Michael Bellavia

So You Want to Work With An Influencer

Social media can be a grind. For a small nonprofit who likely doesn’t have a dedicated social media manager, let alone a marketing person, trying to create, curate and cultivate content for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest can be hard enough. Add to it that if you’re on social then the expectation is that you are engaging with the community on your posts, answering “customer service” like inquiries in your DMs, reaching out to page managers of other accounts to schedule collaborations, jumping on real-time trends, addressing crisis situations, rotating themes, making sure you’re addressing all your communities, communicating your brand, driving site visits, raising money, the list goes on and on. That doesn’t even include keeping up with all the changes on those platforms or any of the other huge social platforms that are more video driven like YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat or the ever growing crop of new channels — don’t you love it when your CEO says, “My daughter is using Clubhouse and we should be on that to go viral!” And likely after all this, you may still be getting your posts seen by only a handful of people and have only a couple hundred followers.

After a few years of what feels like spinning your wheels, you then were able to convince someone that you need to have a paid media budget. Since all the public social platforms have evolved or continue to evolve towards a pay to play model it means that the cost to acquire a new follower continues to increase. How do you stand out and build awareness beyond your current audience? Often people turn to the idea of working with an influencer with lots of their own followers and clout as a magic salvo. It’s not the end all be all solution, but influencer partnerships can have a huge impact on building awareness, developing your authority and getting you  included in social conversations.

You’re not alone. Influencer marketing is expected to be a $15 billion dollar industry by 2022 with 63% of marketers planning to increase their influencer marketing budget in the next year.

But before you jump into any kind of influencer relationship try to work through these questions. Document your answers so that you can hold your organization and the influencer accountable.

  • Your Strategy – does this tactic align with your overall marketing strategy? How will this ladder into the rest of the work you do? What are the goals and objectives you have for this influencer? Why do influencers make sense for your organization at this point in time? Knowing the answers to these questions will help act as a filter when deciding who to work with.
  • Your Goals and Expectations – What will success look like? Do you need creative control? Do you expect them to post it on their channels? And which channels matter to you based on the audience? How much content and what formats do you need? Is this a one off arrangement or are you looking for a long-term partner? Will a microinfluencer work for you, someone with a following in the hundreds, but they are all the top tier influential data scientists, or do you need a Billie Eilish to make your mark?
  • Your Budget – What is the value proposition you can offer to an influencer? Are you looking for them to donate their time? Their reach? How big is your budget? Is it zero? No harm in being honest about. Just means that you will need to focus your influencer outreach with that in mind and look for other ways to provide value to the influencer for their time.
  • The Influencer’s Goals – What are they looking to get out of this relationship? Ideally they want to work with you because they believe in your impact work, they are served by your organization or they have a direct connection and want to help advance your mission. Do they just want the fee? Are they using this as an opportunity to make amends for one of their past social media fumbles? None of these questions have wrong answers, but the more you know up front the better the outcome of the relationship.
  • The Results – How will you measure success? What data will you need to get from the influencer or will you need to capture? What ROI are you expecting?

If you can answer these questions you can build a case for investing in an influencer and you’ll be better prepared to find, negotiate and collaborate with any influencer. When you have a solid plan both your organization and the influencer are more likely to create a mutually beneficial experience for you and your new followers.

HelpGood is a social media agency that helps nonprofits, foundations, faith-based and purpose-driven organizations reach, engage and inspire action from key audiences. We are full-service in that we help with research, planning, creative production, implementation, evaluation, and optimization to your goals and objectives. 

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