Sep 15, 2021by Mary Wessel
Working with influencers can help you grow your audience, raise awareness, share information, and connect with niche audiences. All without the high cost of an advertising campaign
An influencer is someone with a strong and engaged social network who promotes brands through their content. To their audience, their opinion not only matters, but influences what they buy, where they go and how they spend their money.
Working with an influencer can get your message across to a new audience you’re trying to reach – and who already trust and value the influencer opinion.
Why should charities care?
Charities rarely pay for influencers (it’s a relationship built on goodwill), so you can get high visibility without paying huge sums of money. They can help you increase your credibility and engage their followers to your cause. Additionally, working with influencers can get around the fact that more and more people are using ad blockers on social media.
Build an authentic team
Doing homework is time well spent. Look for influencers who really resonate with your charity. For example, if your charity supports families with young children, you might want to contact a parent who blogs about sleepless nights and weaning. It comes down to authenticity and finding people who have a genuine passion for your work.
Don’t stick to just one influencer. Build a team that shares your ideals and values, but has its own niche followers. This will give you access to specific audiences. Influencers on Twitch, for example, can give you access to the gaming community.
Quality, not quantity
It’s not just about finding the influencers with the most followers – micro-influencers can help you target specific audiences.
A single post by someone with millions of subscribers can be very helpful in terms of raising awareness for a campaign. But someone who personally cares about your cause and posts about it regularly will have a more lasting impact by actively engaging their followers.
And when it comes to platforms, go where your supporters are. It doesn’t matter if the world is on TikTok – if it’s not relevant to your supporters, it will be time wasted.
Questions to shape your thinking
When looking for influencers to collaborate with, consider:
- Why do you want to work with them? Promote your brand over the long term? For specific campaigns? Have a few initial goals in mind
- Is the influencer transparent about promotional publications? Are their followers genuine and not bought? (If the number of subscribers is high, but engagement is low, this may be an indication)
- Are their messages of a high and consistent level? And does their tone of voice match yours?
- Do you have shared values? Does the influencer have direct experience and interest in your cause? Authenticity sings
Use an influencer tool
There are plenty of tools to help you identify which influencers to work with. Traackr, for example, has over six million verified profiles to search for using a range of filters. Others to try include Upfluence and Buzzsumo. Keep in mind that this can cost you dearly.
Ask your subscribers
Reach out to your audience for ideas of influencers to target, using polls or asking questions on social media. Not only will the approach save you research time, it will engage your audience and show that you respect their opinions.
For example, CoppaFeel! – Breast Cancer Awareness Charity – Did an Instagram Poll Ask Followers “Who Inspires You?” And used those results to find new influencers to work with.
Go through an agent
Many influencers now have an agent. According to celebrity and influencer advocacy specialist Paul Cullen, since the pandemic, requests to collaborate with influencers have skyrocketed. This makes it even more important that you have a genuine reason for approaching a particular influencer.
When contacting their agent, make sure your request is relevant and compelling to the person you hope to collaborate with. And be persistent. If you’re having bad luck with their agent, try their manager or publicist.
Ideally, find a personal connection to establish initial contact. But don’t be shy. Like and comment on their posts, and celebrate their successes.
Reach out to them using the platform they use the most (don’t email a YouTube vlogger, try sending them a video). And when you send them to DM, make sure your message is concise and punchy – time is precious in the influencer world.
Above all, remember that this is a real connection, so do your research and show that you know them and understand their audience. Then make your first request short and to the point – a few simple messages that won’t take a long time. This is a good way to test the relationship to see that it is mutually beneficial.