The digital world is noisier than ever. Countless causes worldwide are using social media for fundraising, community organizing, advocacy, and more. It can feel nearly impossible to meaningfully engage potential supporters in such a crowded space.
Sometimes it feels like you need a very large bullhorn or millions of followers. While the majority of people don’t have millions of followers — celebrities and influencers on social media do.
We reached out to Influential for tips on how to get the most out of an influencer network to advance your cause. Influential is a leading technology platform that connects brands with the most aligned influencers leveraging transparent data and machine learning.
Here are four steps to take to get your cause noticed and find the right influencer:
1: Find your ally
Do your homework. Find out who is aligned with your cause and evaluate each candidate carefully. For instance, does a particular influencer solely advocate for your cause, or do they work to bring awareness to multiple causes?
“Influencers help move the needle with social causes because they have the ability to cause people to take action since influencers have passionate audiences that engage with and share their content,” says Ryan Detert, CEO for Influential.
“Also, influencers typically have a large audience, so when they share a message, it generally reaches a large number of people. If the influencer themself is altruistic and takes interest in a specific cause, then they typically have an audience that is even more highly engaged and more likely to take action,” Detert says.
To truly narrow down who best to partner with on your cause, Detert says even if you aren’t looking to hire a company such as Influential, you can search hashtags related to your cause and see which influencers have used them.
2: Vet your ally
Just because someone has a large following and is a supporter of the cause you are passionate about doesn’t mean they are the perfect fit. Detert encourages people to ”look for influencers who have good engagement, brand-safe content, well-curated feeds, and verified accounts, when possible.”
“Red flags would include little or no engagement, spammy posting, poor curation of their feeds, and a high concentration of bot followers,” he says. Take time to examine if the influencer is commenting and responding to their audience. Are they posting authentic content regularly, or is everything #sponsored or an #ad? You want someone you and others trust and see as knowledgeable about your cause.
3: Create a movement
The most successful way to get more people to know about your cause is by getting them involved in some way. Is there an action they can take rather than simply donating money? Is there a network they can become a part of to stay up-to-date on the latest news related to your cause? People like to see and feel like they are making a difference, so figure out a small, but impactful action people can take on behalf of your cause and make it easy to replicate over and over.
“We recently worked with the non-partisan organization, Rock the Vote, on a summer kick-off concert for Rock The Vote’s Democracy Summer Campaign with Katy Perry and Black Eyed Peas, where we activated nearly 50 influences who lent their voices to the cause,” Detert says. “As a result of our work on the event, Rock the Vote registered over 200K voters,” he said.
The goal of the campaign was to get folks to register to vote — that was the desired action. The concert was the attention-grabber, and then the influencers spread the message into their networks to register to vote. And, they asked their followers to urge people to do the same.
4: Think of influencers as gig-workers
Because many influencers make their living using their platform for various brands and campaigns, they may not be willing to help you promote your cause for free.
Before you get attached to the idea of a particular influencer being able to help you, find out early on in the process the terms of working with them. Does your influencer want to be paid per post or per audience member that takes your desired action?
And, because the way a campaign is measured online can be overwhelming if you’ve never had to measure all of the data yourself, it may be best to work with a partner like Influential to execute a clean, easy payment system for you. “With the exponential growth in the volume of influencer payments, we give the influencers and/or agencies the full capability to access their account via Tipalti,” Detert says. Tipalti helps ensure the Influential team pays all of their influencers correctly, on time, and in compliance with all tax and regulatory compliance rules. The self-service portal helps influencers track their payments, as well as prevent the risk of any incorrect tax or banking details from being entered into the system.
“For security purposes, their tax information is entered electronically along with their chosen payment method. Once their account is set up, they are able to view their invoice/payment status. These capabilities ensure that Influential can collect all of the required documents securely and with ease of mind,” he said.