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Connect with Influencers to Increase Your Social Media Impact

Jenny Love
Published:  10/21/2020
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Photo by George Pagan III on Unsplash

Influencers are popping up everywhere online, and it’s no wonder. Donors increasingly expect to be able to interact with philanthropic partners digitally, a trend that has accelerated even more since the pandemic forced so many people to stay home. But digital ad blindness, ad blockers, and the constantly changing algorithms that digital media platforms use to serve up content make it difficult to get traditional ads in front of the people you want to see them. 

Working with influencers can help you reach prospective donors in your community online, but as with many new trends, it can be difficult to know where to begin. That’s why we’ve put together this primer on influencers to get you started.

Why Use Influencers?

Consumer trust in brands is declining at the same time as trust has become the second-most important factor people consider when deciding whether to interact with a particular brand. According to the Nielsen Global Trust and Advertising Report, 92 percent of consumers trust user-generated content--a much higher rate than those who trust content produced by brands themselves. 

Influencers are an opportunity to work with someone who is trusted among the audience you are trying to reach and to build a sense of community among them with your foundation. When an influencer interacts with your brand, they lend it credibility and extend its reach, all at relatively low cost to you.

What Is an Influencer?

When you think about influencers, likely the ones who come to mind are the mega-influencers of the world, the fashionistas and celebrity chefs. But that definition of an influencer is very narrow and not likely to be your target segment as you look to build an influencer base for your foundation.

Anyone who is respected by their peers and has the power to affect the decisions of others is an influencer. In the world of healthcare philanthropy, that could be community members who are very active on social media, people who have successfully overcome a significant health issue like cancer or a transplant, or people who are generally engaged with health-related causes. 

Types of Influencers

There are four types of influencers: mega, macro, micro, and nano. Mega influencers have more than a million followers. They are often famous, and their spheres of influence are broad and cover a variety of topics. By contrast, micro influencers have fewer than 100,000 followers and are often “internet famous” in a particular subject area. Nano influencers have fewer than 1,000 followers that are concentrated in a specific neighborhood or community. 

Foundations often focus on micro and nano influencers, who tend to focus on a specific niche in the market. These influencers have smaller followings, which makes their communities feel more intimate. Micro and nano influencers are a little bit more relatable than their counterparts with larger numbers of followers. Followers of micro and nano influencers often feel more comfortable talking to the influencer, and the influencer is more likely to respond.

Another benefit of working with smaller influencers is cost. Ten thousand dollars might buy you one post with a macro influencer. By contrast, you can do a campaign with 50 micro influencers for the same price and supply content for their feed for multiple months.

How to Find the Best Influencers for Your Brand

The first step toward finding influencers for your foundation is to identify the characteristics you’d like to focus on. For example, if you were looking for influencers for a children’s hospital foundation, your target audience might be mothers and mothers-to-be in their late 20s to mid 40s in your local area who are willing to share real moments with their kids on social media. Regardless of the particular persona, you should look for people who are active in engaged online communities.

Once you know the type of person you are looking for, there are tools to help you find new prospects, such as Sprout Social, which allows you to find the social clout of your followers. 

Another fruitful way to find potential influencers is to examine your existing social media posts. Look for people who have commented on your posts, posted about your organization, or tagged your organization in their own posts. It may also be helpful to consider people who create content, such as blogs or vlogs, in your niche.

When reaching out to potential influencers, email is best. Many influencers DM channels are overflowing, and some larger influencers have assistants to respond to their email. When reaching out, be sure to reference if they’ve posted about your foundation or donated to a recent fundraiser in your introductory email. Include a simple ask and invite them to learn more about how they can build their community with you.

To learn more about influencers and get details about how to build a full social media ambassador program, don’t miss our on-demand webinar recording, Influencing the Influencer.


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Meet The Author

Jenny Love
Association for Healthcare Philanthropy

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