Stakeholder Engagement in the Age of the Influencer

From town halls to online surveys, there are countless methods to engage and understand stakeholders. You may have noticed in the news recently Elections Canada’s abandoned attempt to engage young people this election season through the use of social “influencers.” While still in its infancy, Business Insider estimates the influencer marketing industry is worth around $8 billion dollars and will be worth up to $15 billion by 2022.

Contrary to what some believe, the age of the social influencer is more than just paying the celebrity of the day obscene amounts of money to hawk protein bars on Instagram. Platforms exist online that have the ability to not only identify influencers with a niche audience and connect you with them but monitor their engagement rates and discourse among their followers. This is extremely useful if you’re looking for an efficient method of reaching and engaging stakeholders.

With any new industry, there is a learning curve. In the case of Elections Canada, they scrapped their influencer program after deeming the past activity of a few of their influencers could be viewed as partisan. The Canadian Competition Bureau also made it clear last year that the Competition Act regulating misleading and deceptive marketing practices also applies to influencer marketing. This means any paid partnership with a social influencer must be clearly identified to the consumer. This is why you’ll notice #ad, #paid or #sponsored in the social copy of some influencers in your network.

The reality is, no deception is necessary to realize how valuable influencers can be. Identifying influencers in a given space is an efficient starting point toward effective public and stakeholder engagement.

If you’re interested in learning more about creating dialogue and collaborating with stakeholders, ask us about our public and stakeholder engagement services.