#YVRSocial: The Rise of the Influencer Recap (with Slides)

This was the biggest #YVRSocial yet. Around 200 marketers, business owners, and influencers gathered to discuss the Rise of the Influencer. While we knew this was going to be a popular topic, we certainly did not anticipate the event would sell out weeks in advance (with 60+ people on the waitlist), and trend across Vancouver and Canada on Twitter.

Video by Mark Stan W Productions: http://markstanw.com/

Our three speakers, Alicia Taggio from Hootsuite, Mitchell Fawcett from 6S Marketing and Sarah Leishman from Arc’teryx set the stage by showcasing how their respective organizations leverage this growing, ever-shifting trend for the benefit of their clients and customers.

Needless to say, there were lots of takeaways shared both during the presentations and panel/Q&A.

YVRSocial The Rise of the Influencers Speakers at Unbounce (Credit: JoelSpooner.com)

Below is my attempt to summarize the top 3 themes as we’re heading into 2018:

Influencer Marketing is Here to Stay (And it’s NOT just for B2C)

According to e-Marketer, 84% of marketers planned on executing an influencer marketing campaign this year. This makes sense, given we now trust each other (peers and influencers) more than traditional sources (e.g. government, media, and brand advertising) – as Alicia highlighted in her presentation. In fact, in order to build trust with its B2B enterprise clients across multiple verticals, Hootsuite has hired in-house thought leaders built around specific influencer personas.

Alicia Taggio from Hootsuite at #YVRSocial (Credit: JoelSpooner.com)

“We thought how can we scale this influencer outreach and program we’re doing. So what we actually did is we hired full time influencers just to work for us, because we just couldn’t keep up with constantly speaking at events and conferences …”

Alicia Taggio, Advocate Marketing Lead, Hootsuite

While all three speakers are unsure of how influencer marketing will evolve, they agreed that the influencer marketing boom may be experiencing fatigue.

You can view Alicia’s deck below:

You Need a Nuanced Approach to the Influencer Vetting Process

While there are lots of tools (and pricey ones) that can facilitate influencer discovery and evaluation, the vetting process also requires considerable time, effort, and personal touch from an experienced team.

Mitchell Fawcett from 6S Marketing at #YVRSocial (Photo Credit: JoelSpooner.com)

“The stakes are high in a storyteller campaign with an influencer, because they’re an extension of your brand and kind of a spokesperson, so make sure that the vetting process is very very thorough”

Mitchell Fawcett, VP Partnerships & Social Strategy, 6S Marketing

Mitchell shared a case study of how 6S Marketing helped to find the right “Storyteller in Residence” for the DOUGLAS Hotel, a new Vancouver boutique hotel with modest brand recognition.

This process included creating the Storyteller In Residence national campaign which garnered 30,000+ page views and attracted over 230 creatives. The candidates were then shortlisted through social media and content audits, as well as panel interviews to understand the level of passion and authenticity they would bring to the project.

You can follow this unfolding story on Instagram via @thedouglas_van

Below, you can also catch Mitchell’s slides:

ROI Measurement Remains a KEY Challenge (But it’s NOT all in the Numbers)

As popular as influencer marketing is, measuring ROI (like for social media marketing) remains a key challenge for marketers. However, it’s important to keep a holistic view both when vetting influencers and measuring campaigns’ success.

Sarah from Arc’teryx candidly opened up about how the Arc’teryx vetting process is not a perfect formula but it works.

Sarah Leishman from Acteryx at #YVRSocial

Sarah Leishman from Arc’teryx at #YVRSocial (Photo Credit: JoelSpooner.com)


“My day to day is handing people who pitch me on their really cool idea, their massive following, and the cool hike that they want to go on. So I have to take that time and figure out where that fits within the brand, if it feels right, and if it’s gonna actually turn the dial. Those are three really ambiguous statements”

Sarah Leishman, Global Digital Community Manager, Arc’teryx

Building on these pillars, Arc’teryx works with a variety of influencers ranging from global macro influencers to small town micro influencers who are equally important in helping Arc’teryx build relationships with new audiences. Some of these influencers have structured long-term agreements (i.e. Arc’teryx Athletes) while others have less formal arrangements.

Ultimately, while it is not a perfect formula, Arc’teryx influencers drive the best social posts for the brand.

Further to the above, Sarah also went on to say that sales attribution for their influencer program is not an exact science. It is a complex equation especially keeping in mind the increasingly complex customer journey for a premium retail brand.

Arc’teryx mostly relies on metrics such as views, mentions, and hashtag impressions to measure its influencer campaigns.

Below you can view Sarah’s slides:

And, it’s a Wrap!

After the presentations and Q&A, guests connected with each other and the speakers over Blenz Coffee and treats.

#YVRSocial 2017 Event at Unbounce (Credit: Joel Spooner)

#YVRSocial Contest Winners (Credit: JoelSpooner.com)

Thank You to our #YVRSocial Sponsors!


Unbounce Logo
6S Logo - High-res Print
Daily Hive Vancouver
Blenz Coffee



Mark Stan W is a Vancouver based cinematographer, collaborating with brands, entrepreneurs and other creatives to deliver a quality product. For more details, visit Mark’s Website. 


Joel Spooner is a Vancouver based photographer who loves to inspire and to be inspired. You can view some of Joel’s work on his website at joelspooner.com

This article was edited by Melissa Lachica and Lumi Constantin.

Thank You #YVRSocial Team and Ambassadors!

#YVRSocial Team

#YVRSocial Team