Archive for the ‘Influencer’ Category

How to Use Influencers to Expand Outreach and Increase Impact

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

A client expecting his first child lamented he wished there were Cliffs Notes for all the baby  books stacked on his nightstand.  It got me thinking — I feel the same way about the amazing marketing webinars, blogs, podcasts, white papers and newsletters out there.  So many great resources and so little time to review them! I decided I’d start producing my own version of Cliffs Notes on some outstanding content.  I promise to condense it down to a five minute read, pulling out the golden nuggets so you don’t have to.

This Cliffs Notes installment is a Cision white paper on how to use influencers to expand outreach and increase impact. Enjoy.

The importance of influencers in a nutshell:

i-influencersmatches
The Shelf, an influencer marketing program, finds that 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from other people, even people they don’t know personally, over branded content.

Influencers can have a profound effect on the bottom line but they also:

  • Introduce your brand and its products or services to new target audiences
  • Offer educational resources and how-to tutorials
  • Show your products within a personal context, creating a “me, too” effect
  • Impact the message, a plus when combatting negative opinions, sentiment or reviews
  • Build long-term relationships, ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty

Finding influencers

Identifying the people who can truly connect with your audience requires a comprehensive influencer database. (Note this is a cision database whitepaper and the cost of this influencer database will double the cost of your current cision media database. I’m planning to do a demo to see if it’s worth it so stay tuned.)

So if you don’t want to part with an extra few thousand dollars research, and use stats like Unique Views, Followers Fans, Klout, Kred, Traackr, BuzzSumo etc that will help you to consider at least these three things:

  • Relevance has to do with industry. Look for people who not only know your market but also enjoy talking about it. Location can also play a factor if you’re trying to grow reach and impact in a certain city or region.
  • Reach involves networks and platforms. You’re looking for either breadth (number of followers) or depth (a powerful niche). Both approaches work, but the choice depends on your brand’s goals and outcomes.
  • Resonance refers to social validation, i.e., engagement. 

Vetting influencers

This list of eight tips will help you vet influencers. When you reach out to influencers in the right way, everyone wins.

  1. Look at successful influencer programs. Study other people’s work. Take notes, and develop a program customized to your brand.
  2. Determine metrics for success.Establish metrics at the outset of an influencer program. It’s the only way to know if milestones and outcomes are being met. If the goal is brand awareness, determine the numbers that prove success. Also institute metrics for the outreach itself, just as you would when pitching a story or starting a new PR initiative.
  3. Document everything. Influencer outreach isn’t scalable without documented processes. Share them with the team. Revisit them regularly, too.
  4. Build a list. In this regard, influencer outreach is exactly like media relations. Use a database or tools like the ones mentioned earlier; gather contact information and other data; and keep track of who’s been contacted, when and where.
  5. Establish rapport. Form relationships with influencers. Learn what motivates them. If you know what makes them tick, outreach will be a piece of cake.
  6. Make the ask. The ask should be specific, like a call to action. Set expectations and goals at the beginning. Do you want influencers to promote, share, or create content? Give clear instructions, but don’t micro-manage.

Influencers should have full control over their content and behavior, the exception being sponsored content. In that case, they need to follow the guidelines given, typically a simple acknowledgement that they’re being compensated for the work.

  1. Measure your efforts. How are efforts faring? Are people joining the program? Sticking with it? Why or why not?
  2. Refine. Analyze the data gathered from interactions with influencers regularly. Let it guide next steps and improvements with outreach, as well as the overall program.

Relationship management:

To be successful with relationship management, consider these eight tips. They will help you define and implement the process.

  1. Stay in touch. Stay in regular contact so that they feel cared for and don’t think they’re a checkmark on a list.
  2. Ask for feedback. Ask them what they like about your influencer program and what they don’t. The more involved they are, the likelier it is that they’ll stay. Influencers can also act as beta testers for new products and services. The sneak peek will make them feel special, and it’ll give you all sorts of data to work with.
  3. Delegate the work. Influencer relations is time-consuming. Don’t go it alone. Integrate a software solution if you can afford it. It’s the only way the program can scale and be sustainable.
  4. Keep an updated list. The list of influencers needs to be updated just as the media relations one is.
  5. Document processes. As with outreach, document everything that’s being done to manage relationships. Swag? Emails? Social shares? Keep track of it. Also identify who’s in charge of what. Share that information with the team. It’ll keep everyone aimed toward the same goal and help with accountability.
  6. Monitor everything. Use alerts and social listening tools to track what’s being said about your brand. Also consider social sentiment tools to assess impact on brand reputation.
  7. Review the metrics. Metrics have a role to play in relationship management, too. How did influencers respond to free swag? The emails? How did their responses affect the overall program? There’s plenty of data to be had, so capture it and use it to improve programming, outreach and relationship management.
  8. Be ready to change. Influencer feedback and metrics have stories to tell. Listen to them. Let them guide the influencer programs you initiate as well as how you engage with influencers. Always be testing and refining.

Influencer marketing is impactful. It grows brand awareness and reach. It can even boost the bottom line. But most of it all, it can make your brand a little more “human.” You can also read the free white paper here. 

 

 

Cliffs Notes on Value of PESO Model (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned)

Monday, December 12th, 2016

A client expecting his first child lamented he wished there were Cliffs Notes for all the baby books stacked on his nightstand.  It got me thinking — I feel the same way about the amazing marketing webinars, blogs, podcasts, white papers and newsletters out there.  So many great resources and so little time to review them! I decided I’d start producing my own version of Cliff Notes on some outstanding content.  I promise to condense it down to under a five minute read, pulling out the golden nuggets so you don’t have to.

 Below find Cliffs Notes on PR Pros Must Embrace the PESO Model (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned) written by Gini Dietrich for spinsucks.com.

Gini argues that an integrated PESO model will help pr practitioners stop thinking of themselves as only brand enhancers and start thinking of themselves as business drivers.

pesoThe PESO model takes the four media types—paid, earned, shared and owned—and merges them together.

Paid Media. Social media advertising, sponsored content and email marketing

Earned Media. Publicity or media relations

Shared Media. Social media

Owned Media. Owned media is otherwise known as content. It is something you own, and it lives on your website or blog.

When your integrated PESO model is working at its best, it can help you establish authority/thought leadership.

Where to Start

The easiest place to start—because you can control the messaging is Owned Media.

Create an editorial calendar.

As you begin to fill in topics for your calendar, start with one large circle– your main topic — in the middle of the page.

Draw six or more medium-sized circles. These are your subtopics.

From those circles, you’ll draw several small circles on each, which will serve as your supportive base.

Continue that until you’ve exhausted all your ideas around that one topic. Then you would have several pieces of content that help extend your main piece and begin to showcase your expertise.

How Do I Use a PESO Model in My Business?

You have the content and you’ll use shared media to distribute it, paid media to amplify it, and earned media to rubber-stamp it.

Shared Media

Twitter: On the day your content is published, tweet the link four times (three hours apart). On day two, tweet it twice, and once on day three.

Facebook: Post your content there once a day, and then consider sponsored content as part of your paid media campaign.

Google+: While Google+ isn’t great for social networking, it’s incredible for search engine optimization. Post content in there once a day.

LinkedIn: Post once a day to your personal account, your company page, your showcase page and to the groups you belong to.

The Others: It’s important not to ignore StumbleUpon, Reddit, Pinterest, Digg and some of the others. Test post in those spots just once a day and see what happens.

Paid Media

Paid media may be in the form of paid amplification (such as Outbrain or Sprinklr), sponsored content, native advertising, or sponsorships of influential blogs.

It also could take the form of sponsored content on Facebook or LinkedIn or sponsored tweets on Twitter.

You can start with a budget of as little as $5 a day. LinkedIn also often offers free advertising coupons to those who use the social network often. Take advantage of those!

While you don’t want to spend money to sponsor all your content, it’s a good idea to test it with one piece each month.

Earned Media

Now it’s time to build relationships with industry bloggers, journalists, and other influencers who may share your content.

On Twitter, create a list of bloggers and journalists you want to collaborate with. This will make it easy to follow them, share their work and start conversations with them.

Create a list of books and podcasts you want to review. Every author and podcaster needs reviews and ratings to gain more traction. They may be appreciative of the work you do there, and may be willing to do something for you in return.

On LinkedIn, create tags—such as “influencer,” “blogger,” “journalist” or “super cool kid”—so you can easily follow what they post and then share, share, share! This may lead to new relationships where you can ask them to share your content later.

On Feedly, create a list of bloggers to watch. Then any time they publish new content, share it with your own networks.

Eventually these influencers may share your content, include it in their own content or interview you for a piece they’re producing.

My personal addition: Don’t forget to distribute the news or content to your key list of editors via email (with a follow-up call if appropriate) and, for SEO, consider an online wire release.

What Should I Measure in a PESO Model?

For each media type, there are different metrics to track.

Paid Media. It depends on the tactics you use under this umbrella, but could include the following:

  • Social media marketing, such as Google AdWords
  • Landing pages and how many people download your content and go into your email marketing database
  • Increases in the qualified leads in your email marketing database
  • New fans or followers who come from reading your sponsored content
  • Leads and conversions

Earned Media

  • Influencer scoring: Does an influencer with 10,000 followers have the same score as someone with 1,000 followers? It could very well be that the person with 1,000 followers can incentivize purchase with 10 percent of his followers, while the person with 10,000 followers can incentivize purchase with only 1 percent.
  • How much Web traffic comes from a story about your organization?
  • An increase in new audiences

Shared Media.

You have to track the number of fans and followers, because sharp declines—or a trend of decreasing followers—will tell you something is wrong. But an increase, week after week, do not results make. The following do:

  • Track the effectiveness of brand ambassadors.
  • Assign points to things such as likes, retweets, shares, and comments.
  • Use unique URLs, coupons, discount codes, or even telephone numbers only in your social media efforts. This will tell you whether you’re getting results from these efforts.

Owned Media.

Unique visitors, time spent on the site, and bounce rate.

  • Email marketing
  • Track downloads and shares
  • Track the effectiveness of a community by whether they’re referring business to you.
  • Is it driving sales?

I hope this can serve as a helpful checklist.  Here is a link to the entire article which includes a couple of good infographics.

Cliffs Notes on Implementing an Influencer Strategy

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

i-influencersA client expecting his first child lamented he wished there were Cliffs Notes for all the baby books stacked on his nightstand.  It got me thinking — I feel the same way about the amazing marketing webinars, blogs, podcasts, white papers and newsletters out there.  So many great resources and so little time to review them! I decided I’d start producing my own version of Cliff Notes on some outstanding content.  I promise to condense it down to a five minute read, pulling out the golden nuggets so you don’t have to.

This week’s installment is a white paper on the implementation of an influencer strategy by Augure, a PR and influencer marketing software company:

Consumers have never been so connected. Today, most opinions relating to a decision to buy (or not) begin online with a Google search, review of forums, checking out a product test on a blog, or reading a tweet from a satisfied user.

In a global economy, it has become extremely difficult for a business to distinguish itself simply by the superior quality of its products.  It must also gain the preference of its customers.

There are three levels of influencers:

  • Top level: Celebrities: But they require a large budget and you have little control over them, so there’s the risk of a mess-up: This tweet from David Ferrer is a perfect example: he praised the qualities of the Samsung Galaxy S4 phone, but the tweet was sent from his iPhone! That’s the risk involved with “buying” influence
  • Middle level: Connected journalists, bloggers, leaders in the business world or in volunteering, activists, experts in their field, etc., who have credibility within the community of their specific field. These are the primary targets of PR and communication professionals
  • Bottom level: Consumers. But his category has taken on considerable importance with the advent of social networks. Consumers can become true ambassadors for your brand.

How to recognize an influencer:

  1. Twitter followers, but it’s easy to buy followers on Twitter for very little money
  2. Post frequency, but you can automate RSS feeds and schedule posts
  3. Number of retweets, but many people retweet without looking at their tweet

It’s clear that digital influence can’t be measured based on a series of quantitative data. But influencers can be recognized by their ability to mobilize opinions of their followers within a given subject matter.

Three elements for detecting an influencer in a given field:

  • Exposure: the audience the influencer has built over time within his/her fields of research (the number of unique visitors to his blog or media where he writes, etc.)
  • Share of Voice: the level of participation of the influencer on the topic in question
  • Echo: the ease with which the influencer gets his opinion on the subjects in question to spread and be relayed (links to his blog articles, for example)

Influencer Strategy: Six Steps

1. Identify

Define the search topics: including the brand and products; competitors; targeted product category; current events within the industry; related, cross-connected subjects

Create specific lists for each channel: Twitter, blog, online media.  Each channel approach will be different

Categorize by subjects

2. Monitor

Become familiar with the subjects these influencers talk about

Learn the best channels to transmit your messages

Refine your initial list

How to monitor

Themed lists on Twitter

Follow their blog

3. Making contact

Use a personalized approach – no mass mailings!

Let them know you’re following them

Comment on and enrich their content

Stay up to date with events in the sector and arrange face to face meetings if possible

4. Attract attention of influencers to boost visibility

  • Brand content: industry articles and videos, white papers, questionnaires, product launch events; product trial; breakfast and informal events

5. Collaborate to build credibility

Create an influencer community

Indicators you’ve succeeded at attracting attention:

Active influencer participation

More mentions of your brand

Interest of new influencers

Co-creation of content with influencers:

  • Create a defined editorial style
  • Facilitate influencer participation
  • Associate your content with the influencer’s Google+ profile
  • Validate all modifications made to your content
  • Use every channel of social connection to distribute your content
  • Organize meetings
  • Hold a company event utilizing influencers:  But first, do a cross-check of influencers and events. Check the influencer’s profile to find out his/her last presentations and give get an idea about his/her capability as a speaker. Prepare a budget. Hold preliminary meetings. Promote the event and the participation of the influencers. Stream the event live online. Measure the coverage.
  • Encourage community participation: Influencers can encourage participation within your online communities, whether on blogs, your Facebook page or your own site, by recommending the services of the products you sell.

6. Improve the reputation of the brand using the recommendations of the influencers

From Influencers to Ambassadors

To get recommendations from influencers, you also need to put in place a brand ambassador program that encourages participation and also rewards it. This kind of program should be organized around the following guidelines:

  • Choose the ambassadors of your brand carefully. To sum it up, it’s better to have less ambassadors who are really passionate, than more ambassadors with a limited interest in your products.
  • The best way to recruit ambassadors is simply to ask
  • Don’t hesitate to show them your gratitude, whether by financial means or with material elements, such as membership in a small group of users who can test your products before everyone else.
  • Reward the “technological activity” of your brand’s ambassadors by offering them greater visibility through your channels.
  •  Think of influencers as members of your team. Let them participate in your product tests and launches and ask for their opinions in your next campaigns, etc.

Keep your ambassadors in mind while planning actions for your marketing strategy. An influencer attracts many followers online, and many of those are opinion leaders. Using influencers as a voice and a leader for your events can be the key to success, which will also strengthen relationships for future actions.

If you want to learn more, here’s the entire white paper:

http://www.augure.com/resources/whitepapers/guide-influencers-strategy

Also, I’ve collected a few cool and basic tools to help you with identifying influencers:

Alltop – Blog RSS aggregator organized by topic. Lists feature top blogs in each category edited by Alltop staff. Price: Free.

Klout – Score-producing, public face that measures an individual’s ability to move their networks to action. Price: Website score generation free. Company engagement requires custom pricing.

Technorati Authority – The original influence measure, Technorati’s authority score is a count of the unique sites that link to a given blog in the last six months. So comparing a list of blogs to one another, you can see which has the most unique websites connecting to it. Price: Free

TweetLevel – Edelman project that produces overall Twitter population list that can be filtered by influence, popularity, engagement and trust. Intended to measure a person’s importance on Twitter. Price: Free.

For more on tools, visit: https://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/online-public-relations/influencer-identification-tools/