I attended multiple breakout sessions at PRSSA’s Mid-Atlantic District Conference PRogress Through Tech this past weekend, and the Ethics in Media and Technology was one of my favorites. Paige Knapp, the founder of Kylee Social, led the discussion on influencer marketing and its correlation to public relations.

In an influencer campaign followers are getting the message from someone who they presumably trust, rather than directly from the brand itself. The most valuable influencers for a campaign from a PR perspective are those that are strong storytellers, community builders, and knowledgeable about their niche.

Another valuable aspect of influencers is their audience size. When we think of the word “influencer,” usually our minds move toward the online personality who has hundreds of thousands of followers. Paige emphasized that while those influencers exist, pitching them to promote your brand may not always be the most effective because of their engagement rate. Engagement rate, expressed in the percentage of followers who are engaging with your content, allows all influencers to be compared on one scale. Smaller influencers at the nano (less than 1,000 followers) and micro (1,000-100,000 followers) levels average a higher rate, at around 8%, where larger influencers fall around 2%.

Paige made the comparison between influencers and journalists. Both are important to have on your media list as a PR professional as they tell stories and take pitches. There are obvious differences in how we communicate with each. Influencers can be compensated and do not have to be unbiased or follow a code of ethics, and the opposite goes for journalists.

Ethical issues usually come into play in influencer campaigns with social media post guidelines. The FTC’s (Federal Trade Commission) goal is to protect consumers. In an influencer campaign, that looks like clear, obvious, and full disclosure. An influencer has to outline the full campaign deal: if they are being paid to use the product, if they got it for free etc. This usually manifests itself in the “#ad” component, which has to be clearly visible and obvious in the feed post, story, or video. PR professionals have the responsibility to help influencers achieve FTC compliance with their campaign posts.

Paige wrapped up by giving tips on how to be an influencer-friendly PR pro.

1. Build a relationship with the influencer

Follow them and engage with their posts before you need them for a campaign.

2. Add value to the partnership

Make your ask clear and provide a thorough brief of what is expected of them early on in the process.

3. Think long-term

Look at influencers as long-term partners. These relationships with influencers will pay off if you as a PR pro maintain them.

A huge thank you to Paige Knapp for leading this session, and to our Conference Coordinators for putting on the conference!

This blog post was written by Caitlin McGeehan, Digital Publications Editor.

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  • Temple PRSSA

People always say that college is where people find themselves and learn how to live independently. Although that wasn’t the case for me because my freshman year consisted of taking virtual classes from home, 2020 was a year when I developed my identity. As I continue my second semester of college, there is one lesson that rings loud and clear: I can’t allow myself to be placed in a single box that defines me.

As I entered adulthood, the way I perceived my identity changed. I grew up with influences from my mom’s Colombian background, while my dad is American, and I was born and raised in the United States. Despite living far from my mom’s family in Colombia, she always made her roots known in our home. My grandparents, who are also from Colombia, would live with us for months in the summer; and eventually, a vacation to Colombia became an almost annual trip. My parents raised me to value my half American and half Colombian identity, but it took me over a decade to recognize that I can equally identify with both.

The way the media represents Latinas makes it seem like we can only be one skin color. Certain people associate the typical Latina appearance with women who look like Sofía Vergara, Salma Hayek and Jennifer Lopez. Although I love these Latina celebrities, people don’t recognize that the Latino community includes people of all colors. We are a group of people with varying amounts of African, European and Indigenous descent, so not all of us look the same. As I grew up, I would sometimes get the phrase, “you don’t look Colombian.” I would never get offended by these comments, but I thought they were ignorant. I speak Spanish and deeply identify with my background, but I still had people telling me I didn’t have the physical features they believed I should have.

I felt that I had to defend these comments so that I could prove my Latin roots. Even if my Latino or American friends weren’t thinking about it, the notion that I wasn’t completely part of the Latino community would creep in my mind and it warped how I perceived myself. People naturally want to place others into groups because it makes the world easier to navigate. We sometimes do it to others or ourselves, and that’s okay to admit.

There is no single lived experience for any person in the Latino community, just like there is no single experience for every college student. I never struggled with saying I am half American and half Colombian, but I did encounter difficulty recognizing how my identity coincided with my experiences as half Latina. There are no popular TV shows or movies that represent a family completely like mine, and there is still not a Latina Disney princess (which I am still in awe about). In the past few years, amazing Netflix shows have premiered that represent the Latino community such as One Day at a Time and Gentefied, but there is still more work to be done representation-wise.

Now, I can acknowledge that I do not need to defend how others may view my background because the only perception that should matter is my own. As a society, we sometimes believe we don’t fit into a group because our experiences or beliefs don’t completely align with what is directly in front of us. As long as it’s not harming others, it’s acceptable to stray away from a “common experience” and uniquely perceive the world. It’s a lesson that can apply in nearly every situation. I’ve learned it by accepting that the approval of others does not define how I perceive myself, and my identity allows me to feel connected to multiple communities.

This blog post was written by Angela Tessitore, Diversity and Inclusion Committee Member.

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  • Temple PRSSA

Happy Monday! This week for Member Monday, we are recognizing Tori DeLuca. Here is our Q&A with her.

Where are you from?

Tori DeLuca: I am from Abington, PA.

What year are you?

TD: I am a freshman transfer going into my sophomore year next semester.

What is your major and minor if you have one?

TD: My major is public relations and I have not decided on my minor yet but it most likely will be communications or psychology.

How long have you been a member of PRSSA?

TD: It’s been only 2 months, but it has been a fun experience during that time!

What do you love about PRSSA?

TD: I honestly love going to the meetings and just conversing with others about current events and just learning more about public relations in general.

What PRSSA activities or events have you been involved with/attended?

TD: I am currently in the mentor/ mentee program in the chapter and through the program, I have met some really nice individuals and I also enjoy the Linked In workshops as well.

What is your dream job?

TD: I would love to do public relations on an international scale or use my public relations skills to do something in the entertainment or fashion field.

What is your go-to karaoke song?

TD: My go-to karaoke song changes probably every week but my most recent favorite is “How Will I Know" by Whitney Houston.

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