Melanie Cohn on making the most of influencer content for Dunkin’ Brands 360-degree social marketing campaign

“I wanted to make sure we weren't doing social in a silo,” says Melanie Cohn, Dunkin' Brands' Social Media Manager.

We're not just focused on the big guys, we want to call out the people who come into our store as well…

At Dunkin', she's the ringleader for paid and organic content, content creation, and strategy across all of their main social channels. She's also a member of And this year, she's looking to make pumpkin season at Dunkin' Donuts even bigger with a 360-degree marketing campaign.

The plan: leverage multiple types of social media influencer content across email, PR, digital, and in-store marketing. That includes sharing social content in dedicated email blasts, a page on their site, experiential campaigns with PR, and Snapchat geofilters specific to their stores.

In fact, Dunkin' is acting as a sort of guinea pig in partnership with Snapchat to test out different geofilter designs each week geotargeted to their store locations.

Dunkin' Donuts Twitter

“I look at influencers as a great way to amplify what we're already doing.”

For this campaign, Melanie's team reached out to a variety of influencers to encourage people to use Snapchat geofilters, come to an Instagram meetup, and share videos. Those layers included viral content creators, brand advocates, and everyday fans.

“We're not just focused on the big guys, we want to call out the people who come into our store as well as the brand advocates who talk about us every day,” Melanie says.

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That outreach includes an Instagram Direct campaign where they send advocates gift cards and swag to say thanks for talking about Dunkin'. They're also holding an Instagram meetup in a pumpkin patch to give users the kind of backdrop they'd like to photograph anyway. In fact, a big focus of Dunkin' Donuts' content comes from insights into what people are already sharing.

The first thing Melanie looks for in a content creator is that they like Dunkin' Donuts.

“They must truly love our brand, because authenticity is what makes them popular in the first place,” she says.

Influencers also have to have the right aesthetic and brand alignment. And while a good reach is required, a loyal, engaged following is even more important.

“We ask them for their own creative takes on our message first. Then, we layer on our branding guidelines to make sure there's nothing out of the ordinary.”

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Those guidelines typically come with a one-pager outlining how they're talking about pumpkin season, how they like the product to look, and the necessary disclosure. For most posts, #ad or #sponsored will work. They also take the opportunity to get on the phone to explain further when they can.

“I think talking with them one-on-one is the best way to get the content you're looking for from your creators,” Melanie explains.

“When you're coordinating across teams, it's really important to have a strategic plan up front.”

Here's what she suggests to pull off a 360-degree social marketing campaign:

  1. Be an efficient planner. The more strategic you can be about what you're doing and why, the better you can communicate your plan to the team.
  2. Have a kickoff meeting with each individual team explaining how you can work together and leverage their channel expertise.
  3. Follow up with a larger cross-functional meeting so everyone can understand where there might be crossover or determine what they need from one another.
  4. Listen to the other teams and be prepared to make tweaks to your strategy.

“It's also always important to look at context,” Melanie says.

Did they save cost by leveraging influencer content in multiple places? Did they increase loyalty? Are more people talking about them for a sustained amount of time?

Looking forward, Melanie says they'll compare it year-over-year and find even more ways to make these 360-degree campaigns successful.

Find Melanie on Twitter and ask about the networking group she founded, Young Women in Digital. Melanie's been a member of since 2015, and Dunkin' has been a member brand since 2012.