Business People and Community

Building a world of brand influencers

Samantha Habib, a marketing major, spent the summer working at a firm that connects social media influencers with major industry companies.
Samantha Habib
Samantha Habib spent the summer working at the New York startup, Amp&Go, which connects influencers with companies. 

Thought leaders often say that today’s colleges and universities must prepare students for jobs that are yet to be created. 

Well, this summer, University of Miami sophomore Samantha Habib explored one of those novel career paths that likely did not exist until recently. 

Habib, who is studying marketing at the Miami Herbert Business School, worked as an intern this summer at a New York startup founded in 2019 called Amp&Go, as part of the Toppel Internship Program. The program offers course credit for unpaid summer internships, and the Toppel Internship Fund also awards some students a stipend to complete these experiences.

Amp&Go helps connect social media influencers with brands from around the world. And while Habib has her own social media accounts, she was drawn to Amp&Go because as a member of the Hurricanettes, she also helps maintain the dance team’s accounts on TikTok and Instagram. While helping the Hurricanettes create brand posts that incorporate their sponsors, Habib quickly realized the power of social media platforms to expose people to new ideas, products, or brands. 

“I wanted to use my existing skills and my passion for social media and thought this internship would be perfect because it’s influencer marketing,” said Habib, who is also minoring in business analytics and music business. “I also wanted to learn more about how social media is monetized, from a company’s perspective.” 

Since May, Habib worked to help Amp&Go find and curate the best influencers for their clients, which include major brand names. This summer, she focused on the parenting, gaming, and music industries. Three days a week, Habib used a number of different search strategies to find influencers for a topic. Then, she used analytics software tools to discover the reach of each influencer (i.e., their audience of followers), as well as how much their audience engages with each post. She was also able to participate in meetings where her supervisors pitched different influencers to industry clients. She said the experience was enlightening. 

“Social media is such a huge part of marketing today, so this internship has been a valuable foundation to help me understand how I can help market a business better,” she said. “In the past, only celebrities or athletes could make money from endorsements and deals, and these people needed to have a huge audience already. Now influencers can make money around the world and have their persona and brand represented.” 

Habib is hoping that the experience she gained will help her delve into the digital marketing field even more next summer. She would like to work in the music or entertainment industry one day, and said her internship taught her that she would like to work on the creative side of digital marketing. That means she hopes to be the one coming up with ideas for marketing campaigns specifically geared for social media, and Habib would help design videos or content that influencers could use in their posts. 

Regardless, Habib said working for Amp&Go gave her the knowledge to understand more of where she would like to focus her career. 

“I want to have my own business one day, so if I want to use an influencer to market my business, this company showed me how to go about it and not just how to format that communication, but also the type of people you should look for because you don’t just want any influencer—no matter how popular—to be an ambassador for your brand,” she said. “I learned how to utilize social media marketing to its utmost capabilities.” 

One of her mentors, Jeff Burgeois, a senior lecturer in the Miami Herbert Business School’s Department of Management, said he is glad that Habib embraced such a new and growing industry. Also, since Habib is part of a generation who grew up with touch screen technology from an early age, he expects to see more business students delving into social media marketing. 

“I think this was a great opportunity to really help structure and direct that positive energy that she has,” he said. “She has such a great attitude, and an internship will help her decide where she wants to spend her energy.”