Influencers can help your association’s small staff do more.
Here are five tips for starting an influencer program at your organization.
By Michelle Schweitz, Marketing Director, Community Brands
We hear a lot these days about influencers. They’re individuals who are experts in a field and/or have the ability to inspire and persuade a target audience to make a purchase or take another form of action.
Even with a small staff, your association can engage influencers. Think of them as ambassadors for your organization. They can help you recruit new members and further your association’s mission.
Here are five tips for getting started with influencers/ambassadors for your association:
1. Identify potential influencers.
Start with a short list (say, three to five) of possible influencers to approach. A great place to begin is your member base. Look for highly engaged members that are known and respected in your industry and are in touch with your organization’s brand and mission. Some examples of ideal candidates might be:
- The most engaged members in your online member community
- Long-time members who are active volunteers
- Members who have presented popular sessions at your organization’s previous events
2. Offer a mutually beneficial partnership.
Make it clear to the influencers what you would like to get out of working with them – such as extending your message to potential new members and encouraging current members to get more involved – by having them serve as a type of ambassador for your organization. At the same time, make sure you let them know what’s in it for them. For example, offer them a free registration to your annual conference or other upcoming event.
3. Establish a written agreement.
Even if it’s short and simple, be sure to put down, in writing, the terms of your partnership. For example:
- What is the purpose of your relationship?
- What are your expectations (for example, influencer will produce one blog article per month or two videos per month)
- What messaging, branding, and code of ethics guidelines will the influencers be expected to follow as they provide information about your organization to the public?
- What compensation will you provide (for example, free event registration) for their time and effort?
4. Keep them in-the-know.
Provide your influencers with regular briefings about any new programs or activities your association offers members. This can be anything from new member benefits to new industry research or resources your organization provides. And make sure they have a way to contact you if they have questions or just want to talk through any issues or topics impacting your industry.
5. Provide feedback.
As you work together, let your influencers know how well you think the partnership is going and what could be improved. Ask for their feedback as well so you can continue to have a mutually beneficial relationship.
There are no hard and fast rules about what your influencer should look like. The idea is to work in an organized way with individuals who have sway over your target audience to extend your association’s reach.
You can find more tips and best practices in the guide, How to Build a Successful Ambassador Program for Your Small Association.