With 40 different Ad Council campaigns, each campaign has a distinct target audience—and each audience demands a different social strategy to effectively reach and connect with them.
For the recent launch of our new African-American-targeted PSAs for our AARP Caregiver Assistance campaign, we knew that our success depended on finding the right influencers to share the message from within the community. We reached out to Feel Rich Inc., a company co-founded by Shawn Ullman and 40x platinum record producer Quincy D. Jones III, because, Shawn says, “We felt we could help socially conscious brands and non-profits authentically connect with the multicultural community.” Their capabilities range from campaign development, content creation, talent wrangler, and social media influencer marketing; and past successes include campaigns for the American Heart Association, American Lung Association and Johnson & Johnson’s Text4baby.
Their work for the AARP Caregiver Assistance campaign helped facilitate heartfelt posts from a number of influencers including Afrobella, Everything Curvy & Chic, Rayann410, and Donna Richardson, all of which inspired great engagement from their followers and fans. We spoke with Shawn Ullman to capture his insights about how influencers can help social good marketers forge meaningful connections with their audiences.
AD COUNCIL: What advice do you have for social good marketers looking to reach a multicultural audience?
SHAWN ULLMAN: It’s extremely important to be authentic and find the right people to deliver the message. A lot of companies come to us and they want to push their messaging without getting input from actual people in the community. You have to align your messaging with the culture and have influencers deliver it who are part of the culture to ensure your message stay is relevant. You have to look at this as a relationship and it will take time to build trust.
AD COUNCIL: How do you see the role of influencer marketing in the social good space? What are the unique advantages or challenges of working with influencers on a social good campaign?
SHAWN ULLMAN: We are just starting to see the positive impact of influencer marketing in the social good space. Our Rich Cartel (the largest network of health and wellness influencers reaching over 300 million followers) is just now starting to get attention from some of the top non-profits and social good brands. It is important that these companies understand the value and authenticity each influencer is able to bring to a cause.
The unique advantage of working with influencers is that if you find someone who is truly connected to the story then the brand usually gets the most authentic message from that influencer.
AD COUNCIL: Do you have any tips for how a social good marketer in particular should work with influencers?
- Reach out to everyone. You never know who might be interested in your brand and your message. Do not let a limited budget stop you from reaching out to some of the biggest names in social media. If an influencer believes in your messaging, there is always a way to make an impact together.
- Figure out who “clicks.” Don’t rush the process – spend time on social media seeing which influencers you are clicking the best with. Hashtags are the best way to identify who is already talking about your message. Even if it’s a micro-influencer (10K or less) it would be more effective to engage them than a big influencer who is not talking about your cause.
- Less is more. When giving an influencer information on an upcoming campaign, less is always more. Information won’t make an influencer decide to participate since these influencers are submitted 5-7 deals a day.
AD COUNCIL: What’s your favorite piece of content you’ve created as part of a social good campaign? What do you think made it so successful?
SHAWN ULLMAN: Our favorite piece of content we have created would be Patti Labelle’s LUNG FORCE initiative. Patti lost both her sisters and her choir director to lung cancer, and it was an extremely powerful story to tell to the multicultural community. The way Quincy directed the video was absolutely amazing. We shot the video in one of Patti’s favorite churches in Harlem, and had 30 choir singers from the East Coast Inspirational Singers. There was not a dry eye in the house when Patti shared that lung cancer is the number 1 cancer killer of women. That video trended on Facebook in less than 24 hours, and we have helped awareness for lung cancer go viral.
AD COUNCIL: Do you have any dream projects or causes you’d like to work on?
SHAWN ULLMAN: There are so many that we want to work on, but I would say the two topics that we would really like to dive into with the community is mental health and diabetes. First, mental health is not discussed enough in the multicultural community and it needs to be a subject that’s open for discussion. Second, the multicultural community is over-indexing in diabetes. We at Feel Rich want to get involved in an innovative campaign that would help make a huge impact and bring more awareness to diabetes.
AD COUNCIL: Is there anything else our Adlibbing readers should know about?
SHAWN ULLMAN: There is a major shift happening in the multicultural movement around health and wellness. The community is looking for brands and causes to help them break the cycle of generational habits that contributed to poor health in past generations. More and more celebrities and athletes are revisiting their old neighborhoods and creating wellness programs, launching urban farms and healthy juice stores, and implanting programs that educate youth, adults, and seniors on how to live a holistic healthy lifestyle.
We at Feel Rich are super excited about this movement, and we have spent the past 4 years visually documenting this amazing shift and will be releasing a 70-minute documentary in May titled Feel Rich: Health is the New Wealth. We believe this is the beginning of a new day, and the social good companies and non-profits that are able to assist in this growth will be the ones that community will support in the long term. You can visit Feelrichinc.com or our social media channels to learn more.