Today the world celebrates UN World Oceans Day, a celebration of the major role that oceans have in the everyday lives of people around the globe. The importance of our oceans is immense, yet unfortunately, roughly 13 million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans on a yearly basis. Buzzoole recognises this problem as one of the major issues of our time, and seeks to tell the story of the Influencers who are actively making an impact to combat issues we all face. Influencers can play a large role in creating positive change; to highlight these individuals and groups, we have started the Influence for Good content series.
For most active users of the internet, when they hear the word “Influencer”, they imagine a beauty or fashion based individual taking selfies at a scenic location. Statistics show that the fashion vertical contains the most posts (33.5%) as well as the highest level of engagement (36.1%) (via Buzzoole Insights). Categories like fashion, beauty, and food/drink take up a majority of postings from Influencers (59.5%). However, there are a growing number of Influencers across a number of verticals who are changing the way that users look at social media, and who are putting sustainability and climate awareness to the forefront of the Influencer world.
@gretathunberg, who was recently featured on the cover of Wired UK magazine, is one of the leading climate change Influencers. Though you may not think of her as an “Influencer” in the more accepted definition of the term, she certainly embodies using influence for good. She was recently at the R20 Austrian World Summit to protest for positive climate change. She has over 1.9 million followers on Instagram, and she has certainly used her large audience for what is probably one of the biggest issues of our times.
Another rising star in this space is Manuela Baron (@thegirlgonegreen), a micro Influencer who makes works of art out of recyclable materials. She also boasts a youtube channel where she talks about sustainability. Manuela uses her art, along with other content, to help mobilise her followers to combat climate change themselves. She partners with mainstream Brands for sponsored artworks and sets to spread awareness even further.
There are also Influencers who promote ways of changing one’s own behavior to help combat climate change. @blueollis, based out of Brighton, UK, posts snapshots of her environmentally sustainable lifestyle. She regularly posts photos of her vegan meals, educates about the benefits of sustainable eating, and how this switch in lifestyle can improve one’s quality of life in a variety of ways. Blue also posts about wellness, mental health, and spirituality.
Immy Lucas (@sustainably_vegan) similarly posts about sustainability, particularly via a plant based diet and by using plant based products. She has more of a fashion focus, and like blueollis, she extolls the benefits of going vegan. Lucas founded the Low Impact Movement, which advocates sustainability through social impact. The movement has 26.9k Instagram followers, and organises protests and other movements for climate change.
Advocating sustainability and talking about climate change isn’t just a responsibility Influencers take on. Brands have started to partner with these kind of Creators to champion these causes together. Companies are able to spread awareness and market their product while they are doing good for a social cause. Manuela Baron, who was mentioned earlier, recently partnered with Rescue Remedy USA, a stress relief product Brand, to talk about meditation and self care.
Partnering with Brands in this way allows the Creator to promote a product they truly care about, as well as noting that the product aligns with their values. For example, a sustainable product would find a perfect partner with an environmentally conscious Influencer. In these cases, the Creator actively advocates values that the Brand believes in. Even if the partnership is paid, the underlying value behind the collaboration is greater than normal because of the societal value.
Though these Influencers don’t come to mind under the more common sense of the term, it would be wrong to claim they are not Influencers. They use their large following to further a social cause, in particular for these Influencers, one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. Creators can use their platform, like celebrities have, to champion a cause and foster positive change.