Best practice guide for influencers in a crisis

Best practice guide for influencers in a crisis

Influencer Marketing

Best practice guide for influencers in a crisis

Over the years, as the power and influence of influencers have grown and evolved, audience expectations have been established regarding their behaviour. This is especially evident during humanitarian crises when influencers are often called upon to spread awareness of what’s going on.

For some influencers, this comes naturally as they focus on topics they have consistently advocated for or have a genuine interest in. However, a dilemma arises for those who are unfamiliar with certain issues – should they keep silent or speak out?

At BIG little LDN, we prioritise the development of enduring relationships with our influencer network, particularly throughout campaign processes. We value authenticity, which is why we have formulated top tips for influencers navigating challenging times.

Consider the relevancy

Influencers should consider whether the crisis or event is relevant to their content and audience. If it aligns with their usual topics, they may have a more genuine reason to address the events. If an influencer has relevant expertise or knowledge about the crisis, their insights and commentary can be valuable.  

Fact-check any sources

When an influencer contributes to the spreading of misinformation, they can quickly find themselves caught up in online backlash due to the inaccuracy of what they have publicly shared. It’s important to do due diligence on the facts. Speak to people who have a voice on the subject and are reliable sources. A well-intentioned post to raise awareness can soon become a reason why an influencer loses followers, their community, and ultimately work.

Be respectful

Influencers should approach sensitive topics with empathy and respect for those affected by the crisis. Sensationalising or exploiting a tragedy can be harmful and offensive.

Get the timing right

Influencers should avoid rushing to comment on an event without sufficient information. They should also consider the impact of their comments in the context of the ongoing crisis.  

Be consistent

Influencers who choose to comment on crises should be consistent in their messaging. Sudden engagement with a crisis and then returning to normal content can come across as insincere. Just because an influencer doesn’t comment, it doesn’t mean they don’t care, an idea perpetuated by many. However, if an influencer comments on an event and then continues with brand work it can be seen as very disingenuous.

Authenticity is vital

Followers often respond positively to influencers who genuinely care about the issues they discuss. Influencers should not use a crisis as an opportunity for self-promotion. This can be seen as opportunistic and inconsiderate.  

Consider the impact

Influencers should consider if their commentary is going to inform, raise awareness, or provide support. If not, it might be best to refrain from commenting.  

Collaborations and donations

If an influencer wants to take a more active role, they can collaborate with organisations to help raise awareness and encourage donations to relevant causes. Followers may be looking to their favourite influencers to learn more, especially if they have a platform and a voice with a larger reach than theirs. When an influencer acknowledges a situation and commits to educating themselves and provides reliable resources to learn more, followers may see this as far more valuable than silence.

So, should influencers keep silent or speak out during a crisis?

Ultimately, it's a personal decision for influencers to make. Some may choose to comment and use their platform for social good, while others may prefer to maintain a clear separation between their online persona and world events. Regardless of their choice, influencers should be mindful of the impact their words and actions can have on their audience and society.

There is no right answer for how an influencer should respond to a crisis. Influencers should remember to approach these situations compassionately and respectfully. The power to reach vast audiences comes with a responsibility to contribute positively, particularly during challenging times that have a profound impact on their audience and wider society.  

The tips provided in this best practice guide underscore the importance of relevance, fact-checking, respect, timing, consistency, and above all, authenticity. In a world where information spreads rapidly and globally, influencers must consider the potential impact of their words and actions. It is crucial to align commentary with genuine concern and knowledge, avoiding the pitfalls of misinformation and insensitivity.

In providing meaningful and impactful commentary or remaining quiet in a time of learning, influencers not only uphold the trust of their audience but also play a vital role in fostering a more informed and compassionate online community.

To find out more about influencer marketing, speak to Holly, Carey or Alice.

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