Over the past five years, veganism has been on the rise and has certainly divided a nation of meat and dairy lovers. Being vegan means committing to a plant-based diet, in other words, not consuming any animal products. Veganism is becoming more widely accepted by the day, in part thanks to vegan influencers. Either as a trend or a revolution, vegans are set to make up a quarter of the UK population by 2025.
This year, 100,000 people have already pledged to follow a solely plant-based diet for the whole of January, or “do Veganuary” as it is commonly known as. It’s no surprise that brands have been jumping on the band-wagon left, right, and centre.
Tap ??if you've already signed up. #VEGANUARY2020 officially starts in just 3 days time! If you haven't signed up to join us yet, it's not too late ?https://t.co/2ClixXQFq9 ? You got this! RT & TAG all the people you think should try vegan this January too! pic.twitter.com/XfcnVCXQ1c
— Veganuary (@veganuary) December 29, 2019
Last year, the launch of Gregg’s vegan sausage roll was the star of the show. This Christmas, supermarkets expanded their plant-based offerings to include an array of vegan alternatives to add to the dinner table. Now, KFC is rumoured to be releasing the “Zero Chicken” burger in January 2020.
There’s one trend that dominated the media throughout 2019 provides one explanation for the rise in plant-based diets, and that is the Climate Emergency. Just this week, national treasure Alan Titchmarsh warns followers to eat seasonally “for the planet’s sake and BofE Chief, Mark Carney, has told businesses that do not cut down on their fossil fuel consumption risk becoming obsolete.
Maybe it is time for your brand to board the electric train?
Why use influencer marketing in 2020?
So how can your marketing keep up with the plant-based trend? One way could be through using influencer marketing by collaborating with vegan influencers. Believe me when I say there are plenty to choose from, including both macro-influencers for brands who seek coverage and micro-influencers for precision.
Influencer marketing is defined as:
“type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers–individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche. Influencer marketing works because of the high amount of trust that influencers have built up with their following, and recommendations from them serve as a form of social proof to your brand’s potential customers.”
– Sprout Social
Budgets allocated to influencer marketing by brands continued to rise throughout 2019 and is set to continue to do so right into 2020. However, as influencer marketing progresses, so will their coupling strategies.
When it comes to influencer marketing, choosing creators that reflect their brand’s core values is becoming fundamental. Consumers trust brands to serve a higher purpose, other than to turn over a profit and they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is.
So, how do you find these influencers?
BuzzSumo Active Influencer Reports
BuzzSumo is a content marketing tool that allows us to scour the internet in just a matter of seconds to find topics, domains, or specific users that are key to whatever industry you are searching for. We previously covered this in more detail in our BuzzSumo user guide.
These results are ranked by “level of influence”, a rating determined by a number of factors including what content they share, the average number of retweets received, the relevancy of content etc. Simply put, their ability to affect a piece of content’s reach.
Here at Browser Media, we use BuzzSumo influencer reports a lot when deciding who we to reach out to as part of our PR campaigns. I, therefore, decided to take a deeper dive into the vegan realm to discover who are likely to be key influencers throughout Veganuary and beyond. So I searched for Influencers whose profile included the term “Vegan”.
BuzzSumo also allows you to filter results to make them more relevant. One of the filters applied for this research was to focus purely on active influencers and to ignore broadcasters, in order to find the influencers most engaged with their community at this moment in time.
After exporting the results, I also decided to focus on individuals rather than brands who are less likely to engage with your content, so I filtered out any companies. For me, influencer marketing uses people rather than brands as a whole, as the human element of it is, after all, what helps to build trust in your brand through social proof.
BuzzSumo’s top 100 Vegan influencers
The following accounts would make ideal targets for any brand looking to enter the vegan community to target:
|1||Your Daily Vegan||@yourdailyvegan|
|5||The Vegan Kitchen||@thevegankitchen|
|7||Vegan Tweeter (Alex)||@vegantweeter|
|8||Vegan Recipe Hour||@veganrecipehour|
|13||Prof. Gary Francione||@garylfrancione|
|18||hot for food||@hotforfood|
|20||Erin McKenna Bakery||@embakerynyc|
|25||Ginny Kisch Messina||@theveganrd|
|29||Vegan Yack Attack||@veganyackattack|
|34||Emily Moran Barwick||@bitesizevegan|
|35||Lindsay S Nixon||@happyherbivore|
|38||Vegan Food Quest||@veganfoodquest|
|45||Kate Louise Powell||@katepow3ll|
|48||Crazy Vegan Mom||@crazyveganmom|
|50||Great Vegan Athletes||@greatvegan|
|52||Our Hen House||@ourhenhouse|
|60||The Vegan Zombie||@theveganzombie|
|68||Jason &the Veganauts||@atkins2vegan|
|70||Ellen H Ullman||@curet1diabetes|
|72||Nigel ⓥ official||@nigel4036|
|75||World of Vegan||@worldofvegan|
|78||The Edgy Veg||@edgyveg|
|82||Kris Vani, PhD||@lavegetaliana|
|83||Vegan For Life||@anoncitizenhere|
|91||Tracye McQuirter MPH||@byanygreens|
|97||Bad Ass Vegan||@badassvegan|
|99||L (Leigh Matthews)||@l_eighmatthews|
Congratulations to everyone who made the top 100!
When carrying out this research, there were a few key outcomes that particularly caught my eye that marketers looking to approach vegan influencers should definitely keep in mind:
Veganism is not all about what you eat
One core message, that surprised me, is that I originally thought veganism was simply following a plant-based diet, but true veganism means a change in lifestyle. It is not just about what you eat.
I was wearing a #vegan tank at the #gym the other day, and some dude had the audacity to say, hey man you’re pretty strong for a vegan. I wanted to say “b*tch I’m bigger and stronger than you.”? as I woke up from my little daydream fantasy, I simply said thanks. #govegan #fit pic.twitter.com/yt0VJecGOh
— tofu_fit_guy (@Tofu_fit_guy) August 8, 2019
True, if you manufacture a food product that is certifiably vegan you should definitely be sharing lots of yummy recipes, but other manufacturers and services are not excluded from using vegan influencers. For example, sustainable clothing brands or active lifestyle brands such as gyms, supplements and sports could equally benefit from vegan influencer marketing.
As long as your brand’s values can be aligned with theirs, then vegans could open up a completely new avenue for your brand.
Putting the “p” in passion
It is worth remembering that vegans have changed their entire lifestyle to support what they are passionate about – this could be animal rights, gender equality, or politics. There is no escaping this.
Famously, brands have been worried about getting into bed with artists because they are typically fiery people. When it comes to partnering with vegans, this might not be a bad thing, in fact, we are entering an age of activism, where more brands are choosing activists to champion their brands to engage with politically charged consumers. Be prepared to take a stand.
Opportunities for amplification
A lot of vegan influencers are not just active on Twitter or Instagram, but they also have their own blogs, vlogs and podcasts. This provides a great chance to upcycle your content, so do not just stop at a social media post, get creative and offer yourself up for an interview on a podcast, for example. The more types of content you can create, the more prospective consumers you will reach and appeal to.
Macro vs micro-influencers
Earlier I mentioned brands could choose to collaborate with macro and micro-influencers, the trade-off between the two being coverage or engagement. BuzzSumo’s report confirms this by showing that their ranking algorithm is not just based on the number of Twitter followers – it clearly is taking into account other engagement metrics.
It is important to decide what you want to achieve in terms of your marketing strategy; are you trying to raise awareness or generate leads?
When considering this report, it is important to note that it is impossible to create a comprehensive list of top influencers for any industry because it is ultimately opinion based and as an industry social media is constantly evolving, and therefore, so is influencer marketing. BuzzSumo’s influencer reports are not perfect, but a good place to start.
What’s your opinion on brands embracing veganism – a short term commitment to cash in on, or something that brands will continue to champion long after January is over?