Author: alyssafagien

Influencer Marketing: How Other People Are the Key to Marketing Success

“The first problem of communication is getting people’s attention.” -Chip Heath, Made to Stick

You can craft clever tweets and write inspiring blog posts, but none of that matters if no one sees it. The question then becomes, how can I increase visibility? With the rise of social media, people have become the media. People have become the experts. So it makes sense that marketers are turning to people, or influencers, to help spread the word. Aka Influencer Marketing.

What is Influencer Marketing you ask? I think Tap Influence does a great job of defining it: “Influencer Marketing is the practice of working with influential people online to spread the word about your products and services through social media.”

Just think about it. An advertisement might catch your eye, but can you trust it? Companies and marketers want you to buy their goods or services because it directly benefits them. So it’s possible that they embellish, or even lie. But if you’re at lunch with your friend and he/she mentions how awesome this new product is…now that’s a piece of information you would trust. Word of mouth has become an essential part of modern marketing.

Influencers share their opinions with their followers via social media and blog posts. They have the ability to increase exposure, drive traffic and (hopefully) lead people to convert.

But remember: not all influencers are created equal. One of the most important factors in selecting influencers is the size of their following, but people with millions of Twitter followers will not help you if they do not relate to your brand. An article titled The Definitive Guide to Influencer Targeting provides us with a great example: Justin Bieber. While he is definitely an influential person on social media (with close to 60 million Twitter followers), having him tweet about a type of software would not do your business any good. You have to target influencers who are experts in your niche.

And we all know how much I love visual content! So here’s an infographic that breaks down influencer marketing and provides tips on how to make it work:

influencer-marketing

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Public Relations is Just Earned Media? Think Again.

The Public Relations Society of America defines PR as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Many people view public relations as a way to grow these relationships through promotional efforts, or earned media. And while that is definitely true, earned media is only one piece of the PR puzzle. To really kick ass in PR, you need to embrace the PESO model.

PESO-model

PESO stands for Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned. And as demonstrated in the image above, PR professionals who are stuck in an “earned media only” mindset are missing out on a number of opportunities to grow their business. Now you might be saying to yourself, “isn’t paid media traditionally thought of as marketing?” And my answer to that question is yes. But with the emergence of social media, content marketing and other digital efforts, I think the lines between public relations and marketing are becoming more and more blurred.

Public relations is evolving. And if you don’t adapt, you risk getting left behind. So when you’re planning the next move for your public relations strategy, think beyond earned media. Think PESO.

The Art of Pinterest Marketing

Pinterest logo

 

Social media has become a huge part of digital marketing strategies. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn… But one that really stands out to me is Pinterest.

I love Pinterest for personal reasons: I find delicious recipes, fashion inspiration and messages that empower me. But Pinterest is not just a fun, mindless social media outlet. It has the potential to make a significant impact on your business.

Visual Content

You already know how I feel about visual content. And it doesn’t get much more visual than Pinterest. Create different boards showing off your products/services. Re-pin brands you admire and align with. Show users who you are as a brand through your pins- show them you’re human, not just a “machine.” And yes, a lot of this can be done through Instagram, but that brings me to my next point…

Referrals

According to a Business Insider article, Pinterest is the second biggest source of social referral traffic. And isn’t that everyone’s goal? More traffic to their site? More traffic, more conversions, more $$. Starting to see the draw?

Engagement

Facebook and Twitter may have Pinterest beat in terms of users, but Pinterest wins in other ways. The half-life of a social media post is when the piece of content has reached 50 percent of its total engagement. According to a Wisemetrics blog post, the half-life of a Tweet is 45 minutes and of a Facebook post is 90 minutes. So relatively soon after you post something on either one of these platforms, it disappears. But this is not the case for Pinterest. A Piqora study shows that pins are discovered long after they are posted. In fact, “50 percent of visits happen after 3.5 months of first pinning.”

It is time to embrace Pinterest as an effective marketing tactic. Pin to boards, engage with users and add a “Pin It” button to your site. The numbers don’t lie.

5 Ways You Should Be Using Twitter

284 million.

That is the number of active users on Twitter each month.

So why when I ask my friends does it seem like only a small percentage of them actually use this social media site?

According to a new report from Business Insider, “Instagram has edged out Facebook and Twitter in terms of prestige among young users.” And don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram, and I feel that there is huge opportunity associated with using it. But for those young professionals choosing to keep your distance from Twitter, you might want to reconsider. Here are five ways you should be using Twitter (if you’re not doing so already).

Stay up-to-date on news and current events.

If you’re anything like me, you wake up each morning, roll over in bed, grab your phone and read theSkimm. I don’t have the time (or the attention span) to read full stories, so short little blurbs on the most newsworthy items is just what the doctor ordered. Well, if you like knowing what is going on in the world more than once a day, it’s time to join the Twitter bandwagon. 140 characters of the latest and greatest–at all times of the day.

Find a job.

Twitter isn’t just a place for people to share their random thoughts, it’s also a great place to find job openings! Start following some of your favorite brands and companies– I know many will post jobs as they become available. (I actually learned about my last internship on Twitter!)

Expand your network.

Even if your dream company does not have any current openings, you can use Twitter to open a door. Start following and interacting with the business’s Twitter account, employees and even influencers in your desired job field. This will not only show your interest, but you will also learn a lot (about the company and industry) along the way!

Brand yourself.

In the digital market, it’s important to be able to show current and future employers that you know how to navigate social media sites. Even if you have never managed a company Twitter account, demonstrating through your personal account that you understand what goes into crafting a well-thought-out, informative and attention-grabbing tweet makes you a much more marketable employee. Retweet interesting articles, share your opinions and interact with other users.

Connect with friends!

At the end of the day, Twitter was created for users to communicate with other users. So even if all of the reasons above don’t do it for you, at the very least you can use Twitter to tag your friends in funny articles and photos!

When SEO Met PR

As a search engine optimization associate who studied public relations in college, nothing makes me more excited than to discover the two are quickly becoming intertwined. One technical and the other creative, the two really do complement each other. Just think about it… SEO uses link building, keyword research and more to attract visitors to specific websites. Public relations uses the dissemination of information (through events, press releases, social media, etc.) to gain the acceptance and favor of the public. When you look at it like that, SEO and PR really set out to achieve the same goal, but in different ways.

As we all know, Google continues to make changes to its algorithm in hopes of creating the best possible user experience. Webmasters used to be able to “optimize” pages by pumping out high volumes of low quality, keyword-stuffed content. But no more. Now quality trumps quantity. In fact, content that is not relevant and interesting to the consumer can end up hurting your rankings. I believe this played a huge role in the merging of SEO and public relations. Keyword research and placement is just as important as ever, but must be done in a way that will naturally grab the attention of the readers.

It was not until I became an SEO professional that I realized the importance of link building. I (perhaps naively) viewed tactics such as guest blogging and inbound/outbound linking as brand and relationship building. But maybe I was onto something. The term “link building” has become almost taboo. And that is not to say it isn’t done anymore–because it certainly is. But it has changed, placing more importance on (again) quality over quantity. Thanks to Google, the amount of SEO value a link holds depends on factors such as the page rank and domain authority of the host site. But these high quality websites will not just link to anyone, so PR has to swoop in, build relationships and get the job done.

Content marketing seems to be a huge buzz term in the SEO world. Heidi Cohen says, “content marketing provides consumers with useful information to aid purchase decisions, improve product usage and entertain them while achieving organizational goals without being overtly promotional.” That sounds a lot like public relations to me.  Another factor I think is playing a role in the blurred lines of SEO and PR is the rise of implied links and/or mentions. Previously, unless a site explicitly linked to your own site, you did not get any “link juice.” But now, reports are saying that even a mention of your brand or product can help your rankings.

Lastly: social media. I think social media is a curious thing. No one seems to know exactly where it should fall. Some say marketing, others say advertising, others say public relations and yes, now it has become a part of SEO, too. Although nothing has been confirmed, people speculate about the effect social media has one a page’s ranking. Regardless, social shares mean increased visibility. So even IF Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. does not play a part in Google’s algorithm, utilizing these tactics can definitely boost your brand awareness and will most likely affect your conversion.

The fusion of search engine optimization and public relations has already begun, and I believe they will only become more intertwined with time. Until Google decides to place less importance on quality (which I’m guessing will be never) SEOs will have to take a couple of cues from PR and really connect with consumers.

Technology and the Rise of DIY

Ten years ago, if you heard people talking about sewing, scrapbooking or crafting, you would assume they were referring to their grandmother. But in the past few years there has been a huge shift in behavior and DIY is once again trendy—and not just for the older generation. In fact, according to a Cricut survey, more than half of DIY-ers are under the age of 35!

The obvious answer to this change is the economy. With a poor economy, people are more frugal and thus more likely to “do it yourself” rather than buy a product or hire someone to complete a service. And there is no denying that the current state of our economy plays a role in the rise of DIY, but I think it is technology that truly ignited the fire.

There are 70 million users on Pinterest worldwide, according to an Omnicore infographic. And the top two categories are “Cooking & Dining” and, yep, you guessed it, “DIY & Crafts.” I personally never really considered myself a huge crafter, but after a few pinning frenzies, I had a whole board dedicated to different DIY projects. And in an age where validation comes in the form of likes, comments and shares, the next step is to take photos of these beautifully crafted homemade trinkets and post them on social media.

Crafting has even become an easy business venture with online stores—the most popular of them being Etsy, which features over one million artisan sellers. People can create their own “shop” on Etsy’s website and sell their handcrafted items to people all over the world. How cool is that.

So while the return to crafting and homemade projects may seem a little retro, the addition of technology really adds a whole new dimension to the term DIY.

The New King

I keep hearing the phrase “content is king.” And while I have to agree with this statement, I believe it even goes a step further.

Visual content is king.

People are drawn to images. Don’t believe me? Take a look at your Facebook newsfeed. I can guarantee it is filled with pictures. Need more proof? How about we examine a few statistics:

  • According to Shareaholic’s 3rd Q 2014 Social Media Traffic Report, Pinterest is the second largest driver of online traffic (second only to Facebook—which we have already discussed is heavily saturated with images.)
  • Instagram has confirmed it has more than 200 million active users.
  • A Mushroom Network infographic shows that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world (second only to Google and, well, it’s Google.)
  • And speaking of infographics…Kissmetrics says infographics (visual representations using both images and words) are 30 times more likely to be read than plain-text articles.

And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Do you learn more by reading words or by seeing a visual representation?  Maybe you have a photographic memory, but if not, I am going to guess you picked the latter.

People love images. So use this information and work it into your marketing tactics. Start a Pinterest board, post to Instagram, create an infographic—your company and/or client will thank you. Promise!