Because of the inestimable end to social distancing, many people who are self-employed and creatives within the events industry are struggling to keep up. While musical artists are turning to live streams to supplement lost revenue, event creatives don’t have similar opportunities. With many companies doing layoffs or furloughs, it made me wonder how this pandemic has impacted influencers. Have brand partnerships been more scarce, and is the impact different depending on if you’re a micro or bigger influencer?
Jessica Golich is an entrepreneur whose living has been primarily in the event media space. She is an event photographer, cannabis influencer and owner of her own independent publication, Life Beyond The Music. We recently sat down with her to learn how she is adapting to social distancing and what her influencer and media peers can do to stay ahead.
I know your Tik Tok’s content is mostly of front-row concerts. How have you been adapting on the platform with this crisis? Do you have enough unposted footage stored to continue to post similar content, or are you looking at other ways to keep your feed active?
“Fortunately, I have thousands of videos saved up from over the years that showcase up-close concert footage, and I actually have a small vault that I haven’t released yet so I look forward to doing so through this time. As I focus on the Cannabis Influencer component of my entrepreneurial journey, I have been adding elements of myself to my TikTok page, as well. Right now is a good time to test your audience and add more branches to the tree in regards to audience demographics. TikTok is an amazing app that provides opportunity for growth for all kinds of creatives with a more flexible algorithm. If you use the app’s features to your benefit, stay consistent and participate in the variety of challenges that come along daily, you are bound to create traction on your account and brand.”
How have you approached maintaining your Instagram feed? Since nothing exciting is really happening in any of our lives, I can see it being difficult to come up with new content to keep followers engaged and attract new ones.
It actually has surprisingly been a learning opportunity for me as I shifted all of my content to an “at home” feel to further influence my audiences to stay home. I’ve approached my content creation with mindfulness and have also ensured that I am inquiring about and extending empathy to those in my communities and beyond that are enduring an extremely challenging transition due to COVID-19. I have also been partnering with brands such as Universal Entertainment to further influence my audience to stay home through promoting movies that they can watch and Cannabis tools that they can use to stay level-headed and grounded through this transition.
Have you noticed if there has been a reduction of brand partnership opportunities? I would imagine cannabis may be better off than other companies that aren’t classified as essential businesses, but what has everything looked like from your perspective?
Cannabis is indeed sustaining and thriving in this regard as it has been deemed an essential business. I have noticed that brands are having to pivot in regards to shipping their products and that some products for campaigns are taking longer to receive due to COVID-19, but other than that, I still am observing and partaking in the influencer community working from home. I think that a lot of brands and in particular smaller brands are leaning on marketing and utilizing this time to get their brand out there further with influencers to sustain and stay afloat.
Do you feel that micro-influencers have an advantage or disadvantage during this crisis? On one hand, they are cheaper for brands to partner up with; however, they likely don’t have a big enough following to support themselves financially in the long-run.
I think that this question depends on the particular influencer and their professional circumstances and if they have diversified their portfolio and income streams. Right now is actually a great time for influencers, while we are all at home, because a lot of brands are pitching #StayAtHome campaigns which allow us to experiment with different ways of selling a product or brand from home. As for the long run and the big picture, I always think that it is best (in any creative field) to diversify your income streams and add on to your skill-set as much as you can. Right now is a good time to learn a new skill or jump on a new social network and start building an organic following.
Do you predict that influencers will gradually decrease over time as we continue to socially distance or do you think we may emerge out of this crisis with more?
I foresee emergence through this time for influencers. From a long-term thought-process, if you strategize and execute on an idea that you have in mind to elevate your brand, you did so through any circumstances that you may have been facing at the time. Although right now the circumstances put some big blocks in the road, you can challenge yourself to be experimental with your marketing approach, content creation and community building. While acknowledging reality, I also perceive that maintaining activity in the midst of COVID-19 will help influencers get ahead for when this subsides.
What do you predict opportunities post-COVID to be like for influencers and event creatives such as photographers?
That’s a great question that I’ve been pondering myself in regards to event creatives and getting back into the photo pit. I do think that there will be distancing in place and less photographers approved for the pit in the future, but that’s just what I predict.
Do you think there will be a struggle to compete once life comes back to normal, since everyone is bouncing back at the same time?
Personally, I always look at this through the lens of the benefits of collaboration. Rather than competing, why not combine your two (or however many) social networks to get both of your brands out there further, and in particular in times of crisis. It takes time to find your squad but it’s best to keep it small, tight and loyal. Then the only person you’re ever really competing with is yourself to become a better version of yourself.
On top of being a photographer and cannabis influencer, you’re also a journalist. How are you setting yourself up for success with writing for when the pandemic is over?
Through launching Life Beyond The Music, I fortunately am accustomed to diving beyond the common press cycle and inquiring with musicians that I interview about different elements of their lives outside of their artistry. It’s been common to see musicians and entertainers experimenting with adding new elements to their brands throughout quarantine with examples being musicians and DJ’s cooking on their IG Live’s or hosting a workout/yoga session on their social pages live feature. I think that focusing on maintaining the positive relationships that you are building in the industries that you contribute to while in the midst of this pandemic is elemental to sustaining over time. As we all know, we’re all going through it. Therefore, extending empathy and acknowledging that we all are pivoting within our businesses provides a space for all of us to learn together.
What do you think your fellow influencers and creatives need to be doing now to come out on top later?
Right now is the time to strengthen your professional relationships. Reach out to people and brands that you have previously partnered with and check-in to see how they are doing through this pandemic. Slow down and analyze your vision. Learn through how others are pivoting and use their examples as an opportunity to adjust your approach for better long-term results. I am an avid believer in the importance of studying the industries that you are contributing work to along with those that are in major positions of influence and the steps that they took to broaden their audiences over time. For example, I watch Jeffree Star, Paris Hilton, First We Feast, Grower’s Network and Tana Mongeau’s YouTube channels all of the time. As I am watching, I am studying the equipment and lighting they are using, what video editing software they use, the strategies they use to build a fan base and sell a product and consuming the knowledge that they are sharing. Although this period of time has proven itself as challenging in a variety of ways, it’s also an empty space of time for an entrepreneurial mind to dabble, learn and grow.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you so much to anyone who took the time out to read this and make sure to add me on TikTok and Instagram to follow how I pivot in my business over quarantine. Exercise your ability to maximize this time toward bettering yourself as a human being which will naturally translate into your professional endeavors.