• Russ Fradin
    Russ Fradin on July 29, 2014

    Why Employee Advocacy Matters

    Employee advocacy is an emerging new marketing strategy where companies empower their influential employees to authentically distribute brand approved content, create original content, and in turn earn recognition and rewards for their activity and participation.
  • BeverlyMay
    Beverly May on August 13, 2014

    Countdown to the UX Awards: Get Discounted Tickets and Vote Now for the Winners!

    We're a partner with the UXies, the premier global awards for exceptional digital experience, which is in downtown San Francisco on September 11 after 3 years in New York!
  • With every brand looking to go beyond Facebook for their marketing needs, Instagram is thrown into a lot of conversations. Is there a point in connecting Instagram to your Facebook page?

    In March this year, Instagram hit the magical figure of 200 million active users. With 75 million daily active users and 43% of all brands posting each day, Instagram definitely feels like a platform that brands should sink their teeth into. And so they did.

    With brands embracing digital platforms other than Facebook, complications arise. Where do you post which content? Should you look to sell to both places? How will your fans stay in touch with the updates on both platforms? Should you promote one platform on the other or does that get too confusing? Will people feel overwhelmed if I ask them to follow my brand on more than one platform?

    They're all viable questions, ones that have different answers depending on who you are and what your brand stands for.

    That brings us to an important discussion today, one that I've been part of plenty of times in the last couple of months. Should a brand connect their Instagram account to their Facebook page? And how?

    At first, everyone thinks about how to post content from Instagram to Facebook. After all, photos get enagagement on Facebook too - so why not? If you're creating visual content for one platform, why not also post it on another platform? Expecting the same result by posting the same content on different platforms is a mistake that most digital marketing rookies make, nothing to be ashamed of.

    So what's the solution?

    How do you indeed, showcase your Instagram content on a Facebook page? And why should you do it?

    • To let your Facebook fans that you have an Instgram profile and that they have the choice to follow you on Instagram if you'd like
    • To showcase Instagram content to your Facebook audience
    • To let your fans know that they have multiple platforms that they can reach out to you on
    • To showcase photographs that are relevant to your audience, pulled via relevant hashtags

    The above is a page app that pulls out images that are tagged with #Elvis on Instagram and showcases them on a Facebook page. You can take a look at the live version here.

    So, is this a good idea? In my mind, yes. It doesn't hurt. You're not thrusting the fact to your fans that you want them to follow you on Instagram, and you're not spamming their newsfeed with posts about your Instagram content.

    It's a silent app that stays on your Facebook page, and you can get your fans to visit it by pointing it out to them every now and then, or letting them discover it whenever they land on your page. I made the above app using this plug and play tool, the Instagram app for Facebook pages is free to try for 7 days, after which pricing begins at $1/month. Not a bad price to pay for something so useful.

    Consider this, you're running a Facebook page for motorcycle enthusiasts, pulling images from Instagram that are around motorcycles, motorcycle repair, riding circuits, tips and tricks to work with motorcycles - they'd work really well. User generated content around motorcycles pulled publicly from Instagram - of course people would like to look at the collection. Even if you're not showing off your own Instagram profile, you're helping your fans find interesting and useful content on Instagram which they might not have access to if they're only present on Facebook.

    Bottom line - Yes, you should connect a brand's Instagram profile to its Facebook page. But how you do it, and how you execute it, that's what matter in the end.

    Who doesn’t like watching cat videos, epic rap battles and finding out what friends are up to this weekend? Is any of it conducive to growing my business, my brand or my community? Definitely not. Inspired and influenced by Chris Brogan’s new book, The Freaks Shall Inherit The Earth, and in it, his description of systems, schedules, to-do lists and finding discipline, I vowed to make positive changes.

    I can be extremely unfocused at times, and this causes me to not always accomplish all that I set out to do each day. I can be undisciplined and have many bad habits including checking my phone for new messages, checking my website analytics, logging into my email to clean up my inbox, and time wasted on different social networks.

    If this sounds familiar to you and if you’re anything like me, at the end of the work day, you often sit back and wonder what happened to all that time you had this morning and why the great plans you had never got finished.

    The thing is I haven’t always been this way and I used to pride myself on my organization skills and ability to stay focused. I’m not sure what happened but it’s been a downhill slide into disorganization hell.

    Distractions are everywhere and we now have an infinite amount of ways to avoid doing our work.

    Are YouTube and Facebook fun? Hell yeah, they can be. Who doesn’t like watching cat videos, epic rap battles and finding out what your friends are up to this weekend? Is any of it conducive to growing my business, my brand or my community? Definitely not. This is a problem for me because at times I can be the king of distractions.

    My daily routine could be described as a jumbled mess and my list of what I want to accomplish today and what I got done often don’t match.

    This was not working for me and I knew I had to change something or else risk burning out from playing the never ending game of catch-up or worse not being able to provide for my family.

    Inspired and influenced by Chris Brogan’s new book, The Freaks Shall Inherit The Earth, and in it, his description of systems, schedules, to-do lists and finding discipline, I vowed to make positive changes.

    This book has led me on a journey to discover how I can be more effective with my time management, get more done in less time and still provide value and help to those in my community.

    I have tried different methods such as to-do lists and Getting Things Done but nothing ever stuck and honestly I was tired of trying.

    Knowing I needed to make some changes to how I worked, I went searching, and what ended up working for me was the Pomodoro method of time management.

    The simplicity of the system is also its greatest strength and this is how it works:

    • Establish a list of objectives you wish to complete today
    • Choose an objective and decide how long it will take you to complete
    • Divide this time into 25 minute segments (if your objective will take you 50 minutes, that’s 2 Pomodoros)
    • Start your timer (I use Clockwork Tomato on Android; several are free online, or a kitchen timer will work just fine)
    • Work for 25 minutes of pure focused time (no phone, no social media, no distractions)
    • At the end of 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break, then repeat
    • You do this a total of 3 additional times, but your 4th break will be a longer 15-minute recharging break

    This is the method I have been using to help me get more done each day and it truly is amazing what a system like this can do to transform your work habits.

    It works so great for me because it removes the distractions that were getting in the way of my work and I also know that I am rewarded with a break, which motivates me to get even more done before the break happens. The beauty of this system is how flexible it is. If you are working really hard and need to go over the 25 minutes do so, then take a break. If you underestimate how long a task will take to complete just keep going through each Pomodoro until you finish that task.

    The Pomodoro method is not the only time management system available and it may not be the best system for you. What I have found is that there is no one fit method that can help everyone out and it’s a combination of tools, discipline and systems that help you achieve what you are after.

    In addition to the Pomodoro method I have begun using tools such as:

    • Evernote
      I have been using Evernote more and more  in order to keep track of ideas and as a memory dump location that allows me to drop ideas and then get back to what I am working on.
    • Week Plan
      I just found this site/tool after reading a recent 12most article and I have to say I’m impressed and am looking at how I can use and integrate it into my workflow. This is an online weekly planner that helps you see and then schedule your most important work first.  I’m new to the tool but see it as being something that I can definitely use.
    • StayFocused
      Again mentioned within the 12most article but a tool I’ve been using for a while is StayFocused. This is a Chrome extension that allows you to configure and block or allow websites for a time period in order to help you focus on your work instead of distractions. If you are short on discipline like I often find myself this is a great way to remove the distraction, stay focused and get back to work.
    • CoSchedule
      I’ve talked about CoSchedule extensively and that is because it is a fantastic tool that I use to help me stay organized with my blogging and as a way to schedule my social shares. It saves me time and keeps me organized.

    Why does any of this matter? Because I believe (and have learned from Chris’s writings) that having a system in place to support your work habits is important. It doesn’t matter which system you use. All that matters is that it works for you and how you work.

    For some the Getting Things Done system is how they bring order to the day, others use a to-do list and for others it’s a mixture of different systems.

    The important thing to remember is that once you find a system that works for you, stick to it. I learned this the hard way as several times I have left behind my system only to have the chaos and disorder return to my routine, leaving me at the end of the day feeling as if I had worked backwards.

    If you establish a routine and a system that works for you it’s amazing what you can accomplish each day.

    Find a system that works for you and stick to it because if you don’t learn to control time it will quickly begin to control you.

    Over To You

    What is your time management technique?

    The post Learn To Manage Time Or It Will Manage You appeared first on Social 360.

    All of them. That’s how many of these sales skills you should master if you want to be a social selling superstar. It takes a well-rounded salesperson to consistently find the right prospects and navigate all of the involved stakeholders toward a successful conclusion.

    All of them. That’s how many of these sales skills you should master if you want to be a social selling superstar. It takes a well-rounded salesperson to consistently find the right prospects and navigate all of the involved stakeholders toward a successful conclusion.

    So what are these sales skills?

    Without further delay, here are the 9 crucial sales skills all social sellers should master:

    1. Prospect research

    Your prospect can learn about you, your company and the competitive landscape in a matter of minutes. To separate yourself from other sales reps, and to provide the type of value your prospects seek, you need to be able to gain in-depth knowledge regarding your prospects – much more than they can learn about you with a few clicks of a mouse.

    There’s a long list of information you can potentially learn about your prospect. Business Development Manager Samuel Thomas always tries to answer a few basic questions using LinkedIn to find talking points and connections that will add value to the call or meeting:

    • Who and what do I have in common with this prospect?
    • How are the people attending the meeting connected with each other?
    • Did this prospect work at a company that I helped or have been involved in helping in the past?
    • Who is recommending this person or who are they recommending?

    2. Building rapport

    At the very moment they meet you, your prospect is already evaluating whether or not it’s worth their time to do business with you.

    While the “gift of gab” comes more naturally to some of us, there’s no replacing an attitude of service. There’s no substitute for caring or trying your best to help. One surefire way to always appear personable is to make it apparent that you care more about the person you’re working with than you do yourself. These next two sales skills will certainly help.

    3. Quality querying

    Asking the right questions, in the right context, is how the savvy sales pros learn what prospects really want. Asking thought out, researched questions is also another way to build rapport with your prospect.

    If you can’t discover needs, you can’t satisfy them. And if you can’t satisfy needs, you can’t win the sale.

    4. Active listening

    Listening to truly understand vs. waiting to talk is a sales skill separates the trusted advisors from the sales reps. There are plenty of tips for improving listening skills, but at its most basic level, good listening is about clearing your mind of any pre-conceived assumptions, dropping the agenda and becoming engrossed in the conversation.

    5. Masterful meetings

    The average enterprise-level sale involves multiple meetings, which is why the ability to properly plan and execute meetings is a sales skill that cannot be ignored.

    A great meeting starts with a clear agenda, continues with a leader (you) who keeps the conversation on track and ends with a commitment from the prospect that advances the sales process to the next step. The salesperson’s planning and attention to detail is what often determines whether meetings are successful.

    6. Leading with insights

    When sales pros lead with insights, they’re not pitching – they’re presenting solutions that map to the needs of the prospect. Anyone can pitch. Most all sales reps can present solutions. But leading with insights is the sales skill that has potential customers saying to themselves, “This person invested time and energy to understand my problem and is committed to helping me solve it.”

    Whether you’re presenting a final solution or are just getting started with sales lead generation, leading with insights is a surefire way to get your prospect tuned into the conversation.

    7. Relationship building

    Building relationships is all about give and take. And if you’re in sales, you must give far more than you take – that’s just the way it works.

    Yes, building a large network is important. It’s the depth and quality of the relationships within your network, though, that determines the true value of your network. So focus on developing quality individual relationships – and use LinkedIn Maps to help you determine the people you should be focusing on – and eventually you’ll have a network of customers who consider you a valuable business partner, recommending you without hesitation.

    8. Asking for the sale

    For most sales pros, going for the “close” can be detrimental, but so can completely avoiding it. If you’ve done everything right – and you’re confident there’s nothing left to prove – by all means ask for the sale. Sure, sales managers don’t teach the ‘art of closing’ as a selling skill like they once did, but it’s still vital that you actually ask for the sale when it makes sense.

    An insurance agent who knew Henry Ford for many years once asked Ford why he never did business with him.

    “You never asked,” said Ford.

    9. Persistence, persistence, persistence…

    Some might argue that persistence is a trait, and to some degree it is. But the reason it’s also a skill is because you can improve persistence – you can teach yourself how to become more persistent. Whether it’s identifying your purpose, determining action steps, maintaining a positive attitude, surrounding yourself with success or developing systems to ensure discipline, persistence is a selling skill anyone can become better at.

    If you’re struggling to make sales, don’t simply say ‘I’m struggling.’ Doing so implies you are broken, and that’s just not the case.

    Instead, take time to pinpoint the area(s) where you are losing control of the sales process. Now it’s just a matter of developing the right sales skills.

    If the Internet were the ocean and you were dying of thirst for quality content, you’d find yourself drowning in crappy content. Yes, it looks like the web is flooding with content, but instead of, “Oh no! Too much content!” going on, there’s actually a dire lack of quality and an overabundance of non-quality content.

    The ocean is enormous. It’s made up of five separate bodies of water, but there is really only one ocean broken up over the planet. In fact, as of 2013, it takes up approximately 71 percent of the Earth. It’s pretty amazing too because it houses about 99 percent of the biosphere and is home to some of the grandest geological features on the planet. But it’s also made of saltwater, something that isn’t all that awesome for humans dying of thirst. I don’t know about you, but if I were stranded in the middle of the ocean dying of thirst, I’d look out across all that water and say, “Well, this is downright crappy!”

    If the Internet were the ocean and you were dying of thirst for quality content, you’d find yourself in the same predicament because we are literally drowning in crappy content! Yes, it looks like the web is flooding with content, but instead of, “Oh no! Too much content!” going on, there’s actually a dire lack of quality and an overabundance of non-quality content. It’s like searching for a fresh water oasis (quality content) in the middle of mile after mile and gallon after gallon of never ending saltwater (low quality, crappy content).

    “Dollar Days” Have Produced More Saltwater vs. Freshwater Content

    We wrote a piece on LinkedIn that received over 300 views in a few days called, The Dollar Days of Online Content Are Gone. The response from the professional community has been intense, and the comments we received validate our belief: we’re drowning in crappy content.

    Years ago, it was commonplace for Webmasters to hire the cheapest writers on the Internet (and perhaps the planet) to “write,” and we use this term loosely, their content. The process was simple:

    1. Locate the writer who would accept pennies on the dollar pay averaging $1.25 to $2.00 USD per page, article, or blog.
    2. Send said writer a list of keywords to cram into the content.
    3. Receive said content and publish.

    I so badly want to sing the Sesame Street song that says, “One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn’t belong.” But to tell you the truth, NONE of these things belong.

    Webmasters and business owners have been so driven by profit margins that they’re gung-ho about skimping on the fundamental staple, the ultimate moneymaking tool that sits so ready at their fingertips: content. Now, it’s understandable that business budgets aren’t what they used to be. After all, economics and the economy affect every last one of us. But the fact that a talented, professional writer (not one these non-English speaking yahoos with zero educational background, no relevant experience, and a complete lack of understanding of even the basics of English grammar) is considered a waste of money is absurd, not to mention more than a little insulting.

    I apologize for being so blunt, but the Great Quality Content Depression and subsequent flood of crappy content is a direct result of the hiring of underqualified and often completely UNqualified fakers wielding the title of Writer. As a result, the rest of us are trying to turn the tide on misinformation, a terrible reputation, and a world that scoffs at the idea of writing being a legitimate, demanding profession!

    The ‘Anybody Can Be A Writer’ Idea

    So you think you can be a writer, do you? It’s easy, right? I mean, everybody writes. We all went to school. We all wrote essays and papers. We all know how to spell and write complete sentences. Writing is easy! It doesn’t take skill, talent, or technique. Hell, it doesn’t even take a lot of time.

    If you were lying on the floor dying of a heart attack, what’s the one thing in this world you would want above everything else? Think hard. You would want a paramedic. Why? Because they are highly trained and skilled responders, capable of keeping their cool and doing whatever it will take to keep you alive while rushing you to a medical facility. Why would you want to be rushed to a medical facility? Because there are dozens of trained professionals there who can and will do everything possible to save your life. Thanks to their training, chances are they’ll succeed.

    • Did you know that a well-researched, properly written, engaging, and emotionally moving piece of content sometimes takes hours to write—even for the professional writer who writes 5 days a week, 8 hours per day?
    • Did you know that while some people wrote essays and papers in school that barely squeaked by with a passing grade, others wrote A+ papers that actually moved the teacher and left a lasting impression—one that 10 years later the teacher remembers like yesterday?
    • Did you know that there’s more to writing than spelling and complete sentences? Can you spot misuse and errors involving subject-verb agreement, clauses and phrases, pronouns, prepositions, ellipses, and confused words? Can you confidently explain what any or all of those terms truly mean in practical working fashion?
    • Did you know that storytelling is the art of using the written word to craft mental pictures, tickle the five senses, and connect with readers on such an intimate level that each reader believes the content was written just for them?

    Anyone can be a writer? Writing is easy? It doesn’t take skill, talent, or technique? If all of this is true, then you don’t need a paramedic or even a heart surgeon. Anybody will do!

    You see the point. Writing is no less demanding than any other profession, and writers are not entitled to mere pennies on the dollar for high quality work. Crappy content, that’s what you pay a couple of bucks for. Quality content comes with a price because it’s quality—just like YOUR quality product or service. You get what you pay for.

    How to Levitate Above an Ocean of Crappy Content

    Thanks to the dollar days of content, the Internet is crawling with downright scary bad content. When is the last time you took a good, long, hard look at your content? Are you part of the saltwater infested ocean, or do you stand out as engaging, compelling, and fresh-water?

    Business 101: In order to succeed you must stand out as different. Something has to be unique. How can you levitate out of the Crappy Content Ocean and make it to the Quality Content Clouds where you will be seen both near and far? Get yourself an Industry Copywriter.

    As a business owner and/or webmaster, you face a tricky challenge. How do you create a strong online presence, reach your target audience, AND appease the great Google gods? It’s a tall order. You might have tried keyword stuffing, but we all know that thanks to Google’s array of algorithms, those days are gone with the wind. Maybe you use redirects and link building tactics. Are you—perhaps without full knowledge—using black hat SEO techniques? Such techniques only inundate the web with more crap content. STOP!

    Google’s goal is focused and singular. They are creating the best possible experience for the user, whether they are mobile or in front of a desktop. Who is the user? The user is every person on the planet who pulls up Google and googles. They want legitimate, relevant, well-crafted results. And they’re only going to see you if your voice is stronger than everybody else. The best way to achieve this is through quality content.

    Quality content isn’t just landing pages and website content. It’s sharable content, from blogs and PRs to Tweets and G+’s. It’s media for the busy audience like videos and podcasts. It’s SlideShares and social media re-shares. It’s all those words from big to small, and the word and character counts that have to encompass it all.

    Don’t throw you money away by being a cheapskate and hiring the “writers” still trapped in the dollar days! If you think that will save you money, just wait until the content has to be rewritten by a professional because it’s riddled with errors and shunned by Google.

    Industry Copywriters – Your Best Investment

    Industry copywriters are experts. They are specialists with proven, tangible experience in YOUR industry. They are the combination of an industry expert and a skilled, talented writer with up-to-date copywriting knowledge. The benefits of hiring a professional copywriter far outweigh the woes of not.

    Sure, you can hire that so-called writer who’s coming to you live from the cheap pricing of a third world country, but why would you put yourself through that headache? When it comes to the business of online presence and search engine rankings, here are some words to live by: Quality over quantity and return over initial cost.

    Writing ain’t easy, folks! It takes a professional to know when to fudge the rules versus when to hold fast to them. And it takes an industry expert to craft copy that appeases the almighty Google whilst drawing in your ideal clients and supporting conversion. Will you continue to drift in the saltwater or levitate above as a sparkling, freshwater oasis?

    The post Are We Drowning in Crappy Content? appeared first on Express Writers.

    From content creation to product development, the opportunity for innovation in influencer relations is vast yet still remains largely untapped. In this post, I talk about our tendency to limit the practice based on outdated definitions and fear of the unknown. I also offer tips on how we evolve our understanding of influencer relationships and open ourselves up to the possibilities that real partnering can deliver.

    From Brownie Wise’s brilliant Tupperware party model to an entire cottage industry built on mommy blogging, marketers have been benefiting from the power of customer advocates since the idea of a “marketing concept” first emerged.  But as channels, technologies and consumer wants continue to evolve at warp speed, the practice of influencer relations has largely remained stagnant in recent years.  We still tend to define influencers in “traditional” terms and influencer relationships as largely tactical and temporary. It’s as if we settled into early 2.0 era definitions of what influencer marketing encompasses, ignoring all of the external shifts that are challenging and re-shaping these notions.

    As we move deeper into a participatory economy, influencer engagement must adapt accordingly.  With this should come a view of influencers as partners in the growth of our businesses and brands, as opposed to tactical pursuits or conduits for forced engagement.  Influence is fluid and diverse and at it’s best potent and authentic.  It’s beyond just the “blogger” or the prolific Twitter celeb.   And now with so many channels from which influence is wielded, restricting one’s influencer pool to the usual forums and formats is about as strategic as drawing targets out of a hat.

    “Nothing spreads widely in the new digital economy unless it engages and serves the interests of both consumers and producers.” – Henry Jenkins, Co-Author of Spreadable Media

    So how does one modernize their approach to influencer relations? 

    Fundamentally, it starts with an understanding that influence relations is it’s own discipline.  It’s not paid media and it’s not earned media – no matter how much we try and force the expectation that it should be either.  Ideally, it thrives on the principles of the “moral economy”, where mutuality and reciprocity are the norms.  It also acknowledges the powerful implications of the makers movement and sharing economy – and the reality that those same people you’ve known only as your customers, are quietly disrupting your entire business model.

    For more practical purposes, I’ve put together 13 keys to a successful modern influencer program based largely on my own experiences and learnings over the years.  I’ve found that the best campaigns are grounded in smart, audience-centric strategy, brought to life through partnerships that are both innovative and mutually rewarding.  Admittedly easier said than done, but like any lasting relationship, well worth the investment in the end.

    1. Define Your Goals:

    From broadcasters to trendsetters, target influencer types based on the unique goals of your initiative.  Are you looking to generate broad awareness? Seed a product?  Launch a beta program?  Focus on a particular region?  Each of these scenarios demands a distinct type of influencer strategy and corresponding tactics.

    2. Know Thy Audience:

    Don’t let preconceived assumptions or depthless demographics shape your understanding of your audience.  Study their interests, their behaviors, their values and their vernacular, to understand how to authentically communicate with them and through the people they trust most. 

    3. Embrace Channel Agnosticism:

    Yes many “influencers” happen to have blogs.  But many more do not.   When you arbitrarily determine channels and tactics before you’ve done the research and crafted a strategy, the channel by default becomes your obligation, not the audience or even the message.  Cutting through the noise requires precision; of message, messenger and medium.  Start with the right influencers and meet THEM in their digital habitats.

    4. Remain Open: 

    An overly formal, boilerplate style pitch is like kryptonite to authentic partnerships.  Begin a dialogue with your prospective influencer to find out what a meaningful pairing looks like from their vantage point, instead of leading with your agenda. Too many well-intended programs begin with pre-set partnership expectations, all before an actual conversation has even been initiated.

    5. Be Flexible:

    Your approach to an influential oncologist with a traditional blog is going to be much different than how you talk to a tattoo artist with cable TV show and dedicated Instagram following.  And even within a single campaign, a one-sized approach rarely resonates unanimously.  Develop partnership opportunities that can be leveraged across a wide array of influencer types and channels.  And don’t limit your outreach to only those who have a history of partnering with brands.  Often they are the ones who become your most impassioned advocates.

    6.  Expect Ambiguity: 

    Predictability is for ad networks, not human beings.  Start simply by initiating a real conversation where the aim is discovery.  It may materialize into something that supports an immediate program or perhaps plants a seed for something down the road.  As with traditional Public Relations, if there are bites you know you’ve got something but if there aren’t, it’s time to adjust your approach.  And that should be perfectly okay.

    7. Think Long(er) Term:

    We’ve had the tendency to treat advocacy programs as short-term and incremental.  But how might the quality of our relationships improve if we treated our influencers as long term partners?  Nobody wants to be recalled only when they need something.  You’d be quick to dismiss that kind of relationship in your personal life, so why shouldn’t the same apply in business?  Find opportunities to invest in what’s important to the people you’re looking to build strong, sustainable relationships with. 

    8. Put in Work: 

    Personal relationships aren’t scaleable.  And while there are plenty of “turnkey” solutions available, there’s nothing that replaces personal, human connections.  Simply put, if you want own the relationship, you’ve got to do the work.   If you want someone else to do the work because you find it too cumbersome or difficult to justify, guess who now owns those relationships forged on your “behalf”? A handful of strong and loyal advocates will always trump an army of fair weather “fans”.

    9. Deliver Value: 

    Influencers don’t need brands.  Brands need influencers.  Remember that before you craft another pitch with the expectation that anyone is interested in a one-sided relationship.  

    10. Remain Compliant: 

    If material consideration is being offered in exchange for an endorsement (implied or direct), the endorsee or influencer, must disclose.  This is critically important to note when dealing with influencers who may not have worked with brands in the past – as is the case with many non-bloggers.  It’s up to you to provide instructions for how to disclose your relationship based on industry best practices and FTC guidelines.

    11. Unleash Your Creativity:

    Somewhere along the way “sponsored posts” became the defining engagement for what influencer programs were supposed to encompass.  And while I’m not suggesting they are without value, they are just one of a multitude of methods through which partnerships can be brought to life.   Don’t be afraid to experiment beyond the confines of standard practice and design your own unique blueprint for successful partnering.

    12. Amplify & Extend:

    It’s customary to declare “mission accomplished” as soon as outreach is complete, bargains met and posts tallied.  Yet there are endless opportunities to extend influencer content through paid, earned and owned channels.  When done right, these converged programs provide some of the best opportunities to bring scale to authentic and credible brand messages.

    13. Get Offline:  

    The majority of word of mouth still happens in the "real world."  But for whatever reason, analog influence is treated as a decidedly separate endeavor when really, the two should compliment one another.   Influence so often begins at the local level – through community groups, cultural movements, professional organizations and the many other collectives built in person, around shared interests and values.   Use your organization’s local presence to build a comprehensive and diverse network of advocates that can be leveraged both on and off the web.