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Influencer Marketing with Sheila Dunne

By Jessica D'Amico

On April 6, I attended one of Social Media Week’s virtual events featuring panelist Sheila Dunne, the President and Co-founder of Dunne Goodwin and has previously worked as an Instagram influencer with over 200,000 followers.

Having more than five years of professional experience in the social media / public relations industry, she discussed and answered audience questions about the fundamentals of her career as the owner of a local digital marketing agency. Although social media has been around for over a decade, the trend of something called influencer marketing is a fairly new concept that has made a big impact on the social media / public relations scene. Beginning her presentation, Dunne explained influencer marketing to be a type of marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from experts within specific niches to better reach a company’s target audience and expand their brand’s visibility. Dunne supported the effectiveness of this online marketing strategy by presenting the statistic that about 89 percent of marketers say that their return of investments from influencers is comparable or better than their other channels.

The first step that Dunne identified in the process of working as an influencer marketer was finding prospective influencers for your client company. She recommended using programs like Excel to list anywhere between 500-5,000 prominent social media figures that could potentially work with you. Then, you would reach out to them through email or DM with a message no longer than 100 words detailing who you are, why you would like to work with them and what made them stick out to you as an influencer. She added that personalization is key when reaching out, because this authenticity will help you to create a bond with that person and will help establish you as a genuine and credible person to work with. After hearing back from those interested, the next step would be negotiating a content and financial plan with them. Finally, after agreeing on contracts, you will have created an authentic bond that will mutually benefit both the influencer and your client company. Despite the fact that professional influencer marketing is a pretty new development in the digital marketing sphere, Dunne emphasized that in reality, the use of influencers for public relations purposes has been around for years. Radio personalities and celebrities have both partook in influencer activities in the past, but what makes this modern revolution so different is that because of social media, anybody can now be considered an “influencer.” Dunne went on to say that if a certain social media influencer has built their following authentically and genuinely, they have a very strong network of people that share their same interests and strongly trust their opinions. That is why social media influencers are so valuable to brands nowadays, and why the field of influencer marketing has grown exponentially in recent years.

Overall, Dunne’s presentation and discussion were extremely informative and offered excellent insight for those hoping to one day work in digital marketing or public relations on social media.

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