Feds Spent More Than $600K Hiring Influencers in 2021

The Canadian government is seeking the help of social media influencers to promote federal initiatives. In 2021, it sought the help of these influencers to promote several federal initiatives. One of the most prominent topics for which the federal government needed all the help was the rollout and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. According to an analysis, this cost the government more than $600,000.

Who are Influencers?

If you are unaware, social media influencers are social media users who have massive followings and often use the platform to promote products, services, and events and get paid for their assistance. Seeking the help of social media influencers is a new experience not just for the Canadian government but also for governments worldwide.

The Analysis

According to an analysis conducted by a media house, over a dozen federal departments and agencies sought the help of influencers to spread their messages. The analysis was done using reliable documents tabled in the House of Commons recently. They were presented when responding to an inquiry from the Conservatives. Only the figures of federal entities that disclosed the related spending from Jan 1, 2021, to Jan 31, 2022, were shared.

Targeting the Right Audience

Targeting the right audience matters the most regarding social media influencers. A University of Ottawa professor, Elizabeth Dubois, whose work focuses on the intersections of communications, technology, and politics, said, "Influencers or creators online do a really good job of building a tight-knit community, a niche community, who have a shared interest, shared experiences. And we know that people are most convinced to change their minds on something or change their behaviors when they connect with the message."

The professor added, "And so influencers and creators are really great at tailoring messages to particular audiences. A big pro of making use of these kinds of influencers to get government messages out is you can reach specific communities."

Health Canada Led the Way

Health Canada led the spending compared to other departments when it comes to having contracts with influencers. The bulk of their bill (About $130,600) was for an "influencer campaign in support of the COVID-19 vaccination marketing and advertising campaign."

The department sought the help of Mr. & Mrs. Jones Inc, a digital marketing firm so that they could plan and develop the campaign, sign on and pay influencers, and monitor the entire content produced. The department stated, "The influencer campaign complemented the Government of Canada's overall strategy to help everyone in Canada make an informed decision about COVID-19 vaccines."

Over a dozen influencers used their accounts to share information about the Government of Canada's vaccination campaign. One of the top influencers hired by the firm was a self-described model and actor, Sukhman Gill. He shared a post about making an informed decision about rolling up his sleeve to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

CDIC Also Spent Considerably

A federal crown corporation, The Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), spent over $95,300 on influencer campaigns to promote confidence in the country's financial system. However, it didn't disclose who they contracted for this work by citing privacy considerations.

When explaining the need to hire influencers, CDIC said that "working with influencers to craft messaging that resonates with their community is an effective way to reach demographics that may not engage with traditional media channels."




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