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Influencers Share their Stories

From left to right: Tracy Imm, APR; Jessica Fast; Jill Smokler, Christine Carter, Margaret Nam. Photo courtesy of conference lunch sponsor Planit

Submitted by Tracy Imm, APR

One of the most talked about sessions at 2018 PRSA Maryland Conference held on June 12 featured four top thought leaders on influencer communications. On stage we had three influencers, two of whom are also in the PR/Communications profession, and an influencer strategist.

The panel discussion highlighted that PR professionals are well positioned to leverage social media influencer relationships and connect brands to targeted buyers. We are skilled at delivering business results for our organizations through earned media and the more we understand the perspectives of the influencer the better job we can do as PR professionals.

“It’s hard from marketers and communicators to accept: you can’t control everything. Allow the relationship to be imperfect and authentic.”

Here is a quick recap of what our panelists shared.

 

  • New York Times best-selling author Jill Smokler (aka Scary Mommy) shared with us her journey from mommy blogger to macro-influencer with a platform that partnered with major brands like Target. Before her platform was purchased she had more control over the content strategy decisions (which she liked) and she saw how having an investor changed the game. She recently left her role at Scary Mommy to pursue new opportunities where she can control the content strategy and tactics and discuss topics she finds interesting.
  • Christine Michel Carter reviewed her strategies as a micro-influencer sharing her views with other black millennial moms. She has consistently created content over the past ten years and she now has brands such as Brick Bodies sponsoring her content. She shares with her audience in an authentic fashion in order to engender the “know, like and trust” factor. One eye-opening point she made was in sharing how she measures the unicorns (impact of influencers). Her formula: Average engagement per post divided by the number of followers times 100. Her influencer score is 1.95% compared to Beyonce at 2.73%.
  • Jessica Fast from Abel Communications talked about how brands are looking for social media influencers to promote their products and services. She shared several case studies with the audience. She underscored that we need to understand influencers are not media outlets, they are people, not reporters telling your story. The power of the influencer is in their authenticity. “It’s hard from marketers and communicators to accept: you can’t control everything. Allow the relationship to be imperfect and authentic.” She also noted that we shouldn’t limit our thinking. “Don’t think about influencers as just individuals, explore relationships with influential groups.”
  • Margaret Nam from Planit, another micro-influencer who works with influencers for her clients, discussed the tactics she has used to grow her audience in the Baltimore marketplace and the new opportunities that have come her way as a result. She noted that micro-influencers provide more opportunities for added value content, a niche, targeted audience and lower cost.

 

PRSA Maryland Chapter thanks all the event sponsors who helped make this conference possible. Click here to see who was there! 

If you attended the conference, check out the pictures below and by clicking here. If you didn’t, see what you missed.

2018 PRSA Maryland Annual Conference: The Rise of Influencer Communications

2018 PRSA Maryland Annual Conference: The Rise of Influencer Communications

*Online registration is closed. Please register onsite.

Plan to Attend Maryland’s Premier Public Relations & Communications Industry Event on June 12, 2018, at the Sheraton Baltimore North in Towson for a brain-friendly, action-packed day. Featuring keynote by Edwin (“Ed”) Bodensiek, Chief Client Experience Officer, Miles & Stockbridge.

Click here for program details.

Investment (includes continental breakfast, break & lunch. Plus free parking)
PRSA Member: $219.00
Non-Member: $269.00 
Student: $75.00 
*Includes $20 late fee        

 

Want to showcase your brand in front of Maryland PR pros? Sign up to be a Conference sponsor. Several levels available. These companies already have!

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As Social Media Evolves, So Should Your Approach

Get the inside scoop on the latest changes to social media

by Lindsay Nelson, Senior Program Manager, imre

Remember when social media was judged by how many Fans your Facebook page had? You couldn’t go a week without someone asking, “what’s our count up to now?”

If this isn’t something that feels like a blast from the past, you may be in for a bit of a surprise…

Social media continues to evolve, not just by how many people use the increasing number of platforms, or the cool new content types you can develop, but it is also changing how brands can plan, measure, and report value and impacts the actual business.

So, as the power of social media grows, and more brands are finding themselves turning to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, & LinkedIn to help share their story, it’s important to stay in touch with what really matters. Below is a list of just a few cataclysmic shifts in how we think about social media.

Likes, Comments and Shares are NOT the best way to measure value of your efforts: While not entirely misleading, these metrics can be helpful in understanding if people are interested in the content you’re sharing, but social has moved well beyond these measurements to really focus on driving value through site visits, tracking behaviors, understanding your audience, and even tracking sales lift.

Posting organically WON’T help us reach our fans: Long gone are the days of organic when it comes to brand content. In many instances, the time used to route, develop and publish content is not worth it’s weight in exposure if paid isn’t a part of your plan. This is why it’s critical to think through the value of your program in terms of reporting beyond channel metrics (like Fans, comments, shares, and likes) to really be responsible with your investment.

We should NOT just post it on social: While historically many have viewed social media as the place to share your content, it’s increasingly important to consider planning for social media before you even begin developing the content. With continued platform changes, and an endless list of potential placements for your content (pre-roll, mid-stream, in-feed – desktop and mobile, stories, & audience networks… to name a few) having a plan for the content you’re developing, and where it lives, as well as the audience you are targeting is essential to drive home the value social media can provide.

 

Of course, if you’re interested in hearing about these topics and more, please join me at the PRSA Maryland Conference on June 12! I look forward to seeing you there!

*Read more about Lindsay and all our #PRSAMD18 presenters by clicking here

Fake News. Influencers. PR Opportunity or PR risk?

In a world of fake news – actual fake news, not fact-based reports a particular individual doesn’t like – the need for reliable sources of accurate and insightful information has never been greater. Journalists and public relations professionals alike must be increasingly vigilant in how they collect, attribute and disseminate information in order to maintain their credibility amid considerable public skepticism about the work they undertake each day.

Add to this dynamic the rise of influencer marketing – where select individuals with wildly different backgrounds, missions and agendas – can project a digital voice as far and wide as some traditional news outlets, and it’s clear every new communications opportunity the digital/social age affords comes with its own potential pitfalls.

No brand is immune to this reality. The question is how do we, in the PR profession, navigate this. “The best way to keep pace with the various opportunities and risks that today’s market presents is to directly engage with journalists, influencers and peers,” says Dave Curley, SVP and Corporate Communications and Reputation Management Team lead at Sandy Hillman Communications.

One place to do this is at the PRSA Maryland Conference – the Rise of Influencer Communications on June 12, which includes a media panel discussing the implications of Fake News as well as a panel of Influencers and PR strategists decoding influencer marketing strategy.

Ultimately, PR teams that succeed in this environment recognize that “credibility is the ultimate currency,” says Curley, who encourages clients to embrace four communications tenets:

  • Speak with authenticity and authority
  • Don’t speculate – share vetted, fact-based information
  • Act quickly and aggressively to correct inaccurate information in public forums
  • Own your mistakes and apologize when you’re wrong (and vigorously defend yourself when you aren’t)

Is your PR team living these tenets? Are you positioned to leverage the burgeoning communications opportunities in the age of influencer communications?

 

PRSA Maryland 2018 June Conference Related Sessions

The Fake News Phenomenon with Tom Baden, Jr., editor, The Daily Record; Colin Campbell, reporter, Baltimore Sun; Kelly Swoope, news anchor, WMAR-2; Dr. Richard Vatz, professor of rhetoric and communication, Towson University; Moderator:  Debra Schindler, regional director of PR and media, MedStar Health

Explore the state of news media and the fake news phenomenon sweeping the world. Members of the media reveal how fake news impacts their work, how they report news now, and the future of journalism. Learn how communication professionals can work with members of the news media to ensure the highest caliber of information is delivered. Get a sneak peek into newsroom discussions and the editorial decision-making process in the modern age.

Rise of Influencer Communications:  Changing the Face of PR and Marketing with Christine Carter, influencer and global consumer marketing strategy analyst, McCormick & Company; Jill Smokler, founder, Scary Mommy; Margaret Nam, influencer and social media manager, Planit; and Jessica Fast, Abel Communications

Connecting with target audiences and increasing earned reach in social media is becoming difficult due to restrictive content algorithms. Enter influencer communications. Get a 360° view of social media influencer communications and learn how it’s changing the face of PR and marketing. You’ll interact with agencies and influencers to discover how and why influencers are changing how brands reach today’s audiences. Get tips on where to find influencers who are best for your brand and key how-to’s from pay v. trade, contracts, and measuring.

What PR can learn from the Tupperware

So, what does Tupperware have to do with PR in a digital world? “Indeed, 60 years later, the Tupperware business model has resurged into a ‘digital’ house party for the 21st century mom,” explains Millennial Mom, influencer and marketing exec for McCormick, Christine Carter. She has a whole lot more to say about the digital remake of Tupperware but her key message on June 12 will be how PR professionals can and should embrace Millennial Moms, the $2.4 trillion social media influencers.

Christine Carter will speak with authenticity as a Millennial Mom, Influencer, McCormick Exec. And she said in our interview, she wants to meet you! She loves to share stories.

The top reason you might want to get to know Christine Carter is because she knows black Millennials and Millennial moms. First, she’s one of the them and secondly, she’s been writing, blogging and speaking for and about Millennials for 10 years. She’s got lots to enlighten us about in terms of connecting with and meeting the needs of Millennials. Take for instance her Forbes post on “Moms Under 30 Are Changing Their Work Status & Other Millennial Mom Career Insights.” In this post dissecting research she writes: Millennial moms are proud to be working parents, but they are not defined by their careers. Rather, they believe their position contributes to their serving as positive role models for their children.

Beyond helping all of us better understand this market, you might want to get to know Carter because she is an influencer who can share her own case study as a micro-influencer for Brick Bodies. A prolific blogger and writer whose work has appeared in Time, Ebony and HuffPost, she has nearly 23,000 followers on Twitter and 35,700 on Instagram.

There’s still one more reason to connect with Carter – she is on the global marketing team for McCormick. She’s a Baltimore native so she knows a thing or two about this iconic Baltimore company. Now on the marketing team, she is connecting her influencer background and Millennial insight to corporate brand strategy.

You can read more (see below) before you met and talk with her on June 12 when she joins us for the session, Rise of Influencer Communications: Changing the Face of PR and Marketing. Joining her are Jill Smokler, founder, Scary Mommy; Jessica Fast, account director, Abel Communications; and Margaret Nam, influencer and social media manager, Planit.

The McCormick exec who inspires Millennial Moms (Bizwomen, Business Journals)

Christine Michel Carter Forbes Site

Follow her @cmichelcarter

Want to join us on June 12? Click here for more information including the full program and registration details.

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors