand Coterie have made influencer marketing a priority over traditional methods. 

Why? According to a recent Marketing Brew article, the founders of the wine brand Yes Way Rosé see authenticity as the driving force. 

“To be able to connect in an organic way with influencers really can have great results,” they said in the article. 

If you want to make the most of your marketing dollars ahead of this emerging recession and still come out on top, we have five TikTok tips to keep in mind. 


1. Go Where The Creators Are

For brands looking to capitalize on social media and on influencer marketing specifically, TikTok is going to be an asset. 

According to Mavrck’s creator survey from April 2022, 66% of respondents say that they are devoting their time to curating and building their TikTok presence. 65% of those respondents followed up by noting that they spend 5-50% of their total creation time generating TikTok content. 

So, for brands that are looking to follow creator traffic, TikTok is home to a lot of new content – and its library isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. This is due in part to the success of shoppable content on TikTok, where the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag has been viewed over 17 billion times. 

In the United States, user age skews more toward the younger demographic. According to Business Insider, 80% of TikTok’s user base is comprised of Gen Z and Millennials, meaning that brands looking to reach a target audience between the age of 25-41 will have plenty of potential consumers at arms reach on TikTok. 

The traffic is there. The users are young and digitally savvy. 

Now, consider this: according to a creator study conducted by MRM Commerce and Mavrck, TikTok is ranked as a preferred live stream contender for many creators.

This, combined with TikTok’s one billion monthly active users worldwide (MAUs), indicates that there is lots of content, consumers, and opportunities to go around. 


2. Pay Attention To Your TikTok Competition

Being a trendsetter and leader in your vertical is a great goal, but it’s also important to pay attention to your competition’s online activity. In the skincare and beauty categories, demos, review videos, and live applications are top performers on TikTok. Additionally, DIY/home decor, fashion, and food & beverage brands also rank as high utilizers.

But even if your vertical isn’t common on TikTok, this doesn’t mean it’s a platform you should avoid – in fact, if your competition hasn’t seized the opportunity, it’s likely that you have a niche that you can capitalize on with creative, one-of-a-kind, influencer-generated content. 

One may argue that a potential recession isn’t the time to try out new marketing tactics. But one may rebuttal that traditional marketing tactics may not be enough any longer. 


3. Work Out Long-Term Contracts With TikTok Creators

Creators, and everyone working in a gig economy, are likely just as nervous about the impending recession as you are. 

Remember, creators aren’t salaried employees – rather, their work is completed on a contracted or case-by-case basis. 

To win over your creator partners, consider formulating long-term contracts to help them anticipate a consistent paycheck. 

According to a Mavrck creator survey from January 2021, 84% of creators say that they prefer long-term contracts anyhow – not just in a recession. Long-term contracts are preferable because of their predictability and ease of scheduling within a creator’s total book of business, among other pros. 

During negotiations with creators, ask about their adjusted rates for long-term contracts. Some creators will offer discounts for contracts lasting a year or more – which will help your bottom line! 


4. Fund Repurposable TikTok Content

As creators’ best friends, brands have the opportunity to partner with and fund creators to produce repurposable content. 

Not only is this a method that benefits creators by positioning their content to receive greater engagement, but it’s also economically beneficial for brands who are looking to stretch their influencer marketing dollars. Evergreen content, or content that is always relevant, can be reused when creator funding dwindles. Therefore, if you face budget cuts or a shrinking workforce as the result of a recession, brands can rely on evergreen creator content to maintain their social media presence. 

One thing to remember: if you want to repurpose creator content, make sure you work that option to repackage or repurpose it into your creator contracts. That way, you’ll be able to maintain a positive relationship with your creator partners. Great relationships equate to even better, long-lasting partnerships. 


5. Plan Ahead For Post-Recession Marketing Moves on TikTok

We’d caution brands to be aware of how they treat and interact with creators ahead of a recession. Not only is treating partners with respect and compassion simply the right thing to do, but creators will remember the brands that worked with them as true partners during difficult times. 

Eventually, recessions resolve and most economies stabilize. What this will look like for influencer marketing is yet to be seen – but it’s important to remember that business may be able to continue as normal after the dust settles.

Therefore, when funding turns back to ramping up marketing strategies, remember the creators who stuck with you – and they’ll remember who stuck with them. 


Now Comes The Waiting Game

Though a shifting economy brings about a degree of uncertainty, there are still things you can do to make sure your business, workforce, and creator partners are still performing. We hope this guide helps outline a few steps to better prepare your influencer marketing strategies on TikTok as change picks up.  


Learn More About The Creator Economy and Influencer Marketing