Micro-influencers for associations?

You must have heard the phrase, “social-media influencers.” You also probably would think of them as celebrities with millions of followers on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter. And that using them to market your association’s product or service would be very expensive. I Googled “Filipino influencers” and found out that there are hundreds of them: individuals and organizations in various fields of profession and industry.

Influencer or influence marketing is a form of social-media marketing that involves endorsements from influencers. Influencer content may be framed as testimonial advertising where they play the role of a potential buyer themselves, or involved as third parties. These third parties can be spotted either within the supply chain (retailers, manufacturers, etc.) or from among so-called value-added influencers, such as celebrities, journalists, academics, industry analysts and professional advisers.

According to an article posted by Associations Now magazine senior editor Tim Ebner, influencers on social media do not always have millions of followers. Not all influencers, too, are defined by their star power or follower counts. There are many “micro-influencers” who have created small communities—hundreds or a few thousand followers—with high engagement value. These are voices that associations can harness to connect with audiences they may not otherwise reach. Micro-influencers are also great for associations with “micro-budgets” that are ready to give influencer marketing a go.

A case in point is the American Chemical Society. To reach new audiences, ACS targeted micro-influencers at a conference focused on technology, arts and pop culture—the South by Southwest conference (SXSW)—creating a ripple effect that fueled a membership marketing campaign.

In about six months, ACS and a team of marketers created a membership awareness campaign designed to showcase how chemistry drives innovation in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. With the tagline “chemistry for innovation,” the campaign was designed to catch the attention of micro-influencers who would then spread the message beyond ACS’s traditional membership base. Below were a few tactics the campaign used to create ripples:

  • Video storytelling. As video content is often shared on influencer platforms, the campaign started with strong video stories about chemists at work in STEM.

  • Personality-based quiz. ACS used this format as a social conversation starter at its annual meetings. The quiz—“Which Element Are You?”—asks a few simple questions that connect personality traits to elements found on the periodic table.

  • Chemistry swag. A fun extension of the personality-based quiz was free conference swag (giveaways) that rewarded quiz takers with t-shirts reflecting the element they matched with. Photos of the shirts were posted on social media by micro-influencers, and attendees wore them in the expo hall, raising the visibility of ACS’s booth.

Try micro-influencers in your next association marketing campaign.

This article was published by the Business Mirror on August 16, 2019 and may not be reproduced without prior consent from the writer and Business Mirror.

The contributor, Octavio ‘Bobby’ Peralta, is concurrently the secretary general of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP), Founder & CEO of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE) and President of the Asia-Pacific Federation of Association Organizations (APFAO). The purpose of PCAAE – the “association of associations” – is to advance the association management profession and to make associations well-governed and sustainable. PCAAE enjoys the support of ADFIAP, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), and the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). Email the author at: obp@adfiap.org for more details on PCAAE and on association governance and management.

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