Why corporate affairs influencers are about to have their moment

The problems we can solve through influencer campaigning.

The use of social media influencers to sell a product is not a new concept, but what’s their role in corporate affairs?

In Brief

  • Mega trends in our community are affecting how we consume information, leading to greater trust and reach of social media influencers
  • Influencers aren’t only effective for marketing purposes – they can also help your message reach targeted audiences in a way which resonates with them
  • There are some risks involved in using influencers for corporate affairs, and it’s important to undertake a thorough discovery phase to mitigate these risks

It’s a channel – but more importantly, a partnership – which can be used for so much more than product endorsements. The use of community advocates is a tried and tested campaigning tool, and it’s worth reimagining them in a social media context.

In an environment where trust in corporates is falling and consumption of traditional information platforms is declining, new voices increasingly need to step in and fill the void – and that’s where influencers come in. If there’s an influencer which aligns with your business’s message and values, then it might be a significant opportunity.

So why are influencers more relevant now than ever? Long-term trends are causing a major communications challenge which they’re perfectly placed to solve.

Pessimism is up, and trust is down

In 2024, SEC Newgate’s Mood of the Nation Research has consistently pointed to two mega-trends which are affecting the ways in which Australians consume information.

Firstly, we know that public trust of institutions, especially corporates, is continuing to erode. Even if your audience does hear your message, they’re less likely to believe it; they’re sceptical about leadership’s problem-solving abilities and their ability to act with integrity and in the public interest.

Secondly, pessimism is on the rise, and our feelings of negativity have unfortunately only continued to grow. People feel less confident about their future, so they struggle to think of themselves making behavioural changes or doing new things. When you’re feeling stressed, exhausted or anxious – as many Australians have been – the prospect of big changes can seem scary and confronting.

We’re consuming information differently

These major shifts bring changes in audience needs, which are further emphasised by our evolving consumption habits. In 2024, we are:

  • Getting less of our information from traditional news sources, and experiencing ‘news fatigue’
  • Increasingly time poor – especially those aged 18 to 39
  • Inundated with more and more streaming services and social media platforms, which we’re treating as an escape
  • Expecting tailored information that meets our individual needs, rather than the previous ‘self-serve’ approach where we would actively search for what we wanted

Given these habits, the right influencer – tailored for the right audience – is an important part of meeting these individual needs.

The case for influencers in corporate affairs

Influencers are also becoming more trusted and reaching more people. According to Capterra, 54% of Australians trust influencers who advertise a product or service, while ACMA reports that 31% of younger Australians (18-24) now turn to celebrities and influencers for news. Both figures are on the rise as influencers become more important as a source of information.

Influencer marketing is already commonplace, and product endorsements are now an expected part of the feed. But when it comes to public and corporate affairs in Australia, we have some catching up to do.

To get the most out of influencers, strategy is everything. Here’s four quick tips for executing an effective influencer campaign:

  • Be thorough in the discovery phase. Finding the right influencers, whose audiences and content align with your organisation’s target audience and values, takes time – but it’s crucial to delivering your message effectively.
  • Reach is only one part of the equation. Using a larger pool of influencers with smaller, niche followings can be more cost effective than using fewer influencers with larger followings – as long as the audiences are right for the issue, or your strategy.
  • Give a good brief and encourage a creative response. Influencers are not just channels, they are communicators in their own right, with the creativity and experience to make content which resonates best with their audience. Give them some creative license to produce the most impactful content for you.
  • Be aware of the risks. Allowing individuals to communicate on your organisation’s behalf carries some risk. This can be mitigated through a thorough discovery and vetting process, and by using an influencer marketing platform to centrally manage content approvals.

As a uniquely trusted information source, who can access pockets of your audience unreachable to owned corporate channels, influencers are perfectly placed to promote behaviour and attitudinal change. They can deliver your message to the right people in a way which they know works for them.

Talk to us

Given the changes we’re seeing in information consumption, we expect influencer communications to continue to increase in public and corporate affairs campaigning. With experience in campaigning locally and globally, we understand how to craft a strategy which delivers against your objectives and addresses every challenge.

If you’d like to learn more, don’t hesitate to talk to us.

Kate Fagan, Associate Partner – [email protected]

Simon Masterton, Senior Consultant – [email protected]

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