The Role of Influencers in Driving Social and Environmental Causes

Digital influencers are individuals who produce online content which influences others to make decisions. Through an analysis of secondary data and our own research, it became apparent that actions involving influencers had greater effect than even tailored advertisements.

Studies indicate that influencers can help guide people toward sustainable lifestyles and consumption patterns, although their influence remains limited.

1. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has quickly become one of the fastest-growing and most cost-effective strategies for driving targeted increases in brand recognition, creating new audiences for products or services, and expanding into new markets. Influencer marketing also represents one of the easiest and fastest ways for growing companies to expand.

Influencer marketing differs from social media campaigns in that influencers create and deliver all the messaging for you – including content creation and messaging – directly to their followers. This may result in more authentic and engaging campaigns; however, more time and resources may be required to maximize its results.

Key to successful influencer marketing lies in finding the appropriate influencers for your brand and campaign, through research, networking, as well as technology such as influencer search and tracking tools.

Start with your ideal customer and work backwards using data to identify influencers whose engaged audiences align well with your business. Reach out directly or through agencies and provide them with a campaign brief detailing goals, budget, timeline, deliverables, guidelines and metrics; the more detail provided here the easier it will be for an influencer to accept and collaborate on your project.

Once you’ve identified suitable influencers to partner with, it’s crucial that they are trusted to create an authentic and engaging campaign in their style and voice – rather than mandating specific images, captions, hashtag lists or creative assets for them to use. The more natural the campaign feels to its target audience, the greater its success.

Your influencer marketing efforts can be measured with various analytics tools such as social media analytics and Google Analytics, or by creating unique links that influencers can use when posting to track them like affiliate marketing and then tracking those referrals using an analytics platform.

As influencer marketing becomes more and more popular, various technologies and software programs have arisen to assist businesses with tracking and managing their efforts – such as Modash, BuzzStream and BuzzSumo.

2. Activism

At present, we are witnessing an unprecedented global climate movement led by young activists of today. For the first time ever in large numbers, these young people are protesting in large numbers – leading marches, boycotts and signing petitions to shape politics for generations to come. Their activism not only impacts policy changes but also creates identity formation processes.

Social activism aims to educate the public on environmental concerns like pollution, air quality issues and climate change while encouraging companies and governments to implement eco-friendly policies that ensure ecological sustainability. Through its bottom-up approach, environmental activism promotes green or eco-friendly products while forcing governments to craft sensible environmental policies aimed at reducing emissions while improving water and air quality as well as conserving natural resources.

Studies have identified three predictors for participation in political activism: concern about an issue, perceived efficacy in changing a problem and use of social media for activism (Hansla and Scherer 2015; Sherry et al. 2017). These factors remain consistent across numerous studies investigating different aspects of environmental movements.

Our study investigates social media usage for following environmental groups and its correlation with participation in marching, boycotting, or signing petitions related to the environment. We surveyed more than 13,000 Generation Z and Millennials from Canada, France, United Kingdom, and United States and discovered that following such groups positively correlates with participating in such activities.

Results demonstrate that this relationship between political efficacy, use of social media, and participant interest in an organization’s purpose are highly intertwined, echoing research which indicates individuals are more likely to support an activist organization with shared objectives than one whose purposes they do not identify with (Scholtz and Levine 2001).

To further examine this relationship, we interviewed Beth, president of an anti-coal student activist group. Specifically, we inquired into her perceptions regarding activism as well as motivations behind joining and driving forces behind its success. Her answers highlighted how prior natural experiences and life principles play an integral part in shaping pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors.

3. Social Media

Social media provides an international platform for people to communicate and exchange information. It can be used for business promotion or advocacy; by making sharing easier than ever before it has had an enormous impact on many aspects of life – including activism. Social media has played a pivotal role in movements like #BlackLivesMatter and MeToo which unify people worldwide and give voice to voices otherwise going unheard.

Social networks enable individuals to foster meaningful relationships with friends, family, and even total strangers. Users can use them to share photos, life updates, random thoughts, business promotions, customer service issues and customer care issues with one click or post. Businesses have also leveraged these platforms by branding products or providing customer services via these digital influencers – an individual who has amassed a large following and can promote brands or products with one post alone.

Influencers can be divided into three categories, according to our research: 1) by their mode of communication (bloggers, YouTubers, Facebookers or Instagrammers); 2) by the subject they cover (fashion, beauty or lifestyle); and 3) according to age (TikTok influencers for instance). Over seventy percent of our survey participants are familiar with digital influencers.

Over 58% of respondents agreed with the statement in Figure 11 regarding how digital ad-blocking will lead to greater use of digital influencers for organizational promotional activities online. This result was confirmed through the calculations for chi-square test calculations as shown here.

Over 54% of respondents agreed with previous findings (Figure 2) that activities involving digital influencers are more convincing than personalized digital ads in terms of convincingness. This finding supports those from an earlier study (see Figure 3).

4. Community Building

As part of digital influencer marketing, building a community around your brand is vitally important to its effectiveness. Doing so will result in more loyal customers – meaning more revenue for your business – while helping you understand better what customers want and need from products sold by your business. A community can be established either from scratch by setting up an online forum, or existing platforms such as Reddit, Facebook or Airbnb may already exist as resources for building it.

Community building should not be treated as a quick fix, it requires time and dedication. You should know that any effort put forth now will pay dividends later.

When selecting influencers to work with on social and environmental issues, authenticity plays a critical role. The most effective influencers are those that build personal connections with their audience – this establishes trust that helps spread messages effectively.

Influencers who show genuine passion about an issue they are discussing will more easily engage their audiences and spread its message.

Knowledgeable influencers tend to engage their audiences more, as they can provide more in-depth and accurate information.

Digital influencer marketing’s effectiveness depends on its influencers’ ability to motivate their audience into taking action – either through donations, volunteering their time, or sharing messages with others. A great way of doing this is through tailored storytelling that engages their followers directly.

The survey results demonstrate that most respondents were familiar with the concept of digital influencers and hold positive views towards it, viewing it as an effective tool in organizations’ online promotional efforts (Figure 6). Furthermore, over 58% agreed that activities involving digital influencers are more convincing than any customized advertising (See Figure 7).