By: Emma Poleszuk
From the influencer-backed Fyre Festival that didn’t exist to the Kardashian’s controversially promoting an appetite-suppressing lollipop, the authenticity of influencer marketing has been brought under the spotlight recently and covered widely in the media across the globe.
However, it can be argued that there is a genuine benefit in engaging with influencers to promote your cause-led campaign, whether this is related to charity, animal conservation or fundraising.
Authenticity is Key
Consumers have become increasingly social media savvy as platforms and the concept of influencer marketing has continued to develop, often scrolling past paid promotions and #sponsored posts deeming them disingenuous.
Engaging with those known for dedicating their lives to your cause such as raising awareness of plastic in the oceans, for example, would be a natural fit to promote your latest recycling initiative, with resulting content coming across as more authentic. Chances are, their following will also be passionate about whatever cause it is you’re promoting and find the content engaging, making them more likely to make the necessary call-to-action, whether this is buying your product, signing your petition or donating to charity.
Celebrity Isn’t Everything
It’s easy to get hung up on numbers, and assume the higher the following, the higher the return on investment. However, the rise of the micro to macro influencer, defined as those with between 10k-100k+ followers, has shown that an engaged audience often lies in these numbers, with followers choosing to engage in content that resonates with them and the passions and causes they align themselves with, as opposed to the following of the latest fleeting reality star who click subscribe because 1.5+ million others have.
It’s worth noting too that your brand’s influencer army doesn’t have to be led by celebrities in the traditional sense. Those who can carry an authentic message for your brand and mission can range from industry leaders, lecturers, and business executives to politicians and charity ambassadors, again boosting the integrity of your message with backing from respected SMEs.
The platform you broadcast your message on should also vary depending on the content, with digestible videos and memes working better on Instagram and polls or links to longer articles gaining more traction on Twitter. Once you know who your audience is, you can work out who they listen to and where they consume their content to ensure maximum exposure and awareness of your cause.
People want to help
Consumers can feel bombarded with paid promotions, brand collaborations and #gifted content across social media, and if it appears to be pushing materialistic products for corporate profit and gain, it’s easy to switch off. The ratio between this kind of content and influencer content looking to genuinely make a difference and raise awareness of issues in society is likely quite uneven. Focusing on cause-led content increases the chance of your message standing out, giving those scrolling something worthwhile to engage with.
A recent survey from The Charities Aid Foundation found that whilst 59% of charities believe they are using new technology and social media effectively, only 29% are using tech effectively to increase giving and donations, which as discussed, is where influencers can help. Digital platforms and the influencers that inhabit them are key to reaching new audiences with your cause-led message and could result in unprecedented results for your campaign.