Just How Much Impact do ‘Influencers’ Have?

Marketing has always embraced those with influence (real or perceived) to help raise brand awareness. Sports figures, actors, and other well-known personalities tell you that they use this or that product or service, or support a specific charity and you should too. But times have changed, it is no longer enough to compensate a well-known personality to ‘hawk’ your brand or nonprofit; the connection must be real!

The use of influencers in digital marketing continues to grow, and even more so with nonprofits and their partner’s cause campaigns. The question of their effectiveness and value can be very subjective, but the recent Influence Impact Report from Allison+Partners i has some very measurable statistics that clearly demonstrate the impact of digital influencers. The findings illustrate a growing audience that is both digitally connected and deeply invested in charitable issues, signaling influencers as an increasingly important consideration for your cause marketing strategy.

These digital influencers inspire their followers to commit money, loyalty and their time to the causes they are championing. The findings clearly show the ever-growing ‘fanbase’ of digital influencers is seriously committed to philanthropy and making a positive difference in the world.

As they say, ‘the numbers don’t lie’ so consider these findings:

  • 35% of the influencer’s audience engaged with the recommended cause;

  • of that number, more than 50% donated and/or shared the cause;

  • 37% actually volunteered with the cause!

It is important to note that the influencer’s personal connection is a key factor in driving consumer actions. The level of trust that the influencer commands is based on the influencer volunteering with the cause and sharing stories about the personal impact of the cause, whether their own or that of another person.

“Brands and nonprofits are investing heavily in influencer programs with the hope of shaping beliefs and inspiring action for their initiatives,” said Scott Pansky, co-founder and head of the social impact practice at Allison+Partners. “The data shows that working with digital influencers is making an impact, but that impact is dependent on finding the right influencers who can tell your story in a way that is authentic to them and their followers.”

This is a very important consideration, you need to find the ‘right’ influencer for your brand and they must be authentic in their support and commitment.

Some of the additional insights from the study include:

  • How authenticity and personal stories drive engagement and impact for cause efforts

  • What brands should consider when developing a cause partnership

  • What types of content and channels are most successful at promoting brand-cause partnerships

  • The power of tapping local influencers

  • How to convert followers into advocates by creating content they are willing to share

Without a doubt the right digital influencer, truly committed to the cause has a huge impact on their followers’ decisions on who to support and the actions the take. Ignore them at your own peril!

i The latest Influence Impact Report, “Powerful Connections: How Influence, Empathy and Engagement Have Transformed Cause in the Digital Era,” is available for download.

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