Your Five-Point Wikipedia Influencer Strategy

We recently posted on why savvy influencer marketers include Wikipedia as a critical element of their marketing strategy. Today we’re covering how influencer marketers rely on individuals to promote their brand’s products or services.

Influencers have power

We’ve all seen those influencers — people who bubble to the top of pop culture — becoming seemingly instant icons in fashion, beauty, decorating, lifestyle, and more.

These influencers don’t have to be movie stars or guitar heroes; they are clever Instagram sharers with a strong following, overnight YouTube sensations, or the latest food blogger. If they’re big enough on the pop awareness chart to merit a page on Wikipedia, it’s extra helpings of promotion for the marketing team hitched to the influencer’s wagon.

But can a marketing professional influence the influencer’s Wikipedia presence? The answer is: Yes, to a degree.

You can’t have complete control over what’s written about your client. But, there is room to manage what’s on Wikipedia. How? By following some very basic steps that apply to anyone who wants to effectively integrate Wikipedia into their marketing campaign.

Marketing must adapt to Wikipedia’s standards

Our Top Five Tips for Wikipedia editing are:

  1. Designating a staff person to manage the Wikipedia page or pages that matter to the company.
    It might be the company page and any pages of celebrity spokespeople, but only one staff person should be managing these entries at any given time. This person needs to be completely upfront about the fact that they are paid to edit articles in Wikipedia. Influencers on social media create the perfect tableaus to entice you to also want to buy or use what they have.
  2. Evaluating relevant Wikipedia articles prior to taking any action.
    Is an article objective and factual? It is bloated with meaningless detail, flawed by incorrect information, lacking significant information about the subject? Does it have an unsightly banner across the top declaring the article lacks neutrality, is written like an advertisement, or needs more citations to support it? This will create your designated editor’s to-do list.
  3. Reviewing any major new edits by non-company personnel to the page(s) to determine how they affect the tone of the article(s).
    In which direction do edits move the “influencer” dial? Pure vandalism, for instance, can be easily reverted. Not so a “negative” edit that is well supported by media sources, such as an arrest, public allegations of sexual assault, prominently documented acts of racism/homophobia/etc. Often, well-sourced “negative” information can’t be removed ethically. Any effort to do so may result in a public outing.
  4. Adding any relevant information to the articles that moves the influencer dial in a positive direction.
    Because removing “negative” information is so difficult, it’s important to add factual material that puts the subject of the article in a positive light, such as acts of charity, awards and accolades, and significant business partnerships and achievements. Such information must be well reported in credible media. Links to the sources need to be included when the information is added to the article.
  5. Improving the overall tone, writing, and structure/organization of the article to better reflect Wikipedia’s standards.
    These are described in Wikipedia’s extensive “Help” section, which can be found in the toolbar on the left-hand side of any Wikipedia page.

Further marketing steps

Specific Wikipedia editing guidelines must be followed when a paid staff person adds or deletes information from any article. Otherwise, the edits may be reverted and the editor’s account may be blocked.

The Conflict of Interest rules are spelled out on Wikipedia, but they are nuanced and there are ways to edit content while still adhering to Wikipedia’s standards. Our Wikipedia Services Consulting team at To the Point Collaborative can help you navigate the rules and assist you to ethically edit Wikipedia articles.

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