Using Social Media Influencers for Brand Awareness

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Detailed session at Blog Indiana 2012 on how to use social promotion and engagement of influencers to drive website traffic, brand awareness and social signals for seo. Examples included steps I took build a social network of over 200,000 people and expose over 6 million people to our brand in 12 months.

Text of Using Social Media Influencers for Brand Awareness

  • -Director of Marketing for HCCMIS -Responsible for social media & brand awareness - HCCMIS sells insurance for people traveling internationally - One of first to sell health insurance online-We have built over 250,000 targeted followers across multiple channels -Reached about 6 million people in twelve months
  • - I am also co-author of Nothing New: An Irreverent History of Storytelling and Social Media, an Amazon Best seller. - Nothing New is not your traditional book on web marketing or social media - Nothing new tracks back in history to show how the art ofstorytelling is impacted by new technologies, including social media - Download the e-book on amazon at
  • -The world is home to 7 billion people; 1/3rd of the world population is online- Expansion is steady in developed countries, but exploding in developing nations - We have 1 billion users of social media
  • - There are 1 billion users of social media- There are over 200 active social media networks
  • 80% of people in social media only share one content of category in a month.
  • - 51% use social media to research when shopping-2/3rds social media to make purchase decisions - Jay Baer-Not only are we doing our research online, we are making our purchasing descisions!- This insane growth of social media is impacting how many channels we, as marketers now have to engage in - Basically...
  • -Social proliferation has changed how we do business- but have we, as marketers and content creators, kept up with changing times? - Unfortunately, for many of us, the answer is no
  • -As content creators first, and marketers second, many of us are operating under the unicorn strategy - we create awesome content - we post this awesome content - we expect folks to find it and wala! double rainbow - but theres a problem
  • - Without an enormous following, this is like screaming in the woods - there is a better way
  • - own the results of your content- create that amazing content you are so good at - post this content to a beautiful web property - then... promote it - Take your content to the people who want it - hand deliver it. - Create your double rainbow - a tried and true delivery method is brand advocates/influencers
  • - Influencers are individuals who words and actions impact the ideology and actions of others. - Create brand advocates vs. influencers - this concept is highly used in traditional advertising
  • - Brands use celebrities to ensure impact the buying decisions of consumers - Stealing star power has been used for years1- 48% trust companies. But that means that 52% think youre lying. Have someone else tell your story - Check out this data
  • - Celebrity spokespeople still work, much less so than they did in the past- Blogs and social updates are considerably more influential than celebrity endorser to those who want substantive advice -On top of this
  • - 98% trust advice and information they get from blogs- This is important to remember because most social media influencers also own a web property like a blog - So far this year we have released over 6,000 pieces of content. - Our network has grown to over 250,000 - Influencers play a huge role in how we develop and promote - So lets look at some of our results
  • - Anatomy of a backpacker is a mixed media piece that we created to inform international backpackers how to prepare for a trip. It included short infographics, charts, and written content. - A link to the content was given to a high influence Stumbler and it blew up! - 40,000 visits - Over 5 min on page -26% bounce rate -Remember, this is for an insurance company! Like, thats crazy!@MuhammadInc @hccmis
  • - In this example, we had already developed a relationship with a makeup artist who had over a million followers on Pinterest. We created a piece of content, just for her, to fit her demographic of engaged followers. -300 reshares -Over 1000 visits to site in the first 3 hours -Traffic continued for several weeks@MuhammadInc @hccmis
  • - Sometimes it is better to build your own network. Because of a focus on the adventure traveler demographic, we built a facebook community of over 15,000 follower. This community was used to promote an interactive infographic. -3.9m impressions -2k comments -Over 100 shares - This is all great, but does your boss really care about what I did? No, hes all "Steve.." *tap*@MuhammadInc @hccmis
  • - lets get some actual work done and keep the cats happy- We will cover, locating, engaging, and launching influencer content - In each section we will have a tool, so keep a sharp eye
  • - Locating social media influencers is the first, but easiest, step- Social media influencers are very active online. They are loud! So they tend to be hard to miss in their verticals
  • - Love/hate relationship with Klout- Use the gamification system of Klout to find influencers on certain topics- Ignore the first page to avoid people that gamed the game
  • - Third party tools like let you search content based on keywords - also use internal search tools of networks@MuhammadInc @hccmis
  • Followerwonk searches bios for keywords and allows you to download the results to an excel sheet@MuhammadInc @hccmis
  • Social crawlitics is a free tool that crawls webpages and pulls back the social sharing statistics on each of the pages.I use tools like this to check the websites of potential influencers and see how active their community is regarding their blog content.
  • The next step is to take that targeted social media influencer and become friends with them. This is the HARDEST part of the process. Expect it to take a long time.You are trying to create a friendship that can withstand the test of time.
  • Before you reach out to them, you need to figure out who they are as individuals. Remember, your first approach will NOT be about placing content. You are looking to make a friend. For example, if you are targeting an adventure traveler, that person may have interests like Hiking, Skiing, or backpacking.Since social media influencers are so vocal online, their profiles are a perfect place to figure out their interests. -Kotex did an awesome job with their pinterest campaign -50 women -Created special boxes based on what the women were sharing on pinterest -Mailed those boxed to the targeted influencers - Created 700,000 brand impressions via social media from those women enthusiastically sharing what they received.
  • You can also use social influence tools like Klout to see what people are consistently talking about. In this case, it looks like Allison Carter loves Vampires. Maybe you should start out by talking to her about True Blood.