How to leverage digital influencers for your next charity campaign
Teaming up with online influencers can be a huge boost for charity campaigns, but it takes some strategic thinking to make it work – here’s how.
People have a primal instinct to copy and follow successful people, which psychology suggests is actually hard-wired into us through evolution. In much the same way that brands use this to get people to buy their products, charities can and do tap into this as a powerful way of creating buzz around their cause. One way of achieving this is through partnerships with digital influencers.
Using a well-known, respected or expert name to spread your message online is known as ‘influencer marketing’ and it has become core to marketing strategies across virtually every industry.
Digital influencers aren’t always huge celebrities, but they garner large followings online, often in niche platforms or communities, which sees their content get high engagement. Charities can ride on the coat-tails of this to develop relationships with their audience. A few years ago, every charity hoped to ‘go viral’, now it’s about targeting exactly who will do this for them.
Here are some tips to leveraging influencers in your next online charity campaign.
1- Identify micro-influencers
When you’re just starting out in influencer marketing, small but relevant is best. Your ideal influencer doesn’t need to be world-famous, but can take the form of a local blogger, a vlogger with a strong following in a special interest area, or someone running a Facebook group relevant to your mission.
Micro-influencers are individuals that have between 1,000 to 1,000,000 followers/audience members and are considered experts in their respective niche.
Because they have smaller, more niche audiences, they’re able to have a much more personal connection with their audience, and often have high engagement with their content as a result.
The key to making micro-influencers work for your charity is to identify exactly who you’re trying to reach and ensure your target audience is aligned with that of the influencer. For example, if you’re a children’s charity, can you find a parenting blogger or someone running a parent group online? If your campaign is all about gaining more volunteers, is there an Instagram influencer with an audience of university students?
Be hyper-targeted and pinpoint what connects them to your cause. Search for specific keywords and phrases on social media and Google search topic areas to see what blogs and social media accounts crop up the most. Then reach out directly with a private message.
2- Go after online A-listers
While it requires a bit more of a strategic approach, we’re not discounting the power of reaching out to high net worth individuals to ask for donations. The most influential digital influencers and online content creators, activists, icons and experts command huge audiences and often rake in fortunes.
We recently revealed how the biggest celebrities on Instagram have raised millions for good causes, while these ten social media stars alone have raised $8m for charities through their online fundraisers.
YouTube star and teen icon Zoella raised the profile of Mind, the mental health charity, among her eight million dedicated subscribers. Successful gaming vlogger PewDiePie helped Save the Children raise over $300,000 for his #BrosSaveTheChildren campaign.
Here are some more tips on going after the big guns.
3 – Get your message out
Once you’ve chosen an influencer, it’s time to decide on the messaging they should be helping to push. Decide whether you want to give them content or help them to create their own.
The key is authenticity for influencer marketing to be truly effective. While it’s good to provide a few key stats, talking points and the important components of your messaging, refrain from providing an exact script or attempting to shape them around your brand – you are using their voice to amplify your cause and it needs to be natural, not forced.