Cultivating the Author – A Writer’s Workshop – Nov 19th (Seattle)

Writing is a hard business. Not only do you have to actually be a qualified writer, but you have to have the fortitude to stick it out and slowly book by book, reader by reader grow your audience.

For a few people, that happens overnight. For many, its a slow haul and its complicated, complex and secretive as to how you get there.

So, what do you need? You need help. You need people with connections. You need a plan. You need growth strategies and marketing tools.

That’s why, Andrea Dunlop and myself are putting on a workshop in Seattle for a half day on November 19th — we have knowledge that we want to give you. Buckets of knowledge. In fact, so much knowledge that we have even created a six pillar system for doing it. The system is the crux of the program and you will leave having used this system to create a plan that we promise will get you not just one, but at least ten steps closer to understanding how to make your book into your business.

I’m excited about this because it combines a bunch of my person passions like side hustles and fiction writing, with my professional skill sets like branding, marketing, public relations, brand building and social media. And, Andrea brings not only more than a decade in publishing, but also her experiences as a successful published author to the table.

It’s a small workshop – for twelve people – so that we can dive in, help you develop personal plans and work to create a strong community to help you connect with the people who can turn your book into your side hustle and ultimately your business.

Join us?

Kristina

CEO, The Social Works Co

 

3 Secrets to Viral Video Success

Last month, I had the privilege of appearing in Entrepreneur Magazine as their Entrepreneur of the Month to discuss social media, PR, entrepreneurship, side hustles and more. The below is taken from the first article written that month.

Q: What is the best tool for creating videos that I can edit and share across different social media platforms?

A: In the ever-evolving field of social media, video has become the darling of the moment. Both Mashable and Buzzfeed, among others, have made a transition to focus more on video due to the increased demand and consumption of online video content. Indeed, Cisco reports that by 2018, 69 percent of total internet traffic will be video. And, right now, 100 million internet users watch online video every day and many of these are videos are significantly longer than 10 minutes. This should not come as a surprise, as we see an increase in smartphone usage, faster internet speeds and in more total video content being created. As we feed the beast, the beast consumes.

So video consumption will grow, and it will grow in part because it boosts retention, but it also comes at a cost — of human time and energy that does not necessarily produce a net positive ROI. Therefore, companies need to think about video as a delivery mechanism.

As for what is the best video platform, there unfortunately isn’t a one-size-fits all tool. You need to find one that best meets your business goal. Here are a few tips to help get you started.

1. Decide if video is the best option for your business needs.

In my classes, students are constantly interested in the latest social media fad – GIFs, podcasts and of course, videos — and we can see these being incredibly successful. It worked for Chewbacca Mom. However, for most people, video, along with the other trends, is expensive and time consuming. Creating daily or weekly video content requires a huge amount of time and effort – not to mention a fair amount of money, and a lot of creativity. Yet, rarely nets the results needed to justify the time, cost and effort, especially for small businesses.

Therefore, you need to ensure — and this is something I talk about a lot in my e-course and my University of Florida classes — that your social media and business goals are best met through the tools you are choosing. Could you perhaps use photo, text or other content in a way that can be just as effective for your business goals?

If the answer is no, and video is the only delivery mechanism to serve your business goals, then you need to determine which style of video is best for your brand and then what social media platform will be the best delivery mechanism. The platform shouldn’t inform your decision. Your needs inform your decision.

2. Determine your preferred video style.

There are a few different styles of video you can post online:

Unedited: Video content as see on platforms like Snapchat or Facebook Live where the video is created fast, on the fly and often in short “sugar bursts” of content. Generally, these videos are not edited and are shot using a smart phone.

Semi-edited: This is video content that you can shoot and edit on your own using tools like the very simple to use Microsoft Movie Maker or Apple’s iMovie – both of which come free with your computer. For paid options, professional bloggers like Sarah Conly of StyleIt and Monica Vila of The Online Mom recommend Adobe Premier, which has a deep and full suite of editing options.

Professional: This is video content that is lit, edited and shot by a professional. You can often save yourself time and money by using a freelancer or finding students who are looking to take on a project for their portfolio at no cost. As a result, you’ll get high-quality video at a lower price point.

Each one of these styles is and should be reflective of your brand. For many online influencers, using an unedited video style helps to build authenticity with their followers and grow their follower count. For many brands, a semi-edited or professional edited video helps to create the professional brand persona they are looking to create online. Given the immersive quality of video and its lasting impression, it’s important to ensure that the video content is deeply reflective of your brand.

Determining your style will also help you to understand which platforms are best suited for your goals.

3. Choose the goals of your video

There are a myriad of goals that you could have for your business that involve creating video content. Given that, the below is a sampling of these goals and recommendations on the best video platforms for achieving them:

Goal: drive sales

If your goal is to drive sales from video there are a few questions to consider when choosing the “best” platform: who is your audience, where are you currently the most active and what is your video style?

First, you’ll want to choose the platforms that have your most active consumers. From those platforms you’ll want to select which one has the best video style that aligns with the video your brand wants to create. Finally, you’ll want to create a video that drives people to a sales landing page.

Alternatively, you could increase your customer scope by going to a platform where you have a few amount of current followers but a big potential for new followers and build your video content there.

Goal: increase brand awareness

If your goal is to increase brand awareness, the best platform will be one where you have a strong pool of potential customers, where your video style is a match for those most popular there and where you can put paid advertising behind promotion. Ultimately, videos that are not promoted, unless they have the best content you have ever seen, will rarely get seen outside your brand page.

Goal: social media channel growth

If your goal is social media channel growth, I’d argue that the best video platform right now is probably Facebook Live. Facebook is putting a premium on brands that are creating sticky video content and ensuring that Live feeds show up higher in the Facebook feeds of page followers.

If growth on Facebook is not a priority, you’ll want to look towards the channels that have the biggest following in your customer base and create the type of video content that is shareable on those channels. For something like LinkedIn, this would be video that has numbered tips on how to do something related to business or some other “news you can use” content.

When you’ve examined your business goals and your brand personality/style the answer comes that there is no best platform for video. There is no best advice for where to place your video. Instead, the best social media advice, I or any other expert can give you, is to get very crisp on your business goals. Use those to inform your social media goals and then pick the tactics and platforms that will best help you to achieve those goals.

Once you have credited video content on your identified platform in your identified style, you could consider a tool like Slope (still in beta) which helps with collaboration, storage and management of video content or my personal favorite app Edgar which loops and schedules content for you across all of your social media networks. With Edgar you can create content once and repurpose it for months and years to come – thus reducing the burden of constant video content creation and freeing up your time to put social to use in even more effective ways for your brand.

Find the article as originally published here.

 

What Influencer Relations Strategy Should I Use?

Have you been asking yourself: “What Influencer Relations Strategy Should I Use?” If so, you are not alone. Everyone one is seems has a different answer. Yet, I think there is only one solution.

Many brands approach influencers with a “spray and pray” model. This means they target a lot of influencers by paying them money and hoping something good will happen. It might work, for a moment. It will not work over time.

Because your goal should be the creation of a web of influencers not an army style, says influencer and social media expert Sarah Conley, you need to think about sustainable influencer relationships. An army of influencers means a mass number of people willingly obeying the commands of whomever is in charge at any given time. They will follow the leader with the money and they will share the messages of that commander. A social web of influencers is a much different thing. By creating one, you are sowing long term seeds that will have a much bigger impact on your brand at a much lower cost.

“Building a web of people is calculated,” says Conley. “It’s about creating deep relationships and opportunities with a small number of people. Those people will act as your beacons within their specific communities. Then other influencers will come to you. You will be creating a web of people who want to be associated with you.”

A web is dependent on the center to exist. A brand becomes the center. The first round of influencers are the first nodes on the web. Those who come next form another node and another circle around the first layer of influencers and the brand. Think of a rock thrown into the water and a ripple that forms. This social spread continues organically until you have a large network of influencers who are in mutually supporting relationships and act as natural extensions of the brand.

“Brands move too fast. They try to do too much at once and we (influencers) can see right through it,” Conley added. She says there are brands she doesn’t work with because they clearly don’t care about her but see her instead as a conduit to her audience. Those are the brands trying to build armies.

“My job is to protect my reader. I have the power to sway people’s opinions, but keeping their trust is very important to me.” So when brands act in an inauthentic manner, she becomes worried about how that brand will treat her audience. In the end, because she practices authenticity with her readers, she wants to see brands be authentic with her, as well.

Authenticity can be a squishy word. In Content Rules, the authors Ann Handley and CC Chapman define authenticity in the following way: “When we say to be authentic, we mean you should make it clear that your stuff has the stamp of an actual person or actual people and that person or those people have the qualities… that make for a compelling approach to content as a solid foundation for the start of your relationship with your audience. You should also be comfortable being who you are.” This is exactly what Sarah means – she wants to work with brands who are comfortable and transparent about being who they are with her and with her readers.

“It’s fascinating when you see a brand, and I’ve been with brands that have done this, work with a big name, big money social media celebrity and yet, they don’t get the results they want. Often, it is because that person isn’t actually in an authentic relationship with their readers. They don’t have real influence because they haven’t built real trust.” If a brand is searching for a set number of followers, rather than engagement, then the influencer work will be less successful.

As a healthcare communications advisor for the past fifteen years, Steve Campanini, CCO of Splash Media and a former VP at Tenant Health, understands the role that trust plays in the ability of a company to deliver on its mission. Trust is more paramount in healthcare than in virtually any other industry because healthcare is so intimate. In many ways, your healthcare provider knows more intimate details about you than anyone else. Steve believes that trust is built in two ways: transparency in your actions and connection to your community. Anyone trying to build deep relationships with their audience needs both.

Trust and authenticity form a two-way street. Brands must show those qualities and they must look for influencers who possess them. Ultimately embracing an approach that centers around trust and authenticity is the cornerstone of creating your own web. This network will then be your conduit to create partnerships that drive awareness and sales.

Many of you may already be engaging with influencers. Likely, you have fans who are already commenting, tweeting, posting. Possibly, you have people who are active, engaged AND have their own valuable following. Have you asked them to post or share content? Have you invited them into your store, sent them samples or asked for their opinions?

If not, get out there and galvanize your audience. The first step of influencer strategy is to work with the influencers you already have. If you are thinking about creating a web, it is easiest to start with those who are already brand affiliated. You could create an “advisory board” of influencers who will help you figure out who else to target; they will easily be able to spot the authentic and engaged in their peer circles. As Amanda Duncan, influencer marketing manager at Microsoft says, “look inward. Who has tagged you in their posts? Who has already engaged with your brand by sharing your content? Those people are already influencers working for you. How are you rewarding or engaging with them already? It may be more effective to work with them than to look for someone new.”

So take stock. To get started, ask yourself this:

  • How do you currently engage with influencers?
  • Do you have influencers already who you are not engaging with?
  • What would you need to make that a more strategic manner of engagement?
  • What would be your goals in engaging more individuals?

The Future of Content Marketing: Why Click Bait Won’t Cut It

This past month, I had the pleasure of appearing in Entrepreneur Magazine as their Expert of the Month answering questions about entrepreneurship, public relations, marketing and social media. One of the articles that did particularly well on the website is the following article on the future of content marketing. 

Q: What is the future of content marketing?

A: More often than not, when I’m in New York City, journalists complain about the overwhelming amount of content they need to produce each day. Whether it is to feed their social-media channels or website, it’s a burden to produce the volume needed to satisfy the click-throughs to get the biggest slice of the advertising dollars that propel that industry forward.

In business the need to create “cool” content, likewise, employs lots of expensive marketers who produce a huge amount of content in the hope of getting one piece that will “go viral.”

Content marketing is unsustainable and will require a cultural shift and a corporate structure change to make it sustainable. The future of content marketing is high quality content created by people who are not employed within companies. The future of content marketing, I write in my book and am adamant about, is influencer marketing.

Brands, in a study by LinkedIn, claimed they have five big content marketing challenges:

  • Lack of time and bandwidth (51%)
  • Producing enough variety in content (50%)
  • Producing engaging content (42%)
  • Measuring effectiveness (38%)
  • Developing consistent content (34%)

There’s only going to be one response: We need to make less click-bait content and more high quality content. We need to learn to tell fewer stories but to tell them better. Doing so will ensure they are impactful when they happen. Finally, we need to turn to content creators to generate these stories.

Right now there are hundreds of thousands of professional content creators online who are looking to make money. These social-media influencers have built followings out of their ability to create content. Businesses are paying them to post about the business in one-off transactional engagements. The one-off model isn’t working for anyone: Businesses are unsatisfied with the majority of the results and influencers are constantly having to hustle to manage their business and create compelling content.

The future of content marketing is going to require a change in these transactional relationships. Doing so will improve both business content performance success and social media influencers financial well-being and curatorial focus. Here’s how you can get ahead of the curve:
Acknowledge you are not the world’s greatest content maker.

Your company is likely producing bad or ineffective content on most of its channels. The people running your content development teams are not natural content creators. They are marketers and your brand is not interesting enough to have a 24/7 news cycle.

Realize there are great content creators out there.

There are millions of social-media influencers who are great content creators for your niche audience. Hire five to seven of them to sit on a virtual team for your brand. Look on Trackr or Klout to see who is considered influenctial in your market. Educate them on your brand consistently: invite them to meetings, share your latest products, allow them to meet your executives.
Pay them a base salary and ask for RFPs.

Pay them a base salary, so that they will be constantly thinking about how to improve your brand and tell your story online. Tell them that you want to see two request for proposal (RFP) from them a year on creative ideas to differentiate your brand on the web. Remember, they are the experts and constantly online.
Trust them to be your content creators.

Accept their RFPs and believe in their ability to execute on your businesses content needs. If you have trained them the right way and given them the right access, they will be experts on your brand but at half the cost of an in-house team and with twice the experience. Worried that they don’t know how to translate business goals to content creation? You can teach them that too.

This is the future model:

  • Brands create less content.
  • Brands trust natural and proven content creators to act on their behalf.
  • Brands pay them on retainer.
  • Influencers rep only a limited number of brands because they can now afford to do so.
  • Brands reduce their social media footprint and instead rely on ambassador/content creator influencers to push their stories.

If we don’t make this change, we will continue to inundate the world with dumbed down content that does not deliver in the way our businesses need. Instead, we need to create a new model of content marketing that demonstrates real ROI.

The article was first published here.

What to Read This Month

As you know, I believe that the only way to be a good content creator is to be consuming a lot of content. I read at least a book a week and devour articles, podcasts and videos from across the web. It keeps me on my toes, making connections between great ideas, and challenging my ways of thinking.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about suburban living this month and the way it unnaturally isolates us; plus, I’ve been absorbing everything I can about the #sidehustle. You’ll see that reflected in the below.

  • The End of the Suburbs: This book is older (2014) but was a best-seller and should be a must read for anyone who struggles with suburban living, is wondering where to buy property or is confounded by life outside the urban oasis.
  • The Confidence Game: A compelling investigation into the minds, motives, and methods of con artists—and the people who fall for their cons over and over again. It’s a book that also helps you think about and navigate the world: what is manipulation? Who is doing it and who is falling for it? Are you thinking about the motivates of all the people in the room?
  • Ryan Holiday’s “Dear Dad, Please Don’t Vote for Trump” shows us what persuasive journalism is about and how to weave emotion into your writing.
  • Modern Love Podcast – Turns out my all time favorite column in the New York Times has a podcast where famous people read the best essays on love, relationships and break-ups. A huge thank you to the women of CEO Wattage who brought this to my attention.
  • Overcoming Your Ego – I must be on a Ryan Holiday kick because this episode of the Lewis Howes School of Greatness also stars him and concerns his new book on overcoming your ego. If your ego ever gets in the way of your success this is a must listen.
  • Startup Podcast – 2680 Madison Road: Ever wonder why some business locations seem doomed? This team did and went out to investigate how businesses fail. In this episode, they uncover the history of one “Doomed” location in Ohio.

And if you want to see what I’ve been writing, check out these two articles in Entrepreneur Magazine:

  • How to Launch your Business while Working Your 9-5
  • 3 Secrets to Making Your Videos a Success on Social Media

Now what are you reading this month? I’m always looking for ideas!

How to get Social Media Certified

I’d like to make a short case for the value of a standardized social media certification. Because this industry is new (still – ten or twelve years in!), we see very few people with any formal training in social media. Instead, a lot of people, myself included, have learned on the job. Now, a decade later, I feel confident in my knowledge and learning, my failures and successes.
However, we have also paved the way for the next class of social media managers and marketing directors through the learnings we gathered in taming the ever evolving landscape. It is this knowledge that’s informed the system created in my book, You Don’t Need Social Media Unless You Are Doing It Right. It is also my learnings on the topic that make me really believe that social media managers need to be trained and certified. Because a social media certification doesn’t exist, I am making one.

But why? What does a Social Media Certification Do?

A standardized social media certification helps to put rigor in the industry, to create a space for shared best practices and to ensure people are practicing in the field in a thoughtful and educated manner.

The reason a lot of social media channels don’t work, isn’t because a brand shouldn’t be on social media but more because the people running the system are not experts in their field.

A social media certification helps to:

  • Establish best practices.
  • Create a baseline for measurement and what metrics matter.
  • Enable HR teams to hire qualified candidates.
  • Solidifies a model of Social Media that works and a group of established candidates who understand and engage around it.

So now what? How do I get certified in social media?

I’ve created an online course to help people learn social media and to begin to create a group of people who will have qualified best practices, a proven implementation model and an established means of measuring social media success. Not only that, but I’m putting these people into a pipeline of social media jobs in an effort to reduce the burden on HR departments to determine who is an effective candidate in social media.

I want to get certified. Where do I go?

To find out more about my program, go here.

Three Secrets to Great Social Media Campaigns

Great social media campaigns can be defined in a hundred different ways – great engagement, great content, just stunningly beautiful — and those ones are often the ones that wind up at the top of the advertising awards lists. What we rarely get to see are the social media campaigns that actually win at driving business impact.

In my book, You Don’t Need Social Media Unless You Are Doing It Right, I spend a lot of time talking about business goals and social media goals. This is because I believe so firmly that social media a tool that must align to your business needs. Because, it must align to those needs, I think the only way we can judge a great social media campaign is by how well is delivers on your business goals.

As such, here are my three secrets for great social media campaigns:

  1. Understand Business Impact: Know your business goals and know how your social media campaign will help to deliver on those goals.
  2. Spend Less to Deliver More: Don’t waste a bunch of money on tools or storytelling tactics like video that don’t directly attribute to your goals. It’s easy to get caught in the fad. It’s less easy to stand back and do only those things that drive sales.
  3. Advertise: As I talk about in my e-course, the dirty little secret of social media is that advertising is a must. Include dollars for advertising and an advertising distribution plan in your campaign plan.

For more tips and ideas, use the form below to subscribe to my mailing list or subscribe to my e-course.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required




 

Social Media Advertising for Small Businesses

Let’s get down to the dirty little secret – advertising! In social media, the prevailing ideology has been that it should be free – if your content is good enough then you will attract followers.  This is a topic, that I discuss in my new book and this idea is partially true; it is also partially false. If your content is good enough you will attract followers; unfortunately, it will be at a slow rate. There is always the edge case where viral content spells massive growth instantly (Dollar Shave Club or Laughing Chewbacca Mask Lady) but for most brands, it will be an uphill battle to get even a small amount of followers. All small businesses should have a paid distribution plan for ensuring their social media content reaches the largest number of customers.

In the battle for followers, the most effective weapon is advertising. Let’s break it down:

1.      Do you need advertising?

Determine this by looking at the work we’ve asked you to do in other posts using the Social Works One Page System. Look at those goals and then ask yourself the questions listed below. Determine if your response would be yes or no.

  • Do you hope to see (or need to see) rapid (i.e. 3x or more increase) in followers within the next six months?
  • Do you hope to see (or need to see) rapid (i.e. 3x or more increase) in followers within the next six months?
  • Do you hope to see (or need to see) rapid (i.e. 3x or more increase) in followers within the next six months?

If you checked yes one time or more times, then consider social advertising as a facet of your plan. It drives growth a lot faster than an unpaid, organic strategy which can take years.

2.      What would advertising look like if you were to do it?

Social media advertising can take a number of different forms (side bar ads, boosted posts, in channel posts) and it can serve a number of different purposes. Amongst the different purposes are:

  • Fan Acquisition/Engagement: Help to grow your followers through advertising that targets a specific demographic and asks them to follow or like.
  • Website Traffic/Conversion: Help to drive traffic to your website in the same way that any other type of online ad does.
  • Post Reach/Engagement: Help to boost a particular post by increasing the chances that more people will see it.

Within these three key categories there are a number of more discrete actions you can take. Overall social advertising will help you acquire fans, drive traffic and increase the number of eyeballs on a specific piece of content.

You can run all three types of advertising but if your budget it smaller you may want to only one or two types at a time. If that’s the case, then you need to figure out which one of these will have the biggest result. Choosing this is largely dependent on understanding how these results will affect your business.

How do you figure out what’s right for you? Let’s break the categories down further.

  Fan Acquisition Website Traffic Post Reach
Why Creating a bigger Facebook page can create the illusion (or the reality) that you have a big and successful customer base.
It is also an ongoing community of people who will be receptors of your content – i.e. a captive audience of consumers
Increasing better Google’s understanding of your relevance – which will increase your visibility in page ranks. More traffic means that search engines believe you have more authority and are more relevant. Boosting the reach of a specific post helps to get more eyeballs on your content. This is useful when you are trying to get more people engaged and naturally sharing and consuming your content.
 But why for business? More consumers on your channels means more opportunities to promote your brand, create product evangelists and drive sales. More web authority means higher ranking in search results which means the potential for more eyeballs and more sales. More engagement with your content means that there are more people who consumed what you shared. This means that they will have your brand and your message top of mind when it comes to purchasing.
In short? Best path to long term community growth and hopefully sales. Most immediate path to raising traffic and sales. Best path to product and message retention.
Next steps? Test Facebook ads. Test Google and Pinterest ads. Test Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter ads.

3.      How much advertising can you squeak by with?

You don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands or even thousands of dollars on advertising but, you likely have to spend something when you are starting out and looking to grow your community. The simple truth is that it’s hard to stand out online. New pages rarely get the visibility you’d hope for.

My friend, an author of a fiction novel who recently launched her Facebook channel, spends about $20/week on advertising. So far each new fan has cost her about a dollar. Because her book sells for $20, if she can convert each new fan to a purchaser, she will see a significantly higher ROI for the dollar spent. Even if just one out of twenty fans buys her book, she still has a net positive return immediately and the long term benefit of an active fan pool for future books. She is not paying for fans! She is advertising her channel to Facebook users so that they can find her page and choose whether or not to become her Facebook fan. You will likely want to employ a similar strategy. To do so, go into your Facebook page dashboard, click Ads Manager on the left. The system will then guide you through the process to get started.

Additionally, I’ve worked with a number of brands who use Pinterest as an advertising platform. This is an interesting way to boost your website traffic and engagement. Pinterest can be viewed as more of a search engine than a social network, as I discussed earlier. For many brands it is the number one e-commerce driver. If you have consumer products for sale, this is a must test. Great boosted posts on Pinterest (bright, long vertical images) can see massive increases in traffic and conversion. To do this, log into Pinterest. Then click Ads on the upper left hand task bar. Their system will walk you through what to do.

The beauty of social media advertising is that you can set up the advertising to align with your specific business goals. Therefore, you can target advertising for growth of your social media channels or traffic to your website. So, play around. You can A/B test your content by trying out different types of ads and seeing the results you get. For a full primer on A/B testing methodology refer to the blog post by KISS Metrics on A/B testing or check out A/B Testing The Most Powerful Way to Turn Clicks into Customers by Dan Siroker.

Fill in your advertising goals into the appropriate box in the Social Works One Page System.

4.      How do you create the right type of advertising?

Advertising creation is the whole reason advertising agencies are in business. It’s not easy. First, focus on headlines – a poorly crafted headline will immediately turn away over 90% of users. Not to mention, 5 out of 7 people will only read the headline before sharing a post or other advertising boosted content. Secondly, focus on simple images. These images should say something without text. Find a picture that is sharp, clear and evocative.

For more ideas on advertising, I’d suggest reading deeply about David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising, or following some of the major social networking tools like Hoostuite for their downloadable PDFs and guides on the topic.

Want to stay in touch? Use the form below to subscribe to my mailing list.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required




 

How to Be A Great Content Creator: June Edition

Every month, I give tips on the best books I’ve read and things I’ve watched to help you become a great content creator. If you missed it, you can find last month’s books here. This month its a smorgasboard of things I have found with a great social media fact (re: headlines) and a good social media book thrown in.

Books

  1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: A probing look at the DNA that has been the source cells for solving the world’s biggest health issues and the black woman that was taken advantage of to get them.
  2. Reputations: A book (novel) by a Colombia author translated into English that discusses the role memory plays in the framing and shaping of our lives.
  3. American Girls: Social Media and The Secret Life of the American Teenage: This book has a strong point of view and makes it with a series of examples, interviews and observations that provide interesting insight into the future use of social media, what’s happening to our American children and how to better protect ourselves in an age of oversharing.

Other Things

  1. Modern Love Podcast: Basically the best column on the planet, now has a podcast.
  2. 6 out of 10 of you will read the headline of this article and share it without ever reading the body text. That’s depressing. This WashPo article looks at our social sharing patterns and makes some assumptions about the over-staturation of the internet.

Your Thoughts?

What are you reading or watching or listening to right now that you can’t put down? I can’t wait to hear all about it.

 

What Is a Social Media Influencer?

The buzz word of the past few years has been influencers and because of its buzzword status it has taken on a meaning so bland, it is almost useless. An influencer is literally any person with influence. That can be a celebrity or the owner of a local business who influences what people wear in a small town. However, a social media influencer is a specific type of individual who has influence across social media spheres. They are also a key part of growing your  business’s online presence and more importantly your social media following.

A social media influencer is one who exerts influence over an audience of any size on any variety of social media platforms.

However, as I argue in my forthcoming book “You Don’t Need Social Media Unless You are Doing It Right: A Small Business Guide to Social Media” that type of influencer isn’t necessarily relevant:

The most effective influencers are not the people at the bottom with one follower, nor are they the people at the very top with all the followers. They are the people who have moderately sized followings and who have audiences in more than one circle.

Think about it this way:

  • The person at the apex of an influencer pyramid (i.e. the “most important name” or the person with the biggest following on a topic) has a lot of authority but they only talk about one thing like sneakers.

  • The person at the bottom of the influencer pyramid might talk about a lot of things or about a singular thing but they likely have too few followers for it to be worth your time to engage with them.

  • The real influencers who provide brand value are those in between the bottom and the top who have influencer in multiple segments i.e. sneakers and ice cream and have a moderate to decent number of followers. These are connectors.

In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell defines connectors as, “a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack for making friends and acquaintances.” Steven Johnson, in his book Where Good Ideas Come From, discusses this social construct even further. He argues that it is not just that connectors are sharing information across different groups – it is that they are sharing information that comes from a different context.

This difference is context i.e. someone who is not just an ice cream enthusiast but also a lover of crime dramas  and 18th Century Chinese art helps an idea to permeate new information networks that create idea spread. Not only do ideas spread that way but that as ideas or concepts cross groups, they begin to innovate and change other people’s ideas.

People’s ideas change because they are being hit with information that is new and novel to them. This is the real way that you change broad scale perception and why you begin an influencer approach.

You need your topic to spread into new audiences where it would not otherwise spread because you only have access to your limited audience. When you identify connector-influencers (who from here out we will simply call influencers) you are able to scale your ideas out to audiences where these ideas, in part because they are new, can make a broader impact.

The growth of an idea then comes not from the size of the audience following a specific person but rather their ability to transmit ideas across multiple channels. These people are more effective than other types of influencers because they possess the ability to cross-pollinate.

A real social media influencer is someone who helps a message spread through crosspolinating it across different channels. As you begin to source influencers, you should be looking for not just those at the apex of their relevance but for those who are connector-influencers and can help your idea spread outside of your segmented audience.

There is a fascinating TED talk by Dave Troy who maps social media maps with geographic maps and shows the ghetto-ization of ideas within social communities. Therein, we see the role of the connector-influencer brought to life as they are someone who quite literally traverses social divides. That is the social media influencer who matters. That is the one you want to create partnerships with as you grow your channels and think about new and different means of growing a social media following.

So, I ask you: how are you developing your influencer plan? What are you doing to ensure that you are finding connector – influencers? I will discuss this more in the next post.