Ask any nonprofit organization about the key to boosting action rates and fundraising, and the answer is almost always about expanding the reach of their messaging. To better understand how organizations can more effectively increase the number of people seeing their content, we took a deeper look how important social media influencers are to campaigns and what they can do to grow a supporter base.
Through the evaluation of 90 of our own nonprofit clients, we found that organizations can reach an average of 40 million people! That’s right - the social reach of your email list members is bigger than you think. No longer does an organization need millions of people on their list to reach that number (though it helps) – they just need a coordinated strategy to find their top influencers.
See the infographic: The Amazing Network Reach of Nonprofits or check out this video for more details:
Who is a social media influencer?
Influencers are individuals on an organization’s email list that hold the greatest power to share great, actionable content. These individuals have large Twitter followings, lots of Facebook friends, and maybe their own blog and other popular social accounts. In addition to having a lot of social connections, these individuals are likely to have a trusting audience that is engaged with the content they post on a regular basis.
Influencers possess the greatest reach
As a result of our recent research, we found that the top five percent of influencers on an organization's email list can reach an average of 34 million people. That is 85% of your entire network’s total reach. For comparison, this is 200 times greater than the number of people just sitting in your organization’s CRM.
Even a small number of potent influencers can help to mobilize hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. For example, if you had just a one percent response rate when engaging the top five percent of your influencers, this would be around 36 people who could reach up to 338,000 online. With a 10% response rate from these top influencers, or 360 people on average, you could reach up to 3.3 million people!
The best influencers for your campaign
Reach is important, but the crux of influencer engagement is knowing these people also can drive the actions of others online. A study by BzzAgent found that 70% of an influencer’s followers view them as a trusted source, and your organization should want to take advantage of this word of mouth support.
In our most recent guide, “How to Identify & Engage Your Influencers,” we find that the best way to determine if an influencer is right for you is by examining four criteria: Klout, connections, relevancy, and prior interactions.
Klout is used to discover both the size of an individual’s audience and how engaged the audience is – an influencer with a high Klout score not only has many followers, but people who regularly interact with the things they post online. A person with a Klout score over 40 is an ideal target for nonprofit engagement because there is a great chance their followers will take the actions requested of them. This is also true for individuals with over 500 social connections; building a large network typically requires authority and insight that audiences want to engage with.
In determining an influencer’s relevancy, use a Salsa-integrated social listening tool like Attentive.ly to see what they talk about online. Are their top conversations relevant to your campaigns? If so, they will be more receptive to sharing content from your organization.
Finally, if an influencer has already been involved in your work or taken action for a previous campaign, they’re far more likely to respond to a personalized ask. Inspect your email list for any influencers that have already signed a petition, attended an event, made a donation, or taken any other action on your behalf – these should be the first people to be engaged with.
Looking beyond celebrities
There are many types of influencers online. While celebrities and other VIPs may be your organization’s top target, it’s also important to consider professionals and citizen influencers as part of an influencer engagement plan. Citizen influencers are people that have over 500 social media connections and a Klout score over 40. A simple ask (and thank you) may be all it takes for them to spread the word about important actions and advocate online on your behalf.