General Session B: How to Harness the Power of Influence

By Samantha Scott, APR

Jim DelaneyKey takeaways:

• Adapt to the “age of influence”
• How social media allows your brand to find the right influencers in a specific market
• How to message to audiences to build influence
• Examples of big brands using social media to build influence which impacts the bottom line

Age of Influence
• Age of Expression (stone age)
• Age of Literacy (printing press)
• Age of Entertainment (broadcast)
• Info Age (Internet)
• Age of Social (social)
• Age of Now (mobile)

We can either learn who’s talking about our brand, listen and engage with them or fight it. Either way the conversation is happening. If we fight it, we can’t even attempt to control that conversation. As a brand, we won’t win the fight and ultimately it’s in our favor to listen and be part of the conversation – for reputation management and more. In fact, 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a product when it’s recommended by an advocate, a person not the brand. Technology has made it easier for us to connect and share, to get feedback from others – like us – so we can make informed decisions. So, how do we as brands get in touch with those people, those advocates that can help influence our audience?

Social media is one of the ways to be part of the conversation. 90% of social engagement is created by 3% of brand fans. (SocialChorus 2013) What if you could direct your message to the exactly the right person? If you can get that 3% to connect with your brand, they can become brand advocates and shape the impact/result of your marketing efforts.

Operating in the New Market Economy

• Trust = transparency, authenticity, principles
o It’s what others will say about you
o It’s not that you don’t have problems, it’s how you respond to them. How authentic you are.
o How do you emotionally connect with the values of your constituents. They are the stories that are heard and promulgated.

Only 1 in 5 Americans trust businesses to tell the truth. Academics, technical experts and ‘a person like yourself’ are nearly twice as trusted as a CEO. (Edelman Trust Barometer 2014) This builds on the idea of people bonding with people, uniting against “the man” or business.

The Authority Decades
Evolved around us with a focus on a need to conform and care for our families. Messaging was persuading and share of market meant share of voice. (60s and 70s)

The Me Decades
All about me – the “me-cosystem”. The messages were engaging, the beginning of catering to you with the goal of filling your need for stimulation. Share of market meant share of connectivity. (80s and 90s)

The Tribal Decades
Now, it’s about “we” – a sense of belonging has overpowered me. Messaging is about joining via a tribe psyche. We naturally seek out “others like me” and it’s created a share of trust rather than a share of market. Not just how we fit into a broader community, but how the help of others helps us. (now) Belonging, sharing and community create the emotional connection that is required now.

Social media is effective not because of the number of followers a business has, but because of:
• Reach
• Resonance
• Relevance
• Location
These show who the authority leaders, thought leaders are – those can influence others and it’s often citizen journalists or “average Joes”, not media outlets.

How we measure impact: It’s not just our message – it’s what happens after, the ripple effect. Simply putting your message out and/or getting media coverage including it is no longer enough, nor is it the full picture. We have to look beyond our distribution to see what else happens, where does it go from there?

The customer journey, the process that creates the ripple effect is multi-stepped: Listen, analyze, engage, co-create, customer intimacy. We have to use that to know your audience, understand their needs and wants, and then deliver value.
• Activity
• Interests
• Tone
• Affiliations

In the end, it’s still humans connecting with humans, humans trying to sell to humans. It’s just taking place differently. An example of that is Dove and their thought leader campaigns from 2006 and 2013. The goals were the same, but they were approached differently.

Dove Self Esteem Campaign example
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U
- 2006 campaign
- Not about selling soap, creating an emotional connection with women about how they felt about themselves – AND repositioning how those women felt about Dove.
- Storytelling through the influencer community

Dove Real Beauty Sketches
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpaOjMXyJGk&list=PL0BRaXBPJ6iZMJoRM9TFRc2Mq4d0KmKqZ
- 2013 campaign
- How to create reach and leverage it
- How we see ourselves vs. how others see us. We are harder on ourselves.
- Most viewed online video EVER

o Online views, PR and blogger media impressions, YT shares, followers gained
o 30x earned media value vs. paid
- Still working with your narratives and messages, but telling it differently through an emotional connection to what your audience cares about

So what’s coming next? According to Jim, the future is predictive ad targeting for social networks based on individuals’ preference models. Don’t forget – however you choose to connect with your audience, your commentary must be relevant, your SPAM filter (internally) is much more finely tuned than ever before so
businesses must be authentic and offer genuine value vs. just pushing messaging.

Jim DelaneyABOUT JIM DELANEY

As CEO of Marketwired, Jim Delaney is leading the transformation of the 30-year old company, from a former newswire distribution service to a forward-looking, industry-changing social communication company. Delaney’s days at the U.S. Naval Academy were formative, teaching him the value behind John Wooden’s words, “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” From Delaney’s days developing the data-as-service platform as president of global sales & marketing solutions at Dun and Bradstreet, to leadership roles within the financial services and telecommunications industries, he has navigated the interdependence of technology and business throughout his career. Having hands-on responsibility for delivering results on aggressive schedules has prepared him for the fast paced communication age we live in today.

Delaney has spoken nationally and internationally on topics to help executives more efficiently navigate and use social mediato generate greater business impact and achieve higher-level goals. His appearances at influential conferences include Social Data Week, PRSA International Conference and The International Association of Business Communicators.

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