Leading With Change + Innovation

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“If you really want to know about business, you should refer to Scott Steinberg.” -Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group

How to Make Influencers Love Your Brand

Like major brands such as Apple, Nike and Home Depot, from job-seekers to established professionals (and of course influencer marketing and social media marketing firms), everyone is the business of marketing something. In today’s trust-based business world — a world based on what we call the relationship economy — even everyday individuals are beginning to realize that they still have to differentiate their position and unique vision and values from competing applications for others’ time and attention. As business leaders and top educational institutes now routinely point out, the services many companies provide are widely-commoditized, as are the skills that many professionals possess.

Looking online, you can see that countless alternatives are often just a single click or call away. So while it’s popular for businesses to obsess over influencer marketing metrics like pure numbers (e.g. audience size or follower and fan counts), conversion rates matter more, as does one’s ability to make connections, network, and prompt others to action—in short, attract and engage them. From a social media standpoint, note: Building a profile or page can provide a platform for curating audience interaction. But without having a unique story to tell or singular differentiation strategy that helps you stand out to influencers, you’ll often spend much time, effort and energy (not to mention money) building connections that don’t lead anywhere and are easily severed. These seven strategies can help alleviate such problems, and help your brand both become more sticky, and likelier to stand out at a glance:

Know your audience and your competition. Knowing your audience as well as its needs and values is key, as is knowing problems that you can solve for it and how to best address them. Only by doing so can you create campaigns that resonate. Ask yourself: Are you trying to reach new fans or followers or activate current readers? What are you offering that helps them save time or money, meet pressing concerns, or be more productive and effective? Most importantly: What differentiates your message from the (literally) billions of other pieces of content shared online daily, and why would others want to enjoy or share it? Answering these questions will help you to target where you are headed with your campaign. Competition is literally just a click or a phone call away. Whatever it is that you’re offering, someone out there is always aiming to do it more cheaply or attractively. That’s why it’s so important to really think about how you package and present yourself. Regardless of what you’re selling—whether it’s a product, service, or even yourself and your professional skills—you need to rise above the din.

Provide consistently great content. People aren’t going to connect with messaging or material that doesn’t make sense to them or isn’t geared toward their needs and tastes. And with so much material flooding the market, they’re unlikely to see anything that doesn’t immediately stand out from the pack. Know what your audience is passionate about, what you are passionate about, where you can make a difference and how, and then marry all by crafting outreach programs accordingly. With the shift away from advertising, customers are most likely to buy from businesses, brands and people that they regard as trusted partners. Their favorite online tips and recommendations may often come from social networks, online communities, and media outlets. Therefore, even major organizations should invest in content marketing strategies—remember, relationships are founded on mutual trust and respect, built by cultivating win-win scenarios, and created over time, not overnight.

Interweave your website and social media presence. If your website is a more static page compared to social media platforms, which can evolve and update daily, the two can “help” each other by enjoying a symbiotic relationship. Import social media elements and accounts onto your homepage, and you can drive ongoing updates and interest while boosting online search (a.k.a. SEO) performance and giving audiences reason to return. Cross-promote, offer singular insight or value, and always provide a great incentive to your customers to keep reading and sharing. In fact, offer a bigger one to new audience members who come on board, then work hard to keep both these individuals and existing audience members around. Note: Doing any and all requires making a commitment to keep releasing engaging new material on a regular basis.

Become the expert in your field. Know your stuff. No matter if you are selling kitchen supplies or the world’s top big data blogger, make a point of sharing your knowledge with others, and soliciting their own insights – the community’s collective wisdom far outstrips any one subject matter expert’s, but often lacks a showcase in which to be highlighted. Be a reliable partner for your audience, act in their best interest, and be generous with your help and time and they will increasingly come to seek you out when answers are needed.

Humanize your brand. People are likely to empathize with and remember you when they can put a face to a name. Between solutions such as webcams, video-enabled smartphones, Vine, Google + Hangouts and Skype, there are video sharing options available for almost everyone. (And photo sharing too, as noted above.) Connecting in-person not only helps people empathize with you, it also helps humanize your brand. In today’s relationship economy (translation: increasingly relationship-driven world), audiences want to make a real connection with real human beings. Infrequent social media users or detractors may say that the medium is too impersonal, not actually social in nature, and that there isn’t enough face-to-face interaction. A little technology and a little insight makes it easy to prove them wrong.

Ask the right questions. Being practical and capable of self-assessment is vital – not only do you have to have an expert eye for creating content online, but you must also know what types of content audiences want, where they live on the Internet, and how to best engage them. Ask these two vital questions that lead to great content: What makes my brand unique, and what’s the upside for audiences who interact with it? Doing your homework, and capitalizing on research while also adding your own flavor to the recipe is key. People won’t connect with something that doesn’t make sense to them or isn’t geared toward them, and they’ll sniff out inauthentic work instantly. With so much material flooding the market, they’re also unlikely to see anything that doesn’t immediately stand out above the din. Know what your audience is passionate about, what you are passionate about, and marry the two, then share it in such a way that immediately sets itself apart from the pack.

Be approachable and provide great customer service. Whether you are engaging with audiences online or in person, be as reachable and personable as possible. Sharing contact information and your virtual business card with people is only the first step. Answer emails, voice mails and questions via social media, without directing to another site, person, or company. Make a point of seeking out audience members and interacting, sharing your knowledge while soliciting their insights (conversations work two ways, and you may also be surprised just how well that the community can fill in your knowledge gaps). Wherever possible, take the time to celebrate those we interact with on social media services or networks, putting their best interests first as well. That way, you not only build trust. Audiences will also seek you out when their questions need an answer. Even though technology has come so far, so fast, it doesn’t mean the more human elements of high-tech can afford to be ignored. Connect with your audience. It’s the only way you will succeed.

Here’s the funny thing about innovation as relates to influencer marketing: Despite the rise of connectivity and high-tech solutions, the for organizations to focus on human elements of communication has online increased. The relationship economy operates in two directions: Those who are looking to connect (whatever medium or technology they use to do so), and the others they’re looking to connect with. Moreover, like any healthy relationship, the one you enjoy with influencers and global audiences is meant to work both ways: Only by creating win-win scenarios and bettering others’ condition can you hope to succeed. People notice when individuals and organizations make concerted and honest efforts to act in others’ best interests, and are often all too happy to use word-of-mouth (or online reviews) to spread the message. Humanize your brand, act forthright when dealing with audiences, and be a trusted partner, and you’ll catch the eye of not only influencers, but also everyday end-users – and doing so is the only surefire route to success.

Like major brands such as Apple, Nike and Home Depot, from job-seekers to established professionals, everyone is the business of marketing something. In today’s trust-based business world — a world based on what we call the relationship economy — even everyday individuals are beginning to realize that they still have to differentiate their position and unique vision and values from competing applications for others’ time and attention. As even business leaders and top educational institutes point out, the services many companies provide are widely-commoditized, as are the skills that many professionals possess.

 

            Looking online, you can see that countless alternatives are often just a single click or call away. So while it’s popular for businesses to obsess over pure numbers (e.g. audience size or follower and fan counts), conversion rates matter more, as does one’s ability to make connections, network, and prompt others to action—in short, attract and engage them. From a social media standpoint, note: Building a profile or page can provide a platform for curating audience interaction. But without having a unique story to tell or singular differentiation strategy that helps you stand out to influencers, you’ll often spend much time, effort and energy (not to mention money) building connections that don’t lead anywhere and are easily severed. These seven strategies can help alleviate such problems, and help your brand both become more sticky, and likelier to stand out at a glance:

 

Know your audience and your competition. Knowing your audience as well as its needs and values is key, as is knowing problems that you can solve for it and how to best address them. Only by doing so can you create campaigns that resonate. Ask yourself: Are you trying to reach new fans or followers or activate current readers? What are you offering that helps them save time or money, meet pressing concerns, or be more productive and effective? Most importantly: What differentiates your message from the (literally) billions of other pieces of content shared online daily, and why would others want to enjoy or share it? Answering these questions will help you to target where you are headed with your campaign. Competition is literally just a click or a phone call away. Whatever it is that you’re offering, someone out there is always aiming to do it more cheaply or attractively. That’s why it’s so important to really think about how you package and present yourself. Regardless of what you’re selling—whether it’s a product, service, or even yourself and your professional skills—you need to rise above the din.

 

Provide consistently great content. People aren’t going to connect with messaging or material that doesn’t make sense to them or isn’t geared toward their needs and tastes. And with so much material flooding the market, they’re unlikely to see anything that doesn’t immediately stand out from the pack. Know what your audience is passionate about, what you are passionate about, where you can make a difference and how, and then marry all by crafting outreach programs accordingly. With the shift away from advertising, customers are most likely to buy from businesses, brands and people that they regard as trusted partners. Their favorite online tips and recommendations may often come from social networks, online communities, and media outlets. Therefore, even major organizations should invest in content marketing strategies—remember, relationships are founded on mutual trust and respect, built by cultivating win-win scenarios, and created over time, not overnight.

 

Interweave your website and social media presence.If your website is a more static page compared to social media platforms, which can evolve and update daily, the two can “help” each other by enjoying a symbiotic relationship. Import social media elements and accounts onto your homepage, and you can drive ongoing updates and interest while boosting online search (a.k.a. SEO) performance and giving audiences reason to return. Cross-promote, offer singular insight or value, and always provide a great incentive to your customers to keep reading and sharing. In fact, offer a bigger one to new audience members who come on board, then work hard to keep both these individuals and existing audience members around. Note: Doing any and all requires making a commitment to keep releasing engaging new material on a regular basis.

 

Become the expert in your field. Know your stuff. No matter if you are selling kitchen supplies or the world’s top big data blogger, make a point of sharing your knowledge with others, and soliciting their own insights – the community’s collective wisdom far outstrips any one subject matter expert’s, but often lacks a showcase in which to be highlighted. Be a reliable partner for your audience, act in their best interest, and be generous with your help and time and they will increasingly come to seek you out when answers are needed.

 

Humanize your brand.People are likely to empathize with and remember you when they can put a face to a name. Between solutions such as webcams, video-enabled smartphones, Vine, Google + Hangouts and Skype, there are video sharing options available for almost everyone. (And photo sharing too, as noted above.) Connecting in-person not only helps people empathize with you, it also helps humanize your brand. In today’s relationship economy (translation: increasingly relationship-driven world), audiences want to make a real connection with real human beings. Infrequent social media users or detractors may say that the medium is too impersonal, not actually social in nature, and that there isn’t enough face-to-face interaction. A little technology and a little insight makes it easy to prove them wrong.

Ask the right questions.Being practical and capable of self-assessment is vital – not only do you have to have an expert eye for creating content online, but you must also know what types of content audiences want, where they live on the Internet, and how to best engage them. Ask these two vital questions that lead to great content: What makes my brand unique, and what’s the upside for audiences who interact with it? Doing your homework, and capitalizing on research while also adding your own flavor to the recipe is key. People won’t connect with something that doesn’t make sense to them or isn’t geared toward them, and they’ll sniff out inauthentic work instantly. With so much material flooding the market, they’re also unlikely to see anything that doesn’t immediately stand out above the din. Know what your audience is passionate about, what you are passionate about, and marry the two, then share it in such a way that immediately sets itself apart from the pack.

Be approachable and provide great customer service.Whether you are engaging with audiences online or in person, be as reachable and personable as possible. Sharing contact information and your virtual business card with people is only the first step. Answer emails, voice mails and questions via social media, without directing to another site, person, or company. Make a point of seeking out audience members and interacting, sharing your knowledge while soliciting their insights (conversations work two ways, and you may also be surprised just how well that the community can fill in your knowledge gaps). Wherever possible, take the time to celebrate those we interact with on social media services or networks, putting their best interests first as well. That way, you not only build trust. Audiences will also seek you out when their questions need an answer. Even though technology has come so far, so fast, it doesn’t mean the more human elements of high-tech can afford to be ignored. Connect with your audience. It’s the only way you will succeed.  

Here’s the funny thing about innovation: Despite the rise of connectivity and high-tech solutions, the for organizations to focus on human elements of communication has online increased. The relationship economy operates in two directions: Those who are looking to connect (whatever medium or technology they use to do so), and the others they’re looking to connect with. Moreover, like any healthy relationship, the one you enjoy with influencers and global audiences is meant to work both ways: Only by creating win-win scenarios and bettering others’ condition can you hope to succeed. People notice when individuals and organizations make concerted and honest efforts to act in others’ best interests, and are often all too happy to use word-of-mouth (or online reviews) to spread the message. Humanize your brand, act forthright when dealing with audiences, and be a trusted partner, and you’ll catch the eye of not only influencers , but also everyday end-users – and doing so is the only surefire route to success.

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