Have you ever been scrolling through your newsfeed and seen a photo of a celebrity holding something like vitamins or the newest detox tea and thought, “Hmm? I wonder if I ordered that, I would look like they do?” Welcome to the world of social media influencers. It’s the latest and greatest way to make a big splash with products. As nonprofits, we might not use celebrities, but we can sure use members of our community to make just as big of a splash, if not bigger.
A social media influencer is essentially someone with a large following on social media platforms who has the ability to influence their followers. As a marketing tactic, they use this to persuade their audience to buy or use a product or service.
An article by Simply Measured narrowed influencers down to three characteristics that give someone this influencing power: reach, resonance and relevance. With these, the influencer is able to post on social media and rely on their followers to take action.
In the nonprofit world, social media influencers can help garner donations, volunteers, or a more “slacktivist” style of support like awareness. We have seen how even animals can become influencers. The ever-adorable Chiweenie with a large overbite, Tuna, used his recent fame and celebrity to encourage his followers to donate to nonprofit organizations that benefit animal welfare.
We have plenty of tips on how you can use social media to your nonprofit’s advantage, but when it comes to using an influencer to help your nonprofit out, here are some more.
Identify who social media influencers are in your community.
“Your community” can mean multiple things: the system of local nonprofits in your area, the online niche for your cause or the nonprofit sector in general. Having a presence on social media is necessary for this, so make sure your nonprofit is on multiple platforms. Figure out who is getting the most responses to their posts and how they’re doing it.
Reach out to them.
After tuning in to who the important posters are in your community, try to develop a relationship with them. Start by attending volunteer events with them or tagging them in posts online. Chances are, they’re just as passionate about the cause as you are and would love to work with you to figure out how they can help to better it.
Be clear about the ask.
It’s important to be upfront with what you want. Be clear and detailed—after all, it’s benefiting you—but keep in mind that they are doing their own thing too. Start out with a small task that will take little time or effort from them. As your relationship grows, so can your asks.
So let’s recap. Social media influencers can help you boost fundraising or reach new groups of people, it can be a cost-effective way to help you reach your nonprofit goals and it’s an important piece of your overall campaign strategy. With those tools, you’re good to go. Find your influencers and start engaging.