UNDER INFLUENCE: How a new guide on influencer marketing can help public sector comms people


I’ll be honest, I wan’t sure how relevant for public sector people the new guidance for influencer marketing was.

So much of what government does is around owned channels and maybe trying to influence media.

But some reflection and a fascinating discussion at commscampnorth has opened my mind a little.

The guidance ‘We’re All Influencers Now’ you can find it here. Both authors Sab Guthrie and Stephen Waddington I rate highly as I do other material also published under the FuturePRoof banner.

What the guidance says

An influencer is someone who has carved out a reputation through creating social content on a platform who can influence or shape someone’s behaviour.

The popular view is that this is Joe Sugg, a YouTuber who also made it to Strictly Come Dancing or Zoella and her £12,000 charge for a post and the feeling amongst public sector people is that this just a different league.

But there is more to it than this and as a sector this is predicted to grow from £4.5 billion globally to £18.4 billion by 2024.

The advice is particularly good on governance and points out that the Advertising Standards Authority and Competition and Markets Authority are starting to step into the sector. There legal are issues around IP that you need to consider.

How this may effect the public sector

At first glance, this isn’t something that falls squarely into the lap of the public sector. Useful to know as a communicator maybe, but not a day-to-day requirement.

However, a discussion at commscampnorth change my mind. One attendee spoke of how influencers were being used to reach young people around rail travel. Free rail tickets are being provided in return for the influencer talking about how far away the destination is and how they travelled there.

That’s influencer marketing.

I can recall NATO using influencers to reach young people in Eastern Europe to talk about what the organisation does.

That’s influencer marketing, too.

It made me think of times back in the day when I’ve worked with members of the town Flickr group. Come and photograph the town hall, was the invitation. And can we re-use the pics under licence for free with a credit?

Or, the health watchdog who worked with young people to encourage them to create health-related messages on their Snapchat accounts to circulate to their peers.

Both of those are influencer marketing, too.

A working knowledge of the framework would be a handy thing to have in any communicator’s back pocket.  This work gives you a framework to use.

Picture credit: US National Archives / Flickr

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