AI - Authority Influencers

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First there were influencers. Then came micro-influencers. What next? Nano-influencers?

As the trend carries on and brands get a whiff of influencer marketing, one question haunts many: What makes someone a so-called influencer?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines influencer as “a person or group that has the ability to influence the behavior or opinions of others.” By and large, this isn’t a new thing. For centuries we’ve had philosophers, artists and activists. They were the influencers of the past.


Today, nearly anyone with access to the Internet is claiming to be an influencer. Just add water (in the form of followers) and wait for lucrative corporate sponsorships to roll in: cha-ching!

But there’s more to influence than audience size.

Here’s a shortlist of what brands should look for before sealing deals with influencers.


1. Professional background and knowledge

It’s common practice for businesses to screen potential employees. Influencers shouldn’t be an exception. It’s imperative for brands and businesses to look into an influencer’s education, professional history, industrial acumen, creative competence and likability.

Mickael Romaniello, mobile developer at 2WAO Limited, shares that an influencer to him is a person with “high knowledge of their professional field.” Someone who isn’t only able to attract positive attention but also “someone whose experiences people can learn from.”

In short, influencers should be reliable sources of information.

Influencer knowledge and experience can be tested through interviews or informal chats. Their online profiles and credentials should always be verified and brands can benefit from seeing them as service providers rather than audience hunter-gatherers.

2. Ability to produce and improve creative output

Bringing influencers on board mean employing additional creatives in the marketing team. They should be hired not only to leverage brand exposure but also to bring in expertise to the internal team.

Some influencer sponsored posts on Instagram have text that looks and sounds so promotional, so devoid of imagination, so lacking in personal touch, one wonders if the brand and the influencer bothered to exchange ideas at all.

Samuel O’Brient, recruitment director at Gryphon Capital, shares that influencers should be “the first ones who dare to think outside the box and challenge the way things have always been done.”

Getting audiences to respond to brand messages also depend on how clever, charming and convincing those messages are. “Influence is defined by the action it generates,” says Rachel Miller, influencer marketing manager at TopRank Marketing. These actions should be scalable and must contribute to the brand’s KPIs.

Vanity metrics alone do not define the success of a social post.

Indeed, social media has become a wilder jungle and finding real talent can be tricky for brands with smaller budgets or less experienced marketing teams.

3. Skills in defining, tracking, measuring contribution to the brand’s growth

In math as in marketing, the size of a social media star’s following should be proportionate to the interaction they produce on their social posts. Someone with a following of 34.7K shouldn’t be getting just over 700 likes on a post, with zilch in comments. Numbers not adding up is a red flag. This likely means that that influencer is ineffective or has bought followers -- or both.

JP Hanson, chief executive of Rouser Public & Legal Relations shares that “influence and audience aren't the same thing.”

“Influence isn't about eyeballs -- it's about changing behavior. The most influential people for conversions, for example, are found further down the follower ladder.”

Hanson adds that “it's crucial to identify not only the influencer who will get you what you want but also further strengthen your brand.”

4. Strength of character to weigh in on issues that matter

The opportunity for influencers to take a stand, change the climate of opinion, encourage healthy conversations and drive a positive movement lies before them. Yet rarely does an influencer ever use his or her clout to push for a much needed confrontation on issues that shape today’s communities and societies.

Social movements such as the #MeToo campaign gained momentum because it nudged people into talking about the uncomfortable subject of sexual harassment and assault. Without the influential women who spoke up despite risk of public backlash, this very important conversation would not have happened at such a global scale.

With great following comes great responsibility and a genuine influencer will not squander the opportunity to make the world a better place by making a stand and lending their voice to the disadvantaged.

* * *

What are your thoughts on influencer marketing and what do you think could help improve the influencer culture?

If you want to win the hearts and minds of your customers and drive business growth, connect with me on LinkedIn today.

I cover digital marketing and PR in Asia.  Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Co-written with freelance Megan Leung


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How to Use PR To Increase Your SEO


Have you thought about using tactics typically reserved for PR in SEO? For years now, people have focused on the differences between PR and SEO — you’re either an expert in one or the other. But recently we have seen the line between these two industries blur and a common thread emerge. When SEO PR service professionals incorporate PR tactics into their SEO strategy, we see an uptick in positive results.

This should come as no huge surprise — after all, SEO and PR work toward many of the same goals, including brand awareness and credibility.

SEO has also evolved by leaps and bounds since it was first created in the early days of Google. It makes sense that as social media networks and other online tools advance, these technologies would play a larger role in a site’s SEO. And these just happen to be specialties for many PR professionals.

For example, as we will discuss in more detail below, Google is incorporating brand mentions into its algorithms. This means that when someone mentions your company positively on a review site or on social media, it boosts your site’s SEO score. A few years ago, brand mentions were strictly seen as a public relations tool, but we now see the growing importance of it in our SEO PR service.


Top SEO Priorities

According to one study from Clutch and Ignite Visibility, companies, when asked about their top SEO priorities for 2018, cited social media marketing, on-site optimization, and content creation as their top three. These are the very same areas where PR professionals excel.

There ‘s no doubt about: If companies want to succeed with their SEO goals, they need to incorporate PR tactics. Let’s get into just how many of the practices used by PR professionals can work to positively impact SEO results.

4 Tactics That Leverage B2B PR in SEO for Great Results
1. Creating Link-Worthy Content
Links have been an important part of SEO since its early days. But Google’s rules have changed a lot regarding what links boost SEO. Previously, Google didn’t care where you got your links from — the only rule was “the more the better.” This led to many link-stuffing practices that were, shall we say, not on the up-and-up. People got links from anywhere — including sites that had little to no traffic or authority.

Now, however, Google has specified what links make the cut. Links are rated based on quality, user experience, user intent, and the amount of authority that a site has. This means that your cousin’s hobby site for model airplanes is going to have a lot less link value than a highly renowned news site.

How to do it…

So, how do companies get high-quality links back to their site? This is where the skills and tactics of public relations professionals come into play.

A lot of what is involved in getting high-quality links is to first create high-quality content. Craft content that high-authority sites will be happy to post and link back to you, because they know their readers will enjoy it. To do this, you will need content that answers a vital need within your audience. Consult with others within your business to find out what questions potential customers are asking. Once you have a pool of ideas, start creating top-notch content.

Once you have your content ready, and you’re sure that it is a unique piece that fills a need within your industry, it’s time to pitch it to other sites. A key to this process is to provide a clear benefit. Show how your content can help their audience and attract more views.

Once you get your content onto one high-authority site, you can leverage that status with others. Your past exposure offers social proof — if this high-quality site published your content, then it must be worthwhile.

These are steps that B2B PR people take every day to put their clients on the map. From creating stellar content that audiences want to read, to writing the ideal pitch, to securing buy-in from high authority sites, PR pros know how it’s done.

2. Engaging Influencers
Influencers are those with a large following on social media. Their audiences often look to them for advice and insight into industry matters.

How can influencers help your SEO? Because of their deep connection to their audience, they have the power to boost both your brand’s visibility and engagement. As your brand garners more attention and your target audience takes notice, both traffic to your website and links back to your site will increase.

How to do it…

There are two principle ways that you can use influencers effectively to boost your SEO. The first way is to have an influencer include a link back to your site within his or her content. The downside to this is that influencers are required to disclose any sponsored links. This could detract from the value of the link if it is sponsored. However, if your content is compelling and benefits the B2B influencer’s audience, the influencer may very well do so without compensation.

The second way is to work with an influencer on a content campaign that will interest their audience. Because their audience is their bread and butter, they often know better than anyone what their audience wants and needs. Create a campaign that fills those needs and builds a bridge back to your brand.

You may also want to check out micro-influencers — individuals who have a smaller following than traditional influencers on social media, with audiences in the 15,000 to 25,000 range. Don’t let their smaller audience size fool you. At times, micro influencers can be much more effective than traditional influencers. This is because their audiences tend to be more engaged (i.e., they comment and share content more).

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Note, however, that influencers should never be used as a one-time fix. Cultivate long-term relationships with influencers that will allow you to work collaboratively with them in the future. PR pros are seasoned at nurturing and maintaining these relationships.

Just imagine what potential benefits you can reap from influencers. If even half of their audience reshares your content or visits your site, it will boost traffic and engagement and lead to stronger SEO.

3. Using Social Media
Social media has risen in the ranks as a must-have element of SEO. As you create valuable content that your audience loves — and most importantly, shares — that creates backlinks to your site and builds up your SEO status.

Google recognizes the power of social proof in people’s lives and in a website’s authority, making it a component of its SEO algorithms.

How to do it…

How can you amp up your SEO even more with social media? A lot of this goes back to content creation. Craft content on your site that is extremely valuable to your audience — this will ensure that people will want to share it on social media.

Another part of your SEO includes your social media presence itself. Beef up your profiles on social media to represent your brand. This builds brand awareness so that when people see your branded content again, they’ll be more likely to recognize and trust it.

Among the social media networks not to underestimate is YouTube. This powerful network puts video at your viewers’ fingertips and is a great boon to SEO. For example, in this very visual world, video helps to keep viewers engaged and on your site longer — giving them ample chance to bond with your brand. YouTube, which has with one of the largest search engines on the internet, can direct new audiences to your videos.

Let’s focus on video for a moment longer. There has been a steady uptick in video use over the years, which has made video into a highly prized tactic across all industries and audiences. You can use it on YouTube, post it to social media, embed it as content on your website, and even incorporate it into your press releases — all of which adds to the power of your SEO.

4. Acquiring Brand Mentions
While the link-strengthening practices mentioned above are a powerful part of using PR in SEO, it’s important to note that brand mentions are also very important.

As Gary Illyes, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, mentioned at Brighton SEO in September of 2017, “If you publish high-quality content that is highly cited on the internet — and I’m not talking about just links, but also mentions on social networks and people talking about your branding, crap like that. Then you are doing great.”

It is obvious that as we move forward, brand mentions are poised to play a major part in SEO best practices.

While in the past we thought that actual links held the most power, we now see that even the simple action of mentioning your brand on another site can also boost SEO. And it’s not just any mention that will do. Google has made it clear that within its algorithm, sentiment matters — positive mentions will boost SEO scores and negative mentions and reviews will harm SEO scores.

How to do it…

What can help you to get mentioned positively on other sites?

One of the top B2B PR tactics to use is thought leadership. As others recognize your authority and expertise, they will want to talk more about you. Different thought leadership activities, such as speaking at industry events or publishing a book, can also put your brand in the spotlight.

Another way to boost brand mentions is to encourage happy customers to review your brand and share their experiences. Set up your social media networks for customer care — to take care of customer complaints and resolve any issues that come along. This open channel of communication can bolster positive mentions of your brand.

PR professionals also have other ways of positively positioning your brand. From crisis management to product launches, they know how to make your brand look its best and neutralize negative attention.

All of these PR strategies and tactics create positive brand awareness that makes you stand out in your industry. Among other positive results, this leads to more brand mentions and a boost in brand authority, all of which strengthens your SEO.

Key Points to Remember…

Create valuable and informative content that other sites will want to share and link back to you.
Influencer marketing is a great way to reach new audiences and build many links back your site.
Share your content on social media and spruce up your profiles to attract people to your brand and share your content.
Don’t forget the powerful impact that positive brand mentions can have on your SEO.
It is time for PR and SEO to put away their differences and work together toward a common goal: a rockin’ SEO score.


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What makes you so special? Why should anyone purchase your product or service or listen to your opinion over someone else in the same industry?

The best answer to that question is that you have established yourself as the authority and gone to great lengths to ensure that this is known to every one of your potential clients. You have figuratively, and sometimes literally, written a book on your expertise. That is the power of being an authority influencer.

Establishing yourself as the authority in your industry is how you can "Dominaite" your competition. It positions you above others and opens doors, which is the most important responsibility of any business leader: to acquire and retain customers.

To develop that authority you need a solid presence in each of the following:

Branding. Building a brand isn’t just about building your company’s brand but also your personal brand. For your audience to recall your name, it must be clearly recognizable and associated in their minds. Build your personal brand into what makes you unique. A few key factors will help you discover your unique brand: your personal mission, your philosophy, your journey and your community. Well-known leaders are very clear about who they are.

Content marketing. Content marketing is the means through which you build your dominance. You need to commit to creating a significant amount of high-quality content written specifically for your target audience. It can come in multiple forms: white papers, articles, blog posts, webinars, podcasts and definitely a book. As you create appreciable content, you create a legion of fans who are excited to consume what you create.

Referral marketing. If you’re doing them correctly, referrals should bring in a large number of new clients. In fact, 85 percent of small businesses get customers through word of mouth. You need to encourage your satisfied clients and customers to refer you to others. Client referrals are the most common and are an outcome of great service. But an often-missed opportunity is the referrals from influencers people who are in front of a group of your prospects every day. Research them, meet them. Impress them.

Lead generation. What does authority influencing have to do with lead generation? Everything. It’s far easier to generate leads when you’re seen as an authority. As an authority, you can tell people what they need, and they’ll believe you. If you come at them looking and acting like a salesperson, they’ll ditch you and you will lose credibility.

PR and marketing. People don’t believe what you say about yourself, but generally, they will believe what the media says about you. Whether it's coverage from CNBC or a local radio station, people will assume that you’re an authority; and that’s good for business. It’s irrational, but there’s nothing rational about the general public’s decision-making process.

Speaking. Are you currently speaking to groups that consist of your target audience? If not, you need to be. Speaking, bar none, is the best way to enforce your authority position and generate high-quality leads. If what you say is competent and professional, you will connect with a subset of the audience and build a strong loyal following.

Events. Events are where loyal tribes of customers come together. Be there with them. Or have them come to you. Holding annual events is one of the best ways to upsell, build additional loyalty and expose more people to your authority.  

Be The Rockstar. You want to be famous to the people that matter. You need to be the authority in the industry, in the community, in the marketplace where you and your business live, because you need people who have the ability and willingness to help grow your brand to see you as the authority. 

Donate.  Connect your brand and yourself with giving back to your community and charitable causes.  This should be authentic.  Donate your products and services to create experiences that feel good and create buzz.  Get involved in charitable events that you are passionate about. Use your authority influence to bring awareness and do good.

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Position Yourself as an Authority and "Dominaite"

It is tough building a business today. There is more competition then ever. There are new widgets and gadgets and dissemination of information, that totally confuse potential clients.

Long gone are the days when your customers would just buy because of a good product and a good price. Now they want more! Consumers are looking for an experience or a feeling. Your customers want more then ever for their money. They want to be emotionally stimulated.

Your competitors have already figured it out and they’re stealing your business. Twenty years ago, business owners made it a habit of holding all of their information “close to the chest." It would seem insane for the leader of the business to go out and speak publicly about how they were different, why they were growing so fast or why new customers were flocking to their doors. We use to call this information “trade secrets."

Today, those same leaders and CEOs have realized that sharing the secrets is the key to winning the loyalty of clients and customers. New terms like authority, expert and thought leader have completely changed how people do business today.

Becoming an authority will propel your business onto the world stage. Authority status is worth millions of dollars in advertising and new revenue. Here are good reasons for you to focus on becoming an authority in your industry.

Brings attention to you
You are the leader of the business. This is one case where a little ego will go a long way. Any attention that comes to the founder or CEO of the business will inevitably bring more revenue to the company.

Every time you are introduced as an authority, the first thing said after your name is the name of your company. The more you are speaking on stage, being interviewed or giving an opinion, the more people are going to learn about your business. You will be building authority and relationships.

Brings new customers to your business
Consumers always want to be associated with the best-in-class product. If you have ever tried to launch a new product in a crowded space where there is a true market-leader, you understand how difficult it actually is. What is most frustrating is when you know that the reigning “best-in-class” is an inferior product. The only thing that trumps the best-in-class spending habits of consumers is a new product being launched by the leading authority in the space.

Increases loyalty in your customers.
Authority Influencers are incredibly passionate about the industry. You can become an authority influencer by publishing articles and content regularly. Interact with other influencers and you will build a loyal customer base.the importance of authority positioning. It is becoming harder and harder to win the hearts of new customers, so you need to do everything you can to keep the ones you have. Positioning yourself as an authority and communicating with your customers, through every means possible, will increase their loyalty. Customers want to follow the Rockstar.


Be the Authority and "Dominaite" Your Industry!

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