Why public sector organizations need influencers

As public sector marketing and communications evolve, officials must deploy armies of nanoinfluencers and microinfluencers to reach their target audiences. 

Years of misinformation and polarization have taken their toll on the trust of public sector messengers. Per the Edelman Trust Barometer (see slide 14), government leaders rank last in trust among various kinds of messengers, and it’s not even close. 

Shifts in content and behavioral preferences, driven by younger Americans, compound this distrust. WEF found that Millennials and Gen Zers – who comprise more than half the American population, per Brookings – favor information channels like online video streaming platforms, audio streaming platforms and even gaming as their preferred information sources, with relatively little interest in newspapers, websites, or TV. 

Now, Americans trust the voices in their local physical and digital communities. The same Edelman research (see slide 14) found that “people in my local community” rank 20 points higher in trust than government leaders. It perhaps shouldn’t surprise, then, that most Millennials and Gen Zers prefer to consume media created by their peers, rather than content created by the government, per MIT Sloan Management.

Add it all up, and Americans today prefer streaming video content created by trusted local social media messengers, also known as influencers. And when consumers require between 5 to 7 touchpoints before they take an organization’s desired action, you’ll need a large group of influencers reaching your target audience multiple times to drive them into action.

Thankfully, consumer preferences make such programs more affordable than ever. According to eMarketer, 56% of consumers consider nanoinfluencers and microinfluencers (between 1,000 and 100,000 followers) more trustworthy and authentic than larger-scale influencers like celebrities. Nanoinfluencers and microinfluencers are more affordable and usually more relevant to a consumers’ interests, an important path to personalizing marketing content amidst advertising industry changes from Apple and Google. 

Public sector marketers should think about large groups of nanoinfluencers and microinfluencers more like an advertising technology solution, a tool to reach their target audience at scale with sponsored content from messengers their target audience trusts.

Over the last two years, XOMAD has helped public sector organizations use influencers to reach Americans with strong results. Large groups of nanoinfluencers and microinfluencers with strong local audiences drove dramatic spikes in vaccinations in San Jose, Guilford County (North Carolina), and many others. (The effectiveness of XOMAD campaigns was noted by The New York Times, Marketplace, and more.) 

XOMAD also helped The State of New Jersey increase downloads of its COVID Alert app by 95% within 10 days, among other COVID related campaigns.

As public sector organizations look beyond the pandemic, we see many use cases where having vocal communities of loyal nanoinfluencers and microinfluencers will prove useful:

  1. Emergency preparedness. As climate change increases weather emergencies, large groups of nanoinfluencers and microinfluencers offer a rapid, scalable way of getting the word out to take action in case of emergencies. They also offer a mass awareness tool for earthquake, wildfire or flooding preparedness campaigns.
  2. Awareness and prevention. Much like the campaign examples of influencers driving young Americans to get vaccinated, trusted messengers can disseminate factual information about opioids and other drugs, sexual health, and hyper-localized illnesses like Valley Fever in the southwestern United States. 
  3. Community actions. Nanoinfluencers and microinfluencers can increase awareness of, and participation in, special community days like Spare the Air, local heritage events, and more.
  4. Promoting new services. Younger consumers can increase adoption and attendance at new services, such as public transit options, farmer’s markets, and others.

XOMAD has run influencer marketing campaigns for city, county and state governments across the country. Get in touch with us to learn more about using influencers to reach your residents.

Categories: Features
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