Chandra Carson's undergraduate degree was in Art History and Historic Preservation.
The biggest challenge with building influencer relationships is having enough time.
So how did she make it into the social media world for big brands? Chandra says that with the tiny turnover rate in museum curation, she went back to school to try her hand in business and get her MBA doing market research. From there, she went on to do media analysis, public relations, and then social media for brands like Stonyfield Farm.
Now, as a SocialMedia.org member and the Social Media Manager for Lindt & Sprungli, Chandra says she's still a part of the creative world.
“I love art, and I love expressing myself. I think that moving into a media role has been a fun way to do that and be in a business setting,” Chandra says.
She says building relationships is a strength she's held in various roles through the years.
Much like her job at Stonyfield Farm, Chandra helps Lindt & Sprungli develop relationships with influencers for the brand. And while at Stonyfield, an organic yogurt company, she focused on health and wellness influencers, with Lindt & Sprungli, Chandra reaches out to lifestyle, DIY, and entertainment bloggers.
“The biggest challenge with building influencer relationships is having enough time. How do you authentically begin relationships in any part of your life — especially as an adult? It's not like when you're a little kid and you can walk up to someone and ask if they want to be your best friend,” Chandra says.
“There has to be some mutual respect and trust there and that's not easy to build with people.”
Chandra's relationship with influencers often comes from her own personal interest in their work.
A lot of times, I do blogger outreach by finding people who resonate with me as a consumer, and then I put my brand hat on to figure out how I can make that same connection with another consumer.
For example, one partnership with a hand-letterer stemmed from Chandra following her on Instagram for months, admiring her work before an opportunity came up for her to work with Lindt.
“I just told her the truth: ‘Hey, I've been following you for a while, I love your work, and I would love to brainstorm ways to work together,'” she explains.
“A lot of times, I do blogger outreach by finding people who resonate with me as a consumer, and then I put my brand hat on to figure out how I can make that same connection with another consumer.”
Chandra works closely with her local team as well cross-country teams to make it all happen.
On her social team of three, Chandra splits responsibilities by platforms with one social specialist handling Twitter and one focused on Facebook, while Chandra manages Instagram. Together, they tackle Pinterest and the larger social media and marketing strategy for their U.S. brand.
Chandra says she also keeps constant communication with her counterpart in Canada. They work together to determine which of their objectives align so that can sometimes share resources and save on budget and time.
“My role in management is about making sure everyone feels like they have a role to play and a voice in the planning and strategy,” she says.
Chandra says she looks forward to establishing a stronger brand voice in social media.
She explains that brands she admires like Oreo and Starbucks have an advantage because “they know who they are and aren't ashamed of who they are.”
According to Chandra, that kind of strong social brand identity makes it easy to recognize their posts without even reading the copy or seeing a logo — something she's striving towards at Lindt & Sprungli, especially in U.S. markets.
“We've been mastering the art of chocolate since 1845 in Switzerland, but we've only been in the U.S. for the past 30 years. Lindt & Sprungli is an iconic brand in Europe, and I look forward to developing that iconic image in the U.S.”
“Right now, we're just trying new things and seeing what's resonating — seeing what sticks and doing more of that.”
Chandra's been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2014. Connect with her on LinkedIn and ask about her favorite museum to visit.