Tag Archive | "influencers"

Should You Trust Influencers to Promote Your Brand? Consider These Problems First

Influencer marketing is drawing more and more suspicion from brands and advertisers alike. There is a growing concern in some business sectors that consumer trust in influencers is waning or has reached its peak. Empirical data, however, shows that influencers still have a lot of pull. They can still raise brand awareness, push customer loyalty, and boost engagement. One study by Marvrck also shows that cost per acquisition (CPA) was also far lower with influencer marketing compared to other types of advertising like Facebook ads.

cost per acquisition

While there’s no denying that influencer marketing works, it has a lot of issues that have resulted in brands having a general lack of trust for influencers.

4 Reasons Why Brands Don’t Trust Influencer Marketing

1. Hard to Measure ROI

The majority of brands find that choosing the right metrics to use and measuring return on investment are the main challenges they face when it comes to influencer marketing.

Every marketing campaign should be based on measurable objectives, like an increase in revenue, higher brand awareness, or more social media followers. You need to determine your objective first. Once that’s done, you can then identify how you will track your KPIs and evaluate how the content or an influencer has performed.

Luckily, most of the tools used in tracking conventional and digital marketing are also appropriate for influencer marketing. For instance, tools like Google Analytics, promo codes, giveaways, vanity URLs, and UTM parameters can all be used to measure the results of an influencer marketing campaign. Social media platforms like Pinterest are also taking steps in this direction by giving access to their APIs to ensure that influencers and marketers can work well together.

2. Fake Followers and Fake Accounts

Fake followers and fraudulent accounts are also behind the mistrust of influencers. According to a New York Times report, this practice is so rampant that about 15 percent of Twitter profiles are fakes and many celebrities and influencers buy followers to inflate their perceived social influence.

Image result for fake followers statistics

Too often, brands look for influencers with the largest number of followers and pay big money for access to them. So it’s not surprising that some influencers pad their numbers with fake accounts. Unfortunately, the practice messes up one crucial element of this marketing methodinfluencing another individual. After all, you can’t wield your influence over an imaginary person.

To combat this problem, brands should focus more on quality than quantity. Instead of looking at the numbers, they should concentrate on the kind of consumers that follow the influencer, and whether said influencer is suitable for the brand. Social media platforms should also put more effort into cracking down on dubious accounts. 

More importantly, the influencers should hold themselves accountable and check for fake followers, even if it means they have to scroll through their list of followers and vet each one.

3. A Million Followers Doesn’t Mean More Profit

A social media account might have tens of thousands of followers but not have much influence. There are people who are influential in one area but not in another. For instance, an account that specializes in memes might have a million followers but those followers are not there to buy anything. They just follow the account for its entertainment value.

Brands should first determine whether an influencer is considered trustworthy by their followers or just a digital performer. The former has an impact on a follower’s buying decision while the latter doesn’t. Companies can tell which is which by their posts. Consumers respond to honesty and passion, and a good influencer shows these in their posts.

4. Competition Between Influencers and Marketers

If your brand has a marketing team, they may view influencers as a direct threat. This implied threat is due to the fact that influencers work in direct competition with traditional marketing strategies. Moreover, a lot of marketers don’t totally trust social influencers with regards to content development.

To get past this problem, you’ll need to understand how influencer marketing actually works. Influencers have to be authentic and strive to show this in the tone and passion of their posts. In contrast, your marketers need to double check everything or have some say in the content creation process. You’ll need to find a good compromise between the two groups to prevent conflict.

Should Brands Still Trust Influencers?

Many consumers have relationships with influencers that are more like friendships. And according to Neilsen, 92 percent of consumers trust the recommendations of family and friends. For this reason, influencers still have the power to greatly impact a brand. However, the problems that come with influencer marketing have gone largely unresolved.

Part of the problem is that these issues have only recently come to the forefront, so best practices have not yet been established. Brands and influencers are still learning and adjusting. 

Moving foward, more influencers will need to audit their followers and check for fake accounts. Branded content should merge well with integrated content, and sponsored posts should be kept to a minimum. Meanwhile, it’s imperative for brands to thoroughly research their potential partners, making sure they only work with credible influencers and choose the right platforms to promote their products and services.

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Trust in Marketing is at Risk. These CMOs and Marketing Influencers Share How to Fix

CMO Half Life

The average tenure of a CMO is under 4 years representing a crisis in confidence amongst business leadership when it comes to marketing. Expectations for marketing are higher than ever amongst business leaders and customers alike.

To advance the valuable contributions marketing can make from boosting short term sales to growing long term market share, it is important for marketers to build trust and influence. But there are challenges:

  • A study from Fournaise Group that fond 73% of CEOs say “Marketers lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient growth and 80% of CEOs simply don’t trust marketers at all, while 91% do trust CIOs and CFOs.
  • New research from Marketing Week reports only 30% consider marketing ‘very important’ at large B2B companies.
  • Marketing as a career suffers some credibility issues as well. A global jobs poll by HubSpot ranked the most trustworthy jobs with Doctor ranking number one and near the bottom, just above Car Salesman and well below Barista, “Marketer”.
  • Marketing’s credibility amongst customers has been affected by some of the challenges facing media platforms – from fake news to inappropriate content to measurement. We’ve all seen stats like this one from Nielsen where 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations over advertising.
  • Within B2B, research from TrustRadius reports 58% of B2B buyers do not believe claims made by the vendors they most recently bought from.

Despite these challenges the reality is that well researched, planned and executed marketing delivers incredible value for businesses and their customers. Research from Forbes shows Marketing strategy and investments can contribute over 50% of enterprise value.

How can marketers do a better job at building trust with company executives and customers to inspire more confidence in marketing? This is a topic I presented on recently at the e4M TechManch conference in Mumbai, India. There I outlined 5 “secrets” to growing the influence of marketing which I’ll dig into more below. I also reached out to a mix of marketing executives to get their perspective on solving putting marketing back on the right track:

Julie Roehm
Simple answer. Honesty. I know it sounds trite but trust is earned and earned through honesty. As marketers and storytellers we often “spin” things to suit our needs. I think more honesty about the company you represent is the only way to succeed. People relate to flaws. It’s human. It’s honest. I’m not suggesting that we promote those, I’m suggesting we don’t hide them. Customers will find the truth regardless and then you’ll have broken the trust. Zappos is a good example. Transparency is written directly into the Zappos Family Core Values, in the statement, “Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication.”
Julie Roehm @jaroehm
Chief Experience Officer and CMO
ABRA

Kirsten Allegri Williams
In today’s digital environment, marketers are at the forefront of business. As marketers, we are operating in a new paradigm that represents a tipping point and allows us to own the voice of the customer through insights and develop personalized experiences across every touch point. Through insight-driven marketing, we have the ability to anticipate new, unexplored business opportunities and bring this value to the c-suite.

Today’s consumer expects us to know them: how they think, how they act, and that we listen to their buying signals. Our biggest opportunity is to create an environment where we connect our customers seamlessly and consistently to our company’s purpose and values – whether they experiencing content on our website or in-product, at an event or in digital selling. Ultimately, this helps us to develop a strong pipeline of customer-first product innovation.

Ultimately, every major brand must become its own media publishing company.

No longer can we develop content in a linear way (e.g. build… then run). With the ever-changing dynamics of our industry with new digital platforms, marketers need to embrace an agile marketing mindset. The idea that we can Test. Learn. Change…. all of the time, not just in pilots. Core content should not take 6-8 months to develop; but rather, build core anchor content that can be atomized across every content distribution channel. Ultimately, every major brand must become its own media publishing company.
Kirsten Allegri Williams @kirstenallegriw
Vice President, Corporate Marketing
SAP Ariba

Kieran Hannon
Trust, authority and credibility are earned as a result of programs developed and undertaken, with subsequent positive results. They are not just marketing programs, but must be contributing and supporting the company’s overall objectives. But, Marketers must protect their area of expertise. Everyone feels comfortable providing feedback to marketing programs, the onus is on the marketer to educate the “why”, but more importunately the “why not” when providing the feedback.
Kieran Hannon @kieranhannon
Chief Marketing Officer
Belkin International

Rishi Dave
Companies still view marketing primarily as a tactical, execution oriented discipline. This needs to change. Marketing has the most expansive view of how to drive growth.

Marketing has the most expansive view of how to drive growth.

Marketing needs to drive company-level corporate strategy and P&L decisions with a marketing mindset, not just an execution mindset.
Rishi Dave @RishiPDave
Past CMO
Dun & Bradstreet

Jeanniey Mullen
In today’s worlds its all about the quality of A.I.R. you create; Authentic, Inspirational and Realistic marketing will win over your internal and external customers. For B2B marketers your best brand advocates are your employees. For B2C, your customers will accept nothing less than personalized perfection. Achieve both by creating AIR.
Jeanniey Mullen @jeannieymullen
Partner, Global Chief Marketing Officer
Mercer

Margaret Magnarelli
Building credibility inside an organization is so important—alignment helps you get more effective results and also more budget!—but it’s not always so easy. The best way I’ve found get people onboard with your way of thinking is to do some marketing of your marketing. In other words, treat every relationship as if they were a customer.

Treat every relationship as if they were a customer.

What are the pain points for the people you’re working with and for? And how can you, through your job, help them solve these? Basically apply the golden rule of content marketing to your internal interactions: If you can provide value for someone, you develop trust.
Margaret Magnarelli @mmagnarelli
VP Marketing
Monster.com

Chandar Pattabhiram
There is no better time for marketing to gain credibility and trust. The field has shifted from a soft science to a programmatic science, making it more credible than ever before to quantify success with hard data. By showcasing sourced and influenced impact to designing compensation models for revenue success, not marketing success, we can transform the stature of marketing.
Chandar Pattabhiram @chandarp
CMO
Coupa Software

Michelle Killebrew
The best way to gain credibility is to speak plainly in the native tongue of your audience. Want credibility with consumers? Use layman’s terms. Want credibility with other executives within your company? Use business-focused outcomes and metrics. Save your marketing buzzwords for your next agency meeting or conference — and, even then, confirm you both mean the same thing when using those words ”</p

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Digital Marketing News: Instagram Adds Hour-Long Videos With IGTV, Weeding Out Influencers Who Buy Followers, & Mobile’s Vast Growth

Instagram IGTV Announcement
With IGTV, Instagram Takes Aim at YouTube
Instagram has added the ability to upload videos up to an hour long, with the launch of its new IGTV feature, offering digital marketers a much bigger video canvas. Instagram also announced that it has broken through the one billion user barrier. Wired

Unilever stops working with digital media influencers who buy followers
Unilever has ceased working with social media influencers who buy followers, a first-of-its-kind effort to increase influencer transparency, the mega-brand recently announced. Marketing Land

Marketing-driven revenue from mobile apps has grown 80% since 2016
Marketers focusing on mobile may be on the right track, as mobile apps have driven a vast 80 percent marketing revenue expansion since 2016, according to voluminous new report data from Facebook and marketing analytics firm AppsFlyer, detailing major differences among the gaming, shopping, and travel markets. Venture Beat

For $ 150, Most Users Will Sell Personal Information to Brands
$ 150 would persuade most consumers to sell certain portions of their personal data to their favorite brands, according to recent survey data of U.S., U.K., and German Internet users. eMarketer

Reddit brings autoplay native video ads to desktop and mobile
Reddit’s traditionally sparse advertising will make way for new auto-play video ads on both its mobile and desktop sites, the increasingly popular social news aggregation, content rating, and discussion website announced recently. Tech Crunch

Instagram’s new shopping bag icon adds e-commerce element to advertisers’ Stories
Instagram has given certain advertisers new e-commerce features that will add a shopping bag icon to Instagram Stories, a move that could eventually be rolled out to all advertisers. Marketing Land

Google replacing video boxes with video carousel on desktop search
Google has moved almost completely to the carousel format for videos among desktop search results, providing new opportunities for digital marketers. Search Engine Land

Friday, June 22, 2018 News Statistics Image

Twitter Launches New Site to Provide Insights into How to Make Best Use of the Platform
Twitter launched its Twitter Media site to help digital marketers best make use of the platform’s latest features, including case studies and other best-practice-oriented content. Social Media Today

Bing Ads With Enhanced Targeting Settings & Dimensions Tab
Bing rolled out new advertising features including more precise location and device targeting, along with upgraded analytics information with a new Bing Ads Dimensions feature. SEO Roundtable

YouTube Like & Dislike Counts Are Now More Accurate
YouTube updated the way it tabulates video likes and dislikes, in an effort to combat spam, a move than should prove beneficial to digital marketers. Search Engine Journal

Want to Win Over Millennials and Gen Z? Vice’s New Study Says Brands Should Get Spiritual
The key elements marketers most need to tap into when targeting millennials and Gen-Z include surprises such as spirituality, according to new study data by Vice. Vice

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Marketoonist Personalization Gap Cartoon

A lighthearted look at the personalization gap in marketing, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

The EU’s bizarre war on memes is totally unwinnable — Wired

Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Flying Orange Man With Wieners on His Belt! — AdWeek

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Ashley Zeckman — What’s Trending: Ride the Marketing Merry-Go-Round — LinkedIn (client)
  • Lee Odden — The Keys to Successful B2B Content and Influence Programs — WriterAccess

What are your top content marketing news stories this week?

Thanks for stopping by, and please join us next week for another lineup of the latest digital marketing news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.


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Digital Marketing News: Instagram Adds Hour-Long Videos With IGTV, Weeding Out Influencers Who Buy Followers, & Mobile’s Vast Growth | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Digital Marketing News: Preferred Platform Study, B2B Influencers & Blockchain For Marketers, & Travelers Turn To Instagram

Marketing Charts Platform Usage Graph

Social Media Marketing Update: Preferred Platforms and Content Types in 2018
A multitude of the latest trends in social media marketing have been detailed in a new report from Social Media Examiner, revealing that Instagram has surpassed a declining Twitter in overall popularity, while B2B marketers continue to prefer LinkedIn. MarketingCharts

Study: Millennial travelers’ Instagram use has grown 375% since 2013
U.S. millennial travelers have turned to Instagram 375 percent more than they did in 2013, according to new research on social media usage among travelers, while Google stayed the top overall travel site. Marketing Dive

Facebook Releases Latest ‘Topics to Watch’ Report, Highlighting Key Trends
U.S. marketers now have access to Facebook’s latest list of topics to watch, as the social media giant released its “Topics to Watch” list for April, 2018, including the fastest-growing conversation topics on the platform. Social Media Today

A leaked look at Facebook’s search engine for influencer marketing
A glimpse inside Facebook’s possible future influencer marketing search engine plans has been published, including a branded content marketing tool. TechCrunch

The Best Days and Times to Post on Social Media [Infographic]
The most successful times and days for posting social media content have been examined in new study data from Unmetric, showing differing posting sweet spots for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. MarketingProfs

Instagram Officially Launches Ability to Re-Share User Posts in Stories
All Instagram accounts have been given the ability to re-share public user posts to Instagram Stories, with a new “Create a story with this post” feature, the company recently announced. Social Media Today

May 25, 2018 Instagram Statistic

2018: The year of influencer marketing for B2B brands
B2B influencer marketing has come into its own so far in 2018, and is expected to play significantly in predicted total brand spending of $ 101 billion by 2020, which Michael Brito explores. Marketing Land

What Blockchain Could Mean for Marketing
Digital marketers could benefit from learning how blockchain technology is making waves in the marketing world, and Harvard Business Review has examined the expected forthcoming data-driven boom. Harvard Business Review

Facebook updates Ads Reporting & introduces new ‘creative reporting’
Facebook has introduced expanded ad and creative reporting options, rolling out to all advertisers over the next month. Marketing Land

Adobe Buys Magento for $ 1.68 Billion to Target E-Commerce
Adobe has agreed to purchase Magento in a $ 1.68 billion deal aimed at boosting Adobe’s e-commerce market share, the firm announced Monday. Bloomberg

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Being Agile Marketoonist Cartoon

A lighthearted look at being agile, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Try Not to Laugh: 7 Hilarious Ways to Use Humor in Your Emails — Sleeknote

MoonPie’s Social Media Strategy Has a Secret Ingredient: Character — Skyword

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Ashley Zeckman — 20 Experts Give Their Best Advice for Engaging Email Copy That Converts — Delivra
  • Lee Odden — 33 Marketing Quotes to Keep You Motivated — Depositphotos
  • Lee Odden — Conférence Marketing de contenu: créativité et engagement au cœur des stratégies (In French) — Infopresse
  • Caitlin Burgess — 10 Tips for Saving Time and Getting Better Results with Your Content Marketing — Small Business Trends

Please join us once again next week, when we’ll have a new array of the latest digital marketing news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2018. |
Digital Marketing News: Preferred Platform Study, B2B Influencers & Blockchain For Marketers, & Travelers Turn To Instagram | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Facebook’s New Creator App Will Help Social Influencers Create More Video Content

Facebook is doing everything it can to woo influencers away from YouTube. The rollout of its Creator app might be just what the social media giant needs to get more video creators on its side.

The app is touted to make it simpler for users to create video and live streams using mobile devices. Facebook is also confident of two things that will draw users to the app – Facebook Live’s new features and unified communication.

The Creator app now includes a feature that allows for the addition of custom created intros and outros to be used during live broadcasts. Specially designed video frames, interactive stickers, and various camera effects are also being introduced. The app also allows the user to shoot and edit photos and upload them to Facebook Stories and various platforms.

The app’s enhanced communication features are also expected to draw in more influencers. The Creator app boasts of an incorporated inbox for all messages and comments posted on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. Having a unified inbox means that the user doesn’t have to move through different apps just to reply. Unfortunately, the app only covers messaging within Facebook’s services but who knows if this will change in the future.

Data and analytics about the video will also be made accessible to users, allowing them to regularly check any algorithm changes to their output. Knowing key details about their follower demographics can help influencers focus on the type of video content they should post and the brands that might be willing to work with them.

Facebook is also launching a website where video bloggers and creators can get more information on how to develop videos for the site, as well as receiving answers to key questions. Site members will also be given early access to any upcoming features.

The Facebook Creator app is now available on iOS. However, Android users will have to wait a few more months for the app to be launched on the system. It should be pointed out that the Creator app is not technically new. It’s a rebranding of the Facebook Mentions app that was launched in 2014 and which was initially available only to verified Pages and public figures. However, the app is now open to all users.

With the Creator app, Facebook is showing just how much it wants to work with influencers and independent vloggers. And with the errors and strange changes currently happening on YouTube, the social media giant might just be able to win this influential and potentially lucrative community to its side. 

[Featured image via Pixabay]

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10 ways to generate links with online influencers

Columnist Kevin Rowe shares tips on working with online influencers to boost your brand’s link profile, its brand visibility and traffic to your site.

The post 10 ways to generate links with online influencers appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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How to Build Relationships with Online Influencers (Without the Awkward)

"There is only one reason you should initiate a relationship with a content publisher — you genuinely enjoy their work." – Sonia Simone

We’ve been telling you there’s no great secret to search optimization, but that’s kind of a lie, isn’t it?

There is one not-so-secret ingredient that makes SEO work. It also makes social sharing work. Referrals, too.

I won’t be mysterious about it — it’s links. Links make the web go around. They’re why it’s called a web in the first place.

When good websites link to you, those links are votes of confidence. Get enough votes and you win.

The hard part? Getting enough of the right links, from the right people. To do that, you need two things:

  1. Great stuff to link to
  2. Relationships with solid web publishers

We hammer you endlessly with advice on #1. Today I’m going to talk a little bit about #2.

The most valuable asset you have

When you’re online, publishing content and interacting with your fellow humans, you develop a collection of what we can call assets.

You have a website, hopefully on your own domain. You probably have some social media accounts. An email list is invaluable. You might have a blog or a podcast or a YouTube channel.

But there’s one asset that’s more valuable than any of those — your reputation.

Do people know who you are? And if they do, do they want to spend more time with you?

If the answer to either question is largely No, you have a problem.

Reputations are built with content, but maintained with relationships. If you publish good work and you are a good, honorable, and trustworthy human being, your reputation will grow.

But before you can have relationships, you have to get connected in the first place.

Who are your content crushes?

There is only one reason you should initiate a relationship with a content publisher — you genuinely enjoy their work.

Don’t try to connect with web publishers because they have giant audiences or massive influence. Connect with the ones you have a “content crush” on — the ones building something you find exciting and juicy.

Some of these folks will probably have large audiences, because exciting work tends to attract a crowd. Some will have tiny audiences. Some have sites that are growing. Some have sites that are more active or less active.

You’re not going to try to become these folks. That would be weird and insulting. But you might try to find a place for yourself in their ecosystem.

What is it about their work that turns you on? Is it their values? Their approach to the topic? Their voice? Some combination of all of those?

When you take in a lot of exciting work, your own work becomes more exciting. Not because you’re copying, but because you’re inspired by different approaches to your subject.

Don’t suck up — just be nice

If your content crushes are decent human beings, they’re going to be a bit weirded out if you immediately head over to their site and start “squeeing all over your shoes,” to use Pace Smith’s fine phrase.

People who make content share all of the insecurities, preoccupations, and problems any of us have. Good people don’t like to be treated like deities.

So instead of making your content crushes into gods, geek out with them over your topic.

The subjects we write about make dandy subjects for good conversations. Talk about their post structure, the visual detail of those YouTube tutorials, or the epic over-the-topness of that last rant.

When you talk about the work, it’s interesting. When you talk about the topic, it’s engaging. When you talk about how awesome and amazing and godlike the person is, it’s just awkward.

We’ve all done the awkward squee thing. I certainly have. Try not to be embarrassed about what you might have done in the past — just move forward with a different approach in mind.

Find teachers

One thing about our content crushes is that a lot of them teach, either part-time or full-time.

Maybe they’re running a workshop or speaking at a conference. You won’t be able to make every one, but I bet you can make one or two a year. Meeting people in real life makes an impression that can’t be duplicated online, as much as I might love my cozy digital reality.

But we’re digital denizens, and online connections are an important part of how we connect. See if your content crush offers online classes somewhere. If they do, try to attend. You’ll get a much closer look at why their work looks like it does … and it can be a great place to share your own experience, to polish your craft, and maybe even show off a little.

Seek social playgrounds

As a writer, I admire the evocative, nimble, and hilarious writing of Gary Shteyngart.

I also admire Salman Rushdie’s multilayered verbal embroidery.

And one memorable afternoon on Twitter, I got to watch the pair of them play a game of writing handball, tossing tweets back and forth in a dizzying rush, playing with language at a sublime level.

Oh yeah, I fangirled. (Quietly.)

Social media sites make marvelous playgrounds for creative folks. Lots of writers love the compression and immediacy of Twitter. Visual artists naturally make homes on Pinterest and Instagram, but don’t overlook a more niche playground like Sktchy.

And good old Facebook has thriving groups for nearly any endeavor you can think of, from Activism to Zentangle.

Where do your content crushes go to play? You can go there, too. Often, you can even play in the same sandbox. Maybe you’ll make a connection with your content crush, and maybe you won’t. Either way, you’ll expand your ecosystem and find other rich relationships.

Which brings us to an important point:

An ecosystem is not made of two people

“Be kind to everyone on the way up; you’ll meet the same people on the way down.” – playwright Wilson Mizner

If you have a secret fantasy of you and your content crush sailing off into the sunset together, I won’t judge you. We’ve all been there.

But trying to connect only with that person, and ignoring everyone else in the room, is obnoxious. As you work on building relationships with your content crushes, you’re also building relationships with all the other folks in the ecosystem — and that’s often where you find the greatest value.

  • You’re connecting with their support teams. (Do not underestimate the value of this.)
  • You’re connecting with other students.
  • You’re connecting with the other writers or experts they work with.

Maybe you aren’t a brilliant expert in your own right … yet. That’s fine. Getting really good at your chosen content form is a matter of lots of deliberate practice.

Working (and playing) within a creative ecosystem makes that practice a lot more deliberate, and a lot more inspired. And as you grow, you’ll meet other folks to share your obsessions with. The relationships with those folks are part of your wealth.

Avoid these relationship killers

I would think all of these would go without saying, but … I have to tell you, people surprise me every day.

Relationships take time to build, but they can collapse in an instant. Wise relationship habits will help you keep the friendships that you form.

  • If someone in your ecosystem does something that bugs you, bring it up with them privately rather than bitching about it on Twitter.
  • Also avoid “Vaguebooking” — complaining on Facebook without naming names.
  • When you do get the chance to work with folks, meet your deadlines and keep your promises.
  • Don’t offer other sites second-rate work. Publish excellent material, everywhere you publish.
  • Don’t gossip. Trust me, it always, always gets back to the person you’re trashing.
  • If you do or say something that isn’t great (it happens), be brave, own up to it, and do what you can to make it right. Hiding from your mistakes just makes them worse.

You already know all of this, I’m sure, but reminders can be useful. :)

Circling back to SEO

So — now that you have a rich ecosystem of friends, acquaintances, and connections who are publishing content about your subject, you’ll just email them 10 or 15 times a week asking for links, right?

Yeah, you know that’s not the answer.

I don’t think you have to wait around hoping your content masterpiece will get noticed. But not everything you create is a masterpiece, either.

It’s fine to let your ecosystem know what you’re working on. It’s fine to point people to your content, as long as that isn’t all you do. You don’t want to be a self-promotional bore, but you also don’t want to be so polite that no one has the faintest idea what you do. Keep it balanced.

Remember, relationships are wonderful, but they’re just one side of the equation. If you don’t have something on your own site that’s truly worth linking to, you won’t get good links.

No one understands how to do this quite like Copyblogger’s founder, Brian Clark. And he’s going to be writing more specifically about exactly that on Monday. So stay tuned …

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LinkedIn Influencers Can Now Add Videos

LinkedIn has added a video option for LinkedIn Influencers in varied professions to offer advice. It appears that the video are spawned from questions created by LinkedIn, with many Influencers creating a video to a question. I imagine that the questions will eventually be opened up to others on the platform.

This is a continuation of its strategy of being the world’s business platform and professional portal. “Over the past few months, we’ve worked hard to make your feed a valuable resource for dynamic conversations, professional news and stories,” commented Jonathan (Jasper) Sherman-Presser, who’s a Senior Product Manager at LinkedIn. “Today your LinkedIn Feed will come to life in a whole new way with the introduction of 30-second videos from LinkedIn Influencers.”

LinkedIn invited 500 Influencers to start adding 30 second videos on topics that they typically write about, speak about and are leading experts on. The videos become sort of mini tutorials on business and professional strategy on hundreds of topics ranging from education, diversity, leadership, marketing, sales, personal growth and much more. It’s likely that LinkedIn will open this up to many others over time.

All of the videos from LinkedIn Influencer’s that you follow will show up in your feed. The videos are designed to spark a conversation with other Influencers weighing in with comments and allowing you to comment as well. You can also share the video with your LinkedIn network or on Facebook and Twitter. At launch, videos cannot be shared on YouTube or embedded into articles on the web. Hopefully, the embedding feature will be added soon so that sites like WebProNews can embed videos into related articles.

I envision that these videos will also be used to comment on current news related to an Influencer’s area of interest. For instance, Google launches a new feature and Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand could create a 30 second video on its impact on SEO. “We encourage you to share your thoughts by commenting on videos and inviting others to join the conversation by sharing the videos with your network.” says Sherman-Presser. “By doing so, you have the opportunity to engage more deeply with the people and topics that matter in your industry.”

New Economy Editor at LinkedIn, Caroline Fairchild, asked: What’s the #1 thing founders should avoid doing in a pitch meeting? You can view the answers to that question on LinkedIn from business guru Guy Kawasaki, Homebrew VC Partner Hunter Walk, venture investor Christopher Schroeder and many others.

Although we can’t embed the videos responses to the question. The answers were generally very good and because of the 30 second requirement they were succinct. In just a few minutes you could easily listen to all of the video responses from a particular question.

KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg and others – How should colleges be kept accountable for the success of their students?

LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman and others – What is the first thing in your office AI will take over?

The post LinkedIn Influencers Can Now Add Videos appeared first on WebProNews.


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How to Include Influencers in Your Content Strategy

Posted by Amanda_Gallucci

The first thing most people think when they hear “influencers” is promotion. Important people with an engaged following can amplify the reach of whatever idea, content or brand they choose to share. If you only weave influencers into your content strategy when your finished product is ready to be promoted, however, you’re missing out on the full potential of having respected experts on your team.

Knowing when and how they can best be engaged at different stages is critical to moving these leaders from outside influencers to brand partners.

Measure an influencer’s true value

In order to find the right influencers to give your content strategy a boost, you first should understand what makes a person an influencer and how influence will play a role within the larger content landscape.

Whether you’re looking to build brand awareness or drive traffic, what matters is not sheer numbers of followers, but the amount of engaged followers.

Twitalyzer’s analytics provide a good start to assessing who is influential on Twitter. The tool measures not only the potential impact users have based on their number of followers, but also the likelihood that other Twitter users will retweet or mention a particular user. 

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Beyond finding an influencer who’s engaged enough to spread your message, also consider how this person became influential in the first place. Whether he or she has years of experience, brilliant ideas, cohesive arguments or all of the above, consider how you can harness these strengths to maximize your potential for creating a successful relationship. Asking influencers to tweet out a link might give you a bump in traffic, but asking for their opinions, advice and time in different ways will be infinitely more valuable.

Lead with strategy

How influencers fit into your campaign should be determined according to audience research and campaign goals. Know what platforms your target audience interacts with, what interests are strong enough to drive them to take action and who they trust. The more naturally these insights are woven into your content, the easier it will be to find influencers in this segment who will appreciate what you have to share.

Campaign goals are equally crucial because depending on what you want to achieve, you might change the angle of your messaging or favor different platforms. Not every influencer has the same level of activity and reach on every social channel, so identify influencers who are stars on the right platforms. Similarly, tailor your message for each influencer so that anything they share on your behalf looks organic alongside their other content.

Once you have a solid foundation for your strategy, start looking for influencers and begin your outreach process. With enough lead time to send along a beta version or rough draft, you can tweak content based on their feedback. You’ll also need allow time for them to collaborate with you on original content, create any sponsored or guest content or write a review or give a quote that you can use on your content’s release.

Don’t ask for too much of an influencer’s time, however, especially if you are asking for offhand feedback and not entering into a paid engagement. Build a relationship before you ask for favors, and even still, make the ask as easy as possible by providing the right amount of background and simplifying what you want the person to do. Rand’s
Whiteboard Friday on earning the amplification of influencer walks through the importance of the relationship-building aspect and enticing influencers with what’s in it for them.

Find influencers

With a clear understanding of the role influencers play within your overall strategy, you’re ready to identify the right candidates.

Countless tools are available to help you find influencers in different verticals, so choose based on the action you want the influencer to take. If you are searching for a thought leader who can write engaging content, a tool like
ClearVoice will help you find credible authors who focus on a particular topic. For each writer, you can view a list of articles he or she has written on that subject.

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When you need social influencers who can help you amplify content,
Buzzsumo is a great tool. Through their Influencer search, you can find people who frequently share content on a given topic and can click through to see what these links are.

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Another approach to finding social influencers is to search Twitter bios using
Followerwonk and sorting by Social Authority

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Engage influencers at different stages

Outreach

Outreach ideally starts with organically following influencers and engaging with them over time. Then reaching out to them via email or social media is less about introductions and more about the specific project you want to pitch to the influencer.

There will also be times when you find an influencer who aligns with your strategy but you don’t have the relationship-building lead time. For this cold outreach, write a succinct introduction that includes goals your goals for the content and the benefits the influencer will receive by working with you. Then make your ask. Personalization and quality are key. If you find outreach challenging, this
guide from Portent is a great place to start.

Make outreach easier for yourself by using a tool like
BuzzStream that automates and tracks the process. It will help you find contacts at certain publishers—giving you the twofold opportunity to pitch your own content as well as get in touch with influential authors. It also generates templated, customizable outreach emails.

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Just remember, even if you already have a solid relationship with an influencer, show that you value his or her time. Do as much of the groundwork as you can in advance. For instance, if you want people to share something on social, draft one to three example social posts specifically crafted for each influencer and platform.

Start of relationship

Once an influencer agrees to work with you, provide just the right amount of background information and instruction. This will vary by project and influencer.

For an influencer creating content, define the basics (e.g., article, ebook, video, etc.), in addition to length and editorial theme. Find a good balance between leaving room for the influencer to share his or her expertise, while setting up key points and takeaways you want the content to achieve. You should also create and send an abbreviated style guide. There’s no need to disclose every internal note you have, but if you can provide the basic stylistic do’s and don’ts, product or company background, audience information, and voice and tone guidelines, you will spend less time on edits and back-and-forths with the influencer. Set clear expectations and schedule benchmark dates where you can check in on progress and make revisions where necessary.

In the case of engaging influencers to amplify content, you won’t need to give quite as much guidance on how to craft the social message, but you can still offer suggestions on angles that would work well or any topics or phrases your brand wouldn’t want to be associated with. It’s also important to provide summaries of any piece of content you are asking influencers to share so that a) if they don’t have time to read every word, they still feel comfortable with the concept and b) there won’t have to be any guesswork in deciding what part of the content is most important to share.

Relationship maintenance

If your experience with an influencer is mutually beneficial and you know you’ll want to partner again, make sure to check in periodically. Don’t ask for something new every time you reach out. Keep in touch by sending along interesting content or company updates the influencer might find useful. Better yet, always extend a congratulations on a promotion or a new position.

To ensure you remember to engage with the right people, use tools like
Commun.it, which identify the influential people you interact with on Twitter, and prompt you to re-engage with people you haven’t @ mentioned recently. 

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LinkedIn Contacts is also a handy way to keep track of conversations and check on any updates on the influencer’s end to look out for opportunities to get in touch.

As you continue to grow existing influencer relationships, adjust your overarching strategy to incorporate more key industry leaders. Create new roles for influencers to play in shaping your content and its promotion.

Always be strategizing

The best way to include influencers in your content strategy is to involve them at every stage of the process, including:

  1. Creation: Plan out what types of influencers will be helpful and the role they should play based on the target audience and campaign goals.
  2. Implementation: Share a strategic brief with onboarded influencers and leave flexibility for changes based on the influencer’s feedback.
  3. Measurement: Factor in the reach of influencers as part of the success of your campaign.

Over time, integrating and managing influencer relationships will become second nature, and they will seem more like team members and partners.

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How to find and engage influencers in your industry

Author (displayed on the page): 

By knowing this, I can do some of the following:

  • Create content that is more likely to be shared via social media.
  • Reach out to industry influencers to show them my content.
  • Get links from major digital publications and blogs.
  • Improve the effectiveness of my prospecting/outreach campaigns.
  • Identify the websites that will give me the best ROI for my link building.
  • Build influential brand evangelists.

Identifying Influencers

This is something that I focus a lot of my time on. In particular, I’ve been looking at ways to scale the ‘influencer analysis’ stage because I’ve found the data that can be gathered to be hugely beneficial to my SEO campaigns.

Finding popular content

I begin this process by identifying great content within my niche. To do this I use a number of tools, one of which is BuzzSumo.This is a free tool that enables you to search for influential content (based on social shares across the major networks) related to any keyword that you enter.

In the screenshot above, I’ve found some of the most popular link building content from the past month. You can then download this data to a .csv file for further analysis.

Pro Tip: Wherever possible, get all of your data into a spreadsheet to allow you to filter through it. You’ll be able to do much more this way compared to filtering within tools.

Another tool that I like to use to find good quality content is Social Crawlytics. Like BuzzSumo, Social Crawlytics is completely free to use – although, there is a limit to the amount of reports you can run. I won’t go into too much detail on how to use Social Crawlytics because I’ll leave you to play around with it. Essentially, you can scout through leading industry blogs or competitors to find which content has performed well.

Who’s sharing this content?

Behind all of the top performing content that I gather are the social influencers. These are the people that are getting the content seen by others within the industry, and these are the people that I want to be building relationships with. A great way of finding them is by using another free tool, Topsy.

Topsy is a social search tool that you can use to find exactly who has shared any given URL via Twitter (and Google Plus). You can also drill down on ‘influential users’, which is what I’m interested in. I tend to go through as much of the top industry content (depending on how much I’m able to gather) as possible and then place the ‘influential’ sharers within a spreadsheet.

Pro Tip: You can save loads of copy/paste time here by using the Scraper plugin from Chrome to scrape the names, Twitter handles and Twitter profile URLs of the sharers in a matter of seconds.

Who’s creating the content?

As well as the people that are sharing the content, the creators themselves are people that I want to be engaging with. If someone has managed to get their post shared 1,000+ times over Twitter then there’s loads of ways that they could be useful to have on my side!

Now, going in and manually searching through all of the top content to find who has produced it may take a little time – this is where I use the SEO Tools plugin for Excel to scrape this information with XPath. I should mention that you need Excel to be running on Windows to be able to install and use the plugin.

Note: If you haven’t used the SEO Tools plugin for Excel before then make sure you check out my full video tutorial on how to get the most from it.

Once you’ve downloaded and installed the plugin, open up the spreadsheet with all of the top content that was gathered within BuzzSumo. You’ll then be able to scrape the name of the author from each URL using the following formula (replace URLHERE with the URL of the popular content):

=XPathOnUrl(URLHERE,”//*[@rel='author']“)

Note: This will only work for sites that have a rel=”author” attribute where they list the author’s name. You can also use BuzzStream to try and gather some of this information. In addition to this you can use the following formula to gather the author’s Twitter handle (as long as the URL has Twitter meta data set up):

=XPathOnUrl(URLHERE,”//*[@name='twitter:creator']“,”content”)

Once you have someone’s Twitter handle, you’ll be able to gather a whole host of other information on them – but I’ll come to this shortly.

Pro Tip: You can find popular authors on big blogs by running a report within Social Crawlytics. The tool will then give you a breakdown of the top authors based on the number of social shares their content has had.

Where else do they publish content?

Finding the other places where these influential authors are publishing content will help to identify more link building opportunities. It will also give me more intelligence around where the top authors in the industry are writing and getting exposure for their content – these sites will then be my primary outreach targets.

I wrote a full post about following authors’ paper-trails – here’s a brief overview:

  • Search through the author’s ‘contributor to’ section of their Google+ profile.
  • Do a reverse image search on the author’s profile image to find sites where it has appeared (this will likely be in their author bio).
  • Do an advanced query within Google to search for their name and job title (they will usually mention this in author bios on content they’ve written).

Gathering contact information

Before we can start building relationships with these influencers, we’ll need to gather contact information for them. As I mentioned, once we have their Twitter URL, we’re able to get a load more information on them. We can do this using FullContact’s Persona API. If your’e using the SEO tools Excel plugin, then another way to gather contact information on them is to go back and use some more XPath to find the URL listed on their Twitter profile – which will usually be their personal website. You can do that with the following formula (just add in their Twitter profile URL):

=CONCATENATE(“http://”,(XPathOnUrl(TWITTERPROFILEURL,”//*[@id='page-container']/div[3]/div[1]/div[2]/p/span[3]/span/a”)))

Once you have this URL, plug it into BuzzStream and let it work its magic to find any contact information that’s available on the site. I usually get a good success rate with this method.

Utilising the influencers

Once I’ve carried out all of my analysis and gathered contact information on all of the influencers, it’s then time to start building relationships with them. There’s no set way to go about this because the way that you build relationships will differ depending on what your objectives are and what industry you’re working within. Having said that, here’s a few ideas on how you can use the industry influencers to boost your SEO campaign:

  • Gain opportunities to write on their personal blogs.
  • Reach out to the list of sites that they write for – they’re likely to also accept other guest contributors (plus, if the top writers are contributing, the sites must be good quality).
  • Gather their input for posts on your on site to get ‘expert insights’.
  • Ask them to write on your website.
  • Share relevant content directly to the social influencers to increase the likelihood of it being picked up by and featured on major sites.
  • Have them ghost-write for you on the sites they contribute to and gain some good quality links (you’ll likely need to pay them here).
  • Offer them free use of your products/services in return for writing reviews.
  • Build relationships with them offline and work on moulding them as brand evangelists.

Summary:

It’s worth spending more time on gathering information on the people that influence the market you’re working on – it may feel like hard work, but the benefits can be enormous. Remember to use a combination of tools so that you can really scale out the analysis process and get the most from it. Most importantly, build relationships with the people (influencers are people too) which will increase the reach of your content, and can open doors to big link building opportunities.

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