Tag: SMMW17


The Next Evolution of Influencer Marketing: 4 Key Insights And What They Mean

We marketers love to chase shiny objects. It’s part of the constant drive to experiment, optimize, and improve. Any new tactic that looks promising is going to attract our attention.

During his presentation last week at Social Media Marketing World, Lee Odden offered proof of just how shiny influencer marketing is: It can potentially return $9.60 for every dollar invested. Campaigns that include influencers have shown a 10x increase in conversion rates. And those customers who convert stick around–influencer campaigns tend to achieve a 37% increase in retention.

Clearly, influencer marketing deserves the buzz it’s been getting. But most marketers are just getting started. There’s plenty of activity, but not much strategy. It takes a concentrated, strategic, sustained effort to fully realize the benefits.

Earlier this year, Toprank Marketing released Influencer 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing. Lee offered four key insights from the report, and what each means for marketers looking to take their influencer marketing to the next level.

What Is Influence? What Is Influencer Marketing?

Before we get into insights and best practices, it’s important to define terms. Lee defines influence like this:


Influence is the ability to effect action. Fans, friends, and followers are meaningless unless the…
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That definition alone should change the way you approach influencer marketing. It’s not about chasing the most famous person…it’s about the person who best can move their audience.

Here’s how Lee defines influencer marketing:

“Influencer marketing develops relationships with internal and industry experts with active networks to co-create content that helps drive mutual value and measurable business goals.

There’s a lot to unpack in that sentence. First, influencer marketing means developing relationships, not isolated pieces of content or campaigns. Second, look for influencers in your company as well as outside of it. Third, you’re looking to create mutual value, value beyond compensation. Finally, influencer marketing can and should serve measurable business goals.

What Not to Do for Effective Influencer Marketing

Based on the definition above, avoid the following five missteps to greatly increase your effectiveness:

  1. One-Off Campaigns: Don’t activate influencers, have them contribute, then abandon them and start all over next time. Aim for sustainable relationships.
  2. Focusing on Celebrities: They may have a huge audience, but celebrities are hard to reach, expensive to activate, and their audience may not be the most relevant for you.
  3. Using Influencer Marketing for Ads Only: Our agency co-creates content with influencers–eBooks, blog posts, video. This type of content lets influencers go beyond endorsing your product or service to create something of real value.
  4. Only Doing Pay-to-Play: We’re not saying “never pay influencers.” But when you’re building relationships and co-creating cool stuff, you can have genuine mutual value without exchanging cash.
  5. Only Measuring Social Metrics: You can measure the business value of influencer marketing, not just engagement and brand lift. Start your program with these goals in mind and build tracking in.

Four Key Influencer Marketing Insights (And What to Do with Them)

Influence 2.0 draws on the expertise of noted industry analyst Brian Solis, as well as over 100 experts from brands like Microsoft, Adobe, and SAP. Lee dove deep into the data to present these insights and the best practices they suggest.

Insight #1: Influencer Marketing Is Underfunded

On average, companies have just 10% of their marketing budget allocated to influencer marketing. Half of the companies analyzed are investing less than $100,000 per year–which is a small slice of the pie for enterprise-level organizations.

As interest in influencer marketing grows, however, the budgets are starting to grow. 55% plan on spending more money in the coming year. 70% of companies who already have an influencer marketing platform in place plan to increase their budgets.

What to Do: It’s important to understand the opportunity for return on investment, Lee said. Think of what it will cost to implement a program versus the cost of losing access to the top influencers in your industry when the competition gets their first.

Think about implementing programs, not projects. Long-term relationships create the most value for your spend.

Insight #2: B2B is behind B2C

Fifty-five percent of B2C companies have an ongoing and integrated influencer marketing program. Only 15% of B2B marketers could say the same. Overall, 49% of B2B marketers say they’re still in the experimentation phase.

What to do: B2B influencer marketing is a different animal than B2C. You’re not likely to get ahead by paying Youtube stars to pose with your cloud-based network solution.

Start by engaging expert help to research the market, identify influencers, and develop a plan tied to ROI.

It also makes sense to invest in technology. It’s hard to start a sustainable program with a spreadsheet. Influencer marketing platforms can help you identify, qualify, and engage with influencers, as well as help with measurement and optimization.

To kick off your program, start by activating your clients. Start with people who already advocate for your company, invite them to co-create content, and scale up the content that performs best.

Insight 3: The Top Influencer Marketing Goals

Brand advocacy and awareness were at the top of respondents’ minds, with 94% and 92% respectively saying these were the top goals. 88% said reaching new audience was a top goal as well.

Sales conversion and lead generation were still in the top ten, but trailed with 74% and 67%. These results demonstrate that any marketers aren’t aware of influencer marketing’s potential for lower-funnel goals.

What to Do: Keep ROI-proving business goals in mind when designing your program. Make sure to align brand and influencer goals, too–when you have alignment with influencers, it’s easier to inspire organic participation.

Insight #4: Areas Most Impacted by Influencer Marketing

When we asked in which areas has influencer marketing made the biggest difference for marketers, 80% of respondents said content marketing, and 75% said social media marketing. These two are definitely the biggest opportunities; in fact, Lee said companies who aren’t using influencers in these areas are at a disadvantage.

What to Do: Social media and content marketing are the baseline. Beyond that, make your program more sophisticated by integrating it across the organization. Look for internal influencers in your marketing, PR, customer success, community management, and HR departments. Externally, look to industry thought leaders, your own customers, and journalists to round out your program.

Three Levels of Influencer Engagement

It’s easy to get started with influencer marketing. From the first stage, you can gradually grow your efforts to a sustained long-term program built on strong relationships. Lee identified three levels of influencer engagement. These are additive, not exclusive–we currently use all three at TopRank Marketing.

  1. Microcontent: Short-form content used as a “seasoning” for brand-created content. Think quotes, tips, and insights from influencers added to your brand assets. Microcontent can include influencer outreach or simply be curated from external sources.
  2. Campaigns: A campaign includes longer-form contributions directly from the influencer, like an interview for an eBook. You’re asking the influencer to co-create content, which you can repurpose–eBook to blog post to social media images with quotes, for example.
  3. Community: The ultimate goal for a sustainable program is a dedicated group of influencers that contribute a variety of short and long form content for brand communications. These are people who have relationships with your brand and your people, who co-create content motivated by shared goals to realize mutual value.

Everyone Is Influential

As Lee says, everyone is influential about something. Regardless of your industry, it’s high time to find and activate the people who can make a difference with your audience. Make an investment, make a commitment, and start building relationships that can lead to a long-lasting program.

For the full report from TopRank Marketing, Traackr, and Altimeter Group, read Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing.


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The Next Evolution of Influencer Marketing: 4 Key Insights And What They Mean | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post The Next Evolution of Influencer Marketing: 4 Key Insights And What They Mean appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Creating Breakthrough Content: There Ain’t No Magic Feather #SMMW17

If you want to write amazing content like Ann Handley, don’t be a Dumbo.

Dumbo was convinced he could only fly while holding a “magic feather.” When he lost the feather mid-flight, he plummeted toward the ground. It wasn’t until he believed he could fly without the feather that he was able to take off again.

Too many would-be content creators are searching for their magic feather–the book, online course, or perfect antique typewriter that will make them a writer. And while they search, they can’t or won’t write.

So Ann began her session at Social Media Marketing World by asking us all to recite a pledge out loud:

“I don’t believe in unicorns, fairies, or Santa. There is no magic feather.”

Despite the slander against Mr. Claus (who I have on good authority is very real), it’s a crucial first step. You have to know that good writing is a learned skill, not something magically bestowed on those with the right talisman.

You can do it. You can get better at it.

Here are Ann Handley’s five tips for writing “ludicrously spectacular” content.

#1: It Starts with Not Writing

At least half of the writing process doesn’t look anything like writing. Now, you may be thinking, “frequently what I’m doing while I’m supposed to be writing is not writing.” That’s not quite what Ann means, though.

“Not writing” means being in idea-gathering mode all the time, when you’re out in the world, bingeing on Netflix, or just daydreaming at work. Writers should gather ideas like squirrels gather nuts–always on the lookout, never passing one up, and stashing them where we can get at them later.

The difference between a productive writing session and a frustrating hour staring at a blank screen is having a stash of ideas to go through. Whether you keep them in a notebook, or a service like Evernote or OneNote, commit to hoarding at least five ideas a day.

When you’re ready to write, snag an idea from your stash and, as Ann puts it, “explore the daylights out of it.” Use tools like BloomBerry, Board Reader, and Buzzsumo to see how people are talking about the idea, so you can develop your own approach.

#2: Write an Ugly First Draft

When you do start to write your first draft, silence your inner critic and focus on getting the words from your brain to the screen. Know that you will revise the work at least once–probably more–before you publish. It’s incredibly freeing to accept that your first draft will be bad.  As Ann puts it, “You can’t write well without first writing spectacularly badly.”

That first draft doesn’t have to be a fully-fleshed out draft, either. It could be a list of points you want to cover, a really informal summary of the piece, or even something you dictate into your phone. The point is to give yourself something you can build on. It’s a giant leap from nothing to something–anything you do after that first leap will be easier. So whatever it takes to get something on the page, go for it.

After you finish your ugly first draft, let it rest for a while. Give your brain a little time off and let the piece sit. You’ll be better equipped to edit if you have some distance.

#3: Screw & Do

It’s not as salacious as it sounds: first, identify the ‘screw,’ the one key point for your reader that your whole piece revolves around. Second, do the editing you need to get to the screw as quickly and compellingly as possible.

How do you find your screw? Develop pathological empathy for your reader. Ann recommends the “so what?” process. Start with the statement you want to make, then imagine your reader shouting “SO WHAT?” Keep asking “SO WHAT?” and refining your message, and you will find the purest version of what you want to say, expressed in terms of benefit to the reader.

For the editing process, start with a self-edit by chainsaw. Ann says, “make every paragraph earn its keep.” In the first pass you’re trying to carve out huge chunks of writing that, while they may be very pretty or witty, aren’t serving your screw. Seek to create momentum for the reader by cutting out the junk that slows them down.

Then break it down to the sentence level. Edit with your scalpel, making sure each sentence is earning its keep. Edit for voice–when you read it out loud, does it sound like a person with a point of view wrote it? As Ann says, “If the label fell off, would they know it’s you?”

After the content is in fighting trim, then you can edit for grammar, formatting, all the small stuff. But the grammar should be the last consideration. There’s no point in repainting a condemned house. Get it structurally sound first.

#4: Write a Killer First Line

“Your reader is always looking for reasons NOT to read,” Ann says. You know it’s true–we’re always looking for the next distraction. A boring first line does your reader a favor; it gives them permission to move on.

Your first line needs to captivate the reader. Always lead with something that can capture attention. It could be a funny line, a wild statistic, or even just a strong point of view. Don’t be afraid to evoke an emotion, whether it’s amusement, wonder, or even fear.

#5: It’s All about the Voice

Your voice–or brand voice–can be a major differentiator in a sea of same-y content. Your voice should express:

  • Who you are
  • Why you do what you do
  • What you are like to deal with

Which means, of course, you need to know the answer to these questions before you start.

Marketers are often encouraged to ask, “If your brand were a person, would you want to hang out with it?” When you’re writing brand content, you’re asking people to hang out with your brand. Not every brand needs to be the life of the party, but your voice should communicate why your brand is a worthy companion.

Take the Spectacular Writing Pledge

Even in the age of infographics and videos, good writing and great content excel. From landing pages to blog posts, eBooks to ad copy, let’s pledge to create ludicrously spectacular content.

Feel free to stand up wherever you are and repeat out loud Ann Handley’s pledge:

“I will collect & hoard 5 ideas a day. I will not hit backspace while writing a first draft. I will not go straight from writing to publishing. I will have pathological empathy for the reader. I will not sound like everyone else. And there ain’t no magic feather!”

And if you do stand up and say it out loud, please take a video and tag Ann @MarketingProfs when you post it.

The post Creating Breakthrough Content: There Ain’t No Magic Feather #SMMW17 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Superheroes of Social Media: Your Must-See Guide to #SMMW17

In a past life, I was a minor internet celebrity. One big perk to that dubious career was being a vendor at San Diego Comic Con for seven straight years. Our little indie booth saw visits from superheroes and celebrities alike. Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, DC & Marvel Comics: It’s truly a nerdy paradise.

Now I’m headed back to the convention center for a different kind of meetup: Social Media Marketing World 2017. I’m expecting fewer costumed superheroes (although with the right pair of glasses I could pull off a Seth Godin costume). But there will be plenty of astonishing and amazing marketers to meet.

These folks may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound—though I hear Ann Handley has an impressive long jump—but when it comes to getting results on social media, they’re nothing short of heroic.

Here are five social media superheroes I’m excited to see at Social Media Marketing World, and a quick rundown of their sessions.

#1: Carlos Gil

The Marketer: Carlos is an influencer, sought-after public speaker, social media strategist and Snapchat expert. He’s currently the Head of Global Social Media for BMC Software. Carlos’ YouTube Channel is an entertaining, informative mix of personal anecdote and professional insight.

The Session: Snapchat Strategies for Marketing Your Business, March 23, 2:00-2:45pm

For many businesses—especially in the B2B space—Snapchat is something of an enigma. Besides applying funny filters to our CEO’s headshots, what’s the marketing potential? Where’s the ROI? Carlos’ session promises to teach “how to grow your Snapchat account, strategies for content creation, tips for working with influencers including examples from notable brands and measuring the $ ROI of your marketing efforts. You will also discover how to use Spectacles for content creation and how to balance Instagram vs. Snapchat to engage your community.”

Secret Superhero Identity: The Flash

There’s only one superhero who matches up with the man who created “The Hustle Diaries.”

#2: Ann Handley

The Marketer: Ann is a personal hero of mine, as she should be for anyone in content creation. She is waging a war on boring content, fighting for truth, justice, and personality. As the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, Ann practices what she preaches, curating and creating a treasure trove of instructional content. Think you’re not in the content creation business? Think again: As the title of her bestselling book points out: Everybody Writes.

The Session: How to Create Breakthrough Written Marketing Content, March 23, 11:30am-12:15pm

When visual is the new headline, video is the new blog post, and orange is the new black, do we really need to focus on the written word? Absolutely. Ann says, “Even in our social media-driven world, good writing still matters. Now more than ever. Good writing can move your marketing from mediocre to remarkable. From boring to brilliant.” Ann’s writing is always compelling, and her session is bound to be indispensable for marketers of every stripe.

Secret Superhero Identity: Oracle

From her tiny writing house, Ann keeps marketers informed and masterminds a content empire.

#3: Lee Odden

The Marketer: Lee is the CEO of TopRank Marketing, author of the bestselling book Optimize, and a speaker at marketing conferences around the world. Lee is a pioneer in integrated marketing, influencer marketing, and participation marketing, keeping steadily ahead of the curve as TopRank Marketing grows.

The Session: Future of Influencer Marketing: Strategies and Trends March 24, 10:15-11:00am

Influencer marketing has the potential to generate amazing results for influencers, marketers, and audiences alike. But most of us are still trying to define what exactly influencer marketing means, its potential and best practices. This session focuses on the habits of successful marketers to identify trends to embrace and obstacles to avoid, based on Influence 2.0, TopRank Marketing’s research with Altimeter and Traackr.

Secret Superhero Identity: Professor X

He’s built a team of super-powered marketers and seems to have the ability to read his audience’s minds.

#4: Koka Sexton

The Marketer: Koka is the Godfather of Social Selling, the strategic use of social media for sales enablement and acceleration. After a meteoric rise through the ranks at LinkedIn, he is currently the Global Industry Principal of Social Selling at Hootsuite. Koka’s ability to bridge the divide between sales and marketing demonstrates his deep understanding of what social means to business.

The Session: How to Turn LinkedIn Into a Funnel for New Leads, March 24, 11:15m-12:00pm

Koka has unique insight into winning strategies on LinkedIn, as the only LinkedIn Influencer who has ever worked at the company. Expect deep-level insights from someone who helped shape the platform into the B2B powerhouse it is today.

Secret Superhero Identity: Iron Man

He’s a sales and marketing machine with charisma to spare.

#5: Mari Smith

The Marketer: Known as the “Facebook Queen,” Mari has a decade of experience as a social media consultant and trainer. She’s an international keynote speaker and has shared the stage with luminaries like Sir Richard Branson, Ariana Huffington, and Guy Kawasaki. The numbers speak for themselves: Mari has over 650 thousand followers on Facebook alone, and over 1.5 million across social channels.

The Session: How to Improve Your Facebook Marketing ROI, March 23, 10:30-11:15am

Of the 60 million businesses who have a Facebook Page, less than a tenth are actively advertising, and even fewer are seeing positive ROI from their efforts. Many businesses gave up on earning organic reach on the platform as Facebook placed emphasis on paid promotion. Mari’s session promises to teach “specific content marketing secrets, savvy engagement tactics, and cleverly allocated paid promotion,” to “improve your organic reach by properly integrating strategic paid efforts.”

Secret Superhero Identity: Ms. Marvel

She’s a high-flying, high-visibility marketer who can still deliver a knockout for her clients.

Marketers, Assemble!

If you’re headed to Social Media Marketing World, keep an eye out for me and Ashley Zeckman. Feel free to stop by and say hello any time you see the gleam off the top of my head. If you can’t make it follow along on Twitter at @TopRank, @LeeOdden, @NiteWrites and @azeckman.

What sessions are you most excited to attend? Let me know in the comments.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
Superheroes of Social Media: Your Must-See Guide to #SMMW17 | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Superheroes of Social Media: Your Must-See Guide to #SMMW17 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.