From the boardroom to the classroom… The Influencer Code’s founders, Amanda Russell and Freddy J. Nager, also teach courses on influencer marketing through L.A.’s two premier universities.


USC Annenberg

In Spring 2018, Freddy will teach a grad-level course through the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Influencer Strategies

To integrate influencers into campaigns, communication managers must know how to distinguish the truly influential — those who can motivate actual behavior — from the “merely popular.” That is especially critical in social media, where commonly cited measures of “influence” — such as followers and likes — can be purchased and otherwise artificially inflated. Managers need to conduct qualitative and quantitative analysis, since many influencers may have little to no social media popularity.

At the same time, many individuals are looking to expand their personal influence, whether they’re aspiring to fame and fortune, or seeking greater impact in their professional and personal circles. Gaining that influence entails far more than just sharing views on social media or getting published. In most cases, it requires a methodical approach that combines credible expertise, distinctive expression, and audience expansion.

In this course, you will learn not only how to work with influencers — including identifying, analyzing, approaching, managing, and measuring them — but also how to build personal influence, whether for yourself or someone else.


Amanda teaches two influencer-marketing courses on the UCLA campus through UCLA Extension.

Influencer Marketing: Employing Influencers

Today’s consumers are dispersed over thousands of media platforms that are saturated with content and advertising. That’s why marketers are struggling to even generate awareness, least of all sales, on a cost-effective basis. Consequently, many are turning to influencers: individuals who already have large, attentive followings that they can persuade to take action.

Successful influencer marketing, however, requires more than merely asking social media stars to endorse a product. Without a well-planned strategy based on critical evaluation, marketers risk losing money, time, and opportunities; damaging their brands; and even violating federal regulations.

In this first part of a two-part course, students will learn how to research, evaluate, and employ the right influencers for their markets, and how to legally and strategically integrate them into marketing campaigns that achieve specific goals.

Personal Branding and Becoming an Influencer

Marketers are increasingly hiring influencers to generate greater impact in the market, from simply promoting a brand and spreading a message, to attracting the influencers’ personal followers. Those promotional opportunities — along with the accompanying fame and other rewards — has inspired thousands of people worldwide to become influencers themselves.

At the same time, many professionals are looking to increase their personal influence, not necessarily to promote products for others, but ideally to grow their own brands, careers, ventures, and overall efficacy.

In this second part of a two-part course, students will learn — for themselves or for their clients — how to develop and manage personal brands to achieve true influence. This involves establishing credibility as an “expert,” promoting that expertise through media and messages that match their talents and their market, building a genuine and significant following, and developing rewarding relationships with their community, including other influencers and potential sponsors.