Social Media Influencing and Celebrity Endorsement is Going “Local”

Enrico Schaefer - October 18, 2019 - Right of Publicity- Name & Likeness, Social Media Lawyer


Social Media Influencing / PodCast Detroit / Influencers Go Local. 

Social media influencing  is bug business.  The top influencers and celebrity endorsers make tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars per post.  Top influencers are making annuity revenue as content creators from Adsense on YouTube. Celebrity endorsements online are here to stay. As the industry matures, we will see the influencer model evolve, and legal issue around influencing continue to be litigated in the courts (influencer contracts, copyright issues, publicity rights, licensing, etc). One trend our influencing lawyers see coming is the move to local influencing, especially for micro-influencers. While influencer platforms connect brands, agencies, marketing companies and influencers sorted by category (industry, location, market niche), our attorneys are starting to see a marketing companies and agencies located in major cities start to offer influencing as part of their services to brands. Since many of these agencies work with local or regional businesses, they are looking for local or regional micro-influencers to endorse locally.

In this interview with influencing and social media lawyer Enrico Schaefer, we discuss:

  • Legal issues for influencers and the brands that hire them
  • The movement towards ‘local’ in the micro-influencing space.
  • How #Detroit is killing it as a a hot city and as reflected on social media.

Social Media Influencing is Big and Getting Bigger.

[Start of recorded material]

Male Voice:               You’re listening to the Podcast Detroit Network. Visit for more information.

Male Voice:               Welcome to M2 TechCast, a live Internet radio show offering the latest news and interviews with the people driving business, technology, and politics in Michigan. Now your hosts, Matt Roush and Mike Brennan.

Matt Roush:               Hey, it’s Matt Roush.

Mike Brennan:           And Mike Brennan.

Matt Roush:               And we’re back here in good old Studio 1 with another episode of the —

Mike Brennan:           You can do it.

Matt Roush:               Why don’t you tell them what the show is called? Go ahead.

Mike Brennan and Matt Roush:                   The M2 TechCast.

Matt Roush:               Okay, thank you. We decided we’d do that together. All together now.

Mike Brennan:           The curse of Monday has struck again in the TV studio. We won’t go into the details.

Matt Roush:               We do have video here. It’s just slightly more primitive.

Mike Brennan:           Right.

Matt Roush:               But the content of the show certainly will not be.

Mike Brennan:           No, no. Absolutely not.

Matt Roush:               All right. So, we’re starting things off with our attorney, our friend and social media lawyer from Traverse City, Enrico Schaefer. You started out talking about a bunch of different things over the years on this show, but today you want to talk about social media law and influencers.

Enrico Schaefer:        Yeah.

Matt Roush:               I’ve always wondered, how does one to get to be an influencer? Why don’t we start with that?

Enrico Schaefer:        Well, you have to be popular, so that’s number one.

Matt Roush:               Let’s me out.

Enrico Schaefer:        You’re going to need a social media account, number two. And you’re going to need a lot of followers, number three. And if you get those things, you put them together, now you can influence people online through your account: what you endorse, what you say, what you push, which restaurants you love and which brands you love.

Matt Roush:               This is sort of a new kind of marketing that’s entirely a creature in social media, right?

Enrico Schaefer:        Entirely a creature of social media. It’s a new kind of marketing. It’s been happening for a few years now. 5 years ago, I think I had a client that had a facial mask for young women between fifteen and nineteen. They would pay $5,000 for an endorsement from an influencer online and they do $80,000 worth of business in the next hour.

Mike Brennan:           Wow.

Enrico Schaefer:        So, it’s really great marketing when you can put the pieces together.

What is Happening in The Detroit Influencer Market?

Mike Brennan:           Wow, amazing, wow. Describe some of the Detroit Influencers that you think do this particularly well.

Enrico Schaefer:        Sure. In Detroit, we’ve got a lot of really good factors that line up for social media influencing and marketing and branding. Number one is Detroit is just hot. Right? The people in Detroit, long suffering, are now part of this rebirth, that is everyone nationally and globally seems to understand that Detroit is a great place to be, and we didn’t always have that reputation. And so, it is a trend. It’s a hot place to be.

Detroit is Trendy, & Hashtag Hot

So, in Detroit, you’ve got as part of that really interesting places and people and events that are getting hash tagged. So, if you want to know what the core of influencing is, it’s basically a hashtag that is a shout-out to something. So #detroit, #cooldetroit, #mydetroitlife, Motown. These types of things are really starting to take hold.

I did a little bit of research the other week that I found really fascinating. You think of some big cities like Cleveland and Austin and Denver, all high tech cities. Right? All really popular cities. Austin is growing like crazy and they’ve got all these huge tech companies there. But guess who has more hashtags than Austin?

Mike Brennan:           I’m thinking Detroit, right?

Enrico Schaefer:        Detroit. #detroit right now has over 12,000,000 Instagram posts. Austin has 11 million #Austin posts. Cleveland is only 6 million #cleveland Instagram posts. Cleveland is up and coming and has been reborn as well. So, it just shows you a very good indication of how people feel about the city of Detroit.

Mike Brennan:           Well then, since you’re an attorney, how do you fit into all this? How does law fit into all this?

Marketing Agencies, Influencers & Brands All Need Social Media Lawyers

Enrico Schaefer:        We represent social media influencers who are offering up their endorsements to products and services events, these types of things. And then we represent brands such as companies that want to hire influencers. And then we represent the agencies or the platforms in between those two contracting partners.

And so, as you know, we do a lot of intellectual property law and a lot of copyright law. And an influencer is essentially licensing their copyrighted photograph, typically, and verbiage and hashtag to a brand to do that endorsement. So, you’ve got copyright. Then of course if it shows their face, then you’ve got name and likeness that is also being contracted to the brand. So, there’s a lot of the intellectual property issues that go back and forth between influencers and brands. That’s how we got involved and that’s how we ended up in this space.

Matt Roush:               Sounds like a new variety of trademark law, really.

Is Your Account Name a Trademark?

Enrico Schaefer:        Trademark, it’s interesting, because we’re always telling social media influencers that they need to get their account name or handle registered as a trademark.  So, if you’re a social media influencer, chances are it’s not your exact name, and you’re operating under this brand that is the @ whatever your name is. It’s a trademark. And the photos are copyright, so it’s copyright licensing.

Mike Brennan:           Interesting. How does one convert all this influence? Let’s go into that more on that you pay somebody $5,000 kind of thing. What’s that all about?

Social Media Marketing and Endorsement Is Trending Local

Enrico Schaefer:        Yeah. So, basically what’ll happen is we’ve seen it much more to national level. Right? We know that Kim Kardashian or her little sister, whatever her name is, makes insane — millions of dollars from social media influencing. Right? But it’s global. It’s big brands, big names, big products. The trend in influencing marketing is, like everything else, going local. Right?

So, local businesses in Detroit, local restaurants in Detroit, local events in Detroit that are now connecting with influencers to help promote those events. And then of course everyone in Detroit promoting Detroit by hash tagging Detroit or some other variation, which shows a great photograph or a great depiction of something that’s really cool and happening in Detroit. So, we’ve got some really amazing influencers in the Detroit area, and I’ll give a few shout-out of you want to have some recommendations.

Matt Roush:               Yeah, I’d like to know more about these folks

Enrico Schaefer:        Yeah, so there’s one called This is a person who does the social scene in Detroit. It’s eat, drink, play. 11,000 followers. And if you look at their page, really impressive photography all about Detroit. So, really love that page.

In another different niche, you’ve got Metro Detroit Mom, @MetroDetroitMom, and she’s a Metro Detroit mommy Instagram person. She’s got all kinds of great photos that are family friendly about things happening in Detroit. So, you could start to see how that would translate into real good things for Detroit.

And then you’ve got Jadore Detroit. That’s J-A-D-O-R-E Detroit.

Mike Brennan:           It means “I love” in French.

Enrico Schaefer:        Yeah. And so, entertainment, food and drink, and wellness. This is a plus size model who does a lot of modeling but picks all these amazing Detroit backdrops to do the photography. There’s really amazing stuff there. And then you’ve got — Certainly the City of Detroit has got its own social media department, the Detroit Visitor Bureau has 56,000 followers at @VisitDetroit, and really amazing photography there. So, we’re going to start to see a connecting of these influencers with more of the local businesses as they’re promoting each other, essentially.

Mike Brennan:           So, should we take our M2 [Tech Detroit] in there somewhere? Would that improve it?

Enrico Schaefer:        I was going to mention this, but you two are influencers.

Mike Brennan:           Really?

Enrico Schaefer:        Yeah. Are you guys getting paid for that yet? You need an agent?

Mike Brennan:           Money is a fine thing. I would like [crosstalk].

Matt Roush:               Yeah, I like to get money.

Mike Brennan:           Yeah, sure.

Enrico Schaefer:        You’re promoting things and you have an audience, and therefore you have the ability to influence. And so, it doesn’t have to be an Instagram account. It can be a podcast. It can be a Twitter page. It could be lots of different things that you can go ahead and influence on.

Really, the reason I’m here today is just to talk a little bit about how the trend is putting the people, the communities, and the communities within the communities of Detroit and other cities together and creating some cohesion in order to create those synergies between players. Between the influencers, between the brands, between what you guys are doing, and brands across the board. This is a trend that is really just in its infancy, but it’s not going away and it’s only going to pick up speed because influence marketing is really the future.

Matt Roush:               Yeah, I haven’t gotten into Instagram, but I have been on Twitter pretty much since it was established. And so, I am actually Matt Roush on Twitter. And there’s a couple of Matt Roush’s that would like it. There’s a guy who’s a folk singer in Indianapolis, and then there’s a guy who’s the TV reviewer at

Mike Brennan:           But too bad. Our Matt has it.

Matt Roush:               Yeah, I got it first. Although I did let get away, though, the website, but oh well.

Enrico Schaefer:        Yeah, it’s tough. But yeah, there’s a lot of collision of words and names out there, and there’s not a lot of bandwidth left there.

Mike Brennan:           Yeah.

Matt Roush:               Yeah. Twitter is sort of this weird amalgamation of political chatter and advertising and marketing and influence. To me, that’s the most interesting one.

Enrico Schaefer:        It is because it’s got the most non photographic content.

Instagram is More than Photos, Twitter is More than Text

Matt Roush:               Right, yeah. Instagram is all pictures. Right, yeah.

Enrico Schaefer:        And they keep you at least in line so you can’t talk forever, so that’s good, too. But Instagram is just photos. Right? It’s more than just photos. It’s hashtags and photos and a little bit of text. But a picture speaks a thousand words.

Matt Roush:               Right.

Enrico Schaefer:        And in Detroit, there’s so many amazing, different things that are happening artistically and architecturally, and all of it is being captured online and is being fed into one of these hashtags. And so, I have no doubt that that’s helping with the rebirth of Detroit.

Matt Roush:               Oh yeah. And I see it most among young people, too, because I’ve got a niece and nephew who are 21 and 23. They live over on the west side of the state in the Muskegon area, and they can’t come over here often enough.

Enrico Schaefer:        Yeah.

Matt Roush:               My kids are 27 and 29. One lives in Ypsi and one lives in Westland. And they’re coming over here all the time because they think Detroit is the coolest thing there is, and they’re actually closer to Chicago, really, than they are to Detroit.

Enrico Schaefer:        Yeah.

Mike Brennan:           And West Michigan has always identified more with Chicago than with Detroit.

Mike Brennan:           Yeah, for now, and maybe that is changing. And these kids, these younger generation, they’re learning about this stuff on social media. And the trends that are happening on social media are actually happening on the street as well, and that’s great news for Detroit.

Matt Roush:               Absolutely.

Mike Brennan:           Let’s bore into this a bit. Let’s say one thinks — Take our case, for instance. How would we then monetize what we’re doing better?

Influencing is Fundamentally Endorsement of A Product or Brand

Enrico Schaefer:        So, essentially you guys have sponsorships and you have advertisements that you have as part of the web-based broadcast that you’ve got going on. So, in a way that’s a form of advertisement. Everyone recognizes it as advertisement. Influencing is endorsement. Right? It’s me stepping up and saying, “I endorse you,” and having a following that is going to respond to that. And so, it’s a step beyond — several steps beyond — a banner ad. Right?

And so, because you guys know tech, and because you guys know what’s happening in Detroit, your ability to step in and — You’ve heard on radio broadcast where all of a sudden the broadcaster says, “And now, I’m going to tell you about my pillow” or whatever it happens to be. Right? So, that would be a form of influencing that would be outside social media, but it’s the exact same concept.

What you guys would probably want to do is to really start to build your following more on — Pick a social media platform. Maybe it’s Twitter. And then as that following builds, you can pick the brands that you love, the companies that you love, within your field of expertise.

And then you could get paid money to do a review of them or to do promote them, or endorse them online by saying, “Here is a company that I really love. I own these products, and I stand behind them as well.” And they usually pay you anywhere between one and three different posts, and it could be anything from a couple hundred dollars to some of these folks are making six figures a post. For a single post.

Mike Brennan:           Kind of like IT in the D. When they endorse something, it’s like, Dave drives a Jaguar, don’t you, Dave?

Dave:                          Right.

Enrico Schaefer:        See, Dave has been holding out on you. You just don’t know about his influencing income.

Mike Brennan:           He drives that Jeep because he doesn’t want people to know. But he really lives in one of the Grosse Pointe farms [crosstalk] isn’t it?

Matt Roush:               It’s that midwestern work ethic modesty at work.

Dave:                          Yeah, no. No, we’re not there yet.

Mike Brennan:           Okay.

Is Influencing a Scam? Does it Work? Beware of Fraudulent Endorsements.

Dave:                          Yeah. But then you get into the dangerous Fyre Festival territory when it comes to influencers at that range.

Enrico Schaefer:        Yeah, that’s for sure. For sure. That was a great example of the — You guys remember. The Fyre Festival, the put this big event on that was a nonevent. Some very wealthy people paid insane amounts of money because it was, what, a trend. It was hot. It was a social media thing that just occurred online and exploded, and everyone wants in. That’s a great example of what social media influencing is.

Matt Roush:               And then they wind up on Gilligan’s Island, right? Yeah, essentially marooned, right?

Dave:                          And now all those social media influencers are in the middle of lawsuits because the trustee for the festival is trying to get money back because chaos. Yeah.

Enrico Schaefer:        Yeah, when you stand behind a product, you better stand behind the product. Because if you told people to go and they purchase because you told them to go.

Dave:                          Knowing full well and good you were not going.

Enrico Schaefer:        Right, or you didn’t know enough about it to endorse it. You’re standing behind the product. That’s where some of the liability comes in. We try and protect both sides and come to a fair accommodation of risk. But you better know who it is that you’re getting into bed with if you’re going to get into the endorsement game.

Mike Brennan:           We’re going to have to cut it off at that.

Matt Roush:               Yeah. Yeah, quickly tell us if people want more information on these topics from you, how do they get a hold of you?

Enrico Schaefer:        Sure. Go to Enrico Schaefer at, and you’ll find me online. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions if you’re a brand or if you’re an influencer.

Matt Roush:               All right. That’s Enrico Schaefer from the Detroit law office of We’ll be right back with another segment of the M2 TechCast. For right now, this is Matt Roush.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney Enrico Schaefer, who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a practicing Business, IP, and Technology Law litigation attorney.