Blog posting date icon
min read

How to Use Influencer Marketing to Increase Member Engagement

Influencers can come from a variety of media platforms and they can help to attract new members to your association. Influencer marketing may be the tool that your association is missing to increase member engagement.

Holiday Shaped Cookies on White and Grey Textiles

What do you think of when you hear the term “brand influencer?” Most likely, your mind jumps to socialites, athletes, or actresses. However, influencers can come from a variety of media platforms and they can help to attract new members to your association. Influencer marketing may be the tool that your association is missing to increase member engagement. Reaching out to influencers on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, or even Instagram can attract an entirely new group of people interested in joining your association.

The importance of influencer marketing

Before we explain how to find influencers that fit your association, we should answer the question: Why is influencer marketing important to associations? According to recent studies done by Twitter’s research team, 49% of Twitter users rely on influencer recommendations on Twitter when choosing brands they trust. On top of that, about 40% of Twitter users claim to have made a purchase based off of an influencer’s tweet. Instagram’s numbers are surpassing Twitter’s each year. With over 400 million active Instagram users per month, a number that trumps Twitter’s 328 million users, Instagram is turning into a marketing goldmine. In another study done by Kissmetrics, 70% of Instagram users have searched for a specific brand on the application and 62% of users have followed a brand based on marketing done by influencers. So, how can your association benefit from these statistics? Let’s look at some examples of smart influencer marketing.

Examples of excellent influencer marketing

Casey Neistat has been on Youtube since 2015. In that short amount of time, he has gained a sizeable following for himself at around 7.7 million YouTube followers. Neistat has worked with brands like Mercedes Benz, Emirates Airline, Gillette, and the producers of the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Neistat’s influence is comparable to greats like Jimmy Fallon and Jeremy Clarkson. His YouTube videos are seen, liked, commented, and shared by millions of people across the globe. He was even named British GQ’s 2016 Media Star of The Year for his monumental impact on social media users. Casey Neistat is the “golden child” of the influencer marketing world. However, working with people like Neistat may not be the direction your association is moving towards. If you’re looking for an influencer that better fits the size of your association, there are other options.

How associations are working with influencers

The Wedding Photojournalist Association, or WPJA, allows engaged couples to search for a wedding photographer through a worldwide database of qualified professionals. For members, WPJA allows photographers to become apart of this database and find new clients to work with. How would WPJA work with an influencer? Who would they go to for someone that fits their association’s client base? Photographers like Jessica Kobeissi, Brandon Woelfel, and Jessica Whitaker are three people with large social media followings and a huge influence on the photography community. They are also influencers who would work well with WPJA in order to market towards a photography-interested audience. Another association marketing through influencers is the American Marketing Association, or AMA. AMA has built an influential YouTube status for themselves and they’re using it to reach out to new audiences daily. In 2014 AMA launched a YouTube video with testimonials from influential attendees at an event. AMA recorded messages from influencers in the marketing field to reach a new audience on YouTube. Now that we’ve seen some examples, let’s move onto different approaches your association can use for media platforms.

LinkedIn influencer groups

LinkedIn is used by many associations and association members alike. A platform like LinkedIn may be your association’s best media platform for targeting an audience of potential members. It may seem like LinkedIn is an unfit platform for influencer marketing. However, you can produce great engagement results by creating a LinkedIn influencer group. In fact, LinkedIn provides a current list of its top influencers. Your LinkedIn influencer group should include top representatives from your association: technology gurus, innovative marketers, people who can tell your association’s story best. Go through all employees at your association and add those top-performers who best represent your mission to your LinkedIn influencer group. Adding top-performing employees can ensure your association has accurate representation in your influencer group.

The next step is to invite influential association members. Your influencer group should include members who are passionate about your association’s goals and who portray those goals on social media. Include members with a strong media presence in their own communities as well as your own. Reach out to members through email, phone, or LinkedIn message. Let them know you’re interested in working with them and explain what they’ll gain from this opportunity. You want to have a mutually beneficial agreement, especially with your own members, so both parties feel comfortable working together. Use your LinkedIn influencer group to circulate the content you create. When posting content to your association’s LinkedIn page, your influencer group should share and comment on it. Influencer interaction with your content should boost content engagement and reach a new audience.

Know your audience when looking for influencers

Understand your buyer persona before finding influencers to market for your association. Who are your social media followers? What do they like or retweet? Who else are they following? If you can pinpoint specific users that your followers enjoy, you can find an influencer on Twitter or Instagram to work with. Utilize your access to key metrics when looking for influencers. The Influencer Marketing Hub offers users a tool called the “Social Media Influencer Leaderboard” which looks at which influencers are becoming more influential on their platform. The tool segments influencers into platforms: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Using the leaderboard will help pinpoint a top influencer on your most used platform for your association.

Using YouTube as an influencing tool

According to statistics recorded by Wordstream, over 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day. That gives associations an increased opportunity to reach out to a new audience- and marketers are starting to notice. 87% of online marketers are using video content to create marketing campaigns for YouTube. YouTube started as a website for sharing funny videos with friends, but has become a social hub. As seen by marketing campaigns from Neistat and AMA, influential YouTubers are the swiss army knife of media marketing your association needs. So how can using a YouTuber benefit your association? YouTube influencers have creativity and skill. Working with a YouTube influencer is equivalent to working with a videographer. YouTube influencers can work with your association’s marketing team to produce creative campaign ideas that will be viewed and shared across social media.

Creating a YouTube campaign

Here are some popular YouTube campaign ideas among YouTube influencers and their audiences: Product placements, How-to videos, Unboxing videos, “Vlog-style” marketing campaigns, “Life hack” demonstration videos.

A good example of a YouTube campaign is the Cue Career YouTube campaign video. With the help of the User Experience Professionals Association (UEPA), Cue Career reached out to students via Skype call to record a moving campaign. YouTube was an effective platform for this campaign because Cue Career knew the potential for younger generations to find the video. While the video was only a 10-minute long Skype interview, it generated over 40,000 views. Influencer marketing isn't just for car brands and large corporations. Your association can contact influencers and create a great campaign to boost engagement. Know your market, reach out to influential association members, and work together to represent your association’s goals.