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Practitioners Guide to Social Influencer Engagement


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  • 1. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement A collaborative work of industry peers Brought to you by PR Newswire The ideas and suggestions expressed in the content of this eBook are those of their respective contributors and are not necessarily those of PR Newswire.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved.
  • 2. Table of contents INTRODUCTION By Sarah Skerik, Vice President, Social Media, PR Newswire ................................... 1 CHAPTER 1 – What’s an Influencer? The Influencer Next Door, By Malcolm Atherton ........................................................ 2 Mass & Niche: A Deadly Combo, By Chad Lio ............................................................... 4 The Evolution of the 800 lb Gorilla, By Todd Price ....................................................... 6 Listening Equals Influence, By Sebastian Rusk .............................................................. 8 CHAPTER 2 – Finding & Gauging Influence Choosing the Right Influencer, By Noemi Pollack ........................................................ 10 Measuring Your Social Brand and Optimizing Your Score, By Yael Even-Levy.... 12 The Three “V’s” and How You Can Use Them, By Sudip Chakraborty & Brianna Harney ......................................................................................................................... 15 Creating Your Perfect Blend of Influencers, A summary of PR Newswire’s Targeting Influencers in the Sea of Social Media video ............................................. 17 CHAPTER 3 – Engaging Influencers Three Essential Rules for Influencer Engagement, By Ruth Fine ............................ 21 Five Ways to Build Strong Bonds with Social Media Influencers, By Margot Heiligman .............................................................................................................. 23 10 Strategies for Ultimate Influencer Engagement, By Steph Russell ................. 26 How NOT to Pitch a Social Influencer, By Howard Greenstein ............................... 28 Twitter as a Luxury Marketing Tool to Reach Influencers, By Megan Sterritt ... 31 The Conversation is the Platform, By Christy Belden .................................................. 33 CHAPTER 4 – Turning Influence Into Brand Advocacy How to Make an Influencer Want to Sing Your Tune, By Anne-Marie Kovacs ... 37 Turning Influencers Into Your Brand’s Voice, By Tom Bishop .................................... 39 Building a Social Media & Marketing Strategy for Influencer Engagement, By Lee Anne Forbes .................................................................................................................... 3 4 The Cadence of Influence, By Vatsala Isaac .................................................................... 45Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved.
  • 3. CHAPTER 5 – Measuring Influence & Maintaining Relationships Measurements That Matter, By Jared Hendler .............................................................. 48 Measure and Maintain Relationships, By Adam Blitzer ............................................. 51 What My Daddy Taught Me About Social Media-How To Be A Giver Online, By Andrea Walker ..................................................................................................................... 54 Understanding and Growing From Advocate Insight, By Matthew Clyde ......... 57 WILDCARD CHAPTER 6 – A Little Extra Food For Thought Optimizing Your Social Media for Search (SSO), By Christy Belden ....................... 61 How To Really Engage Your Influencers With Gamification, By Toby Beresford ...................................................................................................................... 64 CONCLUSION By Sarah Skerik, Vice President, Social Media, PR Newswire ....................................... 68Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved.
  • 4. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Introduction By Sarah Skerik, Vice President of Social Media, PR Newswire The terms “social networks” and “social media” make it easy to forget that people – more than a billion of them worldwide – are the means by which conversations propagate and ideas spread. Smart communicators factor the human element into the communications plans they develop and the content they create. Every group of people, whether you’re talking about an informal cluster or people conversing via hashtags on Twitter, a private group on Facebook or a coffee klatch at a local café, has its own influencers. Respected and quoted by many, influencers are the members of the community who sway opinions through a combination of personal expertise and social connectedness that put them at the center (and often at the start of) many conversations. Influencers exist for every imaginable topic. They might be hobbyists, academics, journalists, professionals, or simply the person next door. Each brings a unique point of view to a conversation, and developing relationships with them is important for brands building a connected digital presence. In this paper, we delve into the different kinds of influencers you’ll find, their role in shaping online conversation and how brands and organizations can build valuable relationships with key influencers within their markets and as well as become influential themselves, ultimately driving their audiences and influencers to them.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 1
  • 5. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 1 What’s an Influencer? Who Are They? The Influencer Next Door By Malcolm Atherton, Account Manager, PR Newswire One of my favorite cartoons of all time is from the New Yorker. One dog is seated in front of a computer and is looking at another dog. Computer dog says to the other dog, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” Makes me laugh every time. Now, look around. Do you see an influencer? I’ll wait… (pausing for effect….) I was thinking of Mark Schaefer’s excellent session at September’s Content Marketing World on influencers and, in real life, nobody knows you’re an influencer. Ask 10 people to define “influencer” and you’ll likely get 10 answers. Celebrities, thought leaders, folks with high influence scores (see Klout, PeerIndex, et al.), and so forth are likely to be uttered. Finding and targeting influencers is the goal for many an internal Marcomm team and/or agency as part of ongoing strategies. So, who are these people… these influencers? Chances are that you walked by one today. The new influencers is ‘The Every(wo)man.’ According to Mark, you can identify who is influential in a variety of ways without Klout & Friends.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 2
  • 6. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 1 What’s an Influencer? Who Are They? • Are they writing meaningful content? • Are they providing consistent engagement? • Do they have a relevant audience? • KEY Does their content MOVE (shared, commented on, etc.)? Influencers can ebb and flow. Your next door neighbor may be consistently influential about a topic today but the neighbor across the street may be influential about a near and dear topic tomorrow. They are moving targets but the payoffs can be substantial. Consider Mark’s tale of Calvin Lee, an unmarried 42 year old who is painfully shy and owns a design and brand strategy company in Los Angeles. Oh yeah, he posts over 200 times a year and has over 80,000 followers on Twitter. Calvin is active online, authentic, and has developed a large and loyal following of folks who likes what he has to say and moves his content. Some groups you may have heard of – Audi, House of Blues, South by Southwest – have provided Calvin with cars to live with for a while, concert access, trips etc. because they know that he’ll create tons of content (pictures, videos, blog posts, tweets, etc.) and they’ll gain access to his followers. Win. Win. How do you find your Calvin? Research, listen, and identify folks who have the RITE content (relevant, interesting, timely, entertaining) that resonates well with audiences relevant to you. And when you see your neighbor and you give that friendly wave, just ask yourself…..“Influencer?”Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 3
  • 7. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 1 What’s an Influencer? Who Are They? Mass & Niche: A Deadly Combo By Chad Lio, Digital Marketing Manager, The Hoffman Agency It’s an age-old marketing question that must be re-imagined for social media: do you publish content for the masses or target a specific niche that provides the most value to your brand? The truthful answer is both. But how do you go about this, while still promoting growth in your online community? Let’s break down each market. Mass Media Numbers don’t lie in social media. It’s inevitable that a potential subscriber/fan/ follower will look at your brand’s fan base to help them decide whether to like, follow or subscribe to your brand. As much interest as they may have in your brand, the fact that you have a limited initial following may deter them – and, therefore, become a hindrance to your brand’s mass visibility. Benefit: Generating content for the masses gives you a wide-open approach. Your content will more than likely connect with fans that you never knew were out there. You remove your brand’s limitations by introducing yourself to a large community base. Publishing to such a large crowd, you’re bound to accumulate fans specific to your brand in a given social media platform. Drawback: When marketing to the masses you may spread yourself too thin. Your brand contributes hours upon hours of creative and passionate content to share with the world, but let’s face it: a lot of the world is not interested. Is it worth the expense, time and energy to create content when much of it will be ineffective by falling on “deaf ears”? Is it useful to publish content to markets that are not specific to your brand or your location? Niche Media What’s a better way to promote your message than connecting with the community that appreciates it the most? Although relatively smaller inCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 4
  • 8. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 1 What’s an Influencer? Who Are They? numbers, you want the biggest advocates on your side marketing your brand. They engage, they influence others; but most importantly, they are loyal. Benefit: You have a truly passionate online community. They consistently voice their opinions of what your brand can change or achieve more efficiently. They have no problem taking the time to share and spread the reason why you created your brand. Drawback: Although the loyalty will always be present, you tend to appear small, thus not as influential as major brands. Brands that market to the major masses may not grow a community that is as passionate, but their visibility becomes a catalyst for large numbers of impressions. The larger you become, the more opportunities your brand has to become “the top dog.” How to use both for a successful community Often, building a community starts with mass media. As you publish engaging content to the masses, keep note of specific fans/followers/subscribers that consistently engage and share your content. Create a separate list of these advocates – it will eventually evolve into your niche market. Once your numbers are significant enough that they will increase organically, create an advocacy campaign for your niche market. These can be special offers, exclusive content, or anything that reassures that they are part of something special and should be appreciated. You’ll find that balancing the two markets will drive greater growth than would be possible by catering only to mass media or niche media.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 5
  • 9. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 1 What’s an Influencer? Who Are They? The Evolution of the 800 lb Gorilla By Todd Price, Director of Business Development, Yellow Dux On June 29, 2012, the up-and-coming rock band Dirty Americans headlined Michigan’s “Bike Fest on the Grand” festival. The next day, 1980s rock god Skid Row closed out the festival. How is it possible that a rock group you probably never heard of can share the same stage with a band that has sold out arenas and made three multiplatinum records? The answer lies in that music, like social media, revolves around consistently delivering fresh content that is relevant and valuable to your audience. While the story of these bands is nothing new (one on the way up and one on the way down), the parallel between their experiences and the social media landscape is striking. In social media, someone with high name recognition but little substance can be matched or outweighed by a niche influencer whose frequent and relevant words on certain subjects carry the discussion topic forward at an alarming pace. For example: • Rush Limbaugh hosts a nationwide radio show, authors several books and does numerous TV spots. Twitter followers = 232,411. • Maria Popova filters web stories and creates a daily digest for all relevant items in the Internet world. Twitter followers = 196,235. • Justin Verlander is the reigning MLB American League MVP from 2011 and doesn’t engage much with social media. Total Facebook Likes = 3,176. • John Axford is a middle reliever pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers who consistently uses social media to reach out to fans. Total Facebook Likes = 13,973 It’s easy to see that social media is changing the nature of the 800-pound gorilla. In fact, there aren’t many of those left. Due to social media, the old notion of theCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 6
  • 10. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 1 What’s an Influencer? Who Are They? megastar – or mega brand – is being replaced by a larger number of 300-pound gorillas who are building solid followings by creating good content, and then maintaining their name and their mark by continuing to provide value on a consistent, long-term basis. Dwayne Johnson (also known as the Rock of WWE wrestling fame) has said you should only put forth items of value in social media. To become a leader in your field, you must continuously provide value and consistently good information on the topics you enjoy. If you just fill the air with random posts or promotional information bits, your message will eventually fade into the background noise, unnoticed. Try to follow comedian Dane Cook for a week and time yourself when your refresh button explodes. As someone who tweets EVERYTHING he does, the idea of bringing value to the audience is lost. Think of your social media as an announcer at Kmart. If you keep making irrelevant announcements, everyone will eventually tune you out. By bringing forth value in what you post, your message will eventually get you from passive engagement to active engagement to influencer in the social media realm which you hope to dominate. To bring the message home, let’s go back to music. Jimmy Buffett released his first nine albums during the 1970s. But he also released four new studio albums, 10 live albums and two compilation albums all spread over the last 10 years. Twitter followers = 605,364.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 7
  • 11. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 1 What’s an Influencer? Who Are They? Listening Equals Influence By Sebastian Rusk, CEO/Founder, Listening seems to be almost non-existent in today’s marketplace. Sadly, many brands have been misled into believing that social media platforms exist as an advertising tool. Brands believe they can pitch their product and shove their message down consumers’ throats. The reality is, “push” strategy is yesterday’s news; social media makes it all about “pull.” So how does a brand focus on the pull of its audience? It starts with something we should have been taught when young: listening. The simple idea of listening to your customer gives them a voice. Social media gives your consumers an outlet to let their emotions fly. Whether they love your brand, hate your brand or feel anything in between, they turn to social media to express it. This in turn allows you to better understand your brand. The sales cycle has been completely reversed now that word-of-mouth popularity is at an all-time high. From a business standpoint, social media platforms enable you to achieve three objectives. The first is to build an online community where you don’t currently have a presence. The second is to provide that audience with valuable, tangible content and information. The third (and perhaps most valuable to your brand) is to engage with the community and get a true sense of what THEY want. This is the time and place to forget about your needs; it is about the customer. Once you become the “go to” source for your audience they will, by default, want to do business with you because you haveCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 8
  • 12. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 1 What’s an Influencer? Who Are They? provided them with valuable information. They know you genuinely care about them and what they think – that goes a long way. All of this is causing a rapid shift in the meaning of “influencer” today. Influencers used to be celebrities – those in the stardom spotlight. Now, influence is moving to those online personalities with a large following. Bloggers and YouTube stars, etc., now have the power. All of these “modern day” influencers have one thing in common: they listen! They don’t try to pitch or come up with some transparent strategy to sell an audience. These influencers care about what their community wants and says, to which they respond accordingly and their success shows. The most exciting part about this amazing shift is that anyone can become an influencer. Why? Because we are all capable of listening and sharing our passions. Most times our passion becomes the brand. There has never been an easier time to start a business or build a brand because it is so easy to figure out what the community wants. The online tools available to us today didn’t exist eight years ago, but today they are in abundance and many are free. The only thing left to do is to take advantage of them. Utilizing the simple idea of listening allows your brand to realize and embrace the fact that it’s not about you or what you want to tell the customer, but rather about what THEY want. Once you clearly understand what your customer wants and make sure they get it, you are now influencing them. You have now added them to your voluntary army of ambassadors for your brand, not because you asked them to, or persuaded them to, but because you listened. You showed them how much you genuinely care, and they chose to do business with you. Want to be an influencer? Start listening.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 9
  • 13. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 2 Gauging Influence Choosing the Right Influencer By: Noemi Pollack, Founder and CEO of The Pollack PR Marketing Group Nielsen reported recently that consumers trust “real friends” and “virtual strangers” over newspapers, TV, magazines or ads.1 This trend, coupled with the increased value of third-party endorsements and positive word of mouth, demonstrates a fundamental need to earn trustworthy endorsements from influencers in today’s increasingly consumer-driven environment. The challenge for brands, however, is not just finding an influencer – it’s finding the right influencer. The brand Influencer waters must be carefully navigated because there are risks in engaging them. Brands should consider three important qualifications: how much influence the influencer has, whether or not he or she influences the right target audience and, finally, the degree to which an influencer is consistent with the brand image. If an influencer is speaking to the wrong audience or their personality conflicts with your brand, then trusted consumer advocacy will not be effectively earned. Measuring Influence Influence is a commonly used word with a very broad definition. Without dissecting the etymology of the word, suffice to say it refers to the act of compelling someone (or a group of people) to a particular opinion or behavior. In other words, a successful influencer would be one who can incite others into converting, whether that means purchasing a product/service or agreeing with an idea.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 10
  • 14. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 2 Gauging Inflluence Since influence is more than merely being heard, one must look beyond metrics such as audience size, friends/fans/followers, website visitations and impressions. There should certainly be a baseline expectation of a person’s network size, but that should not be the only metric. Influencers should be weighed more in the quality of interactions they have with their audience, the amount of responses they earn with their interactions and, perhaps most telling, the evidence of positive conversions. For example, looking at the number of Facebook friends is not enough. Do the friends interact and engage with the influencer? How many comments/likes does an influencer produce with each post? Is there evidence of conversations in which the influencer has swayed the opinions and/or behavior of audience members? This information can be found through an influencer’s blog, through Twitter mentions and any other platform on which he or she is active. Qualifying the Influencer’s Audience Determining whether or not a person is influential is not enough, alone. Your brand advocate could have sway over millions of people all over the globe, but if those people are not the right people for your brand, that influencer may as well be shouting in a vacuum as far as you are concerned. Age-old market research tactics can ensure that the right person is saying the right message to the right audience. Vetting a potential influencer’s audience need not be time-extensive and costly. One can simply research his or her online network and view their profiles. What types of organizations do they like/follow? Do they respond in a positive way to brand messages similar to yours? Would they buy your product or be influenced by your ideas? The influencer’s offline audience can be researched as well. What organizations is the influencer involved with? Do their affiliations and offlineCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 11
  • 15. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 2 Gauging Inflluence activities support or conflict with your target audience? If you had the budget, would you pay to advertise to this influencer’s audience? Aligning Personalities If you are engaging an influencer to become a brand advocate, or even if you are paying them to be, be clear that on many levels you are relinquishing control of your brand to this person. Therefore, it is paramount that the influencer personality and the brand personality be aligned. If the influencer’s communication style, general personality or personal opinions greatly conflict with your brand, then you could have tremendous exposure and heightened risk of negative word of mouth. In essence, influencers behave as brand spokespeople – but unlike real spokespeople, brands don’t have direct control over their message. So a brand should be comfortable with an influencer’s voice, style and public positioning. In a Nutshell When actively pursuing influencers, take the time to gauge their level of influence, as well as their target audience and public persona. When there is a perfect match, then brand advocacy is effective and far-reaching. 1. ielsenwire. 2009. “Global Advertising: Consumers Trust Real Friends and Virtual N Strangers the Most.“ Retrieved from global-advertising-consumers-trust-real-friends-and-virtual-strangers-the-most/ Managing Your Social Brand and Optimizing Your Score By: Yael Even-Levy, PhD, Instructional Design Technologies Manager, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP Social media is here to stay; it is no longer perceived as a passing trend. Many companies are using social media both internally and externally to improve theirCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 12
  • 16. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 2 Gauging Inflluence outreach and external reputation, and many have teams that monitor and evaluate its impact on their corporate brand (e.g., public online identity). The same concerns that companies have about their brand apply to individuals as well. After all, unless you assess your efforts, how will you know if your messaging is effective and impactful? Here we focus on you, the individual, and provide you with best practices for measuring your influence and optimizing your social brand. All tools mentioned here are free, and you do not need to be a social media guru or a programmer to use them. Utilizing Social Media Analytics The most useful social media analysis tools go beyond number of followers, likes or page views to validate that your messaging is working by measuring your online influence. The tool PeerIndex uses algorithms to measure the speed with which you find and share content on any specific topic, and the volume of your sharing on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites. It gives a total score ranging between 0-100 based on three key components: your Authority, Audience and Activity. If your content is re-tweeted or commented on a lot by others, for example, your Authority score will be high. A total score of 20 is average. A score of 40 or above is high to very high. You can influence your score by sharing more content and with greater velocity, but you have to keep it relevant and high-value in order to get comments and re-tweets. Keep in mind that many will not follow you if your score is low. Another tool is Klout. It measures your influence based on your ability to drive action on a scale of 1 to 100 by using data from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedInCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 13
  • 17. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 2 Gauging Inflluence and Foursquare. It measures how many people you influence (e.g., true reach), how much you influence them (e.g., amplification) and how influential they are (e.g., network score). In addition to your score, Klout provides you a score analysis and visual graphs. Klout also offers perks and badges based on your score. These are exclusive products, coupons, or experiences that you earn based on your influence. Apparently, some influencers have earned perks like laptops and airline tickets. If you’re using a Chrome browser, you can add Klout to your Twitter account and view Klout scores next to names of friends and followers. Optimizing Your Score Improve your social media ranking by implementing three easy steps: validate, improve and interact. When you validate, you unfollow those who do not follow you back after a while. Unfollow those with very low peer index scores and keep your inactive friends to a minimum. Use SocialBro to see who your news followers are, and follow them back if their peer index is high or their profile is similar to yours. Check “recent unfollows” and unfollow back if applicable. When you are done validating, you are ready to improve your score by ensuring that your friends with a low follow ratio are kept to a minimum. These are the people that have very few followers. Keep your own follow ratio high so that you’ll have more people following you than the number of people you follow. My preference is to keep my ration as close as possible to 2:1, so for everyone I follow I have two followers of my own. Of course, none of this matters if you aren’t interacting with your friends and followers and saying something worthwhile! To become a social media influencer, ask yourself why should others listen to or follow me? It all comes down to engagement and the quality of your posts or tweets. Post only meaningful content, reply to questions and re-tweet tweets of others. Ask questions, and make sure to respond to posts/questions by influential and famous users that follow you. Also, add relevant hashtags (#), participate in trending topics, create Twitter lists that focus on a specific topic. And above all, have fun and enjoy it.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 14
  • 18. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 2 Gauging Inflluence The Three “V’s” and How You Can Use Them By: Sudip Chakraborty, President/Founder, Xypress LLC Brianna Harney, Data Analyst, Xypress LLC While analytics – the practice of extracting meaning from data – can seem overwhelming at first, its value is immeasurable when properly used. Analytics can help you identify key influencers among people already in your network, reveal an understanding of the behavior patterns of the groups that these people influence – and allow you to build your marketing plans accordingly. The well-known “three Vs” of big data analytics (volume, velocity and variety) can help you do all this. They provide a highly valuable framework for evaluating, identifying and ranking influencers in the social media world. Volume Start by capturing the volume, or quantity, of information provided by social media users to identify influencers. The magnitude of material generated by someone could be an indicator that this person is someone to whom others will pay heed. For instance, with bloggers, take into consideration specific counts for volume: how many posts they create per a certain time period, the number of words in each of these posts and the amount of comments per post. Similarly, for Twitter, capture total followers and tweets, retweets by followers and the sum of interactions occurring with other followers. Using these numbers to measure volume will provide insight as to which users are covering the most breadth, and could potentially be influencers due to their high volume of posts, tweets, and/or comments.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 15
  • 19. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 2 Gauging Inflluence Velocity Volume alone, however, is not enough to determine if a user has substantial influence with others. Consider the notion that, for example, Twitter-user A has 500 tweets and user B only 200. But A completed these tweets over six months’ time and B did so in one month. Therefore, A is tweeting at a rate of about 83 tweets per month compared to B’s 200 per month (a 41.5 % higher rate). This example shows how velocity is also critical to your analysis. Velocity is captured using rates of volume-over-time, such as the rate of blog postings or tweets (as described above). By analyzing velocity for specific periods over time (such as monthly over the course of six months or a year), these rates can show whether a user’s volume production is accelerating, constant or decelerating. Acceleration is ideal, though it’s important to keep in mind that acceleration is likely to eventually plateau or even decrease even for the most influential users. Finding users who have accelerated at a constant rate can help you identify ideal influencer candidates, because these consistent users have a high likelihood of gaining followers or commenters steadily over an extended period of time. High velocity means new material is being produced constantly, which can translate into a continuous increase in number of people influenced. Variety This final “V” is different than the previous two in the sense that higher volume and velocity is always good but “more or less” variety is not essentially “good or bad” – that depends on your marketing needs. For example, a potential influencer who covers a wide variety of topics will likely impact a broader range of people – ideal if you are planning to broaden your customer base. A lack of variety, however, could mean the potential influencer is a specialist in a particular area. Even though that person does not cover a wide array of topics,Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 16
  • 20. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 2 Gauging Inflluence he/she could have extensive knowledge in one field that makes results in a trusted source who influences others very deeply. So, when assessing the variety of potential influencers, keep your objectives in mind to decide whether more or less will be a greater asset to your marketing plan. Verdict Although this is not one of the “Vs” of data analysis, the verdict here is this: to find influencers among people you already know you must analyze the three “Vs” to identify social media users who have a high volume of material, produced at a rather quick velocity and cover either a wide variety of topics or concentrate on a topic of interest to your marketing needs. Once you find those who meet your criteria, use the framework to evaluate and rank the influencers in a way most applicable to your goals. For your objectives, volume (or reaching the highest number of people) may be the key priority. Or, perhaps your goal is to market to a broader customer segment, so variety is your top concern. Regardless of your preference, rate the influencers by what you feel is essential to your marketing campaign. After you reach your “verdict,” you will have pinpointed the influencers among people you know, thus opening up valuable marketing opportunities. creating your perfect blend of influencers A summary of PR Newswire’s Targeting Influencers in the Sea of Social Media video Social media has taken the world of public relations in entirely new directions – far beyond traditional media outreach and into new realms online. The ocean of information and conversation gets deeper and deeper. To navigate this sea of social media communicators need to focus on influence. More specifically, you need to scale your brand and your brand messages to all of the new breeds of influencers who are making waves in social media. Who Are They? Which Ones Will Work Best for Your Brand? Experts talk about the 1-9-90 rule of social media. It’s an important way to think about the big, medium and small fish in the sea of information and influence known as the social sphere.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 17
  • 21. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 2 Gauging Inflluence The Pros and Cons of Targeting Big, Medium and Small Influencers The big influencers, the big fish – the 1s – are not hard to find. If you’ve been targeting traditional media, you may already be on a first-name basis with some of your biggest influencers as they have moved onto Facebook and Twitter. The social influence scorekeepers have them on their radar. But, they’re harder to engage, because everyone wants a piece of them. And while their reach could be in the millions, that might not get you very far. Studies show that people turn to their real friends, not the biggest influencers, when they are deciding, joining, purchasing – in a word, actually acting on your messages.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 18
  • 22. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 2 Gauging Inflluence What’s more, the risk of targeting the biggest influencers can be high if they have negative things to say about your brand, yet the potential reward is equally high. The 9s are easier to engage than the biggest fish, and should be more influential in your sphere. Many of the digitally born 9s are deeply knowledgeable about what interests the people in their networks, and their devoted audiences know it. However, the 9s are not always easy to find. Many social media monitoring tools can help you identify them, but a bit of data digging is also required, as you’ll likely uncover a few false positives along the way. The 9s are equally influential in getting their audiences to act, and not act based on their recommendations. But this risk does not necessarily eclipse the reward! Establishing a connection with your 9s can give you access to a powerful group of influencers – and the loyal audiences who follow them. And what about the 90s? These small fish are really hard to identify. After all, we are talking about real friends, and real friends of real friends. They can be time-consuming to engage, and clearly, have a limited reach. Still, small can be very powerful. Consumers like what other consumers have to say, and that could mean a huge opportunity for you.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 19
  • 23. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 2 Gauging Inflluence To reduce your risk of wasted time, start with the most valuable and easy-to-find 90s – the most active users in your own social sphere. – and make them your superstars. As for cultivating additional 90s out there, being visible is key. By giving these fish food for thought through active, ongoing communication, you can help plant the seeds to grow these relationships and your time investment. The fish in the social media sea are not created equal, but they all have value. In the end, your own communications strategy and objectives will help your formulate the right mix of influencers to target. Your strategy will help you determine how to weigh the potential for quick wins with medium influencers versus the long-term proposition of courting the biggest influencers and how to consider the cost/benefit ratio of pursuing the smallest fish. There are metrics and analytical tools that can help you calculate all this and more. Now, go fish!Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 20
  • 24. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 3 Engaging Influencers three essential rules for Influencer engagement By: Ruth Fine, President, Social Icing, LLC One of the first social media questions many companies ask is, “What kind of content is appropriate to share on my social media profiles?” To answer this question, you must first understand that one key to the success of any online campaign is to consistently provide information that is relevant, up-to-date and useful to your intended audience. That’s why successful online social media campaigns follow three essential rules captured in these words: dialogue, value and party – as in inclusion of third-party content. Let’s discuss these three elements in detail. 1. Dialogue (vs. Monologue) To be successful in your efforts, remember that communication is a two-way street. To engage influencers, your social media presence should be engaging. Posting tweets, status updates or other “monologue” communications should be in proportion to dialogue actions such as re-tweets, mentions, shares and comments. In other words, make sure each social channel offers multi- dimensional communication. If you spare effort in this area, your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts can end up falling flat and looking spammy – a quality that any online brand manager should seriously avoid. Remember, your social media channels are an extension of your brand: make it count.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 21
  • 25. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 3 Engaging Influencers To start off on the right foot, consider what kind of information your subscriber wants to know. For instance, if you’re a plastic surgeon, your audience may be interested in makeup and other cosmetic products. In that case, you’ll want to create your content around this topic, eventually branching out to other health and beauty topics. If you’re an accountant, perhaps the latest financial news may be interesting to your subscribers. Once you’ve identified the type of content that makes sense for your subscribers, it’s time to share it. This is the surprisingly easy part. A daily tip or suggestion, a comment on a recent news headline or even a quote of the day can be a great way to get going. Start off small: anywhere from one-to-four daily tweets, status updates or comments is all that it takes to get your social media campaign up and running. 2. Value The concept behind any social media campaign is to provide value for your audience. For example, there must be an incentive for subscribers to follow or like you online. Enter blogging, coupons and specials. Just like any other major campaign, you’ll want to map out an editorial or marketing calendar for your online communication strategy. For instance, if your company sells children’s items, you’ll probably want to pencil in an online special in the months of August and September just in time for back-to-school. Or, if you’re a professional, consider offering a free consultation, coupon or any other kind of special to your subscribers for liking your Facebook page or for following you on Twitter. There is always something you can offer to your audience that adds value. Blog on relevant information that your audience will find useful. Keep current in your industry and let people know what’s happening in your world. Adding your spin or slice of advice to a hot topic in your industry not only creates authority,Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 22
  • 26. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 3 Engaging Influencers but it adds value to the subscriber who is already interested in what you have to say. And, hosting the blog on your website can also boost your website performance in terms of search engine optimization (SEO). You never know who will discover your blog post and become your latest customer or client. 3. Inclusion of third-party content No subscriber wants to be bombarded with constant commercial messages from your brand – that’s one reason why it’s essential to include third-party content as part of your communication strategy. Third-party content refers to articles, news stories, photos, videos or other multimedia sourced from websites that do not belong to you. For example, sharing a relevant article from the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times – or any news source for that matter – is a great way to include third-party content on your social media platforms. Not only will you retain your existing audience, but your chances of growing your influence – and your audience – also increase significantly. Pepper in an occasional article or video and you’ll create the type of social media profile that subscribers look forward to joining, in addition to upping your influencer engagement. 5 Ways to Build Strong Bonds with Social Media Influencers By: Margot Heiligman, Director of Solution Management, SAP Five years ago, my role at SAP was business influencer marketing. We had a three-pronged approach that worked soundly: 1. IDENTIFY the influencers who are involved in “deals” 2. ENGAGE influencers in engagement models which produce a two-way- street relationship 3. EVERAGE influencers into marketing programs LCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 23
  • 27. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 3 Engaging Influencers This approach is still valid today, however, the opportunity that social media influence brings extends beyond marketing. Today, social media monitoring enables us to identify influencers on a topic, brand or product. It also provides sales, marketing and service professionals ways to segment social engagement into selling, marketing and serving actions, respectively. Sales – Which influencer is the right person to support a prospect’s question in a pre-sales scenario? An example: we had a prospect find us on Twitter and ask if we knew of a reference customer who had the same needs and use of our solution. A customer-influencer was perfectly suited to contribute in this scenario, and we brought him into the conversation. Marketing – An influencer who blogs and promotes content to a wide following may be your best marketing influencer. Customer Service – An influencer who is using your product and monitoring for questions/issues may be the best to advocate and support you in an online community. There are numerous examples of companies who do this very well – such as giffgaff, the UK-based telecommunications company. Giffgaff’s influencers handle nearly 100% of customer questions. We engage with social-impact influencers and look (on a real time basis) at which social channel conversations represent sales opportunities, which constitute marketing content, nurturing, or offers and which represent topics around customer service – such as product use questions or issues. At SAP, we have deployed solutions to enable social selling – including SAP Sales OnDemand – in order to bring collaborative selling to our own internal “sales warriors.” To monitor for influencers and to engage customers who are having conversations about using our solutions, we use SAP Social Customer Engagement OnDemand. We are monitoring the conversations taking place and benchmarking the way social influencers can have an impact. Often, conversations around “finding” social media friendly influencers that business customers or digital customers value segue into deciding which online tools – like Klout or Kred – should be used to measure an influencer’s impact. Individuals such as PR professionals, influencers, customers, prospects, marketers and call center agents all play an influential role – they are creating conversations and seeking thought leadership around your products and services.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 24
  • 28. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 3 Engaging Influencers So how do you build a lasting engagement with the right social media-friendly business influencers relevant for your business customers today? 1. Participate in the trending topics – Check out Google Trends or HashtagBattle to ensure that your topic has a voice in the social web and that you sit squarely in the center of it with those who hold court there. 2. ersonalize – Ask yourself if the influencer content you are sharing is of P value to your customer. An influencer can be a customer, a social network, an association, a news site and more. If their words are relevant and of value to your customers – share. 3. ngage proactively – Follow the social thought leaders’ tweets and RSS E their blogs; use (at a minimum) Google Alerts or other social media management tools to find relevancy and share insights. 4. Show that you are human – Don’t be afraid to add your initials or name to tweets or social messages to influencers. Acknowledge mistakes and correct them. Pick up the phone if you’ve built enough of a rapport. Follow through. 5. Take the high road – Know that how you engage with influencers and customers will define your reputation. Be trustworthy, and an exemplar of openness. Foster two-way-street relationships with socially engaged influencers. Do your homework, using social tools to identify influencers who cover various segments. Include influencers who are cross-topic and multichannel so that customers can find them. Be sure to understand the strengths of the influencer: will they assist in your sales approach? Will they promote your products, solutions and services of value to their followers? Which influencers like to provide helpful tips, training or answers to inquiries about your products?Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 25
  • 29. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 3 Engaging Influencers Monitor, listen, moderate and foster engagement. Enable your cadre of social influencers to participate in your social sales, social media marketing and social customer service opportunities. And you’ll be ready to identify, engage and leverage the next key social influencer who speaks to, and benefits, your customers. 10 Strategies for Ultimate Influencer Engagement By: Steph Russell, Online Marketing Strategist, Pulled Having a blog, whether it’s your main site or a complement, is a crucial part of your online marketing to build relationships with your influencers and your customers. In particular, it’s important that you play up your blog to your influencers, who stand to make a big impact for you and spread the word about your content to their loyal listeners. By building a strategy around your blog to encourage and reward your influencer’s engagement beyond basic content, you can begin to reap greater brand recognition and build stronger relationships with your influencers. 10 Actionable Strategies for “Ultimate Influencer Engagement” 1. Blog or Forum Moderators Find the influencers who are most active in your blog comments or forum and invite them to moderate. They’ll help get conversations started. 2. Guest Posts If you know who your influencers are, offer them the chance to guest post. You and your influencer will both walk away with some great exposure and a new relationship.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 26
  • 30. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 3 Engaging Influencers 3. Private Members or Press Area Establish a private member area within your blog where influencers can be the first to read new content, recent press releases, hear about news before everyone else, look at new products or even vote on the new products they like the most and want to see featured. 4. Hire Them Influencers usually know a good amount about your brand or the industry/category that your brand falls into, so much so that they are capable of making a big impact. In some instances they may know more than you do. These are the influencers that you want to be a part of your team … hire them! 5. Opinions Everyone has an opinion. If you find an influencer who expresses an opinion about your product, acknowledge it on your blog. Even a bad opinion can often be made right by addressing the influencers’ issue. 6. Photo spread What better way to show off how great your product is than by featuring its influencers? Do a photo spread on your blog of influencers who are loyal fans using your product. 7. Product recommenders Use your blog as a means to find, write about and recommend similar products and services in your industry. Put together a team of product recommenders made up of your influencers. 8. Testimonials If you know that an influencer is a user of your product, ask for a testimonial from them. Or better yet, ask everyone to contribute reasons why they love your product and then select a small number of your biggest influencers as feature testimonials on your blog or website.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 27
  • 31. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 3 Engaging Influencers 9. Blog columns Send a special invite to an influencer and invite them to have their own column on your blog. 10. Host an Event Every one loves a party! Hosting a physical event for your biggest influencers is actually a fabulous way to show your appreciation, showcase new products, take part in seminars and network at the same time. These are only some of the many strategies you could use to build relationships and engage with your top influencers. Above all, the relationship and trust you build with your influencers is what will ultimately keep them talking about your brand. How NOT to Pitch a Social Influencer By Howard Greenstein, President, Harbrooke Group, Inc I’m not really an influencer in my daily life, but I play one on the Internet. As a blogger for over 10 years with a solid following on Twitter and a regular column in a well-respected online site of a business magazine, I reach an audience companies like to target. I’ve also been on the blogger outreach side, trying to make friends and influence people to get coverage for my own clients. While I have your attention and can influence you a little bit, here’s a few rules on how NOT to pitch me and a few of my influential friends. HOW NOT TO PITCH RULE #1: Ignore My Content and Audience I write a column for start-ups. It says so on the column masthead. At least once a day I get a pitch from a company who wants me to cover a large enterpriseCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 28
  • 32. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 3 Engaging Influencers tool, a solution for “SMBs with 100-500 employees,” or a 27-year-old firm. If you can’t be bothered to look at what your outreach target covers and what their audience cares about, your outreach target probably won’t bother to reply. Automated tools and lists are great, and they can really help give you guidance and direction for an outreach target list. But once you’ve gotten that list, go to the URLs, read the content and confirm that you have the right person. I do that for every outreach campaign I work on. Does it shrink the list? Yes. Would I do it any other way? No way. According to Melanie Notkin, founder and president of Savvy Auntie, the lifestyle brand designed for cool aunts, great-aunts, godmothers and all women who love kids, “The most common DOA error a publicist makes is referring to my brand as something mom-related, or pitching why moms will love the product or service. Savvy Auntie is the lifestyle brand designed for the nearly 50 percent of Americans who are not (yet) mothers but love the children in their lives. The fact that the publicist did not care enough to learn what my brand is makes the decision to not spend time caring about his or her client’s brand pretty easy.” By the way, Melanie’s influence creds include being a “Top 100 Most Powerful Woman on Twitter” and at the time of this interview, having over 80,000 Facebook fans. HOW NOT TO PITCH RULE #2: Assume I Will Do What You Ask, The Way You Ask, When You Want It Done Stefanie Michaels, CEO of Adventure Girl Holdings, Inc. (known to her 1.5 million Twitter followers as @AdventureGirl), targets an audience that is all things lifestyle, with a heavy lean on travel. She points out that, “PR people assume that you will automatically tweet, share, write about their clients.” What’s the worst pitch she’s ever received? “I had a company send me a press release with the tweet they want out there (complete with hashtag) in their header, then throughout the content. It’s like begging, a sign of desperation and a total turnoff. We finally have our own voice to use as individuals, so don’t put words in our mouths – let us use the content you send out, and come up with our own way to say it. That is, if we even want to, after a pitch like that.”Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 29
  • 33. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 3 Engaging Influencers Notkin adds, “Any pitch that is not actually editorial but promotional and expects me as a publisher to do it free of charge is a bad pitch. When those pitches come from billion-dollar businesses, they are among the worst. Why would I spend time promoting a brand’s sweepstakes free of charge? I am a publisher first, editor second. I did not build a highly targeted and influential audience of PANKs® (Professional Aunts No Kids) with discretionary income and time relative to moms, to promote products and services free of charge – especially when there is no editorial connection between the product and my audience. With the exception of toys, I do not assign writers to write content about random products for sale.” HOW NOT TO PITCH RULE #3: Build Influence Not Relationships The best pitches come to me from communications professionals and company leaders who have created relationships with me because they know they’re providing value to my audience – not feeding me stories. They don’t seek to influence as much as to enlighten. The content they pitch relates to the things start-ups need to know to improve. That makes them valuable allies, not influence peddlers. Notkin’s take on this: “Influence is about relationships. Brands are about promise. The two work seamlessly well together. Invest in the equilibrium and the world will go ‘round.” As Michaels notes about the way she communicates online, “Stop ‘seeking to influence’ – just be honest in your thoughts and what you like, and share as if you’re talking to a friend, find your passion and have your own voice. After all, (and thanks to my heroes – the founders of Twitter), we have one, so use it. For companies: be real people, not machines, listen to your consumer, respond and don’t be afraid to misstep, that makes you human.”Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 30
  • 34. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 3 Engaging Influencers Twitter as a Luxury Marketing Tool to Reach Influencers By: Megan Sterritt, KWE Partners, Principal Director of Account Services With continuous discussions of a sluggish US economy in 2011 and media portrayal of Mexico as an unsafe destination for travelers, Mexico’s tourism industry suffered a blow. The luxury sector was hit especially hard as many consumers found it difficult to justify nonessential travel. After developing a “personalized luxury” marketing concept and a series of mini indulgences, Marquis Los Cabos Resort in Mexico, recipient of the AAA Four Diamond and member of Leading Hotels of the World, and KWE Partners, the resort’s agency of record, needed to successfully launch the campaign, designed to appeal the importance of value to the wealthy. Harnessing the “know, like, trust” of industry social media influencers plays an integral part in launching campaigns and disseminating news to consumers. One of the main objectives of any campaign is to reinforce the resort’s luxury image. This reinforcement is vital to the continued success of a luxury brand. Support for this luxury image can be garnered from partnering with other brands of a similar cachet as well as tapping into individual influencers. Twitter users tend to skew towards educated, upper income individuals, the very groups that luxury brands intend to entice. It is important to target these individuals, and essentially go where customers are. In today’s social-media world, leveraging the current Twitter craze was essential in order to kick-start social media buzz about Marquis Los Cabos’ personalized luxury approach, as well as its new mini-indulgences concept. Another main objective to the team was to increase the number of individuals following Marquis Los Cabos in advance of scheduled Twitter flash sales. Finally, the team needed to focus on shedding a positive light on Mexican luxury tourism, cognizant that a large part of MarquisCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 31
  • 35. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 3 Engaging Influencers Los Cabos’ success relies on the strengthening of Mexico’s reputation as a safe destination among social media influencers in the travel industry. So what did KWE Partners do for their client, Marquis Los Cabos, in order to achieve the aforementioned goals? • Initiated an international ‘Tweet Up’ event for Travelers’ Night In (#TNI) – a fast-paced Tweetchat of travel experts and avid travelers. The community responds to the questions, sharing experiences, ideas and new strategies. • Themed the event as a “Mini-Indulgences” remote #TNI weekend at Marquis Los Cabos, inviting top Twitter influencers with large followings to give the event maximum credibility and create a compelling reason for #TNI participants to be particularly drawn to that week’s #TNI • reated a series of events for influencers to generate more coverage and C highlight the hotel’s different indulgences. Events ranged from private shopping tour of sponsor Luxury Avenue Los Cabos and treatments from the mini spa indulgence menu to a fine leather passport cover from sponsor Hartmann luggage. A sample of the resort’s famed $1,000 Tequilas Premium Clase Azul tequila popsicle with gold flakes, considered the world’s most expensive tequila pop (a KWE “invention”) was delivered during #TNI to maximize impressions • Secured other luxury brands as co-sponsors, to benefit from their halo and contribute to added chat content – Virgin America, Hartmann Luggage, Luxury Avenue Los Cabos • uilt Twitter buzz before and during the #TNI by B »» Encouraged Tweetup participants to tweet about their excitement about visiting the resort before the event »» Encouraged participants to post images of the resort and its amenities before and after the event to keep buzz levels up • ormulated 10 #TNI questions for tweeting travelers around the globe, F including: »» Favorite hotel amenity »» Most impressive hotel serviceCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 32
  • 36. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 3 Engaging Influencers »» antasy travel experiences F • Steered #TNI discussions around the topic that Mexico as a safe and family-friendly vacation destination and Marquis Los Cabos as the premier resort for affordable indulgences • reated industry research/intelligent PR angles for print media after the C Tweetup to generate offline media coverage Overall, the #TNI Tweetup was a great success! During the #TNI Tweetup, over 14 million impressions were cast, corresponding to 1.4 million+ unique impressions, a record-breaking number for the #TNI Tweetup. Close to 4,500 tweets were sent during the 90 minute event. This reinforced Marquis Los Cabos’ luxury brand, and generated positive social media buzz surrounding the resort, as well as successfully launched the resort’s customized luxury marketing program. Capitalizing on Twitter influencers reach, and luxury brands’ cache proved to be an effective way to strengthen Mexico’s reputation as a safe and family-friendly destination. The Conversation is the Platform By: Christy Belden, VP of Media + Marketing, LeapFrog Interactive In the digital space, if a conversation can be had, a social media platform exists. As marketers, we need to be a part of the conversation to help facilitate brand engagement. Capturing where and when these conservations take place is a challenge. Determining a social media platform is a crucial step in developing your social media strategy. Facebook has moved from a college-only platform to one you could almost call “mass (social) media.” This may work for some brands, but the cost of entry into Facebook is getting higher and higher, with a need for moreCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 33
  • 37. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 3 Engaging Influencers resources and content. Yet having only a Facebook presence may not be the right social media strategy for your brand. Social media platforms such as Pinterest and Path are having success among social media users because they offer a different experience than Facebook. Even Twitter, which traditionally has taken a backseat to Facebook, is experiencing more rapid growth of late. What this tells us is that consumers are looking for a multitude of online experiences. Creating a social media strategy around a single platform will likely alienate customers, miss customers or not engage with them in the way they want. Worse, it will do all of the above. A multi-channel social media platform strategy will help create meaningful engagement points with consumers and lead to greater ROI. With the many conversations occurring, assessing the effectiveness of social media platforms at reaching your target audience can direct you to maximize your efforts. In choosing your social media platforms, the following questions will help you determine which are best for your brand. What are the business goals you want to accomplish by using social media? It must be a priority to understand why you are engaging in the social media space. Social media is valued as low cost or even free. However, there are a considerable amount of hours and resources involved in effectively executing a social media strategy. Many companies have chased trending, “hot” social media platforms without a clear understanding of their expectations from the engagement. Thus, when the platform does not perform the channel is deemed unworthy. Understanding the business’ goals for social media will help steer you in determining the right platforms.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 34
  • 38. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 3 Engaging Influencers Who is your audience and where do they “live” in social media? Understanding who your audience is, and where they are currently engaged online will impact your social media platform selection. If you want to reach Millennials, Twitter may be the platform to use. Women 55+ are the largest growing segment on Facebook, whereas women 18-34 dominate activity on Pinterest. Video sharing platforms such as YouTube, Metacafe or Vimeo are good sources for reaching the ever-elusive male 18-34 audience. LinkedIn is good for reaching B2B. Whatever your target audience, understanding where they are in the social media space will dictate social media platform adoption. What type of content does your audience respond to? Social media allows a plethora of content types to be distributed and consumed by audiences. Content types can vary from a white paper to a blog to a 140-character tweet, or from a picture to an infographic to a video. Understanding the content affinity of your target audiences will help you navigate the social media waters. Which platforms can support your content needs? Upon review of what types of content your audience is engaging with, a review of the capabilities of the platforms is a must. If your audience values video, a platform like Twitter would not be the best option. If you have fans who are heavily invested in the brand and discuss the brand at length, then a forum may be the best option to house those in-depth conversations. Social media platforms cannot be everything to everyone so choose the best one to fit the expected content. What are your resource capabilities? An honest assessment of the skill set and time it will take to execute on your social media platform is important. Some platforms allow you to schedule content. If you are pushing out a significant amount of content, then this may help manage the flow. Other platforms are image-heavy and require photography and creative assets. Writing needs also will vary depending upon the platform. In addition, staff or a third-party vendor should understand the platform and the appropriate waysCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 35
  • 39. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 3 Engaging Influencers to interact with customers on it. For example, it is commonplace to use hashtags on Twitter but not appropriate in Facebook. What is your burden of proof? Some social media platforms have evolved to include proprietary analytics, whereas others do not offer, or have very limited, analytics insight. If your organization is data driven, this may drive which social media platform is adopted. Understanding what the platform can provide ahead of time will go a long way to determine the success of the social media strategy. If you are fortunate and have a big enough staff or outside vendor to assist you, then you have the capabilities to be in the “Big 4 Networks” (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn) and even extend outside into niche platforms. However, companies with limited resources may be forced to choose fewer platforms. Analysis and planning of your needs will lead you down the correct path. These questions should not appear new. They are similar to, if not the same as, the questions traditional media has been asking for many years. Traditional media buyers and planners have had to select from different radio stations, TV outlets and various print publications. It is the same process in selecting social media platforms. We must tackle social media with the same due diligence we apply to traditional media. A social media platform exists for every audience. A true analysis, using the criteria above, will help you determine your needs and allow you to make the best decision for your business.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 36
  • 40. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 4 Turning Influence Into Brand Advocacy How to Make an Influencer Want to Sing Your Tune By Anne-Marie Kovacs, Principal, BOOMbox Network Here’s the must-ask question if you are going to work – successfully – with influential bloggers: “What’s in it for the Influencer?” Bloggers, once seen as media pioneers, vocal consumers, freelancers and experimenters are now media darlings, valuable influencers and thought leaders. But even with their new position as “influencers,” bloggers (unlike traditionally paid journalists) don’t have a research team or other infrastructure to support them. And, until they get to the magic page view volumes that generate advertising revenue, most are not paid for the writing that earned them their influence and loyal followership. They depend on their own ingenuity, time, objectivity, opinions and passions to get a story published. That is what creates the authenticity their readers love and trust. This is the environment that a top brand wants to be a part of. My Recommendations for Engaging with Such Influential Bloggers Make it personal: You’ve read a lot about this already. Ironically, even in the age of Twitter and Tumblr, you want to go the old-fashioned route. It’s about relationship building. This means, no more generic blanket emails. It means doing your homework to know who you are talking to and why. It means picking up the phone or setting up a meeting and talking live. Unless you care enough to take the time to reach out to these influencers directly and in a personal manner, why should they care to talk about your brand?Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 37
  • 41. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 4 Turning Influence Into Brand Advocacy Make it worth their time – monetize the relationship: Offer paid compensation. Standard rates now range from $25 to $150 per blog post. The most valuable bloggers will not accept anything below $100. Anything less is not worth the time, research and care it takes to compose a quality, relevant and appropriate blog post. (Note on samples: That “room freshener” sample is research material, not compensation! Unless the product or service has a high retail price point ($150 and above), consider free samples as perks at best.) Make them feel privileged: Create opportunities for your selected influencers to be the first to know – about new products, new features, new anything! Consider VIP-type events. These can be a very successful way to introduce influencers to your brand AND provide them with a meaningful experience, a unique brand story to tell and remember. Make it long-term: Take the time to build the relationship and maintain it on a long-term basis. If this influencer was important enough for that one post you needed, you’ll want to maintain that relationship for all your future updates, news and launches. Make it easy: That means providing as much background information as possible to save influencers hours of research and ensuring that they will have the correct info and data. Make it easy to read, easy to find and relevant. Make it reciprocal: You want influencers to promote something of yours? They’re in business, too. How can you help promote them, help them build their network and business reputation? That is mutual value and it provides more incentive for influencers to want to work with you. But, you must first understand their professional goals. Consider your best influencers as spokespersons or ambassadors. Make them your eyes and ears: Influencers have their ears to the ground and their fingers on the pulse of their own areas of specialty. You’re paying manyCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 38
  • 42. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 4 Turning Influence Into Brand Advocacy thousands of dollars to research your customers, so throwing a few questions to your ambassadors is a really inexpensive way to get information and insight. Hire them to collaborate on market research or in developing customer-facing projects or events. We are in a communications era where messages spread by influencers hold a resonance and credibility that traditional advertising does not. And, depending on the channel, these messages will have long tails and a long shelf life. In fact, a blog post lovingly dedicated to your brand or product may have a perennial online presence. With the simple steps mentioned above, you can create goodwill and encourage your chosen influencers to be enthusiastic and eager to sing your brand’s praises. Turning Influencers Into Your Brand’s Voice By: Tom Bishop, Director of Marketing and Communications, KnowledgeVision Systems, Inc. After several months of experimenting with social media and learning the best practices, you’re finally doing everything right on your brand’s social pages. You’re posting regular updates and videos, creating conversations and gaining followers. Your audience is full of influential people who share your posts and help your social presence expand. You’re a social leader, the kind we’re all trying to emulate. Congratulations! You’re ready for the next step: driving revenue. Unfortunately, this is the step where most brands stumble. The problem at this stage goes beyond the fact that social media is different than every other trackable marketing activity you can pursue. It’s that the difference is both subtle and profound and, therefore, difficult to grasp and implement. In social media, natural behavior is paramount. This changes everything about your marketing approach. Let me break it down this way:Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 39
  • 43. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 4 Turning Influence Into Brand Advocacy • With most branding avenues, you are trying to use an activity to drive a specific behavior. • With social media, you use natural behavior to drive buying activity. Let’s say you sell backpacks. When I buy a backpack, I actively search, study and explore the options available to me, using whatever resources I can find. Most of those resources are created by the brands themselves, and they are designed to funnel my research activity toward a purchase by creating a specific path that ends at their shopping cart. But on a social platform, where I have been talking about backpacks with others, I might receive a shared link from a friend who is a fan of your brand. It is my choice whether to check out the link. In this case you are not driving my friend’s behavior or mine; you are offering a resource (the link my friend is sharing) that meets the needs of our current natural behavior. So my friend is your influencer, and what you’re trying to do is turn his natural sharing behavior into my activity path. Thus the first profound difference in social media is that influencers are not necessarily the targeted customers. Instead of trying to sell, you’re trying to lower the threshold and sweeten the incentive for my friend to share your link with me. Since you’re doing everything right, you already know my friend is an influencer and you now know that he’s shared a link with me. How can you encourage him to keep influencing, and me to convert to a customer? Let’s Establish a Few Ground Rules 1. The influencer is not necessarily the customer. This means you must appeal to the differing needs of two people, not just one. 2. It is easier to keep an existing customer than gain a new one. This means my friend may need less of an incentive than I will.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 40
  • 44. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 4 Turning Influence Into Brand Advocacy 3. On a social platform, I’m not actively seeking to buy, but I am following up on my friend’s share because it’s in the moment. 4. Your goal is not to make a sale today, it’s to make me an influencer. That’s right, the goal on a social network is to attract me to your brand through my influencers. It is widely believed that the reason display advertisements on social platforms don’t work very well is that the behavior is different: shopping is active, while social networking is passive. As a brand, you’re best approach is to get noticed by me, by appealing to my friends for a little help. Key Ways to Use Natural Social Behavior to Drive Activity Gamification Rewards Game rewards are not about discounts or giveaways; they appeal to a user’s interest in raising his own credibility. Influencers are influencers because they like to be needed, so give my friend points or let him unlock levels the more he shares your posts. You can highlight people who reach certain levels on your own page. You can share their photos, posts and comments. They can unlock and post icons that indicate they have expert knowledge of your product. Team Programs Unlike “Refer-A-Friend” campaigns, where you reward influencers who send you names you will manage in a central database, a team system lets your influencers manage their own referrals. Social media is all about giving the users control, so encouraging them to build and lead a team is perfect for social platforms. Many charity organizations manage their fundraising events this way, and if you think about it, they are at the forefront of using influential supporters to generate interest using the team model.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 41
  • 45. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 4 Turning Influence Into Brand Advocacy Exclusive Memberships Enable certain people to become part of exclusive programs, where you use email to send them updates about your company, pre-release software, advance promotions and event passes. Communications to these people are not about discounts, since the primary draw is how good it feels to be an influencer. The goal is to invite them to get their friends into the member group so they can become insiders too. Discount Programs Stay away. I mean it. Discounts are great for shoppers who have actively searched and are nearing the end of the sale process, but need a nudge to click “Confirm Purchase.” With social media, you are spreading the word about the value of your brand and inviting people to be associated with it. That brand association is meant to last; discounts are best for driving a single sale, not a long-term relationship. Brand Advocates (a.k.a. Rock Stars) This kind of program is for very special people who are influential beyond the realm of social media. These are people who regularly blog, speak at events and conferences and entertain. The model here is that you are sponsoring them in return for touting your brand in the popular venues they operate in. For sponsored advocates, it often means giving them free or deeply discounted products and services. Above, I mentioned staying away from discounts – and I still mean it. So these should be people who are already deeply committed fans of your brand, and who meet a certain threshold of popularity. They are the people everyone in your industry has heard of and respects. The guiding principle behind all of the above is that the purpose of influencers is to bring more people to your brand, and the point of making people influencers is to raise the likelihood of a sale when the opportunity arises. Who is more likely to buy from you when they decide to actively make a purchase? Those who haveCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 42
  • 46. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 4 Turning Influence Into Brand Advocacy never heard of you, those whose friends told them about you or those who have created a relationship with you? Social media contains a massive population of people who have freely given a lot of information to businesses, whether they like it or not; 900 million people are on Facebook alone. You can’t communicate your brand’s value to all of them without a lot of help. Finding influencers and appealing to them is not only a great way to build your brand on the web today; it’s the only way. Building a Social Media Marketing Strategy for Influencer Engagement By: Lee Anne Forbes, Marketing Manager, Micro Strategies Once you have identified your targeted group(s) of influencers, it’s time to roll out your message-delivery platforms, messaging, mechanisms and timelines – in other words, a marketing plan for each new campaign or event. You may have defined several groups or types of influencers and they may each require a different set of messages, timing and platforms. For example, if your influencer is an IT coder – let’s call him Fred – and you want to let Fred know that your company has just released code updates, there are multiple ways to get your message out to him and encourage him to share it. You may even release the code to Fred ahead of time, if he promises to test it and blog and tweet about his experience with it, and the benefits he has found. You can have a whole group of “Freds” do the same thing. Strategic Outreach Outreach can include email to Fred; you can post to the blogs that he reads, you can tweet to the accounts that he follows, you can update your website, LinkedIn and Facebook pages. You can even deliver location-based marketing (LBM) incentives for Fred to share the fact that the new code has been released. You can re-tweet within reason and rework the messaging on various platforms to makeCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 43
  • 47. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 4 Turning Influence Into Brand Advocacy sure Fred (and the like band of merry men and women) has gotten the message. You can invite Fred via Facebook and Linkedin and emails and your website to an onsite “New Code Release Demo Event” and use an LBM tool like FourSquare to incent Fred and friends to tweet their location and activities while at your event. You can highlight customers who contributed to the new release. Highlight them on your blog, in press releases, on your website and in your tweets. “ABC Company wishes to thank Fred from DEFG Company for his insightful suggestions that helped shape our latest code release.” Just as traditional marketing communications programs rely on more than one platform to reach audiences and deliver the correct messaging multiple times, so too the social media strategy you employ should incorporate a variety of message structures and platforms. You will note over time which platforms your favored users frequent and on which ones they “lurk.” Speak to the users and the lurkers and incent them to add their voices. The users may engage in conversation with you, the lurkers may not. YouTube provides a great way to showcase Fred and the group at your demo event, testing the code and sharing snippets of their excitement about the new release. The video link can be tweeted, blogged, put on websites – and so on. The possibilities for engaging your influencers and encouraging them to spread the word are endless. All you need is some newsworthy activities and an ongoing, evolving plan!Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 44
  • 48. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 4 Turning Influence Into Brand Advocacy The Cadence of Influence By: Vatsala Isaac, Independent Marketing Consultant Recently, I’ve become something of a masochist. I get thrashed every weekend – on the squash court, by my husband. New to the game, I struggle to keep pace with my uber-competitive instructor. The advice flows fast and free, until it reaches a deafening crescendo of the phrases, “Steal the T, be the T, return to the T.” For the uninitiated, the ‘T’ is at the center of a squash court, formed by the half-court line meeting the short line. Allow me to illustrate: Always the first to mix work with play, I notice an interesting parallel between managing social media influencers and the delicate equation that is two players in a confined space fighting for the attention of an agitated, beady-eyed squash ball. What players do in this T-zone is similar to how competing brands currently engage with an influencer, which too often is more about a mad bid for attention than a considered strategy. Jostling for space to coexist, aiming for the attention of the same pair of beady eyes, trying to learn the best time toCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 45
  • 49. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 4 Turning Influence Into Brand Advocacy strike, hoping like hell that you’ve packed enough punch into your shot and that the ball will return for more, not fizzle out after it dings the tin … sound painfully familiar? Let’s put our rackets down and discuss my four-point squash strategy for engaging with influencers. 1. Location, location, location: “Stealing the T” in squash means staying front and center, at the receiving end of all the action. Staying in the eye of the storm allows a player with average-sized limbs to volley by stretching and spinning around the court. At any point in the game, you are as close as you can get to the ball. The moral for social media influence? Once you’ve decided on the influencers you want to target, shadow them at all times, staying close enough to strike – comment, retweet, post – at a moment’s notice. The nimble nature of the squash game closely resembles today’s business ecosystem, where reacting instantly to key events is critical. To empower yourself to do so, you’ve got to be there, when and where the action is … and to do that, you’ve got to steal the T! 2. t don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing: The Incredible Khans are I synonymous with the game of squash, and their advice to beginners is simple: keep your eye on the ball and practice hitting it as hard as you can. Do this for an hour every day, till you can feel the lactic acid build up in your arm. In social media, influencers love a hard-hitting piece of communication: flamboyant yet backed by substance. In Tamar Weinberg’s interview series about what gets the attention of the who’s who of influencers, the responses don’t come as a surprise: do something epic, do something interesting, provide information that is relevant and useful to the influencer and keep doing it, be differentiated, make noise, amaze us… the list goes on, but you get the point.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 46
  • 50. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 4 Turning Influence Into Brand Advocacy 3. he winner’s standing tall: As a newbie at squash, I’m often frustrated by T how much running I do – and how little my husband does. I’ve even been called an “average workout!” Turns out, the better you get at squash the more you learn to control the ball’s pace and direction. McKinsey, in a report outlining the consumer decision journey, shows how pull marketing trumps push in a world of empowered consumers. When targeting influencers, the easy way out is to spoonfeed them the information you’d like covered. Resist. Influencers are inherent news junkies and love the thrill of a chase. A case in point: Le Perrier did a a great job of building multiple return customer visits into their strategy in the Le Club Perrier video (which was ranked No.1 among videos tweeted not long after it launched). The video introduces users to a club scene – and gets raunchier the more you share it. Just the thought of it now and I need a cool sip of bubbly water … oh! I see how this all worked out for Perrier! 4. Influence, not interference: Oftentimes, dominating the entire squash court and getting in the way of your opponent’s shot is mistaken for stealing the T. This could injure you and your opponent. The truth remains that there is a time for each shot of publicity as much as there is a place. Monitoring your opponent’s moves like a hawk lets you watch his shot, time your own strike, and position yourself right before you reach for the ball. So it is with targeting an influencer who is at the receiving end of multiple calls to action. Sure, your campaign may need to adhere to an editorial calendar. But if your fiercest competitor has just announced a groundbreaking product, don’t interfere unless you can concretely add to the conversation. Or vice-versa, in the case of the arrival of the iPhone 5. When news of an upcoming release on September 12 got out, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and Amazon made sure their own announcements came out a week in advance! Timing your communication, and accenting it right is key to engaging with influencers. It really is a mating dance. And god knows, there isn’t a dance without a cadence!Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 47
  • 51. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 5 Measuring Influence Maintaining Relationships Measurements That Matter By Jared Hendler – Executive Vice President, Global Director Digital Creative, MWW Measurement is hardly a new concept. We’ve been measuring our progress since the dawn of time, when cavemen hunched over their latest kills, comparing who brought down the biggest mammoth. Everyone inherently understands the value of measurement, but not everyone has the training to do it effectively, particularly when it comes to social influencer programs. What follows is a brief overview of what measurements truly matter in your influencer programs, and how you can turn those metrics into actionable, sustainable engagement that provides long-term value to your brand. Analyzing Outcomes In order to assess where you are, you have to know where you were aiming to be. At this chapter in the book, you’ve already defined your strategy and moved forward in the planning phases of your engagement process. You should have defined relevant, actionable and measurable objectives. Key to the measurement process is ensuring you have planned for outcomes relevant to your efforts. And that means aligning the outcomes you’re looking to achieve with some sort of action, whether it is driving a purchase, increasing web traffic or getting more individuals to recommend your brand to a friend. Let’s be clear. Making a comment on a blog post is not an outcome – it is an output. Contacting 50 mommy bloggers is not an outcome – it is outreach. TheCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 48
  • 52. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 5 Measuring Influence Maintaining Relationships outcome is what these efforts produced for you. How your efforts took today’s situation and brought you closer to where you want to be. What to Measure, and the Tools to Do It There are many metrics to measure ranging from industry relevance to media volume, reach and sentiment as well as a lot of tools to consider – but no ready- made tool is a silver bullet. Here are a few we use and recommend: • RAACKR: Use it to understand if your influencers are relevant and T identify new influencers in order to conduct additional outreach. We use TRAACKR to find noteworthy individuals in almost any industry, including very niche markets. At MWW, we’ve used TRAACKR to compile influencer research related to even the most granular of topics – do-it-yourself home improvement, solar panels, immigration reform, you name it. We’re often asked to keep track of influencers in particular industries – sometimes as many as 50 at a time. TRAACKR can not only help you with the quantitative monitoring; it can lead you in the right direction to make qualitative decisions for your brand’s engagement strategy. • NetBase: We employ its semantic analysis capabilities to derive purchase intent and primary brand perceptions – offering the opportunity to benchmark and evaluate your efforts on these key points when required. • Build your own: No campaign is exactly the same and no measurement approach covers every situation. At MWW, we help brands increase their relevance – but we felt that no tool explicitly measured this relevance for us. So we developed our own tool, NetRelevance, to answer the fundamental question: did we help our client matter more? In other words, have we helped them create and maintain relevance? To measure the relevance of a client, campaign, or message, our algorithms account for the breadth, depth, and intensity of dialogue. NetRelevance helps us not only understand who shaped the conversation (a top-tier news outlet vs. a Twitter influencer), but also how the conversation – and the relevance of the brand – changes. With your own analytics tool, you can analyze industry insights in ways that other tools may not allow. For example, we recently used NetRelevance to examine the differences in how consumers watch video content on mobile devices versus tablets,Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 49
  • 53. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 5 Measuring Influence Maintaining Relationships and uncovered clear insights that help our clients determine what kind of content is most likely to build relevance on either platform. NetRelevance has shown us that if you can dream it, you can build it. So You’ve Measured – Now What? Once a campaign begins, it is your responsibility to continuously engage with users. Monitoring and evaluation can continuously add value to this effort by uncovering themes that drive quality engagement. In fact, properly managed, the active listening and engagement phase can become a wellspring of insight. This is where the true power of social influencer engagement really begins. Properly defined metrics set up the opportunity for outcome-oriented insights that help drive and refine engagement efforts while increasing efficiency and maximizing engagement ROI. But don’t let metrics dictate your voice. Engagement should always remain authentic and personal. It is important for influencers to know you are listening in good faith and that they can truly help shape your brand. Get to know your influencer base and engage with them on an individual basis. Metrics and measurement help you identify them – but the worst mistake you can make is to treat them like a number. Follow Up While things may fall through the cracks every once in a while, sustain momentum by closing the loop on any correspondence between your brand and your key influencers. Just because you didn’t secure the engagement you initially wanted on your first try doesn’t mean that an influencer won’t be receptive to your brand’s message the second time around. If the situation is reversed and you initially missed an engagement opportunity, a late response is always better than never, particularly when your goal is to indicate value for these influencers and brand ambassadors.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 50
  • 54. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 5 Measuring Influence Maintaining Relationships Go Forth and Be Influential Ultimately, any influencer engagement program should sustain influencer relationships in a meaningful way for as long as possible. The best influencer relationships are those where the influencer feels passionately about your brand. But this passion can’t be accomplished overnight. Influencer engagement programs need to be extremely well-strategized and thought out, and your brand’s relationships with these influencers must be managed carefully. Always use a combination of analytics and experience to your advantage when developing an engagement approach to any influencer, whether their sphere of influence is large or small. Your approach to creating and maintaining relationships can have major impacts on your brand – positive or negative. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your approach is always optimized and thoughtful. Measure and Maintain Relationships By: Adam Blitzer, Founder and COO, Pardot Your social media relationships, like your personal and professional relationships, need to be cared for and nurtured or they may slip away from you. Once you’ve established your network of social media influencers, you need to calibrate and maintain your network to ensure continued returns on your hard work. Maintaining relationships with your influencers is all about continued value. Value is not only the return your business is getting from your social media efforts, but what you are providing your followers. It may sound intuitive, but it’s surprising how frequently social media managers fail to recognize how important it is to reward your influencers. Relationships depend on mutual value. Maximizing this value for both parties is the key to maintaining your influencer relationships.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 51
  • 55. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 5 Measuring Influence Maintaining Relationships Maximizing value for both parties does not have to be a time- or resource- intensive process. Completing four simple tasks, a few times a year, is all you need to keep your influencer relationships healthy and providing value. Pay Attention The power of attention cannot be understated when it comes to relationships. Everyone appreciates being noticed. After all, this is why you built relationships with influencers in the first place! Taking small, extra steps to show you care can go a long way toward maintaining influencer relationships. Read your influencers’ blogs as often as you can. If there is a post relevant to your company or industry, leave a comment. Follow them on Twitter and reply to interesting posts there as well. Invest a little time in a response and it will mean a lot more. Avoid “friending” them on Facebook, however, unless you are closer than the average business associate. Marketers today are often overwhelmed by the volume of social media data available and how to respond to it. It is impossible to read all of your influencers’ blogs and follow their streams of countless tweets without forsaking all productivity. You can make it easier by adding them to your RSS feeds and spot- checking their blog posts and tweets when you have the time. Add Value Only thinking about others when you need them is an attitude that will undermine any relationship, and your relationships with influencers are no different. You should always keep an eye out for opportunities to provide additional value to your influencers. Any consumer-facing or sales-side employee will tell you that even a tiny bit of added value makes a big difference in building relationships.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 52
  • 56. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 5 Measuring Influence Maintaining Relationships If you are working on a piece of content, whether it is just a case study or a larger project like an infographic, reach out to your influencers for quotes, interviews and insight. Your influencers will be delighted to enhance their credibility by contributing their knowledge, making the content creation process that much easier for you. This very ebook is a great example of what this exact strategy can do for both groups! Feel free to look beyond your content to other potential opportunities as well. If your influencer is hosting an event, why not offer to be a sponsor? Having an event of your own? Comp a ticket or provide a discount for your influencers to attend. Both of these are relatively inexpensive options that can help you provide additional value, meet your influencers in person, and move your relationships forward. Measure and Adjust Fortunately for marketers, the rise of social media and influencer strategy has been accompanied by the rise of the best tool for managing such strategies: sophisticated data capture. It is now more possible than ever for marketers to track and monitor the sources of their company’s web traffic and marketing ROI in great detail. Services like Google Analytics will allow you to monitor your inbound links and determine the exact amount of traffic being driven by your influencers, for free. If you are using a marketing automation service, you can take this insight even further. Companies like Pardot allow you to not only see how much traffic your influencers are driving, but how qualified that traffic is and whether or not it is contributing to your business’ bottom line. Through various online tools, data like age, demographics, occupation, location and more are all available to you to assess the quality, needs and interests of your influencers. Having this level of insight into the performance of your influencers allows you to make more informed adjustments to your strategy. Content type, format and audience can all be optimized for each influencer to ensure you are maximizing performance. If an influencer is dramatically underperforming, don’t be afraid to move on to other sources. Sometimes it’s best to simply break up – not all relationships work out.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 53
  • 57. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 5 Measuring Influence Maintaining Relationships Provide and Encourage Feedback We’ve all heard the age-old adage that the best relationships are based on honesty and trust. While too much honesty is not always the best tactic, whether in business or personal relationships, being open with your influencers can be tremendously beneficial. You shouldn’t shy away from discussions about optimizing your influencer strategy. If influencers aren’t representing your company or brand in the best possible way, you should bring this to your influencers’ attention. Most of the time, influencers will be happy to receive the feedback and more than willing to make adjustments for you. Also, try reaching out to your top influencers a few times a year to ask if you or your team could be doing anything else on your side of the relationship. While this may seem like an invitation to a lot of additional work, it will more likely result in valuable and actionable feedback. Otherwise, you may never know if you are aggravating your influencers or missing opportunities to push the relationship further. Make an effort to pay attention to your influencers and discover small ways to add further value for them. Be vigilant about measuring your influencers’ impact and be honest about making changes or adjustments. Following these steps will ensure a mutually beneficial relationship for you and your influencers for years to come. What My Daddy Taught Me About Social Media – How To Be A Giver Online By Andrea Walker, Senior Project Mgr/Digital Strategist, Panorama Public Relations The word “social” is in social media for a reason. The key to success in using social media doesn’t lie so much in the technology but in building lasting human relationships. For several years, companies including start-ups have built Software- as-a-Service models and enterprise software designed to accumulate “social data”Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 54
  • 58. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 5 Measuring Influence Maintaining Relationships on people in your network and use that data to target those people with relevant content. While these tools are useful for marketers and business development, they don’t eliminate the fundamental desire for people to connect with people. My father, “a good ole Southern gentleman,” provided a perfect example. He held the door open for both men and women. He would politely place his napkin over his plate when he was finished with his meal. More importantly, my father was the type of person who knew how to strike up a conversation with someone that would make a lasting impression. He wasn’t a savvy salesman nor did he have any savvy tricks in getting people to trust him. He was just himself and he genuinely cared for people. My father died before social media became a household name. However, I look at companies and people that have become success stories in social media marketing and they all have one thing in common: they use the principles my dad taught me when they’re building and maintaining relationships with people. Be True to Yourself Being true to your real personality and polishing an online “persona” are two different things. Even though your personality is rough around the edges, at least you HAVE something unique to offer. Use social media to make your voice distinctive and find people who like you for you. It’s hard to act like somebody else on social media so don’t try. People are attracted to real feelings, causes or even your gripes. Don’t Ask For Anything In Return Sometimes the best reward you can have with social media is doing unto others without expecting something in return. If people are inspired by your knowledge or cause, then strive to help others and even connect like-minded people. It’s rare nowadays to think about others, but social media allows you to make an impact on other people’s lives. When my father died, he was remembered more for his generous spirit than what he did for a living.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 55
  • 59. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 5 Measuring Influence Maintaining Relationships Be a Leader Easier said than done, right? Well, being a thought leader on social media doesn’t mean necessarily taking charge or voicing your opinion proudly and loudly. A true leader knows when to listen as well as learn from others. There’s a wealth of information on social media that can strengthen your knowledge and imagination. A true leader also recognizes other thought leaders and selflessly promotes these leaders on social media. For example, my father never talked about his accomplishments but instead congratulated his team and colleagues on jobs well done. He mentored his employees and made sure their needs were met before his own. Respect Yourself and Others Believe it not, this is probably one of the easiest principles to follow but the hardest for people to remember to do online. Think of social media as being at a 24/7 networking event. Is it wise to spend all your time griping about other people, your spouse or even your job? Probably not. Instead, you strike up friendly conversations with people in order to get to know them and their company better. Don’t engage in petty arguments online or try to insult someone. Everyone can’t be happy all the time, but remember, your actions are a reflection of you – good or bad. Finally, ask yourself this question: What lasting impression do I want to make on people? Social media gives you the capability to reach a lot of people, including potential customers. Ultimately, people didn’t necessarily do business with my father because he had the best product or the savviest sales pitch. People wanted to work with my father because they liked him. My father looked for opportunities to provide value in people’s lives. As I said before, the best way to succeed on social media is to be the person that everyone wants to get to know. And ultimately, that will help you succeed.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 56
  • 60. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 5 Measuring Influence Maintaining Relationships Understanding Growing From Advocate Insight By Matthew Clyde, President Chief Strategist, ideas*Collide Marketing Communications We are living through an important cycle in the evolution of marketing strategies. Although this is a pivotal point, the marketing practices implemented by today’s most successful brands still have at their core similar values to those that have transcended generations. To quote The Beatles and their 1964 classic: you “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Powerful marketing strategies have been formed through the keen understanding of this philosophy. The best-loved brands have been bold enough to build a personal relationship with the customer. They have evolved and matured, and like an old friend they have grown with the customer while continuing to be relatable. So, what steps are today’s brands taking to leverage social tools in achieving these kinds of relationships with their customers? Engaging the User The public nature of social media makes understanding the wants and needs of the customer easier than ever, and opens the door for brands to directly engage with the community to start a conversation. However, not all conversations will be engaging. But a competitor will inevitably undercut the brand whose success depends entirely on limited-time offers and closeout sales, and the brand’s fickle friends will immediately abandon it to save a dime. Social media users have a sixth sense for cheap tricks, so while they may interact with shallow offers these will not cause them to commit to the brand. Any business looking for long-term success knows to view social marketing as more than a tool to garner new customers; but rather as a way to develop brand advocates. Brand advocates view themselves as stakeholders in the success of the business. Brand advocate engagement is at the core of today’s most powerful marketing campaigns. Even in a large company, communicating with your customer on a personal level will allow for powerful insight to rise to the surface. FollowingCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 57
  • 61. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 5 Measuring Influence Maintaining Relationships consumer insight and engaging in relevant, meaningful social conversations can lead to the edification of meaningful campaigns that directly “speak” to your constituents’ needs or preferences. Moreover, these insights can help a company improve its product or address a service gap. Your Facebook page, Twitter feed or Pinterest account is the new era of multi-level research. For one client, a global hotel chain, we observed a trend that prompted the company to do more qualitative research. The content from social and the enhanced research led to a breakthrough insight that was then integrated into a key promotional period for their membership rewards program, which then delivered back exclusively to their Facebook community. Because the idea was generated within this influential social circle, the community immediately embraced it and the results delivered an overwhelming 2,500% lift in awareness, conversation and sharing. More importantly, the promotional results achieved a 20% YOY revenue increase from the previous year. The content and application tools developed became successful not because the brand had altered the positioning of its rewards program, but because they discovered a solution to a real problem personally affecting the lives of their customers. Continuing natural conversations about the customer’s point of view and a well-integrated promotional feature kept the idea developing and being shared and adopted further. Enabling the User We have found many companies for which social media is a terrifying prospect. Around the clock, millions of users have the ability to publicly post their opinions regarding the service or product that a company offers. Many companies will try to filter negative comments from the front page, sweeping them under theCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 58
  • 62. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 5 Measuring Influence Maintaining Relationships carpet. These companies fail to see social media for its full potential. More than just tallying a high number of fans, social media offers an opportunity to gather information on both strengths and weaknesses, and simultaneously analyze reactions to solutions given to the customer. A decade of using social media has essentially turned a company’s homepage into a worldwide focus group where no one feels intimidated or nervous that their interviewers or peers will judge them. The information gathered from these pages can be sorted and assigned to categories within the company. For any given month, we can sort comments into positive, negative and neutral. Then they can be sorted into areas of the company, such as locations or departments. Contrasting the information found from social media with other forms of research can even open our eyes to the effectiveness of promotions and practices at a local, national or even international level. Responding quickly and publicly to complaints and compliments will go a long way in generating positive PR. In fact, any company brave enough to nurture this kind of atmosphere on their page will quickly find their brand advocates coming to the rescue. Brand advocates will be the first to respond to questions and will consistently offer the most insightful solutions to any concern posted. The Takeaway Indeed, love can’t be bought, nor can it be measured on traditional scales. But, once it’s earned there are measurable means by which this new relationship with an army of brand advocates can be developed. The Internet has become the world’s primary source of insight and information. In order to draw the customer in, you must appeal to them personally. Empathetic thought engenders profound conversation, which will provide the client and marketing team with the insight needed to launch highly effective campaigns.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 59
  • 63. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Chapter 5 Measuring Influence Maintaining Relationships Every brand ought to carefully inspect its agenda with regards to its social media strategies and ensure that they are placed properly among the priorities of its customers. Recognizing the worth of each customer’s post and putting the power in their hands to direct conversation can be the scariest thing a marketer does. But sincere social media interaction and innovative measurement is the next great secret to effective research in today’s modern market.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 60
  • 64. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Wildcard Chapter A Little Extra Food For Thought It’s safe to say that we’re operating in a brave new communications world. How people consume and share information has changed forever – and that change is continuing at a rapid pace. New rules are made – and broken – each day, keep- ing pace with marketplace shifts and emerging technology. In that spirit, we in- vited “wild card” contributions for this book, to help us imagine the unimagined, and be prepared to capture opportunity when it appears before us. Optimizing Your Social Media for Search (SSO) By Christy Belden, VP of Media + Marketing, LeapFrog Interactive Traditionally, digital marketing teams’ social media and search people have been in opposite corners of the ring. And they have gone to battle many times. Yet now the two sides are being somewhat forced to take off their gloves and work together. Search marketers are tasked with driving traffic and leads through carefully targeted keywords. They must infer the intent of a user – informational, transactional or navigational – by the keywords a user selects. “Buy a couch” has a different intent than “Looking for a couch.” This exemplifies how the difference between keywords implies where a consumer is in the purchase funnel: “buy” is much further down the funnel than “looking.” Understanding the nuances of keyword selection allows search marketers to optimize content to drive traffic, and business, to a website. Social media strategists are concerned with the conversation engaged in with their target audience. They create opportunities to engage with consumers and are brand stewards. They do not have to infer purchasing intent. Social mediaCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 61
  • 65. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Wildcard Chapter A Little Extra Food For Thought strategists can ask a consumer whether they are purchasing or buying. Or, they can listen to existing conversations to monitor what consumers are doing with the brand. In addition, social media strategists typically create a lot of content. Blogs, social posts, photos and videos are all tools social media strategists use to engage their audience. But search marketers and social media strategists are now being forced together by search engines’ recognition that social media generates an abundance of relevant content. Search engines are placing increasing importance on social media signals in their algorithms. By combining the plethora of content existing in social media with search marketers’ knowledge of written (key) words, these marketing channels can come together to create socially optimized content. This content can work more effectively to engage users with the brand and provide keyword ROI by driving traffic back to the website. A strategy of utilizing content, search intent and social media engagement ensures a consumer can find what they need from your brand. Enter Social Search Optimization (SSO). Executing Social Search Optimization requires taking existing tactics and modifying their execution to create an overall strategy. Create engaging content: If there was ever a time content needs to rise above the clutter, it is now. Content needs to interest a person at the right stage of searching and persuade them to act – preferably with your brand. Engaging content is shareable. When more people share your content, more links are sent back to your website. It becomes a type of numbers game. The best content “goes viral” or, in SEO terms, becomes link bait. The art and science of social search optimization can help increase your chances of quality content sending significant traffic to your site.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 62
  • 66. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Wildcard Chapter A Little Extra Food For Thought Distribute content: The phrase “build it and they will come” does not exist on the web. Messages are too fragmented to hope someone happens upon your content. For our purposes, the saying is more like “Post it and they will find you.” You must push optimized content out to the various social media platforms so it can be found. Audiences use social media differently. Spreading strategic content among various social media platforms increases the likelihood of reaching your target audience. In addition, it allows the opportunity for content to be indexed by the search. Optimize social media posts: Not all posts are created equal. A post should have the intent to engage and be keyword-optimized for search. Don’t fret, copy writers, this does not mean stuffing the post with keywords. The keywords should flow with the context and goals of the post – not be a hindrance or annoyance. Keywords help users understand how to find your business. By teaching your audience how to search for your business, they will know what keywords to use when they have a need. When that time comes, your business will be what appears within the search results. Voila! Link back to your website: This concept is hard for social media marketers. Typically, they don’t like social posts to link back to the main domain website. Most social media marketers are hesitant because they want conversations to occur in the space of the post, not take them away where they may lose the opportunity to engage. Remember, links can drive traffic to a website where clear CTA’s exist. Although many social platforms nofollow their links, it does not negate the traffic driving opportunities. Engaging, optimized content that links back to your website and is distributed across platforms is the ideal. The days of search marketers and social media experts working in silos are over. The two need to walk hand-in-hand to create engaging conversations, which maximize your brands potential to increase business. And SSO is going to make it happen.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 63
  • 67. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Wildcard Chapter A Little Extra Food For Thought How to really engage your influencers with gamification By: Toby Beresford, Founder, Gamification is the art of applying game mechanics like points, badges and leaderboards in non-game situations – such as influencer engagement. In fact, gamifcation techniques can lead to surprising levels of engagement, as Anthony Rowbottom found when he created a leaderboard of the top 40 influencers in healthcare on social media. Traditionally, a leaderboard is simply a display showing the leaders in a competitive event. Rowbottom, who is membership relationship manager of start-up Clinical Current, a social network for doctors and other clinicians, created a leaderboard that became a significant subject of discussion among influencers in healthcare social media circles. Some reposted it on their blogs and some re-tweeted their position (or lack of it) to their followers. While not all influencers agreed with the way the ranking was created, everyone found it interesting and engaging. “In terms of driving new customers to our site and generating interest in our brand, our ‘#HCSM (Healthcare Social Media) Leaderboard’ exceeded all our expectations,” says Rowbottom. Rowbottom took a typical PR and social media campaign approach (influencer identification via social media) and used gamification to turn it on its head. Key to gamification’s impact is that adds an element of fun. It also points customers in the direction you want them to go by making it obvious what you want them to do. For example, by awarding them a digital badge for visiting a part of your website. Done right, it can drive deeper engagement and stickiness. And nowhere is engagement more useful than in our attention-deficit world of fast-moving social media. To stand out in the social media marketplace, campaigns need to leverage some of the techniques game developers have already perfected. That’s where gamification comes in.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 64
  • 68. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Wildcard Chapter A Little Extra Food For Thought In Rowbottom’s case, he used to create a leaderboard of social media influencers based on multiple variables. The main variables were their volume of tweets on the hashtag #HCSM combined with their Klout score (a more general indicator of influence generated by Klout for everyone on the web). Lithium, another social tool provider, uses gamification in its product, where companies are engaging in conversations with their customers. It is often used to encourage customers to help each other out, such as on their customer support forum. Skype, for example, uses Lithium in its own customer support community. Much of the gamification technology within Lithium is invisible. As a customer, you might not be that aware of points for answering queries correctly, but you might have a sense of ‘progression’ as you rise through community levels. Here the levels allow the most committed customers on the forum to become moderators themselves and tidy up the posts of others. giffgaff, the mobile virtual network, has gone one stage further in its use of gamification. It gives financial rewards and incentives to community members who help each other out. You can get a significant mobile phone bill credit each month just by being an active contributor to community forums. Vincent Boon, chief of community at giffgaff, is quick to highlight, however, that it’s not the gamification that makes the community. No, the community is already present and actively engaged; the gamification just adds the scoring and perks, so adding fuel to the fire. For PR professionals, the opportunity to use gamification is only just becoming available. For example, at live events, monitoring and channelling digital engagement can sometimes feel an uphill struggle. Digital distractions via mobile phones, tablets or laptops make it all too easy for attendees’ minds to wander.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 65
  • 69. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Wildcard Chapter A Little Extra Food For Thought MediaTel execs were facing this problem when setting up its Media PlayGround event in June 2012. With such a media crowd, finding ways to maintain engagement was critical. Using another leaderboard, this time being shown on a large monitor near the coffee, the MediaTel event team leaderboarded the top tweeters according to how often they mentioned the conference hashtag. The tweets were made visible on the big screen and the animated leaderboard counted down from 40 to 1. The engagement was a hit; some took photos of the leaderboard with their mobile phones to enable them to repost their position to friends. The leaderboard resulted in an upsurge of tweets about the conference and the leaderboard winner was invited to be a panellist at next year’s conference. In order to ensure that participants weren’t rewarded for simply spamming their followers, the leaderboard used scores from Kred, another influence ranking system, to weight players according to how influential their tweets were, not just the volume. Using social media data in an intelligent way, by mashing together data from multiple sources, brings higher quality and more accurate influencer information. For example, rather than simply know who are your top Twitterers, the option to mix in tweet volume with number of blog posts, or more importantly, the number of blog post comments, can make the difference when gamifying your community. British company DataSift is at the forefront of this trend towards leveraging the use of social media’s “big data.” Its platform, one of only two in the world to provide access to the full Twitter “fire hose” of a data feed, offers any company the ability to mash up (or “enrich,” as DataSift prefers) its social media data with multiple other sources such as Klout. The opportunity now for savvy marketers is not just about using social media data to track influencers and then hope to reach out to them by traditionalCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 66
  • 70. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement Wildcard Chapter A Little Extra Food For Thought means. No, the opportunity is to present influencers with their social media data in interesting ways, such as a leaderboard or a gamified community, and engage them to behave in ways that promotes your brand at the same time. The tools and techniques of gamification can be an effective way to do this – and we might all have a bit more fun at the same time.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 67
  • 71. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement conclusion By Sarah Skerik, Vice President of Social Media, PR Newswire The very phrase “social influencer engagement” is a little daunting, we know. It’s freighted with meaning – and tactics. Since you’ve made it this far, you know that social influencer engagement is truly the combination of a variety of important behaviors and strategies, blending a keen awareness of the marketplace with real-time input and very human interaction. Done well, influencer engagement opens up a realm of possibility for the connected brand. By connecting with your influencers, you can build relationships that lead to the development of an attentive, receptive audience for your message, creation of an army of enthusiastic and invested advocates and access to candid, honest and productive feedback and up-to-the-minute intelligence. Follow the guidance of your peers in this book, and you will be well on your way to developing your own valuable relationships with your industry’s influencers and realizing your greatest brand ambassadors. And remember, you, too, can become a sought after influencer. By acting with agility and streaming a consistent flow of relevant, interesting and multi-format content, you will amplify your brand’s voice, become more visible across multiple channels and ultimately recognizable to your key audiences. In time, you will organically attract and draw your influencers directly to you, bringing the process of engagement full circle. Interested in learning more about creating a strategic content marketing plan to start elevating your own influence? Click here to let us know and a PR Newswire representative will give you a call. Share this eBook:Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 68
  • 72. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement eBook Contributors moderator Contributing Authors Sarah Skerik Malcolm Atherton Vice President, Social Media, PR Newswire Account Manager, PR Newswire Skerik’s responsibilities include product Atherton is an account manager with PR development, managing PR Newswire’s Newswire, responsible for a portfolio of social media programs and blogging for business in Arizona and Nevada. the Beyond PR blog, where she writes Additionally, he is responsible for orking about digital PR, social media and SEO. with internal staff and external groups In previous roles with the company, throughout the southwest on emerging Skerik has managed the core wire service, media topics and trends. including SEO, content syndication, audience development, media relations, Prior to joining PR Newswire, Atherton customer reporting and targeted spent over 7 years working within the distribution products. corporate communications, social media and marketing space with BusinessWire Skerik is a frequent and well received and Thomson Reuters where he helped speaker on the subjects of social media, companies and agencies of all sizes search engine optimization and PR realize their investor and marketing measurement. A graduate of Miami communications /PR goals and objectives. University in Oxford, OH, she also earned an MBA from Notre Dame. Atherton lives in Scottsdale with his wife, daughter, Lab and Weiner dog. .Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 69
  • 73. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement eBook contributors social data. An inspiring presenter and web entrepreneur, he has sold a social media business, won a Mark Zuckerberg hackathon, provided incisive commentary on social media for Sky News and is Christy Belden also a new parent. His latest startup Vice President of Media Marketing, turns the humble LeapFrog Interactive high-score-table into a verb, by letting companies create their own social data Belden is the Vice President of Marketing leaderboard of influencers, employees + Media for LeapFrog Interactive Agency. and even event delegates. Recently She has 12 years of experience within used by MTV at a blogger breakfast it the world of PPC, SEO, social media, contributed to a successful day, where email, mobile and traditional marketing their #VMABlogfast hashtag trended and she’s loved all of it. Belden holds globally, reaching hundreds of thousands her own when it comes to having a of people. Watch out or you might be the wellrounded and clear perspective on the one to get leaderboarded soon... ever-changing digital space, and she’s happy to share her knowledge. This year alone, Belden has managed to conduct a series of speaking engagements for local marketers, get published in various digital publications and win awards on Adam Blitzer behalf of LeapFrog Interactive. Her core Founder COO, Pardot responsibilities at LFI are to develop sound strategic direction on behalf of clients Blitzer is the Co-founder and COO for their media and marketing programs, of Pardot, a marketing automation so her knowledge of the digital space is provider. He is responsible for product paramount. Belden is a proud mother of management, marketing, and operations, two and an avid athlete. as well as a frequent speaker at industry events such as Dreamforce, SugarCon and American Marketing Association panels. Blitzer has been named to BtoB Magazine’s annual Who’s Who list for two consecutive years. Toby Beresford Founder, Beresford is CEO and founder at, an online tool to engage your tribe all powered byCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 70
  • 74. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement eBook contributors Previously, Chakraborty was Co-Founder and Principal of Inductis, which was acquired by EXL Service (NASDAQ: EXLS) in 2006. While at Inductis, he advised several Fortune 500 companies in the areas of Tom Bishop information management, marketing Director of Marketing Comm, analytics and credit risk analytics. In KnowledgeVision Systems, Inc one of his projects, Chakraborty led a multifunctional team to design and develop Bishop is Director of Marketing and an approximate text matching algorithm Communications at KnowledgeVision for which he obtained a US patent. Systems in Lincoln, Massachusetts. He is an experienced Marketing Professional Chakraborty received his education focused on brand strategy, content from IIT Delhi, Georgia Institute of marketing, social media, campaign Technology, and Massachusetts Institute management, market segmentation, of Technology. research and data analysis, and business development. Bishop brings a great deal of experience in start up companies that are positioned for rapid growth. He received his MBA from Boston University in 2002. Matthew Clyde President Chief Strategist, Ideas*Collide Marketing Communications Clyde began his creative career at the age of 19 when he received the Sundance Sudip Chakraborty Institutes Young Writer’s Award. The President/Founder, Xypress LLC experience launched his creative career which has taken him on creative Chakraborty founded Xypress with the assignments from New York to Costa Rica, vision of helping companies grow profits Arizona to Hawaii. by applying sophisticated analytics to big Over his diverse career, Clyde has worked data. He and his teams have partnered in Fortune 500 organizations, small with companies to apply analytics to startups and prestigious New York ad customer data for both marketing and agencies. He has created award-winning credit risk purposes. In particular, he has marketing campaigns and videos, been been a pioneer in the area of analytics in at the fore-front of internet marketing, the B2B space – especially, in integrating consulted top-authors, chefs and CEOs consumer data with small business data and launched his dream of having his to identify profitable opportunities. own agency—Ideas Collide, Inc. HisCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 71
  • 75. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement eBook contributors agency now serves clients worldwide from Brandeis University and is also including power-house brands such as certified in ITIL and ROI. She is an active Intel and Vitamin Water. judge at the Brandon Hall Group’s Excellence Awards in Learning. In 2007, Ideas Collide partnered with Best Western International to launch a social media program which has since garnered extensive media coverage, loyal followers and multiple recognitions from Travel Weekly and USA Today. Recently the HSMAI recognized Clyde with the Ruth Fine prestigious “Top 25 Mind’s in Marketing” President, Digital Strategist, Social Icing, LLC Award. His passion for life can be seen best through the amazing adventures he Social Icing is a public relations agency experiences with his wife and 3 children. focusing on web content production and social PR. As president, Fine has a few simple philosophies that keep her going: 1) be authentic, 2) do well by others, and, when all else fails, 3) keep it simple, stupid. She’s a writer at heart, and she loves the art and craft of a well-written word. Fine Yael Even-Levy gives a grateful nod to the necessities in Instructional Design Technologies life: coffee, cats, sincerity, and veracity for Manager, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP life. She lives for the feel-good factor, and dies for all things creative. Even-Levy (@JoelleYalin) is a manager of instructional design technologies “Style is knowing who you are, what at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC). you want to say, and not giving a damn.”  With over twenty years in learning ~Gore Vidal development, she has worked in a variety of industries including aerospace defense, software, professional services, and academia. Even-Levy’s expertise is in cutting-edge learning technologies and innovative delivery aligned to key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Lee Anne Forbes corporate goals and her passion is for Marketing Manager, Micro Strategies social media tools analytics, eLearning, Forbes is currently a Social Media mLearning, Immersive Learning Marketing Evangelist at Micro Strategies a Simulations (ILS), and virtual worlds. Systems Integration Company based in the Even-Levy holds a doctorate and master NY Metro area. She has a B.A. in Humanities degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies and from Providence College and an M.A. in a second master in Software EngineeringCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 72
  • 76. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement eBook contributors Corporate and Public Communication from create their online presences. Greenstein Seton Hall University. She is has a certificate also teaches courses on social media at in Program Management from Stevens the Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Institute of Technology in partnership with Fundraising at NYU SCPS. Lucent Technologies. Greenstein’s career, prior to starting Forbes began her career, in trading his own firm, has spanned corporate rooms in the stock and commodities and not-for-profit organizations such markets working for employers such as as the Twin Towers Fund, Microsoft, JP L.F. Rothschild, Unterberg, Towbin; Drexel Morgan, and New York University, as well Burnham, Lambert and AIG. She also as several start-ups. He has worked on worked for a variety of ground-floor start- events and programs for the New York up efforts. New Media Association, NY Software Industry Association, Social Media She then moved on to the high technology Camp, PodCampNYC, and the Supernova world of ATT, Lucent Technologies and HP. Conference, from moderating panels to In high-tech she held a variety of domestic coordinating pre- and post-conference and international management positions panelist interviews, managing media ncluding, Program Management, Product coverage, logistics, streaming media and Marketing, Market Intelligence, Global more. Events and Internal Communications Manager. He is currently a blogger for Inc. Magazine, writing the weekly Startup Toolkit column. He is president of the NYC Chapter of Social Media Club. Howard earned a B.S. from Cornell University, and a MPS from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). He Howard Greenstein lives Northwest of NYC with his wife, 2 President, Harbrooke Group kids, and a very smart hamster. Greenstein is a marketing technology strategist and President of the Harbrooke Group, which specializes in helping ompanies communicate with their customers using the latest web technologies. He has a deep Brianna Harney understanding of both the technology Data Analyst, Xypress LLC and marketing worlds, and sits at their intersection. He has worked with clients Harney graduated from Rutgers from small businesses to the Fortune 500, University in May 2011. She now works as Cable Networks, and Wall Street, as well a Data Analyst at a New Jersey company as major advocacy groups, helping them called Xypress.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 73
  • 77. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement eBook contributors At MWW, Hendler directs digital, social and creative strategy across all practice areas. As digital continues to democratize media, MWW recognizes the need for it’s clients to leverage the power of digital and social Margot Heiligman strategy, content creation, distribution and Director of Solution Management, SAP measurement. Prior to MWW, Hendler worked with Heiligman is Director of Solution Katalyst Media. Founded in 2000 by Management at SAP in the area of CRM, Ashton Kutcher, Katalyst was named top Sales, Marketing, Service, Support, Web 10 in advertising and marketing by Fast channel, eCommerce and social business. Company, Katalyst is a studio for social She has been managing social strategy media that connects entertainment with at SAP for over four years, including technology and brands. influencer marketing, community Prior to Katalyst, Hendler was the engagement, blogging and thought Worldwide Executive Creative Director leadership content development. Prior to for Edelman Digital. He directed SAP, Margot ran business development creative strategy with a focus on for B2B at Swisscom both in the US and digital engagement. Expertise included n Zurich, Switzerland. She was global everything from web site builds, Facebook product and alliances strategy at CRM programs, e-kits, online media relations, provider: Wishbone Systems. online promotions and partnerships, to Heiligman is passionate about working email marketing and mobile campaigns. with companies who innovate in new Hendler’s entrepreneurial spirit was markets and new products by taking their grounded with 10 years of experience industry structure to the next level. within the WPP family at Grey Advertising. Hendler was the Executive Creative Director and co-founder of G2 at WPP from 1992 and grew the group from 2 people to over 100+ in NY, while spearheading the development of over a dozen international Jared Hendler offices around the WPP network. EVP, Global Director: Digital, Social Hendler is the author of a digital media Creative blog, a prior board member of the Art Directors Club, a Blue Ribbon Judge for Hendler brings over 20 years of creative management experience in branding, the Emmy Award’s broadband category advertising, digital media technology and is an advisory board member of Social forged from over a decade in the corporate Media Week. He participates at industry world along with having founded and events such as: Adtech, Digital Hollywood, managed 2 new media startups. Adage 2.0.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 74
  • 78. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement eBook contributors He is a graduate of the Art Center College the pulse of developing consumer and of Design in Pasadena, CA and resides as social media trends, which information their East Coast Chapter Chair. she uses to benefit and advise clients. Additionally, as founder and blogger at, she has unique insights and the inside track with women consumers and bloggers. Vatsala Isaac Independent Marketing Consultant Isaac is a marketing and communications consultant for corporations and small Chad Lio businesses in the Greater Seattle Area. Digital Marketing Manager, The Hoffman For six years now, Isaac has specialized in Agency marketing strategy and communication, sales enablement and employee relations. Lio (@CJLio) is the Digital Marketing Manager of The Hoffman Agency, When she isn’t creating a riveting an advertising and digital agency in campaign for her clients, she can be found Jacksonville, FL. His experience in the head bobbing to Steely Dan and resisting digital realm comes from almost six years french fries. of SEO and PPC Campaigns within the vacation rental industry. After joining The Hoffman Agency over a year ago, he now focuses on the use of social media as well as mobile technology in elevating brands within healthcare, hospitality and B2B Anne-Marie Kovacs services. Principal, BOOMbox Network A classically-trained marketing professional, Kovacs’ experience also includes more than ten years specifically in the online marketing arena. As a creative strategist, she leverages Noemi Pollack traditional marketing and branding Founder CEO, The Pollack PR Marketing fundamentals with digital technologies Group to develop truly integrated multi- Pollack, CEO and Founder of The Pollack channel strategies for her clients’ brands PR Marketing Group (PPMG) in 1985, and services. Also an avid lifestyle and has extensive experience in consumer trendwatcher, she has her finger on marketing communications, trade,Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 75
  • 79. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement eBook contributors business-to-business, professional service, community outreach and corporate public relations. The sum of her professional experience includes both agency and in-house corporate positions. Her strengths lie in developing Todd Price clients’ strategic directions, counseling as Director of Business Development, to corporate positioning, clarifying and Yellow Dux crystallizing message points, developing strong branding programs – all geared Price has been involved in health care for to establishing desired perceptions the past 8 years, most recently serving as among clients’ various publics, resulting the Executive Director of the American in positive marketplace behavior Red Cross. Previously, Price has worked changes. Under her guidance, the agency to promote hospice services within the has grown into a full service agency, community and throughout the state. servicing from start-up firms to Fortune Some of the projects he’s had an impact 500 companies in their PR/marketing with are the ‘Except for Six’ documentary, communications needs, regionally, ‘Have you Had the Talk’ campaign, St. nationally and internationally. Clients Luke’s South African hospice outreach and have included such companies as Brita, the new US Veteran’s hospice education Inc. (a Clorox Company subsidiary), Rain service. In addition, Price actively serves Bird Corporation,, Eclipse from Fujitsu-Ten, Altra Biofuels, The Sage on numerous groups within the state and Group, Inter-Cal Corporation, Trident Data nation in terms of shaping health care Systems, WHAM-O, Inc., among others. direction. Michigan Society for Healthcare Planners and Marketers, American Additionally, her background as a College of Healthcare Executives, Society graduate of The Juilliard School, has for Healthcare Strategy and Market enabled the agency to add a focus on Development and Aging Services of performing arts organizations and related Michigan are some of the groups with organizations. Pollack serves on a number which he works. of organization’s Board of Directors, has been featured in roundup stories within Currently, Price is working through the her industry, and published numerous consulting group, Yellow Dux as a health articles in publications such as the care thought leader to hospitals and Los Angeles Business Journal and the national product accounts. His Ph.D in Business Handbook. Information Systems Management is focused on E-commerce applications in a health care retail environment. Formally a Chippewa undergrad from Central Michigan University, He went onto Eastern Illinois University for his Master’sCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 76
  • 80. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement eBook contributors of Education and has recently finished has been the driving force to launch his Master of Business Administration (bow tie and all) from Ferris State University. Outside of In addition, Rusk is the host of healthcare, he also teaches evening and SocialBuzzONAIR on 880AM The Biz here in on-line classes for Montcalm Community South Florida. The show focuses on Social College and Baker College. Media news, discussions and interviews With whatever time is left in the day easily with influencers within the Social Media becomes consumed with three children space. It airs LIVE on Friday’s at 5pm ET. (ages 10, 8 7), two cats who act like the He was previously the President of Kayne babies of the family and a beautiful wife of Consulting Corp (www. KayneConsulting. 12 years. Sometimes one can see Price on com), a boutique marketing consulting the local golf courses donating balls to the firm based in Miami, that serviced small area’s trees and water holes. to mediumsized businesses with direct marketing campaigns. Rusk resides in Miami, FL, and is a fulltime dad to 10 year old daughter Kayla. Sebastian Rusk Founder CEO Rusk (@sebrusk) has developed a very unique approach to creating buzz and Steph Russell making noise for brands via social media. Online Marketing Strategist, Pulled His ability to influence those around him and his forte of being able to make Russell is the founder and CEO of Pulled, his crazy ideas a reality, are what make an online marketing strategy company. a reality today. As an Internet entrepreneur herself, with over 12 years of expertise, Russell works Think of him as “a walking billboard.” with entrepreneurs and businesses to was conceptualized educate and inspire them to create the by Founder CEO Rusk. With 12+ years life and future they’ve always wanted, of experience in Marketing and Online by utilizing creative online marketing Ad space, he has a real knack for not only strategies that bring in the cash and ‘thinking outside the box’, but showing create more freedom. there can be reasonable thinking INSIDE that box! Rusk has a passion for Social Media, creating “buzz” for brands and spreading the word on the power behind this different kind of technology; whichCopyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 77
  • 81. eBook The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement eBook contributors Megan Sterritt Andrea Walker Principal Director of Account Services, Vice President Client Relations  Digital KWE Partners Media of Panorama Public Relations Sterritt is Principal and Director of Walker is a digital media planner, social Account Services at KWE Partners, a media strategist and technology industry Marketing and Public Relations agency expert. She manages the firm’s SEO client specializing in luxury travel, hospitality projects, social media measurement and and real estate. She is involved in all management, and implementation of aspects of strategic positioning and new technologies. She manages key client creative services, while also managing relationships, is a writer-blogger, and is the firm’s hospitality and lifestyle responsible for identifying trends and accounts, supervising events, promotions, techniques for developing social media traditional media and social media. strategies. She can best be reached at Sterritt is a member of the Greater Miami The Beaches Hotel Association and NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) – Miami Young Professionals Committee. She writes a locally syndicated blog and counts among her passions coaching a high school lacrosse team. Megan received a B.S. in Public Relations and Psychology with a minor in Marketing from the University of Miami (FL).Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. 78
  • 82. About PR Newswire PR Newswire ( is the premier global provider of multimedia platforms that enable marketers, corporate communicators, sustainability officers, public affairs and investor relations officers to leverage content to engage with all their key audiences. Having pioneered the commercial news distribution industry 58 years ago, PR Newswire today provides end-to-end solutions to produce, optimize and target content – from rich media to online video to multimedia – and then distribute content and measure results across traditional, digital, mobile and social channels. Combining the world’s largest multi-channel, multi-cultural content distribution and optimization network with comprehensive workflow tools and platforms, PR Newswire enables the world’s enterprises to engage opportunity everywhere it exists. PR Newswire serves tens of thousands of clients from offices in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, and is a UBM plc company.Copyright © 2012 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved.