The Perks Of Being An Influencer

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 30 issue of Marketing as part of “Being Influential”

Casie Stewart has been many things. She’s worked as a consultant, brand ambassador, spokesperson, copywriter and community manager. Until this autumn, she juggled freelance work as each along with sponsorship deals with brands like Canadian Club, LG and Cadbury seeking mentions on her life blog and social streams.

Then in September she made the jump into the agency world, accepting a position as director of social media at Community, a small Toronto-based agency that works on campaigns for clients like LiveNation, Heineken and Bacardi.

Stewart says she’ll maintain her social presence (which includes 14,000+ followers on Twitter) despite her new nine-to-five and is participating in upcoming influencer programs by Ted Baker London and Telus. At Community, Stewart is using her personal network of influencers and experience as a blogger to inform client work.

As a sought-after influencer, Stewart’s participated in dozens of social campaigns. These are four of the best.

Ford January 2011
Ford flew a group of 150 bloggers from around the world (including Stewart) to Detroit for the North American International Auto Show. Once there, Ford took bloggers on tours of the Henry Ford Museum and its design labs and factory floor. It also included them in a press preview of the show. By inviting its own group of influencers, Ford was able to take over the social spotlight during the show. According to Scott Monty, head of social media at Ford, the brand had 2,200 social media mentions during the event and Ford was the focus of 40% of all auto show coverage (Chrysler trailed at 18%; GM 15%).

Puma March 2011
Based on the insight that most North American consumers aren’t serious about competitive sports, Puma launched a global campaign aimed at “after-hours” athletes who prefer foosball and ping pong over football and tennis. To celebrate, it hosted parties around the world, including one in Toronto’s Burroughes loft space. Puma used Stewart as an on-camera host for a YouTube video promoting the party and later shot a follow-up of her at the event, which targeted other influencers and used the global hashtag #pumasocial.

Pepsi Canada May 2011
To celebrate the launch of its retro-branded Pepsi Throwback, Pepsi and Praxis PR enlisted Stewart and pop star Keshia Chante to host an ’80s themed Tweet-Up party and Spoons concert in Toronto. By inviting 200 online influencers (50 of which had more than 3,000 Twitter followers) to the party, the single-city event caused Pepsi to trend across the country—a first for the brand. Of the concert mentions on Twitter, 99% included a brand mention, according to Praxis.

Virgin America June 2010
When Virgin America started flying out of Toronto, it celebrated the occasion with a contest to select a brand ambassador, dubbed its “Virgin America Toronto Provocateur.” Created by Victors & Spoils, the contest microsite received 1,500 entries and 46,000 unique visitors. After filming a video in a Virgin T-shirt at Toronto’s all-night art festival, Nuit Blanche, Stewart was selected as the brand ambassador and was awarded a year of free flights in exchange for representing the brand at events and on social media.

Being Influential
• Cult of Influence
Sam Fiorella Has No Klout… By Design
Rethinking Blogger Outreach

For more insight and expert advice on how to navigate social media marketing, subscribe to Marketing.

Photo by Steve Carty Photography.

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