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Powering Up: Enrollment Leaders battle the great resignation

Powering Up: Enrollment Leaders battle the great resignation

FUEL Concludes Online Training Program for Admission Counselors

FUEL Concludes Online Training Program for Admission Counselors
26 min read

Episode 14—Game-Changing Digital Marketing, Part 2


One constant need that most enrollment managers face every recruitment cycle is building a quality pool of prospective student leads. As the availability of profiled prospect names on test-based lists are becoming less reliable, colleges are forced to be more creative in their search for qualified prospective student names. 

Which is why influencer marketing is more important now than ever. Tori Canonge, a social media and influencer marketing expert, and Jay talk about how using influencers as part of your digital marketing strategy can help raise awareness and build an organic lead pool for all educational levels—traditional, adult, and graduate.


Jay Fedje: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Enrollment Edge podcast for college enrollment and marketing leaders. I'm your host Jay Fedje, Enrollment Edge is sponsored by enrollmentFUEL, a trusted full-service student search and marketing partner to colleges and universities across the country. If you'd like to learn more about enrollment tool services or you have questions about today's episode we've included a link to our website in the show notes. You can also email us at we'd love to hear what you think you can help us by subscribing to our podcast, sharing it with your friends and leaving a five-star review on apple podcasts. On today's Enrollment Edge I have a conversation with Tori Canonge Director of Social and Influencer Strategies at enrollmentFUEL. Tori is a veteran of social media marketing in particular creating, managing, and delivering effective social media campaigns. This episode is the second in our series on digital marketing where we'll talk more in depth about influencer campaigns and how enrollment managers can use them to recruit students, find organic leads, amplify a brand message, and drive traffic to your colleges. Like many digital strategies, there are misunderstandings about what they are, how they work and where they fit into a college's marketing plan. Tori and I will talk through some of the basics of influencer campaigns and how you can best use them to recruit students. Pay close attention to her insider information on choosing the right influencer, managing everyone's expectations and what to do if your influencer goes off the rails. Tori, welcome to the Enrollment Edge. 

Tori Canonge: [00:01:50] Thanks for having me, Jay. I'm super excited to be here. 

Jay Fedje: [00:01:52] You know we started this conversation a little while ago, I come from an old school marketing design and model, as my age would indicate. I've oftentimes misunderstood what the social media influencer designed campaign really is. So my first question is let's put that out there and describe it, what is social influencer designed marketing?

Tori Canonge: [00:02:13] I think that's the most basic question everybody has, It feels like it would be easy to answer, but it's really not when you think about it. I personally like to call it influencer marketing, its the Internet's form of word-of-mouth advertising. So everybody always says word of mouth advertising is the best kind because people tell people and they trust people and that's pretty much what influencer marketing is at its core. So you're relying on real people to market your product or service in a way that relates to their audiences. So in its basic form its word of mouth advertising, online.

Jay Fedje: [00:02:48] That is super easy to understand. Can you talk about the relationship status from the viewpoint of an influencer? What makes up a good influencer? 

Tori Canonge: [00:02:56] I think you hit it great there by saying the relationship, a lot of influencers have experience with the brands. In our case higher education institutions that they've attended, and they want to share that knowledge with their followers because their followers follow them for their advice. When we're talking about, colleges and universities in particular alumni and current students are great for that because they have that emotional connection to their school and can explain a lot about what's so great about it and regular brands as well if I'm using like a shampoo, I tell my friends, I really liked the shampoo they start using it and influencers  are doing the same thing. 

Jay Fedje: [00:03:32] So I've got friends that I will have a cup of coffee with now and again, and we'll talk about, Lawnmowers or something crazy and in that conversation the brand might come up, but there's a conversation about how well that works or why do I like it, or how reliable whatever those criteria might be, but in a social influencer campaign, that's different, isn't it? It's some of it's that, but some of it is about being funny and quirky and humorous and engaging. 

Tori Canonge: [00:04:02] So especially with the upcoming generation, they really want to be entertained and research has shown that their attention span is shorter than a goldfish. So it's about eight seconds, which is crazy. You really have to buy them in right away and I think that's why influencers are so valuable is because they already have taken that initial step of the process out of the question. So they've already got the buy in from their followers. So now it's just a matter of creating content that's consistent with what they've been posting and that has continuously been engaged with so that they keep their audience in tune to what they're saying. 

Jay Fedje: [00:04:37] So a good example of this and correct me if I'm wrong, the Ocean Spray guy that was singing on the on his skateboard and drinking Ocean Spray, cranberry juice and singing a Fleetwood Mac song, Is that what we're talking about? 

Tori Canonge: [00:04:53] Very similar I feel like there's so many different instances of people have seen influencers and they probably don't even realize it. It's really just people telling stories and they're getting paid for it because obviously they're doing work on behalf of a brand, but they're also doing it because it's beneficial for them and it's beneficial for their audience. So it's pretty much like a win-win-win all around.

Jay Fedje: [00:05:15] Have you seen influencer examples that just stand out to you and say, wow, that was a perfect use of an influencer campaign that probably lifted the brand or the conversation and built momentum and that was a really good, did you have any examples of things like that.

Tori Canonge: [00:05:31] Yeah. I saw a really cool one for Skittles on TikTok and I'm going to mention TikTok because it's really important to the audience that we're talking about today, they dressed up in the colors of Skittles and made some order at the counter of a movie theater around it and like almost turned it into a movie trailer and featuring Skittles, literally when I went to the movies the next time. I'm like, I need Skittles. Cause I thought of that video and it just stood out to me because it just captured my attention right away. 

Jay Fedje: [00:06:00] Now I'm looking over at my other screen thinking I should probably pull that up just to see that, because that is super, super interesting it's quirky, but it's part of the brand it's part of fun and they're not 5, 6, 8 minutes along they're pretty sure they're tight short little stories. 

Tori Canonge: [00:06:15] So I think this particular video is under 60 seconds and the interesting thing is TikTok just recently updated to where their creators can make up to three-minute-long videos now. So I haven't really seen a lot of influencers doing it, it's literally brand new within the past week. So I'm curious to see how that's going to change the landscape because I see that as a potential competitor with YouTube. 

Jay Fedje: [00:06:40] That was one of the next questions I had was talk a bit about the various platforms, the social media platforms channels that we have and does one work better than the other, or are they just completely different audiences, and they work equally to different audiences. Talk about that some more. 

Tori Canonge: [00:06:57] So it really depends on the audience you're trying to reach and this is where it's super helpful. If you have somebody on your team who has done an influencer campaign before and understands the audience of each social platform, cause you said it like it's different for everyone. So gen Z, they like to be shown a lot of content on TikTok, Snap chat, YouTube, and Instagram, particularly in the reels and stories. Whereas they see Facebook as like the old person and social media platform. Now it's not the cool place to hang out. Yeah. So I've seen a shift, I would say like several years ago, Facebook and blog posts were the great prime real estate for influencers, but lately, we've really shifted to these other platforms where fun videos are in and then also just want to highlight you're outreaching to adults too, right, because a lot of schools they have graduate programs or adult specific programs and the platform that really stands out there is LinkedIn and it gives you an opportunity to talk about your professional achievements and how like your degree helped get you to where you are today.

Jay Fedje: [00:08:06] Another question that I've got is in terms of application. We've been talking to a number of colleges and universities over the past few months, about how they might incorporate an influencer campaign into their overall marketing strategy and use that to support and help recruit. How would a college marketing director look at an influencer campaign and say, I can utilize that for this particular audience to help us recruit or help us to brand, talk about how that plays out within the college. 

Tori Canonge: [00:08:39] So I think what's important to notice is that influencers are going to reach people that probably wouldn't be on your normal name buy list, or even in a lookalike audience, because they aren't being built off of a specific demographic. These are people that are following people that have attended your school or are currently attending school. One statistic I found interesting, and since we're touching on this topic now is a 2020 study was conducted by Matter Communications and they said that 61% of consumers say they're more likely to trust friends, family, or influencers compared to 38% of brands. So that's a really big gap that we're talking about. There's not a lot of trust when things come directly from brands. So when you know that, and the marketing directors of schools are just throwing ads out there, they're really missing the chance to bring a human element to their campaign and build that emotional connection with perspective students in ways that just like ads, letters, and emails aren't able to do. 

Jay Fedje: [00:09:34] 61% will trust friends, relatives, and influencers? 

Tori Canonge: [00:09:39] Yup.

Jay Fedje: [00:09:40] Influencer meaning folks on line that they trust at a distance, they may not know them at all right?

Tori Canonge: [00:09:45] Oftentimes these are people they don't know at all. They found them browsing through Instagram or a blog post or even TikTok, they think oh, this person looks fun and they start following them and they want to be like them. They aspire to be like them so they buy into the products they buy and the funny thing is I've been working in influencer marketing for so long but you still get dragged in because I follow influencers and I'm like, I trust them this looks like a good product. 

Jay Fedje: [00:10:12] What's your top two influencers that you like?

Tori Canonge: [00:10:15] Oh my goodness. I have to give a shout out to @adoremorewithgeor. She's one of my friends, but she was a former coworker of mine, and she has her own clothing boutique now and so she runs two different Instagram accounts, her own for her blog and for her clothing and just like the way she was showing her clothes, I'm like I guess I'm buying that tomorrow morning, but other ones, there's another one. She's a recipe influencer and I like to cook, but I'm not good with coming up with my own recipes I leave that up to my husband every time she posts something, I'm like okay, she can do it like I'm fully capable of this. So, I'll go through, and I'll save them onto my Instagram feed and then I'll go give him a shot later. I'm not one to follow celebrities really, I think the only celebrity I really follow is like Mandy Moore because I love the success.  I like the influencers that talk to me as a person and I think that's what, prospective students and adult and grad students are looking for.  

Jay Fedje: [00:11:15] People that are like them and that are working for the same kind of things that they are. 

Tori Canonge: [00:11:20] Unless it's a pet account, because of course you have to follow the dog accounts just for the cuteness. 

Jay Fedje: [00:11:25] Yeah. I've got several Basset hounds, @tunameltsmyheart, is one that my wife and I also follow the Diyers' we do the Basset Hounds, and the cute dogs, Pugs seem to capture our heart for some reason but you're right that, obviously friends and relatives or people that are close to us, but it's interesting how there's connections. If I'm a college marketing agent or an enrollment manager at a college, I have to be pretty selective and pretty careful don't I, with who I'm looking to build an influencer campaign around, talk about what would those categories be. What is your advice on who you might want to look for? 

Tori Canonge: [00:12:15] So I mentioned the alumni and current students are a great place to start just because they have that relationship with the students already and those would fall into the realm of what I call content creators. So, they’ll usually use a photo or a video of some sort that really hones in on your school and talks about it. Now, there is another realm of influencer, and we call that content sharing there's different terms people use for content amplification. I like content sharing and what this does is getting influencers who may not necessarily be a part of your alumni network or your student base, but they have a very strong following on Facebook and Twitter, typically they're going to parents of prospective students and so our goal there is you're pretty much just giving them one message to send to their audience and try to reach as many eyeballs as possible. So that kind of campaign can be relaunched super quickly, where a lot of brands struggle though, when it comes to any type of influencers is just figuring out okay, how do I know they're brand safe, I am sure you've heard that from a lot of schools. I'm not really sure about this it’s a little scary.

Jay Fedje: [00:13:25] I'm not sure what their brand is because you're attaching brands, aren't you with that person and their background and your school. 

Tori Canonge: [00:13:32] I call myself a matchmaker because I'm trying to find the right influencer for the right brand and there's a lot of tools out there that rely heavily on technology to find the right influencers, but I'm a huge fan of personally vetting and reviewing the influencers in their content just to make sure everything lines up and is factually correct. We live in a world where a lot's going on. People want to be cautious about the kinds of messages people have posted. Some conservative schools they really want to stay away from people who maybe are a little bit more politically outspoken. So, you take that feedback from the brand and then you apply that when you're vetting the influencer so that you can find that right match and avoid any issues down the road. 

Jay Fedje: [00:14:17] It sounds almost like you're an agent trying to match a mini spokesperson to a brand. 

Tori Canonge: [00:14:25] Some of these influencers, they're just going to be a one-off meaning they work with you one time and then you're done but a lot of these influencers become brand ambassadors and so you're going to work with them over a long period of time and they really do become an extension of your team. So, you want to have that buy-in from them this is a professional relationship. We want to make sure when you're conveying, our school that you're conveying it in a way that is appropriate but also fun and relates to your audience to. 

Jay Fedje: [00:14:55] It seems like a lot of work have you found that it's difficult to find those right matches? 

Tori Canonge: [00:15:00] I think it depends brands, run into issues as they try to become too over-protective over what they're looking for and we call it a unicorn, so this person doesn't exist because there's so many different qualities that the person's looking for they're just not there and so you have to bring them down to earth a little bit and say, hey what are your top three priorities, and then what are some nice to haves and you hit the nail on the head when you said it's a lot of work. I've worked influencer campaigns where I've spent like 20 hours on it. I've worked some where I've worked over a hundred hours on a campaign and that's because an influencer campaign requires that handholding and customer service to make sure the influencer knows what they're posting, making sure that any questions are answered, that they're getting paid, you're negotiating their contract. So, it's almost a day in day out process of making sure the whole thing runs smoothly from start to finish. 

Jay Fedje: [00:15:57] You’re herding the group, right? You're not looking for one person you’re usually looking for more than that. You're looking for a small group of people to be influencers in that campaign, right?

Tori Canonge: [00:16:08] The benefit of having multiple influencers is it gives your brand dimension. So, you have different viewpoints and different experiences everybody sees the world differently and so for them to walk away from school, let's say they've graduated as an alumni everybody's going to have that different experience based on their degree program, any extracurricular activities they were involved in and these are all things that they can share with their followers. So if I have one business major, he can possibly talk about, the business degree they got, what professional development they did, what career they ended up with, but we may have an athlete as well and she could be talking about her experience on the volleyball team and how that prepared her, for her career as well and it all shows the school on a bigger level, but it also builds that emotional connection in a way that works for each of their audiences.

Jay Fedje: [00:16:59] In influencer campaigns is this something that audiences have to come upon. Is it better for them to discover it themselves or are there ways to put those messages in front of them so they happen upon them organically, or do you send them the campaign messages? 

Tori Canonge: [00:17:13] So a lot of influencers, we encourage them to post whenever they think they're going to get the best engagement and when their audiences online the most now a lot of them, if they're posting on Instagram, I always encourage them to post on their stories as well because that's where a lot of behind the scenes conversations are happening and people will reach out via their DM's and say, hey, I saw you posted this I'd like to learn more. So that starts that conversation there as well and because a lot of people don't go to specific profiles, they just like to scroll in the feed. It gives you an extra chance to get in front of him there. You can boost content and put paid support behind it and then target their audiences or other specific audiences and that will force the message in front of them a little bit more obviously than if they're just organically posting. The more places they post, the more potential eyes you have on that content. So, I think it's helpful when they can come across it themselves, because they see this is content, they're sharing I don't feel like it's being forced in my face. It just seems a little bit more natural.

Jay Fedje: [00:18:18] Content sharing there's more control over that. You're building content in a controlled environment and sending that content to their group of followers, but when you have content creators, that’s a little different, could you talk a little more about the authentic approach versus the staged approach.

Tori Canonge: [00:18:38] There's definitely a balance that you have to play because you don't want to be strict to the point of where the influencer has zero creative freedom, but you also don't want to have them go post just the most random stuff that does not make sense. So every campaign that I work on, I create a set of instructions for the influencers so that they know what the key basic requirements are for them, you need to tag the brand you need to mention this in your own words make sure you're not showing any logos of other schools cause we don't want a competitor sneaking in there and also making sure that they're lined up with FTC guidelines. Surprisingly, a lot of brands are not well-versed in, and that's why it's always good to have an expert to make sure that you're actually meeting those requirements because if the FTC comes in and cracks down on you, that's a big fine, which nobody wants. 

Jay Fedje: [00:19:28] Talk more about that, what would put somebody outside of the rule book?

Tori Canonge: [00:19:30] So if you bury the fact that it was a promotion and the hashtag, so let's say you use #ad and if you bury that in your hashtags and have a bunch of others surrounding it, the FTC will say that's incorrect because it's not clear and conspicuous to the viewer also some influencers have tried to get around by shortening, #sponsored they'll do #sp and that's viewed as not correct because people don't understand what #sp is unless they're an influencer or work in this field. So those are some basic guidelines. There's a lot more in the weeds to it, but part of the brand safety process is making sure the brand is legally safe as well. Going back to the previous point, we were talking about the creative freedom, but also the balance those instructions really do play a part and so when the influencers go through that and create their content that's why it's important to have somebody on hand who can answer questions for the influencers and who can also review the content before it goes live. That way if you have your eyes on it, you can see, if a logo snuck in here or the way they worded something could be factually incorrect you definitely want to change that but where I see brands struggle, the most definitely has to do with tone of voice. They'll say oh, it sounds better if they say it this way and I'm like, but it doesn't because that is not how the influencer talks I understand if it has some slang in there and it doesn't sound like high education, but the reality is that's how people talk on these social media channels and if they are, looking like they're reading a script or something, your viewers are turned off instantly and we definitely want to avoid that.

Jay Fedje: [00:21:18] It really does have to be conversational. One of the things that I'm really impressed upon with this space, these types of campaigns, I'm a do it yourselfer at heart. I like to do as much as I possibly can in my house or my yard or my car, but there's always a point at which I know that I'm in a space that I shouldn't be that if I do more, I may do more harm than good and it's pressed upon me that influencer campaigns in many ways are like that, that there are so many do's and don'ts officially, but then there's a lot of best practice because by not doing it correctly, not doing it right you can find yourself tripped up or just not effective at the very least, but you can find yourself in trouble as well.  So it seems to me in influencer campaigns, there's has to be quite a bit of expertise involved in this to really make it effective.

Tori Canonge: [00:22:14] Absolutely you don't want to go in blind and say, oh, we're just going to throw money at somebody and hope it turns out, that's a quick way to lose a couple thousand dollars or whatever you're planning on spending and then also making sure that you're getting the data from the campaign at the end of it you can't just scrape the data from the platforms. Most of them are private, locked down, thanks to the tech companies it's very hard to get into there. So you're relying on the influencers to give you their insights and stuff after they've posted and so if you're not getting that information, you have no idea how your campaign even performed. So having an expert it's helpful to have an expert because they can process that data, break it down, analyze it, and then give it to you on a report and say, here's how it did here's some comparison, yours was successful or not. 

Jay Fedje: [00:23:03] You could translate it into something that they can use and replicate or fix or continue to produce those same kinds of campaigns. What are some things in those reports that folks should be looking at and saying, this was a positive campaign, or this campaign was not as effective as we want it? 

Tori Canonge: [00:23:20] So it's definitely going to vary from campaign to campaign, just because it depends on your end goal, are you looking for clicks, are you looking for more brand awareness? If you're looking for brand awareness, engagement rate is something that I think is important for brands to look at. If its clicks I usually say you want to look for around an average of 10 per influencer anything above that is definitely above average. This does not necessarily mean it's going to generate an application or something, but it gets you traffic to the website to hopefully start that conversation, with a perspective student. One thing I did want to know is that influencers with lower followings are often overlooked because you have these celebrities that have so many followers, but the reality is that influencers with 10,000 or fewer followers actually have a higher engagement rate, so their splits are around like 4%, whereas a celebrity is like 1% and people view celebrities as being paid for that so they're not going to take it as face value.  The benefit that schools have even no matter what size is, even if they have somebody with a thousand followers, they can still be an influencer for them.

Jay Fedje: [00:24:29] I was gonna ask you that question, an unnamed school I was talking with has a celebrity as an alum and as we talked to them about it, we determined that was probably not the best influencer to have, even though they had gigantic numbers of followers. We decided not to use them, now you think that's that was a good decision. 

Tori Canonge: [00:24:48] Absolutely, I think celebrities in a way can almost soften your brand. I don't know if that's the right word for it but wash it down a little bit and just make it feel like you've sold out. One point you have to think about is who is most relevant now who is talking to these students and usually it's people who are a little bit closer to their age unless you're gearing towards parents. Even if it's celebrities, their net is cast so far, you don't really know who's in that pool it could just be a bunch of people who like music and don't care about college. Whereas somebody who recently graduated from college is being followed on LinkedIn, has developed that professional network, they're going to be a much better influencer for you to have, because they're talking about that stuff constantly. 

Jay Fedje: [00:25:30] That was really an interesting insight when we were talking about what that would be to have a big-name celebrity, as part of this and we were like, this is going to be cool, but you are the first one to go, I don't think so, I'm not sure that's going to be a good idea. When you look at numbers of followers, we're not looking at hundreds of thousands of followers as being the most important. We're really looking at the quality of followers, isn't it? 

Tori Canonge: [00:25:52] Exactly, that's where that engagement rate comes in, these regular influencers and I call them regular, even though everybody's special and has their own staff, but they're able to have their conversations one-on-one and check their DM's and celebrities, half the time they don't run their own social media and they're not checking their DM's very frequently or responding to them. So, you don't have that genuine connection going on and some of that authenticity gets lost along the way and the other thing to, is when dealing with celebrities that I'm not a big fan of is you have to usually go through an agent to negotiate their contracts and it is a mess it's a back-and-forth process it can be done, but it's not easy. 

Jay Fedje: [00:26:30] That's part of the salary, right? You gotta negotiate. You mentioned a person that is a type of an influencer, a book by Malcolm Gladwell called Tipping Point talks about these social connectors, people that are connected to so many different people, it feels like whenever you mention their names, somebody knows them. They're not a celebrity at all they're just connected to everybody, do those type of people make the best influencers for these types of campaigns.

Tori Canonge: [00:26:56] They have connections everywhere. I feel like it's funny because when I'll go to their accounts, you can see who we follow in common and it's interesting how you see all the interlinking goings on between the two of you, even though you don't really know each other, but you can find people with similar interests because they have those connections outside of what a celebrity may have.

Jay Fedje: [00:27:16] In your opinion it’s as part of the larger marketing campaign for a college or university that influencer campaigns fit, they're part of a greater recipe for marketing. Do the influencer campaigns help or hurt other social media campaigns, do they work together in harmony, can they harm each other and get in the way of each other, or can they be built in such a way that they amplify each other?

Tori Canonge: [00:27:39] I think it's really important just to make sure that if you're going to run as an influencer at the same time that they complement each other and don't take them away what you were saying, Jay, the great thing about influencers is they can bring that human element, that social ads are going to miss. So I really like running them at the same time, because let's say somebody sees an ad for your school and they're like I saw a few words, it looks great, whatever, blah, blah, blah but it's not really top of mind if they go on Instagram, TikTok wherever and they hear somebody talking about the school and providing a little bit more detail, now there's probably some buy-in because they're like I've seen it and now I've heard it and now I see this human connection and maybe I can take the step to even ask the influencer a question about it or connect with them on LinkedIn or do something to follow through. So, there's additional steps that it actually encourages the followers to make that an ad might not necessarily do.

Jay Fedje: [00:28:36] It's part of a saturation philosophy. So, if my strategy is to saturate this brand and bring folks to a new program or develop awareness in a new marketplace for our new program or for my school opening up a new marketplace those things are added on one another they don't work as well, isolated, but they do work much more effectively if there are multiple channels that are working together. 

Tori Canonge: [00:28:59] The beautiful thing about influencers, you don't really have to worry about like your frequency rate getting too high, because even if they see five influencers, they're getting a whole different perspective from each person, as long as the brand has let them have that creative freedom.

Jay Fedje: [00:29:15] Now that, that brings up a really interesting question about creative freedom. The assumption is that those influencers are acting and doing what we want them to do in the way we want them to do it and yet maybe, sometimes they won’t, some of those influencers could go rogue. So, what does a university or an institution do when one of their influencers goes rogue.

Tori Canonge: [00:29:34] I think the really important thing is you always want to have a contract in place with your influencers explaining what they're required to do, like when they're required to post, the agreed upon instructions because then you can hold their feet to the fire a little bit and say, we had an agreement this is what you agreed to post. You have your list of do's and don'ts, and you can easily go in there and highlight what wasn't. I have been in situations in the past when influencers have said I can't move forward and it's okay then you're not getting paid and it's a scrub you let them go and you agree to not work with them again in the future cause you know, it's not the right fit. It doesn't happen too often, but sometimes influencers just change their tone, and they decide I don't want to do this anymore. Sometimes you'll have them completely ghost you and, in that case, you can send up follow ups you can try to reach them via phone text message email, but if they don't respond after a couple of days, give them a final deadline and say if we don't hear from you by this day like we're going to have to move forward without you and then if they don't respond. It's considered a wash, and you don't pay them for the campaign and they're not part of that campaign anymore. 

Jay Fedje: [00:30:42] One of the things that comes to mind is not that an influencer that I'm working with is doing bad things, maybe they're doing things that I just don't want my college to be a part of. There's plenty out there now in the public space that a college or university is going to try to avoid as much as they possibly can, whereas maybe the influencer would say, I am a part of that conversation then what do you do?  

Tori Canonge: [00:31:05] That's where a lot of the vetting comes in ahead of time because you'll notice patterns with influencers if they've spoken about those sensitive topics in the past odds are if something happens again, they're going to do it again. Whereas an influencer that hasn't posted about it before odds are they're probably not going to touch the subject because it's just one of those moments they'd rather go dark than to divide their followers and deal with all the crazy that goes on with those types of circumstances. So that's why I say it's super important to have that human element of vetting your influencers, going through their content, seeing what they're writing. I've been through one situation in particular that I can remember the influencer looked great on paper everything was great and went to another account and made a bad comment and somebody shared that back to the brand because they saw that they had worked with this influencer. In that regard we had to have a big talk with the influencer about you agreed to these safety guidelines and haven't really obeyed them and usually at that point, the brand actually requests that the influencer takes down the post and then does not get paid for it because there's been broken trust there. In this case, the influencer didn't argue with that they apologized and realized that probably wasn't a great thing because I am an extension of this brand. That's when you have to go into that crisis PR mode that everybody hates but you need to get this taken care of right away so that it's not a bigger mess than it is.

Jay Fedje: [00:32:31] Now I can understand, much more clearly why colleges and universities are aware of influencer campaigns they may want to move into that but if a marketing director and enrollment manager really digs into what this means, they have to find somebody that's going to help them do it. There's no way that they're going to be able to have all of these bases covered without somebody coaching, guiding, advising, consulting with them along the way.

Tori Canonge: [00:32:56] Yeah, absolutely I know a lot of brands when they try to do it themselves, they'll say, oh, I read like the handbook because that's been written about how to do it. How old's the handbook? Because something written five years ago does not cover TikTok and all the crazy that's come with that now. There's a lot of social media, it's changing every day and that means influencers changing every day there was a time when Instagram was like we're going to hide every single like from the platform because people are getting obsessive over it there goes your engagement rates, right? So thankfully the influencers can still see this data on the backend, so you need a way of collecting that and a lot of times you need a good relationship with the influencer. They don't just trust everybody so it's this full circle you want somebody who's experienced so that when they reach out to the influencers, it's not a ton of back-and-forth conversation, here's how this is going to go here's the timeline of when you can expect everything to happen. It might change obviously, because life always happens but it gives them an idea and shows you, we have a plan. We know what we're doing and we're going to make this run as smooth as possible. Whereas if you're just flying by the seat of your pants and it's not put together, it doesn't give the influencer a good feeling either and they're probably not going to work as hard on the content. 

Jay Fedje: [00:34:14] We've been talking to Tori Canonge a social influencer extraordinaire guru on influencer campaigns and how enrollment managers might use influencer campaigns to support marketing and support recruiting. Tori, thank you so much for your time, your insights. I learned a lot today and I thought I knew a lot about it, but I learned a lot more today. So, I appreciate your time. 

Tori Canonge: [00:34:37] I thank you so much for having me and I'm sure in a year we'll be in a whole different space with influencers, and we can chat again.

Jay Fedje: [00:34:45] All right. Thanks. 

Tori Canonge: [00:34:46] Thanks Jay. 

Jay Fedje: [00:34:49] You've been listening to the Enrollment Edge Podcast, Enrollment Edge is sponsored by enrollmentFUEL, a full-service student search and marketing partner to colleges and universities. If you're listening on apple podcasts, please give us a five-star rating. Your feedback will help us remain relevant, and on the edge, the Enrollment Edge is produced by Alison Walls. I'm your host, Jay Fedje thanks for listening.