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May 14, 2020

159: An Introduction to The Age of Influence and Resetting Your Perspective on Digital Influence

159: An Introduction to The Age of Influence and Resetting Your Perspective on Digital Influence

Why does influencer marketing and collaborating with influencers regardless of industry have such incredible promise for businesses now and well into the future, even during this coronavirus pandemic? This episodes focuses on why I wrote my recent book, The Age of Influence, by reading you the actual Introduction from the published copy. By hearing my perspective through this episode, the way you look at digital influencer will forever be changed - for the better!

The Age of Influence can be bought at any major bookseller worldwide. There is a link to the Amazon USA page for it: https://nealschaffer.com/ageofinfluence

Thanks for listening and sharing this podcast with your friends, checking out my Age of Influence book, and subscribing and reviewing on whichever app you use to listen to this podcast!

Key Highlights

[00:58] The History Of The Books I Have Written

[03:00] Introduction To The Age Of Influence Book

[03:40] Why I Wrote The Age Of Influence

[04:02] Mistakes Often Made By Brands

[06:37] How The Ways Of Communication Have Changed

[08:11] Leveraging Other Social Media Users

[09:07] The Importance of Engaging and Creating Relationships

[11:06] How To Incite Word-Of-Mouth Marketing

[12:00] 2 Myths About What Brands Think Consumers Want

[14:22] Harnessing True People Power

[16:48] Age Of Influence Table Of Content

[18:30] Final Thoughts

Notable Quotes

  • The constantly changing landscape of social media means that despite all the money poured into platforms for advertising, campaigns are finding increasingly less traction in organic ways. 
  • Influencer Marketing is not about paying someone else to take selfies and put them online. It is fundamentally about engagement and communication. It is about building relationships.
  • Humans are social creatures, we learn from each other. Individually, we learn from our greater society.
  • My voice here is on engaging the voices of influencers, leveraging the other as I call it, to spread your message. It's investing what power you have to move outside and insight word of mouth marketing, so that other voices will talk about your business. 
  • Social media represents the convergence of information and communication.
  • All social media voices are equal, but some are more equal than others. Engaging with those whose voices are being heard is essential to spreading your message online. Rising above the digital noise and creating meaningful relationships.
  • When launching a startup, sidestepping those gatekeepers, and connecting directly with your consumers has a much stronger benefit. Many businesses started out with word-of-mouth marketing without really knowing it. happy and successful customers told their friends who told their friends and so on.
  • When done right harnessing employees ideas for content creation, and encouraging them to be more active on social media as part of an employer advocacy program, which treats them truly as influencers can be powerful.
  • Influencer marketing is a shift in communicating and interacting with your customers and audience. It's also able to deliver results far beyond those of traditional returns.
Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

This is the maximize your social influence podcast with Neal Schaffer, where I help sales and marketing professionals, entrepreneurs and small business owners, build, leverage and monetize their influence in digital and social media. Hey, this is Neal Schaffer. Welcome to episode number 159. Of the maximize your social influence podcast. So as you know, these podcast episodes are being sponsored by my new book, The Age of influence came out well, about two months ago. And I know that I have talked a little bit about the book. But I want to have this podcast episode dedicated a little bit more closely to the book. And in all honesty, I want to give you sort of a sneak preview of the book by actually reading to you the actual introduction of the book. So it's funny, I've had a few people ask me about the audio book, when I wrote my first book back in 2009, windmill networking, maximizing LinkedIn, I did not have an audio book for it. When I wrote my second book, maximizing LinkedIn for sales and social media marketing back in 2011, I created an audio book for an afterwards using a professional voice over narrator. Now when I recorded my third book, maximize your social, I was given the option by my publisher to go into a local studio and actually record the audio book, which I did. So for those of you that listened to the audiobook, that was me sitting in a professional musician studio, literally sitting right next to the drumset, which I would, you know, bang around during breaks, because I am a drummer as well, that took a week of my life, you know, nine to five for five days to record the audiobook. So I understand the incredible amount of time and energy that goes into it, this latest book, The Age of influence, my publisher actually preferred not to use the author's but to use professional voice actors as it would be quicker and at the end of the day, provide a better product at a better cost as well. So with that in mind, I do not have an audio book for the age of influence. So this little snapshot of what the book is like will serve in lieu of that, to give you a feel of how I voice my own words in my book. So without further ado, I'm going to read you the introduction, because I think it's going to give you a feel for the book, I will on my website very soon, Neal schaffer.com, have a free download sample of the book available to you, which will include this introduction, as well as the entire first chapter and the table of contents, to give you a better idea of the scope of the book. But today before that's available, I really just want to read you the introduction and tell you the story as to why I wrote the book and the role of influencers in marketing today. And my perspective on them, which might be a little bit different than what else you hear out there and hopefully aligned with what I've been talking about in this podcast. So several months ago, when I was in the market for new phone, I went to my local T Mobile store here in Southern California. While going through the upgrade process with the salesperson the inevitable question came up. What do you do for a living? That's not always a quick question to answer. My work as a marketing educator and consultant means I have many roles, including as a public speaker, and author or even working as an influencer. What makes this question more difficult is the general misconceptions that surround influencer marketing, it was surprisingly easy to answer the question this time. In the modern day gig economy, people often have multiple jobs. It turned out the salesperson himself was a local level influencer here in Orange County, California, who worked with nearby businesses to demonstrate the most effective ways for them to engage with influencers at events for business benefits. In many ways. This interaction highlights why I've written this book, Social Media Marketing has been around for over a decade. With few exceptions, brands, I believe, fundamentally are still challenged by it. business profiles and social media have been around since the days of Myspace, but companies even today still tend to advertise to their consumers over social media instead of engaging them. Many company Twitter accounts still tweet in AD speak. The same mistakes are still being made by companies that don't understand the fundamental nature of social media. Despite all the marketing conferences and how do blog posts that marketers read, the content they produce still pales when compared to those of influencers. The constantly changing landscape of social media means that despite all the money poured into platforms for advertising, campaigns are finding increasingly less traction in organic ways. For many people, Instagram models and YouTube gamers are some of the most visible influencers today, but to assume all of influencer advertising runs threw them is to lose sight of the ball at the start of the game. Being an influencer is not about merely taking selfies, putting them online and then getting paid 1000s of dollars from brands dimension them. Influencer Marketing is not about paying someone else to take selfies and put them online. It is fundamentally about engagement and communication. It is about building relationships. In many ways. I don't consider the leading names often associated with influencer marketing as influencers anymore. They have priced themselves out of the equation, shown that their endorsement is money driven, and have in effect become a new form of media. The term influencer marketing is poorly understood. The development of big name influencers becoming their own media doesn't particularly clear the waters. Considering only those top rung social media users as influencers is a fundamental misunderstanding of what influencer marketing entails. Humans are social creatures, we learn from each other. Individually, we learn from our greater society. How we communicate is always changing. We have communicated and influenced each other in decision making since the beginning of civilization. Early cave paintings of indigenous people around the globe have been found to be maps and recommendations on where to hunt certain animals information to be passed down to others. In many ways the printing press kickstarted society as we know it today. It fundamentally changed communication allowed for mass publication, and ushered in the Industrial Revolution and the development of cities and plenty more societal phenomena. In recent decades, the ways we communicate have changed with incredible speed through mass communication, the telephone, and of course, the internet. Social media has changed this once again, failing to adapt to new communication methods will leave your message unheard. In recent years, many books, podcasts, blog posts, and Ted Talks have discussed the best way to build your social media presence or to develop influence on a personal scale, many blueprints for developing your personal brand have been published. The age of influence does not do that. Well, part of this book discusses how to grow more influential on social networks. My voice here is on engaging the voices of influencers, leveraging the other as I call it, to spread your message. It's investing what power you have to move outside and insight word of mouth marketing, so that other voices will talk about your business. It is not about merely building brand, but giving you the tools to engage influential voices for a variety of business objectives. It is about returning to the original premise of engaging in social media, inciting word of mouth conversations about your brand. Social media, as I often like to say, represents the convergence of information and communication. More people are both communicating through and consuming information on social media. Communication has been democratized. Everybody has reached on their chosen social network. Every buddy has a platform to connect with those who share similar interests. Businesses are realizing the value in leveraging other social media users, such as employees, brand advocates, or influencers to help spread their message. Just as my phone salesperson built his following and a platform where he is influential coaching local small businesses and engaging with influencers. Nobody's online profile, as necessarily as they seem to customers. He has a phone salesperson to his employer, he is an employee. To his followers, he is a trusted voice to be listened to the online persona of everyone around you cannot be judged from a single glance. While some translate well from the physical world to Twitter, Instagram, others do not a leading CEO who might command a room of 1000s at a conference might not even have a voice online. However, his or her employee could have a following of millions. To paraphrase George Orwell's Animal Farm, all social media voices are equal, but some are more equal than others. Engaging with those whose voices are being heard is essential to spreading your message online. Rising above the digital noise and creating meaningful relationships. Even though social networks rise and fall, this principle remains. The age of influence covers this principle of leveraging how to engage and build actual relationships online. In my travels around the globe for conferences and clients, before the Coronavirus pandemic obviously, I have found that influencer marketing is more prominent in Southeast Asia and China than anywhere else in the world. The rise in consumption of media over the now easily accessible smartphone that traditional media did not keep pace with in those regions parallels the unprecedented growth of smartphones leaping over Over fixed wire technology more quickly and broadly there than in Western societies here. The accompanying democratization of media influence there has been filled through bloggers, YouTubers and Instagramers. In addition to the influencers, who about communities across native Chinese social networks, such as WeChat, Weibo, and more recently, tic TOCs, Chinese sister company going businesses in that part of the world really understand how much power these influencers hold. revenues generated from influencers in China are 30 times greater than that in Europe. Half of the top 10 fashion brands on the leading Chinese online shopping site Taobao, the Amazon of China, one might consider were launched by influencers. A brand I met in Singapore, a large conglomerate that manages many consumer facing brands was launching a new beauty brand, as they put it, if we want to get the word out about our new brand, how else would we do this? But with influencers, relying on traditional advertising and forms of brands for a legacy brand is one thing. But when launching a startup, sidestepping those gatekeepers, and connecting directly with your consumers has a much stronger benefit. Many businesses started out with word of mouth marketing without really knowing it. happy and successful customers told their friends who told their friends and so on. When communicated on social media, the way to incite word of mouth marketing is not from the declining reach of your organic posts or your advertisements. It's about leveraging people. Think about it. What if you shared your investment of time and money from paid ads, and paid social to joining the conversation with customers who have some influence in social media? What if you invest your organic social budget in relationships with people? This returns to the connection between customer success marketing and social customer service people rule social media and always will. I'm reminded of a study published some time ago in the Harvard Business Review that highlighted the myths about what brands think consumers want. As you continue reading, you will see how influencer marketing is a natural solution for those ideas proven false through the data in the study, specifically, these two ideas I'm going to share with you today. Number one, most consumers don't necessarily want to have a relationship with a brand. So social media is the domain ruled by people and its users are increasingly creating deeper relationships with influencers, not brands. The second point is shared values, not interactions, build relationships. Brands, garnering more engagement in social media doesn't necessarily mean that they are building relationships with people influencers are building relationships by being authentic, and attracting others who share their values and perspectives. The interaction with my phone salesperson highlights that businesses still don't understand how to interact with influencer marketing, it's entirely possible that his company or her company is unaware of the influence he yields as an employee and a direct customer facing employee. His affinity for the brand and knowledge about the product is a resource that is being drastically underutilized by his employer. This type of personal and knowledgeable voice in marketing content is powerful when done right harnessing employees ideas for content creation, and encouraging them to be more active on social media as part of an employer advocacy program, which treats them truly as influencers can be powerful. This is a point that many brands and businesses have not yet completely grasped elements of influencer marketing have been around for decades. In many ways. celebrity endorsement is one of the earliest ways of leveraging voices to spread your brand's message. Affiliate marketing and advocacy marketing have been part of many brand strategies for years. translating these to the digital age can be tricky. Who do you target? How do you approach them? How do you guarantee returns on time and monetary investments? digital platforms are new playing fields, social media will always be in flux. This is the inherent obstacle. The rules frequently change, new platforms rise, the newsfeed algorithm gets revised again, social networks come and go. It's impossible and ill advised to stretch yourself across all of them. The sudden growth of visual social networks like Instagram launched a new generation of influencers, who are distinct from their blogger YouTuber or even Twitter predecessors. influencers can cover the increasingly difficult visual ground for you much better than you can yourself while sidestepping the problems of mastery new and rising platforms, or worrying about a platform's longevity, harnessing true people power and that is what the voices of influencers are, requires a different approach to how you've traditionally spread your brand's message. Influencer marketing is a shift in communicating and interacting with your customers and audience. It's also able to deliver results far far beyond those of traditional returns. It's about user generated content. It's about community. It's about relationships, it's about engagement, it is more than just spreading a message. This is the next generation of social media marketing. So that was the introduction to the age of influence whether you are interested in buying the book or not. Hopefully, that gives you a little bit of insight as to why I'm so passionate about the subject and why I see so many opportunities for businesses, and for professionals in this era of digital influence that permeates every social network, in every industry. So going forward, this podcast will continue to look at marketing, digital marketing, and social media marketing through the lens of influence through this concept that I talked about. And obviously, if you want to dig deeper, there's no better resource than to buy the book, we'll put the link to purchase it in the show notes. And when the download of that first chapter, in addition to what I just read you from the introduction becomes available, I will make it available to you in the show notes as well. You know, I really don't want to talk, I don't want to make every podcast episode about my book, above and beyond a sponsorship, I'm not the type that enjoys the hard sell on things. But I just thought it would make for a good episode to at least share that little portion, that little perspective that can help you better understand everything that I talked about on all the other episodes. I will just share with you though on a final note just what the Table of Contents look like to give you a feel for the breadth of this concept of influence, and how it can be applied to marketing. So the book starts out with the part one, which is why influencer marketing. It looks at the origins of influencers in the modern world looks at the emergence of digital and social and the importance of content. I go deeper into the fact that social media was made for people, not businesses, I then go into that concept of how visual social presents new challenges to businesses, yet new opportunities to influencers. I also talk about a concept, which is all about your community is always a subset. Part Two looks at understanding influencers and the ways you can engage with them understanding the employee landscape, looking at the employee as influencer, looking at the 16 different ways to collaborate with influencers based on my research of various case studies. And then part three goes into how to actually work with influencers to generate massive results to buy or to build, developing the foundations of a strategy, the art and science of influence identification, creating and managing influencer relationships, the tools of the influencer marketing trade, and how to measure your influencer marketing ROI. Part four really speaks to another reason why I wrote this book, which is, and I've talked about this before, probably maybe not on my own podcast. But one of the reasons I wrote this book was not just because the amount of questions I got about influencer marketing, but that a lot of marketers wanted to know how they themselves could become more influential as well. So Part Four talks about becoming an influencer yourself. It looks at why and how every business to try to become more influential. And then I talk about how to become a social media influencer yourself a topic that I plan on creating a lot more content around, as well as more podcast episodes around. And then final thoughts on the future of influencer marketing, specifically looking at the emergence of artificial intelligence and sort of what businesses should be looking forward to in the not so distant future. So that's it. This concludes another episode of the Maximizer social influence podcast. I hope that if you enjoyed this episode, not just checking out the book, but that you will actually consider taking a screenshot of wherever you're listening this podcast, posting it on social, to share it, I'm also about an inciting word of mouth. And I don't really share my own podcast episodes a lot. This is my own sort of marketing issue that I'm trying to resolve right now. It's really relied pretty much on word of mouth and the reviews that you give me an apple or other podcast apps wherever you listen, so whatever you can share on social tag me, I'd love to give you a shout out back reviews and obviously subscriptions, all these things drive the algorithm insight, word of mouth marketing, so whatever you can do to help if you found any value, I truly appreciate it either way. I really enjoy these podcasts. And I really enjoy not only teaching you going forward but together learning and really trying to take advantage of all the opportunities that are still out there, even during the Coronavirus pandemic. So wherever you are in the world, whether it's physically but more often than not today, it's virtually make it a great social Day. Bye Bye, everybody.