For over 10 years Neal’s been deep in the world of social media running an agency (PDCA Social), teaching at 3 universities around the world, speaking at conferences around the world and hosting the Maximize your Social Influence Podcast. Neal is also the author of the brand new bestselling book “The Age of influence: The power of Influencers to Elevate your Brand”.
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Before Social Media, Neil had a sales career in B2B. He lived in Asia for 10 years, learned to speak the relevant languages and did business there.
During that time, he got a holistic overview of every side of business. When he finally returned to the United States and began looking for a job for the first time in his home country, he turned to Linkedin.
Impressed by the social and networking benefits found on the platform Neil dived right in.
After landing his first job and then relatively quickly finding his new career in transition — he decided to take his blog and turn it into a more full time venture.
From there, Neil organically evolved his career into what it is now.
What is Influencer Marketing
Even though people who have been using Influencer marketing effectively hold it in high regard — many retailers still view it with skepticism.
Neil says that the right influencer is actually a content creator with a community.
He points out that most people — 80% to 90% in fact, don’t create content on Social media, they just consume or ‘lurk.’
Regardless of statistics, what remains true is that the viral word of mouth marketing social media has the power to do is something that just can’t be done with an ad.
At the very heart of it, Neil says that people trust other people like them — period. If you want to get traction with your social media marketing, it’s critical you get people talking about you.
While you could pay to grow your own platform, you actually get a lot more bang for your buck by leveraging an existing audience.
Neil says that what you really need isn’t a lot of followers — that doesn’t lead to sales — but rather someone talking about your business who already has influence with their existing audience.
From Mega to Micro
The influencer marketing industry got ahead of itself and became very expensive very quickly.
Businesses started realizing that there were a lot of fraudulently purchased followers which failed to give a genuine picture of an individual’s actual influence.
So they started engaging with micro influencer (10,00 or fewer followers) and more recently nano-influencers (1,000 or fewer followers).
Neil says that if you simply look at your existing network there are likely to be a lot of people already linked with your brand who are already nano influencers.
By treating advocates as influencers you can build an incredible program that does a lot of your marketing for you.
In Shopify there is a tool called Carro that crawls your existing email list and shopping cart history and then cross references with your instagram followers and alerts you to who your existing micro influencers are.
Another tool — Gatsby.ai offers a similar service.
Neil says that trying to get more business from your existing customers is actually more cost effective than new acquisition and he points to data that proves user created content on a website, in ads or in your shopping cart are more effective since they are naturally more believable.
How to Connect With Influencers
Neil acknowledges that when you first reach out to a potential influencers, it can seem weird. To do it right, follow these steps:
- Follow them on Social Media
- Engage with their content on social media
- Assume they would engage back with you
- Do a 1:1 interview
Neil emphasizes how important it is with nano influencers to conduct a 1:1 interview.
He says that many people don’t necessarily want money, but may want products, exclusive access or other things.
He says that once you’ve established what everyone wants, it’s easy to engage in a conversation of collaboration and content sharing etc.
While these relationships sometimes start loosely, Neil says that getting a contract into place in order to manage expectations up front is crucial.
Influencer Marketing Traps to Avoid
- Don’t work with the wrong people. When you reach out to people who don’t know, like and trust your brand. Picking the right person is the most important thing to get right.
- There is still the potential of working with people who have a lot of bought followers. Neil says there are tools like hypeauditor.com that will help you track this
- Let the content creators make the creations. Try to remain hands off, but asking for a preview is a great way to check alignment and avoid surprises.
- To get a lot of people to convert—you’ll need to contact a lot of people and you’ll need to follow up regularly.
- Keep optimizing! Create an annual contract that tracks performance and continually bring people in and continue to work with your high performers
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If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with Social media Marketing – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?
Social media begins with content creation. Start with your digital marketing strategy and understand what that plan is.
From there begin folding other people into the conversation with tagging and hashtags.
Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve Social media marketing performance?
At some point, you’ll likely do advertisements in the beginning to get a certain level of followers.
Over time, the followers might stop engaging with you and Neil recommends pruning followers who aren’t engaging with you anymore
It’s impossible to improve our marketing unless we’re monitoring the performance – but the list of stuff we could monitor can be overwhelming. So what, for you is the number one Social media marketing KPI?
How many people from Social media are coming to your website (and hopefully converting)
Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in Social media marketing?
As Tik-Tok and Instagram Reels become more popular, it will evolve the social media space, but for now, Neil says to keep your sanity and don’t worry about integrating that unless your product is for teenagers.
Neal on Social media:
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