Using Influencer Marketing to Defend the Causes You Care About

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This post was originally published in October 2017, and was last updated in December 2020.

Why influencer marketing is one of the most effective tactics for increasing awareness about important causes and organizations.

Influencers and celebrities are not shy about standing up for the causes they care about. In fact, the line between influencer and activist can be very blurry,we only have to look at the impact of Greta Thunberg or David Attenborough on raising the profile of climate issues. As well as conventional brand-influencer partnerships, we’ve seen a whole host of partnerships where influencers use their platform to raise awareness and funds for causes close to their heart. Influencers can shine a light on the work of nonprofits and bring awareness about these issues to a much larger public.

Kate Hudson backs Watch Hunger Stop, Emma Watson is a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Leonardo Dicaprio is a regular at climate change rallies and events and Orlando Bloom is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. A celebrity ambassador isn’t the only way to harness the power of influencers to defend a cause. WWF tapped into the travel influencer niche for their campaign #TooLatergram with travel influencers posting photos from natural beauty spots that had already been badly affected by climate break-down. 

Let’s explore how influencers can build visibility, awareness and conversions to your cause, plus our 4 tips for successful influencer marketing campaigns for nonprofits. 

Nonprofit influencer marketing objectives

There are three main objectives that can be achieved when using influencer marketing to promote a charity or nonprofit organization:

  1. Visibility

    Partnering with an influencer means you’re going to start reaching far more eyes and ears. Most celebrities have millions of followers and fans, especially on social media, which means there are millions of people who will be exposed to your cause when you partner with an influential person. Mencap managed to reach more than 10 million social media users when they partnered with entertainers Nick and Sammy, to promote their #HereIAm campaign.

  2. Awareness & support

    Influencers are very good at spreading a message far and wide. They are key to sharing specific information around certain issues and bringing awareness of issues to the general public. Coppafeel, a charity dedicated to helping young women recognize the signs of breast cancer, enlisted fitness influencer Carly Rowena, as well as blogger and YouTuber Megan Gilbride to help spread important medical information about the cause. As many people who follow social media influencers, look up to them and find them trustworthy, these messages are more likely to be well received by a younger audience when shared by influencers.  

    During the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, influencers were able to provide support to parents around the world who all found themselves facing similar challenges. Unicef and WHO teamed up with parenting influencers around the world for their #PositiveParenting campaign, sharing messages of support and parenting tips to help moms, dads and carers cope with disrupted routines and home-schooling. Parent influencers such as Kristen Williams shared tips on fun parenting and how to stay safe at home with kids. The influencers shared photos and moments from their own experience looking after their children in lockdown, making relatable content with practical tips that reached 800K parents and carers worldwide.

    Image credit: Instagram @themomedit
  3. Conversion.

    A good call-to-action and an influencer are all you need to get people to start converting and supporting your charity or nonprofit. Influencers have the ability to get people to take action. Their large audiences and high engagement rates help influencers to drive conversions to support nonprofits, whether that be donations, buying a charity calendar or getting involved in an awareness-raising campaign. Jerome Jarre, a famous French entrepreneur, managed to raise over $2 million in a matter of days to help fight hunger in Somalia simply because he is an inspiration and a mentor to so many.

4 Tips for using influencer marketing as a nonprofit

If you really want to spread the word about a cause or organization that’s important to you or your business, below are 4 tips for using influencer marketing to achieve your campaign objectives:

  1. Choose the right influencer

While there are thousands of influencers that you could partner with, it’s incredibly important to choose the right influencer. Authenticity is key when it comes to promoting a charity or nonprofit so it pays to take the time to partner with an influencer that speaks to your organization’s values. Choosing the right influencer is far more important than choosing the biggest or most popular. Your partnership should look and feel natural. This was the case when Unicef and WHO partnered with parent influencers who were also facing the same challenges as many other parents and carers during the pandemic. This meant they could use their genuine experience to create authentic content and offer practical advice as part of the #PositiveParenting campaign.  

It definitely helps to do some research on the influencers you have in mind to make sure that there aren’t any conflicts or past issues that may have a negative influence on your nonprofit later down the line. Upfluence’s comprehensive influencer database ensures that you are choosing and partnering with the right influencers for your specific brand.

  1. Be transparent

When approaching influencers about a partnership, it’s important to be clear and transparent about your expectations and objectives. Not only will this help protect your organization but it also ensures that the influencer can create the best possible content for your campaign. You can even put your objectives and expectations down in writing to be sure that all parties are clear on the results you are looking to achieve. As a brand, running campaigns to support nonprofits, be clear about how exactly you’ll be helping the cause, by offering a percentage of profits, promoting donations or hosting a charity event. It’s important to keep the charitable objective front of mind and completely separate from sales-driven influencer marketing campaigns when engaging your influencers in a new type of campaign. 

  1. Offer some creative freedom

While you want to make sure that your charity or organization is being portrayed in the right light, a seasoned influencer will know how best to approach their fans and followers about a cause and get them to convert, which is why it is important to give your influencer some creative freedom when it comes to the development of your content and your campaign. When choosing your influencers, you’ll be able to make sure they are aligned with the values you want to promote and will have an idea of their creative style from their social media posts. This should reassure you that you’ve made the right choice! Influencers are only likely to work for causes they genuinely care about, so they’ll want to get it right. Do a good job on-boarding them, and the content will reflect exactly what you’re going for. You may even find that if you don’t try and control every aspect of the campaign and the content, you will be able to attract influencers of a higher quality.

  1. Measure and optimize

Monitoring the results of your influencer campaigns is the best way to ensure success now and in the future. By keeping track of your results on a regular basis, you can also optimize your content and campaigns along the way, giving you a greater chance of achieving your objectives. Upfluence’s Software can be used to identify the best possible influencers and to monitor their audiences and publications to calculate the impact of an influencer marketing campaign.

Upfluence is a leader in influencer marketing and has worked with brands of all sizes, from all over the world. Our recent pro-bono campaign with Unicef and WHO shows how we can help find the right influencers to support your cause and reach your goals. Check out more influencer marketing campaigns run with Upfluence on our case studies page

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