Many marketers look to influencers to build engagement, but beauty retailer Sephora turned the selection of its “#SephoraSquad” brand ambassadors into a social-media event.

Emeline Berlind, Sephora’s vp/content strategy, told delegates at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2019 Digital and Social Media Conference that the company held a contest earlier this year to select 24 new influencers for the brand.

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Emeline Berlind, VP of Content Strategy, Sephora

“Our goal was to create the most diverse, powerful group of influencers in beauty,” Berlind said. “And we did that by engaging with our audience.”

Sephora asked influencers to apply directly to participate in this contest. “And, then, once they applied, we asked them to submit testimonials from their followers, because the thinking was if they were able to really get these true, authentic reactions from their followers, that would really mean they had this great connection with them,” Berlind told the San Diego assembly.