“This is not political in any sort of way. It’s just pure, fundamental PSA public health messaging,” said Jose Lozado, CEO of Choose NJ, the state’s privately funded non-profit dedicated to promoting New Jersey at home and abroad. He helped spearhead the effort, which just finished its two-month pilot phase on December 7.
For the influencers, the content is paying off. Sometimes literally.
A more ‘authentic’ messenger
Efforts began as infections among New Jersey’s young people began ticking up over the summer.
Eager to reach those probably not tuning in to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s daily coronavirus briefings, state leaders wanted to get creative. Businesses have increasingly partnered with influencers on social media with success — why not do the same here?
Lozado and his team turned to a California-based marketing company Xomad that specializes in working with “nano influencers.” These social media content creators have follower counts in the low thousands, larger than the average casual user but still miniscule compared to celebrity influencers with followers in the millions or tens of millions.
“Their followers don’t see them as hired guns,” said Rob Perry, Xomad’s CEO. “That’s why we like them. They can speak with a great deal of authenticity. Their content is more organic.”
과, crucially, nano influencers’ messages resonate: “Their engagement rates are much, much higher,” 페리가 말했다. His company has worked on similar influencer-aligned Covid PSA campaigns in California, Oklahoma City and Columbia, 사우스 캐롤라이나.
For the New Jersey program, ideal nano influencers kept messaging contained to followers in-state and specifically targeted to the under-40 crowd, Lozado said.
The teams built a list of more than 2,000 possible nano influencers before vetting and whittling the list down to more than 400. The ultimate goal was to reach Garden State residents across geographic and socioeconomic spectrums, keeping posts apolitical and family friendly.
Each chosen influencer was given a set number of posts for social media, with specific hashtags to use and language about mask wearing, social distancing and downloading the state’s contact tracing app — all designed to be authentic to the person posting it.
In the pilot program’s run from October to December, 이상 444 local influencers created at least 2,047 posts across TikTok, 인스 타 그램, 페이스 북, Twitter and Snapchat — racking up 35.1 million views across the platforms, according to Xomad’s data shared with CNN.
Audience’s positive response
For the most part, audiences have been receptive to their mask content, the influencers say.
, an influencer based in Middlesex
, 뉴저지, 이상 16,300 추종자
, mainly posts content about herself and her family to an audience that is
90% 여자들. The response to her #MaskUp post featuring her child wearing a face mask was overwhelmingly positive
“No matter how much we wish and pray for the world to return to normal, it can be made possible only by our collective effort to follow the guidelines,” 그녀는 캡션에 썼다.
“I know there are people who are against it, but thankfully, I have not been trolled for it,” Khan said.
Some say mask critics are more vocal on TikTok
. Daniela Sablon
, a 22-year-old special education high school teacher in Union County
, shares photos and videos about her life on Instagram and TikTok
, where she has
115,400 추종자. While the comments on her Instagram post have been overwhelmingly positive
, the reception to her TikTok video about masks was more mixed
“I didn’t realize how many anti-maskers there were (on TikTok). There was a whole debate and then they brought politics into it,” Sablon said.
Despite the negativity, Sablon said it’s important to promote mask wearing on TikTok because the app reaches significantly more teenagers. Sablon said the majority of her TikTok viewers are young people.
“I didn’t realize how much I could actually have an influence,” 그녀가 말했다.
As it works with these types of deals, there is some compensation for some influencers. 자주, the higher the follower count, the larger the payment, potentially netting the creator hundreds of dollars, though some participated pro bono. Money for those that were paid came from Choose New Jersey, which is separate from the state’s coffers.
For Kaitlin Cuccinelli, one of the nano influencers partnering with Choose New Jersey, the pandemic’s impact is personal.
“Like a lot of other Americans right now, I lost my job during the pandemic,” 그녀는 설명했다.
이기는 하지만 her Instagram feed
이상 3,500 followers is largely wholesome shots of her family and their home
, she was eager to share #MaskUpNJ content because of the climbing coronavirus numbers in her state
“I try and stay away from things that are really controversial, but for me, I don’t feel that this is one of those topics. I just feel like it’s important to set an example,” 그녀가 말했다.
Choose New Jersey’s campaign was not limited to lifestyle influencers
. Hoboken Hungry
, a delicious-looking Instagram account with more than
32,000 추종자, was included in the pilot campaign
. Run by Julie Spero
, Hoboken Hungry’s feed now includes an avocado face mask post with a list of local stores selling masks
Spero said that the devastation of coronavirus on the restaurant industry was the main impetus for her promoting the campaign.
This could help messaging around the vaccine
While the pilot #MaskUpNJ campaign was run separately from the state of New Jersey’s main social media strategy, it fits into the state’s overall unique approach to social media.
New Jersey is one of the rare states to embrace social media
, with zany posts on 트위터
과 인스 타 그램 using memes that reflect a sense of humor not often seen in state government
Those involved call the #MaskUpNJ pilot program a success, and hope it will be a framework for an even larger campaign slated to start later in December — the state’s messaging around vaccine distribution in 2021.
“By leveraging the creativity of our digital team and broad reach of our social media platforms, we can deliver public health information that has the potential to save lives in the most effective way possible,” 정부. Phil Murphy said in a statement to CNN. “This asset will be incredibly important as we build out our public awareness campaign to prepare for broad distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine.”