‘Tis the season to be grateful, merry, and find ways to give back. But, with the year we’ve had, this holiday season might feel a bit heavy and overwhelming. We all—in some way or another—have felt the impact of COVID-19. Throughout the course of this year, the Influencer Marketing industry as a whole has had to adapt, pivot, reconsider, and adjust the mentality, initiatives, and goals as we all try to work together, limit the spread of the virus, and be considerate.

With the holiday season upon us, helping those in need is important. With so much loss happening in the world today, your brand’s efforts during the holiday season can help people around the world who are struggling. So, how can your Influencer Marketing initiatives play a part in spreading some joy and positivity during these trying times? This post shares 10 tips for using Influencer Marketing to give back and donate during COVID-19.

10 Tips for Using Influencer Marketing to Give Back

The holiday season during a global pandemic presents an incredible opportunity to give back and donate to those who are in need. A great way to help spread awareness is by enlisting the help of influencers via Influencer Marketing. By thinking of heartfelt and heartwarming ideas to help others, your Influencer Marketing initiatives during the holiday season will only encourage followers and readers to give back, too. Spreading kindness along with holiday cheer in an Influencer Marketing campaign will have a positive impact while helping to make everyone feel good during these difficult times.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves (trust us when we say that giving back is a huge belief of ours at Forward Influence), remembering to do the following when running an Influencer Marketing campaign that gives back is key. By implementing these strategies, you’ll help ensure that followers see the amazing services the influencers are doing and will be encouraged to do their part in giving back. It will be the best kind of domino effect as we all work to spread kindness, especially during the holiday season and a global pandemic.

  1. Have the influencers capture and share images from the service project—videos are always an added bonus and go a long way to spread awareness thanks to the algorithms.
  2. Make sure the social media shares tag sponsoring brands to spotlight their generosity.
  3. Encourage influencers to tag other influencers to spread love or increase the acts of kindness/service.
  4. Include giving/service-focused hashtags (or brand/campaign-focused hashtags) to draw attention to the posts (specifically on Instagram).
  5. Ask the influencers to do a recap and feature it before Christmas with tips for their followers on how to make a difference even in the hardest of times.

Now that we shared a few Influencer Marketing friendly reminders, let’s dive deeper into helpful tips on how your brand can work with influencers and give back during COVID-19.

1. Find Meaning

When creating a campaign that is focused on giving back to the community, allow influencers the freedom to select a service project that is meaningful to them. In doing so, the content will be genuine and authentic to both the influencer and the followers. 

Recently, Forward Influence managed a campaign for BYUtv which focused on The Fixers television series. In this high-stakes reality series, experienced builders travel around the world, working tirelessly with communities to perform life-changing projects. The campaign was aimed to emulate the series where influencers were encouraged to select a service project in their community that was meaningful to them and post about the service project to encourage their followers to do an act of community service.

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Even though we can’t travel right now, the influencers found a way to give back to their own communities. One particular influencer donated books to the Nepali refugee friends community library. Her parents have been working as service missionaries for the Nepali refugees for almost 10 years. Her mother mentioned a neighborhood library they have where kids can have access to books to take home and how helpful books can be for kids who are home more often now. The service project was meaningful to not only her, but her entire family. As a result, the post received comments from followers about the desire to want to help and donate books.

2. Go Local

To piggyback off of the first tip, another influencer as part of the BYUtv campaign scrolled through  JustServe.org—a popular site for finding service opportunities—and found a great organization that needed help. The influencer and his family performed a hands-on act of service at Whispering Canyons, a local non-profit organization that provides under-privileged teen girls the opportunity to learn horsemanship in a fun, safe, supervised environment. While practicing social distancing, the influencer and his family built a fence to help support the center.

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3. Tap Into Talents

With a wide variety of influencers who cover a never-ending list of categories, you can partner with influencers and have them tap into their talents. For example, if you’re working with food influencers, have them select a way to give back that makes sense for them (e.g., cooking for a family during the holidays, managing a food bank delivery, making baked goods to help bring cheer to a family in need). Or, if you’re working with DIY influencers, they could consider doing a home repair project for a neighbor like staining a deck, building birdhouses, or creating holiday decor to help beautify a community. Finally, if you’re working with home organization influencers, have them power wash a dirty sidewalk, deliver organization products to a local charity, or run a clothing drive and encourage people to clean out their closets during the colder months. Ideas for influencers to tap into their talents and encourage others to do the same and give back as well are endless.

4. Give as a Family

During COVID-19, sticking to our quarantine pods is the safest option for connecting with others. To promote safety, challenge influencers to get together with their pods and think of a way to give back to their local community. Maybe the pod can go through closets and donate clothes to the homeless, order groceries online and treat another family in their community to a grocery shopping trip, or build something together that will help the community. Going back to the first tip, allowing families the freedom to select a service project that is meaningful to them will make all the difference.

5. Research on Giving Websites

Believe it or not, figuring out a way to give back can be harder than it seems. Throw COVID-19 into the mix and the possibilities get even more tricky. Luckily, plenty of websites post opportunities for ways to give back and the ideas are social-distance friendly. Encourage influencers to visit JustServe.org or Habitat for Humanity for ideas on how they can give back to those in their community.

6. Get Followers Involved Offline

Getting followers involved in service projects offline is possible, especially when you brainstorm ideas that are safe and will not put others in harm’s way. One great way to involve people—both the influencers and their followers—is to hold a drive-by food drive. I’m sure you’ve seen COVID-19 birthday drive-bys where a line of cars drives by a home honking their horns and yelling happy birthday to the person celebrating a birthday.

Why not take that idea and turn it into a food drive? Have the influencers post a certain day and time to drive by the location and drop off food for the food drive. People don’t have to get out of their vehicles to drop off the food. The influencer could simply set up bins on the curb and the people in the vehicles can drop the food in the bins as they drive by. The influencers could make this bigger and coordinate with influencers all around town, turning the drive-by food drive into almost a scavenger hunt, and do it all on the same day while promoting it across social media, including influencer’s cross promoting each other, to make a huge splash.

7. Get Followers Involved Online

One of the easiest ways to give back is through online efforts. Influencers can promote an online fundraiser and encourage their followers to give back and/or help a cause. Also, since it’s the holiday season, an influencer could create an Amazon wishlist for someone in need and ask followers to help cross items off the list for the adult or child in need.

8. Take It International

After looking through JustServe.org, one influencer who participated in Forward’s BYUtv campaign decided to help refugees who are in need. She saw that refugees needed blankets, so her and her family broke out their sewing machine and got to work. Even the littlest of her children was involved in making blankets for the refugees and piecing them together to make a quilt.

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9. Be Contagious

I know … too soon? Well, it’s not contagious like how you imagine it. Instead, we’re talking about spreading goodness in the Influencer Marketing sense. As part of a campaign that Forward Influence managed for Google, the influencers were required to perform an act of kindness, post about the act of kindness, and then tag three of their friends to encourage the friends to do an act and post about it. The initial share exploded in the best way possible. Not only did people from all over perform acts of kindness, but some even posted about it doing the pose that the initial family did for their share. In the end, spreading fun and kindness in this way was simple and contagious … which, I think we can all agree, is something we all need right now. We need contagious laughter, contagious smiles, and contagious kindness.

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How does this apply during the holiday season? For example, an influencer could do an activity like “The 12 Days of Christmas” Acts of Service where each day, the influencer performs an act, posts about it, and tags five influencers who continue on the service. The acts of service will not only spread online, but they will also spread offline, too.

10.) Support Big and Small Businesses

As mentioned above, creating an Amazon wishlist for a family or individual in need is a great way to get a community of followers rallied together to give back. But, let’s not forget about those small businesses. Have influencers think of ways to support the small businesses in their communities by doing an act of kindness. For example, the event industry has suffered big time during COVID-19 and vendors have felt the painful loss. With events such as weddings being postponed, places like the local florist are struggling. Influencers could purchase flowers from a local florist and have the flowers delivered to a family member or friend to show love and support.

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Wrapping It All Up

The holiday season during a global pandemic can cause all sorts of anxiety, especially for those who are in need. A great way to help spread awareness and kindness is by enlisting the help of influencers via Influencer Marketing. By thinking of heartfelt and heartwarming ideas to help others, your Influencer Marketing initiatives during the holiday season will only encourage followers and readers to give back, too. There are a few key points to consider when putting together an Influencer Marketing campaign that gives back during COVID-19:

  1. Find Meaning—encourage influencers to select a service project that is meaningful to him/her.
  2. Go Local—have influencers pick a local charity that needs assistance … just always remember to practice social distancing.
  3. Tap Into Talents—make sure the influencers you work with on giving back campaigns are tapping into their talents and doing service projects that make sense to them.
  4. Give as a Family—allow the influencers to have their whole family involved and share in the giving back experience.
  5. Research on Giving Websites—mention a few giving websites to help the influencer find a service project that is a good fit for him/her.
  6. Get Followers Involved Offline—have the influencers perform service projects that are offline … but make sure the projects are safe and social distance friendly.
  7. Get Followers Involved Online—ask the influencers to run a program online that helps their followers get in on giving back to the community.
  8. Take It International—look past the local community and find ways to support others globally.
  9. Be Contagious (in a good way)—find ways to spread awareness and kindness through the service projects.
  10. Support Big and Small Businesses—encourage influencers to involve both big and small businesses to help everyone in the community.

We’re in the market to influence. So, let’s influence for the greater good of all people, especially those in need. By working together, we can put Influencer Marketing to work and spread kindness while limiting the spread of the virus.

What tip will you use to launch a giving back Influencer Marketing campaign?

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