Why it’s time to focus on the power of influencers for social good

By Maria Cadbury, Founder and CEO, creative and technology influencer marketing company We Are Spring

Shining a spotlight on the positive side of influencer marketing. I’d like to explore how influencer marketing can be optimised for social good.

We’ve all endlessly discussed the debacle that was Fyre Festival but I think it’s time to stop focussing on the downside of influencer marketing and start to celebrate the social good being delivered by influencers today.

The rise of influencers and their sphere of influence has been widely acknowledged in the marketing world.  What we’re now seeing is the maturing of influencers, with an understanding of the real influence they can deliver in real life.  The influencers’ narratives are wide ranging and there is a growing trend for ethical content and ownership of responsibility for the curated content and its effect on society.   

Here are my top 10 examples of influencers with positive messaging (I could have listed so many more).

First up is the shocking awareness that came with Stacey Dooley’s BBC Fashion’s Dirty Secrets.  The documentary resulted in consumers and influencers sitting up and taking serious note of the effects the fashion industry has on the environment.

 #FashionsDirtySecrets was adopted by a wave of influencers using the hashtag and creating a narrative around sustainability, being more mindful to re-wear clothes and curating content around wardrobe stables, classics, and old clothes.

The flourishing awareness around mental health is touching all aspects of society and influencers are playing a positive role here.  @Panicthemother is an Essex mother of three boys and her entire page is dedicated to her family with a narrative that challenges views on mental health.

@gurlstalk is a community safe space to share and listen without any judgement or stigma.  Kat Farmer (@Doesyourbumlook40) is a hilarious, relatable woman and mother, who has become a fashion icon and happens to talk openly about her son who has Asperger Syndrome and ADHD.  Taking a discourse about ADHD into everyday conversation is very empowering.  

@CollyKidschaos is a nano influencer whose channel focuses on mental health and bipolar content with a really engaged audience relating to the content.  These influencers are taking what may have previously been perceived as a stigma into what’s becoming quite normal in society.

While @Bryony Gordon talks candidly about her OCD and mental health issues, she also posts regularly around body image; one of her hashtags is a super example of pushing boundaries – #bigboobsbigtummybiglove. Empowerment on many levels.

@I_weigh is a movement to promote feeling valuable and showing ourselves beyond our flesh and bones.  They have created a petition to stop celebrities promoting toxic diet products on social media, and 131,095 people have signed up.  @bopo.boy, Stevie Blaine, is promoting the body confidence revolution and interestingly his last post was in collaboration with I Weigh.

@Crueltyfreebecky and @Veganbeautygirlare are two of the bourgeoning influencers curating beautiful content covering alternative beauty products that are cruelty free and veganism.  Beautiful beauty and food content on subject matters that were once reserved for an image associated with ‘hippy’ or ‘alternative’ lifestyles. 

“However, influencers need to be careful not to jump on the bandwagon with these issues. They need to prove their credibility in their chosen areas. A glossy image sharing a cause isn’t enough anymore, consumers need to see what is below the surface. What’s the back story? Why do they believe in it? Why is it important to them, and what are they doing about it? Lauren Mahon, Bryony Gordon, and hell, even the World Record Egg are great examples of influencers reflecting today’s society and creating a positive impact,” in the words of @LaurenSpearman.

“Being a social influencer allows me to post what I’m really passionate about and shape my audience’s opinion in a really positive way. I would only work with brands that I feel share my ethos. The current ASA guidelines mean that our audience have a much clearer picture of what social influencers do, and it highlights the brands that we are willing to work with. This allows much more trust and transparency, which I feel in turn will drive more traffic and loyalty towards the subjects that we promote,” @Victoriajanemorris

We know the power of influencers can generate positive ethical standpoints and empower people to get involved for the greater good. Let’s work to leverage this every chance we get.

Corporate marketing departments are optimised for profit first. The hope is that influencer marketing will mean more companies think about ethical fit, placing values and ethics at the heart of every campaign, and not just financial profit. 

About the Author:  Maria Cadbury is the Founder and CEO of We Are Spring, a Creative and Technology Influencer marketing Company. 

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