Skills Building Using Social Marketing to Engage with MSM Social ‘Influencers’

Social ‘Influencers’

Social ‘Influencers’ are people across the range of platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter who have an audience they talk to and have some ‘influence’ over. Key people identified as ‘influences’ include the Kardashians, Tyler Oakley, Willam Belli, Tom Daley etc.

Getting started

You will first need to work out your campaign parameters, the audience, the message, what the campaign will look like and if the campaign will have any resources attached (such as condom packs etc.) When you have these resources settled then you will need to identify which platform you want to use and therefore what ‘influencers’ you will be trying to contact and partner with for the campaign. Remember that nearly everyone that has a consistent presence on social media will have a profile on multiple platforms.

Key questions you might want to consider include:

  • Who could you work with?
  • Who would be the best ‘influencer’ for that particular campaign?
  • The types of campaigns to use particular influencers with.


Once you have created your campaign then it’s time to consider using ‘influencers’. People are far more likely to become involved with your campaign when you have your campaign messages, images and any resources you are developing ready. People like to see things, so they can make a decision about whether they want to become involved with that campaign.

  • Identify key players who are talking about the subject you want to cover – on Twitter and YouTube you can search for people talking about the subject
  • There are people creating content/tweeting about nearly everything, so there is no restriction on the types of issues or interventions influencers could help with
  • Key players are identifiable by number of followers/views they have on videos around that subject
  • Get one or two key ambassadors on board who can then reach out and attract other key players

Engaging content

How much you can help your chosen ‘influencers’ impact upon the campaign will depend on the information and resources you provide them with to use.Understand that there is an incentive for people to get involved, sometimes it’s altruistic/philanthropic, maybe it’s to get more views, re-tweets or followers – you may be helping their ‘brand’ giving them a chance to be involved in the intervention. You can also help by offering support and information, space to film videos, support in filming videos, maybe helping content creators to collaborate with each other on content

Providing branded goods for the creators to use (and keep) such as ‘influencer packs’ that contain things like flashcards, tee-shirts, condom packs etc. would be useful to keep content ‘on brand’. Asking your key influencers what they would find useful for your campaign/intervention may be a start in building the pack.

Provide them with links to the online presence for the campaign if there is one, or your organisations website if not. At the least you could be linking to relevant online resources like the European Test Finder.

Consider your audience

Who are you trying to reach? What message are you trying to get across to them? Questions such as these will help you identify both your audience and the ‘influencers’ that you contact. Who are the ‘influencers’ audience? On platforms such as YouTube it’s very easy to search by subject to see what people talk about. Typing  things such as ‘condom use’ into the search bar will bring up a number of videos you can search and people who talk about these issues to enable you to identify who you will use. What age is your intended audience? Is that the audience the ‘influencer’ has? You may not reach an audience of older MSM who wear leather and are into fetish play if you work with an ‘influencer’ under 20 who gives make up demonstrations for young MSM. You can also use the comments on the videos, who re-tweets comments and who their followers are to help identify the best ‘influencer’ to try and work with.

Consider the ‘influencers’ you contact to be part of your audience for the campaign; the more information they have and the more engaged they are the better they will be about talking about the subject and your campaign.

  • Start with one or two creators/influencers only to begin with and build from there, if your campaign has multiple or ongoing iterations then supporting key creators will help build momentum
  • Momentum will also be built by keeping the campaign something that creators will want to be involved with; ‘cool and trendy’ are keywords here, and this will help attract other creators/influencers to want to be involved
  • Build and maintain your relationships with influencers, send Xmas cards, comment on videos, keep in contact, re-tweet their other comments outside the campaign you are working on. Such things keep a relationship ongoing and happy


Before you approach ‘influencers’ you should have done the following:

  1. Chosen campaign objectives and outlined goals
  2. Created some content, imagery and resources for the campaign
  3. Created a list of your target group/s or audience/s you want to reach
  4. Created an ‘influencer’ pack
  5. Set holistic goals to measure the success of your campaign and the impact of the influencers you work with, act upon your ongoing progress, successes and failures.

Next module: Online Outreach

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