In the words of Thomas Rhett, “In a World Full of Hate, be the Light.” With the infamous COVID-19 pandemic and the abundance of social, cultural, and political weariness, 2020 was a year full of never-ending obstacles. As a result of these difficult times, we have experienced constant change, causing us to find new normals for many life aspects. 

This change includes brands’ marketing efforts and the way influencers use their social media platforms. In these dark times we currently face, why not do something to be a light in this world? Not only through our individual actions and voices, but through wide-spread marketing efforts. Now is an excellent time to reflect on what your business can be doing better or where you can contribute to a higher cause. We are learning that utilizing influencers is an extremely effective means for spreading social good to brand consumers in this day and age.

Influencers and Social Good

Recently, influencers have shifted their focus to partnering with agencies and brands that promote causes and social good. A set of factors can explain this shift. 

First, this shift in focus is partially due to government and consumer health groups investing in influencer marketing due to COVID-19. Influencers have taken an interest in this financial opportunity due to the loss of partnerships with several brands. A Markerly survey involving 115 influencers found that 72% lost income during the pandemic. Loss of job and income opportunities has caused a shift to alliances with agencies and brands that promote social good to become much more prominent amongst influencers’ platforms. Markerly’s report showed that 56% of influencers surveyed shifted to using their platform to promote non-profits and social causes they believe in and are passionate about. 

The spread of social good marks a positive adaptation to change in today’s world. While more individuals are spending time at home and online, influencers and brands have adapted their marketing strategies and objectives. According to our report, “these changes came both at the request of the brands, but also at the request of influencers who understand how the pandemic may be impacting followers.” It’s important to understand that Millennial and Gen Z consumers want to support businesses and brands that stand for a good cause, especially in a social climate like that of today. These modern consumers will likely reject all advertising efforts of brands that do not promote social causes. 

There is a new focus on what should be encouraged to the public, causing a change in consumer response and new financial opportunities for influencer-brand partnerships. In turn, brands must implement causes to promote through marketing efforts. 

Choosing the Right Cause

It is essential that your brand stands for a cause and aims to be a light in the world. To start bettering your brand in this sense, you must first choose the right cause. 

It’s essential to take time and caution while deciding what you should promote. Stray from determining a cause only because of its popularity amongst the public. Pick a cause that truly resonates with you and your brand. Doing so will effortlessly reflect authenticity, which will relate well to your brand’s audience. 

An excellent example of a brand partnering with influencers to promote social good is the rideshare app, Lyft. Lyft promotes several causes and non-profit programs through social campaigns, including environmental awareness, food equity, voting access, and many more. This brand focuses on ensuring that consumers are aware of the values that drive it. They do this by partnering with several macro, micro, and mega influencers to spread their campaigns’ messages. By doing so, this large-scale company is popularly recognized as a more ethical alternative to other rideshare apps such as Uber. With the implementation of the right causes and the right influencers, brands such as Lyft have significantly stood out amongst competitors. 

So be thinking, what cause or movement is most important to you? How can you implement this movement into your brand’s focus?

Partnering With the Right Influencers

Next, in bettering your brand with a focus on encouraging social good, it is essential to find the right influencers to spread your message to your audience. 

It is best to stray from choosing influencers based on the number of followers they have. Putting the influencers’ popularity aside, make a list of requirements and characteristics you are looking for. Markerly’s recent campaign, called #HealthyTexas can be used as an example of this process.

This campaign was created through a partnership with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), which aimed to spread influence on Texas citizens’ public health practices. While sourcing the right influencers for the campaign, Markerly created a list of what to look for. This list of requirements included finding influencers with authentic and diverse voices to reach critical demographics of Texas citizens. Markerly sourced influencers who practiced these guidelines in their personal lives and on social media. 

The influencers had to abide by following the public health guidelines for at least six weeks after posting for the campaign to ensure this. This precaution ensured that the influencers believed in and followed the message they were spreading for the campaign. Other requirements included influencers being free of political agendas who would not promote any controversial or harmful politics, misinformation, or engage in unlawful behavior. Lastly, Markerly’s goal was to find voices that appealed to the DHSH’s target audience: Millennial and Gen Z consumers.

When applying these “rules” for influencers to your brand and cause of choice, be thinking about who your target audience is and who will resonate with them. It is also vital to ensure that your brand partners with influencers who believe in the message you want to spread. Other than that, the requirements can be your own and particular to your cause and brand’s message.

As marketers, when society evolves, we must evolve with it.  Although we experienced several obstacles in 2020, there is positivity to be found in the way we are changing in response in the new year. Now is as good a time as ever to use marketing to encourage constructive change in our world. Keep this in mind as your brand’s marketing efforts evolve with society, and don’t forget: always strive to be light.