Palisadian’s Company Connects Social Media ‘Influencers’

By Sue Pascoe 

A YouTube star has a million subscribers. How much should a company pay that person to be a spokesperson? What is a social media star or “influencer” worth?

This is new territory to advertisers. Not too many years ago, advertisers could identify the “big stars” by the money their movies were bringing in or the number of people watching an actor’s television show.

Now there is a new generation that gets most of its news and entertainment from iPhones or laptops via YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and blogs. So how do companies know who’s especially hot in social media and who’s on the decline?

Enter Steve Heineman, Chad Sahley and Sam Michie, who have launched a new company called Social Bluebook.

(Left to right) Chad Sahley, Sam Michie and Steve Heineman launched Social Bluebook.
(Left to right) Chad Sahley, Sam Michie and Steve Heineman launched Social Bluebook.

“We started it as a company founded by influencers themselves for the purpose of connecting them to brands looking to advertise,” the men said. “Social Bluebook’s mission is to help social media influencers make the money they deserve so they can do what they love.”

Heineman, a Palisadian, saw the value of the company immediately, because his son Tyler, who is playing Triple-A baseball with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (a Milwaukee Brewers farm team), has a small but engaged following on social media. Occasionally, a sports brand would ask if Tyler could post something about its product on his media. But how does Tyler determine his advertising value? Social Bluebook’s proprietary algorithm provides an actual dollar value based on real world deals that can be used in starting negotiations.

Co-founder Sam Michie imagined this type of platform scaled to encompass social media influencers, like Tyler, but also in fashion, gaming, cooking, DIY (do it yourself) and every category imaginable.

“Millennials and the younger generations don’t watch cable or listen to the radio,” Michie said. “If you’re an advertiser trying to reach this audience you’ll likely have to do so through social media or some form of digital content. This audience favors peer recommendation over any other form of advertising.

“Advertisers are realizing the importance of working with social media influencers as a way to promote products and goods in an authentic way.”

How does Social Bluebook differ from others in this field, such as IZEA?

“Most of our competitors appear to be focused only on outreach to brands (advertisers), offering services to help them to identify and contact creators of digital content. That contrasts with our core philosophy, ‘Content Creator First,’” Michie said. “Consequently, we have built the Social Bluebook platform to not only be easy for content creators to use, but also to give them additional information to substantiate their value.”

Heineman, who grew up on the lower Westside in New York City, graduated from St. Lawrence University. He worked for a brief time in New York theater before moving to Los Angeles. When he met his wife, Kathy Lingg, who was also working in the entertainment business, he switched out of the field and became a police officer with the Santa Monica Police Department, where he worked for 24 years, before retiring as a lieutenant in 2012.

Heineman’s love for sports (he has also volunteered on the Palisades High baseball and football teams for three years) has made him the unofficial “coach” on the Social Bluebook team.

Since joining the company, he has been impressed by the potential that social media has to empower professional and non-professional athletes to supplement their income by working with advertisers.

Heineman has a step-daughter, Emily, a photographer, and sons Scott and Tyler. Scott plays for the Frisco Rough Riders, an AA Texas Rangers farm team.

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