Understanding Online Influence and Engagement with Brian Solis [@InboundNow #20]

    by David Wells

    Date

    May 12, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    brian solis Brian Solis , online marketing thought leader, author, and speaker, joins us for another exciting episode of Inbound Now, HubSpot's Social Media and Inbound Marketing Podcast !
    Brian is a well-known and well-dressed online marketing thought leader. He is the author of Now is Gone , and his latest book is Engage . He regularly blogs over at his site, BrianSolis.com , and he runs his own video interview series called "Revolution" .

    In this episode we chat about:

    • Forming relationships with influencers
    • Building a customer demographics to reach the right audience
    • How to decide on social media goals
    • Getting people involved and keeping people engaged
    • Celebrity tweeting and celebrities leveraging their online influence
    • Brian's thoughts on Klout Score as a viable metric
    • Where business-to-business companies should be online
    • Using infographics to drive traffic and buzz

    Win a Copy of Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web

     

    Forming Relationships with Influencers

    "Really, all engagement starts with not just listening, but actual research."

    Research isn't monitoring (number of Facebook mentions, tweets, etc). The research is done to learn what people are saying. What are they saying about us? What are they saying about our competitors? Who's saying it? Who's leading the conversations? Where are they taking place? Who's asking the most questions? Who's answering the most questions?

    After you have a handle on the research, you want to get an idea of who the influencers are in the general marketplace. For that, you can use tools like mBLAST and others. Then you need to find out what it's going to take to move them and reach the audience of an audience.

    Building a Demographic to Reach

    "There isn't one type of psychographic or demographic or behavior-graphic. We have to look at why it is that they're connecting, to whom they're connecting, what it is that they're looking for, what's that tangible value, and then build that engagement program in that regard."

    You have to figure out what value you can provide, how you'll reach them (directly or indirectly through other voices), and how you'll measure success.

    Building channels and getting people to "like" you and follow you means nothing if you have no method for keeping people connected and involved.

    Deciding on Your Social Media Goals

    "A goal can't be that we need to double our followers in 30 days."

    Social media goals need to be about what's going to move the needle internally. It could be sales, referrals, impressions, influencing behavior, votes, etc. You can still market, brand, and promote, but your social media efforts have to be focused on driving clicks to a meaningful business outcome.

    Getting People Involved and Keeping People Engaged

    "People will value engagement if there is value in the engagement."

    Brian mentioned an example of a 5,000 "like" campaign Walmart did on Facebook . They put out a deal, and once the deal got 5,000 "likes", people got the item at a lower price.

    The outcome is that for that moment Walmart was on top of a lot of newsfeeds, and they were able to do that by giving people incentive to get and stay involved.

    Celebrity Tweeting and Leveraging Their Online Influence

    "Celebrity endorsements aren't anything new. Social media is the latest extension of something that has worked very well , over a long period of time."

    Social media is new for celebrities too. From the celebrity's standpoint, they have to find a balance between endorsing their favorite products online, and keeping their credibility.

    Thoughts on Klout

    "You can't redefine influence regardless of how many times social media gets to redefine other terms. Influence is the ability to cause a change in behavior or to cause an effect . If you look at that definition and you compare it to the definition of a Klout score being the standard for influence, then there's a disconnect, because Klout is not measuring the effect."

    The only way that you can measure effect is to say, "I'm going to work with these Klout influencers. Their scores tell me they should be influential. So I'm going to put this outcome or this action or this measurement in the engagement campaign with them."

    Klout scores show more of social capital and substantial things that we should pay attention to and perhaps a person's capacity to be to influence - not influence itself. Influence is what happens after it's activated.

    Where Business-to-Business Companies Should Be Online

    "If you research, you're going to find the places where your prospects are, where your influencers are. That could be Facebook. That could be LinkedIn. That could be old-school Web 1.0 forums, in Yahoo Groups, for example, or in boards that are still alive and active today."

    This is why research is important. It's about being where your prospects are - wherever that may be.

    However, with business-to-business companies, it's more about branding influence and reaching customers who are looking for insight and direction when making decisions. And employees, who are connected in the social realm, are great people to tap for information on what's being said and where people are online.

    On Brian's YouTube Show "Revolution"

    "For years I've been sort of pushed in the direction to start a video show . I'm not exactly sure why. I think a lot of it has to do with, over the years, I've had great opportunities to interview celebrities and notable personalities on stage at conferences around the world, and those individuals who've watched that or the interviewees themselves had suggested that, 'You should have a show.'"

    On picking his guests, Brian says that he picks people who "have something that's tremendous to say, and at the same time give the audience and me something that we can sink our teeth into to think about so that we can walk away from watching that program and go do something differently than we would have otherwise."

    Experiment with production quality and see what the impact is on the content. Brian shoots his show out of Current Studios in San Francisco. He has his own set, shoots everything on digital SLRs, and the quality is what you would expect to see on a TV network but it is on the Web.

    F-Commerce

    "There was one study recently by Exact Target that showed that individuals are un-following and un-liking brands because their newsfeed is getting completely spammed. So if you're going to introduce f-commerce into the mix, don't just introduce your entire catalog, your entire service portfolio. Introduce certain exclusive offers or products that they couldn't get anywhere else. Introduce discounts and offers and promotions. Do it in a way that gets people to feel like there's some value in that connection."

    A "like" on Facebook is a one-time endorsement. It's then up to you to keep up with that relationship.

    Using Infographics

    " Every infographic I create with the JESS3 team, it's why we're not cranking these things out on a weekly basis. They take months. The next one that's coming out we've been working on for, I think, about a year."

    There's a huge market for infographics and making a complex subject visually appealing and easy to share.

    Connect with Brian Online

    You can follow Brian on Twitter @briansolis , "like" him on Facebook , and connect with him on his blog . Also, don't forget to check out his show on YouTube and grab a copy of his book, Engage .

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