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On the face of it, influencer marketing seems like a winning combination: brands pay influencers – people (not necessarily celebrities, but often well-known and respected individuals with a large following) – to talk about their products, driving sales and winning new customers. It’s a popular approach to marketing, with 68% of global marketers seeing influence marketing as a lead generation and customer acquisition tactic and 74% of global marketers reporting they will use influence marketing as part of their marketing strategy in the next 12 months.

But not every company is sold on the idea. It can be very expensive to use influencers in your marketing, and it can be a short-term. But changing your thinking about what exactly influencers are, and how you can use them can bring benefits to your marketing strategy, both in the short term and into the future.

1. Get to know your influencers

When your influencers are more than your sales people it can be hugely beneficial – for both of you. Kia Motors built up a two-way relationship with bloggers and online influencers through its Kia Social Club. By building long-term partnerships based on shared passions, such as parenting, safety, adventure, or lifestyle, Kia have been able to enable their bloggers to generate meaningful content around subjects that matter to them. The results are impressive: Social Media Examiner reports that Kia Social Club reached over 198 advocates, received 24,000 social endorsements and resulted in more than 30 million engagements.

2. Let them use their own voice

Kim Kardashialebronn might charge $25,000 to mention a brand in a Tweet to her 18 million followers but does this really reflect well on your company, or does it run the risk of backfiring, like Lebron James’ Instagram photo of his Nike sneakers with the caption “These are simply the best!! Ultra comfy and can wear them with anything. I’m ordering 100 pair right now. #kicks #Nike #family”? His 2.2 million fans could clearly hear the thunk of an awkwardly-dropped endorsement and didn’t react well. Not only that, but trying to pass off an endorsement as a celebrity’s own words without full disclosure can contravene the Federal Trade Commission’s regulations on advertising.

So the advice here would be to allow your spokespeople to be open about their relationship with your brand, but give them the space to talk about their experiences with your products in their own voice. It will appear more natural and won’t land you in trouble with the regulators. Continue Reading »

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Buffett - reputation“Your reputation precedes you” is a phrase that is usually followed by opportunities, investments, and partnerships.

That is because your reputation is the only thing you have when it comes to success. People will work with you, buy from you, and invest in you based on your reputation. And reputation is shaped by your character and your actions. Everything you do or say in life, regardless of your occupation or goals, directly contributes to people’s perception of you: who you are as a person and as a leader.

“If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of me.” – Dwight L. Moody

Integrity is critical to your career. When times get tough, it’s your actions towards others and your actions in addressing challenges that shape your reputation. And that is driven largely by clear understanding of who you are, your values, your purpose. Are you taking an easy way out? Are you delivering on your promises? Are you assigning blame or owning up to your mistakes? Etc.

People with strong reputation are consistent. They lead by example, they pave the way, and they don’t compromise what’s important. Continue Reading »

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shareable_contentCreating a ‘viral video’ is like setting out to produce ‘an Oscar-winning film’.

You can look back at some of the most-shared videos, trying to fathom some sort of recipe for success, but if you try to replicate those vital ingredients your video will most likely feel flat and formulaic. If a movie producer tries too hard to re-create an award-winning film, putting together a big budget, an epic storyline, some top names, it can still be a flop. What movie-goers want is passion, great acting and a sense that everyone involved loved what they were doing: they want to feel something. Movies that make people feel something win awards. Videos too must speak to a brand’s followers if they are to be shared.

Content is shared because it provokes an emotional response

Two University of Pennsylvania professors analyzed the New York Times’ most-emailed list, and came up with a list of factors that contributed to content going viral. They discovered that posts inspiring feelings of awe, anger or anxiety are shared more often than others. Now, businesses will want to stay away from inducing anger in their audience, but awe clearly works well, if it is appropriate to the brand, and humor is another strong emotion that is safe for brands to play with. For brands, making people gasp in astonishment or laugh out loud are safe and popular goals.

But the material to inspire these emotions has to be original. Once something has been done before, move on: don’t imitate. Think back to your company’s history, your company’s mission, why your loyal customers love you – and draw from that. Continue Reading »

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Ekaterina Walter quoteIt’s that simple. And that complicated.

Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs think that possessing a great vision or idea is enough. The reality, as most of them find out, bites.

In my conversations with an investor who was burnt several times in the past by investing in businesses that didn’t take off the ground, I kept hearing him say: “Having the idea is only a start, the hard part is executing on it to make it a success.”

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration over 50% of small businesses fail in the first five years. Why? What goes wrong?

The truth is: there are plenty of brilliant ideas out there, but there are very few leaders who can build a successful business. Having an idea only takes you the first several steps towards the long journey of turning that idea into reality, the rest of it is miles and miles of skills required to run day-to-day operations, to hire and – most importantly – retain the right talent, ability to network and find the right partners, ability to procure additional funding, the list goes on and on. Continue Reading »

Tweetables from the Article

  • Having the idea is only a start, the hard part is executing on it to make it a success.  Buffer
  • You cannot execute on your vision alone. Success is a team sport.  Buffer

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