Since publishing The Age of Influence, my thoughts on influencer marketing and social media marketing in general continue to evolve. As I prepare for the writing of my next book, I wanted to share with you my latest views on how you and your business can best leverage social media for marketing in 2021 and beyond: By looking at social media as a marketplace for collaboration and strategically moving social media users through your funnel of Social Media Relationships.
[02:55] The Concept of Social Media Relationships
[04:29] Why Are You Not Getting More From Social Media?
[05:17] Social Media Is About Collaboration
[07:36] The Funnel of Social Media Relationships
[08:05] Getting Your Audience In The Tier of Followers and Engagers
[09:28] Social Share of Voice
[12:25] Why You Should Not Ignore Engagements From Your Followers
[17:28] The ROI of Deepening Relationships With People
[18:18] Why You Need to Incite Word of Mouth Marketing
[21:06] Working With Influencers
[23:53] What Can You Get from Collaborating with Influencers?
[26:10] Invest In People Instead of Paid Advertising
Reference Links for Neal Schaffer:
As a business, has your social media marketing today basically evolved into paid social, where in order to get any benefit from social media, you're just investing money in advertising. Well, my friends, welcome to the age of influence. And there is a better way to derive business benefits from social media that I'm going to talk about in this episode of The maximize your social influence podcast. Welcome to the maximize your social influence podcast with Neal Schaffer, where I help marketers, entrepreneurs, and business owners grow their businesses using innovative marketing techniques, leveraging the concept of digital influence throughout digital and social media. Hey everybody, welcome to episode number 189. We are getting closer to the Golden 200 on the maximize your social influence podcast. Well, it was incredibly thankful Thanksgiving, I hope for my American friends, you had a very restful a, hopefully a four day weekend. And now we are in the busy part of the year getting ready for Christmas and the end of year festivities. So I think it is a really good time to begin to obviously, we're already planning out what our 2021 is going to look like. And I recently was a guest on the melt water festival meltwater, one of the leading social listening tools in the world. I was a guest on their festival global festival. And for the first time, I unveiled some content that I want to share with you today about rethinking social media. Now, this is actually part of my own evolution of thinking. I tell people that when I talk about influencer marketing now, it's already evolved since the publication of the age of influence. And as I get ready for my next book, and I'm beginning to share more and more information with you. You know, we've talked recently on this podcast a lot about content, or podcasting. And I want to get back to the social media because obviously, this is the maximize your social influence podcast, and social media, obviously, in a digital first world where we have search, email, social, it is also one of the key components. But I believe, as I wrote, in the age of influence, why influencer marketing is becoming more and more popular and more and more powerful. As time goes by, that there is a different way to leverage social media. In fact, this concept I'm going to talk to you about today is going to become one of the central themes when I write my next book, when it comes to the chapters on social media. And what it really is all about is this concept of social media relationships. So as marketers, we think of marketing in terms of a funnel, right? And I don't I mean, there's some pretty smart people who have said flipped the funnel, or the funnel doesn't matter anymore. But at the end of the day, there is a natural progression of people who don't know about your product or service, then know about your product or service, and then actually buy from you and then hopefully advocate for you that I think that progression really hasn't changed how they found out about you has changed. But everything else, we can still think in terms of a funnel. So instead of thinking of social media, itself as a marketing funnel, I think this is the place where businesses go awry for the many reasons I talked about in the age of influence. I can get started with the fact that the algorithms favor people's content over businesses content, because businesses tend to post promotional content. And I think, as any marketer and I myself, we always want to have the opportunity to post promotional content. It's how we show the ROI of our time spent. But really what happens over time, is that there's this expectations gap, the expectation that social media can deliver so much for businesses, and yet the reality is more and more because of the way that algorithms work. And because of the way that marketers think about content, whether it's social media or not, that there's always a huge gap. Why can't we get more from social media? It's really funny because all of my fractional cmo clients know that I don't begin consulting with my clients on social, we start with search, and then we move to email, and then we move to social and that's actually going to be the progression of how I talk about digital first marketing in my next book, and in fact before the book comes out I'm actually starting to write a free ebook, which I can't wait to announce to you, I don't know if it's going to happen by the end of the year, but certainly in January, should be able to have that for you. So here's the thing, when you reimagine social media, you begin to see the business benefits. And I've always said this recently, for those of you that have been listening, but social media should not be about marketing, but about collaboration. Sure, it's about marketing, don't get me wrong. But when you look at it as a way to collaborate, this is the way that if you want to yield more influence as a person or personal brand, collaboration can get you pretty far. You hear about influencers, and they trade shoutouts they support each other, the concept of this pod, which maybe some of you have heard of, it's very popular on Instagram, I see it recently on LinkedIn as well, the fact that you all support each other's posts by liking them comment on anyone, have you, I think really began with that's what influencers have done on these platforms to help each other. So why can't businesses do the same? Why can businesses look at social media not as a way to market but as a way to collaborate? And there's literally billions of people that you can collaborate with? And when I gave this presentation, I showed a statistic, would you be happy with this result? And it's basically comparing all these companies in their Facebook fan page, and the percent of fans engaging with their post and everyone's like, yeah, we want more engagement. And I show another slide, which shows the number of fans that actually share the company's content to their audience, and that the companies that won that battle were very different than the ones who got the most engagement, believe it or not. So what is more important engagement or advocacy. And once again, if we get back to those original marketing funnels, the final stage is really advocacy. So just by sort of retooling how we think about social media, I believe, you begin to measure the right activities. Because we all know that at the end of the day, the people that we want to influence, or the businesses that we want to sell to are all on social media, but they're all over the place, digitally speaking, part of it is social media, part of it is not social media, right. And when you think of social media as being this, and I've talked a lot about this, as well, this ideal experimental testbed for ideas and content, you combine that with the fact that you can find your influencers and collaborate with them on social media, I think you'll begin to see the value that I'm going to be talking about here. So what does this funnel of social media relationships look like, if social media should be about collaboration, there is a funnel. And the funnel is actually pretty simple. You have the general public, they you know, people either know about your they don't know about you, and the general public unless you're a big famous brand, they don't know about you to begin with. And every company starts the same way, with zero followers, zero content, and you're embarking to build relationships, what are those relationships look like? Well, when they come further down in your funnel, they become a follower, they become an engager, they become a mentionner. So now of the billions of social media users is going to be a very, very small fraction that begin to enter your sphere of influence, they might be customers, they might be employees, they might be interested in your product, maybe they got recommended to your company, from a friend, whatever it is, they're now in this next tier. And when we get them in the tier of followers and engagers, we're not trying to overly promote ourselves to them. But we really want to bring them further down in the funnel. And I believe the third and final stage, and I'm not talking customer, I'm moving beyond customer to really advocate and influencer for your company in social media. And this is where you're gonna see a lot of alignment with what I wrote about in the age of influence, and really influencer marketing in general. So let's take a look at each one of these stages, so that you have some ideas of how to recalibrate your social media, not just for the next year, but really for the next decade. So we begin with the general public, what is the ROI of social media when we're trying to engage with the general public? Well, we begin to uncover new insights and opportunities from the general public. And this really begins with the concept of social intelligence, who is inciting war, more word of mouth in your industry. And this intelligence we can get from what it's called a social Share of Voice. How many times is your company being mentioned, compared to others in the industry, and therefore the leaders in the industry? What are they doing to insight that word of mouth is going to uncover some opportunities for us. In fact, let's not just talk about comparing the social Share of Voice just like with all my companies, and all my clients Excuse me, when we do an audit, we look at, you know, what types of content your competitors are sharing? What's the frequency on what social networks? Are they sharing, all of this is public information that we can really glean a lot of insights that can once again help our business going forward, we can track our brand health. And what I mean by this is, how do others talk about you, compared to how you talk about you, you know, we listen to a lot of marketing experts say, Take surveys of your clients, understand how they talk about their problems, and use that language in our own marketing copy. So a lot of this intelligence, we might be able to get, just from better monitoring what the general public is saying in social media, we can monitor sales performance, if our sales are increasing, is our word of mouth increasing? And if not why, on the other hand, if our word of mouth is increasing, and our sales aren't, what's going on, right? And we can research new products, I always tell the story that recently teaching at a university, there were two people from a very, very famous fortune 50 consumer beverage brand in the audience. And I asked them if they were from marketing, they said, No, we are from r&d. We use social media to research new products. And this is something that any business or entrepreneur can be doing as well, obviously. And really, it's looking at social media as a focus group. It is a focus group, if you listen, because it gives you infinite source of data regarding consumer demographics and buying trends. It helps you gauge consumers interests, how they interact with competitors, and content. And it helps measure the aggregate interaction between a brand and the public. So that's the general public, right? And you're not selling anything. But you're listening, you're analyzing, you might be able to get started in conversations when people ask questions that you can respond to, and shine a good light on your business as you do this search and monitoring. But really, it's about now bringing people further down into our social media relationship funnel, and that is when they become a follower engager or mentionner. Right? It gives us the opportunity to bring fans deeper into our sphere of influence. And I think this is where companies make a mistake, they get a new follower. They don't care. someone mentions them on social media man, you know, I have a verified profile on Twitter with like, 220,000 followers, there's still a lot of brands that ignore me. But let's put it this way. And when I gave the presentation, I showed a picture of the Japanese tea ceremony. And for those of you that know me, I've lived in Japan for 15 years. The tea ceremony is actually it's very, very powerful, symbolic experience, when you learn what it means to Japanese, because the idea about the tea ceremony is yes, it's it's sort of this unique thing where there's someone you know, dressed up in a traditional kemono, preparing tea in a certain way, and then giving you a delicious cup of matcha. Green tea. Yes, that essential to the experience. But it's also about the environment, you're in the paintings on the wall. That's our conversation as you drink the tea, and who you are together with. In other words, the whole concept of the tea ceremony from a more Zen perspective, is that it is this once in a lifetime experience where you'll never be in the same place, same environment, with the same people drinking the same beverage. And therefore, it is a once in a lifetime experience that you want to take the fullest advantage of an experience in its fullest. So what the heck does this have to do with anything, Neil? Well, every engagement that you get on social media is an opportunity to deepen that relationship. And this is why marketers who have a one to many approach to social media versus PR professionals have a one to one approach, there was just a vast difference in what you can do. So maybe, instead of thinking of social media as how many clicks that I get still important, but maybe it's how many people that I engage in conversation today. And it's really interesting because I did an interview with the VP of PR from Ritz Carlton hotels many years ago. And at that time, PR was actually in charge of their social media. And this is exactly the KPI they used how many people did we touch now they lifted impressions, what have you, but it was a very, very different but I think now that we enter our second decade of social media, a very, very appropriate approach for how to look at social media. And I want to give you an example. I'm going to give a shout out out to my friends at app Sumo. And I'll put a link in the show notes. For those of you that don't know, app Sumo is this great marketplace where a lot of startups, especially in b2b SaaS software, will give away incredible deals on appsumo lifetime deals, you know, 50% off deals, it's a good idea to sort of subscribe if you're into like tools and software, you'll definitely want to check them out. And this is an example I gave in the presentation of I shared a tweet from appsumo. I forgot if it was about one of their deals or from their blog. So what happens is, I didn't get a DM on Twitter, I got an email because if you were to go to my profile, you could see a link to my website, and then you could find my email address or find me on LinkedIn, I got an email from the partnerships manager saying thank you. And we'd like to thank you for, for sharing the love. And we'd like to offer you you know, a certain amount of dollars in credits as a thank you for being so awesome. You know, we always hear that it is a greater ROI to invest in our own customers, then you try to acquire new customers. So this is a very, very easy way to do it. When you see someone that might be a nano influencer above talk about your brand and social, you can thank them, but you could take it one step further to deepen the relationship. So when I responded with a thank you, here's the email address associated with my account. She got back to me saying, Hey, no worries, just out of the credits. And I'll quote what she wrote me in the next email side note, looks like you'd be a great fit for our affiliate program, we give you cash for any customers, you send our way 100% of sale on new app Sumo customers up to $50 in order and 5% uncapped on returning appsumo customers, let me know if you're interested and I can shoot you an invite directly as versus you going through the application process. So in other words, I can fast track you to become an official affiliate marketer for appsumo should you be interested in it? Because guess what, when you bring someone into your funnel of social media relationships, and they're already a follower, a mention or what's next, it's advocate an influencer? What is a type of influencer marketing, affiliate marketing. So just a great example that hopefully hits home for a lot of you of how someone took one tweet, and drove me further, deeper and deeper into that funnel of social media relationships, and now has built a potential advocate through a very, very simple follow up. So what is the ROI of deepening relationships with people that mentioned you and follow you in social media? Well, this goes without saying, but obviously, you're going to gain tremendous customer insight from interactions with your fans. Every engagement provides you the opportunity to educate your followers on your product or service. You can convert followers to customers, by answering questions and offering advice controlling the research phase, you can strengthen your performance marketing, by obviously driving followers engagers, to your website, where you strengthen the pixel or depending on the social network, you can obviously retarget those that engage with you on social media. And here I think is the biggest one, you can discover hidden customers, influencers and brand advocates. Because as we move to our third and final stage of this funnel of social media relationships, it's all about influencers and advocates to drive deeper relationships to incite more word of mouth, because social media when when it was born, it was all about word of mouth marketing, that just does not happen organically any more. We need to incite word of mouth marketing. And the way to do that is to build up our army of influencers and advocates and social media is going to be the primary way to do that. But I think a greater ROI isn't necessarily just the advocacy, which is a great ROI. It is what influencers can do to help you with content creation, because every influencer is a content creator. Now, to remind you all why influencer marketing becomes more important over time, I'm going to reiterate some of the things I already talked about. Because organic social media has become pay to play. The algorithms are always going to favor people over brands. The ROI of influencer marketing is long term. When people engage with you and talk about you. They may continue to talk about you in the future if they become a true advocate. And influencer content depending on the platform can live on for a long, long time. Think podcasts, YouTube videos, blog posts, we also as people trust ads less and less. On the other hand, we trust those like us who we can relate to more and more. And I think especially with this post pandemic, economy, and post pandemic social media, I think this is even more the case. We Truly treasure, not just the relatability, but also the authenticity and the realness that people bring that it's just hard for businesses to replicate. So if inciting word of mouth is the original intent of social media marketing, well really influencer marketing becomes, in my mind, the key value or I should say almost replaces organic social media marketing. And obviously we're not talking about you know, I sort of mentioned the word nano influencer, because those are people that the influencer marketing industry has determined have at least 1000 followers. But you know, me I talk about thinking of influencers in terms of brand affinity, right? We have employees, customers, partners, we have followers, pensioners, and then we have the rest of the people. So it's almost like the rest of the people or the general public, the followers mentioned, hers are in the second stage of our social media relationships funnel, and then obviously, employees, customers, partners, and how do we encourage them to become advocators become that third stage. So obviously, depending on your objective for social media marketing, we can now translate this into how we want to structure how we work with influencers. And it's really, as simple as that, obviously, there are many benefits of working with influencers, above and beyond simply content amplification. But I really challenge you to think whatever objective your social media marketing has, it can be translated into influencer marketing, read the age of influence, there's always a link in the show notes to help you acquire it. But one thing I want to talk about here is above and beyond that, what I see is perhaps the biggest ROI of you know, going above and beyond advocacy is the byproduct of influencer relationships, which is content, the content that you can co create, or you can have created for you can be a big boon for all of your digital marketing. And content comes in a lot of different shapes. It could be interviewing influencers, interviewing experts that are in that final stage of customers, employees, advocates, what have you, and asking them for, you know, their advice on a certain subject, and now publishing that in terms of social media content, or maybe blog content. And there are tremendous examples, I give the example of tour rasslin, who's from Norway, who, you know, he asked at product tivity tips from incredibly busy experts, asked at experts about their productivity tips, publish his blog post, and tour got 20,000 plus pageviews, in six days, 1500 social shares, incredibly enough, ranked number four on Google for productivity tip through the art of not only including influencers as part of his content creation. But obviously when you do that, there's a greater chance that they're going to share your content and advocate for you. If you're a business, Evernote does a great job of this, they their blog content, features, how their customers like co schedule, give a shout out to them great social media management and you know, editorial calendar management, plugin and platform. And they have a variety of companies and how they leverage Evernote on their blog, we have I'm going to give a shout out again to Ritz Carlton and their Instagram feed 100% user generated content. And I believe that your collaboration with influencers by bringing them further and further down deeper into your sphere of influence, down and down deeper in this funnel of social media relationships. Your collaboration with influencers can provide you potentially all the content you need. And not just for social media, not just for your organic social media, but for your paid social media as well. And not just for your organic and paid social media, but for your website, for your product page for your shopping cart. And there's tremendous data that suggests when you use the content of people, rather than your brand, through all these stages of the customer journey at every stage, you're going to perform better or even think about that. And you know, my aha moment was when I had my agency for those of you that that have inquired currently PDCA PDCA socials only engaging in fractional cmo consulting work, but when I had my agency, one of my first clients that we did blogger outreach influencer marketing for it was really the creatives that one blogger created for their blog. The images were just so much better than what this company was doing for their own product page. You can see how it's not just social media, people from social media, go to your website, you don't want them to see night and day, you know it, there should be a consistent message, consistent visuals, consistent relatability. And that's where I think the power of influencers and bringing people on social media deeper and deeper in your funnel to become not just your army of nano influencers, but your content creation army of nano influencers and advocates, that's where you begin to see tremendous value that can really help raise the bar for your marketing, all across the board. Regardless of communication channel, or content medium. As I did in my presentation, I'm going to leave you with concluding thoughts. I had there's a the image is a woman in a yoga pose, basically sitting, all we can see is her back and in front of her or just in the sand dunes. Okay, so we're getting back to that Zen perspective that I had when I talked about the tea ceremony. But instead of investing in social media platforms through advertising, take out money, invest in people, and collaborate. And I think you or your brand will see the biggest ROI from social media, compared to anything else that you've been doing up until now, doesn't have to be an immediate overnight switch. But take 10% 20% recalibrate how you do organic social media, it's important to have an organic presence from a credibility perspective. But hopefully, this episode has given you some advice that helps you rethink not just your social media ROI, but your social media marketing. And in doing so, helping you maximize your social influence. I want to thank you, again for being a loyal listener, or maybe your first listener, but whoever, wherever you are, I really appreciate every subscription to this podcast, just press that subscribe button on your favorite podcast player, as well as all the amazing reviews that you've all written. Whenever you share my podcast in public, it is always just such an honor. So I want to thank you for being advocates of my podcast. Don't forget, if you're not signed up to my mailing list, go to Neal Schaffer calm, make sure you sign up using any one of those widgets. I often have events that I do that I just don't have enough lead time to talk about them on the podcast, but I end up sending out emails. And I don't want you to miss out on those opportunities, including this Twitter ebook that I'm working on, as well as my digital first marketing ebook and preview of my new book that I'm working on as well. All right, everybody. That's it. I know you're busy. I'm busy end of the year festivities. So here we go. Wherever you are in the world, make it a great virtual social day. Bye Bye everybody. And Sayonara