When building an influencer marketing program for a brand, you need to seek out individuals who not only have influence in your market niche, but are also passionate about your brand. If you're a non-profit, you generally represent a cause that a lot of people are passionate about and are willing to help. So, finding passionate people might be easier, but how do you find the right influencers and attract them to put their influence to work for you?
One good non-profit marketing strategy is to find what influencers are already connected to your non-profit organization and build stronger relationships with them. We've done this for a number of non-profit clients by appending a social influence score to their database. This scores everyone in their database from zero to nine, with nine being the strongest influencer. Recently we put the donor database for one of our faith-based clients and netted 90 influencers with a score of 9. The next step is to take those 90 influencers and look at all their social channels to see if they are a good fit for your nonprofit. For instance if your cause is feeding the homeless and a review of their online premise shows that most of their influence is in talking about curing cancer or saving rescue dogs, they are not going to be a good fit. They may have a lot of influence, but not necessarily in the communities who care about your cause. And, more importantly, even though they have been involved with your organization, it may not be a passion project for them and they wouldn't work hard on your behalf.
Once you've narrowed down the list to those who are a good fit for your organization, start interacting with them in their social and online communities. Engage them in conversations. Share their content and share with them content of yours that relates to something they are talking and posting about. You can even ask them to write a guest blog post or do an interview with them for your content. Techniques like that deepen the bond and give them more reasons to share your story with their communities.
If you don't have a database or someone who can append it for you, another strategy is to look at who is most active on your social and online properties. Who comments on and shares your posts the most? Who seems to always be a part of the discussions taking place around your cause? Identify those people and then look to see what their networks look like. They don't necessarily need to have a huge number of followers. A small, very engaged community can sometimes be more beneficial than a large, but somewhat passive one. Once you've put together a list of your most active, best influencers using this method, the way to connect is the same as listed in the previous paragraph.
Another strategy is to develop an email campaign to connect with influencers you have email addresses for. An article on Social Media Today suggests, "crafting an outreach email that acknowledges their value, reminds them about their relationship to the organization and makes the ask to share content very clear (and simple). For example, your ask could be to ask your friends to join you in fundraising event."
Influencers are important to any non-profit organization. They can amplify your content and bring more passionate people into your community and shine a light on your cause. The key to any strategy to get influencers to put effort towards you is in relationship building. You wouldn't walk up to someone you just met at a party and ask them to hand out your brochure to everyone they know. You have to build up trust over time. Once you've made that deeper connection, you will have a true champion for your cause.