Social media influencers can add huge value to your organisation – as long as they’re aligned to your cause. They can help you reach a large, loyal audience in a cost-effective way but how do you work with them?
I recently spoke at a CharityComm’s seminar on Unlocking the power of social influencers and this is what I shared in my presentation. I hope it’s useful!
Define what is an influencer
There are different levels of influencers, depending on their following (and therefore their influence). According to (Source?), the levels of influencer are:
- Celebrity (More than 1 million followers)
- Influencer (More than 100k followers)
- Micro Influencer (10-100k followers)
- Nano Influencer (up to 10k followers)
However, don’t take these definitions at face value as it also depends on your sector and who you’re trying to reach. For example, there are approximately 145,000 people in the UK with Parkinson’s Disease so if your charity is focused on helping people living with Parkinson’s Disease then even a nano influencer, such as David Sangster, who has just over 3,000 Twitter followers or Emma Lawton, who has over 4,200 Twitter followers can help you reach this niche audience. They would have way more influencer than a celebrity who might tweet about you once but doesn’t actually have a connection to your cause.
Whilst numbers are important – because the more followers they have, the more people they can potentially put you in front of – what’s more important is synergy and authenticity. As with both David and Emma, they have Parkinson’s so their content is really authentic and relatable to their followers. They can speak with authority about the subject.
According to a survey by Fullscreen, 57% of 18-24-year-olds feel that influencers share the
same interests as they do. Both Zoella and Fearne Cotton speak about their issues with anxiety and how it affects their mental health. In fact, Fearne has even started a podcast called Happy Place, which is focused on wellbeing and mental health – and Zoella has even been a guest on her show. They are both ambassadors for Mind, the mental health charity, so any reference to the charity sounds authentic and real. There will be lots of their followers who are struggling with mental health issues, either themselves or in their family, so Mind is able to reach them through working with influencers like Zoella and Fearne.
What to look for in an influencer
There has been lots of backlash in terms of influencers who effectively advertise to their followers but don’t actually use the brand themselves. Then there are those who are faking sponsored posts in order to build their credibility with brands. If you do want to work with influencers, choose them wisely. Working with the wrong influencer could potentially be damaging to your reputation.
Here are the questions you should ask
First start with these two questions:
- Do they have a clear connection to our cause?
- Does their tone of voice fit in with our messaging?
If there is a potential fit, then ask:
- How many followers do they have?
- What platform/s are they on?
- How engaged are their followers?
- How often do they work with brands/charities?
- Do they have a niche focus?
- Would they be willing to collaborate without being paid?
When working with influencers, it’s important to remember that you can only guide them on what content to create. Most influencers are really creative and will want to come up with their own ideas rather than be told exactly what to do. Having said that, make it as easy as possible for them to do their job.
Can you provide them with images, video clips, gifs or someone to interview, for example? If there are key stats or messaging and a campaign hashtag, then include this in your brief so they can incorporate it into their content.
Know the law
The ASA has recently launched guidance for influencers, which includes disclosing if they have been paid for the post or have been gifted an item/s by using #ad. The hashtag needs to be clear, easily seen and not hidden. Just marking a post as sponsored isn’t enough and all content types have to have full disclosure – even Stories which only last 24 hours.
How to measure success
If you work with influencers who have a strong affinity to your cause, you’re likely to see:
- An increase in your followers
- An increase in engagement
- An increase in web traffic
- PR coverage
- Social media buzz
Steps to working with influencers
Do your research! Use keyword or hashtag searches to see if any influencers talk about your sector or your cause in their organic posts. Then ask the questions we mentioned earlier. If you think they’d be a good fit, then reach out to them. Depending on their level of influencer, you may need to contact their agent. Most influencers want to work on brand collaborations so you should see how to contact them just by looking at their Instagram or Twitter bio.
Have a clear campaign in mind – don’t just reach out if there’s nothing for them to actually work on. Be helpful but not restrictive. Remember to mention the benefits of working with you (do you have a strong brand? Can you offer them a product or experience?).
Remember to measure if the collaboration has been successful.
You can also check my slides from the CharityComms seminar here. If you are a CharityComms member, you can also request to access the video.