Fox School of BusinessIdea Marketplace

In the previously published piece Marketing to Millennialsresearch experts like Jay I. Sinha and Thomas Fung, professors in the Fox School’s Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management (MSCM), explained how companies are innovating to reach millennial audiences. These three Fox alumnae are living it. 

The On the Verge editorial team caught up with these micro-influencers to talk about their experiences developing a personal brand, engaging their niche audiences and working with companies. 

Photo by Melissa Alam

Melissa Alam, BBA ’10

Digital & Experiential Brand Designer

Food, Drink and Events Influencer

Q: How have you developed your personal brand?

A: I learned at an early age that in order to stand out, I need to embrace my weird. The same concept goes with social media. I try to represent an authentic version of myself through my content—from the late nights working on my business to the goofy sides of my personality to the days where I’m feeling stressed or anxious. 

Q: What skills or qualities do micro-influencers need to successfully engage with their audiences?

A: Micro-influencers may doubt their impact because of their smaller audience. However, your followers trust what you have to say and often see you as a “friend” through social media. Micro-influencers should provide valuable content to your audience, engage both online and offline at events or meetups, and respond back to comments and DMs to further build those relationships. Don’t be afraid of reaching out to a brand that you truly believe in to collaborate! 

Q: What tips should other micro-influencers know? 

A: Narrow your content focus so that you can become an influencer with a niche. Lifestyle influencer is just too broad these days; we’re all living our own lifestyles, so what really sets you apart from someone else? Finally, don’t take numbers and growth so seriously. Social media can be detrimental to one’s mental health at times so it’s important to set your own boundaries, not compare your hustle to someone else’s highlight reel. Have fun with it!

Photo by Charity Wells

Charity Wells, BBA ’16

Labor Relations Analyst 

Hair and Beauty Influencer

Q: What companies or brands have you worked with?

A: I’ve worked with Temple University, Philadelphia Zoo and several other companies to promote employment opportunities, identify talent and develop candidates. I’ve had the opportunity to promote beauty brands such as Shea Moisture and Mielle Organics. I am still developing my influential approach with beauty brands as I believe my look is an important part of my professional approach. I not only enjoy sharing how I manage my long and curly hair but also how I navigate my professional look through natural hairstyles.

Q: Why do you choose to work with a company? 

A: I choose to work with a company after reviewing and researching what a company stands for and how it relates to my goals and standards. Some of the questions I ask are: Does it align with my personal brand? Does it align with my purpose? Will it provide the opportunity to gain exposure or more networks? Is there a shared focus or a focus that does not deter from the brand I’ve established? 

Q: What tips can you give companies about working with micro-influencers? 

A: Build genuine relationships with influencers and make them feel as if they are apart of the team. As influencers, we are able to integrate both the voice of the brand and ours; within that dynamic, we are agents of improvement, growth and purpose for the companies.

Photo by Joe Labolito

Jen Singley, BBA ’13


Home and Sustainability Influencer 

Q: How have you developed your personal brand? 

A: I developed my own personal brand by first determining who I am. The main things I enjoy learning more and talking about are sustainability and Philadelphia real estate, so they ended up creating my “brand” on their own. At the end of the day, it’s all about working together with businesses and individuals to make Philly a better place.

Q: Why do you choose to work with a company? 

A: I choose to work with companies that I personally stand behind. I like to work with businesses who support a triple bottom line—people, profit and planet—or have superb customer service.

Q: What tips can you give companies about working with micro-influencers? 

A: Make the relationship mutually beneficial. Working together is key to helping each other build business and a larger following.

Q: What tips should other micro-influencers know? 

A: Mix it up with the content you post! If you know there are a few different audiences that follow you for different reasons, don’t always try to post things that can cater to all at once; rotate posts that cater to each niche. A mix of feed posts, events, stories and live streams is key as well. Variety is the spice of life!

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