Authority, Impact, and the Future of Influence Marketing

Influencer marketing is the most powerful tool in getting a brand’s message to an interested audience in a relevant and authentic way. Whether launching a new product or just trying to raise brand awareness, it’s effective in driving engagement, visibility,quality traffic, and more. Last week I spoke at ClickZ Live New York on Authority, Impact, and the Future of Influence Marketing.

The future of influence marketing is up and coming as marketers are trying to hone in on how to develop relationships with key influencers with hopes to lift awareness of their brands. It’s not enough to market through influencers, now it’s crucial to find a way to collaborate in partnerships with influencers.

Within my speech I discussed the four rules of influencer marketing:

1) Popularity Does NOT Equal influence.

2) To be influential, a person has to be actively writing on topics which matter to your audience.

3) To be influential, a person has to have authority.

4) Influencer’s drive action.

Platforms like Instagram and YouTube have led to the rise of a new generation of influencers that have amassed huge followings on niche subject matters. A research study by Nielsen showed that buyers trust experts and influencers over branded content. It’s important start a campaign with a precise set of goals, and understand the purpose of your influencer outreach plan.  Whether its to get them to be a brand advice, guest blog, or vouch for your brand you must begin by defining concise targets and have various KPI’s for various social media networks.

So how can you find Influencers? Great Question, here are some of my favorite (and free!) tools:

1) Follower Wonk Enables you to find, analyze, and optimize for social growth, and search bios of those influencers you’re after (especially very niche topics!).

2) Twitter provides free analytics which outlines top followers, influencers, and also gives a nice overview of your impressions, mentions, and more.  I also find using twitter lists to be an excellent way to tap into and influencer and “digest” twitter in a more streamlined manner.

3) BuzzSumo allows you to find the most shared content and see what content performs best, as well as discover key influencers.

4) Topsy is one of my favorite tools to search all tweets and measure social trends, but they’ve also got an influencer option which has proven quite helpful.

5) Klout is the original tool to rank influencers based upon social networks and reach, they’ve started a content first approach, but hey, I still get free perks, and i’m still a fan!

Once you’ve found your influencers it’s important to get closer and engage with them using social media.  Being socially active you’ll be one step closer to your influential audience.  When reaching out to an influencer you’ve got to recruit, initialize and grow your relationship, and then nurture. Make sure your outreach is relevant.  Taking time to research your target influencers interests, and understand who they are and what they like is crucial.  Engage on social media by sharing an article, providing an opinion, and engaging when them in conversation without an ask. Once you’ve built your initial conversation pitch free it’s important to reach out offline to discuss next steps, and if possible remind them of your discussion and engagement to spark the conversation.

My slideshare from ClickZ Live is below, and remember Jay Baer’s quote, “Content is fire. Social Media is Gasoline.” When done right tapping into this new generation of influencers can put your brand on the map, increase traffic, engagement, and so much more.

What do you think of the presentation, send me a tweet @MarissaPick, or leave a comment below.

Does Social Media Rule Publishing? #Yes.

The emergence of social media has had a tremendous impact of how digital news is produced, consumed, and specifically around how the journalists behind the stories are pressured to re approach and modify their craft.  This month, Edelman Media Network teamed up with two start ups NewsWhip and Much Rack and surveyed 250 working journalistsrevealing that more than three-quarters of them feel increased pressure to get their stories shared on social media.

This research revealed that:

  • More than 75% of journalists say they feel more pressure now to think about their story’s potential to get shared on social platforms.
  • To make their stories more shareable, journalists are infusing their stories with five key ingredients: video/images, brevity, localization, more use of human voice and a proximity to trending topics.
  • Nearly three-quarters of journalists are now creating original video content to accompany their stories. However, very few journalists (13%) are relying on sourcing consumer-generated video and only 3 percent are using corporate video.
  • Journalists see five key trends impacting their profession this year: more mobile friendly content, faster turnaround times, more original video, smaller newsroom staff and social media growing in influence.

Employers are becoming increasingly dependent on social media for traffic.  In September 2013 Shareaholic reported the eight biggest social referrers drove 16.4% of traffic to publishers’ sites, and a year later, that number had nearly doubled, to 29.5%.  As the study revealed, journalists are now feeling the pressure to write “sharable & digestible” stories surrounding topics which are already trending and focusing on ways to develop headlines which demand attention.

Journalists are also being called upon to leverage their individual social media profiles and adjust how they approach their stories to aide in getting the stories the most possible shares across social media.  82% of survey respondents said they use images to make stories more searchable (click to tweet).

It’s a fact that 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visually based (click to tweet), and the human brains processes images 60,000 times faster than text, a stat which I often share when discussing leveraging visual content within social media.

It’s no surprise the facts revealed within the study, and how social media has redefined journalism and publishing.  As social media continues to become more prevalent many traditional media companies continue to struggle to keep up. Employers are becoming increasingly dependent on social media or traffic, and roles such as mine are here to help journalists, and the rest of the business stay up to speed with trends in social media.  I think the study shares some great stats,  and raises a great issue faced by journalists. What do you think? Please leave me a comment or tweet me your thoughts.

The Social Domino Effect

According to new research from the University of California in San Diego sharing an uplifting quote or status update on Facebook or other social media platforms can be contagious.

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Emotions expressed online both positive and negative can be contagious. Researchers reviewed the emotional content of 1 billion Facebook posts and found that the language used can influence the words your friends choose, creating what’s known as a “social multiplier.”

And researchers found that positive emotions spread more than negative ones. Make sure to think for a moment before you craft your next Facebook update, since it’s contagious after all!

Four Critical #SocialMedia Mistakes to Avoid

Social media can be of a great benefit to a brand, however it can be detrimental if not handled property.  Still many companies are flocking to social media platforms for the one simple reason: not incorporating social media into their marketing strategy would be a loss to connect with potential customers while strengthening bonds with existing customers.  As social media has become the most popular online activity, companies need to be careful and mindful of how they’re using social media to avoid simple mistakes which can lead to the demise of customer engagement across their social media platforms.  Here are four critical social media mistakes for brands to avoid:

1) Using social media for selling, not conversing or engaging: Social Media is a place to build a personality and enhance a deeper relationship with your audience.  Social media users often don’t respond well to a hard sell.  Make sure your social media is a channel for starting a conversation, and engaging with your audience.  Building up trust and a repertoire is crucial and from there the only thing you need to sell your customers on is that you’re going to include them in the conversation.

2) Avoiding Controversy and Complaints: Let’s face it, social media is the perfect channel to vent and let our frustrations out.  Mistakes happen and as a brand you need to own up to them and let your customers know what you’re going to do to ensure they won’t be repeated.  Ignoring complaints shows you’re going to do your own thing, and that as a brand you are backing away.  Own your mistakes and man up! Make sure you have a plan in place for worst-case scenarios, and a social media disaster, it can’t hurt to be prepared!

3) #Getting #Hashtag #Happy on #SocialMedia: Using hashtags is a handy and effective tool, however sometimes they need to be used in moderation.  Using too many hashtags within a tweet or an Instagram post can come off too pushy. We’re already limited to 140 characters on Twitter so utilizing an image and text should speak volumes and stand alone, with a hashtag as a supporting entity.  Hashtags are fantastic for running promotions and enhancing searchability, however when used too often they can limit your ability to really amplify your message. 

4) Lacking a Strategy with Clear Business Objectives: If you’ve ever read my blog you’ll understand that i’m a firm believer in understanding that what you decide to do is JUST as important as deciding what you’re not going to do.  Make sure your brand has clear objectives set for utilizing social media, with a strategy for each social channel to help you achieve your goals.  Creating a strategy should include having distinct and measurable goals, thinking through your brand’s voice, and planning out a content calendar with clear goals in mind.   Setting a strategy and agreeing upon clear business objectives are the first two step’s in social media success.