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.

Content Is Fire, Social Media is Gasoline

In 2013 Dave Kerpen shared a post on LinkedIn entitled Content Is Fire, Social Media is Gasoline.  Within the post he discusses the importance of keeping it real while also keeping it relevant. If your social media informs more often than it promotes, you’re on the right track. If it is deeply helpful rather than deeply promotional, you’re probably on a roll.

To get a better sense for how businesses can use content and social media together to be successful, Dave Kerpen asked Jay Baer to summarize the concepts of his book Youtility. Within the book he shares information regarding the concept of using marketing to promote your marketing.  Brands often talk too often on social media and miss the mark by never saying anything other than “we’re great” and “buy buy buy.” With so many updates constantly on social media brands are competing for attention, and can do so easily by being useful, not by shouting louder. 

Dave uses the company ExactTarget as an example, sharing two tweets back to back.  The first is a corporate message less relevant to a wider twitter audience.  The second is a real time tweet which created content on the most popular Olympic sports based on followers, which was sent during the London Olympic games.  The infographic has no information abut ExactTarget’s products and services, rather it used real time relevancy to create interest and to showcase some of it’s products (it has a software allowing companies to monitor and engage on twitter).

Content is everywhere, you can’t help but consume it within your everyday life.  Everyone has something they want to share with the world and we are constantly taking that information in.  We put content out there through the tools of social networks, leveraging sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so on.

“Content is fire. Social Media is Gasoline.” – Jay Baer

Jay-Baer-fire-gasoline

Social media is what sparks our message and keeps the fire burning faster and brighter. Our number one tool so get our content and our message out there is the social media, and once we start the process, we need to keep feeding our fire.

“You cannot create without first consuming something.” -Jill Falk

Within my role I’m consuming content about 90% of my day.  I wake up each morning and check my Twitter account before even stepping out of bed.  I download two newspapers each morning to read on my ipad during my 40 minute train each morning.  I often sit next to my husband silently who does the same, and shares some additional content he finds on the various apps he checks into such as flipboard or good reader.  At work I build social media strategies to help boost the content my company created, and I often get emails on my work and personal accounts with content my friends, family, and co-workers find interesting.

It’s part of my job to keep up with these things, and also get myself out there.  I send tweets more than I pickup a phone, and I am guilty of constantly checking and updating my social notworks, I admit it, i’m totally addicted.  I learn new things everyday using social media and it keeps me up to date with what’s going on in the world and what is going on with my friends and family.  After we delivered our son and shared the moment with close friends and family, hours later I posted a photo and watched it spread like wildfire, the texts, calls, and messages rolled in.  I remember turning to my husband totally overwhelmed and overjoyed with the amount of messages I had to respond too, and it took me almost two weeks to circle back with everyone!

I always remember Jay’s words, “Content is the fire, social media is the gasoline.” Keep feeding your fire and keep it going!  Do what you love, and enjoy!

Ten Eye Opening (and Tweetable) #Instagram Stats

Data from the Pew Research Center shows that among social media networks, Instagram has surpassed Twitter in popularity among United States Adults.  The research states that 26% of online adults in the U.S. used Instagram in 2014, up 17% from the previous year, and 13% from 2012.  As a comparison 23% of online adults in the U.S. used Twitter in 2014.  The data finds that Facebook remains by far the social media site, however over the past year Instagram has made a splash, and engagement on Instagram is 15 times that of Facebook’s!

PI_2015-01-09_social-media_01One of the most interesting aspects of Instagram is that it’s not a site, but lives only on the mobile app.  Numerous brands have begun to use Instagram as businesses are seeing results from showcasing more visual images.  With over 300 million monthly active users, Instagram executives think the network will eventually hit 1 BILLION monthly active users!

If you’re still not bought into Instagram, here are Ten Eye Opening Stats:

  1. Instagram is the eighth most popular mobile app in the U.S. (comScore)- Tweet This
  2. Instagram is projected to reach 45.8 million U.S. users in 2015 and 50.6 million in 2016 (Statista)- Tweet This
  3. More than 30 billion photos have been shared on Instagram since it was launched in 2010 (Instagram). – Tweet This
  4. An average of 70 million photos are shared through the app each day (Instagram).- Tweet This
  5. 53 percent of Internet-using adults age 18 to 29 are on Instagram (Pew Research Center). That’s up from 37 percent in 2013.- Tweet This
  6. 76 percent of American teenagers use Instagram, making it their favorite social media network (CBS News).- Tweet This
  7. 49 percent of all Instagram users use the app each day (Pew Research Center).- Tweet This
  8. 94 percent of Instagram users are on Facebook (Pew Research Center). Facebook owns Instagram.- Tweet This
  9. 58 percent of Twitter users also use Instagram (Pew Research Center). – Tweet This
  10. 52 percent of Instagram users also use Twitter (Pew Research Center).- Tweet This

In less than five years Instagram has gone from it’s infancy to a social media rock star, and i’m excited to see what the future will hold!

Is your brand on Instagram, would love to know your experience, and how you are succeeding, or the challenges you face, leave a comment below, or tweet me @MarissaPick.

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.

Four Metrics to Better Evaluate and Optimize Your Social Media Content

It’s important to constantly evaluate and optimize your best social media content to ensure your feeding content into an engaged and active audience.  Whether you’re a large brand or a blogger, if you’re spending time creating and sharing content no one is interested in, well, you’re just waiting your time!  Avinash Kaushik’s four major social media metrics were designed in a 2011 blog post to address the way in which we evaluate our social media performance.  Both Moz and Buffer use Kaushik’s social methods within their social media marketing, and theres an analytics tool, True Social Metrics, based solely upon his metrics.

Kaushik’s four metrics are:

1) Conversion Rate: The number of conversations per post.  For example, on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn (comments), on Twitter (replies).

2) Amplification Rate– The number of reshares or retweets per post.

3) Applause Rate- The volume of ReTweets, Likes, +1’s, and so on.

4) Economic Value– The sum of short term revenue, long term revenue, and cost savings.

How To Evaluate And Optimize Your Best Social Media Content: 5 New Methods To Try Today image Amplification

Kaushik’s four metrics can be found across every social channel as they are independent of the individual social media networks.  The four metrics are now more easily measurable due to tools and free analytics such as:

  • The release of expanded twitter analytics which now allows you to easily view impressions, engagements, engagement rates, and much more information for free.
  • Social Media Examiner shared a comprehensive excel spreadsheet for evaluation and optimizing social media content.  The spreadsheet includes 14 different variables for each social media post including likes, shares, clicks, engagement and more.
  • Buffer allows you to stack social media updates across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms and gives fantastic free analytics on retweets, mentions, favorites, clicks and more, as well as recommendations as to when to schedule and optimize content.
  • In my opinion the economic value is the hardest part to track within Kaushik’s metrics. At work we use a BitLy Google Analytics shortening tool from Setaris which allows you to measure specific keywords and campaigns through to conversions easily within google analytics, and shorten and track your links posted as well.

It’s important to consider Kaushik’s four metrics, and review and evaluate your social media content to ensure it’s always optimized and functioning well.  if you’ve got a tool or article you’ve read which has more information or insight, please share within the comments, or send me a tweet @MarissaPick. Thanks!