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Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

How to Optimize Your Social Posts for the Visually Impaired

Do you want a larger audience to consume your social media content? Wondering how to create content that’s more accessible to people with impairments? In this article, you’ll discover tips and tools to make your social media content accessible to everyone. Why Accessibility Matters to Marketers A lot of people assume that accessibility is impossibly […]

The post How to Optimize Your Social Posts for the Visually Impaired appeared first on Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing.

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How to use social media in sports to keep fans engaged

The integral role of social media in sports is hard to ignore. Athletes represent some of the most-followed accounts across social media at large. Read more...

This post How to use social media in sports to keep fans engaged originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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How to Nurture B2B Influencer Relationships During the Pandemic

Two glove-covered hands fist-bumping image.

Two glove-covered hands fist-bumping image.

I’m so glad that I went to B2BMX this past February.

For one thing, we did some amazing interviews with some very smart marketers. The very idea of these interviews seems weird now — we were just sitting! Three feet apart! With no masks! At a giant marketing conference at a hotel!

The cancellation of in-person events means I’ll miss one or two conferences this year. But for folks who make a living as keynote speakers and thought leaders, it’s a massive adjustment. And that includes a sizable subset of B2B influencers — those who are primarily keynote speakers and in-person consultants.

As an agency, we’re true believers in B2B influencer marketing (see our latest report to learn why). But we have had to adjust our strategy as influencers’ needs change. Like everything else in 2020, influencer relationship-building takes a different approach than you might be used to.

Debbie Friez is an Influencer Marketing Strategist at TopRank Marketing, and she’s an expert at finding the right influencers and developing ongoing relationships. Here’s what Debbie and I have observed and how we’ve changed our outreach strategy.

How to Nurture B2B Influencer Relationships During the Pandemic

Influence relationships operate by much the same rules as any friendship: Get to know the person, don’t talk about yourself too much, give something before you ask for anything, and be sensitive to their emotions and needs. And, of course, don’t propose marriage on the first date (unless it’s going REALLY well).

On top of those rules, here are a few ways to adjust your approach for the current crisis.

[bctt tweet="“Influence relationships operate by much the same rules as any friendship: Get to know the person, don’t talk about yourself too much, give something before you ask for anything, and be sensitive to their emotions and needs.” @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

#1: Scale Back Your Requests

It’s easy to imagine that influencers have nothing but free time right now. After all, they’re not traveling as much, and all the events are virtual — that means they should have ample time to write a blog post or film a webinar, right?

What we’ve seen, however, is the opposite is true. Those who make a living at public speaking are hustling harder than ever. “Now that all the events are virtual, there is a disconnect between how influencers are compensated,” says Debbie. Instead of a 90-minute in-person talk, influencers might need to do a dozen webinars to make ends meet.

Now is a good time to focus on micro-content — keep the requests down to 50-100 words. Where you might have asked one influencer for a 500-word blog, ask three influencers the same question and do a roundup of their answers. Or focus on social-first content that can be bite-sized but still foster engagement.

Simply put, it’s more important than ever to respect influencers’ time and make sure your requests are appropriate. Speaking of which…

[bctt tweet="“It’s more important than ever to respect influencers’ time and make sure your requests are appropriate.” @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

#2: Offer a Good Value Exchange

Every good influencer relationship is based on a value exchange. You’re giving the influencer something they want, and getting something you want in return. When you build relationships for long-term, always-on influencer marketing, that value exchange tends to be in terms of co-creating awesome content together, exposure to each others’ audience, and other non-monetary benefits. However, direct compensation is always part of the influencer marketing toolkit.

Right now, influencers may see less value in co-creation and be looking for more ways to supplement their income. “Frequently, influencers would co-create content for free, as they were taking payment to speak at or attend events,” Debbie says. With events on pause, it’s important for influencer marketers to budget for the right type of compensation.

#3: Be Empathetic 

As you might have noticed, it’s rough out in the world right now. Odds are you’re stressed out, concerned about keeping your family safe and the bills paid. You may even have scaled back on your social media and focused more energy inward. 

Influencers are no different. It’s important that your outreach be warm (no blind InMail requests or impersonal emails), sympathetic, and respectful. Just as you’ve adjusted your content marketing to meet your audience’s current mental state, make sure your influencer outreach is appropriate for the times.

#4: Offer Creative Opportunities

Odds are any influencer you reach out to has done multiple webinars, guest blogs, and livestreams in the past six months. And they’re likely filling their calendars with as many more gigs as they can get. What can you offer an influencer that will get their attention?

Now is a good time to pitch fun, creative ideas for content. How about a brief interview that you’ll turn into a fully-produced podcast, complete with background music and sound design? Or a short contribution that will be featured in a dynamic, interactive asset? The easier you can make the ask, and the cooler you can make the end product, the better.

#5: Explore Always-On Influence

As you’ve seen, it can be challenging to establish relationships with influencers right now. People are busy, distracted and stressed, and it’s easy for your messages to get lost in the shuffle. It’s not impossible, of course, to add net new influencers to your marketing — it just takes more effort.

Right now, brands that have ongoing influencer nurturing programs are doing better than those without. It’s easy to see why — they’re not starting from scratch. They have built up a community of influencers over time, co-creating content, helping each other out, even introducing influencers to each other to help them network. It’s easier to maintain an ongoing relationship than start a brand new one.

[bctt tweet="“Right now, brands that have ongoing influencer nurturing programs are doing better than those without. It’s easy to see why — they’re not starting from scratch.” @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

Relationships Are Worth the Work

We surveyed hundreds of marketers for our 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing report. The vast majority said that influencer marketing works for B2B: 74% agree that influencer marketing improves customer and prospect experience with the brand, and 90% plan to increase their budget in the near future. 

While the current business climate may make it more challenging to develop influencer relationships, the results are well worth the effort. 

Need help with B2B influencer marketing? It’s our specialty.

The post How to Nurture B2B Influencer Relationships During the Pandemic appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Manage Your LinkedIn Presence in 10 Minutes a Day

Want a better return for the time you spend on LinkedIn? Looking for a LinkedIn engagement plan to follow? In this article, you’ll find a plan for making the most of your time on LinkedIn to stay visible, build your network, nurture contacts, and find new opportunities. #1: Define Your End Goal for Using LinkedIn […]

The post How to Manage Your LinkedIn Presence in 10 Minutes a Day appeared first on Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing.

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In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience

Authentic Content Customer Experience

Authentic Content Customer Experience

The experience customers have through marketing content can be one of the most important differentiators for brands today.

And yet 58% of B2B buyers don't not believe claims made by the vendors they most recently bought from (TrustRadius).

It’s hard to create a great experience if customers don’t trust brand communications.

Trust is the gateway to influence perceptions, behaviors and actions and brands that want to succeed in the uncertain environment of today’s digital world need to double down on building trust with their customers. But how?

Today’s increasingly digital buyers have high expectations of the companies they do business with: buyers want personalized and relevant information, they want a consistent experience across channels, they want confidence in the brand as a company that cares about privacy, their customers and the community.

Meeting these expectations has been a challenge. From fake news to privacy issues to deep fakes, the digital world has become an uncertain source of information for consumers.

Tired of information overload, sales focused brand messaging and unremarkable content, 86% of customers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support (Stackla - The Consumer Content Report: Influence in the Digital Age).

Customers want what’s real. They want to trust and be confident about their decisions.

While there’s a lot of information and even misinformation about content marketing and what it means for business communicators, there’s hope in building trust and influence by creating great customer experiences with authentic content.

To help marketers better understand how brands are winning customer hearts, minds, and trust with authentic content experiences here are 5 important steps:

Accelerate Internal Credibility

In order for marketing to have the support it needs to be successful externally with customers, marketing needs to be credible inside the organization. Unfortunately, 80% of CEOs don’t trust marketers but 91% do trust CIOs and CFOs (Fournaise Group).

To earn C-level trust, marketers must identify the key business problems faced by the business and make the connection to how marketing can help solve those issues. More importantly, marketing needs to provide clear direction about how and show credible reporting about impact. Ensuring credibility internally means promoting your wins to internal stakeholders. Make sure everyone from department heads to the C-suite are aware of the results that you are delivering to the business bottom line.

As marketers use content marketing integrated across channels to create “best answer” experiences for customers, marketers must also become the best answer for business growth inside the company by focusing on and communicating what matters to the business - not fluffy marketing promises with ambiguous correlations to the impact on the business.

Double Down on Activating Customers

Word of mouth and advocacy continue to represent important sources of trust and influence for brands. Marketers need to engage customers for reviews, ratings and even user generated content. As I’ve often said,

“If you want your content to be great, ask your customers to participate.”

Build credibility and influence with customers by engaging them and making them part of the narrative that builds trust about your brand where buyers are looking.

Work with External Influencers to Grow Brand Credibility

Every brand has a story to tell and to help make that story relevant, interesting and effective amongst buyers who are probably ignoring most brand communications, marketers can engage with relevant industry influencers. What makes someone influential is that they have the trust and attention of your customers. What better way to add credibility to your brand content than to collaborate with people who already have that credibility?

Virtually any kind of external content that brands create can consider influencer collaboration to make it more credible, relevant, engaging and capable of actually reaching the audience it is intended for. Authenticity is essential for influencer collaborations to work so it’s important that marketers do their due diligence with influencers through proper identification, qualification and engagement best practices.

Create a Content Collaboration Ecosystem

Most marketers don’t have all the content creation resources they need to create the kind of content that drives customer experience. Engaging influencers to collaborate on content is a great start. But to truly build authenticity and content experiences that matter, customers can be engaged as well. User generated content is not for everyone, but when customers can contribute their voices to brand content, it adds a level of authenticity and trust that most marketing departments are able to on their own.

Employees are another important source of authentic content for brands, whether it’s telling stories about the impact those employees have on the lives of customers or by enlisting employees to help tell the brand story.

Optimize Measurement to Customer ROI

Creating trust with authentic content experiences must be a measurable exercise. Beyond share of voice and brand sentiment metrics, marketers must pay attention to measuring the effectiveness of content through the customer journey.

At a minimum, marketers must understand the the impact in these key areas:

  • Attract - Is your marketing reaching the right audience in the channels they’re actually influenced by?
  • Engage - Is your marketing creating meaningful and satisfying experiences? Are you effectively using authenticity and influence to build trust?
  • Convert - Is the content you’re creating and co-creating actually inspiring action? Are those actions delivering impact for the business whether it’s brand perception, leads, sales or revenue?

Beyond these important steps towards more effective content marketing that drives trust are the influence traits brands must have to build trust:

Purpose: “In this time of turmoil people are turning to brands as islands of stability.” Richard Edelman. How will the world be different after you’re successful doing what you do? How does that narrative translate into your marketing?

Relevance: Use data to understand your internal/external customer and create compelling, useful content experiences that matter. Leverage the voices of your customers, prospects, and those they trust to help add credibility and context to your message.

Reach:  Become “the best answer” for your customers with content that is easy to find and exists in context wherever buyers engage.

Resonance:  Understand audience motivations through the buyer journey to inform messaging that “clicks” and inspires action and makes real, measurable business impact.

Convergence Summit 2020
I hope you can join me at the virtual IABC Minnesota Convergence Summit conference this week where I will be giving the opening keynote on Wednesday August 12th at 4pm: In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience. I’ll be digging into the current state of content marketing as well as sharing examples of brands walking the talk on authenticity and content marketing.

The post In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Tiktok’s influencer culture: What makes it stand out and how you can join in

If you still haven’t adopted TikTok as a way of life, what are you waiting for? The popular app may be the topic of Read more...

This post Tiktok’s influencer culture: What makes it stand out and how you can join in originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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B2B Marketing News: Top Channels for B2B Audiences, Podcasts Soaring, Smartphone Video Rules for Millennials

The post B2B Marketing News: Top Channels for B2B Audiences, Podcasts Soaring, Smartphone Video Rules for Millennials appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Advanced Facebook Audience Targeting for eCommerce Businesses

Want to do advanced Facebook ad targeting? Looking for tools to make it easier to track custom events on Facebook? To explore how eCommerce businesses can use advanced Facebook ad targeting, I interview Miracle Wanzo on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Miracle is a Facebook ads expert and co-founder of Discovery Marketing, a Facebook ads […]

The post Advanced Facebook Audience Targeting for eCommerce Businesses appeared first on Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing.

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8 Home Office Essentials That’ll Supercharge Your Productivity

With a laptop and a good Internet connection, you can work from almost anywhere. The world can be your office. But, if you want to get the most out of working …

8 Home Office Essentials That’ll Supercharge Your Productivity Read More »

The post 8 Home Office Essentials That’ll Supercharge Your Productivity appeared first on Smart Blogger.

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New Features and Sneaky Techniques to Boost B2B Marketing Engagement on LinkedIn

The post New Features and Sneaky Techniques to Boost B2B Marketing Engagement on LinkedIn appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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