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We were talking during a business development call about the advantages and approaches to what is commonly called “influencer marketing,” and how a consumer brand might incorporate it into its social media strategy.

The Limitations of Most Influencer Marketing Strategy Implementations

Ingluencer-MarketingPut simply, influencer marketing involves a brand attempting to engage with individuals that have attractive, targeted audiences the brand hopes to reach with its marketing messages. The potential influencers can range from celebrities – either the “real” or the “Internet” type – with large audiences to experts and personalities attracting audiences with shared interest in particular subject areas.

My comment was the way we see brands approach influencer marketing, the strategy and execution is typically woefully lacking.

Too often (at least based on the inquiries The Brainzooming Group receives), the initial engagement comes via email or Twitter right when the requesting brand expects help and support. There’s an assumed interest in devoting time, effort, and attention to promote a book, app, or event simply based on the presumption that whatever the organization is pitching will be interesting for your readers.

The Right Way to Build Mutually-Beneficial Relationships

Contrast that with the initial and ongoing interaction we’ve had with Stephen Lahey of the Small Business Talent podcast. Stephen, who is the recognized number one Brainzooming fan, started actively sharing Brainzooming content within his network several years ago.

After some time, he reached out to talk on the phone months in advance of starting his Small Business Talent podcast. It was a two-way conversation about both our businesses and aspirations, including his plans for the podcast. That and subsequent conversations turned into a request to be a guest on the new podcast at a mutually convenient time.

Our relationship has grown into multiple appearances on the podcast, creating completely new, three-part Brainzooming content for Stephen’s audience, and regularly commenting and sharing new podcast updates. In addition, we have regular calls that continue the discussion about our business strategies. And all the while, Stephen remains unbelievably generous in sharing our content daily with his audience across multiple social networks.

The thing is that’s not an exclusive relationship Stephen has with Brainzooming. He’s doing the same things with other past and future podcast guests.

That’s what building an engaged network of supporters is all about.

The challenge is though, it takes planning, it’s not immediate, it’s not quick, and you couldn’t easily hire an agency to implement the strategy for your brand. Brands thus default to what passes for influencer marketing, thinking they can check that box off the social media strategy list.

7 Lessons for Improving an Influencer Marketing Strategy

If you want to pursue relationship building and engagement (as opposed to simply influencer marketing) here are our seven recommended lessons:

  1. Don’t make your initial contact a request for someone to do something for your brand.
  2. Go beyond electronic communication to engage personally and actually TALK with each other.
  3. Start by GIVING something to the individual you want to build a relationship with so you have done something for them before you ask them to do something for your brand.
  4. Have a variety of ways for the individual to engage so he or she can pick something that fits their aspirations and needs.
  5. Introduce the individuals you are targeting to one another and others within your network to create stronger connections.
  6. Do as much of the work for them as possible to increase the likelihood they will share your messages.
  7. Concentrate as much on elevating their stature as your brand’s stature because doing so will in turn increase your brand’s exposure.

These recommended lessons are harder than a slapped together influencer marketing strategy. They’ll actually work to create long-lasting relationships with your brand, however.

You decide what strategy makes more sense for your brand. – Mike Brown

 

Want to Learn More about Small Business Talent? You can find Stephen Lahey and his online resources at www.smallbusinesstalent.com (subscribe to the podcast and find more of your ideal clients using The SmallBusinessTalent.com LinkedIn Power Checklist® – it’s free).

 

“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question. Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social business strategies with these nine diagnostics. 

You're minutes away from stronger social media success!  Download



 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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“What’s after Facebook?”

That’s the question a non-profit executive director asked. The non-profit has been using Facebook very successfully for specific fund raising purposes. Her very valid concern is what happens when Facebook finally changes its algorithm to the point where her organization’s updates get no attention without paying for it?

It’s an important social media strategy question for any brand linking elements of its organizational success to a social networking platform performing in a certain way. You might as well go ahead and figure that if your strategy’s success is tied to some other organization’s Terms of Service, your strategy’s future success is at risk.

Given that, the question isn’t so much about what happens after Facebook as it is, “Why is what the organization is doing on Facebook currently working so well?”

  • Is it the audience?
  • The type of requests?
  • The way the specific requests are delivered?
  • The level and type of engagement this audience group has with the organization?
  • The ease with which the audience can respond?

Or, is it really something about Facebook that makes it all work?

A Social Media Strategy for Right Now

With solid strategic answers to these questions, it’s vital, as soon as possible, to start engaging the audience in new ways. The objective is to replicate, as best possible, the role Facebook (or some other platform) plays in the successful engagement the organization has cultivated.

That may mean growing its ability to use email, text, or other “owned” communication channels to reach its audience at critical times with comparable requests.

How to Think About Social Networks

New-House

One of our most popular social media strategy posts features a variety of offline analogies to focus your strategic thinking on various aspects of social media. Here’s another analogy to add to the list. It pertains to social networks in general:

“If you aren’t creating the terms of service for a social network, think about the platform like you would a college apartment. You might invest a few dollars and a little bit of time to spruce it up. You would never sink real money into fixing up the apartment and making it better, however, because somebody else owns it, you may only be there for a short period of time, and while you’re there, you’ll probably throw some wild parties and trash the place. Plus, ultimately, you’ll want to have a place that’s really your own. That’s where you’re safe investing to build it out and make sure it’s exactly what you want.”

So if you have been investing most of your social emphasis on social networks, consider yourself warned. Start thinking about how to fix up and take better advantage of your long-term home – not your college apartment! – Mike Brown

 

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming email updates.

 

“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social business strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social  Strategy.”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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After my Brainzooming workshop on creating fantastic content at the Social Media Strategies Summit, one attendee took exception to it. His point of contention was the model we use that suggests brands think about content creation as if they were television networks. The point is television networks have been successfully creating and curating content for years; they have also historically found a balance between entertainment and commercial messages that still attracts audiences.

150223-TV-Exec

In our view, for brands struggling with creating a significant amount of audience-focused content, thinking about a television network is helpful. Nearly everyone is familiar with and sees comparable television network examples that stimulate new ideas and strategies.

He told me later (both in conversation and on the workshop review) that I’m the only speaker on content marketing or social media strategy he’s EVER heard make this case. I personally think that’s good considering all the me-too crap you hear at conferences.

The challenge to this apparently unique perspective on content marketing strategy focused on two areas:

  1. TV is losing viewership so what television networks do isn’t solid advice
  2. Social media held the promise of completely new ways of interacting with audiences, and the TV model is inconsistent with that promise

It’s true that television viewership is declining. It’s also true that social media is / was supposed to be different. Despite this, I still stand behind our recommendation for thinking about creating content as a TV network would.

Why?

TV networks have always had to:

  • Consider the audience and what it likes in making content decisions
  • Wade through many more content ideas than the audience will ever see just to fill its content calendar
  • Use entertainment value as a major factor in getting an audience to stick around for commercial messages (whether paid commercials or product placements)
  • Promote their programming to help build an audience
  • Package and repackage content in multiple places to attempt to cost-effectively reach targeted audiences

While these five point don’t account for an entire content marketing strategy (which is why we share other models in the workshop), most brands struggling with WHAT content to create and curate would be so much further ahead if they did just these five things better.

While I understand where the audience member was coming from and will acknowledge his perspective in future workshops, I’ll stand with our model for now as a big jump start for brands that simply don’t currently understand content marketing strategy. – Mike Brown

 

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming email updates.

 

“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social business strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social  Strategy.”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Recently, we asked solo social media professionals to share their strategies, ideas, tips, and tricks for how they perform dual social media strategy and implementation roles as one person solo social media departments.

Solo-Social

8 Solo Social Media Professional Success Tips

Based on the responses for our survey,  here are eight ideas solo social media professionals can adopt to improve their performance as they function as one person social media departments.

“Always carry a second admin in case you are struck by lightning and have the only keys to your organization’s social media kingdom.”

This is a wonderful reminder to make sure someone else in the organization can get into the brand’s social media presences if you can’t for some reason.

“Make sure you are included in meetings/receive the editorial calendar from your marketing and communications department (if your job title isn’t attached to this department) which will allow you to schedule content that is part of the campaign or event.”

It’s vital to create the appropriate strategic presence in the organization that social media gets brought in on the front end of strategy development and isn’t considered an afterthought.

“Learn to say no.”

If you can’t say, “No,” you’re always subject to having your social media strategy altered (perhaps dramatically) by someone else who may not have the right insights or understanding to be setting strategy. The key is YOU need to be solid in your strategic thinking or your “No” can be arbitrary.

“Create a content calendar.”

If you’re on your own, it may be easy to slough this social media strategy idea off and simply create content. A content calendar, however, keeps you honest and intentional about what you’re doing with social media.

“Gather all tools, graphics, sentences etc. before starting campaign – think about it before posting.”

This is another one where it might be easy (but definitely isn’t wise) to simply create content as you go if you don’t really have to coordinate with anyone else on a team.

“Utilize the best social media management available for your situation.”

Based on the responses to most beneficial tools, Hootsuite is the go-to social media management application for these respondents. Canva received multiple dimensions for creating graphics for various social platforms. Other mentions included: Aviary, Buffer, PicMonkey, Flipboard, and multiple Twitter cleanup tools (Justunfollow.com, Unfollow.com, Untweep.com).

“Schedule in advance” and “Set aside time for certain tasks throughout the week – schedule it on your calendar as if it were a meeting.”

There’s so much value in these two suggestions. It’s smart to shift as much content creation out of real time as possible; doing so provides valuable thinking and review time. Additionally, if you don’t schedule time to get work done (as opposed to just scheduling meetings) you won’t get the essential social media work completed.

“Have your social apps on your phone so you can review/respond to interaction anytime you have a down moment.”

Great advice. You never want to be away from access to your social presences if something explodes.

Are you a solo social media professional asking yourself, “Where should I prioritize developing my company’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

IF you are a one person social media department, you need quick answers and ideas on where to prioritize your work? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you can explore your online presence from various angles and determine how to best set your priorities.

You can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social business strategies with these diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

 

 

Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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What do you do if there are multiple, separate audiences your brand needs to reach, but you don’t have the time or resources to deliver content in multiple, separate social media streams?

This social media strategy question surfaced more than once the first day of the Social Media Strategies Summit in Las Vegas.

SMSSummit-Banner

The first instance was an agency trying to reach client prospects who are CMOs in addition to marketing talent as potential employees. In another case, it was a startup organization without the existing content or current bandwidth for multi-channel social media. In a third case, it was a national travel and tourism organization catering to potential travelers in multiple countries speaking multiple languages.

Each is currently handling this social media strategy situation in varied ways.

Are my tweets bothering you?

Based on responses across all these discussions, here are ideas for how to approach this social media strategy challenge.

Step 1 – Have you determined if the audiences are complementary?

The days of thinking you can communicate in different ways to different audiences and keep the messages and audiences segregated are gone. If your brand is saying one thing in one place, you can figure you’re saying the one thing in multiple places, whether you like it or not.

A first step then is determining whether the messages targeted at one audience are going to be appropriate, complementary, or miss the mark with other audiences.

In the digital agency’s case, the separately targeted messages seem complementary. A CMO hiring an agency wants to know the agency is hiring smart, talented, and highly skilled people. A potential new hire for a digital agency wants to know he or she will have the opportunity to work with cool clients having innovative projects. Looking at this case in a simplified manner, the brand message to one audience is a complementary brand cue to the other audience. There doesn’t seem to be a downside to each audience seeing messages more directly targeted at another audience.

Step 2 – Can you test how similar the audiences are?

The situation with the travel and tourism organization is more complex. They address content in at least four languages (Spanish and English are primary) and audiences on multiple continents.

The current strategy involves repeating the same posts in different languages, typically on each social media channel. They appear to have duplicate content on each social platform much of the time, especially because of the heavy use of photos, which DO translate across languages. They suspect / know, however, that various country populations respond to different aspects of their country’s culture and seek out different content accordingly. One downside of the current approach (same content on each channel) is they train their audience to only follow them on one channel.

For them, social media strategy step two involves various “tests” of their suspicions about the need for multiple channels:

  1. Look at the audience demographic information available on each group (country and language) to see how they compare based on what is known about them.
  2. To the extent possible, examine quantitatively how each group engages with content.
  3. Set up and implement trials over several months where each group receives the same content at the same time. The objective is to compare the results and see how similarly or differently each group engages with identical updates.
  4. If emails are available for a representative cross-section of the audience, test their reactions in a more controlled setting (with an online survey) to various types of content.

While there is no one formula to answer the questions about how many channels they need in these situations, this social media strategy development approach should provide a basis to understand how complementary or disaffecting content intended for another group is when another group receives it.

Then they’ll have a better sense of the answer to the question, “Are my tweets bothering you?”  – Mike Brown

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming email updates.

“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social business strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social  Strategy.”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Is your brand STILL struggling with the right approach to deliver business results from its content marketing and social media strategy?

If so, today is a perfect day to download our free eBook, “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

If you have direct or indirect responsibility for social media strategy in your organization (or even simply question whether your brand is maximizing every opportunity it can with social business), download “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.” You’ll get answers on what to do next in less than an hour.

Really.

Social Media Strategy – 20 Reasons to Download “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy”

In case you need more convincing, here are twenty reasons why you should download this free eBook and take advantage of its quick, thorough assessments of your brand’s social media strategy effectiveness.

  1. It’s free.
  2. There are Brainzooming diagnostics that appear exclusively in the 9 Diagnostics eBook.
  3. You can complete the exercises within an hour and have a strong strategic sense of your overall social media strategy effectiveness.
  4. You can match your current approach to proven social media opportunities organizations adopt and find successful. (page 2)
  5. Your potential opportunities to adapt your social media strategy to better address important business objectives will be clear. (page 2)
  6. Each exercise features a related strategic objective and suggested uses to ensure you’re applying the social media strategy diagnostic correctly.
  7. There is a next step associated with each diagnostic so the actions you can take with the results are evident.
  8. If social business hasn’t taken hold in your organization as it should, you can assess which of a dozen potential roadblocks could be at work. (page 3)
  9. It will become quickly apparent whether your current social media metrics are robust enough to support and shape social business success. (page 4)
  10. Going deeper into the value of developing whole brain metrics is as easy as downloading another free Brainzooming eBook.
  11. You can determine whether your multi-author content marketing strategy is taking advantage of all the opportunities available to be truly collaborative. (page 5)
  12. There is a fast way to assess whether you should trust the members of your social media team to manage the “corporate microphone” social media represents. (page 6)
  13. Your can assign a letter grade to how well your brand’s personality translates to social media channels. (page 7)
  14. You’ll get a sense of how your brand stacks up on creating and sharing content relative to how a wide variety of B2B and B2C brands are them. (page 8)
  15. The lists associated with each social media strategy diagnostic ensure you are exploring the appropriate range of strategic variables.
  16. In an age when brands have the opportunity and need to become outstanding content creators, you can test your performance against an industry built around delivering engaging content for audiences. (page 9)
  17. The eBook includes a link to the Brainzooming social media strategy framework that organizes tons of content on your best strategic options for content marketing and social business. (page 10)
  18. By exploring your most recent status updates, you can see whether your brand is delivering a beneficial mix of content for your audience. (page 10)
  19. You can prioritize the diagnostics based on whether your brand is just introducing a social media strategy or has had one in place for some time.
  20. These nine social media strategy diagnostics can be applied collectively or individually depending upon where your brand places strategic priority.

9-diagnostics-download-butt

Convinced that taking a moment to download the “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy” book is something you need to do today?

If not, here’s just one example of how quickly it will help you. One content marketing workshop participant took just two minutes to complete diagnostic number 5 on whether the right people are managing your social media sharing. As soon as he completed it, he blurted out, “I knew we had the wrong people doing handling this, but I never knew why until now!”

That’s a great insight in just two minutes.

Start growing our social media strategy insights today!

And if you’d like more help with developing your social media and content strategy, let us know. We’re here to help! – Mike Brown

 

 

“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social business strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social  Strategy.”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Is your brand engaged in global content marketing?

For US businesses, statistics show a relatively low percentage of them export globally.

Based on that, your answer is likely that your brand has no role in global content marketing.

If that’s your answer, however, you’re probably wrong!

That’s why I’d encourage you to get a copy of Pam Didner’s book, “Global Content Marketing,” and go to school on it, even if you think you don’t need a global content marketing strategy.

Why, you might ask?

Because it will make you a better content marketer no matter how close or far you think your content audience is located.

      (Affiliate Link)

If You Have a Website, You May Be a Global Content Marketer

Pam-Didner-Book-PhotoNear the start, Pam Didner (who is a former Intel executive, a great friend, and co-host with me of an attendee dinner at the Social Media Strategy Summit this week) relates the story of Bumps for Boomers, an Aspen, Colorado-based, four-day ski program. Its objective is to get competent skiers in the baby boomer generation to take on more expert-level skiing. Its founder, Joe Nevins, developed hundreds of pieces of informative content on the topic, placed them on the brand’s website, and his small company now caters to skiers from multiple countries. All this even though his website is only in English.

As Pam points out, “as long as a company has an online presence, and as long as its products can be shipped and services performed remotely or virtually” or its audience can come to the brand (as in the Bumps for Boomers example), it is in the global content marketing strategy game.

I’ll admit that when Pam first told me about writing book, I was disappointed it wouldn’t apply to The Brainzooming Group. In the course of the conversation, the figure “fifty-two percent” popped into my mind.

Fifty-two percent represents the share of Brainzooming blog readers outside the US from more than 180 countries.

So, yes, the Brainzooming blog is a part of global content marketing too.

What to Look for in “Global Content Marketing”

I have a tremendous respect for authors and speakers who offer strategic frameworks that come from actually having done the work instead of appointing themselves experts and simply writing and speaking about a topic they have read about only.

With Pam Didner’s extensive experience at Intel managing global product launches, developing business building campaigns, and providing ongoing consultation on audience targeting, content development, strategic messaging, engagement, and social media integration, she’s a practiced expert on global content marketing.

As you would expect from someone actually doing the work, the book is action oriented.

It struck me while reading Pam’s 4 P’s of global content marketing that they are all VERBS: Plan, Product, Promote, and Perfect. And beyond simply the push to act that these verbs suggest, they are equally applicable for both global and in-country content marketing.

The same can be said of Pam’s focus on how the roles differ between a headquarters content marketer and those in local market operations. While she’s applying the concepts across countries, they apply to any situation where a content marketer with centralized responsibility is planning, coordinating, and implementing with team members in specific markets. For example, a content session I’m delivering next week for a multi-state non-profit based in Kansas City is completely analogous to the global situations Pam describes.

Get Your Copy of “Global Content Marketing” by Pam Didner

“Global Content Marketing” was named one of the Top 10 business books of 2014 by in Inc. Magazine. No matter that it was released in 2014, the concepts Pam shares are applicable this year and for years after.

Do yourself a favor. If your brand has a website and is using a content marketing strategy to influence your audiences, you need to get “Global Content Marketing” by Pam Didner today and put it into practice! – Mike Brown

      (Affiliate Link)

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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