Watch CBS News

State Of Colorado Pays Social Media Influencers Ashley Cummins, Abena Antwiwaa & Others As They Try To Change Unvaccinated People's Minds

DENVER (CBS4)- Ashley Cummins helps define internet chic. As a vlogger and in her postings on social media, she is a lifestyle and fashion vlogger.

Usually, she's sharing information about bargains, lifestyle info and healthy living ideas. Now she's handling more serious material, sharing information on COVID vaccinations.

"It's definitely something that was a big decision for me to make if I wanted to commit to this opportunity."

VACCINE INFLUENCERS 5PKG.transfer_frame_621
Ashley Cummins (credit: CBS)

Using her position as a social media influencer, including her Instagram account @ashleymarieblog_ creates a different outlet for information.

"If it's coming from me, someone that people know as like a fun upbeat person, hopefully, they'll be more willing to get the vaccine."

Ashley is one of 127 people hired by The Idea Marketing, a company contracted by the state as part of a multi-million dollar campaign.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a statement, "The Power the Comeback Campaign includes paid media including TV, radio, digital, print and out of home advertising, social media; research; misinformation monitoring; outreach; influencers, creative production, and agency fees."

Ashley says she's earning about $200 a posting and does about three a month.

VACCINE INFLUENCERS 5PKG.transfer_frame_1796
(credit: CBS)

"I had a great experience with getting the vaccine and I'm happy to share that with everyone. I don't know for sure if anyone has changed their opinions of it but I'm hoping that I have spread a little bit more positive activity surrounding it."

Patricia Lepiani is President of The Idea Marketing, which had already been engaged in pushing out information last year on COVID prevention.

"We found it was effective last year and then, this year we said, 'OK, we want this and more because we need to reach out more people.'"

But it's been admittedly more difficult.

"Getting vaccinated was a harder task than wearing masks and keeping distance."

Influencers may have a different roll to fill in sharing information on vaccination.

"We have done some research and one of the things we have found is a lot of people that have more hesitancy to get vaccinated are those that do not watch news. Those that are, a lot of their sources of information comes from social media," said Lepiani.

Social media offers the ability, says Lepiani, of two-way communication.

"We have some influencers that have had long conversations with some of the people that have reached out to them through their social media."

Many times they will contract people influential in particular communities. With COVID-19 vaccinations still lacking in communities of color, social media may have unique reach.

Abena Antwiwaa who has more than 11,000 followers on Instagram account @stylebyabena wrote about her decision to get vaccinated.

"We all thrive when the community thrives, which is why I decided to go ahead and get vaccinated. I absolutely think people are influenced by that," she wrote in reply. "I have created a community for myself and it is because of the trust I share with my audience. For most people, it was a no-brainer, but there was a handful that were also hesitant and by having an open dialogue I was able to provide the correct information."

VACCINE INFLUENCERS 5PKG.transfer_frame_1476
(credit: Tri-County Health)

"People connect better with what is called local micro-influencers. People that understand my issues my problems and normally those are now the influencers huge influencers in social media," said Lepiani.

RELATED: Small Town Cop With Huge Following: Social Media Influencer Sgt. Carlos Cornejo Helps Colorado Effort To Improve COVID Vaccination Rate

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.