Archives for posts with tag: fans

age of infuence
I’ve been following Neal, as a voice on marketing and social media, for easily 10 years.

When he announced the opportunity to buy his new book in advance, receive a signed copy, and be mentioned in the acknowledgments for to helping to support the book’s creation; I took him up on his offer – LinkedIn paying off once again.

You can find me mentioned, and neatly bisected, between page ix and x.

Fame at last.

I delve into this minutia because Neal’s book deals with, and makes the case for, influence and influencers. In how to both leverage and engage influencers in a successful business relationship, but also on how to be a successful influencer in the first place.

Influencer Marketing has received rather a bad wrap outside of the marketing world – particularly by the business community. This is mainly due to news stories of millennials traveling the world, and expecting hundreds of dollars in free goods and services in return for a good word on social media of dubious value. It is also not helped by stories of influencers using their networks to “take revenge” on businesses they feel slighted by; or who have spurned their advances.

“The Age of Influence” makes the case for influencer marketing to actually be an extension of normal social media engagement, taken to its next logical level. Those of us that have our own brands, and brands that we work for, on social know that our own personal posts are treated much more favorably by algorithm gods than brand business posts. It’s a “pay to play” world.

Influencer marketing leverages the personal voice for business purposes. Where “The Age of Influence” really succeeds is in showing the reader that influencer marketing should really be about the relationship between the brand, the influencer, and their larger social following. That the pinnacle of influencer marketing is not a paid Instagram post by someone famous. The pinnacle is rather the partnership, on a long-term basis, between a fan of a product or service, who also has their own fans who trusts the message because of the messenger. Trust is based on authenticity.

There is, of course, a tendency for brands to want to control their message, voice, and overall look. This is normal. As marketing professionals, we spend a lot of money, time, and energy into creating a look and personality for a brand that we are happy with. However, to do this with influencers is to stifle their natural creativity and voice that made them influencers in the first place. Likewise, influencers are not content creation adjuncts to the marketing department. Working with influencers, whose followings come in all shapes and sizes, is a partnership that could be allowing them to interview staff, get a sneak peek at a product or service, or giving discount codes, or products, to followers. The more successful the influencer, the more like working with a traditional media company the relationship becomes. But at its core, when influencer marketing is successful it is about a relationship where both parties are happy and getting what they want out of the collaboration.

There are significant legal issues with paid collaborations between influencers and brands. And while “The Age of Influence” does not deal with this in depth, it does warn of the pitfalls and make it clear that these are issues to address with any campaign that must be taken seriously.

“The Age of Influence” is much more than a “how to” manual of influencer marketing; it is a treatise on how influence is actually about boosting engagement and having a more dynamic relationship between customer and brand. How in its earliest of stages, influencer marketing is indistinguishable for just good social media engagement. As Neal states in the book, don’t get too focused on the tools; but the tools to get started are all in “The Age of Influence.”

If you feel that influencer marketing is not for you; “The Age of Influence” begs to differ, and if your interest is already there then it is the all-important bible.

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For a field supposedly bereft of metrics, social media is full of them.

I have more Facebook fans / Twitter followers / blog subscribers than you do. My tweets get re-tweeted more often, more people are talking about this on Facebook, and every blog post has a hundred comments. And, of course, the crowning achievement, my Klout score is higher than yours.

I’ve had a couple of run-ins lately with social media envy. The first was a blog post that was very popular for all the wrong reasons – I took a position that lots of people disagreed with. I don’t regret that post (or the sentiment it contained), but it did get me thinking on the nature of why that post was so “popular” compared to others on my blog. Certainly, it has been a long understood concept that controversy boosts readership (just ask a tabloid journalist). However, what really made me start thinking on this topic was why would readers engage more just to tell me I’m wrong? Does this kind of thinking carry over into more corporate blogging? Should I start my next vet practice blog with the words “I hate pets?”

Obviously, you won’t find any anti-pet blog posts from me any time soon. But it led me to start reassessing as to why I decided to start blogging in the first place.

The next thing that really set off the social media envy was Facebook. Working in small communities, and have having a very successful Facebook presence on the two major pages I have run as a veterinary practice manager, I believe I am justifiably proud of both the number of fans and the level of engagement, without vast sums of cash being sunk into the pockets of Mark Zuckerberg. My pages have had significantly better engagement, and fan bases than my competitors, or other local businesses. Of course, it is therefore disheartening to come across others who seem to be doing a better job – with more fans and better engagement, even if they are not in your market. Social Media envy I hate you.

The bottom line, however, is that social media envy, like envy and jealously in general is pointless and stupid. The real questions to be asking ones self when faced with social media envy are:

1: Does my presence achieve what I want it to achieve?

2: If someone else is achieving more than I am how can I learn from them and is it even possible for me to do something similar? There is a big difference, for example, in running a Facebook page for a rock band versus running a page for a veterinary hospital or a restaurant.

3: Am I making forward progress and do my clients, and potential clients, like what my online presence delivers for them?

Social media, is a element of a marketing strategy, not a marketing strategy in itself. It is a tool to achieve your goals. And those goals can be quite ethereal. If social media is not working for you, then it is time to try something else or learn from those who doing what you want to be able to do.

It is not a race.

It is not a competition.

It is a tool.

It makes no sense to judge yourself, or even the tool, by how others use it.

Comments, good, bad, and indifferent are always welcome – flame away!   

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