Imagine, influencers creating a culture of sustainability and charity!
In December 2016, TEDx LA inspired us to imagine all the ways we could make a positive global impact. And we really got to thinking…”as an influencer marketing agency, what power do we have to do good? How can influencers make a positive impact on our culture?” Influencers are trendsetters, the cool kids, if you will. Broadcasting their favorite ice cream parlor, new kicks, favorite lip balm, travel destinations and more, their lives and creative content inspire and influence social media users. They influence people’s lifestyle, their long-term decision-making and habits. We know they can affect sales and trends, but what if influencers harnessed their powers for social good? What if giving back became the new cool?
We’ve seen influencer trends and digital ad campaigns like the Ice Bucket Challenge, and many others work to fundraise for nonprofits. With a simple tweet, influencers can send a donation link to hundreds, thousands, or millions of followers, raising incredible financial support for nonprofits. While fundraising is necessary, the movement for social good need not end there. Unilever’s Bright Future campaign advocated for more of a behavioral change, urging people to recycle their body product containers.
Influencers can help here, using their influence to promote positive, healthy behaviors. Influencer Matthew Hoffman has dedicated his Tuesdays to inspiring the senior community through “Tuesdays With Matthew” and has sponsored and promoted Meals On Wheels through his social channels. Charity partnerships, paid or unpaid, could easily lead to a new generation of do-gooders.
Obstacles for nonprofit partnerships.
As influencers become more business savvy, nonprofits and charities may struggle to fund the professional rates for sponsored posts, even if they authentically like the products/brand. But these obstacles can be surmounted. For-profit brands can choose to prioritize efforts to give back, making charity work a part of their mission. In advertising, these collaborations are called “cause marketing”, and can be mutually beneficial relationships for both brands and charities.
Sponsoring nonprofit events and campaigns is a great yet simple way for brands to partner with good causes, and these partnerships can budget for successful, impactful influencer campaigns. For example, say a new smart water bottle brand partners with a charity that works to give rural areas access to clean water. Now imagine a lifestyle influencer, like @bylisalinh, participates in one of these campaigns. In her post featuring the water bottle, she also mentions a personal anecdote about what she is able to do in life because she has clean water, tagging the clean access charity and a donation link. Or maybe California has another insane drought! An influencer could post about ways to save water, using a reusable water bottle instead of wasting water at eateries. The possibilities are endless…
Engage influencers and engage the world.
Utilize influencers’ ability to affect long-term decision-making and habits. Engage them in relatable charity projects and partnering sponsors. Humans are moved to do enormous things due to empathy, so create opportunities for influencers to be raw, to engage with causes, and to share their experiences. Remember those touching Johnson & Johnson campaigns about mothers and fathers during the Olympic games? Or the emotionally rich yet brilliantly candid images in National Geographic? These images and stories grip us, stick with us, and move us to act.
Be a smart consumer.
While influencers may spark trends, it is consumers whose actions and habits create culture. We, as consumers, must choose to support brands who uphold sustainable practices, who partner with nonprofits, and who show commitment to using ethically sourced materials. Instead of cutting products from our lives, we can make conscious choices to substitute the unsustainable brands on our shelves with brands that display commitment to giving back, perhaps in more ways than one. Follow the lead of compassionate trendsetters who value hope and charity, and pursue the same virtuous qualities by supporting them and the brands they work with.
We are ready for the influencer realm to join the movement to give back. So brands, will you lead us?