This Company Is Using the Power of Influencers to Get People to Vote

Fohr's campaign has reached more than 99 million people so far

The 'Influence the Election' campaign encourages people to vote. - Credit by Photo Illustratio: Amber McAden; source Getty Images, Fohr
Headshot of Ann-Marie Alcántara

There’s been no shortage of people, from Oprah to Taylor Swift, asking everyone to vote on Tuesday.

And this year, even influencers on social media are joining the push, using their platforms to encourage people to at least say they’ll pledge to vote.

“Influencers have never spoken out at this velocity and scale about the election and politics in general,” said James Nord, co-founder and CEO of Fohr, an influencer marketing company. “It’s been super encouraging to see that and nice to see different candidates and parties and officials working.”

Fohr is running a campaign called “Influence the Election.” Influencers, or anyone else for that matter, can connect their Instagram accounts on the website and receive a series of Instagram story templates, including one that finds a user’s most engaged post to use as part of the messaging and another that encourages tagging others to join. Influencers who have participated so far include Hannah Bronfman, Jamie Chung, Julianne Moore andOlympic medalist Nastia Liukin.

So far, the campaign has reached more than 99 million people (a measurement that combines everyone’s follower count)—so it’s pretty closet to Nord’s goal of reaching 100 million people. The name of the campaign is a nod to the Russian “influence” in the 2016 election and turning that word into a positive.

According to Nord, the idea for the campaign first started taking shape last year when President Trump issued an executive order that barred refugees from entering the country and the Supreme Court eventually upheld the president’s travel ban. Nord didn’t see many influencers posting about it and was wondering about the power they wield and why they didn’t do more.

“It got me thinking about what is the responsibility of somebody who has a platform and has a following,” Nord said. “Even if you built that following talking about beauty, do you have a responsibility to talk about more pressing issues?”

He explained that many influencers have traditionally stayed quiet on political issues because they felt it “wasn’t their place” and didn’t want to hurt their following.

“This campaign was in part to get this community together and say while powerful for any one of us to talk about this election and voting what we can do together from this perspective is pretty staggering,” Nord said.

To kick off the “Influence the Election” campaign, Fohr reached out to the influencers in its network who are already “politically outspoken” to post about it, and it’s “grown organically,” according to Nord. Currently, about 3,088 influencers have participated—though not all of them come from Fohr’s network; some are influencers who either found the campaign or were tagged to join. To wrap up the campaign, Fohr asked anyone who’s participated to share an in-feed post on Nov. 5 to vote.

“For me, this is the digital version of putting the candidate sign on your front lawn,” Nord said. “If you have people following you, you’re in some way even leading them. The world has changed dramatically and everyday people can now build an audience even if that’s 200 people.”

Endorsements by public figures are nothing new, and though many brands question the authenticity of influencers, Nord said he believes influencers will only endorse candidates or issues they are informed about. Relatedly, Fohr is working with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on a different campaign involving influencers in certain congressional districts like Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta. Influencers are asking their followers to vote early or on Election Day.

“I think we’re only seeing the very beginning of how influencers will be used in elections moving forward,” Nord said.

@itstheannmarie Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.
Publish date: November 5, 2018 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT