Working with influencers can help you grow your audience, raise awareness, share information, and connect with niche audiences. All without the big price tag of an advertising campaign
An influencer is someone with a strong, engaged social media following 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 to a new audience you’re trying to reach – and one that already trusts and values the influencer’s opinion.
Charities rarely pay for influencers (it’s a relationship built on goodwill), so you can get great exposure without paying huge amounts of money. They can help increase your credibility and get their followers engaged with your cause. Plus, working with influencers can get around the fact that more people are using ad blockers when on social media.
Doing your homework is time well spent. Look for influencers who have a genuine resonance with your charity. For example, if your charity supports families with young children, you might want to approach a parent who vlogs about sleepless nights and weaning. It comes back to authenticity and finding people who have a genuine passion about your work.
Don’t stick to one influencer. Build a team that shares your ideals and values, but have their own niche followers. Doing that will give you access to specific audiences. Influencers on Twitch, for example, can give you access to the gaming community.
It’s not all about finding the influencers with the largest number of followers – micro-influencers can help you target specific audiences.
A one-off post by someone with millions of followers can be great in terms of raising awareness of a campaign. But someone who personally cares about your cause and regularly posts about it will have a longer-lasting impact in 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 wasted time.
When looking for influencers to collaborate with, think through:
There are lots of tools out there to help you identify influencers to work with. Traackr, for instance, has more than six million vetted profiles to search through using an array of filters. Others to try include Upfluence and Buzzsumo. Bear in mind, these might cost you.
Go to your audience for ideas of influencers to target, using surveys 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! – the breast cancer awareness charity – did an Instagram poll asking their followers ‘who inspires you?’ and used those results to find new influencers to work with.
Many influencers now have an agent. According to celebrity and influencer advocacy specialist, Paul Cullen, since the pandemic requests to work with influencers have gone through the roof. This makes it even more important that you have an authentic reason for approaching a particular influencer.
When contacting their agent, make sure your request is one that is relevant and compelling to the person you’re hoping to collaborate with. And be persistent. If you don’t have luck with their agent, try their manager or publicist.
Ideally, find a personal connection to make initial contact. But don’t be shy. Like and comment on their posts, and celebrate their successes.
Contact them using the platform they use most (don’t email a YouTube vlogger, try sending them a video). And when you DM them, make sure your message is concise and packs a punch – time is precious in the world of influencers.
Above all, remember this is about genuine connection so do your research, and show that you know about them and understand their audience. Then make your first ask short and straightforward – a few simple posts that won’t take much time. It’s a good way to test out the relationship to see that it’s mutually beneficial.