More Than A Vote: Using Influencer Marketing for Positive Change 

The Role of Social Media and Influencer Marketing in the 2020 U.S. Elections

This year we have heard it all. From the United Nations call to creatives to help spread information during the initial stages of the COVID pandemic, to the role of influencers to drive the sustainability movement forward. 2020 was the year where the entire world recognized that social media, and more specifically the influencers that serve as leading voices on the platforms, play a huge role in every aspect of society. 

The U.S. elections were not the exception. Social media is so impactful that even presidential candidates make it a priority in their marketing strategy. Back in March, Bloomberg kicked off the election season by launching a humorous influencer marketing campaign involving some of the most popular meme accounts on Instagram. And it got everybody talking!

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, traditional campaign marketing tactics like precinct walking were suddenly unsafe to do so. This pivoted political marketing teams into crafting compelling influencer strategies to reach their audiences right at home. Democrat candidate Joe Biden engaged in influencer marketing across verticals, partnering with influencers that have a direct opinion on his major stances. More and more we see organizations across industries reaching out to influencers to leverage their voices to inspire action and drive change. 

More Than A Vote: Using Influencer Marketing for Positive Change 

We’ve witnessed many campaigns prove that social media platforms are powerful spaces for social good. When it comes to crucial social and political moments like the upcoming election, data reveals that social media users rely on social media to engage in conversation. Hootsuite reported 6.6 million total mentions of Trump and Biden directly after the first presidential debate, with Biden claiming 72% of those mentions. 

During this election alone, 45% of Black Americans say that they’ve used social media to encourage others to take action on issues that are important to them in the past month. And this user-lead activism is proven to spark results: 29% of men ages 18 to 29 say their views on a political or social issue changed in the past year due to social media. 

With these insights in mind, we recently partnered with More Than A Vote, an organization that educates and energizes potential Black voters across communities. In the weeks leading up to November 3rd, we had a clear goal in mind: to amplify their message by leveraging the power of Instagram influencers. Black creators could authentically encourage their community to register and ultimately vote in the upcoming election.

“MTAV was a meaningful activation because of the mission behind it. While we love our fun brand campaigns that promote products, it was really nice to get influencers to rally behind the need to combat systemic voter suppression and help educate their audience on the importance of voting. With a polarizing election at our doorstep, I am proud that Open Influence was able to be part of a large effort to make meaningful change.” – Maggie Reznikoff, Director of Account Management

This influencer marketing campaign was enacted in three-phases, each aligned with key voting dates in selected target states covering up to 18 cities. Given that different states have different voting timelines, including local influencers and aligning their content to said timelines was crucial. A marriage between timing and targeting with local influencers was key to powerfully achieve our partner’s goal. All three phases strategically worked together to raise awareness of the More Than A Vote initiative. 

“In a way, working with MTAV has been a cathartic experience in 2020. This year especially, we should all be doing our best to bring positivity and encouragement into focus for one another, and I’m proud to have been able to do that as a function of my job here at Open Influence. Coming to understand the organization’s mission and strategy, it felt like this was something we needed to be a part of and I’m so happy we were given the opportunity.” – Gabriela Leverette, Project Manager

 The Game Plan: The Influencer Strategy to Incentivize Voters 

PHASE 1: WHY VOTE! 

To launch the campaign, influencers posted an in-feed carousel of photos depicting why they strongly feel that voting is especially important this year. In the caption, they shared a short personal anecdote or voting issue that is important to them and encourage their followers to do the same.

 

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Looking back at the picture of baby Camille and thinking back to simpler times. There’s something about bringing babies in to this world. Being a mother really changes your outlook on the world and the things that are important to you! I just want to do my part to ensure not only that my girls have a great future to look forward to, but to also make sure I’m being a great example to my girls as well.⠀ ⠀ Which is why I’m excited for the opportunity to partner with such an amazing initiative @morethanavote that’s encouraging us to get out there and be active in this upcoming election. Voting is one of the most impactful things we can do for ourselves, our families, and our communities. But not just simply voting, but volunteering to work the polls as well. Young voters not only notoriously neglect the importance of voting, but also actually working the polls.⠀ ⠀ Traditionally nearly 60 percent of poll workers are senior citizens or retirees, but due to the threat of COVID to the older population, we are seeing a growing poll worker shortage. This will result in a shortage of polling locations and voters waiting for hours to cast ballots. We can’t let that happen. We must do our part. Visit the link in my stories to learn more about how you can make a difference! #Ad #MoreThanAVote 📸: @creativesparks_image

A post shared by Courtney N. Williams (@courtnwilliams) on

 

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These people here…they are my legacy and voting in this year’s election IS a part of my legacy (SWIPE LEFT) I vote because I want to leave this world better off for my kids and my kids’ kids. I vote for my grandmother who recently passed away, but shared memories with me that date back to the days of segregation. I vote for my black husband, my black family, my friends and my community. I vote to fight for the democracy of this country …which is why I’m looking into being a poll worker in this year’s election. Did you guys know there’s a dire shortage of poll workers for this year’s election, which could result in precinct closings and long delays ESPECIALLY in our community. We can’t let that happen…not on our watch. That’s why I’m asking you guys to please visit the link in my bio to learn more about how YOU can get off the sidelines and give @MoreThanAVote this year by volunteering as a poll workout. Join me in the fight again black voter suppression. We need YOU. #ad #MoreThanAVote

A post shared by KYRA KNOX (@kyramknox) on

PHASE 2: REGISTER TO VOTE 

Leading into state-specific registration deadlines, influencers posted a series of posts and stories with the purpose of providing their audience an easy path to register. This included information about state-specific voting deadlines, voting best practices, and day-of volunteer information.

 

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HERE ARE 3 EASY WAYS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE THIS ELECTION SEASON 🇺🇸 AD 📝 MAKE A VOTING PLAN: and help others with their own! Since I’m high-risk for Covid, I’ve decided to do absentee voting this year! Well kind of. I’ll receive a mail-in ballot but drop it off completed at the county election office! Know someone who wants to do the same? Offer them a ride on voting day! 🗣 SPREAD AWARENESS: You can share voting deadlines, resources for your community, and stay up to date on local news. 🤝 WORK THE POLLS: About 60% of poll workers are senior citizens or retirees, which means they’re understandably a bit more cautious this year to volunteer. Did you know you can get paid in certain districts for being a poll worker?! You can help make the election process easier for those in your district as long as you’re registered to vote. The first time I was eligible to vote, I missed my deadline to register for an absentee ballot when I was away in college. Now, I want to make sure that others not only know HOW to vote but that we can do even MORE. Learn more on how you can make an impact with @morethanavote and visit the link in my bio to sign up and work the polls! #morethanavote #election2020 #UseYourVoice #VoteAboutIt I’ve teamed up with a few bloggers to share their #Vote2020 plans! How will you be voting this year? 🇺🇸 @SequinsandSales @Hillheady @Heyshaunie @theallisonedition @seasonsofkatie @polishedclosets

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PHASE 3: ARE YOU VOTING?

In this phase, our influencers shared their excitement over submitting their ballot and encouraged followers to spread the message.

“Overall, we saw higher engagement across the board because of the “philanthropic feel” of the activation. All we were asking people was to go out and vote, but more importantly to get off the sidelines and make an active difference in their community.” – Anthony Kodomichalos, Account Manager

Humans Love Stories: The Power of Influencers in the Election and Beyond

We can’t ignore the power of social media and influencers, as they are immersed in every aspect of our lives, including politics and social change. 

2020 has reassured us that creators play a crucial role in society and they have both the opportunity and responsibility to drive attention to pressing matters. Creators will continue to use their platforms to speak out, our industry must serve as a strong force that empowers them to do so. 

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With the right influencer marketing strategy, organizations can advance their brand purpose. Want to learn more? Contact us.

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