BlogWell: How Big Brands Use Social Media is an amazing series of events presented by that features 8 great case studies in corporate social media. To learn more, visit

To download the slide presentation in this video, visit

In his BlogWell Boston presentation, Reebok's Global Content and Community Manager, Ben Cobb, talks about how they work with influencers, ambassadors, and brand partners to increase social buzz.

Ben shares tips to finding and activating the most effective brand advocates based on their own lessons learned.

Below is live coverage of this session:

— Ben: We work with a lot of different people on different scales, in many different categories. Talking about lifestyles brand today. We work with Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, local brand ambassadors, and bloggers.

— Ben: Determine what and who you are trying to influence; find the right partners; and activate the right way. It may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in numbers, but it’s important to remember these basics.

— Ben shares one of their objectives: Trying to get young urban males to change their perception of the Classic Leather Line, which was seen as old-fashioned.

— Ben: Reebok needed to find a new partner that could talk to the right people, and represent the right shoe line. They found a musician, Ace Hood, but his influence was in music, not shoes. He wasn’t resonating.

— Ben says they took a different approach to Classic Leather: We looked at kids who had the influence in fashion along with other areas. New conversations, came with different perspective. These were individuals with a much smaller social presence, but they talked about the right things for the right reasons, and people listened. This worked. The shoe sold out.

— Ben: Find partners who care; it needs to be more authentic, not just promotional. Swizz Beatz is an example. He has a big following, but it’s clear he cares about the brand. Same with Tyga, whom we even have to ask to scale back a little.

— Ben says they also, make the partners feel like a part of the brand. They bring them into the process, allowing them to see how the product is designed and made. Reebok includes them in events and prepares them with calendars and information in one-pagers (so they use the right Twitter handles and hashtags).

— Ben says to let partners be themselves. Let them speak in their own voice. Give them messaging guidelines, but don’t force their words. Also, let them use the social channels they use already, where they have already grown an audience; don’t force them onto Instagram if they are not there, for instance.

Q: Once you activate influence, how do you toe the line between preparation and losing authenticity?

A: Ben: This is where the calendars and preparation comes in. Set expectations. Some are even overenthusiastic on their own.

Q: Do you have an advocacy program to maintain brand advocates outside of campaigns?

A: Ben: Our agency will take our brand advocate attributes and find new ones in cities.

Q: Have you turned buyers into advocates?

A: Ben: Not yet.

Q: Ben: How often do advocates need to disclose? How do you handle that?

A: Ben: We haven’t been doing a lot. Much of the content is organic; for planned campaigns, we disclose.

Q: What about risks associated with certain advocates?

A: Ben: We think about that a lot. We work with a lot of hip-hop artists, for instance, and we make guidelines very clear and not to go too far off (no profanity), and most get it.

Q: How are you measuring?

A: Ben: We pull monthly and weekly reports, looking at the number of times advocates mention us and our potential reach. We haven’t gone into sentiment or other metrics yet.

Q: Is there an expiration date for these influencer relationships?

A: Ben: We breed them for long-term relationships. Some will be brought in just for specific campaigns, but we prefer long-term relationships.

Q: Are you working with bloggers?

A: Ben: Yes, events with bloggers have been successful. It’s a matter of finding the right group.

Q: Do you do influencer work with the larger brand rather than product lines?

A: Ben: We do have advocates not tied to a specific line, either pushing the brand in a bigger way or being brought in to product lines when needed.

Q: How is your team structured?

A: Ben: Most work is done internally, we have global teams. There is some agency help for one campaign.

Loading more stuff…

Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?

Loading videos…